Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Thunder and lightning. Enter CASCA and CICERO
Thunder and lightning. CASCA and CICERO enter.
Good even, Casca. Brought you Caesar home?
Why are you breathless? And why stare you so?
Good evening, Casca. Did you accompany Caesar home? Why are you breathless, and why are you staring like that?
Are not you moved when all the sway of earth
Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
5I 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,
10Did 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.
Aren’t you disturbed when the earth itself is shaking and swaying as if it were a flimsy thing? Cicero, I’ve seen storms in which the angry winds split old oak trees, and I’ve seen the ocean swell, rage, and foam, as if it wanted to reach the storm clouds, but never before tonight, never until now, have I experienced a storm that drops fire. Either there are wars in heaven, or else the world, too insolent toward the gods, provokes them to send destruction.
Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
What—have you seen something so strange that it is clearly an omen from the gods?
15A common slave—you know him well by sight—
Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn
Like twenty torches joined, and yet his hand,
Not sensible of fire, remained unscorched.
Besides—I ha' not since put up my sword—
20Against 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,
Transformèd with their fear, who swore they saw
25Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
A common slave—you’d know him if you saw him—held up his left hand, which flamed and burned like twenty torches together. And yet his hand was immune to the fire and didn’t get burned. Also—I’ve kept my sword unsheathed since I saw this—in front of the Capitol I met a lion who looked at me and strutted by without bothering to attack me. And there were a hundred spooked women huddled together in fear who swore they saw men on fire walk up and down the streets.