Tag Archives: Julius Caesar

“Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.”

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
‘Twas 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-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey’s statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d 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 Caesar’s vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.

—  Marc Antony, in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

 

Roman male portrait bust, so-called Marcus Antonius. Fine-grained yellowish marble. Flavian age (69—96 A.D.). Rome, Vatican Museums, Chiaramonti Museum.

Roman male portrait bust of Marcus Antonius. Fine-grained yellowish marble. Flavian age (69—96 A.D.).

“Friends, Americans, countrymen — lend me your fears.”

Friends, Americans, countrymen — lend me your fears.
I come to divide the nation, not lead it.
The evil that I tweet will live after me;
the truth will be twisted by nationalist drones.
So let it be with America.
My critics say I am dangerous
— is that so grievous a fault?

America, you have enabled me.
Obama; Bush; Bush, Sr.;
and Clinton were honorable men,
Despite their various differences,
all honorable men.
But I’ll make America chaos,
subservient only to me.

My critics say I am dangerous,
and my critics are honorable men.
But did they entertain at great rallies,
where hatred made your heart full?
Is it this that seems dangerous?
When all are are divided, no Union is left;
Nations should be made of sterner stuff.

Oh America, thou art ruled by brutish beasts!
For you have lost your reason!—Bear with me;
My prescription bottle is in my pocket,
And I must pause to tweak.

~ Trumpus Antonius

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2020

 

Donald_Trump_(27150816364)

Photo credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49611649

“Beware the Ides of March.”

Soothsayer: Caesar!

Caesar: Ha! who calls?

Casca: Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Caesar: Set him before me; let me see his face.

Cassius: Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

Caesar: What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

 

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Damian Lewis as Antony in “Julius Caesar”

This was one of the “Shakespeare Solos” series that The Guardian produced last year on the 400th Anniversary of his death.  It’s damn good.

The series also features David Morrissey and Ralph Fiennes doing monologues.

 

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”

Today is the Ides of March.

I suppose that Marc Antony’s speech from “Julius Caesar,” below, is the Western World’s definitive treatise on sarcasm?

I haven’t read it in its entirety since 10th grade English at Longwood High School.  In doing so now, I’m surprised at how many pop cultural references to it spring to mind:

  1.  The entire speech is beautifully riffed by the eponymous blade-wielding arch-villain in Matt Wagner’s incredible “Grendel: Devil by the Deed” (1993) as follows: “Friends, Romans, city folk — listen to me or I’ll lop off off your ears.  Let’s bury your Caesar and then let’s appraise him.”
  2. I’m guessing that Charles Bronson’s “The Evil That Men Do” (1984) is a reference to the third line?
  3. In at least one episode of “The X Files” in the 1990’s, the Well-Manicured Man angrily refers to the traitorous Syndicate as “these honorable men.”
  4. In one of his later novels (2002’s “The Bear and the Dragon,” maybe?) Tom Clancy describes a pregnant Chinese factory worker as being “made of sterner stuff.”  (I can’t remember which book, but for some strange reason I can remember that line.  Weird.)

 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable 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 honourable 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 Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

 

— from William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”

 

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