Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 6

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DECIUS

Here lies the east. Doth not the day break here?

DECIUS

Here’s the east. Won’t the dawn come from here?

CASCA

105No.

CASCA

No.

CINNA

O, pardon, sir, it doth, and yon gray lines
That fret the clouds are messengers of day.

CINNA

Excuse me, sir, it will. These gray lines that lace the clouds are the beginnings of the dawn.

CASCA

You shall confess that you are both deceived.
(points his sword)
110Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises,
Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
Some two months hence up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire, and the high east
115Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.

CASCA

You’re both wrong. (pointing his sword) Here, where I point my sword, the sun rises. It’s quite near the south, since it’s still winter. About two months from now, the dawn will break further toward the north, and due east is where the Capitol stands, here.

BRUTUS

(comes forward with CASSIUS)
Give me your hands all over, one by one.
(shakes their hands)

BRUTUS

(coming forward with CASSIUS) Give me your hands, all of you, one by one. (he shakes their hands)

CASSIUS

And let us swear our resolution.

CASSIUS

And let us swear to our resolution.

BRUTUS

120No, not an oath. If not the face of men,
The sufferance of our souls, the time’s abuse—
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed.
So let high-sighted tyranny range on
125Till each man drop by lottery. But if these—
As I am sure they do—bear fire enough
To kindle cowards and to steel with valor
The melting spirits of women, then, countrymen,
What need we any spur but our own cause
130To prick us to redress? What other bond
Than secret Romans that have spoke the word
And will not palter? And what other oath
Than honesty to honesty engaged,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
135Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous,
Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs. Unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt. But do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprise,
140Nor th' insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think that or our cause or our performance
Did need an oath, when every drop of blood
That every Roman bears—and nobly bears—
Is guilty of a several bastardy
145If he do break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath passed from him.

BRUTUS

No, let’s not swear an oath. If the sad faces of our fellow men, the suffering of our own souls, and the corruption of the present time aren’t enough to motivate us, let’s break it off now and each of us go back to bed. Then we can let this ambitious tyrant continue unchallenged until each of us is killed at his whim. But if we have reasons that are strong enough to ignite cowards into action and to make weak women brave—and I think we do—then, countrymen, what else could we possibly need to spur us to action? What bond do we need other than that of discreet Romans who have said what they’re going to do and won’t back down? And what oath do we need other than that we honest men have told each other that this will happen or we will die trying? Swearing is for priests, cowards, overly cautious men, feeble old people, and those long-suffering weaklings who welcome abuse. Only men whom you wouldn’t trust anyway would swear oaths, and for the worst reasons. Don’t spoil the justness and virtue of our endeavor nor weaken our own irrepressible spirits by thinking that we need a binding oath, when the blood that every noble Roman contains within him would be proven bastard’s blood if he broke the smallest part of any promise he had made.