Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shakespeare 15

Brutus and Caesar's Ghost, illustration to 'Julius Caesar' IV, iii by William Blake

Act IV, Scene 3
Brutus’s tent.

Julius Caesar

Hamlet and Julius Caesar

Around 1599, Shakespeare took a sudden departure from writing comedies to focus on the darker themes of moral ambiguity and corruption, both of the state and the individual. The result was two of his finest works, Hamlet and Julius Caesar, which share many common elements. Both plays revolve around the grave ramifications of "the cease of majesty." Both Hamlet's father and Caesar return as spirits to demand revenge. Both tragic heroes, Hamlet and Brutus, are philosophical men with high moral ideals who are forced out of their element and into action, but fail to act appropriately; Hamlet due to irresolution and Brutus to self-delusion. One could find many more parallels. Interestingly, Shakespeare alludes to Julius Caesar twice in Hamlet, in 1.1:
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets. (113-116)

  • CassiusThat you have wrong'd me doth appear in this:
    You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella 1980
    For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
    Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
    Because I knew the man, were slighted off.
  • BrutusYou wronged yourself to write in such a case.
  • CassiusIn such a time as this it is not meet 1985
    That every nice offence should bear his comment.
  • BrutusLet 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.1990
  • CassiusI an itching palm!
    You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
    Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
  • BrutusThe name of Cassius honours this corruption,
    And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.1995
  • BrutusRemember March, the ides of March remember:
    Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
    What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
    And not for justice? What, shall one of us 2000
    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 honours
    For so much trash as may be grasped thus? 2005
    I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
    Than such a Roman.
  • CassiusBrutus, bay not me;
    I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
    To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I, 2010
    Older in practise, abler than yourself
    To make conditions.
  • BrutusGo to; you are not, Cassius.
  • BrutusI say you are not.2015
  • CassiusUrge me no more, I shall forget myself;
    Have mind upon your health, tempt me no further.
  • BrutusHear me, for I will speak. 2020
    Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
    Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
  • CassiusO ye gods, ye gods! must I endure all this?
  • BrutusAll this! ay, more: fret till your proud heart break;
    Go show your slaves how choleric you are, 2025
    And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
    Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch
    Under your testy humour? By the gods
    You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
    Though it do split you; for, from this day forth, 2030
    I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
    When you are waspish.
  • BrutusYou say you are a better soldier:
    Let it appear so; make your vaunting true, 2035
    And it shall please me well: for mine own part,
    I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
  • CassiusYou wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus;
    I said, an elder soldier, not a better:
    Did I say 'better'?2040
  • BrutusIf you did, I care not.
  • CassiusWhen Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
  • BrutusPeace, peace! you durst not so have tempted him.
  • CassiusWhat, durst not tempt him!
  • BrutusFor your life you durst not!
  • CassiusDo not presume too much upon my love;
    I may do that I shall be sorry for.
  • BrutusYou have done that you should be sorry for. 2050
    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: 2055
    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 2060
    To you for gold to pay my legions,
    Which you denied me: was that done like Cassius?
    Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so?
    When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
    To lock such rascal counters from his friends, 2065
    Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts;
    Dash him to pieces!
  • CassiusI did not: he was but a fool that brought 2070
    My answer back. Brutus hath rived my heart:
    A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
    But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
  • BrutusI do not, till you practise them on me.
  • BrutusI do not like your faults.
  • CassiusA friendly eye could never see such faults.
  • BrutusA flatterer's would not, though they do appear
    As huge as high Olympus.
  • CassiusCome, Antony, and young Octavius, come, 2080
    Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
    For Cassius is aweary of the world;
    Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother;
    Cheque'd like a bondman; all his faults observed,
    Set in a note-book, learn'd, and conn'd by rote, 2085
    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; 2090
    I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
    Strike, as thou didst at Caesar; for, I know,
    When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
    Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
  • BrutusSheathe your dagger: 2095
    Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
    Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour.
    O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb
    That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
    Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark, 2100
    And straight is cold again.
  • CassiusHath Cassius lived
    To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
    When grief, and blood ill-temper'd, vexeth him?
  • BrutusWhen I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too.2105
  • CassiusDo you confess so much? Give me your hand.
  • CassiusHave not you love enough to bear with me, 2110
    When that rash humour which my mother gave me
    Makes me forgetful?
  • BrutusYes, Cassius; and, from henceforth,
    When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
    He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.2115
  • Poet[Within] Let me go in to see the generals;
    There is some grudge between 'em, 'tis not meet
    They be alone.
  • Lucilius[Within] You shall not come to them.
  • Poet[Within] Nothing but death shall stay me.2120
Enter Poet, followed by LUCILIUS, Tintinius, and LUCIUS
  • CassiusHow now! what's the matter?
  • PoetFor shame, you generals! what do you mean?
    Love, and be friends, as two such men should be;
    For I have seen more years, I'm sure, than ye.2125
  • CassiusHa, ha! how vilely doth this cynic rhyme!
  • BrutusGet you hence, sirrah; saucy fellow, hence!
  • CassiusBear with him, Brutus; 'tis his fashion.
  • BrutusI'll know his humour, when he knows his time:
    What should the wars do with these jigging fools? 2130
    Companion, hence!
Exit Poet
  • BrutusLucilius and Tintinius, bid the commanders
    Prepare to lodge their companies to-night.2135
  • CassiusAnd come yourselves, and bring Messala with you
    Immediately to us.
Exeunt LUCILIUS and Tintinius
  • BrutusLucius, a bowl of wine!
  • CassiusI did not think you could have been so angry.
  • BrutusO Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.
  • CassiusOf your philosophy you make no use,
    If you give place to accidental evils.
  • BrutusNo man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead.2145
  • CassiusHow 'scaped I killing when I cross'd you so?
    O insupportable and touching loss!
    Upon what sickness?2150
  • BrutusImpatient of my absence,
    And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
    Have made themselves so strong:—for with her death
    That tidings came;—with this she fell distract,
    And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.2155
Re-enter LUCIUS, with wine and taper
  • BrutusSpeak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine. 2160
    In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.
  • CassiusMy heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
    Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'erswell the cup;
    I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love.
  • BrutusCome in, Tintinius! 2165
    [Exit LUCIUS]
    [Re-enter Tintinius, with MESSALA]
    Welcome, good Messala.
    Now sit we close about this taper here,
    And call in question our necessities.2170
  • BrutusNo more, I pray you.
    Messala, I have here received letters,
    That young Octavius and Mark Antony
    Come down upon us with a mighty power, 2175
    Bending their expedition toward Philippi.
  • MessalaMyself have letters of the selfsame tenor.
  • BrutusWith what addition?
  • MessalaThat by proscription and bills of outlawry,
    Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus, 2180
    Have put to death an hundred senators.
  • BrutusTherein our letters do not well agree;
    Mine speak of seventy senators that died
    By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
  • MessalaCicero is dead,
    And by that order of proscription.
    Had you your letters from your wife, my lord?
  • MessalaNor nothing in your letters writ of her?2190
  • MessalaThat, methinks, is strange.
  • BrutusWhy ask you? hear you aught of her in yours?
  • BrutusNow, as you are a Roman, tell me true.2195
  • MessalaThen like a Roman bear the truth I tell:
    For certain she is dead, and by strange manner.
  • BrutusWhy, farewell, Portia. We must die, Messala:
    With meditating that she must die once,
    I have the patience to endure it now.2200
  • MessalaEven so great men great losses should endure.
  • CassiusI have as much of this in art as you,
    But yet my nature could not bear it so.
  • BrutusWell, to our work alive. What do you think
    Of marching to Philippi presently?2205
  • CassiusI do not think it good.
  • CassiusThis it is:
    'Tis better that the enemy seek us:
    So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers, 2210
    Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still,
    Are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
  • BrutusGood reasons must, of force, give place to better.
    The people 'twixt Philippi and this ground
    Do stand but in a forced affection; 2215
    For they have grudged us contribution:
    The enemy, marching along by them,
    By them shall make a fuller number up,
    Come on refresh'd, new-added, and encouraged;
    From which advantage shall we cut him off, 2220
    If at Philippi we do face him there,
    These people at our back.
  • BrutusUnder your pardon. You must note beside,
    That we have tried the utmost of our friends, 2225
    Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:
    The enemy increaseth every day;
    We, at the height, are ready to decline.
    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; 2230
    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.2235
  • CassiusThen, with your will, go on;
    We'll along ourselves, and meet them at Philippi.
  • BrutusThe deep of night is crept upon our talk,
    And nature must obey necessity;
    Which we will niggard with a little rest. 2240
    There is no more to say?
  • CassiusNo more. Good night:
    Early to-morrow will we rise, and hence.
  • BrutusLucius!
    [Enter LUCIUS] 2245
    My gown.
    [Exit LUCIUS]
    Farewell, good Messala:
    Good night, Tintinius. Noble, noble Cassius,
    Good night, and good repose.2250
  • CassiusO my dear brother!
    This was an ill beginning of the night:
    Never come such division 'tween our souls!
    Let it not, Brutus.
  • BrutusEvery thing is well.2255
  • BrutusGood night, good brother.
  • Tintinius[with MESSALA] Good night, Lord Brutus.
  • BrutusFarewell, every one.
    [Exeunt all but BRUTUS] 2260
    [Re-enter LUCIUS, with the gown]
    Give me the gown. Where is thy instrument?
  • BrutusWhat, thou speak'st drowsily?
    Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o'er-watch'd. 2265
    Call Claudius and some other of my men:
    I'll have them sleep on cushions in my tent.
  • LuciusVarro and Claudius!
  • VarroCalls my lord?2270
  • BrutusI pray you, sirs, lie in my tent and sleep;
    It may be I shall raise you by and by
    On business to my brother Cassius.
  • VarroSo please you, we will stand and watch your pleasure.
  • BrutusI will not have it so: lie down, good sirs; 2275
    It may be I shall otherwise bethink me.
    Look, Lucius, here's the book I sought for so;
    I put it in the pocket of my gown.
VARRO and CLAUDIUS lie down
  • LuciusI was sure your lordship did not give it me.2280
  • BrutusBear with me, good boy, I am much forgetful.
    Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile,
    And touch thy instrument a strain or two?
  • LuciusAy, my lord, an't please you.
  • BrutusIt does, my boy: 2285
    I trouble thee too much, but thou art willing.
  • LuciusIt is my duty, sir.
  • BrutusI should not urge thy duty past thy might;
    I know young bloods look for a time of rest.
  • LuciusI have slept, my lord, already.2290
  • BrutusIt was well done; and thou shalt sleep again;
    I will not hold thee long: if I do live,
    I will be good to thee.
    [Music, and a song]
    This is a sleepy tune. O murderous slumber, 2295
    Lay'st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy,
    That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night;
    I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee:
    If thou dost nod, thou break'st thy instrument;
    I'll take it from thee; and, good boy, good night. 2300
    Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down
    Where I left reading? Here it is, I think.
    [Enter the Ghost of CAESAR]
    How ill this taper burns! Ha! who comes here?
    I think it is the weakness of mine eyes 2305
    That shapes this monstrous apparition.
    It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
    Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
    That makest my blood cold and my hair to stare?
    Speak to me what thou art.2310
  • CaesarThy evil spirit, Brutus.
  • CaesarTo tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi.
  • BrutusWell; then I shall see thee again?
  • CaesarAy, at Philippi.2315
  • BrutusWhy, I will see thee at Philippi, then.
    [Exit Ghost]
    Now I have taken heart thou vanishest:
    Ill spirit, I would hold more talk with thee.
    Boy, Lucius! Varro! Claudius! Sirs, awake! Claudius!2320
  • LuciusThe strings, my lord, are false.
  • BrutusHe thinks he still is at his instrument.
    Lucius, awake!
  • BrutusDidst thou dream, Lucius, that thou so criedst out?2325
  • LuciusMy lord, I do not know that I did cry.
  • BrutusYes, that thou didst: didst thou see any thing?
  • BrutusSleep again, Lucius. Sirrah Claudius!
    [To VARRO] 2330
    Fellow thou, awake!
  • BrutusWhy did you so cry out, sirs, in your sleep?
  • Varro[with Claudius] Did we, my lord?2335
  • BrutusAy: saw you any thing?
  • VarroNo, my lord, I saw nothing.
  • BrutusGo and commend me to my brother Cassius;
    Bid him set on his powers betimes before, 2340
    And we will follow.
  • Varro[with Claudius] It shall be done, my lord.

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