Common section

Persons Represented



OCTAVIUS CAESAR, Triumvir after his death.




MARCUS BRUTUS, Conspirator against Caesar.

CASSIUS, " " "

CASCA, " " "





CINNA, " " "

FLAVIUS, tribune

MARULLUS, tribune

ARTEMIDORUS, a Sophist of Cnidos.

A Soothsayer

CINNA, a poet. Another Poet.

LUCILIUS, TITINIUS, MESSALA, young CATO, and VOLUMNIUS, Friends to Brutus and Cassius.



PINDARUS, Servant to Cassius

The Ghost of Caesar

Senators, Citizens, Soldiers, Commoners, Messengers, and Servants

CALPURNIA, wife to Caesar

PORTIA, wife to Brutus

SCENE: Rome, the conspirators' camp near Sardis, and the plains of Philippi.

Act I


SCENE I. Rome. A street.

(Enter Flavius, Marullus, and a Throng of Citizens.)


Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you home!

Is this a holiday? What! know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

Upon a laboring day without the sign

Of your profession?—Speak, what trade art thou?


Why, sir, a carpenter.


Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?—

You, sir; what trade are you?


Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you

would say, a cobbler.


But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.


A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe

conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.


What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?


Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet,

if you be out, sir, I can mend you.


What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow!


Why, sir, cobble you.


Thou art a cobbler, art thou?


Truly, Sir, all that I live by is with the awl; I meddle with

no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl.

I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in

great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon

neat's-leather have gone upon my handiwork.


But wherefore art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?


Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself into more

work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to

rejoice in his triumph.


Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome,

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!

O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day with patient expectation

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.

And when you saw his chariot but appear,

Have you not made an universal shout

That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

That needs must light on this ingratitude.


Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,

Assemble all the poor men of your sort,

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel, till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

(Exeunt CITIZENS.)

See whether their basest metal be not moved;

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol;

This way will I. Disrobe the images,

If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.


May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.


It is no matter; let no images

Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets;

So do you too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

Who else would soar above the view of men,

And keep us all in servile fearfulness.


SCENE II. The same. A public place.

(Enter, in procession, with music, Caesar; Antony, for the course; Calpurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Casca; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.)




Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

(Music ceases.)




Here, my lord.


Stand you directly in Antonius' way,

When he doth run his course.—Antonius,—


Caesar, my lord?


Forget not in your speed, Antonius,

To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,

The barren, touched in this holy chase,

Shake off their sterile curse.


I shall remember.

When Caesar says "Do this," it is perform'd.


Set on; and leave no ceremony out.





Ha! Who calls?


Bid every noise be still.—Peace yet again!

(Music ceases.)


Who is it in the press that calls on me?

I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,

Cry "Caesar"! Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.


Beware the Ides of March.


What man is that?


A soothsayer bids you beware the Ides of March.


Set him before me; let me see his face.


Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.


What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.


Beware the Ides of March.


He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass.

(Sennet. Exeunt all but BRUTUS and CASSIUS.)


Will you go see the order of the course?


Not I.


I pray you, do.


I am not gamesome; I do lack some part

Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.

Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;

I'll leave you.


Brutus, I do observe you now of late:

I have not from your eyes that gentleness

And show of love as I was wont to have:

You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand

Over your friend that loves you.



Be not deceived: if I have veil'd my look,

I turn the trouble of my countenance

Merely upon myself. Vexed I am

Of late with passions of some difference,

Conceptions only proper to myself,

Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviors;

But let not therefore my good friends be grieved—

Among which number, Cassius, be you one—

Nor construe any further my neglect,

Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,

Forgets the shows of love to other men.


Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion;

By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried

Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.

Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?


No, Cassius, for the eye sees not itself

But by reflection, by some other thing.


'Tis just:

And it is very much lamented, Brutus,

That you have no such mirrors as will turn

Your hidden worthiness into your eye,

That you might see your shadow. I have heard

Where many of the best respect in Rome,—

Except immortal Caesar!— speaking of Brutus,

And groaning underneath this age's yoke,

Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.


Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,

That you would have me seek into myself

For that which is not in me?


Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear;

And since you know you cannot see yourself

So well as by reflection, I, your glass,

Will modestly discover to yourself

That of yourself which you yet know not of.

And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus;

Were I a common laugher, or did use

To stale with ordinary oaths my love

To every new protester; if you know

That I do fawn on men, and hug them hard

And after scandal them; or if you know

That I profess myself, in banqueting,

To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

(Flourish and shout.)


What means this shouting? I do fear the people

Choose Caesar for their king.


Ay, do you fear it?

Then must I think you would not have it so.


I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well,

But wherefore do you hold me here so long?

What is it that you would impart to me?

If it be aught toward the general good,

Set honor in one eye and death i' the other

And I will look on both indifferently;

For let the gods so speed me as I love

The name of honor more than I fear death.


I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,

As well as I do know your outward favor.

Well, honor is the subject of my story.

I cannot tell what you and other men

Think of this life; but, for my single self,

I had as lief not be as live to be

In awe of such a thing as I myself.

I was born free as Caesar; so were you:

We both have fed as well; and we can both

Endure the winter's cold as well as he:

For once, upon a raw and gusty day,

The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,

Caesar said to me, "Darest thou, Cassius, now

Leap in with me into this angry flood

And swim to yonder point?" Upon the word,

Accoutred as I was, I plunged in,

And bade him follow: so indeed he did.

The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it

With lusty sinews, throwing it aside

And stemming it with hearts of controversy;

But ere we could arrive the point proposed,

Caesar cried, "Help me, Cassius, or I sink!

I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,

Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder

The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber

Did I the tired Caesar: and this man

Is now become a god; and Cassius is

A wretched creature, and must bend his body,

If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.

He had a fever when he was in Spain;

And when the fit was on him I did mark

How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake:

His coward lips did from their color fly;

And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world

Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan:

Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans

Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,

Alas, it cried, "Give me some drink, Titinius,"

As a sick girl.—Ye gods, it doth amaze me,

A man of such a feeble temper should

So get the start of the majestic world,

And bear the palm alone.

(Shout. Flourish.)


Another general shout!

I do believe that these applauses are

For some new honors that are heap'd on Caesar.


Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world

Like a Colossus; and we petty men

Walk under his huge legs and peep about

To find ourselves dishonorable graves.

Men at some time are masters of their fates:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves,that we are underlings.

"Brutus" and "Caesar": what should be in that "Caesar"?

Why should that name be sounded more than yours?

Write them together, yours is as fair a name;

Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;

Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with them,

"Brutus" will start a spirit as soon as "Caesar."

Now, in the names of all the gods at once,

Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed

That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!

Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!

When went there by an age since the great flood,

But it was famed with more than with one man?

When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome,

That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?

Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,

When there is in it but one only man.

O, you and I have heard our fathers say

There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd

Th' eternal devil to keep his state in Rome,

As easily as a king!


That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;

What you would work me to, I have some aim:

How I have thought of this, and of these times,

I shall recount hereafter; for this present,

I would not, so with love I might entreat you,

Be any further moved. What you have said,

I will consider; what you have to say,

I will with patience hear; and find a time

Both meet to hear and answer such high things.

Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:

Brutus had rather be a villager

Than to repute himself a son of Rome

Under these hard conditions as this time

Is like to lay upon us.


I am glad that my weak words

Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.


The games are done, and Caesar is returning.


As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve;

And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you

What hath proceeded worthy note today.

(Re-enter Caesar and his Train.)


I will do so.—But, look you, Cassius,

The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,

And all the rest look like a chidden train:

Calpurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero

Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes

As we have seen him in the Capitol,

Being cross'd in conference by some senators.


Casca will tell us what the matter is.






Let me have men about me that are fat;

Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;

He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.


Fear him not, Caesar; he's not dangerous;

He is a noble Roman and well given.


Would he were fatter! But I fear him not:

Yet, if my name were liable to fear,

I do not know the man I should avoid

So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;

He is a great observer, and he looks

Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,

As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music:

Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort

As if he mock'd himself and scorn'd his spirit

That could be moved to smile at any thing.

Such men as he be never at heart's ease

Whiles they behold a greater than themselves;

And therefore are they very dangerous.

I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd

Than what I fear, for always I am Caesar.

Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,

And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

(Exeunt Caesar and his Train. Casca stays.)


You pull'd me by the cloak; would you speak with me?


Ay, Casca, tell us what hath chanced today,

That Caesar looks so sad.


Why, you were with him, were you not?


I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.


Why, there was a crown offer'd him; and being offer'd him,

he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the

people fell a-shouting.


What was the second noise for?


Why, for that too.


They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?


Why, for that too.


Was the crown offer'd him thrice?


Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler

than other; and at every putting-by mine honest neighbors



Who offer'd him the crown?


Why, Antony.


Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.


I can as well be hang'd, as tell the manner of it: it was

mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a

crown;—yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these

coronets;—and, as I told you, he put it by once: but, for all

that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he

offered it to him again: then he put it by again: but, to my

thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then

he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by; and

still, as he refused it, the rabblement shouted, and clapp'd

their chopt hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and

uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused

the crown, that it had almost choked Caesar, for he swooned and

fell down at it: and for mine own part, I durst not laugh for

fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.


But, soft! I pray you. What, did Caesar swoon?


He fell down in the market-place, and foam'd at mouth, and was



'Tis very like: he hath the falling-sickness.


No, Caesar hath it not; but you, and I,

And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness.


I know not what you mean by that; but I am sure Caesar fell

down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him,

according as he pleased and displeased them, as they use to do

the players in the theatre, I am no true man.


What said he when he came unto himself?


Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common

herd was glad he refused the crown, he pluck'd me ope his

doublet, and offered them his throat to cut: an I had been a

man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word,

I would I might go to hell among the rogues:—and so he fell.

When he came to himself again, he said, if he had done or said

any thing amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his

infirmity. Three or four wenches where I stood cried, "Alas,

good soul!" and forgave him with all their hearts. But there's

no heed to be taken of them: if Caesar had stabb'd their

mothers, they would have done no less.


And, after that he came, thus sad away?




Did Cicero say any thing?


Ay, he spoke Greek.


To what effect?


Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face

again: but those that understood him smiled at one another and

shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I

could tell you more news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling

scarfs off Caesar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well.

There was more foolery yet, if could remember it.


Will you sup with me tonight, Casca?


No, I am promised forth.


Will you dine with me tomorrow?


Ay, if I be alive, and your mind hold, and your dinner worth

the eating.


Good; I will expect you.


Do so; farewell both.

(Exit CASCA.)


What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!

He was quick mettle when he went to school.


So is he now in execution

Of any bold or noble enterprise,

However he puts on this tardy form.

This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,

Which gives men stomach to digest his words

With better appetite.


And so it is. For this time I will leave you:

Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me,

I will come home to you; or, if you will,

Come home to me, and I will wait for you.


I will do so: till then, think of the world.—

(Exit Brutus.)

Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,

Thy honorable metal may be wrought,

From that it is disposed: therefore 'tis meet

That noble minds keep ever with their likes;

For who so firm that cannot be seduced?

Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus;

If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,

He should not humor me. I will this night,

In several hands, in at his windows throw,

As if they came from several citizens,

Writings all tending to the great opinion

That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely

Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at:

And after this let Caesar seat him sure;

For we will shake him, or worse days endure.


SCENE III. The same. A street.

(Thunder and lightning. Enter, from opposite sides, CASCA, with his sword drawn, and CICERO.)


Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home?

Why are you breathless, and why stare you so?


Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth

Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,

I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds

Have rived the knotty oaks; and I have seen

Th' ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,

To be exalted with the threatening clouds:

But never till tonight, never till now,

Did I go through a tempest dropping fire.

Either there is a civil strife in heaven,

Or else the world too saucy with the gods,

Incenses them to send destruction.


Why, saw you anything more wonderful?


A common slave—you'd know him well by sight—

Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn

Like twenty torches join'd, and yet his hand

Not sensible of fire remain'd unscorch'd.

Besides,—I ha' not since put up my sword,—

Against the Capitol I met a lion,

Who glared upon me, and went surly by,

Without annoying me: and there were drawn

Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,

Transformed with their fear; who swore they saw

Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets.

And yesterday the bird of night did sit

Even at noonday upon the marketplace,

Howling and shrieking. When these prodigies

Do so conjointly meet, let not men say

"These are their reasons; they are natural";

For I believe they are portentous things

Unto the climate that they point upon.


Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time.

But men may construe things after their fashion,

Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.

Comes Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?


He doth, for he did bid Antonius

Send word to you he would be there to-morrow.


Good then, Casca: this disturbed sky

Is not to walk in.


Farewell, Cicero.

(Exit Cicero.)

(Enter Cassius.)


Who's there?


A Roman.


Casca, by your voice.


Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!


A very pleasing night to honest men.


Who ever knew the heavens menace so?


Those that have known the earth so full of faults.

For my part, I have walk'd about the streets,

Submitting me unto the perilous night;

And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,

Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;

And when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open

The breast of heaven, I did present myself

Even in the aim and very flash of it.


But wherefore did you so much tempt the Heavens?

It is the part of men to fear and tremble,

When the most mighty gods by tokens send

Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.


You are dull, Casca;and those sparks of life

That should be in a Roman you do want,

Or else you use not. You look pale and gaze,

And put on fear and cast yourself in wonder,

To see the strange impatience of the Heavens:

But if you would consider the true cause

Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,

Why birds and beasts,from quality and kind;

Why old men, fools, and children calculate;—

Why all these things change from their ordinance,

Their natures, and preformed faculties

To monstrous quality;—why, you shall find

That Heaven hath infused them with these spirits,

To make them instruments of fear and warning

Unto some monstrous state. Now could I, Casca,

Name to thee a man most like this dreadful night;

That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars,

As doth the lion in the Capitol;

A man no mightier than thyself or me

In personal action; yet prodigious grown,

And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.


'Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not, Cassius?


Let it be who it is: for Romans now

Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors;

But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,

And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits;

Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.


Indeed they say the senators to-morrow

Mean to establish Caesar as a king;

And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,

In every place save here in Italy.


I know where I will wear this dagger then;

Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:

Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;

Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:

Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,

Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron

Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;

But life, being weary of these worldly bars,

Never lacks power to dismiss itself.

If I know this, know all the world besides,

That part of tyranny that I do bear

I can shake off at pleasure.

(Thunders still.)


So can I:

So every bondman in his own hand bears

The power to cancel his captivity.


And why should Caesar be a tyrant then?

Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,

But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:

He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.

Those that with haste will make a mighty fire

Begin it with weak straws: what trash is Rome,

What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves

For the base matter to illuminate

So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,

Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this

Before a willing bondman: then I know

My answer must be made; but I am arm'd,

And dangers are to me indifferent.


You speak to Casca; and to such a man

That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand:

Be factious for redress of all these griefs;

And I will set this foot of mine as far

As who goes farthest.


There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have moved already

Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans

To undergo with me an enterprise

Of honorable-dangerous consequence;

And I do know by this, they stay for me

In Pompey's Porch: for now, this fearful night,

There is no stir or walking in the streets;

And the complexion of the element

Is favor'd like the work we have in hand,

Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.


Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.


'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait;

He is a friend.—

(Enter Cinna.)

Cinna, where haste you so?


To find out you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?


No, it is Casca, one incorporate

To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cinna?


I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this!

There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.


Am I not stay'd for? tell me.



You are. O Cassius, if you could but win

The noble Brutus to our party,—


Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper,

And look you lay it in the praetor's chair,

Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this

In at his window; set this up with wax

Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done,

Repair to Pompey's Porch, where you shall find us.

Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?


All but Metellus Cimber, and he's gone

To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie

And so bestow these papers as you bade me.


That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.—

(Exit Cinna.)

Come, Casca, you and I will yet, ere day,

See Brutus at his house: three parts of him

Is ours already; and the man entire,

Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.


O, he sits high in all the people's hearts!

And that which would appear offense in us,

His countenance, like richest alchemy,

Will change to virtue and to worthiness.


Him, and his worth, and our great need of him,

You have right well conceited. Let us go,

For it is after midnight; and, ere day,

We will awake him, and be sure of him.


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