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Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods.
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now, that talked of Rome,
That her wide walls encompassed but one man?
Oh! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once, that would have brook'd
Th' infernal devil, to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.
XXI.-Brutus' Harangue on the Death of Cæsar.
ROMANS, Countrymen, and Lovers!-Hear me for my cause; and be silent that you may hear. Believe me for mine honour; and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.-If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him, I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If, then, that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all freemen? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him. There are tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honour for his valour, and death for his ambition.-Who's here so base that would be a bondman? if any, speak; for him I have offended. Who's here so rude, that would not be a Roman? if any, speak; for him I have offended. Who's here so vile, that will not love his country? if any, speak; for him I have offended.-I pause for a reply
None! Then none have I offended.-I have done no more to Cæsar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourn'd by Mark Antony; who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; as which of you shall not ?-With this I depart-that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
XXII.-Antony's Oration over Casar's Body
FRIENDS, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do, lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones:
Sc let it be with Cæsar! Noble Brutus
Hath told you, Cæsar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Cæsar answer'd it,
Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honourable man,
So are they all, all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral.-
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see, that, on the Lupercal,
I thrice presented him a kingly crown;
Which he did thrice refuse: Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke ;
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once; not without cause;
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar;
And I must pause till it come back to nic.
But yesterday the word, Cæsar, might
Have stood against the world! Now lies he there
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O Masters! If I were dispos'd to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong;
Who, you all know, are honourable men.
I will not do them wrong-I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable 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 Cmsar's wounde
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.-
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
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!
This, this was the unkindest cut of all!
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquished him! Then burst his mighty heart,
And in his mantle muffling up his face,
E'en 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.
Kind souls! What, weep you when you behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded? Look ye here !—
Here is himself-marr'd, as you see, by traitors.
Good friends! Sweet friends! Let me not stir you up To any sudden flood of mutiny!
They that have done this deed are honourable !
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it! They are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reason 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 well,
That gave me public leave to speak of him!
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor 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 every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
XXIII.-Falstaff's Soliloquy on Honour.
OWE heaven a death! 'Tis not due yet; and I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter— honour pricks me on. But how, if honour pricks me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No; or an arm? No; or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that word honour? Air; a trim reckoning. Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore, I'll none of it. Honour is a mere 'scutcheon--and so ends my catechism.
XXIV. Part of Richard III's Soliloquy, the night preceding the Battle of Bosworth.
"TIS now the dead of night, and half the world
Is with a lonely solemn darkness hung;
Yet I (so coy a dame is sleep to me)
With all the weary courtship of
My care-tir'd thoughts, can't win her to my bed,
Though e'en the stars do wink, as 'twere, with overwatching.
I'll forth, and walk awhile. The air's refreshing,
And the ripe harvest of the new-mown hay
Gives it a sweet and wholesome odour.
How awful is this gloom! And hark! from camp to camp
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch!
Steed threatens steed in high and boasting neighings,
Piercing the night's dull ear. Hark! From the tents
The armorers, accomplishing the knights,
With clink of hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation: while some,
Like sacrifices, by their fires of watch,
With patience sit, and inly ruminate
The morning's danger. By yon Heaven, my stern
Impatience chides this tardy-gaited night,
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, does limp
So tediously away. I'll to my couch,
And once more try to sleep her into morning,
XXV.-The World compared to a Stage
ALL the world's a stage;
And all the men and women, merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man, in his time, plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the Infant;
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining School-boy; with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping, like a snail,
Unwillingly to school. And then the Lover;
Sighing like furnace; with a woful ballad
Made to his Mistress' eyebrow. Then a Soldier;
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard;
Jealous in honour: sudden and quick in quarrel;
Seeking the bubble reputation,
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the Justice;
In fair round belly, with good capon lin'd;
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut;
Full of wise saws and modern instances:
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon;
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second Childishness, and mere Oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.