Fordham University

 

Home | Ancient History Sourcebook | Medieval SourcebookModern History Sourcebook | Byzantine Studies Page
Other History Sourcebooks: African | East Asian | Global | Indian | IslamicJewishLesbian and Gay | Science | Women's


Ancient History


Full Texts Legal Texts Additions Search Help


Studying History Human Origins Mesopotamia Egypt Persia Israel Greece Hellenistic World Rome Late Antiquity Christian Origins
IHSP Credits
Ancient History Sourcebook:
William Shakespeare:
from Julius Ceasar: Act 3, Scene 2
Anthony's Speech

Back to Appian's account of the scene

[Brutus has just defended the murder of Caesar. Antony arrives to Speak]

First Citizen

This Caesar was a tyrant.

Third Citizen

Nay, that's certain:
We are blest that Rome is rid of him.

Second Citizen

Peace! let us hear what Antony can say.

ANTONY

You gentle Romans,--

Citizens

Peace, ho! let us hear him.

ANTONY

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

First Citizen

Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.

Second Citizen

If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Caesar has had great wrong.

Third Citizen

Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.

Fourth Citizen

Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;
Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.

First Citizen

If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

Second Citizen

Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.

Third Citizen

There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

Fourth Citizen

Now mark him, he begins again to speak.

ANTONY

But yesterday the word of Caesar might
Have stood against the world; now lies he there.
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men:
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar;
I found it in his closet, 'tis his will:
Let but the commons hear this testament--
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read--
And they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.

Fourth Citizen

We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.

All

The will, the will! we will hear Caesar's will.

ANTONY

Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;
It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, bearing the will of Caesar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs;
For, if you should, O, what would come of it!

Fourth Citizen

Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony;
You shall read us the will, Caesar's will.

ANTONY

Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it:
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it.

Fourth Citizen

They were traitors: honourable men!

All

The will! the testament!

Second Citizen

They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will.

ANTONY

You will compel me, then, to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?

Several Citizens

Come down.

Second Citizen

Descend.

Third Citizen

You shall have leave.

ANTONY comes down

Fourth Citizen

A ring; stand round.

First Citizen

Stand from the hearse, stand from the body.

Second Citizen

Room for Antony, most noble Antony.

ANTONY

Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off.

Several Citizens

Stand back; room; bear back.

ANTONY

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii:
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.

First Citizen

O piteous spectacle!

Second Citizen

O noble Caesar!

Third Citizen

O woful day!

Fourth Citizen

O traitors, villains!

First Citizen

O most bloody sight!

Second Citizen

We will be revenged.

All

Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay!
Let not a traitor live!

ANTONY

Stay, countrymen.

First Citizen

Peace there! hear the noble Antony.

Second Citizen

We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.

ANTONY

Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him:
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

All

We'll mutiny.

First Citizen

We'll burn the house of Brutus.

Third Citizen

Away, then! come, seek the conspirators.

ANTONY

Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.

All

Peace, ho! Hear Antony. Most noble Antony!

ANTONY

Why, friends, you go to do you know not what:
Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves?
Alas, you know not: I must tell you then:
You have forgot the will I told you of.

All

Most true. The will! Let's stay and hear the will.

ANTONY

Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal.
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.

Second Citizen

Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death.

Third Citizen

O royal Caesar!

ANTONY

Hear me with patience.

All

Peace, ho!

ANTONY

Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbours and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,
And to your heirs for ever, common pleasures,
To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?

First Citizen

Never, never. Come, away, away!
We'll burn his body in the holy place,
And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.
Take up the body.

Second Citizen

Go fetch fire.

Third Citizen

Pluck down benches.

Fourth Citizen

Pluck down forms, windows, any thing.

Exeunt Citizens with the body

ANTONY

Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!

Enter a Servant

How now, fellow!

Servant

Sir, Octavius is already come to Rome.

ANTONY

Where is he?

Servant

He and Lepidus are at Caesar's house.

ANTONY

And thither will I straight to visit him:
He comes upon a wish. Fortune is merry,
And in this mood will give us any thing.

Servant

I heard him say, Brutus and Cassius
Are rid like madmen through the gates of Rome.

ANTONY

Belike they had some notice of the people,
How I had moved them. Bring me to Octavius.

Exeunt


This text is part of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. No representation is made about texts which are linked off-site, although in most cases these are also public domain. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, June 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu