A monologue from Act I, Scene ii
by: William Shakespeare
|NOTE: Julius Caesar was first published in the folio of 1623. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
- CASSIUS: I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
- As well as I do know your outward favor.
- Well, honor is the subject of my story.
- I cannot tell what you and other men
- Think of this life; but for my single self,
- I had as lief  not be as live to be
- In awe of such a thing as myself.
- I was born free as Caesar; so were you.
- We both have fed as well, and we can both
- Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
- For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
- The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
- Caesar said to me, 'Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
- Leap in with me into this angry flood
- And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
- Accoutred as I was, I plungèd in
- And bade him follow. So indeed he did.
- The torrent roared, and we did buffet it
- With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
- And stemming it with hearts of controversy .
- But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
- Caesar cried, 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
- I, as Aeneas , our great ancestor,
- Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
- The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
- Did I the tirèd Caesar. And this man
- Is now become a god, and Cassius is
- A wretched creature and must bend his body
- If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
- He had a fever when he was in Spain,
- And when the fit was on him, I did mark
- How he did shake. 'Tis true, this god did shake.
- His coward lips did from their color fly ,
- And that same eye whose bend  doth awe the world
- Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan.
- Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
- Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
- 'Alas,' it cried, 'give me some drink, Titinius,'
- As a sick girl! Ye gods it doth amaze me
- A man of such feeble temper  should
- So get the start of the majestic world
- And bear the palm  alone.
1 as rather
2 making progress in competition with one another
3 a Trojan hero; reputed ancestor of the Romans
4 grow pale
7 victor's prize