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CASSIUS
I have as much of this in art as you,
But yet my nature could not bear it so.
CASSIUS
I’ve practiced Stoicism with as much devotion as you, but I still couldn’t bear this news like you do.


BRUTUS
Well, to our work alive. What do you think
Of marching to Philippi presently?
BRUTUS
Well, let’s move on to our work with the living. What do you think of marching to Philippi immediately?

CASSIUS
I do not think it good.
CASSIUS
I don’t think it’s a good idea.

BRUTUS
    Your reason?
BRUTUS
Why not?


205


CASSIUS
     This it is:
'Tis better that the enemy seek us.
So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
Doing himself offense, whilst we, lying still,
Are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
CASSIUS
Here’s why: it’d be better for the enemy to come after us. That way, he’ll waste his provisions and tire out his soldiers, weakening his own capacities, while we, lying still, are rested, energetic, and nimble.


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BRUTUS
Good reasons must of force give place to better.
The people ’twixt Philippi and this ground
Do stand but in a forced affection,
For they have grudged us contribution.
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refreshed, new-added, and encouraged,
From which advantage shall we cut him off
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.
BRUTUS
Your reasons are good, but I have better reasons for doing the opposite. The people who live between here and Philippi are loyal to us only because we force them to be. We made them contribute to our efforts against their will. The enemy, marching past them, will add them to its numbers, then come at us refreshed, newly reinforced, and full of courage. Thus we must cut him off from this advantage. If we meet him at Philippi, these people will be at our backs.

CASSIUS
    Hear me, good brother—
CASSIUS
Listen to me, good brother.


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BRUTUS
Under your pardon. You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe.
The enemy increaseth every day.
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures.
BRUTUS
Begging your pardon, I’ll continue what I was saying. You must also take into account that we’ve gotten as much from our friends as they can give. Our regiments are full to the brim; our cause is ready.
The enemy gets larger each day. We, now at our largest, can only decrease. There’s a tidal movement in men’s affairs. Seizing the highest tide leads on to fortune. If high tide is let to pass, all the rest of the voyage of their lives will be marked by difficulty and misery. It’s on such a high tide that we’re now floating, and we must take the current when it is offered, or lose our campaign.

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Julius Caesar (No Fear Shakespeare)