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Julius Caesar

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Julius Caesar Act 5, Scene 1



The plains of Philippi

Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, and their army

Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, and their army

OCTAVIUS

Now, Antony, our hopes are answerèd.

You said the enemy would not come down

But keep the hills and upper regions.

It proves not so. Their battles are at hand.

battles=forces

They mean to warn us at Philippi here,

warn=challenge

Answering before we do demand of them.

 

OCTAVIUS

Now, Antony, our hopes are answerèd.

You said the enemy would not come down

But keep the hills and upper regions.

It proves not so. Their battles are at hand.

They mean to warn us at Philippi here,

Answering before we do demand of them.

 

ANTONY

Tut, I am in their bosoms, and I know

Wherefore they do it. They could be content

wherefore=why

To visit other places and come down

With fearful bravery, thinking by this face

To fasten in our thoughts that they have courage,

But ’tis not so (but they haven’t).

 

ANTONY

Tut, I am in their bosoms, and I know

Wherefore they do it. They could be content

To visit other places, and come down

With fearful bravery, thinking by this face

To fasten in our thoughts that they have courage.

But ’tis not so.

 

Enter a MESSENGER

Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER

Prepare you, generals.

The enemy comes on in gallant show.

Their bloody sign of battle is hung out

bloody sign of battle=crimson flag

And something to be done immediately.

to be done=must be done

 

MESSENGER

   Prepare you, generals.

The enemy comes on in gallant show.

Their bloody sign of battle is hung out,

And something to be done immediately.

 

ANTONY

Octavius, lead your battle softly on,

battle=forces

softly=slowly

Upon the left hand of the even field.

 

ANTONY

Octavius, lead your battle softly on,

Upon the left hand of the even field.

 

OCTAVIUS

Upon the right hand I. Keep thou the left.

 

OCTAVIUS

Upon the right hand I. Keep thou the left.

 

ANTONY

Why do you cross me in this exigent?

in  this exigent=at this critical moment

 

ANTONY

Why do you cross me in this exigent?

 

OCTAVIUS

I do not cross you. But I will do so.

(I’m not crossing you, but it’s what I am going to do)

OCTAVIUS

I do not cross you. But I will do so.

 

March. Drum. Enter BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and their army, including LUCILLIUS, TITINIUS, and MESSALA

March. Drum. Enter BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and their army, including LUCILLIUS, TITINIUS, and MESSALA

BRUTUS

They stand and would have parley.

stand=halt

have parley=talk with us

 

BRUTUS

They stand and would have parley.

 

CASSIUS

Stand fast, Titinius. We must out and talk.

 

CASSIUS

Stand fast, Titinius. We must out and talk.

 

OCTAVIUS

Mark Antony, shall we give sign of battle?

 

OCTAVIUS

Mark Antony, shall we give sign of battle?

 

ANTONY

No, Caesar, we will answer on their charge.

Caesar=Caesar Augustus, now known as Octavius

answer on their charge=wait for them to attack

Make (go) forth. The generals would have some words.

 

ANTONY

No, Caesar, we will answer on their charge.

Make forth. The generals would have some words.

 

OCTAVIUS

(to his army) Stir not until the signal.

 

OCTAVIUS

(to his army) Stir not until the signal.

 

BRUTUS

Words before blows. Is it so, countrymen?

 

BRUTUS

Words before blows. Is it so, countrymen?

 

OCTAVIUS

Not that we love words better, as you do.

 

OCTAVIUS

Not that we love words better, as you do.

 

BRUTUS

Good words are better than bad strokes, Octavius.

 

BRUTUS

Good words are better than bad strokes, Octavius.

 

ANTONY

In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words.

(bad strokes and good words both at the same time)

Witness the hole you made in Caesar’s heart,

Crying “Long live, hail, Caesar!”

 

ANTONY

In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words.

Witness the hole you made in Caesar’s heart,

Crying “Long live, hail, Caesar!”

 

CASSIUS

Antony,

The posture of your blows are yet unknown,

posture=effectiveness

But, for your words, they rob the Hybla bees

Hybla=a town famous for honey

And leave them honeyless.

 

CASSIUS

     Antony,

The posture of your blows are yet unknown.

But for your words, they rob the Hybla bees

And leave them honeyless.

 

ANTONY

Not stingless, too?

 

ANTONY

Not stingless too?

 

BRUTUS

Oh, yes, and soundless, too,

For you have stol'n their buzzing, Antony,

And very wisely threat before you sting.

 

BRUTUS

Oh, yes, and soundless too.

For you have stol'n their buzzing, Antony,

And very wisely threat before you sting.

 

ANTONY

Villains, you did not so when your vile daggers

Hacked one another in the sides of Caesar.

You showed your teeth like apes and fawned like hounds

And bowed like bondmen, kissing Caesar’s feet,

Whilst damnèd Casca, like a cur, behind

Struck Caesar on the neck. O you flatterers!

ANTONY

Villains, you did not so when your vile daggers

Hacked one another in the sides of Caesar.

You showed your teeth like apes, and fawned like hounds,

And bowed like bondmen, kissing Caesar’s feet,

Whilst damnèd Casca, like a cur, behind

Struck Caesar on the neck. O you flatterers!

 

CASSIUS

Flatterers?—Now, Brutus, thank yourself.

This tongue had not offended so today

If Cassius might have ruled.

(Antony could not have offended us this way if he had been killed, as Cassius had urged)

 

CASSIUS

Flatterers?—Now, Brutus, thank yourself.

This tongue had not offended so today

If Cassius might have ruled.

 

OCTAVIUS

Come, come, the cause. If arguing make us sweat,

cause=essential dispute between us

The proof of it will turn to redder drops.

(draws his sword) Look, I draw a sword against conspirators.

When think you that the sword goes up again?

Never, till Caesar’s three and thirty wounds

Be well avenged or till another Caesar

another Caesar=Octavius

Have added slaughter to the sword of traitors (have been murdered by the traitors).

 

OCTAVIUS

Come, come, the cause. If arguing make us sweat,

The proof of it will turn to redder drops.

(draws his sword) Look, I draw a sword against conspirators.

When think you that the sword goes up again?

Never, till Caesar’s three and thirty wounds

Be well avenged, or till another Caesar

Have added slaughter to the sword of traitors.

 

BRUTUS

Caesar, thou canst not die by traitors' hands

Unless thou bring’st them with thee.

 

BRUTUS

Caesar, thou canst not die by traitors' hands

Unless thou bring’st them with thee.

 

OCTAVIUS

So I hope.

I was not born to die on Brutus' sword.

 

OCTAVIUS

     So I hope.

I was not born to die on Brutus' sword.

 

BRUTUS

O, if thou wert the noblest of thy strain,

strain=family

Young man, thou couldst not die more honorable.

more honorable=more honorably than on Brutus’ sword

 

BRUTUS

O, if thou wert the noblest of thy strain,

Young man, thou couldst not die more honorable.

 

CASSIUS

A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such honor,

Joined with a masker and a reveler!

joined=joined in his personality

masker=party-goer with a mask

 

CASSIUS

A peevish schoolboy, worthless of such honor,

Joined with a masker and a reveler!

 

ANTONY

Old Cassius still.

 

ANTONY

Old Cassius still.

 

OCTAVIUS

Come, Antony, away.—

Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth.

If you dare fight today, come to the field.

If not, when you have stomachs.

 

OCTAVIUS

    Come, Antony, away.—

Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth.

If you dare fight today, come to the field.

If not, when you have stomachs.

 

Exeunt OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, and their army

Exeunt OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, and their army

CASSIUS

Why, now, blow wind, swell billow, and swim bark!

The storm is up and all is on the hazard.

all is on the hazard=everything is at stake

 

CASSIUS

Why, now, blow wind, swell billow, and swim bark!

The storm is up and all is on the hazard.

 

BRUTUS

Ho, Lucillius, hark, a word with you.

 

BRUTUS

Ho, Lucillius, hark, a word with you.

 

LUCILLIUS

(stands forth)

My lord?

 

LUCILLIUS

(stands forth)

      My lord?

 

BRUTUS and LUCILLIUS converse apart

BRUTUS and LUCILLIUS converse apart

CASSIUS

Messala!

 

CASSIUS

Messala!

 

MESSALA

(stands forth) 

  What says my general?

 

MESSALA

(stands forth) 

  What says my general?

 

CASSIUS

 

 Messala,

This is my birthday, as, this very day,

Was Cassius born. Give me thy hand, Messala.

Be thou my witness that against my will,

As Pompey was, am I compelled to set (wager)

Upon one battle all our liberties.

You know that I held Epicurus strong

held Epicurus strong=was a follower of Epicurus’ belief that gods do not send omens

And his opinion. Now I change my mind

And partly credit things that do presage.

credit=give credence to

presage=foretell

Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign

ensign=a banner held up at the head of a fighting force

Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perched,

fell=swooped down

Gorging and feeding from our soldiers' hands,

Who to Philippi here consorted us.

consorted=accompanied

This morning are they fled away and gone,

And in their steads do ravens, crows, and kites

kites=birds of the hawk family

Fly o'er our heads and downward look on us

As [if] we were sickly prey. Their shadows seem

A canopy most fatal, under which

most fatal=presaging death

Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost.

 

CASSIUS

      Messala,

This is my birthday, as this very day

Was Cassius born. Give me thy hand, Messala.

Be thou my witness that against my will,

As Pompey was, am I compelled to set

Upon one battle all our liberties.

You know that I held Epicurus strong

And his opinion. Now I change my mind,

And partly credit things that do presage.

Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign

Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perched,

Gorging and feeding from our soldiers' hands,

Who to Philippi here consorted us.

This morning are they fled away and gone,

And in their steads do ravens, crows, and kites

Fly o'er our heads and downward look on us

As we were sickly prey. Their shadows seem

A canopy most fatal, under which

Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost.

 

 

MESSALA

Believe not so.

 

MESSALA

Believe not so.

 

CASSIUS

   I but believe it partly,

For I am fresh of spirit and resolved

To meet all perils very constantly.

 

CASSIUS

   I but believe it partly,

For I am fresh of spirit and resolved

To meet all perils very constantly.

 

BRUTUS

(returning with LUCILLIUS) Even so, Lucillius.

 

BRUTUS

(returning with LUCILLIUS) Even so, Lucillius.

 

CASSIUS

    Now, most noble Brutus,

[may] The gods today stand friendly that we may,

Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.

lead on our days to age=live to be old

But since the affairs of men rest still incertain,

Let’s reason with the worst that may befall.

reason with=consider

If we do lose this battle, then is this

The very last time we shall speak together.

What are you then determinèd to do?

 

CASSIUS

    Now, most noble Brutus,

The gods today stand friendly that we may,

Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age.

But since the affairs of men rest still incertain,

Let’s reason with the worst that may befall.

If we do lose this battle, then is this

The very last time we shall speak together.

What are you then determinèd to do?

 

BRUTUS

Even by the rule of that philosophy

philosophy=Stoicism

By which I did blame Cato for the death

Which he did give himself (I know not how,

But I do find it cowardly and vile,

For fear of what might fall, so to prevent

so=by suicide

The time of life), arming myself with patience

prevent the time of life=cut short the unfolding of life

To stay (I will await) the providence of some high powers

That govern us below.

 

BRUTUS

Even by the rule of that philosophy

By which I did blame Cato for the death

Which he did give himself (I know not how,

But I do find it cowardly and vile,

For fear of what might fall, so to prevent

The time of life), arming myself with patience

To stay the providence of some high powers

That govern us below.

 

CASSIUS

Then if we lose this battle

You are contented to be led in triumph (in chains)

Thorough the streets of Rome?

 

CASSIUS

    Then if we lose this battle

You are contented to be led in triumph

Thorough the streets of Rome?

 

BRUTUS

No, Cassius, no. Think not, thou noble Roman,

That ever Brutus will go, bound, to Rome.

He bears too great a mind. But this same day

Must end that work the ides of March begun,

And whether we shall meet again I know not.

Therefore, our everlasting farewell take.

Forever and forever farewell, Cassius.

If we do meet again, why, we shall smile.

If not, why then this parting was well made.

 

BRUTUS

No, Cassius, no. Think not, thou noble Roman,

That ever Brutus will go bound to Rome.

He bears too great a mind. But this same day

Must end that work the ides of March begun.

And whether we shall meet again I know not.

Therefore our everlasting farewell take.

Forever and forever farewell, Cassius.

If we do meet again, why, we shall smile.

If not, why then this parting was well made.

 

CASSIUS

Forever and forever farewell, Brutus.

If we do meet again, we’ll smile indeed.

If not, ’tis true this parting was well made.

 

CASSIUS

Forever and forever farewell, Brutus.

If we do meet again, we’ll smile indeed.

If not, ’tis true this parting was well made.

 

BRUTUS

Why then, lead on. Oh, that a man might know

The end of this day’s business ere it come!

But it sufficeth that the day will end,

And then the end is known.—Come, ho! Away!

 

BRUTUS

Why then, lead on. Oh, that a man might know

The end of this day’s business ere it come!

But it sufficeth that the day will end,

And then the end is known.—Come, ho! Away!

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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