Julius Caesar

by: William Shakespeare

Act II, Scene i

1

It must be by his death, and for my part I know no personal cause to spurn at him But for the general. He would be crowned. How that might change his nature, there’s the question. It is the bright day that brings forth the adder And that craves wary walking. Crown him that, And then I grant we put a sting in him That at his will he may do danger with. Th' abuse of greatness is when it disjoins Remorse from power. And, to speak truth of Caesar, I have not known when his affections swayed More than his reason. But ’tis a common proof That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder, Whereto the climber upward turns his face. But when he once attains the upmost round, He then unto the ladder turns his back, Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees By which he did ascend.

2

Between the acting of a dreadful thing And the first motion, all the interim is Like a phantasma or a hideous dream. The genius and the mortal instruments Are then in council, and the state of man, Like to a little kingdom, suffers then The nature of an insurrection.

3

No, 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. . . . 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 To 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? . . . But do not stain The even virtue of our enterprise…

4

Decius, well urged. I think it is not meet Mark Antony, so well beloved of Caesar, Should outlive Caesar. We shall find of him A shrewd contriver. And, you know, his means, If he improve them, may well stretch so far As to annoy us all; which to prevent, Let Antony and Caesar fall together. … Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius, To cut the head off and then hack the limbs, Like wrath in death and envy afterwards, For Antony is but a limb of Caesar.

5

If this were true, then should I know this secret. I grant I am a woman, but withal A woman that Lord Brutus took to wife. I grant I am a woman, but withal A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter. Think you I am no stronger than my sex, Being so fathered and so husbanded? Tell me your counsels. I will not disclose 'em. I have made strong proof of my constancy, Giving myself a voluntary wound Here in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience, And not my husband’s secrets?