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I found it in his closet, 'tis his will;
Let but the commons hear this statement,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Unto their issue.
If you have tears prepare to shed them now,
Look! in this place ran Cassius dagger through;
And in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
To such a sudden flood of mutiny;
They that have done this deed are honorable;
And will no doubt with reasons answer you.
But as you know me all, a plain, blunt man,
That gave me public leave to speak of him.
And bid them speak for me; but were I Brutus,
This oration fired the Roman people to mutiny, and Brutus and Cassius with their followers fled
from the city and prepared for war with Antony and Octavius, who had suddenly returned to Rome.
The passionate quarrel between Brutus and Cassius in their military camp at Sardis was a natural outcome of conspirators.
Cassius accused Brutus of having wronged him, and Brutus twitted his brother assassin thus:
"Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm, To sell and mart your offices for gold
Cassius fires back this reply:
"I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this, Or by the gods this speech were else your last!"
The night before the battle of Philippi the spirit of Cæsar appeared in the tent of Brutus, who startles from a slumbering trance and exclaims:
"Ha! who comes here?
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes,
The Ghost replies:
"Thy evil spirit, Brutus!
Brutus: Why comest thou?
Ghost: To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi.
The armies of Antony and Octavius and Brutus and Cassius meet in crash of battle.
Cassius is hotly pursued by the enemy, and to prevent capture and exhibition at Rome, craves the service of Pindrus to run him through with his sword. He says:
"Now be a freeman, and with this good sword That ran through Cæsar's bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer; here, take thou the hilt; And when my face is covered, as 'tis now, Guide thou the sword; Cæsar, thou art revenged, Even with the sword that killed thee!" (Dies.)
Brutus is run to earth, and most of his generals dead or fled. He implores Strato to assist him to suicide, and says:
"I pray thee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord;
Thy life hath had some smack of honor in it;
Farewell, good Strato; Cæsar now be still,
Antony and Octavius and his army soon find Brutus slain by his own sword, and with a most magnificent and undeserved generosity Antony pronounces this benediction over the dead body of the vilest and most intelligent conspirator who ever lived!
"This was the noblest Roman of them all;
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up,
The whole audience, led by Southampton, Essex, Bacon and Drayton gave three cheers and a lion roar for "Julius Cæsar," the greatest historical and classical play ever composed, and destined to run down the ages for a million years!