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Our even Souls, without one doubtful start.
What Roman dares be base in such a business?
Reckon his Guilt, and Shame, he ventures more
Than if he did attempt ten Thousand Tyrants,
But what of CICERO! Shall we found him?
His Gravity will countenance our Heat.
No need of that, now Brutus is engag’d.
I know him well, believe him just and wise ;
Yet Vanity a little clouds his Virtue :
Nor is he bold enough for such a Business.
The Horse that starts, however good besides,
In War is troublesome, nay dangerous.
DE CIUS BRUTUS.
But ANTONY, so well belov'd by CÆSAR,
That Instrument of all his Tyranny,
If he survive, will be another CÆSAR,
DECIUS, well urg'd; ANTONIUS must die,
BRUTUS. O, by no means, our course will seem too bloody, To cut the Head off, and then hack the Limbs :
'Twill look like Anger, nay like Envy toos
For, ANTONY is great by CÆSAR's Favour;
Let us be Sacrificers, but not Butchers.
We only draw our Swords against Ambition ;
Not against CÆSAR's Person, but his Power :
Oh that we, then, could come at CÆSAR's Spirit,
Abate his Pride, and yet not spill his Blood ! [Sighs.
It cannot be; CÆSAR alas must bleed.
Yet, gentle Friends!
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's serve him up, a Dish fit for the Gods;
Not mangled, as a Feast to Beasts of Prey.
Our Hearts should melt, like those of tender Parents,
Who oft in sharp, but necessary Rage,
Correct offending Children with Remorse,
Feeling more pain than what they make them suffer.
This Mercy too looks better to the World,
Which shall not call us Murderers, but Heroes,
As for ANTONIUS therefore, think not of him ;
For he can do no more, than CÆSAR's Arm,
When CÆSAR’s Head is off.
But yet I fear him:
For he loves CÆSAR, and is most audacious.
I hope that loving CÆSAR is no Fault ;
Else I confess that I am guilty too :
If he loves CÆSAR, all that he can do
Is to be griev'd, and pine away for CÆSAR :
And it were strange he should; for he is given
Too much to Wildness, Company, and Pleasures,
There is no fear of him; let himn not die ;
For he will live and laugh at this hereafter.
But hold, how late's the Night?
'Tis five, at least,
O how I long to welcome the Eighth Hour,
The wish'd Alarm to our great Purposes!
'Tis time to part, left at our several Homes
We should be miss'd too long.
But what if CÆSAR Should forbear coming to the Capitol ? The unaccustom'd Terror of this Night May move the Augurs to forbid his going : And, tho’himself's above such idle Fears, Yet the most wise and brave must yield to Custom,
Never doubt that: And tho' he were resoly'd,
I can o'er-sway him; for he loves to hear me,
Prudence, tho’much superior, often yields
To subtle Mirth, and sly Infinuation.
Įf CÆSAR stay at home because it thunders,
I can in jest reproach him with his Fear;
He'll laugh, yet fear he shall be thought afraid,
Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
But see, 'tis almost Day ; some Light appears.
Then let us be dispers’d, like foggy Clouds,
To meet again in Thunder.
Only remember that we all are Romans;
That Thought will keep up our exalted Spirits.
[Exeunt Conspirators, Manet BRUTUS,
Enter PORTIA undress’d, as new risen from Bed.
BRUTUS! my Lord, where are you?
What, my PỌRTIA!
Why do you thus expose your tender Health ?
Can I consider Health, without your Love?
You have unkindly stoln from me to-night,
And by your Absence robb’d me of my Rest :
How could my BRUTUS thus ungently leave
One so unwilling to be left by you?
Chide not too much, my PORTIA; and yet
There is some Pleasure to be chid so kindly.
Our Sex has tenderness equal to yours ;
Yet we, incumbred with vexatious Cares,
No sooner bend our softer Thoughts to Love,
But Business, like a Master too severe,
Stands hov'ring over us amidst our Pleasure,
And drags us to our tiresome Task again,
But Life is short ; O why should we mispend it?
A Wretch condemn'd to die within few hours,
Would think them ill employ'd in Complements:
The solenin Trifles of a busy World
Are oft but Complement, compar'd with Love,
Whose short and precious Hours you throw away,
BRUTUS. Dear Portia, now you but disturb my Thoughts.