Julius Caesar


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Thunder and lightning

Enter Casca and Cicero, meeting


CICERO

Good even, Casca: brought you Caesar home?

Why are you breathless? and why stare you so?


CASCA

Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth
sway (n.) 1 power, dominion, rule

Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero,
unfirm (adj.) 1 weak, feeble, lacking in strength

I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
scolding (adj.) clamouring, brawling, chiding

Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen
rive (v.) 1 split, rend, cleave

Th' ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam,

To be exalted with the threatening clouds;
exalt (v.) lift up, upraise

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,
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant

Incenses them to send destruction.


CICERO

Why, saw you anything more wonderful?
wonderful (adj.) amazing, astonishing, extraordinary


CASCA

A common slave – you know him well by sight –

Held up his left hand, which did flame and burn

Like twenty torches joined; and yet his hand,

Not sensible of fire, remained unscorched.
sensible (adj.) 1 sensitive, responsive, capable of feeling

Besides – I ha'not since put up my sword –

Against the Capitol I met a lion,
against, 'gainst (prep.) 4 in front of, close to

Who glazed upon me, and went surly by,
glaze (v.) stare, glare, gaze
surly (adj.) 1 imperious, haughty, arrogant

Without annoying me. And there were drawn
annoy (v.) harm, molest, hurt, injure
draw (v.) 1 bring together, draw in, gather

Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women,
ghastly (adj.) 1 full of fear, frightened
heap (n.) company, host, multitude

Transformed with their fear, who swore they saw

Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets.

And yesterday the bird of night did sit,

Even at noon-day, upon the market-place,

Hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies
prodigy (n.) 1 omen, portent, sign

Do so conjointly meet, let not men say,
conjointly (adv.) together, in unison, in conjunction

‘These are their reasons, they are natural';

For I believe, they are portentous things
portentous (adj.) ominous, threatening, full of foreboding

Unto the climate that they point upon.
climate (n.) 1 region, country [without reference to climatic conditions]


CICERO

Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time:
strange-disposed (adj.) given over to unusual happenings

But men may construe things after their fashion,
construe (v.) 1 interpret, take, understand
fashion (n.) 1 manner, way, mode, appearance

Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
clean (adv.) totally, absolutely, utterly
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Comes Caesar to the Capitol tomorrow?


CASCA

He doth; for he did bid Antonius

Send word to you he would be there tomorrow.


CICERO

Good night then, Casca: this disturbed sky

Is not to walk in.


CASCA

                         Farewell, Cicero.

Exit Cicero

Enter Cassius


CASSIUS

Who's there?


CASCA

                         A Roman.


CASSIUS

                                                         Casca, by your voice.


CASCA

Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!


CASSIUS

A very pleasing night to honest men.


CASCA

Who ever knew the heavens menace so?


CASSIUS

Those that have known the earth so full of faults.
fault (n.) 3 failing, weakness

For my part, I have walked about the streets,

Submitting me unto the perilous night,

And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,
unbraced (adj.) unfastened, not laced up, loose

Have bared my bosom to the thunder-stone;
thunder-stone (n.) thunderbolt

And when the cross blue lightning seemed to open
cross (adj.) 2 forked, zigzag

The breast of heaven, I did present myself

Even in the aim and very flash of it.


CASCA

But wherefore did you so much tempt the heavens?
tempt (v.) 1 try, test, make trial of

It is the part of men to fear and tremble
part (n.) 4 action, conduct, behaviour

When the most mighty gods by tokens send
token (n.) 3 omen, portent, prodigy

Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
astonish, 'stonish (v.) 1 fill with wonder, amaze, astound


CASSIUS

You are dull, Casca, and those sparks of life
dull (adj.) 6 obtuse, stupid

That should be in a Roman you do want,
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Or else you use not. You look pale, and gaze,

And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder,
put on (v.) 3 show, manifest, exhibit
wonder (n.) 1 feeling of wonder, astonishment, marvelling

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,

Why birds and beasts from quality and kind,
kind (n.) 1 nature, reality, character, disposition
quality (n.) 1 nature, disposition, character

Why old men, fools, and children calculate,
calculate (v.) perform calculations, make estimates
fool (n.) 3 simpleton, born idiot, insane person

Why all these things change from their ordinance,
ordinance (n.) 1 appointed place in nature

Their natures, and pre-formed faculties,
faculty (n.) function, power, capability
pre-formed (adj.) previously formed, naturally endowed, innate

To monstrous quality, why, you shall find
monstrous (adj.) unnatural, outlandish, aberrant
quality (n.) 1 nature, disposition, character

That heaven hath infused them with these spirits

To make them instruments of fear and warning

Unto some monstrous state.
state (n.) 1 condition, circumstances, situation, state of affairs

Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man

Most like this dreadful night,

That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars

As doth the lion in the Capitol;

A man no mightier than thyself, or me,

In personal action, yet prodigious grown,
prodigious (adj.) 1 ominous, portentous, promising evil

And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
eruption (n.) 1 disturbance, outbreak of calamity, turbulence
fearful (adj.) 2 causing fear, awe-inspiring, terrifying, alarming


CASCA

'Tis Caesar that you mean; is it not, Cassius?


CASSIUS

Let it be who it is: for Romans now

Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors;
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with
thews (n.) muscles, sinews, bodily strength

But woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
while (n.) 2 times, age

And we are governed with our mothers' spirits:

Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
sufferance (n.) 2 endurance, forbearance, patience
yoke (n.) 1 servitude, state of subjection


CASCA

Indeed, they say the senators tomorrow

Mean to establish Caesar as a king;

And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,

In every place save here in Italy.


CASSIUS

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;
retentive (adj.) confining, constraining, imprisoning

But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
bar (n.) 1 obstruction, barrier, obstacle

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.

Thunder still
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]


CASCA

                         So can I;

So every bondman in his own hand bears
bondman (n.) bondsman, serf, slave

The power to cancel his captivity.
cancel (v.) end, terminate


CASSIUS

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.
hind (n.) 3 female deer

Those that with haste will make a mighty fire

Begin it with weak straws. What trash is Rome,
trash (n.) 1 rubbish, stuff, paraphernalia

What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
offal (n.) dross, waste, refuse
rubbish (n.) litter, debris, waste matter

For the base matter to illuminate
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count

So vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief,
vile, vild (adj.) 2 despicable, disgusting, abhorrent

Where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this

Before a willing bondman; then I know
bondman (n.) bondsman, serf, slave

My answer must be made. But I am armed,
answer (n.) 6 accountability, responsibility, liability, penalty

And dangers are to me indifferent.


CASCA

You speak to Casca, and to such a man

That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold, my hand;
fleering (adj.) sneering, jeering, scornfully laughing

Be factious for redress of all these griefs,
factious (adj.) 2 ready to form a faction
grief (n.) 1 grievance, complaint, hurt, injury

And I will set this foot of mine as far

As who goes farthest.


CASSIUS

                         There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have moved already

Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans

To undergo with me an enterprise
undergo (v.) 1 undertake, carry out, perform

Of honourable-dangerous consequence;

And I do know, by this they stay for me
stay for (v.) wait for, await
this, by by this time

In Pompey's Porch: for now, this fearful night,
fearful (adj.) 2 causing fear, awe-inspiring, terrifying, alarming

There is no stir or walking in the streets;
stir (n.) 1 acting, stirring, activity

And the complexion of the element
complexion (n.) 1 appearance, look, colouring
element (n.) 5 air, sky, heavens

In favour's like the work we have in hand,
favour (n.) 2 appearance, look, aspect

Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

Enter Cinna


CASCA

Stand close awhile, for here comes one in haste.
close (adj.) 1 secret, concealed, hidden


CASSIUS

'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait;
gait (n.) 1 manner of walking, bearing, movement

He is a friend. Cinna, where haste you so?


CINNA

To find out you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?
find out (v.) 1 discover, find, come upon


CASSIUS

No, it is Casca, one incorporate
incorporate (adj.) united in one body, combined in one entity

To our attempts. Am I not stayed for, Cinna?
attempt (n.) 1 exploit, undertaking, enterprise
stay for (v.) wait for, await


CINNA

I am glad on't. What a fearful night is this!

There's two or three of us have seen strange sights.


CASSIUS

Am I not stayed for? Tell me.


CINNA

                         Yes, you are.

O Cassius, if you could

But win the noble Brutus to our party –


CASSIUS

Be you content. Good Cinna, take this paper,
content (adj.) 3 satisfied, calm, easy in mind

And look you lay it in the praetor's chair,

Where Brutus may but find it; and throw this

In at his window; set this up with wax

Upon old Brutus' statue. All this done,

Repair to Pompey's Porch, where you shall find us.
repair (v.) 1 come, go, make one's way

Is Decius Brutus and Trebonius there?


CINNA

All but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone

To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie,
hie (v.) hasten, hurry, speed See Topics: Frequency count

And so bestow these papers as you bade me.
bestow (v.) 7 give out, distribute, deliver


CASSIUS

That done, repair to Pompey's Theatre.

Exit Cinna

Come, Casca, you and I will yet ere day

See Brutus at his house: three parts of him

Is ours already, and the man entire

Upon the next encounter yields him ours.
yield (v.) 10 render, make, cause to be


CASCA

O, he sits high in all the people's hearts;

And that which would appear offence in us,

His countenance, like richest alchemy,
countenance (n.) 4 favourable appearance, support

Will change to virtue and to worthiness.


CASSIUS

Him and his worth and our great need of him

You have right well conceited. Let us go,
conceit (v.) conceive an idea [of], think, imagine

For it is after midnight, and ere day

We will awake him, and be sure of him.

Exeunt

 
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