Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

20Why, sir, cobble you.
Cobble you, sir.
Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
You’re a cobbler, are you?
Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I meddle with no tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes. When they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.
Sir, I make my living using an awl. I stick to my work; I don’t meddle in politics or chase women. I’m a surgeon to old shoes. When they’re endangered, I save them. The noblest men who ever walked on leather have walked on my handiwork.
But wherefore art not in thy shop today?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
But why aren’t you in your shop today? Why are you leading these men through 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.
Well, to wear out their shoes and get myself more work. Seriously, though, we took the day off to see Caesar, sir, and celebrate his triumph.
Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome
To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
35You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,
O you hard hearts, you cruèl men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,
40Your 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
45That 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?
Why would you celebrate it? What victory does he bring home? What foreign lands has he conquered and captive foreigners chained to his chariot wheels? You blockheads, you unfeeling men! You hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, didn’t you know


Caesar has just conquered the sons of his deceased enemy Pompey. He as won in a civil war, not a foreign conquest.

? Many times you climbed up on walls and battlements, towers and windows—even chimney tops—with your babies in your arms, and sat there patiently all day waiting to see great Pompey ride through the streets of Rome. And when you caught a glimpse of his chariot, didn’t you shout so loud that the river Tiber shook as it echoed? And now you put on your best clothes? And now you take a holiday?