Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius,
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone!
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

6. Brutus and Cæsar; what should be in that Cæsar ?

Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure them,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.

7. Now, in the names of all the gods at once,

Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he has grown so great? Age, thou art sham’d;
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods !
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man ?
When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man ?

8. Oh! you and I have heard our fathers say

There was a Brutus, once, that would have brook'd
The infernal devil to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.

Caius Cassius, a brave Roman general, who, through envy to Julius Cæsar, headed a conspiracy against him, and aided in his assassination, caused one of his slaves to kill him, 42 years before Christ. Cassius' speech should be rhetorically given.

34. BRUTUS' ORATION ON THE DEATH OF CÆSAR.—Shakspeare

1. Romans, countrymen, and lovers ! hear me for my cause; and be silent, that ye may hear: believe me for mine honor; and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe: cen. sure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

2. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more.

3. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all freemen? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.

4. There are tears, for his love; joy, for his fortune; honor, for his valor; and death for his ambition. Who is here so base, that he would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman?. If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

5. None! Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Cæsar, than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.

6. Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony; who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this I depart; that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.

Marcus Brutus, whom Cassius made the dupe of his flattery and art, and who joined the conspiracy against Cæsar, his best and most intimate friend, after the assassination wbich occurred in the senate house, in the 56th year of Cæsar's age, and in which "he had a hand,” fell upon his own sword, and died 42 years before Christ. Cæsar's ambition was boundless; but he ought not to have "suffered death." Aside from this act of baseness and ingratitude, Brutus seems to have been an honorable Roman. The elocution of this oration, requires a low key, slow time, and long quantity. It is easy to see, that rhetorical pauses should be made, after uttering the words “Cæsar,” and “Rome," where the orator says"Not that I loved Cæsar...less, but that I loved Romé...more.”

Let the reader or declaimer imagine, that he is addressing a popular and turbulent assembly, on a solemn occasion, in the open air; and then, he can easily give voice and expression to the language of Brutus.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

35. ANTONY'S ORATION OVER CÆSAR's Body.Shakspeare. 1. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears:

I come to bury Cæsar, 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 Cæsar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you, Cæsar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Cæsar answer'd it.

2. Here, under leave of Brutus, and the rest,

(For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all; all honorable men,)
Come I to speak at Cæsar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.

3. He hath brought many captives home to Rome,

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious ?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff;
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.

4. 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 honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke;
But here I am to speak what I do know.

5. 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 I-Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

6. But yesterday, the word of Cæsar might

Have stood against the world: now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.
O masters! if I were dispos'd to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honorable men:
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself

, and you,
Than I will wrong such honorable men.
7. But here's a parchment, with the seal of Cæsar,

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 Cæsar'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.
8. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.

You all do know this mantle; I remember
The first time ever Cæsar 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 Cæsar followed it.

9. This was the most unkindest cut of all;

For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquished him; then burst his mighty incuti
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue,

Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar foil. 10. 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 Cæsar's vesture wounded ? Look

you here!
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, by traitors.
11. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up

To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed, are honorable ;
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it; they were wise and honorable,

And will, no doubt, with reason answer you. 12. 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. 13. For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,

Action, nor utterance, nor 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 Cæsar'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 Cæsar, that should move

The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny. Marcus Antony, a brave and unprincipled Roman, who, for the purpose of elevating himself to power, procured a public funeral for Cæsar, in favor of whom, the above oration which he made, so much inflamed the popu. lace against the conspirators, that they were obliged to leave the city, or fall into the hands of the other members of the triumvirate. He after wards went to Egypt, where through love to Queen Cleopatra, he termi. nated his own existence, 30 years before Christ.

The oration is highly rhetorical. A portion of it requires a high key, some parts of it a low, others, a middle key. The reader or declaimei must both understand its sentiments and feel as if they were his own He should imagine himself to be delivering a discourse at the funeral of a beloved friend who had been murdered. The pathetic portion of the speech, requires quantity, slow time, and rhetorical pauses. What is said of it

, in the chapter on Irony, particularly of the epithet, “honorable men,"

« PreviousContinue »