Source RSC | Jonathan Bate & Eric Rasmussen. London: RSC Shakespeare, 2009
SCENE III. Brutus’s tent.
Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS
That you have wrong’d me doth appear in this:
You have condemn’d and noted Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, were slighted off.
You wronged yourself to write in such a case.
In such a time as this it is not meet
That every nice offence should bear his comment.
Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold
I an itching palm!
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
The name of Cassius honours this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Remember March, the ides of March remember:
Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?
What villain touch’d his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Brutus, bay not me;
I’ll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practise, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Go to; you are not, Cassius.
I say you are not.
Urge me no more, I shall forget myself;
Have mind upon your health, tempt me no further.
Away, slight man!
Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
O ye gods, ye gods! must I endure all this?
All this! ay, more: fret till your proud heart break;
Go show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour? By the gods
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you; for, from this day forth,
I’ll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
Is it come to this?
You say you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well: for mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus;
I said, an elder soldier, not a better:
Did I say ‘better’?
If you did, I care not.
When Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
Peace, peace! you durst not so have tempted him.
I durst not!
What, durst not tempt him!
For your life you durst not!
Do not presume too much upon my love;
I may do that I shall be sorry for.
You have done that you should be sorry for.
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
For I am arm’d 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 heaven, I had 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 answer’d 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.
I do not, till you practise them on me.
You love me not.
I do not like your faults.
A friendly eye could never see such faults.
A flatterer’s would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.
Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world;
Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother;
Cheque’d like a bondman; all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book, learn’d, and conn’d 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 Caesar; 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.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Who, 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-temper’d, vexeth him?
When I spoke that, I was ill-temper’d too.
Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
And my heart too.
What’s the matter?
Have not you love enough to bear with me,
When that rash humour which my mother gave me
Makes me forgetful?
Yes, Cassius; and, from henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He’ll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
What wheels? Racks? Fires? What flaying? Boiling?
In leads or oils? what old or newer torture
Must I receive, whose every word deserves
To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny,
Together working with thy jealousies–
Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle
For girls of nine– O, think what they have done
And then run mad indeed, stark mad! for all
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betray’dst Polixenes,’twas nothing:
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant
And damnable ingrateful. Nor was’t much,
Thou wouldst have poison’d good Camillo’s honour,
To have him kill a king. Poor trespasses.
More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter
To be or none or little; though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire ere done’t.
Nor is’t directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts–
Thoughts high for one so tender– cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
Blemish’d his gracious dam: this is not, no,
Laid to thy answer. But the last,–O, lords,
When I have said, cry ‘woe!’ The queen, the queen,
The sweet’st, dear’st creature’s dead, and vengeance for’t
Not dropp’d down yet.