Caesar's house in Rome
[Enter Caesar in his nightgown.]
[Enter a servant.]
- Heaven and earth have not been at peace tonight.
Three times Calpurnia has cried out in her sleep,
"Help! They are murdering Caesar!" Who's there?
- My lord?
- Go and ask the priests to make a sacrifice right away,
Then come and tell me the results.
- I will, my lord.
[Enter Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, alarmed.]
- What are you doing, Caesar? Are you planning to go out?
You are not going to set foot out of the house today.
- Caesar shall go forth. The things that have threatened me
Have never looked at anything but my back. When they see
The face of Caesar, they will vanish.
- Caesar, I have never believed in omens,
But now they frighten me. There is a man inside,
Who tells of horrible sights seen by the watch,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen.
A lioness has given birth in the streets,
And graves have opened and given up their dead.
Fierce fiery warriors fought in the clouds
In ranks and squadrons and proper military formation,
Which rained blood on the Capitol.
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses neighed, and dying men groaned,
And ghosts shrieked and squeaked through the streets.
O Caesar, these things are not like anything we are used to,
And I am afraid of them!
- How can anyone avoid
Something that is planned by the mighty gods?
But Caesar will go forth, since these predictions
Apply to the world in general, not just to Caesar.
- When beggars die no one sees comets;
The heavens themselves proclaim with meteors and comets the death of princes.
- Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant taste death only once.
Of all the strange things I have heard so far,
It seems to me the most strange that men are afraid,
Since death, the unavoidable end,
Will come when it will come.
- What do the fortune tellers say?
- They don't want you to go out today.
Pulling the insides of an offering out,
They could not find a heart inside the animal.
- The gods do this in order to shame cowardice.
Caesar will be a beast without a heart
If he stays home today because of fear.
No, Caesar will not. Danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he is.
We are two lions born at the same time,
And I am the oldest and most frightening of the two,
And Caesar will go forth.
- Alas, my lord!
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth today. Say that it is my fear
That keeps you in the house and not your own.
We'll send Mark Antony to the Senate House,
And he will say that you are not well today.
Let me on my knee have this request.
- Mark Antony will say I am not well,
And because of your mood I will stay at home.
[Enter Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus, Casca, Trebonius, Cinna, and Publius.]
- Here's Decius Brutus. He will take the message.
- Caesar, all hail! Good morning, worthy Caesar!
I have come to bring you to the Senate House.
- And you have come at the right time
To take my greetings to the senators
And tell them that I will not come today.
Cannot is a lie; and that I am afraid to is a bigger lie.
I will not come today. Tell them that, Decius.
- Say that he is sick.
- Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I stretched my arm so far in conquest
And now I'm afraid to tell old men the truth?
Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.
- Most mighty Caesar, tell me some reason,
Or else I will be laughed at when I tell them this.
- The reason is in my will; I will not come.
That is enough to satisfy the Senate;
But for your own peace of mind,
Because I am your friend, I will let you know.
Calpurnia here, my wife, keeps me at home.
She dreamed tonight that she saw my statue,
Which, like a fountain with a hundred spouts,
Poured out pure blood, and many vigorous Romans
Came smiling and washed their hands in it.
And she interprets these as warnings and signs
Of evils to come, and on her knee
She begged that I would stay at home today.
- This dream is interpreted all wrong;
It was a positive and fortunate vision.
Your statue spouting blood from many pipes
Means that great Rome will suck
Life-giving blood from you, and that great men will come to you
For honors and souvenirs to remember you by.
This is what Calpurnia's dream means.
- And you have explained it well.
- I have, when you hear what I have to say.
You should know that the Senate has decided
To give a crown to mighty Caesar today.
If you send a message that you will not come,
Their minds might change. Besides, it's likely
That someone will make a sarcastic comment and say,
"Break up the Senate until another day,
When Caesar's wife will have better dreams."
If Caesar hides himself, won't they whisper,
"Look, Caesar is afraid"?
Pardon me, Caesar, for my sincere interest
In your career makes me tell you this,
And my judgment is overcome by my friendship for you.
- Now your fears seem foolish, Calpurnia!
I am ashamed that I gave in to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go.
- And look, Publius has come to get me.
- Good morning, Caesar.
- Welcome, Publius.
Brutus, are you up so early too?
Good morning, Casca. Caius Ligarius,
Caesar was never as much your enemy
As the sickness which made you lean.
What time is it?
- Caesar, it has struck eight.
- I thank you all for your trouble and courtesy.
- See! Antony, who parties late into the night,
Is up early despite that. Good morning, Antony.
- And to you, most noble Caesar.
- Ask them to set out refreshments inside.
It is my fault that everyone is waiting for me.
Now, Cinna, now, Metellus. What, Trebonius!
I have an hour's talk waiting for you;
Remember that you call on me today;
Stay close to me, so that I will remember you.
- Caesar, I will. [Aside.] And I will be so close
That your best friends will wish that I had been further away.
- Good friends, go in and have some wine with me,
And we (like friends) will go together right away.
- [Aside.] That everyone who seems to be a friend is not necessarily one, O Caesar,
The heart of Brutus grieves to think about.