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fairs (for by report he was as careful a captain, and lived with as little sleep, as ever man did), he thought he heard a noise at his tent door, and looking toward the light of the lamp that waxed very dim, he saw a horrible vision of a man, of a wonderful greatness, and dreadful look, which at the first made him marvellously afraid. But when he saw that it did him no hurt, but stood by his bedside, and said nothing: at length he asked him what he was. The image answered him: "I am thy ill angel, Brutus, and thou shalt see me by the city of Philippi.” Then Brutus replied again, and said: "Well, I shall see thee then.” Therewithal, the spirit presently vanished from him. After that time Brutus being in battle near unto the city of Philippi, against Antonius and Octavius Cæsar, at the first battle he won the victory, and overthrowing all them that withstood him, he drove them into young Cæsar's camp, which he took. The second battle being at hand, this spirit appeared again unto him, but spake never a word. Thereupon Brutus knowing he should die, did put himself to all hazard in battle, but yet fighting could not be slain. So seeing his men put to flight and overthrown, he ran unto a little rock not far off, and there setting his sword's point to his breast, fell upon it, and slew himself, but yet as it is reported, with the help of his friend that despatched him.



Note.—The following selection from Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar is given to show how closely Shakespeare followed his source, Sir Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch's Life of Julius Cæsar. In the other parts of this great drama the similarity is equally great; thus the incident of Antony's offering Cæsar the crown, the warnings “blazed forth” by the heavens, the vision of Brutus at Philippi, are all used by Shakespeare in a masterly manner. This unoriginality in his plot by no means detracts from the genius of Shakespeare; he invented few of his plots, but he showed his wonderful genius in his treatment of them. Perhaps this selection from Julius Cæsar will make

you want to read the whole play. It is the easiest and the simplest of all Shakespeare's tragedies, and therefore the best for you to begin with. There are a number of wonderful scenes in it. But perhaps the most wonderful of all is the scene where Antony makes his speech over the body of Cæsar. Plutarch does not tell us that it was Antony who stirred up the wrath of the Romans against the conspirators, but Shakespeare makes him do that in one of the most skilful and masterly speeches in all literature.


SCENE II. CÆSAR's house, Thunder and lightning. Enter CÆSAR, in his

nightgown.' CÆSAR speaks. OR heaven nor earth have been at peace

to-night: Thrice hath Calpurnia in her sleep cried out,

1. His nightgown was his dressing-gown.

“Help! ho! they murther Cæsar!” Who's within?

Enter a Servant.
Serv. My lord?

Cæs. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice
And bring me their opinions of success.
Serv. I will, my lord.

[Exit.] Enter CALPURNIA. Cal. What mean you, Cæsar? think you to walk

forth? You shall not stir out of your house to-day. Cæs. Cæsar shall forth: the things that threat

en'd me Ne’er look'd but on my back; when they shall see The face of Cæsar, they are vanished.

Cal. Cæsar, 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 whelped in the streets; And graves have yawn'd, 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 Cæsar! these things are beyond all use, And I do fear them.


2. Murther is an old form of murder. 3. Stood on ceremonies means insisted on omens. 4. Beyond all use means unusual, unnatural.


What can be avoided Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods? Yet Cæsar shall go forth; for these predictions Are to the world in general as to Cæsar. Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets

seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of

princes. Cæs. 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.

Re-enter Servant.


say the augurers! Serv. They would not have you to stir forth

to-day. Plucking the entrails of an offering forth, They could not find a heart within the beast.5

Cæs. The gods do this in shame of cowardice: Cæsar should be a beast without a heart. If he should stay at home to-day for fear. No, Cæsar shall not: danger knows full well That Cæsar is more dangerous than he: We are two lions litter'd in one day, And I the elder and more terrible: And Cæsar shall go forth. . Cal.

Alas, my lord, Your wisdom is consum'd in confidence.

5. The ancients believed that the condition of an animal offered for sacrifice foretold many things.

Do not go forth to-day: call it my

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 to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

Cæs. Mark Antony shall say I am not well;
And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.

Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
Dec. Cæsar, all hail! good morrow, worthy

I come to fetch you to the Senate-house.

Cæs. And you are come in very happy time.
To bear my greeting to the Senators
And tell them that I will not come to-day:
Cannot, is false, and that I dare not, falser:
I will not come to-day: tell them so, Decius.

Cal. Say he is sick.

Shall Cæsar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,
To be afeard to tell graybeards the truth?
Decius, Go tell them Cæsar will not come.
Dec. Most mighty Cæsar, let me know some

cause, Lest I be laugh'd at when I tell them so.

Cæs. 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: Calpurnia here, my wife, stays me at home: She dreamt to-night she saw my statua, Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans

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