Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Act I, Scene iii

1

Are not you moved when all the sway of earth Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero, 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, Did 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.

2

You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life That should be in a Roman you do want, Or else you use not. You look pale, and gaze, And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder To see the strange impatience of the heavens. But if you would consider the true cause Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts, … That heaven hath infused them with these spirits To make them instruments of fear and warning Unto some monstrous state. … A man no mightier than thyself or me In personal action, yet prodigious grown, And fearful as these strange eruptions are.

3

I know where I will wear this dagger then. Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius. Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong. Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat. Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron Can be retentive to the strength of spirit. But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. If I know this, know all the world besides, That part of tyranny that I do bear I can shake off at pleasure.

4

And why should Caesar be a tyrant then? Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf But that he sees the Romans are but sheep. He were no lion were not Romans hinds. Those that with haste will make a mighty fire Begin it with weak straws. What trash is Rome, What rubbish and what offal, when it serves For the base matter to illuminate So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief, Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this Before a willing bondman. Then I know My answer must be made. But I am armed, And dangers are to me indifferent.

5

Oh, he sits high in all the people’s hearts, And that which would appear offense in us, His countenance, like richest alchemy, Will change to virtue and to worthiness.