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We have few higher proofs than this celebrated scene presents of the wonderful creative powers of Shakespeare. It is from his tragedy of Julius Caesar. There is no historical basis, so far as we know, for the dialogue It seems to have been introduced solely for the dramatic development and contrast of the two characters, - Cassius, impulsive, hasty, unscrupulous ; Brutus, noble, unswerving in reverence for the right, outspoken and uncompromising in detestation for the wrong, - yet generous, forgiving, tender. "I know," says Coleridge, “no part of Shakespeare that more impresses on me the belief of his genius being superhuman, than this scene."


Delivery. The dialogue requires variations in the pitch from low or middle to high; of tone from pure to guttural and aspirate; of force from loud to gentle. The language of intense emotion, let it be remembered, is not always loud. A stifled tone often better conveys the idea of overpowering passion. The respective characters of Brutus and Cassius should be well considered by the reader. There should be nothing like sarcasm or irony in the angry tone of Brutus. It should be suggestive of bold and honest indignation.

Cassius. That you have wronged me doth appear in this: You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella, For taking bribes here of the Sardians; Wherein my letters (praying on his side Because I knew the man) were slighted off.

Brutus. You wronged yourself, to write in such a case.

Cas. At such a time as this, it is not meet
That every nice offense should bear its comment.

Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold,
To undeservers.

Cas. I an itching palm ?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last !

Bru. The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
And chas'tisement doth therefore hide its head.

Cas. Chas'tisement !
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March remember!

Did not great Julius bleed for justice sake ?
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 graspëd 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 're not, Cassius.
Cas. I am.
Bru. I say you are not.

Cas. Urge me no more: I shall forget myself:
Have mind 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, — When you are waspish.

Gas. 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 that 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 thunderbolts,
Dash him to 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 practice them on me.
Cas. You love me not.
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 my eyes ! — There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Elitus' 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 lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst 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 yokëd with a lamb,
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Who, much enforcëd, 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, henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He ʼll think your mother chides, and leave you so.



The following speech was delivered in the Irish Parliament, February 14th, 1800, in reply to Mr. Corry who had said that Grattan, instead of having a voice in the councils of his country, should have been standing as a culprit at her bar. A duel, in which Corry was wounded in the arm, was provoked by this severe retort from Grattan. We do not commend the spirit either of the retort or of the duel, but the former has been rarely paralleled in power since the days of Demosthenes.



Delivery. The general tone is sarcastic, vehement, scornful. Several passages that might seem to require the high pitch would be more effective in a subdued middle pitch, with moderate if not slow time, deliberate pauses, and reserved force, as if the object of the invective were too contemptible for explosive anger. In the last paragraph, however, where government is defied, high pitch and loud force are appropriate.

1. Has the gentleman done? Has he completely done? He was unparliamentary from the beginning to the end of his speech. There was scarce a word that he uttered that was not a violation of the privileges of the House. But I did not call him to order. Why? Because the limited talents of some men render it impossible for them to be severe without being unparliamentary. But before I sit down I shall show him how to be severe and parliamentary at the same time. On any other occasion, I should think myself justifiable in treating with silent contempt anything which might fall from that honorable member; but there are times when the insignificance of the accuser is lost in the magnitude of the accusation.

2. I know the difficulty the honorable gentleman labored under when he attacked me, conscious that, on a comparative view of our characters, public and private, there is nothing he could say which would injure me. The public would not believe the charge. I despise the falsehood. If such a charge were made by an honest

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