Page images
PDF
EPUB

What villain touched his body, that did stab,
And not for justice? What, shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers — shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes ?
And sell the mighty space of our large honors
For so much trash, as may be grasped thus ?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.

Cas. Brutus, bay not me;
I'll not endure it; you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.

Bru. Go to; you are not, Cassius.
Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.

Cas. Urge me no more; I shall forget myselt;
Have inind upon your health, — tempt me no further.

Bru. Away, slight man!
Cas. Is't possible?

Bru. Hear me, for I will speak. -
Must I give way and room to your rash choler ?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?

Cas. Must I endure all this?

Bru. All this? Ay, more. Fret till your proud heart break; Go, show your slaves, how choleric you are, And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge ? Must I observe you ? must I stand and crouch Under your testy humor? You shall digest the venom of your spleen, Though it do split you; for, from this day forth, I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter, Wien you are waspish.

Cas. Is it come to this?

Bru. You say, you are a better soldier ; Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,

And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.

Cas. You wrong me every way — you wrong me, Brutus;
I said, an elder soldier; not a better.
Did I say better?

Bru. If you did, I care not.
Cas. When Cæsar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
Bru. Peace, peace; you durst not so have tempted him.
Cas. I durst not ?
Bru. No.
Cas. What, durst not tempt him ?
Bru. For your life you durst not.

Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love;
I may do what I shall be sorry for.

Bru. You have done that you should be sorry for.
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am armed so strong in honesty,
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me;
For I can raise no money by vile means.
I had rather coin my heart,
And drop.my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,
By any indirection. I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me; was that done like Cassius? . .
Should I have answered Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbalts,
Dash him in pieces !

Cas. I denied you not.
Bru. You did.

Cas. I did not; -- he was but a fool
That brought my answer back.— Brutus hath rived my heart,

A friend should bear a friend's infirmities;
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.

Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.
Cas. You love me nol.
Bru. I do not like your faults.
Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.

Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.

Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come.!
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is a-weary of the world;
Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother ;
Checked like a bondman; all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book, learned, and conned by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes ! — There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast — within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold;
If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth.
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart;
Strike, as thou didst at Cæsar; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov'dst him better
Than ever thou lov’dst Cassius.

Bru. Sheathe your dagger;
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope
Do what you will, dishonor shall be humor.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,
That carries anger, as a flint bears fire ;
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.

Cas. Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief and blood ill-tempered vexeth him?

Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Bru. And my heart too.
Cas. O Brutus !

Bru. What's the matter ?

Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me,
When that rash humor, which my mother gave me,
Makes me forgetful?

Bru. Yes, Cassius, and from henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He'll think your mother chides, and leare you so.

SHAKSPEARE,

77. Pen, Ink, and Paper.

There was little in my inkstand, and nothing in my head, when I sat down, with a fair sheet of Bath-post before me, to write an essay for a lady's portfolio. At first, with a degree of self-complacency, which, perhaps, none but an author in favor can feel, I contemplated the blank under my eye, which was to be enlivened by my wit, or enriched with my eloquence.

As I mended my pen to begin, thought I, “ The wisest men on earth could not anticipate what I shall do here, nor the shrewdest guess the subject which will speedily adorn these pages; for I myself am not yet in the secret, nor do I know what I am going to write.” This reflection startled me, and “What will it be?" came with such importunity into my mind, that I could not help replying, “ What, indeed!” There was silence among my thoughts — a deadwhite silence; and though I called them, — called them repeatedly and earnestly, as if I were a drowning man, to come to my assistance, - not one would move or speak.

I looked with consternation around, but saw nothing except pen, ink, and paper; nay, do what I would, I could make no more of them; pen, ink, and paper they were, and remained. Every moment increased my perplexity, for whatever might be their good-will, or their occult capabilities, they could do nothing for me of themselves; the pen could not go to the ink, the ink could not come to the paper, the paper could not pour forth ideas and array itself with words, as the earth in spring throws out verdure and powers froni its bosom, spontaneously spreading beauty and fertility where all had been waste and barren before.

Alas! my immaculate sheet lay in view, like an untrodden wilderness of snow, which I must cross, without a bush, or a knoll, or a single inequality on the surface, to guide my course, or awaken one pleasing association amidst the dreary monotony of the scene. And truly, if it had been what it so chillingly resembled, — the very sight of it freezing my blood, — I felt just then as though I would rather have been “the man perishing amidst the snow,” in immortality of verse, than the living being that I was, by a comfortable fireside, with no perils to fear beyond such as I might encounter at a mahogany writing-desk, in traversing with my finger-ends a few sheets of cream-colored paper.

To consummate my misery, I recollected that one of my fair friend's correspondents, being in a similar dilemma, though not, as in my case, from the folly of self-confidence, had the felicity to fall asleep, and dream so entertainingly, that I only wondered how he could find in his heart to awake, unless it was for the pleasure of telling his dream. But, though fervently invoked, Apollo in no shape, and least of all in the shape of Morpheus, would come to my relief; nor could I dream of sleeping in such distress, for had I slept, whatever might have been my visions, pen, ink, and paper, would have haunted me; and I knew that, when I awoke, I should find nothing before me but pen, ink, and paper still.

Again, with a feeling too forlorn to be remembered without a relapse of it, I took up my pen: the ink bad already dried

Spontaneously, of one's own internal or native feeling, of one's own accord, by its owr; force or energy, without the impulse of a foreign cause ly, 110. - Immaculate, spotless, pure, unstained, without a blemish: im, 33; ate, 76. - Monotony, figuratively-an irksome sameness or want of variety. - Apollo, the god of archery, music, prophecy, and poetry. Morpheus, the god of sleep, and also of dreams,

« PreviousContinue »