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Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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Thunder and lightning. CAESAR enters, wearing a nightgown.

CAESAR

Nor heaven nor earth have been at peace tonight. Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out, “Help, ho! They murder Caesar!” —Who’s within?

CAESAR

Neither the sky nor the earth have been at peace tonight. Three times Calphurnia cried out in her sleep, “Help, help! They’re murdering Caesar!” [He hears a noise] Who’s there?

A SERVANT enters.

SERVANT

My lord.

SERVANT

My lord?

CAESAR

Go bid the priests do present sacrificeAnd bring me their opinions of success.

CAESAR

Go tell the priests to sacrifice an animal to the gods, and bring me their interpretation of the results.

SERVANT

I will, my lord.

SERVANT

I will, my lord.

The SERVANT exits.

CALPHURNIA enters.

CALPHURNIA

What mean you, Caesar? Think you to walk forth?You shall not stir out of your house today.

CALPHURNIA

What is this, Caesar? Do you think you’re going to go outside? You’re not leaving this house today.

CAESAR

Caesar shall forth. The things that threatened me Ne'er looked but on my back. When they shall see The face of Caesar, they are vanishèd.

CAESAR

I will go out. The things that threaten me have never seen anything but my back. When they see Caesar's face, they will disappear.

CALPHURNIA

Caesar, 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 whelpèd in the streets, And graves have yawned and yielded up their dead. Fierce fiery warriors fought 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 Caesar! These things are beyond all use, And I do fear them.

CALPHURNIA

Caesar, I never paid attention to omens, but now they frighten me. One of our servants told me that—in addition to the things that we have heard and seen—the night-watchmen have also seen horrid things. A lioness gave birth in the streets, and graves opened wide and let out their dead. Fierce, fiery warriors fought in the clouds in ranks and squadrons—the usual military formations—until blood drizzled down from the sky onto the Capitol. The noise of battle clashed in the air, and horses neighed, and dying men groaned, and ghosts shrieked and squealed in the streets. Oh, Caesar! These things are beyond all normal experience, and I fear them.

CAESAR

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

CAESAR

Who can avoid what the gods want to happen? Still, Caesar will go out. These omens have to do with the world in general as much as they have to do with Caesar.

CALPHURNIA

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

CALPHURNIA

When beggars die, no comets appear in the sky. The heavens only light up to announce the deaths of princes.

CAESAR

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.

CAESAR

Cowards die many times before their deaths. The brave only die once. Of all the incredible things I’ve ever heard about, man's fear of death is the strangest. Death—which can’t be avoided—will come when it wishes to come.

The SERVANT enters.

CAESAR

What say the augurers?

CAESAR

What do the priests say?

SERVANT

They would not have you to stir forth today.Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,They could not find a heart within the beast.

SERVANT

They don’t want you to go out today. When they pulled out the insides of the holy sacrifice, they found no heart within the animal.

CAESAR

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

CAESAR

The gods do this to teach me to be ashamed of my cowardice. They’re saying I would be an animal without a heart if I stayed home today out of fear. So, Caesar won’t stay home, then. Danger knows very well that Caesar is more dangerous than he is. Danger and I are two lions born from the same mother on the same day, and I’m the older and fiercer one. Caesar will go out.

CALPHURNIA

Alas, my lord, Your wisdom is consumed in confidence. Do not go forth today. 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 today. [kneels] Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

CALPHURNIA

Alas, my lord, your arrogance is overwhelming your wisdom. Don’t go out today. Say that it’s my fear that keeps you inside, and not your own. We’ll send Mark Antony to the Senate, and he’ll say that you’re not feeling well today. [She kneels] Here on my knees, let me convince you.

CAESAR

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

CAESAR

Mark Antony will say I’m not well, and I will stay at home for your sake.

CALPHURNIA stands.

DECIUS enters.

CAESAR

Here’s Decius Brutus. He shall tell them so.

CAESAR

Here’s Decius Brutus. He’ll tell them that I'll stay home.

DECIUS

Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar.I come to fetch you to the senate house.

DECIUS

Hail, Caesar! Good morning, noble Caesar. I’ve come to escort you to the Senate.

CAESAR

And you are come in very happy time To bear my greeting to the senators And tell them that I will not come today. “Cannot” is false, and that I dare not, falser. I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.

CAESAR

And you’ve come at just the right time, so you can carry my greetings to the senators and tell them I won’t come today. It would be false to say that I can't—and even more false to say I don't dare to come. I simply won’t come today. Tell them that, Decius.

CALPHURNIA

Say he is sick.

CALPHURNIA

Say he’s sick.

CAESAR

Shall Caesar send a lie?Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so farTo be afraid to tell graybeards the truth? Decius, go tell them Caesar will not come.

CAESAR

Would Caesar send a lie? Have I been so victorious in battle, but am now afraid to tell the truth to some old men? Decius, go tell them that Caesar won’t come.

DECIUS

Most mighty Caesar, let me know some cause,Lest I be laughed at when I tell them so.

DECIUS

Most mighty Caesar, tell me some reason, so I won’t be laughed at when I tell them.

CAESAR

The cause is in my will. I will not come. That is enough to satisfy the senate. But for your private satisfaction, Because I love you, I will let you know. Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home. She dreamt tonight she saw my statue, Which, like a fountain with an hundred spouts, Did run pure blood. And many lusty Romans Came smiling and did bathe their hands in it. And these does she apply for warnings and portents And evils imminent, and on her knee Hath begged that I will stay at home today.

CAESAR

The reason is that's what I want to do. I’m not coming. That’s enough to satisfy the senators. But because I like you, I'll tell you for your personal satisfaction. My wife Calphurnia has asked me to stay home. She dreamed last night that she saw a statue of me, that was streaming pure blood, like a fountain with a hundred spouts. And many happy Romans came smiling and washed their hands in it. Calphurnia thinks the dreams are warnings and omens of approaching evil, and she begged me on her knees to stay home today.

DECIUS

This dream is all amiss interpreted. It was a vision fair and fortunate. Your statue spouting blood in many pipes, In which so many smiling Romans bathed, Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck Reviving blood, and that great men shall press For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance. This by Calphurnia’s dream is signified.

DECIUS

This dream has been interpreted all wrong. It was a wonderful, lucky vision. Your statue spouting fountains of blood, in which so many smiling Romans bathed, means that you will give great Rome the blood that will keep it alive. And it means that great men will beg  you to give your blood to them as signs of your approval. This is what Calphurnia’s dream means.

CAESAR

And this way have you well expounded it.

CAESAR

This is a very good interpretation.

DECIUS

I have, when you have heard what I can say. And know it now: the senate have concluded To give this day a crown to mighty Caesar. If you shall send them word you will not come, Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock Apt to be rendered for someone to say, “Break up the senate till another time When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.” If Caesar hide himself, shall they not whisper, “Lo, Caesar is afraid?” Pardon me, Caesar. For my dear, dear love To your proceeding bids me tell you this, And reason to my love is liable.

DECIUS

I will have interpreted it well, after you have heard the rest of what I have to say. The Senate has decided to give mighty Caesar a crown today. If you send them word that you won’t come, they may change their minds. Also, someone’s likely to joke, “Postpone the Senate until some other time, when Caesar’s wife has had better dreams.” If you hide yourself, won’t they whisper, “See, Caesar is afraid?” Excuse me, Caesar. My love and high hopes for your advancement makes me tell you this. My manners are less powerful than my love for you.

CAESAR

How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia!I am ashamèd I did yield to them.Give me my robe, for I will go.

CAESAR

How foolish your fears seem now, Calphurnia! I’m ashamed that I gave in to them. Give me my robe. I’m going.

BRUTUS, LIGARIUS, METELLUS, CASCA, TREBONIUS, CINNA, and PUBLIUS enter.

CAESAR

And look, where Publius is come to fetch me.

CAESAR

And look, here’s Publius, coming to get me.

PUBLIUS

Good morrow, Caesar.

PUBLIUS

Good morning, Caesar.

CAESAR

Welcome, Publius. —What, Brutus, are you stirred so early too? —Good morrow, Casca. —Caius Ligarius, Caesar was ne'er so much your enemy As that same ague which hath made you lean. —What is ’t o'clock?

CAESAR

[To PUBLIUS] Welcome, Publius. 

[To BRUTUS] What, Brutus? Are you awake this early too?

[To CASCA] Good morning, Casca.

[To LIGARIUS] Caius Ligarius, I was never your enemy as much as the disease that has made you so thin. What time is it?

BRUTUS

Caesar, ’tis strucken eight.

BRUTUS

Caesar, the clock has struck eight.

CAESAR

I thank you for your pains and courtesy.

CAESAR

I thank you for your trouble and courtesy.

ANTONY enters.

CAESAR

See, Antony, that revels long a-nights, Is notwithstanding up. —Good morrow, Antony.

CAESAR

Even Antony—who parties all night long—is awake. 

[To ANTONY] Good morning, Antony.

ANTONY

So to most noble Caesar.

ANTONY

The same to you, most noble Caesar.

CAESAR

Bid them prepare within. I am to blame to be thus waited for. —Now, Cinna. —Now, Metellus. —What, Trebonius, I have an hour’s talk in store for you. Remember that you call on me today. Be near me, that I may remember you.

CAESAR

Tell them to set up the other room for guests. It's my fault you all must wait for me. 

[To CINNA] Now, Cinna. 

[To METELLUS] Now, Metellus. 

[To TREBONIUS] Well, Trebonius, I need an hour to discuss something with you. Remember to come see me today. Stay near me so I’ll remember.

TREBONIUS

Caesar, I will. [aside] And so near will I be That your best friends shall wish I had been further.

TREBONIUS

Caesar, I will. 

[To himself] I’ll be so near that your best friends will wish I’d been further away.

CAESAR

Good friends, go in and taste some wine with me.And we, like friends, will straightway go together.

CAESAR

Good friends, come in and have some wine with me. And we will leave together right after that, like friends.

BRUTUS

[aside] That every “like” is not the same, O Caesar,The heart of Brutus earns to think upon.

BRUTUS

[To himself]  Oh Caesar, that we are only “like” friends makes my heart grieve when I think of it.

All exit.

Julius caesar
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.