Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Julius Cæsar
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Julius Cæsar
 
Act II. Scene II.
 
The Same.  CÆSAR’S House.
 
Thunder and lightning.  Enter CÆSAR in his night-gown.
  Cæs.  Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace to-night:
Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out,
‘Help, ho! They murder Cæsar!’ Who’s within?        5
 
Enter a Servant.
  Serv.  My lord!
  Cæs.  Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
And bring me their opinions of success.
  Serv.  I will, my lord.  [Exit.        10
 
Enter CALPHURNIA.
  Cal.  What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
  Cæs.  Cæsar shall forth: the things that threaten’d me
Ne’er look’d but on my back; when they shall see        15
The face of Cæsar, they are vanished.
  Cal.  Cæsar, 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.        20
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn’d and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;        25
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 Cæsar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.        30
  Cæs.        What can be avoided
Whose end is purpos’d by the mighty gods?
Yet Cæsar shall go forth; for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Cæsar.
  Cal.  When beggars die there are no comets seen;        35
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
  Cæs.  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;        40
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
 
Re-enter Servant.
        What say the augurers?
  Serv.  They would not have you to stir forth to-day.        45
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
  Cæs.  The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Cæsar should be a beast without a heart
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.        50
No, Cæsar shall not; danger knows full well
That Cæsar is more dangerous than he:
We are two lions litter’d in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible:
And Cæsar shall go forth.        55
  Cal.        Alas! my lord,
Your wisdom is consum’d 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,        60
And he shall say you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.
  Cæs.  Mark Antony shall say I am not well;
And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.
 
Enter DECIUS.
        65
Here’s Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
  Dec.  Cæsar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Cæsar:
I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
  Cæs.  And you are come in very happy time
To bear my greeting to the senators,        70
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.
  Cal.  Say he is sick.
  Cæs.        Shall Cæsar send a lie?        75
Have I in conquest stretch’d mine arm so far
To be afeard to tell greybeards the truth?
Decius, go tell them Cæsar will not come.
  Dec.  Most mighty Cæsar, let me know some cause,
Lest I be laugh’d at when I tell them so.        80
  Cæs.  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:
Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:        85
She dreamt to-night she saw my statua,
Which, like a fountain with a 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,        90
And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg’d that I will stay at home to-day.
  Dec.  This dream is all amiss interpreted;
It was a vision fair and fortunate:
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,        95
In which so many smiling Romans bath’d,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck
Reviving blood, and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.
This by Calphurnia’s dream is signified.        100
  Cæs.  And this way have you well expounded it.
  Dec.  I have, when you have heard what I can say:
And know it now: the senate have concluded
To give this day a crown to mighty Cæsar.
If you shall send them word you will not come,        105
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be render’d, for some one to say
‘Break up the senate till another time,
When Cæsar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.’
If Cæsar hide himself, shall they not whisper        110
‘Lo! Cæsar is afraid?’
Pardon me, Cæsar; for my dear dear love
To your proceeding bids me tell you this,
And reason to my love is liable.
  Cæs.  How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia!        115
I am ashamed I did yield to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go:
 
Enter PUBLIUS, BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA, TREBONIUS, and CINNA.
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
  Pub.  Good morrow, Cæsar.        120
  Cæs.        Welcome, Publius.
What! Brutus, are you stirr’d so early too?
Good morrow, Casca. Caius Ligarius,
Cæsar was ne’er so much your enemy
As that same ague which hath made you lean.        125
What is ’t o’clock?
  Bru.        Cæsar, ’tis strucken eight.
  Cæs.  I thank you for your pains and courtesy.
 
Enter ANTONY.
See! Antony, that revels long o’ nights,        130
Is notwithstanding up. Good morrow, Antony.
  Ant.  So to most noble Cæsar.
  Cæs.  Bid them prepare within:
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
Now, Cinna; now, Metellus; what, Trebonius!        135
I have an hour’s talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me to-day:
Be near me, that I may remember you.
  Treb.  Cæsar, I will:—[Aside.]  and so near will I be,
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.        140
  Cæs.  Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
  Bru.  [Aside.]  That every like is not the same, O Cæsar!
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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