Julius Caesar By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 2

SECOND CITIZEN.
Peace! let us hear what Antony can say.

ANTONY.
You gentle Romans, —

CITIZENS.
Peace, ho! let us hear him.

ANTONY.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, —
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honorable men, —
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, — not without cause:
What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him? —
O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason! — Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

FIRST CITIZEN.
Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.

SECOND CITIZEN.
If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Caesar has had great wrong.

THIRD CITIZEN.
Has he not, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.

FOURTH CITIZEN.
Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;
Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.

FIRST CITIZEN.
If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.

THIRD CITIZEN.
There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

FOURTH CITIZEN.
Now mark him; he begins again to speak.

ANTONY.
But yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world: now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men:
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar, —
I found it in his closet, — 'tis his will:
Let but the commons hear this testament, —
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read, —
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.

FOURTH CITIZEN.
We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.

CITIZENS.
The will, the will! We will hear Caesar's will.

ANTONY.
Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;
It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should, O, what would come of it!

FOURTH CITIZEN.
Read the will! we'll hear it, Antony;
You shall read us the will, — Caesar's will!

ANTONY.
Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it:
I fear I wrong the honorable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it.

FOURTH CITIZEN.
They were traitors: honourable men!

CITIZENS.
The will! The testament!

SECOND CITIZEN.
They were villains, murderers. The will! read the will!

ANTONY.
You will compel me, then, to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?

CITIZENS.
Come down.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Descend.

[He comes down.]

THIRD CITIZEN.
You shall have leave.

FOURTH CITIZEN.
A ring! stand round.

FIRST CITIZEN.
Stand from the hearse, stand from the body.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Room for Antony! — most noble Antony!

ANTONY.
Nay, press not so upon me; stand far' off.

CITIZENS.
Stand back; room! bear back.

ANTONY.
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
'Twas on a Summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it, —
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.

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