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And Bratus is an honorable man!
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.
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! Bear with me:
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar;
And I must pause till it come back to me.
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 disposed 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!
But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar,
I found it in his closet, - 't is 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!
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:
'T was 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-belovéd Brutus stabbed
And, as he plucked his curséd steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar followed it!
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knocked, or no!
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
Judge, O ye Gods, how dearly Cæsar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all!
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquished him. Then burst his mighty heart
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue,
Which all the while ran blood! great Cæsar fell'
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us, fell down;
Whilst bloody treason flourished 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, marred, as you see, by traitors!
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 are wise and honorable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
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,
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the 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 Caesar's wounds,-poor, poor, dumb moitla
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!
27. MOLOCHI TO THE FALLEN ANGELS. — Milton.
My sentence is for open war of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now,
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit lingering here
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of His tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No, let us rather choose,
Armed with hell-flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise
Of His almighty engine He shall hear
Infernal thunder; and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among His angels; and His Throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult and steep, to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce Foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sank thus low? The ascent is easy, then:
The event is feared: should we again provoke
Our Stronger, some worse way
To our destruction; if there be in hell
What can be worse
Fear to be worse destroyed.
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned,
In this abhorred deep, to utter woe,
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of His anger, when the scourge
Inexorable and the torturing hour
Call us to penance? More destroyed than thus,
We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we, then? What doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential, happier far,
Than miserable to have eternal being;-
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst,
On this side nothing: and by proof we fee
Our power sufficient to disturb His Heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, His fatal Throne:
Which, if not victory is yet revenge.
28. BELIAL'S ADDRESS, OPPOSING WAR. — Milton
I SHOULD be much for open war, O Peers, As not behind in hate, if what was urged, Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success; When he, who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels, and in what excels, Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge! First, what revenge?-The towers of Heaven are filled With arméd watch, that render all access Impregnable: oft on the bordering deep Encamp their legions: or, with obscure wing, Scout far and wide into the realm of night, Scorning surprise. - Or, could we break our way By force, and, at our heels, all hell should rise, With blackest insurrection, to confound Heaven's purest light; yet our great Enemy, All incorruptible, would, on His throne, Sit unpolluted; and the ethereal mould, Incapable of stain, would soon expel Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope Is flat despair: we must exasperate The Almighty Victor to spend all His rage, And that must end us; that must be our cure, To be no more. -Sad cure! - for who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through eternity,To perish rather, swallowed up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry Foe Can give it, or will ever? How He can, Is doubtful; that He never will, is sure. Will He, so wise, let loose at once His ire, Belike through impotence, or unaware, To give His enemies their wish, and end Them in His anger, whom His anger sav To punish endless? - "Wherefore cease we, then? Say they, who counsel war: we are decreed, Reserved, and destined to eternal woe: Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse?" Is this, then, worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms 2
What! when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? this hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds! or when we lay
Chained on the burning lake? that sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into seven-fold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? what, if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads? while we, perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and
Of racking whirlwinds; or forever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapped in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end?- this would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades.
29. THE DEATH OF LEONIDAS.-Rev. George Croly.
Ir was the wild midnight, -a storm was in the sky,
The lightning gave its light, and the thunder echoed by;
The torrent swept the glen, the occan lashed the shore,-
Then rose the Spartan men, to make their bed in gore!
Swift from the deluged ground, three hundred took the shield
Then, silent, gathered round the leader of the field.
He spoke no warrior-word, he bade no trumpet blow;
But the signal thunder roared, and they rushed upon the foe.
The fiery element, showed, with one mighty gleam,
Rampart and flag and tent, like the spectres of a dream.
All up the mountain side, all down the woody vale,
Al. by the rolling tide, waved the Persian banners pale.
And King Leonidas, among the slumbering band,
Sprang foremost from the pass, like the lightning's living brand
Then double darkness fell, and the forest ceased to moan,
But there came a clash of steel, and a distant dying groan.
Anon, a trumpet blew, and a fiery sheet burst high,
That o'er the midnight threw a blood-red canopy.
A host glared on the hill; a host glared by the bay;
But the Greeks rushed onward still like leopards in their play