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Cas. What! durst not tempt him?
Bru. For your life you durst not.
Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love;
may do that I shall be sorry for.
Bru. You have done that you should be sorry for.
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am armed so strong in honesty,
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me;
For I can raise no money by vile means.
By Jupiter, I'd rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection. I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me: was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answered Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal-counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts,
Dash him to pieces!
I denied you not.
I did not ;-he was but a fool That brought my answer back.—Brutus hath rived my heart; A friend should bear his friend's infirmities, But Brutus makes mine greater than they are. Bru. I do not, till you practise them 1o on me. Cas. You love me not!
I do not like your faults.
Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.
Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come !
Revenge yourself alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is a-weary of the world:
Hated by one he loves-braved by his brother—
Checked like a bondman—all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book-learned and conned by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes!—There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold!
If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth!
I that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
Strike as thou didst at Cæsar; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
Sheathe your dagger;
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope";
Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour.12
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,13
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Which, much enforced," shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief and blood ill-tempered vexeth him?
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Bru. And my heart too.
O Brutus !
What's the matter?
Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me,
When that rash humour which my mother gave me,
Makes me forgetful?
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and, from henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
1. Noted, put a mark of disgrace upon. 2. Sardians, the inhabitants of Sardis, the capital of Lybia, in Asia Minor. 3. Itching, for money. 4. Corruption, corrupt practice. Shakspeare often uses an abstract noun instead of an adjective and a concrete term. (See 8.) 5. Thus, with a gesture of the hand. 6. Health, your personal security. 7. Noble, with a very ironical emphasis. 8. Indirection, indirect means. 9. Counters, money. He calls them mere counters in comparison with the feelings and relationship that should exist between friends. 10. Practise them, practise his weaknesses or faults. 11. Scope, room to grow and to die away. 12. Dishonour shall be humour, a dishonourable act shall be looked upon as a mere whim. 13. Lamb, he means himself. 14. Enforcëd, tried, or, with pressure put on him.
SCENE FROM THE EARL OF WARWICK.
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, commonly called the King-maker, had, after the second battle of St. Albans, placed Edward IV. on the throne of England. Warwick was displeased with the king because of his sudden marriage with Elizabeth Woodville; and the following dialogue is an imaginary account of their quarrel.
War. Behold him here;
No welcome guest, it seems, unless I ask
My Lord of Suffolk's leave: there was a time
When Warwick wanted not his aid to gain
SCENE FROM THE EARL OF WARWICK.
K. Edw. There was a time, perhaps,
When Warwick more desired and more deserved it.
War. Never; I've been a foolish faithful slave:
All my best years, the morning of my life,
Hath been devoted to your service: what
Are now the fruits? Disgrace and infamy;
My spotless name, which never yet the breath
Of calumny had tainted, made the mock
For foreign fools to carp at: but 'tis fit
Who trust in princes should be thus rewarded.
K. Edw. I thought, my lord, I had full well repaid
Your services with honours, wealth, and power
Unlimited: thy all-directing hand
Guided in secret every latent wheel
Of government, and moved the whole machine :
Warwick was all in all, and powerless Edward
Stood like a cipher in the great account.
War. Who gave that cipher worth, and seated thee
On England's throne? Thy undistinguished name
Had rotted in the dust from whence it sprung,
And mouldered in oblivion, had not Warwick
Dug from its sordid mine the useless ore,
And stamped it with a diadem. Thou knowest
This wretched country, doomed, perhaps, like Rome,
To fall by its own self-destroying hand,
Tost for so many years in the rough sea
Of civil discord, but for me had perished.
In that distressful hour I seized the helm,
Bade the rough waves subside in peace, and steered
Your shattered vessel safe into the harbour.
You may despise, perhaps, that useless aid
Which you no longer want; but know, proud youth,
He who forgets a friend, deserves a foe.
K. Edw. Know, too, reproach for benefits received,
Pays every debt, and cancels obligation.
War. Why that, indeed, is frugal honesty,
A thrifty saving knowledge, when the debt
Grows burthen some, and cannot be discharged,
sponge will wipe out all, and cost you nothing.
K. Edw. When you have counted o'er the numerous train
Of mighty gifts your bounty lavished on me,
You may remember next the injuries
Which I have done you, let me know them all,
And I will make you ample satisfaction.
War. Thou canst not; thou hast robbed me of a jewel
It is not in thy power to restore:
I was the first, shall future annals say,
That broke the sacred bond of public trust
And mutual confidence: ambassadors,
In after times, mere instruments, perhaps,
Of venal statesmen, shall recall my name
To witness that they want not an example,
And plead my guilt to sanctify their own.
Amidst the herd of mercenary slaves
That haunt your court, could none be found but Warwick To be the shameless herald of a lie ?
K. Edw. And wouldst thou turn the vile reproach on me?
If I have broke my faith, and stained the name
Of England, thank thy own pernicious counsels
That urged me to it, and extorted from me
A cold consent to what my heart abhorred.
War. I've been abused, insulted, and betrayed;
My injured honour cries aloud for vengeance;
You say 'tis your prerogative! what's that?
A borrowed jewel, glittering in the crown
With specious lustre, lent but to betray;
You had it, sir, and hold it, from the people.
K. Edw. And therefore do I prize it; I would guard
Their liberties, and they shall strengthen mine:
But when proud faction and her rebel crew
Insult their sovereign, trample on his laws,
And bid defiance to his power, the people,
In justice to themselves, will then defend
His cause, and vindicate the rights they gave.
War. Go to your darling people, then; for soon,
If I mistake not, 'twill be needful; try
Their boasted zeal, and see if one of them
Will dare to lift his arm up in your cause
If I forbid them.
Is it so, my lord?
Then mark my words: I've been your slave too long,
And you have ruled me with a rod of iron;
But henceforth know, proud peer, I am thy master,
And will be so: the king who delegates
His power to others' hands but ill deserves
The crown he wears.
Look well, then, to your own;
It sits but loosely on your head; for know,
The man who injured Warwick never passed
Nor he who threatened Edward:
You may repent it, sir. My guards, there; seize
This traitor, and convey him to the Tower!
There let him learn obedience.
Slaves, stand off.
If I must yield my sword, I'll give it him
Whom it so long has served. There's not a part
In this old faithful steel that is not stained
With English blood in grateful Edward's cause.
Give me my chains, they are the bands of friendship,
Of a king's friendship; for his sake, awhile,
I'll wear them.
Hence: away with him.
Exert your power, it may not last you long;
For know, though Edward may forget his friend,
That England will not. Now, sir, I attend you.
CORIOLANUS AND AUFIDIUS.
Cauis Marcius was a great Roman general, who received the name (agnomen) of Coriolanus from his bravery in taking the Volscian town of Corioli. His haughtiness and injustice to the commons caused him to be impeached and driven into exile. He retired among his old enemies the Volscians, who gave him the command of their army. The following dialogue gives an account of a quarrel between him and the former Volscian general, Aufidius.
Cor. I plainly, Tullus, by your looks, perceive -
You disapprove my conduct.
Auf. I mean not to assail thee with the clamour
Of loud reproaches, and the war of words:
But, pride apart, and all that can pervert
The light of steady reason, here to make
A candid, fair proposal.
Speak; I hear thee.
Auf. I need not tell thee, that I have performed
My utmost promise. Thou hast been protected!
Hast had thy amplest, most ambitious wish;
Thy wounded pride is healed, thy dear revenge
Completely sated; and, to crown thy fortune,
At the same time, thy peace with Rome restored.
Thou art no more a Volscian, but a Roman;
Return, return; thy duty calls upon thee
Still to protect the city thou hast saved:
It still may be in danger from our arms:
Retire; I will take care thou may'st with safety.
Cor. With safety!-Heavens!-and think'st thou Coriolanus
Will stoop to thee for safety ?-No! my safeguard
Is in myself, a bosom void of fear.-