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Julius Caesar

by William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Julius Caesar Act 2, Scene 2



Rome. Caesar's house

Thunder and lightning. Enter Julius CAESAR in his nightgown

Thunder and lightning. Enter Julius CAESAR in his nightgown

CAESAR

Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.

Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out,

“Help, ho! They murder Caesar!”—Who’s within?

nor . . . nor=neither . . . nor

who’s within? – calling a servant

 

CAESAR

Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight.

Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out,

“Help, ho! They murder Caesar!”—Who’s within?

 

Enter a SERVANT

Enter a SERVANT

SERVANT

My lord.

 

SERVANT

My lord.

 

CAESAR

Go bid the priests do present sacrifice

present sacrifice=perform a sacrifice

And bring me their opinions of success.

opinions of success=interpretations of results

 

CAESAR

Go bid the priests do present sacrifice

And bring me their opinions of success.

 

SERVANT

I will, my lord.

 

SERVANT

I will, my lord.

 

Exit SERVANT

Exit SERVANT

Enter CALPHURNIA

Enter CALPHURNIA

CALPHURNIA

What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?

You shall not stir out of your house today.

 

CALPHURNIA

What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?

You shall not stir out of your house today.

 

CAESAR

Caesar shall forth. The things that threatened me

Ne'er looked but on my back. When they shall see

The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.

 

CAESAR

Caesar shall forth. The things that threatened me

Ne'er looked but on my back. When they shall see

The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.

 

CALPHURNIA

Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,

stood on ceremonies=heeded omens

Yet now they fright me. There is one within,

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,

Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.

A lioness hath whelpèd in the streets,

whelped=borne young

And graves have yawned and yielded up their dead.

Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds

In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,

right form=regular formation

Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol.

The noise of battle hurtled in the air.

hurtled=resounded

Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,

And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

O Caesar! These things are beyond all use,

all use=what we are used to

And I do fear them.

 

CALPHURNIA

Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,

Yet now they fright me. There is one within,

Besides the things that we have heard and seen,

Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.

A lioness hath whelpèd in the streets,

And graves have yawned and yielded up their dead.

Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds

In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,

Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol.

The noise of battle hurtled in the air.

Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,

And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

O Caesar! These things are beyond all use,

And I do fear them.

 

CAESAR

What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?

purposed=given purpose

Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions

Are (apply as much) to the world in general as to Caesar.

 

CAESAR

    What can be avoided

Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?

Yet Caesar shall go forth, for these predictions

Are to the world in general as to Caesar.

 

CALPHURNIA

When beggars die there are no comets seen.

The heavens themselves blaze forth [at] the death of princes.

 

CALPHURNIA

When beggars die there are no comets seen.

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

 

CAESAR

Cowards die many times before their deaths.

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard [of],

It seems to me most strange that men should fear,

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

 

CAESAR

Cowards die many times before their deaths.

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear,

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

 

Enter SERVANT

Enter SERVANT

What say the augurers?

What say the augurers?

SERVANT

They would not have you to stir forth today.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast.

 

SERVANT

They would not have you to stir forth today.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,

They could not find a heart within the beast.

 

CAESAR

The gods do this in shame of cowardice.

in shame of cowardice=to teach us to be ashamed of cowardice

Caesar should be a beast without a heart

If he should stay at home today for fear.

No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous than he.

We are two lions littered in one day,

two lions=Caesar and Danger

And I the elder and more terrible.

And Caesar shall go forth.

 

CAESAR

The gods do this in shame of cowardice.

Caesar should be a beast without a heart

If he should stay at home today for fear.

No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well

That Caesar is more dangerous than he.

We are two lions littered in one day,

And I the elder and more terrible.

And Caesar shall go forth.

 

 

CALPHURNIA

Alas, my lord,

Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.

consumed=wasted

Do not go forth today. Call it my fear

That keeps you in the house and not your own.

We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate house,

And he shall say you are not well today.

(kneels) Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

 

CALPHURNIA

    Alas, my lord,

Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.

Do not go forth today. Call it my fear

That keeps you in the house, and not your own.

We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate house,

And he shall say you are not well today.

(kneels) Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

 

CAESAR

Mark Antony shall say I am not well,

And for thy humor I will stay at home.

for thy humor=to humor you

 

CAESAR

Mark Antony shall say I am not well,

And for thy humor I will stay at home.

 

CALPHURNIA rises

CALPHURNIA rises

Enter DECIUS

Enter DECIUS

Here’s Decius Brutus. He shall tell them so.

Here’s Decius Brutus. He shall tell them so.

DECIUS

Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar.

I come to fetch you to the senate house.

 

DECIUS

Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar.

I come to fetch you to the senate house.

 

CAESAR

And you are come in very happy time

To bear my greeting to the senators

And tell them that I will not come today.

“Cannot” is false, and that I dare not, falser.

I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.

 

CAESAR

And you are come in very happy time

To bear my greeting to the senators

And tell them that I will not come today.

“Cannot” is false, and that I dare not, falser.

I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.

 

CALPHURNIA

Say he is sick.

 

CALPHURNIA

Say he is sick.

 

CAESAR

Shall Caesar send a lie?

Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so far

To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?

Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.

 

CAESAR

   Shall Caesar send a lie?

Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so far

To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?

Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.

 

DECIUS

Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,

Lest I be laughed at when I tell them so.

 

DECIUS

Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,

Lest I be laughed at when I tell them so.

 

CAESAR

The cause is in my will. I will not come.

That is enough to satisfy the senate.

But for your private satisfaction,

Because I love you, I will let you know.

Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home.

stays=detains

She dreamt tonight she saw my statue,

Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,

Did run pure blood. And many lusty Romans

Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it.

And these does she apply for warnings and portents

And evils imminent, and on her knee

Hath begged that I will stay at home today.

 

CAESAR

The cause is in my will. I will not come.

That is enough to satisfy the senate.

But for your private satisfaction,

Because I love you, I will let you know.

Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home.

She dreamt tonight she saw my statue,

Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts,

Did run pure blood. And many lusty Romans

Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it.

And these does she apply for warnings and portents

And evils imminent, and on her knee

Hath begged that I will stay at home today.

 

DECIUS

This dream is all amiss interpreted.

It was a vision fair and fortunate.

Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,

In which so many smiling Romans bathed,

Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck

Reviving blood and that great men shall press

For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.

tinctures, stains=colors used in coats of arms

relics=mementos of a holy person

cognizance=badge worn by followers of someone powerful

This by Calphurnia’s dream is signified.

 

DECIUS

This dream is all amiss interpreted.

It was a vision fair and fortunate.

Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,

In which so many smiling Romans bathed,

Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck

Reviving blood, and that great men shall press

For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance.

This by Calphurnia’s dream is signified.

 

CAESAR

And this way have you well expounded it.

 

CAESAR

And this way have you well expounded it.

 

DECIUS

I have, when you have heard what I can say,

And know it now: the senate have concluded

To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.

If you shall send them word you will not come,

Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock

(mockery likely to be spoken)

Apt to be rendered for someone to say,

“Break up the senate till another time

When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.”

If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper,

“Lo, Caesar is afraid”?

Pardon me, Caesar. For my dear, dear love

To your proceeding bids me tell you this,

proceeding=advancement

And reason to my love is liable.

(my love gets the better of my reason)

 

DECIUS

I have, when you have heard what I can say.

And know it now: the senate have concluded

To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar.

If you shall send them word you will not come,

Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock

Apt to be rendered for someone to say,

“Break up the senate till another time

When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.”

If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper,

“Lo, Caesar is afraid”?

Pardon me, Caesar. For my dear, dear love

To your proceeding bids me tell you this,

And reason to my love is liable.

 

CAESAR

How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia!

I am ashamèd I did yield to them.

Give me my robe, for I will go.

 

CAESAR

How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia!

I am ashamèd I did yield to them.

Give me my robe, for I will go.

 

Enter BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA,TREBONIUS, CINNA, and PUBLIUS

Enter BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA,TREBONIUS, CINNA, and PUBLIUS

And look where Publius is come to fetch me.

And look where Publius is come to fetch me.

PUBLIUS

Good morrow, Caesar.

 

PUBLIUS

Good morrow, Caesar.

 

CAESAR

Welcome, Publius.

—What, Brutus, are you stirred so early, too?

—Good morrow, Casca.—Caius Ligarius,

Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy

As that same ague which hath made you lean.

ague=fever

—What is ’t o'clock?

 

CAESAR

Welcome, Publius.

—What, Brutus, are you stirred so early too?

—Good morrow, Casca.—Caius Ligarius,

Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy

As that same ague which hath made you lean.

—What is ’t o'clock?

 

BRUTUS

    Caesar, ’tis strucken eight.

 

BRUTUS

    Caesar, ’tis strucken eight.

 

CAESAR

I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

 

CAESAR

I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

 

Enter ANTONY

Enter ANTONY

See, Antony, that revels long a-nights,

Is notwithstanding up.—Good morrow, Antony.

notwithstanding up=up regardless of the revels

 

See, Antony, that revels long a-nights,

Is notwithstanding up.—Good morrow, Antony.

 

ANTONY

So to most noble Caesar.

 

ANTONY

So to most noble Caesar.

 

CAESAR

Bid them prepare within.

I am to blame to be thus waited for.

—Now, Cinna.—Now, Metellus.—What, Trebonius,

I have an hour’s talk in store for you.

Remember that you call on me today.

Be near me, that I may remember you.

 

CAESAR

    Bid them prepare within.

I am to blame to be thus waited for.

—Now, Cinna.—Now, Metellus.—What, Trebonius,

I have an hour’s talk in store for you.

Remember that you call on me today.

Be near me, that I may remember you.

 

TREBONIUS

Caesar, I will. (aside) And so near will I be

That your best friends shall wish I had been further.

 

TREBONIUS

Caesar, I will. (aside) And so near will I be

That your best friends shall wish I had been further.

 

CAESAR

Good friends, go in and taste some wine with me.

And we, like friends, will straightway go together.

 

CAESAR

Good friends, go in and taste some wine with me.

And we, like friends, will straightway go together.

 

BRUTUS

(aside) That every “like” is not the same, O Caesar,

The heart of Brutus earns (grieves) to think upon.

 

BRUTUS

(aside) That every “like” is not the same, O Caesar,

The heart of Brutus earns to think upon.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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