Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

SCENE II. A room in Caesar's palace.

[Thunder and lightning. Enter Caesar, in his nightgown.]

CAESAR.
Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight:
Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,
"Help, ho! They murder Caesar!" — Who's within?

[Enter a Servant.]

SERVANT.
My lord?

CAESAR.
Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
And bring me their opinions of success.

SERVANT.
I will, my lord.

[Exit.]

[Enter Calpurnia.]

CALPURNIA.
What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.

CAESAR.
Caesar shall forth: the things that threaten me
Ne'er look but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Caesar, they are vanished.

CALPURNIA.
Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan;
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar,these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them!

CAESAR.
What can be avoided
Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
Yet Caesar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Caesar.

CALPURNIA.
When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

CAESAR.
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come. —

[Re-enter Servant.]

What say the augurers?

SERVANT.
They would not have you to stir forth to-day.
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.

CAESAR.
The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home today for fear.
No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he:
We are two lions litter'd in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible;
And Caesar shall go forth.

CALPURNIA.
Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence!
Do not go forth to-day: call it my fear
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We'll send Mark Antony to the Senate-house,
And he shall say you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

CAESAR.
Mark Antony shall say I am not well,
And, for thy humor, I will stay at home.

[Enter Decius.]

Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.

DECIUS.
Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar:
I come to fetch you to the Senate-house.

CAESAR.
And you are come in very happy time
To bear my greeting to the Senators,
And tell them that I will not come to-day.
Cannot, is false; and that I dare not, falser:
I will not come to-day. Tell them so, Decius.

CALPURNIA.
Say he is sick.

CAESAR.
Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,
To be afeard to tell grey-beards the truth? —
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.

DECIUS.
Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,
Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.

CAESAR.
The cause is in my will; I will not come:
That is enough to satisfy the Senate.
But, for your private satisfaction,
Because I love you, I will let you know:
Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans
Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it:
And these does she apply for warnings and portents
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg'd that I will stay at home to-day.

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