Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Julius Caesar: Act 1, Scene 2

           Enter CAESAR, ANTONY for the course,
for the course: in the traditional Lupercalia garb of the two runners of a ceremonial course. >>>

           [a great crowd of commoners following,
           among them] a Soothsayer; after them
after them: not with them. Murellus and Flavius, as we saw in the previous scene, tried to prevent commoners from joining the crowd around Caear, but it's too late.

           MURELLUS and FLAVIUS.

Louis Calhern as Julius Caesar, Marlon Brando as Mark Antony, and Greer Garson as Calpurnia. 1953.
  1   Calpurnia!

                      Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.


  2   Here, my lord.

  3   Stand you directly in Antonius' way,
  4   When he doth run his course. Antonius!

  5   Caesar, my lord?

  6   Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
  7   To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
6-7. Forget not to . . . Touch Calpurnia: The Lupercal runners carried thongs of goatskin with which they struck those along the course; this was supposed to make men virile and women fertile.

  8   The barren, touched in this holy chase,
  9   Shake off their sterile curse.

  9                                           I shall remember:
 10   When Caesar says 'do this,' it is perform'd.

 11   Set on; and leave no ceremony out.
11. Set on: get on with it.

 12   Caesar!

 13   Ha! who calls?

 14   Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

 15   Who is it in the press that calls on me?
15. press: thick crowd.

 16   I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
 17   Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

 18   Beware the ides of March.
18. ides: the middle of a month.

Louis Calhern as Julius Caesar;Richard Hale as the Soothsayer. 1953.
Louis Calhern as Julius Caesar; Richard Hale as the Soothsayer. 1953.

                                                What man is that?

 19   A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

 20   Set him before me; let me see his face.

 21   Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

 22   What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

 23   Beware the ides of March.

 24   He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.
24. pass: let's go.

           Sennet. Exeunt. Manent BRUTUS
Sennet: trumpet call to announce the arrival or departure of a V.I.P.  Manent: remain behind.

           and CASSIUS.

 25   Will you go see the order of the course?
25. the order of the course: how the race goes.

 26   Not I.

 27   I pray you, do.

 28   I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
 29   Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
29. quick: lively.

 30   Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
30. hinder . . . your desires: keep you from doing what you want to do.

 31   I'll leave you.

 32   Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
 33   I have not from your eyes that gentleness
 34   And show of love as I was wont to have:
34. show of love: signs of friendship.  wont: accustomed.

 35   You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
 36   Over your friend that loves you.
35-36. You bear . . . your friend: i.e., Your treatment of me is high-handed. >>>

 36                                                       Cassius,
 37   Be not deceived: if I have veil'd my look,
37. veil'd my look: avoided eye contact.

 38   I turn the trouble of my countenance
38. the trouble of my countenance: troubled looks.

 39   Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
39. Merely: only, entirely.

 40   Of late with passions of some difference,
40. passions of some difference: conflicting emotions.

 41   Conceptions only proper to myself,
41. only proper to myself: only relating to myself.

 42   Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviors;
42. give some soil: dirty, stain.

 43   But let not therefore my good friends be grieved—
 44   Among which number, Cassius, be you one—
 45   Nor construe any further my neglect,
45. construe: interpret.

 46   Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
 47   Forgets the shows of love to other men.

 48   Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion;
 49   By means whereof this breast of mine hath buried
 50   Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
49-50. By means . . . value: i.e., because of my misunderstanding about what was bothering you I have hidden thoughts of great value.

 51   Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?

 52   No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself,
 53   But by reflection, by some other things.

 54   'Tis just:
54. 'Tis just: i.e., that's exactly right.

 55   And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
 56   That you have no such mirrors as will turn
 57   Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
56-57. as will turn / Your hidden worthiness into your eye: i.e., which will let you see your own hidden worth.

 58   That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
58. shadow: image.

 59   Where many of the best respect in Rome,
59. best respect: highest reputation.

 60   Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus
60. immortal Caesar: Cassius is being sarcastic, but Caesar did become immortal. After his assassination his supporters forced the Senate to officially deify him. Previously the only ruler to be deified was Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome.

 61   And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
 62   Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.

 63   Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
 64   That you would have me seek into myself
 65   For that which is not in me?

 66   Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear:
 67   And since you know you cannot see yourself
 68   So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
68. glass: mirror.

 69   Will modestly discover to yourself
69. modestly: without exaggeration.  discover: reveal.

 70   That of yourself which you yet know not of.
 71   And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:
71. jealous on me: suspicious of me.

 72   Were I a common laugher, or did use
72. common laugher: run-of-the-mill joker.

 73   To stale with ordinary oaths my love
 74   To every new protester; if you know
72-74. did use . . . protester: habitually cheapened my friendship by making clichéd vows of camaraderie to every new buddy.

 75   That I do fawn on men and hug them hard
 76   And after scandal them, or if you know
76. scandal: slander.

 77   That I profess myself in banqueting
77. profess myself: make vows of friendship.

 78   To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.
78. rout: mob.

           Flourish and shout.
Flourish: trumpet call.

"What means this shouting?"
Illustrator: Kenny Meadows.

 79   What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
 80   Choose Caesar for their king.

 80                                                 Ay, do you fear it?
 81   Then must I think you would not have it so.

 82   I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well.
 83   But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
 84   What is it that you would impart to me?
 85   If it be aught toward the general good,
 86   Set honour in one eye and death i' the other,
 87   And I will look on both indifferently,
87. indifferently: impartially.

 88   For let the gods so speed me as I love
88. speed me: enable me to prosper.

 89   The name of honour more than I fear death.

 90   I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
 91   As well as I do know your outward favour.
91. favour: face, appearance.

 92   Well, honour is the subject of my story.
 93   I cannot tell what you and other men
 94   Think of this life; but, for my single self,
 95   I had as lief not be as live to be
95. I had as lief not be: i.e., I would rather not live.

 96   In awe of such a thing as I myself.
96. such a thing as I myself: i.e., someone no better than myself.

 97   I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
 98   We both have fed as well, and we can both
 99   Endure the winter's cold as well as he:
100   For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
101   The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
102   Caesar said to me 'Darest thou, Cassius, now
103   Leap in with me into this angry flood,
104   And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
104. Upon the word: as soon as he said that.

105   Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
105. Accoutred: equipped, dressed (probably in armor).

106   And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
106. bade him follow: invited him to follow my example.

107   The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
107. buffet it: attack it.

108   With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
109   And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
109. stemming . . . controversy: beating it back with our hearts fired up by the challenge.

110   But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
110. arrive the point proposed: reach the promontory Caesar had proposed as their goal.

111   Caesar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
112   I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
112. Aeneas: The legendary father of the Roman people.

113   Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
114   The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
114. Anchises: The father of Aeneas.  >>>

115   Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
115. Did I: i.e., I carried Caesar on my back.

116   Is now become a god, and Cassius is
117   A wretched creature and must bend his body,
118   If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
119   He had a fever when he was in Spain,
120   And when the fit was on him, I did mark
121   How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake;
122   His coward lips did from their colour fly,
122. His coward lips did from their colour fly: Literally, his lips lost their color. Metaphorically, his lips deserted their flag.

123   And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
123. bend: glance.

124   Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
124. his lustre: its lustre.

125   Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
126   Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
126. Mark him: Listen and learn from him.

127   Alas, it cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,'
127. Titinius: Later in the play we see that Titinius is an aide-de-camp to Cassius.

128   As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
129   A man of such a feeble temper should
129. temper: constitution.

130   So get the start of the majestic world
130. get the start of: get a jump on, get an advantage over.

131   And bear the palm alone.
131. the palm: the palm branch, as a symbol of victory and ensuing peace.

           Shout. Flourish

132   Another general shout!
133   I do believe that these applauses are
134   For some new honours that are heap'd on Caesar.

135   Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
136   Like a Colossus, and we petty men
the Colossus of Rhodes.136. Colossus: a gigantic statue that was thought to stand astride the entrance to the harbor at Rhodes.

137   Walk under his huge legs and peep about
138   To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
139   Men at some time are masters of their fates:
140   The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
141   But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
142   Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 'Caesar'?
143   Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
144   Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
145   Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
146   Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
146. conjure: to call upon a spirit to appear, by means of a magic ritual.

147   Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
147. start: cause to appear.

148   Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
149   Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
150   That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
151   Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
151. lost . . . bloods: lost the ability to breed noble families.

152   When went there by an age, since the great flood,
152. great flood: In classical mythology, a flood which drowned everyone except one man and his wife.

153   But it was famed with more than with one man?
154   When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome,
155   That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
156   Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
156. Now . . . enough: The words "Rome" and "room" sounded alike, so this is a pun which says that since there is room in Rome for only one man, Rome is an empty room.

157   When there is in it but one only man.
158   O, you and I have heard our fathers say,
159   There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
159. There was a Brutus once: Lucius Junius Brutus. >>>

160   The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
161   As easily as a king.
159-161. There was a Brutus once . . . as a king:i.e., Once there was a Brutus that would have sooner let the Devil rule in Rome than a king.

162   That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
162. I am nothing jealous: I do not doubt.

163   What you would work me to, I have some aim:
163. What . . . aim: i.e., I have a good idea of what you are trying to work me up to doing.

164   How I have thought of this and of these times,
165   I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
166   I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
167   Be any further moved. What you have said
166-167. I would not . . . moved i.e., I do not want—I'm asking in the name of our close friendship—to hear any more about what you want me to do.

168   I will consider; what you have to say
169   I will with patience hear, and find a time
170   Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
169-170. and find . . . high things: and I will find a fitting time to hear your concerns and to make decisions about such important matters.

171   Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this:
172   Brutus had rather be a villager
173   Than to repute himself a son of Rome
174   Under these hard conditions as this time
175   Is like to lay upon us.
175. like: likely.

176   I am glad that my weak words
177   Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.

Brutus and Cassius observing Caesar.181. worthy note: noteworthy, interesting, significant.
178   The games are done and Caesar is returning.

179   As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve;
180   And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
181   What hath proceeded worthy note today.

           Enter CAESAR and his Train.

182   I will do so. But, look you, Cassius,
183   The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,
184   And all the rest look like a chidden train:
184. a chidden train: scolded followers.

185   Calpurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero
186   Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
albino ferret with red eyes186. such ferret and such fiery eyes: red and darting eyes.

187   As we have seen him in the Capitol,
188   Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
188. Being cross'd in conference: When he has been contradicted in a debate.

189   Casca will tell us what the matter is.

190   Antonius!

191   Caesar?

192   Let me have men about me that are fat;
193   Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights:
194   Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
195   He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

196   Fear him not, Caesar; he's not dangerous;
197   He is a noble Roman and well given.
197. well given: well disposed; friendly.

198   Would he were fatter! But I fear him not:
199   Yet if my name were liable to fear,
199. my name: i.e., I, myself, whose name is so great that it can never be associated with fear.

200   I do not know the man I should avoid
201   So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
201. spare: lean, skinny.

202   He is a great observer and he looks
203   Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,
202-203. he looks / Quite through the deeds of men: he sees the motives of men's deeds.

204   As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
204. hears no music: will not listen to music (and is therefore out of harmony with others).

205   Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
206   As if he mock'd himself and scorn'd his spirit
207   That could be moved to smile at any thing.
208   Such men as he be never at heart's ease
209   Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
210   And therefore are they very dangerous.
211   I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd
212   Than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.
213   Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
214   And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

           Sennet. Exeunt CAESAR and all his Train,
Sennet: A trumpet call.
Brutus pulls Casca by his cloak
Illustration by Sir John Gilbert.

           [CASCA stays behind.]

215   You pull'd me by the cloak; would you
216   speak with me?

217   Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanced today,
217. chanced: happened.

218   That Caesar looks so sad.
218. sad: serious, depressed.

219   Why, you were with him, were you not?

220   I should not then ask Casca what had chanced.

221   Why, there was a crown offered him: and being
222   offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand,
222. put it by: waved it off.

223   thus; and then the people fell a-shouting.
223. thus: Casca mimics Caesar's gesture.

Caesar refuses coronet from Antony
Caesar refuses coronet from Antony

224   What was the second noise for?

225   Why, for that too.

226   They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for?

227   Why, for that too.

228   Was the crown offered him thrice?

229   Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every
229. marry: indeed.

230   time gentler than other, and at every putting-by
231   mine honest neighbours shouted.
231. mine honest neighbours: This is Casca's contemptuous term for the commoners who love Caesar.

232   Who offered him the crown?

233   Why, Antony.

234   Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
234. the manner of it: the exact way it happened.
gentle: noble.

235   I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it:
236   it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark
236. I did not mark it: I didn't pay attention to it.

237   Antony offer him a crown;—yet 'twas not a crown
238   neither, 'twas one of these coronets;—and, as I told
238. coronets: small crown, or a garland.  >>>

239   you, he put it by once: but, for all that, to my
240   thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he
240. he would fain have had it: he really wanted it.

241   offered it to him again; then he put it by again:
242   but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his
243   fingers off it. And then he offered it the third
244   time; he put it the third time by: and still as he
245   refused it, the rabblement howted and clapped their
245. howted: hooted, cheered.

246   chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps
246. night-caps: This is Casca's sarcastic term for the commoners' caps.  >>>

247   and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because
248   Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked
249   Caesar; for he swounded and fell down at it: and
249. swounded and fell down at it: swooned fainted amd away because of the commoners' stinking breath.

250   for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of
250. durst: dared.

251   opening my lips and receiving the bad air.

252   But, soft, I pray you: what, did Caesar swound?

253   He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at
254   mouth, and was speechless.

255   'Tis very like: he hath the failing sickness.
255. like: likely.  the falling sickness: epilepsy.

256   No, Caesar hath it not; but you and I,
257   And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
255. we have the falling sickness: i.e., we are the ones who have the falling sickness because we are the ones who are falling under Caesar's power.

258   I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure,
259   Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not
260   clap him and hiss him, according as he pleased and
261   displeased them, as they use to do the players in
261. as they use to do the players: as they are used to doing to the actors.

262   the theatre, I am no true man.

263   What said he when he came unto himself?

264   Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the
265   common herd was glad he refused the crown, he
266   plucked me ope his doublet and offered them his
266. plucked . . . doublet: pulled open his jacket.  >>>

267   throat to cut. An I had been a man of any
268   occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word,
269   I would I might go to hell among the rogues. And so
267-269. An . . . rogues: if I were a man of action (instead of a slacker), and if I had not taken him at his word and killed him, I wish I would have gone to hell with the other slackers.

270   he fell. When he came to himself again, he said,
271   If he had done or said any thing amiss, he desired
272   their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three
273   or four wenches, where I stood, cried 'Alas, good
274   soul!' and forgave him with all their hearts: but
275   there's no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had
276   stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less.

277   And after that, he came, thus sad, away?
277. sad: serious, depressed.

278   Ay.


279   Did Cicero say any thing?

280   Ay, he spoke Greek.
280. he spoke Greek: Among some Romans, Greek was considered a cosmopolitan and sophisticated second language, as Latin was in Shakespeare's time.

281   To what effect?
281. To what effect?: i.e., What did he have to say? What points did he make?

282   Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the
282. an: if.

283   face again: but those that understood him smiled at
282-283. an . . . again: i.e., If I told you what Cicero said, I would be just lying and pretending that I knew Greek.

284   one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own
285   part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more
285. Greek: i.e., pompous gibberish.

286   news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs
286. scarfs: decorations.

287   off Caesar's images, are put to silence. Fare you
286. put to silence: dismissed from office. In the previous scene we saw that Marullus and Flavius, tribunes of the people, were trying to stop Caesar's rise to power. They have lost the battle.

288   well. There was more foolery yet, if I could
289   remember it.

290   Will you sup with me tonight, Casca?
290. sup: have dinner.

291   No, I am promised forth.
291. promised forth: have a previous engagement.

292   Will you dine with me tomorrow?
292. dine: have lunch.

293   Ay, if I be alive and your mind hold and your dinner
293. your mind hold: you don't change your mind.

294   worth the eating.

295   Good: I will expect you.

296   Do so. Farewell, both.


297   What a blunt fellow is this grown to be!
297. blunt: rude, careless.

298   He was quick mettle when he went to school.
298. He was quick mettle: He had a lively spirit.

299   So is he now in execution
300   Of any bold or noble enterprise,
299-300. execution / Of: carrying out.

301   However he puts on this tardy form.
301. However . . . form: however much he pretends to be sluggish and careless.

302   This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit,
302. wit: intelligence.

303   Which gives men stomach to digest his words
303. stomach: relish.

304   With better appetite.

305   And so it is. For this time I will leave you:
306   Tomorrow, if you please to speak with me,
307   I will come home to you; or, if you will,
308   Come home to me, and I will wait for you.

309   I will do so: till then, think of the world.
309. the world: i.e., great issues, such as the future of the Roman Republic.

           Exit BRUTUS.

310   Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
311   Thy honourable metal may be wrought
312   From that it is disposed: therefore it is meet
311-312. Thy . . . disposed: Your honorable character can be twisted away from its natural disposition.

313   That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
312-313. Therefore . . . likes: i.e., Therefore noble minds should associate only with other noble minds.

314   For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
315   Caesar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus:
315. doth bear me hard: holds a grudge against me.

316   If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
317   He should not humour me. I will this night,
317. humour me: persuade me, seduce me.

318   In several hands, in at his windows throw,
318. In several hands: in various handwritings.

319   As if they came from several citizens,
320   Writings all tending to the great opinion
321   That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
320-321. Writings . . . name: messages all expressing the great honor in which Rome holds his name.

322   Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at:
322. glanced at: subtly alluded to.

323   And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
324   For we will shake him, or worse days endure.
323-324. And . . . endure: And after this Caesar better make sure his position is secure, because we will shake him from power or have to endure many hard days.