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Julius Caesar

by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 1



Rome. A street

Enter FLAVIUS, MURELLUS, a CARPENTER, a COBBLER, and certain other COMMONERS over the stage

Enter FLAVIUS, MURELLUS, a CARPENTER, a COBBLER, and certain other COMMONERS over the stage

FLAVIUS

Hence! Home, you idle creatures get you home!

Is this a holiday? What, know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

mechanical=tradesmen

Upon a laboring day without the sign

Of your profession?—Speak, what trade art thou?

 

FLAVIUS

Hence! Home, you idle creatures get you home!

Is this a holiday? What, know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

Upon a laboring day without the sign

Of your profession?—Speak, what trade art thou?

 

CARPENTER

Why, sir, a carpenter.

 

CARPENTER

Why, sir, a carpenter.

 

MURELLUS

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?

—You, sir, what trade are you?

 

MURELLUS

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?

—You, sir, what trade are you?

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, in respect of (compared to) a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler (mender of shoes but taken by Murellus asbungler”).

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.

 

MURELLUS

But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

 

MURELLUS

But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

 

COBBLER

A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience, which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles (taken by Murellus as souls).

 

COBBLER

A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience, which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

 

MURELLUS

What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

 

MURELLUS

What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

 

COBBLER

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out (“put out” and, also, “with worn-out shoes”) with me. Yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

 

COBBLER

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me. Yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

 

MURELLUS

What mean’st thou by that? “Mend” me, thou saucy fellow?

 

MURELLUS

What mean’st thou by that? “Mend” me, thou saucy fellow?

 

COBBLER

Why, sir, cobble you (both “fix your shoes” and “hit you with cobblestones”).

 

COBBLER

Why, sir, cobble you.

 

FLAVIUS

Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

 

FLAVIUS

Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl (tool for piercing leather). I meddle [since you screw or thrust with an awl] with no [other] tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal (yet, and, also, “with awl”) I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes. When they are in great danger (sick), I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s (cow’s) leather have gone upon my handiwork.

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I meddle with no tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes. When they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.

 

FLAVIUS

But wherefore (why) art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

 

FLAVIUS

But wherefore art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

 

MURELLUS

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

(Caesar has been fighting against fellow Romans)

What tributaries follow him to Rome

tributaries=captive princes

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

in captive bonds=in prisoners’ bonds

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,

O you hard hearts, you cručl men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

(Pompey was defeated by Caesar)

Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,

battlements=indented parapets on top of walls

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day with patient expectation

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome,

And, when you saw his chariot but appear,

but=just barely

Have you not made an universal shout

universal=all joining in

[so] That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

Tiber=river flowing through Rome

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

concave=curved like the inside of a circle

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

cull out=pick this as

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?

Pompey’s blood=Pompey’s descendents (sons, defeated by Caesar)

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

intermit=withhold

That needs must light on this ingratitude.

(that will come as punishment for your ingratitude)

 

MURELLUS

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,

O you hard hearts, you cručl men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day with patient expectation

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.

And when you saw his chariot but appear,

Have you not made an universal shout

That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

That needs must light on this ingratitude.

 

 

FLAVIUS

Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,

Assemble all the poor men of your sort,

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

(swells to its highest flood level)

 

FLAVIUS

Go, go, good countrymen, and for this fault,

Assemble all the poor men of your sort,

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

 

Exeunt CARPENTER, COBBLER, and all the other commoners

Exeunt CARPENTER, COBBLER, and all the other commoners

See whether their basest metal be not moved.

(note how even their base natures are affected)

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol.

Capitol=Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter

This way will I. Disrobe the images

(Caesar’s supporters had set up statues of him wearing a royal crown)

If you do find them decked with ceremonies.

ceremonies=flowers and wreaths

 

See whether their basest metal be not moved.

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol.

This way will I. Disrobe the images

If you do find them decked with ceremonies.

 

MURELLUS

May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

feast of Lupercal=a Roman festival

 

MURELLUS

May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

 

FLAVIUS

It is no matter. Let no images

Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll [go] about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets.

vulgar=common people

So do you, too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing

growing feathers=supporters who have abandoned Caesar

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

pitch=the highest point of a hawk’s flight

Who else would soar above the view of men

else=otherwise

And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

 

FLAVIUS

It is no matter. Let no images

Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets.

So do you too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

Who else would soar above the view of men

And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

 

Exeunt severally

Exeunt severally

 

Enter FLAVIUS, MURELLUS, a CARPENTER, a COBBLER, and certain other COMMONERS over the stage

Enter FLAVIUS, MURELLUS, a CARPENTER, a COBBLER, and certain other COMMONERS over the stage

FLAVIUS

Hence! Home, you idle creatures get you home!

Is this a holiday? What, know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

mechanical=tradesmen

Upon a laboring day without the sign

Of your profession?—Speak, what trade art thou?

 

FLAVIUS

Hence! Home, you idle creatures get you home!

Is this a holiday? What, know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

Upon a laboring day without the sign

Of your profession?—Speak, what trade art thou?

 

CARPENTER

Why, sir, a carpenter.

 

CARPENTER

Why, sir, a carpenter.

 

MURELLUS

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?

—You, sir, what trade are you?

 

MURELLUS

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?

—You, sir, what trade are you?

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, in respect of (compared to) a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler (mender of shoes but taken by Murellus asbungler”).

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.

 

MURELLUS

But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

 

MURELLUS

But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

 

COBBLER

A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience, which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles (taken by Murellus as souls).

 

COBBLER

A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience, which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

 

MURELLUS

What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

 

MURELLUS

What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

 

COBBLER

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out (“put out” and, also, “with worn-out shoes”) with me. Yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

 

COBBLER

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me. Yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

 

MURELLUS

What mean’st thou by that? “Mend” me, thou saucy fellow?

 

MURELLUS

What mean’st thou by that? “Mend” me, thou saucy fellow?

 

COBBLER

Why, sir, cobble you (both “fix your shoes” and “hit you with cobblestones”).

 

COBBLER

Why, sir, cobble you.

 

FLAVIUS

Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

 

FLAVIUS

Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl (tool for piercing leather). I meddle [since you screw or punch with an awl] with no [other] tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal (yet, and, also, “with awl”) I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes. When they are in great danger (sick), I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s (cow’s) leather have gone upon my handiwork.

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I meddle with no tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes. When they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.

 

FLAVIUS

But wherefore (why) art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

 

FLAVIUS

But wherefore art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

 

COBBLER

Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.

 

MURELLUS

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

(Caesar has been fighting against fellow Romans)

What tributaries follow him to Rome

tributaries=captive princes

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

in captive bonds=in prisoners’ bonds

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,

O you hard hearts, you cručl men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

(Pompey was defeated by Caesar)

Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,

battlements=indented parapets on top of walls

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day with patient expectation

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome,

And, when you saw his chariot but appear,

but=just barely

Have you not made an universal shout

universal=all joining in

[so] That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

Tiber=river flowing through Rome

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

concave=curved like the inside of a circle

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

cull out=pick this as

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?

Pompey’s blood=Pompey’s descendents (sons, defeated by Caesar)

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

intermit=withhold

That needs must light on this ingratitude.

(that will come as punishment for your ingratitude)

 

MURELLUS

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,

O you hard hearts, you cručl men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

Have you climbed up to walls and battlements,

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day with patient expectation

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.

And when you saw his chariot but appear,

Have you not made an universal shout

That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood?

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

That needs must light on this ingratitude.

 

 

FLAVIUS

Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,

Assemble all the poor men of your sort,

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

(swells to its highest flood level)

 

FLAVIUS

Go, go, good countrymen, and for this fault,

Assemble all the poor men of your sort,

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

 

Exeunt CARPENTER, COBBLER, and all the other commoners

Exeunt CARPENTER, COBBLER, and all the other commoners

See whether their basest metal be not moved.

(note how even their base natures are affected)

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol.

Capitol=Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter

This way will I. Disrobe the images

(Caesar’s supporters had set up statues of him wearing a royal crown)

If you do find them decked with ceremonies.

ceremonies=flowers and wreaths

 

See whether their basest metal be not moved.

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol.

This way will I. Disrobe the images

If you do find them decked with ceremonies.

 

MURELLUS

May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

feast of Lupercal=a Roman festival

 

MURELLUS

May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

 

FLAVIUS

It is no matter. Let no images

Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll [go] about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets.

vulgar=common people

So do you, too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing

growing feathers=supporters who have abandoned Caesar

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

pitch=the highest point of a hawk’s flight

Who else would soar above the view of men

else=otherwise

And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

 

FLAVIUS

It is no matter. Let no images

Be hung with Caesar’s trophies. I’ll about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets.

So do you too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers plucked from Caesar’s wing

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

Who else would soar above the view of men

And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

 

Exeunt severally

Exeunt severally

 

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