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To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honorable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar;
I found it in his closet, 'tis his will;
Let but the commons hear this testament
(Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read),
And they would go and kiss dead Cæsar's
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it, as a rich legacy,
Unto their issue.
4 Pleb. We'll hear the will: read it, Mark
All. The will, the will; we will hear Caesar's
Ant. Have patience, gentle friends, I must
not read it;
It is not meet you know how Cæsar lov'd you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Cæsar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad.
'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should-, what would come of it!
4 Pleb. Read the will; we will hear it Antony;
You shall read us the will; Cæsar's will.
Ant. Will you be patient? will you stay
I have o'ershot myself, to tell you of it. [a while?
I fear, I wrong the honorable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Cæsar-I do fear it.
4 Pleb. They were traitors:-honorable men!
All. The will! the testament! [will?
Ant. You will compel me then to read the
Then make a ring about the corpse of Cæsar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
All. Come down.
2 Pleb. Descend.
[He comes down from the Pulpit. Ant. If you have tears, prepare to shed them
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on;
"Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii :—
Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made;-
Through this, the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd?
And, as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar follow'd it;
As rushing out of doors, to be resolv'd
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no:
For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel:
Judge, O ye gods, how dearly Cæsar lov'd him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all :
For, when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity; these are gracious drops.
Ant. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honorable;
What private griefs they have, alas! I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and ho-
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts;
I am no orator, as Brutus is :
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full
That gave me public leave to speak of him. [well
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, or utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood; I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know ;
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor
dumb mouths !
And bid them speak for me: But were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In ev'ry wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
-Ever note, Lucilius,
When love begins to sicken and decay,
It useth an enforced ceremony.
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith;
But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,
Make gallant show and promise of their mettle;
But when they should endure the bloody spur,
They fall their crests, and, like deceitful jades,
Sink in the trial.
Cas. That you have wrong'd me, doth appear in this:
You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella, For taking bribes here of the Sardians; Wherein my letters praying on his side, Because I knew the man, were slighted of. [case.
Bru. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet That everynice offence should bear his comment.
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself Are much condemn'd to have an itching palm ; To sell and mart your offices for gold To undeservers.
Cas. I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this, Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last. Bru. The name of Cassius honors this cor
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers; shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes ?
And sell the mighty space of our large honors,
For so much trash, as may be grasp'd thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman!
Cas. Brutus, bay not me,
I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Bru. Go to; you are not Cassius.
Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.
Cas. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself; Have mind upon your health-tempt me no Bru. Away, slight man! [further. Cas. Is't possible?
Bru. Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted, when a madman stares?
Cas. O ye gods! ye gods! must I endure all
Bru. All this! ay, more: fret, till your proud
Go, show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I
Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humor? By the gods,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Tho' it do split you: for, from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
Cas. Is it come to this?
Bru. You say you are a better soldier: Let it appear so; make your vaunting true, And it shall please me well: for mine own part, I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
Cas. You wrong me ev'ry way-you wrong me, Brutus:
I said an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say better?-
Bru. If you did, I care not. [mov'd me.
Cas. When Cæsar liv'd, he durst not thus have
Bru. Peace, peace; you durst not so have
Cas. I durst not?
Cas. What! durst not tempt him?
Bru. For your life you durst not.
Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love,
may do that I shall be sorry for.
Bru. You have done that you should be There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats; For I am arm'd so strong in honesty, That they pass by me as the idle wind Which I respect not. I did send to you For certain sums of gold, which you denied me; For I can raise no money by vile means: By Heaven, I had rather coin my heart, And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash, By any indirection. I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions, [Cassius?
Which you denied me: was that done like
Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
Cas, I did not ;-he was but a fool That brought my answer back.-Brutus hath riv'd my heart:
A friend should bear a friend's infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius, [come,
For Cassius is a-weary of the world:
Hated by one he loves; brav'd by his brother;
Check'd like a bondinan; all his faults observ'd,
Set in a note-book, learn'd, and conn'd by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes!-There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast ;-within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold:
If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth;
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
Strike, as thou didst at Cæsar; for, I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov'dst
Than ever thou lov'dst Cassius.
Bru. Sheath your dagger:
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
Do what you will, dishonor shall be humor.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Who much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
Cas. Hath Cassius liv'd
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus, When grief, and blood ill-temper'd, vexeth him? [too.
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Bru. And my heart too.
Cas. O Brutus !
Bru. What is the matter?
Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with When that rash humor, which my mother
In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius. [Drinks.
Cas. Myheart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'erswell the cup;
I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love.
Opportunity to be seized on all Affairs.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
The Parting of Brutus and Cassius. Bru. No, Cassius, no; think not, thou noble Roman,
That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome;
He bears too great a mind. But this same day
Must end that work the ides of March began:
And whether we shall meet again, I know not.
Therefore our everlasting farewell take :-
For ever, and for ever, farewell, Cassius!
If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;
If not, why then this parting was well made.
Cas. For ever, and for ever, farewell, Brutus!
If we do meet again, we'll smile indeed;
If not, 'tis true, this parting was well made.
Bru. Why then, lead on.-O, that a man
The end of this day's business ere it come!
But it sufficeth, that the day will end,
And then the end is known.
Melancholy the Parent of Error.
O, hateful error, melancholy's child!
Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not? O error, soon conceiv'd,
Thou never com'st unto a happy birth,
But kill'st the mother that engender'd thee.
Antony's Character of Brutus.
This was the noblest Roman of them all : All the conspirators, save only he, Did that they did, in envy of great Cæsar; He, only, in a general honest thought, And common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle; and the elements
So mixt in him, that nature might stand up, And say to all the world, "This was a man!"
§ 28. KING LEAR. SHAKSPEARE.
An alienated Child.
LET it be so-thy truth then be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun;
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operations of the orbs,
From whom we do exist, and cease to be:
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barb'rous
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd, As thou, my sometime daughter.
Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound; wherefore should 1
Stand in the plague of custom; and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me, [shines
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-
Lag of a brother? Why bastard! Wherefore
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as gen'rous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake?
A Father cursing his Child.
Hear, Nature, hear;
Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if
Thou didst intend tomake this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honor her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
Ingratitude in a Child.
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster!
That such a slave as this should wear a sword, Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,
Like rats, oft bite the holy cords in twain Which are too intrinse t'unloose: smooth ev'ry passion,
That in the nature of their lords rebels:
Bring oil to fire, snow to their colder moods.
Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With ev'ry gale and vary of their masters;
As knowing nought, like dogs, but following.
Plain, blunt Men.
-This is some fellow, [affect
Who, having been prais'd for bluntness, doth
A saucy roughness; and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature: He cannot flatter, he!—
An honest mind and plain-he must speak truth:
An they will take it, so: if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this
Harbor more craft, and more corrupter ends,
Than twenty silly ducking observants,
That stretch their duties nicely.
Description of Bedlam Beggars.
While I may scape,
I will reserve myself: and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape,
That ever penury, in contempt of man, [filth;
Brought near to beast: my face I'll grime with
Blanket my loins; elf all my hair in knots;
And with presented nakedness out-face
The winds and persecutions of the sky.
The country gives me proof and precedent
Of Bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Strike in their numb'd and mortified bare arms,
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary,
And with this horrible object, from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with
I pr'ythee, daughter, do not make me mad; I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell: We'll no more meet, no more see one another. But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughOr, rather, a disease that's in my flesh, [ter, Which I must needs call mine; thou art a bile, A plague-sore, an imbossed carbuncle, In my corrupted blood; but I'll not chide thee; Let shame come when it will, I do not call it; I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot, Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove. The Necessaries of Life few.
O, reason not the need: our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous: Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man's life is cheap as beast's.
Lear on the Ingratitude of his Daughters. You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age; wretched in both! If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts Against their father, fool me not so much To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger! O let not women's weapons, water-drops, Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnat'ral hags, I will have such revenges on you both, That all the world shall-I will do such things
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall
The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep; No, I'll not weep:
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, Or e'er I weep. O fool, I shall go mad.
O, Sir, to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure, Must be their schoolmasters.
Description of Lear's Distress amidst the Storm. Kent. Where's the king?
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Gent. Contending with the fretful element;
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change, or cease: tears his
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of:
Strive in his little world of man to out-scorn
The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would
The lion, and the belly-pinched wolf [couch,
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.
Lear's passionate Exclamation amidst the
Blow, wind! and crack your cheeks! rage! You cataracts, and hurricanoes, spout [blow! Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!
Rumble thy belly-full! spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness,
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription. Why then let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man :-
That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
But yet I call you servile ministers,
Your high-engender'd battles, 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!
Kent. Alas, Sir! are you here? Things that
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark, [man,
And make them keep their caves: since I was
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never
Remember to have heard: man's nature can-
The affliction nor the fear.
Lear. Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou
That hast within thee undivulged crimes, Unwhipp'd-of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjur'd, and thou simular man of virtue, That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake, That under covert and convenient seeming Hast practis'd on man's life! Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
So distribution should undo exoess,
And each man have enough.
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.
Kent. Alack, bare-headed!
Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel;
Patience und Sorrow. Patience and sorrow strove
Some friendship will it fend you 'gainst the Which should express her goodliest. You have
Sun-shine and rain at once; her smiles and tears Lear. Thou think'st 'tis much, that this Were like a better day: those happy smiles,
Invades us to the skin: so 'tis to thee;
But where the greater malady is fix'd,
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou'dst shun a bear;
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea,
Thou'dst meet the bear i' the mouth. When
the mind's free,
The body's delicate; the tempest
Doth from my senses take all feeling else,
Save what beats there.-Filial ingratitude!
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand,
For lifting food to 't?-But I'll punish home.
No, I will weep no more.-In such a night
To shut me out!-Pour on; I will endure:
In such a night as this !-O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that--
Kent. Good my lord, enter here.
Lear. Pr'ythee, go in thyself; seek thine
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more-but I'll go in.
In, boy; go first. You houseless poverty--
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend
From seasons such as these?, I have ta'en
Too little care of this!-Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel!
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
Enter Edgar disguised like a Madman. Lear. Hast thou given all to thy two daugh[ters?
And art thou come to this?
Didst thou give them all?
Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults, light on thy
Kent. He hath no daughters, Sir,
Lear. Death, traitor! nothing could have
To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh? Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot Those pelican daughters.
The Justice of Providence.
That I am wretched, [still; Makes thee the happier :-heavens, deal so Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man, That slaves your ordinance, that will not see Because he does not feel, feel your pow'r quickly;
That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes; which parted
As pearls from diamonds dropp'd.-In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most belov'd, if all
Could so become it.
Description of Lear distracted.
Alack, 'tis he! why, he was met even now As mad as the vex'd sea; singing aloud ; Crown'd with rank fumiter, and furrow weeds, With harlocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn.
Description of Dover Cliff.
Come on, Sir; here's the place:-stand still-how fearful
And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low! [air, The crows and choughs, that wing the midway Show scarce so gross as beetles: half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! Methinks he seems no bigger than his head: The fishermen, that walk upon the beach, Appear like mice; and yon tall anchoring bark Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy Almost too small for sight: the murmuring
That on th' unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high: I'll look no more, Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight Topple down headlong.
Glo'ster's Farewell to the World. O you mighty gods! This world I do renounce; and in your sights, Shake patiently my great affliction off: If I could bear it longer, and not fall
To quarrel with your great opposeless wills, My snuff, and loathed part of nature, should Burn itself out. If Edgar live, O bless him! On the Abuse of Power.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand: Why dost thou lash that whore? strip thine
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks: Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it. None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the pow'r
To seal th' accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.