The Works of William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar

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JULIUS CAESAR ACT I SCENE I

SCENE

Rome. A street.

 

Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain Commoners.

FLAVIUS

Hence, home, you idle creatures, get you home.

Is this a holiday? What, know you not,

Being mechanical, you ought not walk

Upon a laboring day without the sign

Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?

FIRST COMMONER

Why, sir, a carpenter.

MARULLUS

Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?

What dost thou with thy best apparel on?

You, sir, what trade are you?

SECOND COMMONER

Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am

but, as you would say, a cobbler.

MARULLUS

But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

SECOND COMMONER

A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe

conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

MARULLUS

What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?

SECOND COMMONER

Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet,

if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

MARULLUS

What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow!

SECOND COMMONER

Why, sir, cobble you.

FLAVIUS

Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

SECOND COMMONER

Truly, Sir, all that I live by is with the awl; I

meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl.

I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in

great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon

neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork.

FLAVIUS

But wherefore art not in thy shop today?

Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

SECOND COMMONER

Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself

into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar

and to rejoice in his triumph.

MARULLUS

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!

O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day with patient expectation

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.

And when you saw his chariot but appear,

Have you not made an universal shout

That Tiber trembled underneath her banks

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?

Be gone!

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

That needs must light on this ingratitude.

FLAVIUS

Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,

Assemble all the poor men of your sort,

Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears

Into the channel, till the lowest stream

Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

Exeunt all Commoners.

See whether their basest metal be not moved;

They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

Go you down that way towards the Capitol;

This way will I. Disrobe the images

If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.

MARULLUS

May we do so?

You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

FLAVIUS

It is no matter; let no images

Be hung with Caesar's trophies. I'll about

And drive away the vulgar from the streets;

So do you too, where you perceive them thick.

These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,

Who else would soar above the view of men

And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

Exeunt.

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