Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds
20In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol.
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.
25O Caesar! These things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.
Fierce, fiery warriors fought in the clouds in the usual formations of war—ranks and squadrons—until the clouds drizzled blood onto the Capitol. The noise of battle filled the air, and horses neighed, and dying men groaned, and ghosts shrieked and squealed in the streets. Oh, Caesar! These things are beyond anything we’ve seen before, and I’m afraid.

CAESAR

    What can be avoided
Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?
Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions
Are to the world in general as to Caesar.

CAESAR

How can we avoid what the gods want to happen? But I will go out, for these bad omens apply to the world in general as much as they do to me.

CALPHURNIA

30When beggars die there are no comets seen.
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

CALPHURNIA

When beggars die there are no comets in the sky. The heavens only announce the deaths of princes.

CAESAR

Cowards die many times before their deaths.
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
35It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

CAESAR

Cowards die many times before their deaths. The brave experience death only once. Of all the strange things I’ve ever heard, it seems most strange to me that men fear death, given that death, which can’t be avoided, will come whenever it wants.
Enter SERVANT
The SERVANT enters.
     What say the augurers?
What do the priests say?

SERVANT

They would not have you to stir forth today.
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
40They could not find a heart within the beast.

SERVANT

They don’t want you to go out today. They pulled out the guts of the sacrificed animal and couldn’t find its heart.

CAESAR

The gods do this in shame of cowardice.
Caesar should be a beast without a heart
If he should stay at home today for fear.
No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well

CAESAR

The gods do this to test my bravery. They’re saying I’d be an animal without a heart if I stayed home today out of fear. So, I won’t.