I would not, Cassius. Yet I love him well.
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honor in one eye and death i' th' other,
And I will look on both indifferently,
For let the gods so speed me as I love
The name of honor more than I fear death.
I don’t, Cassius, though I love Caesar very much. But why do you keep me here so long? What do you want to tell me? If it’s for the good of all Romans, I’d do it even if it meant my death. Let the gods give me good luck only as long as I love honor more than I fear death.
I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favor.
Well, honor is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life, but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar. So were you.
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter’s cold as well as he.
For once upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me, “Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood
And swim to yonder point?” Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plungèd in
And bade him follow. So indeed he did.
The torrent roared, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried, “Help me, Cassius, or I sink!”
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
I know this quality in you, Brutus—it’s as familiar to me as your face. Indeed, honor is what I want to talk to you about. I don’t know what you and other men think of this life, but as for me, I’d rather not live at all than live to worship a man as ordinary as myself. I was born as free as Caesar. So were you. We both have eaten as well, and we can both endure the cold winter as well as he. Once, on a cold and windy day, when the river Tiber was crashing against its banks, Caesar said to me, “Cassius, I dare you to jump into this rough water with me and swim to that point there.” As soon as he spoke, though I was fully dressed, I plunged in and called for him to follow. And he did. The water roared, and we fought against it with vigorous arms. And, thanks to our fierce competitiveness, we made progress. But before we reached the end point, Caesar cried, “Help me, Cassius, or I will sink!” And just as Aeneas, the hero who founded Rome, emerged from the fires of Troy with his elderly father Anchises on his shoulder, so I emerged from the Tiber carrying the tired Caesar.