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Hoping it was but an effect of humor,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep;
And, could it work so much upon your shape,
As it hath much prevailed on your condition,
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.

Bru. I am not well in health, and that is all.

Por. Brutus is wise, and were he not in health, He would embrace the means to come by it.

Bru. Why, so I do.—Good Portia, go to bed.

Por. Is Brutus sick ? and is it physical
To walk un braced, and suck up the humors
Of the dank morning ? What, is Brutus sick ?
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness ? No, my Brutus ;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of. And, upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy; and what men to-night
Have had resort to you; for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.
Bru.

Kneel not, gentle Portia.
Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted, I should know no secrets
That appertain to you ? Am I yourself,
But, as it were, in sort, or limitation ;
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,

1 Condition is temper, disposition, demeanor. 2 “ I charm you.” This is the reading of the old copy, which Pope and Hanmer changed to “I charge you,” without necessity. To charm is to invoke or entreat by words or other fascinating means. VOL. VI.

5

And talk to you sometimes ? Dwell I but in the

suburbs Of your good pleasure? If it be no more, Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

Bru. You are my true and honorable wife;
As dear to me, as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.
Por. If this were true, then should I know this

secret.
I grant I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman that lord Brutus took to wife.
I grant I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman well reputed—Cato's daughter.
Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so fathered, and so husbanded ?
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them.
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience,
And not my husband's secrets ?
Bru.

O ye gods,
Render me worthy of this noble wife!

[Knocking within. Hark, hark! one knocks. Portia, go in a while; And by and by thy bosom shall partake The secrets of my heart. . All my engagements I will construe to thee, All the charactery of my sad brows.Leave me with haste.

[Exit Portia.

Enter Lucius and LIGARIUS.

Lucius, who is that knocks? Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with you.

Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.Boy, stand aside. —Caius Ligarius! how ?

Lig. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue. 1 Charactery is defined" writing by characters or strange marks." In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act v. Sc. 1, it is said, “ Fairies use flowers for their charactery."

Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave

Caius,
To wear a kerchief! Would you were not sick !

Lig. I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand
Any exploit worthy the name of honor.

Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius, Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.

Lig. By all the gods that Romans bow before, I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome ! Brave son, derived from honorable loins ! Thou, like an exorcist,' hast conjured up My mortified spirit. Now bid me run, And I will strive with things impossible ; Yea, get the better of them. What's to do? Bru. A piece of work that will make sick men

whole. Lig. But are not some whole, that we must make

sick ?
Bru. That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
I shall unfold to thee, as we are going,
To whom it must be done.
Lig.

Set on your foot ;
And, with a heart new-fired, I follow you,
To do I know not what: but it sufficeth,
That Brutus leads me on.

Follow me, then.

[Exeunt.

Bru.

SCENE II. The same. A Room in Cæsar's Palace.

Thunder and lightning. Enter CÆSAR, in his

night-gown. Cæs. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace

to-night ; Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out, Help, ho! they murder Cæsar !-Who's within ?

1 Here, and in all other places, Shakspeare uses exorcist for one who raises spirits, not one who lays them. But it has been erroneously said that he is singular in this use of the word.

Enter a Servant.

Sero. My lord ?

Cæs. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice, And bring me their opinions of success.

Serv. I will, my lord.

[Exit.

Enter CALPHURNIA. Cal. What mean you, Cæsar ? Think you to walk

forth ? You shall not stir out of your house to-day.

Cæs. Cæsar shall forth. The things that threat

ened me,

Ne'er looked but on my back; when they shall see
The face of Cæsar, they are vanished.

Cal. Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawned, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce, fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks, and squadrons, and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol ;
The noise of battle hurtled” in the air;
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan;
And ghosts did shriek, and squeal about the streets.
O Cæsar! these things are beyond all use ;
And I do fear them.
Cæs.

What can be avoided, Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods? Yet Cæsar shall go forth; for these predictions Are to the world in general, as to Cæsar.

Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of

princes.

1 Never paid a regard to prodigies or omens. 2 To hurile is to clash, or move with violence and noise. 3 Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, in his Defensative against the Cæs. Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come, when it will come.

Re-enter a Servant.

What say the augurers ?
Serv. They would not have you to stir forth to-day.
Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.

Cæs. The gods do this in shame of cowardice;
Cæsar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Cæsar shall not. Danger knows full well,
That Cæsar is more dangerous than he.
We were two lions littered in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible;
And Cæsar shall

go

forth. Cal.

Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Do not go forth to-day. Call it my fear,
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We'll send Mark Antony to the senate-house ;
And he shall say you are not well to-day.
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

Cæs. Mark Antony shall say I am not well;
And, for thy humor, I will stay at home.

Poison of supposed Prophecies, 1583, says, “Next to the shadows and pretences of experience (which have been met with all at large), they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow (for the most part) after bluzing starres ; as if they were the summonses of God to call princes to the seat of judgment. The surest way to shake their painted bulwarkes of experience is, by making plaine that neither princes always dye when comets blaze, nor comets ever (i. e. always) when princes dye." In this work is a curious anecdote of queen Elizabeth, “then lying at Richmond, being dissuaded from looking on a comet; with a courage equal to the greatness of her state, she caused the windowe to be sette open, and said, Jacta est alea—the dice are thrown.”

| The old copy reads, “ We heare,” &c. The emendation was made by Theobald. Upton proposed to read, “ We are," &c.

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