ACT V SCENE III

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Julius Caesar

ACT V SCENE III Another part of the field.
Alarums. Enter CASSIUS and TITINIUS.
CASSIUS O, look, Titinius, look, the villains fly!
Myself have to mine own turn’d enemy:
This ensign here of mine was turning back;
I slew the coward, and did take it from him.
TITINIUS O Cassius, Brutus gave the word too early;  5
Who, having some advantage on Octavius,
Took it too eagerly: his soldiers fell to spoil,
Whilst we by Antony are all enclosed.
Enter PINDARUS.
PINDARUS Fly further off, my lord, fly further off;
Mark Antony is in your tents, my lord  10
Fly, therefore, noble Cassius, fly far off.
CASSIUS This hill is far enough. Look, look, Titinius;
Are those my tents where I perceive the fire?
TITINIUS They are, my lord.
CASSIUS Titinius, if thou lovest me,  15
Mount thou my horse, and hide thy spurs in him,
Till he have brought thee up to yonder troops,
And here again; that I may rest assured
Whether yond troops are friend or enemy.
TITINIUS I will be here again, even with a thought.
Exit
CASSIUS Go, Pindarus, get higher on that hill;  20
My sight was ever thick; regard Titinius,
And tell me what thou notest about the field.
PINDARUS ascends the hill.
This day I breathed first: time is come round,
And where I did begin, there shall I end;
My life is run his compass. Sirrah, what news?  25
PINDARUS Above
CASSIUS What news?
PINDARUS Above
With horsemen, that make to him on the spur;
Yet he spurs on. Now they are almost on him.  30
Now, Titinius! Now some light. O, he lights too.
He’s ta’en.
Shout
And, hark! they shout for joy.
CASSIUS Come down, behold no more.
O, coward that I am, to live so long,
To see my best friend ta’en before my face!  35
PINDARUS descends.
Come hither, sirrah:
In Parthia did I take thee prisoner;
And then I swore thee, saving of thy life,
That whatsoever I did bid thee do,
Thou shouldst attempt it. Come now, keep thine oath;  40
Now be a freeman: and with this good sword,
That ran through Caesar’s bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer: here, take thou the hilts;
And, when my face is cover’d, as ’tis now,
Guide thou the sword.
PINDARUS stabs him.
Caesar, thou art revenged,  45
Even with the sword that kill’d thee.
Dies
PINDARUS So, I am free; yet would not so have been,
Durst I have done my will. O Cassius,
Far from this country Pindarus shall run,  49
Where never Roman shall take note of him.
Exit
Re-enter TITINIUS with MESSALA.
MESSALA It is but change, Titinius; for Octavius
Is overthrown by noble Brutus’ power,
As Cassius’ legions are by Antony.
TITINIUS These tidings will well comfort Cassius.
MESSALA Where did you leave him?
TITINIUS All disconsolate,  55
With Pindarus his bondman, on this hill.
MESSALA Is not that he that lies upon the ground?
TITINIUS He lies not like the living. O my heart!
MESSALA Is not that he?
TITINIUS No, this was he, Messala,
But Cassius is no more. O setting sun,  60
As in thy red rays thou dost sink to-night,
So in his red blood Cassius’ day is set;
The sun of Rome is set! Our day is gone;
Clouds, dews, and dangers come; our deeds are done!
Mistrust of my success hath done this deed.  65
MESSALA Mistrust of good success hath done this deed.
O hateful error, melancholy’s child,
Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not? O error, soon conceived,
Thou never comest unto a happy birth,  70
But kill’st the mother that engender’d thee!
TITINIUS What, Pindarus! where art thou, Pindarus?
MESSALA Seek him, Titinius, whilst I go to meet
The noble Brutus, thrusting this report
Into his ears; I may say, thrusting it;  75
For piercing steel and darts envenomed
Shall be as welcome to the ears of Brutus
As tidings of this sight.
TITINIUS Hie you, Messala,
And I will seek for Pindarus the while.
Exit MESSALA.
Why didst thou send me forth, brave Cassius?  80
Did I not meet thy friends? and did not they
Put on my brows this wreath of victory,
And bid me give it thee? Didst thou not hear their shouts?
Alas, thou hast misconstrued every thing!
But, hold thee, take this garland on thy brow;  85
Thy Brutus bid me give it thee, and I
Will do his bidding. Brutus, come apace,
And see how I regarded Caius Cassius.
By your leave, gods:–this is a Roman’s part
Come, Cassius’ sword, and find Titinius’ heart.
Kills himself.
Alarum. Re-enter MESSALA, with BRUTUS, CATO, STRATO, VOLUMNIUS, and LUCILIUS.
BRUTUS Where, where, Messala, doth his body lie?
MESSALA Lo, yonder, and Titinius mourning it.
BRUTUS Titinius’ face is upward.
CATO He is slain.
BRUTUS O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!
Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords  95
In our own proper entrails.
Low alarums.
CATO Brave Titinius!
Look, whether he have not crown’d dead Cassius!
BRUTUS Are yet two Romans living such as these?
The last of all the Romans, fare thee well!
It is impossible that ever Rome  100
Should breed thy fellow. Friends, I owe more tears
To this dead man than you shall see me pay.
I shall find time, Cassius, I shall find time.
Come, therefore, and to Thasos send his body:
His funerals shall not be in our camp,  105
Lest it discomfort us. Lucilius, come;
And come, young Cato; let us to the field.
Labeo and Flavius, set our battles on:
‘Tis three o’clock; and, Romans, yet ere night  109
We shall try fortune in a second fight.
Exeunt

Next: Julius Caesar, Act 5, Scene 4

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Explanatory Notes for Act 5, Scene 3

From Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908.

3. ‘Ensign’ was used in the Elizabethan time, as it is still, either for the flag (cf. V, i, 80) or for the bearer of it: here it is used for both at once. Cf. the form ‘ancient,’ Othello, I, i, 33. It was in killing the cowardly ensign that Cassius “to his own turn’d enemy.”

16. yonder troops: Messala and his escort coming from Brutus.

19. with a thought: quick as thought. Cf. The Tempest, IV, i, 64.

20-21. “Cassius himself was at length compelled to fly … into a little hill from whence they might see … howbeit Cassius saw nothing, for his sight was very bad.”– Plutarch,Marcus Brutus.

38. saving of thy life: when I saved thy life. The usual interpretation, but ‘saving’ may qualify ‘Thou’ in l. 40, and then the expression would mean, ‘Except for endangering thy life.’

43. hilts: Shakespeare uses both the singular and the plural form of this word to describe a single weapon, the plural more often.

46. It was a dagger, not a sword, that Cassius stabbed Cæsar with. But by a common figure of speech the same weapon is put for the same owner. The ‘sword’ is taken from Plutarch. “For he, being overcome in battle at the journey of Philippes, slew himself with the same sword with the which he strake Cæsar.”– Plutarch, Julius Cæsar.

50. “Cassius, thinking indeed that Titinius was taken of the enemies, he then spake these words: ‘Desiring too much to live, I have lived to see one of my best friends taken, for my sake, before my face.’ After that, he got into a tent where nobody was, and took Pindarus with him, one of his bondsmen whom he reserved ever for such a pinch, since the cursed battle of the Parthians, where Crassus was slain, though he notwithstanding scaped from that overthrow: but then, casting his cloak over his head, and holding out his bare neck unto Pindarus, he gave him his head to be stricken off. So the head was found severed from the body; but after that time Pindarus was never seen more.”– Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

51. change: interchange of loss and gain in the fight.

60-62. Cf. Troilus and Cressida, V, viii, 5-8.

67-69. Cassius is said to have been of a highly choleric or bilious temperament, and as such, predisposed to melancholy views of life.

90. “By-and-by they knew the horsemen that came towards them, and might see Titinius crowned with a garland of triumph, who came before with great speed unto Cassius. But when he perceived, by the cries and tears of his friends which tormented themselves, the misfortune that had chanced to his captain Cassius by mistaking, he drew out his sword, cursing himself a thousand times that he had tarried so long, and so slew himself presently in the field. Brutus in the meantime came forward still, and understood also that Cassius had been overthrown; but he knew nothing of his death till he came very near to his camp.”– Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

94-96. Brutus here strikes again, full and strong, the proper keynote of the play. The facts involved are well stated by Froude: “The murderers of Cæsar, and those who had either instigated them secretly or applauded them afterwards, were included in a proscription list, drawn by retributive justice on the model of Sulla’s. Such of them as were in Italy were immediately killed. Those in the provinces, as if with the curse of Cain upon their heads, came one by one to miserable ends. In three years the tyrannicides of the Ides of March, with their aiders and abettors, were all dead; some killed in battle, some in prison, some dying by their own hand.”

97. where: whether. So in V, iv, 30. See note, p. 7, l. 63.

104. Thasos: A large island off the coast of Thrace. “So when he was come thither, after he had lamented the death of Cassius, calling him the last of all the Romans, being unpossible that Rome should ever breed again so noble and valiant a man as he, he caused his body to be buried, and sent it to the city of Thassos, fearing lest his funerals within his camp should cause great disorder. Then he called his soldiers together, and did encourage them again.”– Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

108. Labeo and Flavius: These two men are not named among the persons of the drama, because they speak nothing. Labeo was one of the stabbers of Cæsar; and it related that when he saw that all was lost, having dug his own grave, he enfranchised a slave, and then he thrust a weapon into his hand ordering him to kill him.

109-110. Shakespeare with dramatic effectiveness represents both battles as occurring the same day. They were separated by an interval of twenty days. The ‘three o’clock’ is from Plutarch. “He suddenly caused his army to march, being past three of the clock in the afternoon.”– Marcus Brutus.

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How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908.