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Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,3
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,
Cæsar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,4
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds :5
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
their servants to an act of rage,



And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious :
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.


Yet I do fear him :6

For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,

Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:

If he love Cæsar, all that he can do

Is to himself; take thought and die for Cæsar:

30, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit, &c.] Lord Sterline has the same thought: Brutus remonstrating against the taking off Antony, says:


"Ah! ah! we must but too much murder see,

"That without doing evil cannot do good;

"And would the gods that Rome could be made free,

"Without the effusion of one drop of blood?' Malone.

as a dish fit for the gods, &c.]

66- Gradive, dedisti,

"Ne qua manus vatem, ne quid mortalia bello

"Lædere tela queant, sanctum et venerabile Diti

"Funus erat." Stat. Theb. VII, 1. 696. Steevens.

Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds:] Our author had probably the following passage in the old translation of Plutarch in his thoughts: " Cæsar turned himselfe no where but he was stricken at by some, and still had naked swords in his face, and was hacked and mangled among them as a wild beast taken of hunters." Malone. 6 Yet I do fear him:] For the sake of metre I have supplied the auxiliary verb. So, in Macbeth:



There is none but him

"Whose being I do fear."


Take thought,] That is, turn melancholy. Johnson.

And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.8

Treb. There is no fear in him; let him not die;

For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter. [Clock strikes. Bru. Peace, count the clock.


Treb. 'Tis time to part.

The clock hath stricken three..

But it is doubtful yet,

Whe'r Cæsar9 will come forth to-day, or no :
For he is superstitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies :1

So, in Antony and Cleopatra ·

"What shall we do, Enobarbus ?

"Think and die."

Again, in Holinshed, p. 833: ". -now they are without service, which caused them to take thought, insomuch that some died by the way," &c. Steevens.

The precise meaning of take thought may be learned from the following passage in St. Matthew, where the verb spruvaw, which signifies to anticipate, or forbode evil, is so rendered: "Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."-Cassius not only refers to, but thus explains, the phrase in question, when, in answer to the assertion of Brutus concerning Antony, Act III:

"I know that we shall have him well to friend."

he replies:

"I wish we may: but yet I have a mind

"That fears him much; and my misgiving still
"Falls shrewdly to the purpose."

To take thought then, in this instance, is not to turn melancholy, whatever think may be in Antony and Cleopatra. Henley.

See Vol. III, p. 226, n. 7. Malone.

company.] Company is here used in a disreputable sense. See a note on the word companion, Act IV. Henley.

9 Whe'r Casar &c.] Whe'r is the ancient abbreviation of whether which likewise is sometimes written-where. Thus in Turberville's translation of Ovid's Epistle from Penelope to Ulysses:

"But Sparta cannot make account

"Where thou do live or die." Steevens.

1 Quite from the main opinion he held once

Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies:] Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fixed, predominant opinion. Johnson.

Main opinion, according to Johnson's explanation is sense; but mean opinion would be a more natural expression, and is, I believe, what Shakspeare wrote. M. Mason.

The words main opinion occur again in Troilus and Gressida, where (as here) they signify general estimation :

It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
Dec. Never fear that: If he be so resolv'd,
I can o'ersway him: for he loves to hear,
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,2

"Why then we should our main opinion crush
"In taint of our best man

There is no ground therefore for suspecting any corruption in the text. Malone.

Fantasy was in our author's time commonly used for imagination, and is so explained in Cawdry's Alphabetical Table of hard Words, 8vo. 1604 It signified both the imaginative power, and the thing imagined. It is used in the former sense by Shakspeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor:

"Raise up the organs of her fantasy."

In the latter, in the present play:

"Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies.”

Ceremonies means omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites. So, afterwards:

"Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,
"Yet now they fright me." Malone.

2 That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,

And bears with glasses, elephants with holes.] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter.

So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II, ch. v:

"Like as a lyon whose imperiall powre
"A prowd rebellious unicorne defies;

"T'avoid the rash assault and wrathfull stowre
"Of his fiers foe, him to a tree applies:

"And when him running in full course he spies,

"He slips aside; the whiles the furious beast

"His precious horne, sought of his enemies,
"Strikes in the stocke, ne thence can be releast,
"But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast."

Again, in Bussy D'Ambois, 1607 :

"An angry unicorne in his full career


Charge with too swift a foot a jeweller

"That watch'd him for the treasure of his brow,

"And e'er he could get shelter of a tree,

"Nail him with his rich antler to the earth."

Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of

Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But, when I tell him, he hates flatterers,
He says, he does; being then most flattered.
Let me work :3

For I can give his humour the true bent;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

Cas. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
Bru. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermost?
Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then.
Met. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard,4
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
I wonder, none of you have thought of him.

Bru. Now, good Metellus, go along by him :5
He loves me well, and I have given him reasons;
Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.

Cas. The morning comes upon us: We'll leave you, Brutus::

And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember What you have said, and show yourselves true Romans. Bru. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily;

Let not our looks put on our purposes;

But bear it as our Roman actors do,

With untir'd spirits, and formal constancy:

taking the surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them, was exposed. See Pliny's Natural History, B. VIII. Steevens.

3 Let me work:] These words, as they stand, being quite unmetrical, I suppose our author to have originally written:

Let me to work.

i. e. go to work.



Bear Cæsar hard,] Thus the old copy, but Messieurs Rowe, Pope, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, on the authority of the second and fatter folios, read-hatred, though the same expression appears again in the first scene of the following act: "I do beseech you, if you bear me hard," and has already occurred in a former one:

"Cæsar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus." Steevens. Hatred was substituted for hard by the ignorant editor of the second folio, the great corrupter of Shakspeare's text. Malone.

5 by him:] That is, by his house. Make that your way home. Mr. Pope substituted to for by, and all the subsequent editors have adopted this unnecessary change. Malone.

6 Let not our looks-] Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs. Johnson.

And so, good-morrow to you every one.

[Exeunt all but BRU Boy! Lucius!-Fast asleep? It is no matter; Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber: Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies, Which busy care draws in the brains of men; Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.



Brutus, my lord! Bru. Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rise you now? It is not for your health, thus to commit

Your weak condition to the raw-cold morning.

Por. Nor for yours neither. You have ungently, Brutus, Stole from my bed: And yesternight, at supper,

You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
Musing, and sighing, with your arms across :
And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
You star'd upon me with ungentle looks:

I urg'd you further; then you scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot:
Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd not;

But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you: So I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience,
Which seem'd too much enkindled; and, withal,
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,

Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
And, could it work so much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,8
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
me acquainted with your cause of grief.
Bru. I am not well in health, and that is all.
Por. Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health,
He would embrace the means to come by it.
Bru. Why, so I do :-Good Portia, go to bed.
Por. Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
To walk unbraced, and suck up the humours

1 Thou hast no figures, &c.] Figures occurs in the same sense in

The First Part of King Henry IV, Act I, sc. iii:


"He apprehends a world of figures." Henley.

on your condition,] On your temper; the disposition of your mind. See Vol. IX, p. 374, n. 9.


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