Front Page Titles (by Subject) CÆSAR. - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. X The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Zaire, Caesar, The Prodigal, Prefaces) and Part II (The Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems).
CÆSAR. - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. X The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Zaire, Caesar, The Prodigal, Prefaces) and Part II (The Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems). 
From The Works of Voltaire, A Contemporary Version, (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901), A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming. Vol. X The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Zaire, Caesar, The Prodigal, Prefaces) and Part II (The Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems).
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- The Works of Voltaire
- The Dramatic Works of Voltaire Vol. X— Part I
- Dramatis PersonÆ.
- An Epistle Dedicatory to Mr. Falkener, an English Merchant, Since Ambassador At Constantinople, With the Tragedy of Zaïre.
- A Second Letter to Mr. Falkener, Then Ambassador to Constantinople.
- Act I.
- Act II.
- Act III.
- Act IV.
- Act V.
- Dramatis PersonÆ.
- Act I.
- Act II.
- Act III.
- The Prodigal
- Dramatis PersonÆ.
- Act I.
- Act II.
- Act III.
- Act IV.
- Act V.
- Preface to Mariamne.
- Preface to Orestes.
- Preface to Catiline.
- Preface to MÉrope.
- Preface to the Prodigal.
- Preface to Nanine.
- 1 Preface to Socrates.
- Note On Mahomet.
- Preface to Julius CÆsar.
- Voltaire the Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems Vol. X— Part Ii
- Author’s Preface to the Lisbon Earthquake.
- The Lisbon Earthquake. *
- Preface to the Poem On the Law of Nature.
- The Law of Nature.
- The Temple of Taste. *
- The Temple of Friendship.
- Thoughts On the Newtonian Philosophy, Addressed to the Marchioness Du ChÂtelet.
- On the Death of Adrienne Lecouvreur, a Celebrated Actress.
- To the King of Prussia On His Accession to the Throne.
- From Love to Friendship.
- The Worldling. *
- On Calumny.
- The King of Prussia to M. Voltaire.
- The Answer.
- On the English Genius.
- What Pleases the Ladies.
- The Education of a Prince.
- The Education of a Daughter.
- The Three Manners.
- Thelema and Macareus.
- The Origin of Trades.
- The Battle of Fontenoy.
- The Man of the World. *
- The Padlock. *
- In Camp Before Philippsburg, July 3, 1734.
- Answer to a Lady, Or a Person Who Wrote to Voltaire As Such. *
- The Nature of Virtue.
- To the King of Prussia.
- To M. De Fontenelle.
- To Count Algarotti At the Court of Saxony.
- To Cardinal Quirini.
- To Her Royal Highness, the Princess of ***.
- To M. De Cideville.
- To ****.
- Epistle XIII. *
- To the Duke of Richelieu, Marshal of France, In Whose Honor the Senate of Genoa Had Just Before Caused a Statue to Be Erected. *
- To Madam De ***, On the Manner of Living At Paris and Versailles.
- To the Prince of Vendôme.
- To Madam De Gondoin, Afterward Countess of Toulouse, On the Danger She Had Been Exposed to In Passing the Loire In 1719.
- To the Duke Delafeuillade.
- To Marshal Villars. *
- To Monsieur Genonville.
- To the Countess of Fontaine-martel. *
- Written From PlombiÉres to M. Pallu, Intendant of Lyons.
- The Nature of Pleasure.
- The Utility of Sciences to Princes. to the Prince Royal of Prussia, Since King of Prussia.
- Epistle In Answer to a Letter, With Which, Upon His Accession to the Throne, the King of Prussia Honored the Author.
- Epistle to the King, Presented to His Majesty At the Camp Before Freiburg.
- On the Death of the Emperor Charles.
- To the Queen of Hungary.
- Inscribed to the Gentlemen of the Academy of Sciences, Who Sailed to the Polar Circle and the Equator, In Order to Ascertain the Figure of the Earth.
- To M. De Gervasi, the Physician. *
- The Requisites to Happiness.
- To a Lady, Very Well Known to the Whole Town.
- Fanaticism. *
- On Peace Concluded In 1736.
- To AbbÉ Chaulieu. *
- Answer to the Foregoing.
- To President HÉnault, Author of an Excellent Work Upon the History of France.
- Canto of an Epic Poem. *
- Epistle On the Newtonian Philosophy. * to the Marchioness of ChÂtelet.
|JULIUS CÆSAR, Dictator.|
|MARK ANTONY, Consul.|
|JUNIUS BRUTUS, Prætor.|
SCENE, the Capitol at Rome.
- Yes, Cæsar, thou shalt reign; the day is come,
- Propitious to thy vows, when haughty Rome
- At length shall know, and shall reward thy virtues,
- Long time unjust to thee and to herself,
- Shall hail thee on the throne her great avenger,
- Her conqueror, and her king: on Antony
- Thou mayest depend, who never felt the sting
- Of envy, but still held thy honor dear,
- Even as his own: thou knowest I formed the chain
- Which for the neck of Rome thou hast prepared,
- Content to be the second of mankind;
- Fonder to bind the wreath on Cæsar’s brows
- Than rule myself: thou answerest me with sighs,
- And the fair prospect that elates my soul
- Depresses thine; the master of the world,
- The king of Rome complains: can Cæsar mourn?
- Can Cæsar fear? what can inspire a soul
- Like thine with terror?
- Friendship, Antony:
- But I must open all my heart to thee.
- Thou knowest that I must leave thee, fate decrees
- We must transport our arms to Babylon,
- To wash out, in the savage Parthian’s blood,
- The shame of Crassus, and the Roman people:
- My touring eagle to the Bosphorus
- Shall wing his way, my faithful legions wait
- But for the royal wreath around my brows,
- The wished-for signal: wherefore should not Cæsar
- Subdue a kingdom Alexander conquered?
- The Rhine submitted, why should not Euphrates
- To Cæsar’s arms? that hope shall animate
- The bosom of thy friend, yet blind him not;
- Fortune perhaps, grown weary of her favors,
- At length may leave me; Pompey she betrayed,
- And may quit Cæsar too; the deepest wisdom
- Is oft deceived: where faction reigns, our fate
- Suspended hangs, as on the battle’s edge,
- ’Tis but a step from triumph to disgrace.
- Cæsar, thou knowest, these forty years hath served,
- Commanded, conquered, seen the fate of empires
- Lodged in my hands, and trust me, Antony,
- In every action the decisive stroke
- Depended on a moment: but whate’er
- Chance may bring forth, my heart has nought to fear,
- Cæsar shall conquer without pride, or die
- Without complaint: but from thy tender friendship
- One precious boon I must demand of thee;
- My children, Antony, will find a friend,
- I hope, in thee: I hope that Rome, by me
- Defended, and by me subdued, will own
- Thy power; thou shalt, with my sons, enjoy
- The name of king, and rule o’er all mankind;
- Remember, ’tis the last request I make,
- That thou wilt be a father to my children;
- I ask not for thy oaths, those idle sureties
- Of human faith; thy promise is sufficient;
- For purer is thy word than sacred altars,
- Oft stained with human perjury and falsehood.
- It was enough to leave thy Antony,
- And seek for death in foreign climes without him;
- To Asia’s plains when glory calls my friend,
- That I must stay in Italy to plead
- My Cæsar’s cause, but it afflicts me more
- To see thy noble heart dejected thus,
- Distrusting fortune, and presaging ills
- That ne’er may happen: wherefore talkest thou thus,
- Of Antony’s dividing with thy sons,
- Thy fortunes, and thy fame? thou hast no son
- But thy Octavius, no adopted heir.
- I can no longer hide from thee, my friend,
- The griefs that prey upon a father’s heart;
- Octavius, by the laws, is made the son
- Of Cæsar’s choice, I have appointed him
- My successor; but fate (or shall I call it
- Propitious, or unkind I know not which)
- Hath made me father to a real son,
- One whom I love with tenderness, alas!
- But ill repaid by him.
- Can there be one
- So base and so ungrateful, so unworthy
- The noble blood from whence he sprang?
- And mark me well: thou knowest the unhappy Brutus,
- Instructed in the school of savage virtue
- By the stern Cato, he whose furious zeal
- Defends our ancient laws, the rigid foe
- Of arbitrary power, who, still in arms
- Against me, gives my enemies new hope
- And new support, who in Thessalia’s plains
- Was late my captive, whose life twice I saved
- Spite of himself, was born amongst my foes,
- And bred up far from me.
- Believe not me, but read this paper.
- The fierce Servilia! Cato’s haughty sister!
- The same; a private marriage made us one.
- Cato, when first our public discord rose,
- Indignant forced her to another’s arms,
- But her new husband, on the very day
- That he espoused her, died; and Cæsar’s son
- Was brought up in the name of Brutus, still
- Was he reserved, ye gods, to hate his father!
- But read, this fatal scroll will tell thee all.
- [Reads the paper.
- Cæsar, I die; the wrath of heaven, that cuts
- My thread of life, alone can end my love.
- Farewell: remember, Brutus is thy son:
- And may that tender friendship for his father,
- Which at her latest hour Servilia felt,
- Live in his mind, and make him worthy of thee.
- Has cruel fate to Cæsar given a son
- So much unlike him!
- Brutus hath his virtues:
- His haughty courage, though it angers me,
- Flatters my pride; I feel a secret pleasure,
- Though it offends me: his undaunted heart
- Rises superior, and even conquers mine;
- I am astonished at him, and his firmness
- So shakes my soul I know not how to blame him,
- When he condemns the arbitrary power
- I have assumed: his genius towers above me:
- As man and father, some bewitching charm
- Deceives me still, and pleads his cause within;
- Or, born a Roman, still my country’s voice,
- Spite of myself, breaks forth, and calls me tyrant:
- Perhaps that liberty I mean to oppress,
- Stronger than Cæsar, forces me to love him:
- Nay, more: if Brutus owes to me his life,
- The son of Cæsar must abhor a master;
- For in my early years I thought like him,
- Detested Sulla, and the name of tyrant:
- Myself had been like him, a citizen,
- The partisan of liberty and Rome,
- Had not that proud usurper Pompey strove
- To crush my fame beneath his growing power;
- For I was born ambitious, fierce of soul,
- Yet brave and virtuous; if I were not Cæsar,
- I would be Brutus—but we all must yield
- To our condition: Brutus soon will talk
- Another language, when he knows his birth:
- Trust me, the royal wreath that’s destined for him
- Will bend the stubborn temper of his soul:
- For manners change with fortune: nature, blood
- My favors, thy advice, united all
- With interest and with duty, must restore him.
- I doubt it much; I know his savage firmness;
- The sect he follows is a sect of fools,
- Perverse and obstinate, whom nothing moves,
- Intractable and bold; they make a merit
- Of hardening minds against humanity,
- Whilst angry nature falls subdued before them;
- To these he listens, and to these alone.
- The horrid tenets which these sons of pride
- Call duty, hold dominion absolute,
- And lord it o’er their adamantine hearts.
- Cato himself, that wretched stoic, he
- Who fell at Utica, that brain-sick hero,
- Who spurned thy proffered pardon, and preferred
- A shameful death to Cæsar’s tender friendship,
- Even Cato was less stern, less proud, than he,
- Less to be feared than this ungrateful son,
- Whom thy good heart would thus endear to thee.
- What hast thou said, my friend? thy words alarm me.
- I love thee, Cæsar, and must not deceive thee.
- Well, no matter:
- I am a father still: I oft have served,
- Nay saved, my bitterest foes: I would be loved
- By Rome and by my son; my clemency
- Shall conquer every heart; the world subdued,
- Shall join with Brutus to adore my power.
- Thou must assist me in the great design;
- Thou, Antony, didst lend thy useful arm
- To aid me in the conquest of mankind,
- Thou too must conquer Brutus; try to soften
- His spirit, and prepare his savage virtue
- For the important secret which my heart
- Dreads to reveal; yet he must know it soon.
- I will do all, but cannot hope success.
cæsar, antony, dolabella.
- Cæsar, the senators attend your pleasure,
- Wait your supreme command, and crave admittance.
- They’ve staid too long already; let them enter.
- They come, with hatred and sour discontent
- On every brow.
cæsar, antony, brutus, cassius, cimber, decimus, cinna, casca, etc., lictors.
- Welcome, ye pillars of immortal Rome,
- And friends to Cæsar: Cimber, Decimus,
- Cassius, and Cinna, and thou, dearest Brutus,
- Come near: at length behold the important hour
- When Cæsar, if the gods shall smile upon me,
- Goes to complete the conquest of the world,
- To seize the throne of Cyrus, and appease
- Our Crassus’ angry shade: the time is come
- When what remains of universal empire,
- Still unsubdued, shall yield to Rome and me:
- Euphrates calls; to-morrow I depart.
- Brutus and Cassius follow me to Asia;
- Antony’s care is Gaul and Italy;
- Cimber must rule o’er the subjected kings
- Of Betis’ borders, and the Atlantic sea;
- Lycia and Greece I give to Decimus;
- Pontus to thee, Marcellus; and to Casca
- All Syria’s wide domain. Our conquests thus
- Protected, and Rome left in happiness
- And union, naught remains but to determine
- What title Cæsar, arbiter of Rome,
- And of the world, shall wear: by your command
- Sulla was called Dictator; Marius, Consul;
- And Pompey, Emperor: I subdued the last,
- Let that suffice; new empires will demand
- New names; we must have one more great, more sacred,
- Less liable to change; one long revered
- In ancient Rome, and dear to all mankind.
- ’Tis rumored through the world, that Rome, in vain,
- Wars on the Persian; that a king alone
- Must conquer there, and only kings can rule:
- Cæsar will go, but Cæsar is no king,
- An humble citizen alone, but famed
- For his past service, subject to the will
- And fond caprice of an uncertain people,
- Who yet may thwart—you understand me, Romans,
- You know my hopes, my merit, and—my power.
- Cæsar, I’ll answer thee. Those crowns, and sceptres,
- That world you give us, to the people’s eye,
- And to the senate, jealous of their rights,
- Appear an injury, not a favor done,
- On such conditions: Marius, Pompey, Sulla,
- Those proud usurpers of the people’s power,
- Never pretended thus to canton out
- Rome’s conquests, or to dictate thus, like kings:
- We hoped from Cæsar’s clemency a gift
- More precious, and a nobler treasure, far
- Above the kingdoms which thy bounty gave.
- What wouldst thou ask of Cæsar?
- It was thy promise; thou didst swear thyself
- Forever to uproot despotic power.
- I thought the happy moment now was come,
- When the world’s conqueror should have made us happy:
- Rome bathed in blood, deserted, and enslaved,
- Found comfort in that hope: we were her children
- Before we were thy slaves—I know thy power,
- And know what thou hast sworn.
- Be Cæsar great,
- But Rome still free: the mistress of the world
- Abroad, shall she be manacled at home!
- Rule o’er the universe, be called a queen,
- And yet be fettered! What will it avail
- My wretched country, and her sons, to know
- That Cæsar has new slaves to trample on?
- Perhaps the Persians are not our worst foes,
- We may have greater. I’ve no more to offer.
- [Aside to Cæsar.
- Mark their insolence;
- And see if they are worthy of thy favor.
- And dare ye thus, ungrateful as ye are,
- Abuse my patience, and exhaust my love?
- My subjects all, by right of conquest mine,
- I bought you with my sword; ye spurned indeed
- At Marius, but ye were the slaves of Pompey,
- And only breathed till Cæsar’s wrath, too long
- Restrained already, bursts with fury on you.
- Ye vile republicans, by mercy taught
- But to rebel, ye dared not thus have talked
- To Sulla; but my clemency provokes
- Your base ungrateful spirit to insult me:
- Cæsar, you think, will never condescend
- To take revenge, this makes you talk so bravely
- Of Rome and of your country, and affect
- This patriot pride, this grandeur of the soul,
- Before your conqueror: to Pharsalia’s plains
- You should have brought them; fortune now has placed us
- At distance from each other: henceforth learn,
- Who knows not how to conquer, must obey.
- No: Cæsar we shall only learn to die.
- Who begged his life in Thessaly? Thou gavest
- What was not asked indeed, but to debase us,
- And we abhor the gift on such conditions.
- Obey thee? No: pour forth thy wrath upon us;
- Begin with me; strike here, if thou wouldst reign.
- Brutus attend—you may retire.
- [To the senators, who go out.
- What words
- Are these? away! They pierce my very soul;
- Cæsar is far from wishing for thy death:
- Leave this rash senate, I entreat thee—stay,
- Thou only canst disarm me; thee alone
- Cæsar would wish to love: stay with me, Brutus.
- But keep thy promise, and I’m thine forever:
- If thou art a tyrant, I detest thy love;
- I will not stay with Antony or thee:
- He is no Roman, for he wants a king.
- What says my friend? Did Antony deceive him?
- Thinkest thou that nature e’er can move a soul
- So fierce, and so inflexible? No: leave,
- I beg thee, unrevealed the fatal secret
- That weighs upon thy heart: let him deplore
- The fall of Rome, but never let him know
- Whose blood he persecutes: he merits not
- His noble birth, ungrateful to thy goodness,
- Ungrateful to thy love; henceforth renounce him.
- I cannot, for I love him still.
- Then cease
- To love thy power, renounce the diadem,
- Descend from the high rank which thou hast borne;
- Mercy ill suits with thy authority:
- It checks thy growing power, and mars thy purpose.
- What! Rome beneath thy laws, and suffer Cassius
- To thwart thee thus; and Cimber, too, and Cinna;
- Shall senators like these, obscure and low,
- Talk thus before the sovereign of mankind?
- The vanquished wretches breathe, and brave their master?
- My equals born, they yielded to my arms;
- Too much above to fear them, I forgive
- Their trembling at the yoke which they must bear.
- Marius had been less sparing of their blood,
- And Sulla would have punished them.
- That Sulla
- Was a barbarian, born but to oppress:
- Murder and rage were all his policy,
- And all his grandeur: amidst sighs and groans,
- And punishments and death, he governed Rome:
- He was its terror, I would be its joy,
- And its delight: I know the people well;
- A day will change them; lavish of their love
- And of their hatred; both are gained with ease:
- My grandeur galls them, but my clemency
- Attracts them still: ’tis policy to pardon
- The foe that cannot hurt us, and an air
- Of liberty will reconcile their minds,
- And make their chains fit easy: I must cover
- The pit with flowers, if I would draw them to it,
- And soothe the tiger ere I bind him fast.
- Yes, I will please them, even whilst I oppress,
- Charm, and enslave them, and revenge myself
- On every foe by forcing him to love me.
- You must be feared, or you will never reign.
- In battle only Cæsar would be feared.
- The people will abuse thy easy nature.
- I tell thee, no; the people worship me.
- Behold that temple there, which Rome hath raised
- To Cæsar’s clemency.
- They’ll raise another
- Perhaps to vengeance: thou hast cause to dread
- Their rancorous hearts, still cherished by despair,
- Cruel by duty, and the slaves of Rome.
- Cassius alarmed foresees that Antony
- This day shall place the crown on Cæsar’s head,
- And even before thy face they murmured at it.
- ’Twere best to gain the most impetuous of them,
- And win them to our interest: to prevent
- All danger, Cæsar must constrain himself.
- Could I have feared, I would have punished them;
- Advise me not to make myself detested:
- Cæsar has learned to fight, has learned to conquer,
- But knows not how to punish: let us hence,
- And, strangers to suspicion and revenge,
- Rule without violence o’er the conquered world.
End of the First Act.
brutus, antony, dolabella.
- This bitterness of hate, this proud refusal,
- Breathes less of virtue than of savage fierceness:
- Cæsar’s indulgence, his high rank and power,
- At least deserved a milder treatment from you,
- And more complacency; you might at least
- Have talked with him: did you but know with whom
- You are at variance, you would shudder at it—
- I shudder now; but ’tis at hearing thee;
- Foe to thy country, which thou hast betrayed
- And sold to Cæsar, thinkest thou to deceive
- Or to corrupt me? go, and cringe to him,
- Fawn on your haughty lord. I know your arts,
- You long to be a slave; you want a king.
- Yet you are Roman.
- Brutus, I’m a friend,
- And boast a heart that loves humanity:
- I am contented with this humble virtue:
- But thou wouldst be a hero, yet art naught
- But a barbarian; and thy savage pride
- Grew fond of virtue, but to make us loathe her.
- What baseness, heaven! what ignominious slaves!
- Behold, my wretched country, your support,
- Horatius, Decius, and thou great avenger
- Of sacred laws, Brutus, my kindred blood,
- Behold your successors; just gods, are these
- The noble relics of our Roman grandeur?
- We kiss the hand that binds us to the yoke;
- Cæsar has ravished even our virtues from us:
- I look for Rome, but find it now no more.
- O ye immortal heroes, ye who fell
- In her defence, whose images now strike
- My soul with awe, and fill my eyes with tears,
- The family of Pompey, and thou Cato,
- Thou last of Scipio’s glorious race, I feel
- A lively spark of your immortal virtues
- Rebound from you, and animate my heart:
- You live in Brutus still, and in his breast
- Have left the honor of the Roman name
- The tyrant would have stolen. What do I see,
- Great Pompey, at thy statue’s foot? a paper.
- [He takes the paper and reads.
- Brutus, thou sleepest, and Rome’s in chains.
- O Rome,
- My eyes are ever open still for thee;
- Reproach me not for chains which I abhor.
- Another paper! No: thou art not Brutus:
- Cruel reflection! Tyrant Cæsar, tremble,
- This stroke must end thee: no: thou art not Brutus,
- I am, I will be Brutus; I will perish,
- Or set my country free: Rome still, I see,
- Has virtuous hearts: she calls for an avenger,
- And has her eyes on Brutus; she awakens
- My sleeping soul, and shakes my tardy hand:
- She calls for blood, and shall be satisfied.
brutus, cassius, cinna, casca, decimus,Attendants
- ’Tis the last time we may embrace, my friends.
- Buried beneath the ruins of his country,
- Cassius must fall; Cæsar can ne’er forgive me;
- He knows our hearts, he knows our resolution;
- Our souls, untainted by corruption, thwart
- His purposes; in us he will destroy
- The last of Romans: yes, my friends, ’tis past;
- Our laws, our country, and our honor’s lost;
- Rome is no more; he triumphs over her,
- And o’er mankind; our thoughtless ancestors
- But fought for Cæsar, but for Cæsar conquered:
- The spoils of kings, the sceptre of the world,
- Six hundred years of virtues, toils, and war,
- Were spent for Cæsar; he enjoys the fruit
- Of all our dear-bought victories: O my Brutus,
- Wert thou, too, born to crouch beneath a master?
- Our liberty is gone.
- What sayest thou? hark! did you not hear a shout?
- ’Twas the vile rabble: think not of them, Cassius.
- Didst thou say, liberty—that noise again!
brutus, cassius, decimus, cimber.
- Ah! Cimber, is it thou? speak, what hath happened?
- Some new attempt on liberty and Rome?
- What has thou seen?
- Our shame. When haughty Cæsar
- Came to the temple, he looked down upon us
- Even like the thunderer, Capitolian Jove;
- Then proudly told us of his bold design
- Of adding Persia to the Roman empire:
- The people knelt before their idol, called him
- Rome’s great avenger, conqueror of the world;
- But Cæsar wanted yet another title
- To gratify his insolent ambition;
- When, lo! amidst this scene of adulation,
- Came Antony, and bustled through the crowd
- That stood ’twixt him and Cæsar; in his hand
- A crown and sceptre: when, O shameful act,
- Disgraceful to a Roman! whilst we stood
- In silent admiration, unabashed,
- He placed the crown on Cæsar’s head; then knelt,
- And cried out, “Cæsar, live and reign o’er us,
- And o’er the world:” our Romans, as he spake,
- Turned pale, and with their cries tumultuous wrung
- The temple’s vaulted roof: some fled with terror,
- Whilst others blushing stood, and wept their fate.
- Cæsar, who read resentment in their looks,
- And indignation but too visible,
- With well-dissembled modesty, took off
- The radiant crown, and rolled it at his feet.
- Instant the scene was changed, and every Roman
- Welcomed with smiles returning liberty,
- Ill-founded hopes, and momentary joy!
- Antony seemed astonished: Cæsar still
- Blushed and dissembled; and the more he strove
- To hide his grief, the more was he applauded.
- By moderation he would veil his crimes,
- Affects to scorn the crown, and spurn it from him:
- But, spite of all his efforts to conceal it,
- Was galled within to hear the people praise him
- For virtues which he never will possess.
- No longer able to conceal his rage
- And disappointment, with contracted brow
- He left the capitol, and in an hour
- The senate must attend him: an hour hence
- Shall Cæsar change the state of Rome: thou knowest,
- O Brutus! half our senate is corrupted,
- Have bought their country, and will sell it now
- To Cæsar: they are far more infamous
- Even than the people, who at least abhor
- The name of king: Cæsar, already vested
- With regal power, yet wishes for the crown;
- The people have refused him, but the senate
- Bestow it on him: what remains?
- To die;
- To end a life of misery and reproach:
- I’ve dragged it on whilst yet a ray of hope
- Dawned on my country, but her latest hour
- Is come, and Cassius never shall survive her.
- Let others weep for Rome, I can’t avenge
- My country’s cause, but I can perish with her.
- I go where all our gods—O Scipio, Pompey,
- ’Tis time to follow you, and imitate
- Great Cato.
- No: we’ll not be followers,
- But bright examples: the world’s eye, my friends,
- Is fixed on us; be it our part to answer
- The great expectance of our bleeding country.
- Had Cato taken my counsel, he had fallen
- More nobly, and the tyrant’s blood had flowed
- Mixed with his own: he turned his blameless hand
- Against himself; but little did his death
- Avail mankind: Cato did all for glory,
- And nothing for his country: there, my friends,
- There only erred the greatest of mankind.
- What can we do in this disastrous crisis?
- [Shows the paper.
- See what was wrote to me, and learn our duty.
- The same reproach was sent to me.
- It shows
- We had deserved it.
- Quick, the fatal hour
- Approaches, when a tyrant shall destroy
- The Roman name: one hour, and all is gone.
- One hour, and Cæsar—dies.
- Ha! now thou art
- What Brutus should be.
- Worthy of thy race,
- The scourge of tyrants; thou hast spoke the thoughts
- Of my own heart.
- O Brutus, thou revivest me;
- ’Twas what my sorrows, what my rage expected
- From thy exalted virtue; Rome inspires
- The great design; thy voice alone decrees
- The death of tyrants: O my dearest Brutus,
- Let us blot out this infamous reproach
- On all mankind, and whilst Jove’s thunder sleeps,
- Avenge the capitol. What say ye, Romans,
- Have ye the same unconquerable heart,
- The same desires?
- Cassius, we think with you,
- Despise the thought of life, abhor the tyrant;
- We love our country, and we will avenge her,
- If there’s a spark of Roman virtue left,
- Brutus and Cassius will revive it.
- The guardians of the state, the great avengers
- Of every crime, too long the oppressive hand
- Of power hath galled us, and ’twere added guilt
- To spare the tyrant, or suspend the blow:
- Say, whom shall we admit to share this honor?
- We are ourselves enough to save our country.
- Emilius, Dolabella, Lepidus
- And Bibulus, are all the slaves of Cæsar.
- Cicero may serve us with his eloquence,
- And that alone; he can harangue the senate,
- But is too timid in the hour of danger:
- He’ll talk for Rome, but is not fit to avenge her:
- We’ll leave the orator who charms his country
- The task of praising us when we have saved it.
- With you alone, my friends, will I partake
- This glorious danger, this immortal honor:
- The senate are to meet him an hour hence,
- There I’ll surprise, destroy him there: this sword,
- Deep in his bosom buried, shall avenge
- Cato, and Pompey, and the Roman people:
- I know the attempt is perilous and bold:
- His watchful guards are placed on every side:
- The changeful people, fluttering and inconstant,
- Are doubtful whether they should love or hate him.
- Death seems, my friends, to be our certain fate:
- But O how glorious such a death will be!
- How much to be desired! how noble is it
- To fall in such a cause, to see our blood
- Flow with the blood of tyrants; with what pleasure
- Shall we behold this last illustrious hour!
- Yes, let us die, my friends, but die with Cæsar;
- And may that liberty his crimes oppress
- Rise from his ashes, and forever flourish!
- Debate not then, but to the capitol
- Let us away; there he has injured us,
- And there ’tis fit he should be sacrificed:
- Fear not the people, though they are doubtful now,
- Whene’er the idol falls, they will detest him.
- Swear then with me upon this sword; all swear
- By Cato’s blood, by Pompey’s, by the shades
- Of those brave Romans who in Afric’s plains
- Fell glorious; swear by all the avenging gods
- Of Rome, that Cæsar by your hands shall die.
- Let us do more, my friends; here let us swear
- To root out all who, like himself, shall strive
- To govern here: sons, brothers, fathers, all,
- If they are tyrants, Brutus, are our foes:
- A true republican has neither son,
- Father, nor brother, but the commonweal,
- His gods, the laws, his virtue, and his country.
- Forever let me join my blood with yours;
- All linked together in one sacred knot,
- The adopted sons of Liberty and Rome,
- We’ll seal our union with the tyrant’s blood.
- [Advancing towards the statue of Pompey.
- By you, illustrious heroes, who excite
- Our duty and inspire the great design,
- O Pompey, at thy sacred knees, we swear,
- Naught for ourselves we do, but all for Rome,
- We swear to be united for our country;
- We swear to live, to fight, and die together.
- Let us be gone: away: we’ve staid too long.
- Stop, Brutus, I must talk with thee; attend:
- Where wouldst thou fly?
- Thou wouldst have my life,
- Take it.
- No: Brutus, had I wanted that,
- Thou knowest, I could command it with a word,
- And thou hast merited no better fate:
- It is the pride of thy ungrateful heart
- Still to offend me; and I find thee here
- Amongst those Romans whose dark perfidy
- I most suspect, with those who proudly dared
- To blame my conduct, and defy my power.
- They talked like Romans, gave thee noble counsel:
- Hadst thou been wise, thou wouldst have followed it.
- Yet I’ll be calm, and bear thy insolence,
- Will stoop beneath myself, and talk to thee.
- What layest thou to my charge?
- A ravaged world,
- The blood of nations, and thy plundered country;
- Thy power, thy specious virtues that gild o’er
- Thy crimes, thy fatal clemency, that makes
- Thy chains so easy, a destructive charm
- To soothe thy captives, and deceive mankind.
- Reproach like this had suited Pompey well;
- He whose dissembled virtues have betrayed thee,
- That haughty citizen, more fatal far,
- Would not admit even Cæsar as his equal.
- Thinkest thou, if he had conquered, his proud soul
- Had left secure the liberty of Rome?
- He would have ruled you with a rod of iron,
- What then had Brutus done?
- Is that the fate which Cæsar must expect
- From thee? thou answerest not. O Brutus, Brutus,
- Thou livest but for my ruin.
- If thou thinkest so,
- Prevent my fury. What withholds thee?
- [Giving him the letter from Servilia.
- And my own heart: read there, ungrateful, read
- And know whose blood thou hast opposed to mine;
- See whom thou hatest, and if thou darest, go on.
- What have I read? where am I? do my eyes
- Deceive me?
- My father, gracious gods!
- Ungrateful, yes,
- I am thy father: whence this deadly silence?
- Why sobbest thou thus, my son? Why do I hold thee
- Thus in my arms mute and insensible?
- Nature alarms, but cannot soften thee.
- O dreadful fate! it drives me to despair:
- My oaths! my country! Rome forever dear!
- Cæsar—alas! I’ve lived too long.
- O speak,
- I see thy heart is laboring with remorse
- And anguish: O hide nothing from me: still
- Thou art silent: does the sacred name of son
- Offend thee, Brutus? art thou fearful of it?
- Fearest thou to love me, to partake my fortunes?
- Is Cæsar’s blood so hateful to thee! Oh,
- This sceptre of the world, this power supreme,
- For thee alone, that Cæsar, whom thou hatest,
- Desired them: with Octavius and thyself
- I wished but to divide the rich reward
- Of all my labors, and the name of king.
- Thou canst not speak: these transports, Brutus,
- Spring they from hatred, or from tenderness?
- What secret weight hangs heavy on thy soul?
- Thou seemest as if thou durst not call me father.
- O if thou art my father, grant me this,
- This only boon.
- Ask it: to give it thee
- Will make me happy.
- Kill me then this moment,
- Or wish no more to be a king.
- Barbarian, hence! unworthy of my love,
- Unworthy of thy race, thou art no more
- My son: go, henceforth I disclaim thee;
- My heart shall take example from thy own,
- And stifle nature’s voice; shall learn of thee
- To be inhuman: hence, I know thee not.
- Think not I mean again to supplicate,
- No, thou shalt see I’ve power to crush you all:
- I will no longer listen to the pleas
- Of mercy, but obey the laws of justice;
- My easy heart is weary of forgiveness:
- I’ll act like Sulla now, like him be cruel,
- And make you tremble at my vengeance: go,
- Find out your vile seditious friends, they all
- Insulted me, and all shall suffer for it:
- They know what Cæsar can do, and shall find
- What Cæsar dare: if I am barbarous,
- Remember, thou alone hast made me so.
- I must not leave him to his cruel purpose,
- But save, if possible, my friends, and Cæsar.
End of the Second Act.
cassius, cimber, decimus, cinna, casca,with the rest of the Conspirators.
- At length the hour is come when Rome again
- Shall breathe, again shall flourish; unoppressed
- By tyrants, soon the mistress of the world
- To freedom and to fame shall be restored.
- Yours is the honor, Decimus, and Casca,
- Cimber, and Probus, but one hour and Cæsar
- Shall be no more: what Cato, Pompey, all
- The power of Asia, never could perform,
- We, my brave friends, alone shall execute;
- We will avenge our country: on this day
- Thus may we speak to all mankind: “Henceforth
- Respect the state of Rome, for she is free.”
- Behold thy friends all ready to obey thee;
- To live or die with thee; to serve the senate;
- To take the tyrant’s life, or lose their own.
- But where is Brutus, Cæsar’s deadliest foe,
- He who assembled, he who made us swear,
- Who first shall plunge the dagger in his breast,
- Why comes he not? The son-in-law of Cato
- Should not have tarried thus; he may be stopped;
- Cæsar perhaps may know—but see he comes;
- Gods! what dejection in his aspect!
- What sinks thee thus? what new misfortune? say,
- Doth Cæsar know it all? is Rome betrayed?
- He knows not our design upon his life,
- But trusts to you.
- What then hath troubled thee?
- A dreadful secret, that will make you tremble.
- Cæsar’s approaching death! perhaps our own!
- Brutus, we all can die, but shall not tremble.
- I will unveil it, and astonish thee.
- Cæsar thou knowest is Brutus’ foe; I’ve sworn
- To kill him, fixed the time, the place, the moment
- Of his destruction: ’tis but what I owe
- To Rome, to you, and your posterity,
- Nay, to the happiness of all mankind,
- And the first blow must come from Brutus’ hand:
- All is prepared; and now let me inform thee,
- That Brutus is—his son.
- The son of Cæsar!
- Yes: Cæsar and Servilia
- Married in private, Brutus was the fruit
- Of their unhappy nuptials.
- Art thou then
- A tyrant’s son?
- It cannot, must not be:
- Thou art too much a Roman.
- ’Tis too true;
- Ye see, my friends, the horror of my fate:
- But I am yours, for sacred is my word:
- Which of you all hath strength of mind sufficient,
- With more than stoic courage, far above
- The common race of men, to tell me how
- Brutus should act? I yield me to your sentence:
- All silent! all with downcast eyes! thou, Cassius,
- Wilt not thou speak? no friendly hand stretched out
- To save me from this horrid precipice!
- Cassius, thou tremblest; thy astonished soul—
- I tremble at the counsel I must give.
- Were Brutus one amongst the crowd
- Of vulgar citizens, I should have said,
- Go, be a brother tyrant, serve thy father,
- Destroy that country which thou shouldst support;
- Rome shall hereafter be revenged on both:
- But I am talking to the noble Brutus,
- The scourge of tyrants, whose unconquered heart
- Hath not a drop of Cæsar’s blood within it:
- Thou knewest the traitor Catiline, whose rage
- Was well nigh fatal to us all.
- If on the day when that abhorred monster
- Levelled the blow at liberty and Rome,
- If when the senate had condemned the traitor
- He had acknowledged Brutus for his son,
- How wouldst thou then have acted?
- Canst thou ask me?
- Thinkest thou, my heart, thus in a moment changed,
- Could balance ’twixt a traitor and my country!
- Brutus, that word alone points out thy duty:
- It is the senate’s will, and Rome’s in safety.
- But say, hast thou indeed those secret checks
- Which vulgar minds mistake for nature’s voice,
- And shall a word from Cæsar thus extinguish
- Thy love for Rome, thy duty, and thy faith?
- Or true or false the secret that he told thee,
- Is he less guilty, art thou less a Roman,
- Art thou not Brutus, though the son of Cæsar?
- Is not thy hand, thy heart, thy honor pledged
- To us and to thy country? If thou art
- The tyrant’s son, Rome is thy mother still,
- We are thy brothers. Born as Brutus was
- Within these sacred walls, the adopted son
- Of Cato, bred by Scipio and by Pompey,
- The friend of Cassius, what wouldst thou desire?
- These are thy noblest titles, and another
- Would but disgrace them: what if Cæsar, smit
- With lawless passion for the fair Servilia,
- Seduced her to his arms, and gave thee birth,
- Bury thy mother’s follies in oblivion:
- ’Twas Cato formed thy noble soul to virtue,
- And Cato is thy father; therefore loose
- The shameful tie that binds thee to another:
- Firm to thy oaths and to thy cause remain,
- And own no parents but the world’s avengers.
- My noble friends, to you I next appeal.
- By Cassius judge of us, by us of Cassius:
- Could we think otherwise, of all Rome’s sons
- We were most guilty: but why ask of us
- What thy own breast can best inform thee? Brutus
- Alone can tell what Brutus ought to do.
- Now then, my friends, I’ll lay my heart before you,
- With all its horrors; O ’tis deeply wounded,
- And tears have flowed even from a stoic’s eye:
- After the dreadful oath which I have made
- To serve my country, and to kill my father,
- I weep to see myself the son of Cæsar,
- Admire his virtues, and condemn his crimes,
- Lament the hero, and abhor the tyrant,
- Pity and horror rend my troubled soul;
- I wish that fate you have prepared for him
- Would fall on Brutus: but I’ll tell you more,
- Know, I esteem him, and ’midst all his crimes,
- His nobleness of heart has won me to him:
- If Rome could e’er submit to regal power,
- He is the only tyrant we should spare.
- Be not alarmed; that name alone secures me,
- Rome and the senate have my faith, the welfare
- Of all mankind declares against a king.
- Yes, I embrace the virtuous task with horror,
- And tremble at it, but I will be faithful:
- I go to talk with Cæsar, and perhaps
- To change and soften him, perhaps to save
- Rome and himself: O may the gods bestow
- Persuasive utterance on my lips, and power
- To move his soul; but if in vain I plead
- The cause of liberty, if Cæsar still
- Is deaf to my entreaties, strike, destroy him,
- I’ll not betray my country for my father.
- The world, astonished, may approve or blame
- My cruel firmness, and this deed hereafter
- Be called a deed of horror, or of glory;
- My soul is not ambitious of applause,
- Or fearful of reproach; a Roman still,
- And independent, to the voice of duty
- And that alone I listen; for the rest,
- ’Tis equal all; away; be slaves no longer.
- The welfare of the state depends on thee,
- And on thy sacred word we shall rely,
- As if great Cato and the gods of Rome
- Had promised to defend us.
- Cæsar comes
- Even now to meet me, ’tis the appointed hour,
- And this the place, even in the capitol,
- Where he must die: let me not hate him, gods!
- O stop this arm uplifted to destroy him,
- Inspire his noble heart with love of Rome,
- And if he is my father, make him just!
- He comes: I have not power to speak, or move,
- Great spirit of Cato, now support my virtue!
- Brutus, we’re met: what wouldst thou? hast thou yet
- A human heart? art thou the son of Cæsar.
- I am, if Cæsar be the son of Rome.
- Was it for this, thou proud republican,
- We met together? comest thou to insult me?
- Not all my bounties showered upon thy head,
- Glory and empire, and a subject world,
- Waiting to pay thee homage, naught can move
- Thy stubborn heart: what thinkest thou of a crown?
- I think on it with horror.
- And passion blind thee, I excuse thy weakness;
- But canst thou hate me?
- No: I love thee, Cæsar;
- Thy noble deeds long since inclined my heart
- To reverence thee; before thou hadst disclosed
- The secret of my birth, I wept to see thee
- At once the glory and the scourge of Rome:
- Would Cæsar be a Roman citizen,
- I should adore him, and would sacrifice
- My life and fortune to defend his cause;
- But Cæsar, as a king, I must abhor.
- What dost thou hate me for?
- Thy tyranny.
- O listen to the counsel, to the prayers,
- The tears of Rome, the senate, and thy son;
- Wouldst thou desire to be the first of men?
- Wouldst thou enjoy a right superior far
- To all that war and conquest can bestow?
- Wouldst thou be more than king, nay more than Cæsar—
- Thou seest the world enslaved.
- Bound to thy chariot; break their chains in sunder,
- Renounce the diadem, and be a Roman.
- What hast thou bade me do?
- What Sulla did
- Before thee; he had waded in our blood.
- He made Rome free, and all was soon forgotten;
- Deep as his hands were dipped in deadly slaughter.
- He left the throne, and washed his crimes away.
- Thou hadst not Sulla’s cruelty and rage,
- Adopt his virtues then; thy heart, we know,
- Can pardon, therefore can thy heart do more;
- ’Tis Rome thou must forgive: then shalt thou reign
- As Cæsar should, then Brutus is thy son:
- Still do I plead in vain?
- Rome wants a master,
- As one day thou perhaps mayest dearly prove.
- Brutus, our laws should with our manners change;
- That liberty thou dotest on is no more
- Than the fool’s right to hurt himself, and Rome,
- That spread destruction round the world, now seems
- To work her own; the great Colossus falls,
- And in her ruin buries half mankind:
- To me she stretches forth her feeble arm
- To aid her in her perils. Since the days
- Of Sulla, all our virtue’s lost; the laws,
- Rome, and the state, are naught but empty names.
- Alas! thou talkest in these corrupted times
- As if the Decii, and Æmilii lived;
- Cato deceived thee, and thy fatal virtue
- Will but destroy thy country, and thyself;
- Submit thy reason to the conqueror
- Of Cato and of Pompey, to a father
- Who loves thee, Brutus, who laments thy errors;
- Give me thy heart, and be indeed my son:
- Take other steps, and force not nature thus
- Against thyself: not answer me, my Brutus,
- But turn thy eyes away?
- I’m not myself:
- Strike me, ye gods! O Cæsar—
- Thou are moved,
- I see thou art, my son; thy softened soul—
- Thy life’s in danger; knowest thou that, my father?
- Knowest thou, there’s not a Roman then but wishes
- In secret to destroy thee? let thy own,
- Thy country’s safety, plead my cause: by me
- Thy genius speaks, it throws me at thy feet,
- And presses for thy welfare; in the name
- Of all those gods thou hast so late forgotten,
- Of all thy virtues, in the name of Rome;
- Shall I yet add the tender name of son,
- A son who trembles for thee, who prefers
- To Cæsar Rome alone, O hear, and save me!
- Leave me, my Brutus, leave me.
- The world may change, but Cæsar never will.
- I am resolved;
- Rome must obey, when Cæsar hath determined.
- Ha! wherefore? stay, my son,
- Thou weepest, can Brutus weep? is it because
- Thou hast a king? dost thou lament for Rome?
- I weep for thee, and thee alone; farewell!
- [Exit Brutus.
- Heroic virtue! how I envy Brutus!
- Would I could love like him the commonweal!
cæsar, dolabella, romans.
- Cæsar, the senate, at the temple met
- By thy command, await thee, and the throne
- Already is prepared, the people throng
- Around thy statues, and the senate fix
- Their wavering minds; but, if I might be heard
- If Cæsar would give ear to one who loves him,
- A fellow-soldier and a friend, to augurs,
- To dreadful omens, to the gods themselves,
- He would defer the great event.
- Defer such glorious business! lose a crown!
- What power shall stop me?
- Nature doth conspire
- With heaven to blast thy purpose, and foretell
- Thy death.
- No matter, Cæsar’s but a man;
- Nor do I think that heaven would e’er disturb
- The course of nature, or the elements
- Rise in confusion, to prolong the life
- Of one poor mortal; by the immortal gods
- Our days are numbered; we must yield to fate;
- Cæsar has nought to fear.
- Cæsar has foes,
- And this new yoke may gall them; what if these
- Conspire against thee!
- Thy heart’s too confident.
- Such poor precautions
- Would make me look contemptible, perhaps
- Would do me little service.
- For Rome’s safety
- Cæsar should live: at least permit thy friend
- To attend thee to the senate.
- No: why alter
- Our first resolve? why hasten the decrees
- Of fate? who changes only shows his weakness.
- I quit thee with regret, and own I fear.
- Alas! my heart beats heavily.
- Better to die than be afraid of death:
- What hero better could deserve
- The homage of mankind? O join with me,
- Ye Romans, to admire and honor Cæsar;
- Live to obey, and die to serve him—heaven!
- What noise is that, what dreadful clamors!
- [Behind the scenes.
- Die, tyrant: courage, Cassius.
cassius,a dagger in his hand,dolabella, romans.
- The deed is done: he’s dead.
- Assist me, Romans,
- Strike, kill the traitor.
- Hear me, countrymen,
- I am your friend, and your deliverer,
- Have broke your chains, and set the nation free:
- The conquerors of the world are now the sons
- Of liberty.
- O Romans, shall the blood
- Of Cæsar—
- I have slain my friend, to serve
- The cause of Rome; he would have made you slaves,
- And therefore have I slain him: is there one
- Amongst you all, so base, so mean of soul,
- As to be fond of slavery, and regret
- A tyrant’s loss? is there one Roman left
- That wishes for a king? if one there be,
- Let him appear, let him complain to Cassius;
- But ye are fond of glory all, I know
- Ye are, and will applaud me for the deed.
- Perish his memory! Cæsar was a tyrant.
- Preserve these generous sentiments, ye sons
- Of happy Rome, ye masters of the world;
- Antony means, I know, to tamper with you,
- But you’ll remember, he was Cæsar’s slave,
- Bred up beneath him from his infant years,
- And in corruption’s school has learned from him
- The tyrant’s art; he comes to vindicate
- His master, and to justify his crimes;
- Contemns you all, and thinks he can deceive you:
- He has a right to speak, and must be heard,
- Such is the law of Rome, and to the laws
- I shall submit; but in the people still
- Is lodged the power supreme, to judge of Cæsar,
- Of Antony, and me: ye now once more
- Possess those rights which had been wrested from you,
- Which Cæsar took, and Cassius hath restored:
- He will confirm them: but I go, my friends,
- To meet great Brutus at the capitol;
- To those deserted walls once more to bring
- Long absent justice, and our exiled gods;
- To calm the rage of faction, and repair
- The ruins of our liberty: for you,
- I ask you but to know your happiness,
- And to enjoy it: let no artifice
- Deceive you, but beware of Antony.
- If he speak ill of Cassius, he shall die.
- Romans, remember these your sacred oaths.
- The friends of Rome shall ever be our care.
antony, romans, dolabella.
- What can he dare
- To offer?
- See, his eyes are bathed in tears;
- Hark, how he sighs, he’s deeply troubled.
- He loved him but too well.
- I did indeed;
- I loved him, Romans, would have given my life
- To save my friend’s; and who amongst you all
- Would not have died for Cæsar, had you known,
- Like me, his virtues? to the laws he fell
- A noble sacrifice: I come not here
- To gild his memory with a flattering tale,
- The world was witness to his deeds, the world
- Proclaims his glory; I but ask your pity,
- And beg you to forgive the tears of friendship.
- Cassius, you might have shed them for your country,
- For Rome in slavery; Cæsar was a hero,
- But Cæsar was a tyrant too.
- A tyrant
- Could have no virtues: Cassius was our friend,
- And so was Brutus.
- I have naught to urge
- Against his murderers; they meant, no doubt,
- To serve the state; whilst generous Cæsar poured
- His bounties on their heads, they shed his blood;
- But, had he not been guilty, Rome would ne’er
- Have acted thus, he must have been to blame:
- And yet, did Cæsar ever make you groan
- Beneath his power? did he oppress his country?
- Did he reserve the fruit of all his conquests
- But for himself, or did you share the spoil?
- Were not the treasures of the conquered world
- Laid at your feet, and lavished all on you?
- When he beheld his weeping countrymen,
- From his triumphal car he would descend
- To soothe their griefs, and wipe their tears away.
- What Cæsar fought for, Rome in peace enjoys;
- Rich by his bounty, by his virtues great;
- He paid the service and forgot the wrongs
- Which he received; immortal gods! you knew
- His heart was ever ready to forgive.
- Cæsar was always merciful.
- Could his great soul have ever stooped to vengeance
- He yet had lived, and we had still been happy.
- Not one of all his murderers but shared
- His bounties; twice had he preserved the life
- Of Cassius—Brutus—horrible to think!
- O heaven! my friends, I shudder at the crime,
- The base assassin, Brutus, was—his son.
- I see, it shocks your souls,
- I see the tears that trickle down your cheeks:
- Yes; Brutus is his son: but you, my friends,
- You were his children, his adopted sons:
- O had ye seen his will!
- Rome is his heir; his treasures are your own,
- And you will soon enjoy them: O he wished
- To serve his Romans, even beyond the grave:
- ’Twas you alone he loved, for you had gone
- To sacrifice his fortune and his life
- In Asia’s plains: “O Romans,” oft he cried,
- “You are my sovereigns, I am the world’s master,
- And you are mine.” Could Brutus have done more,
- Or Cassius?
- Cæsar was
- The father of his country.
- But he’s gone;
- Your father is no more: the pride, the glory
- Of human nature, the delight of Rome,
- Cut off by vile assassins; shall he go
- Unhonored, undistinguished to the tomb?
- Shall we not raise the funeral pile to one
- So dear, the father, and the friend of Rome?
- Behold, they bring him here.
- [The farther part of the stage opens, and discovers the lictors carrying the body of Cæsar, covered with a bloody robe; Antony descends from the rostrum, and kneels down near the body.
- Behold the poor remains of Cæsar! once
- The first of men, that god whom you adored,
- Whom even his murderers loved, your best support,
- In peace your guardian, and in war your glory,
- Who made whole nations tremble, and the world
- Bow down before him: is this he, ye Romans,
- This bleeding corse, is this the mighty Cæsar?
- Mark but his wounds: here Cimber pierced him, there
- The perjured Cassius, and there Decimus;
- There, with unnatural hand, the cruel Brutus
- Deep plunged the fatal poniard: Cæsar looked
- Towards his murderer, with an eye of love
- And mild forgiveness, as he sunk in death
- He called him by the tender name of son;
- “My child,” he cried—
- The monster! O that heaven
- Had taken him hence before this fatal deed!
- [The people crowd round the body.
- The blood still flows.
- O it cries out for vengeance:
- From you demands it: hearken to the voice;
- Awake, ye Romans, hence, and follow me
- Against these vile assassins; the best tribute
- That we can pay to Cæsar’s memory,
- Is to extirpate these usurpers: haste,
- And with the torch that lights his funeral pile
- Set fire to every traitor’s house, and plunge
- Your daggers in their breasts: away, my friends,
- Let us avenge him; let us offer up
- These bloody victims to the gods of Rome.
- We follow thee, and swear by Cæsar’s blood
- To be revenged: away.
- [To Dolabella.
- We must not let
- Their anger cool, the multitude we know
- Is ever wavering, fickle, and inconstant:
- We’ll urge them to a war, and then perhaps
- Who best avenges Cæsar may succeed him.
End of the Third and Last Act.