Friend, Roman, Countryman, lend me your hand.
I come not to bury you, but in honesty and faith.
How long has it been since we met in the field at Philippi?
No, not met, for I did not see you there alive.
Did you know I buried you? I insisted it be done in state,
For such is the esteem I hold you in, dear Brutus.
Come, let us be enemies no longer in this strange place.
So many faces have I seen here strange to me.
Such names, as Mercutio, and Iago, and Goneril.
A host there was praised the deeds of some Fifth Henry
And lamented the weakness of a Sixth.
One man I met, a madman, claimed to be Emperor of Rome,
One “Saturnine”—have you heard such foolishness?
Like a King, only greater—can one man rule Rome?
Yet perhaps, at my passing, Octavian did it.
But say, my honorable Brutus, how have you fared?
These nine years in Elysium, have you found comfort?
Nay, Antony, mock me not so. No such years have passed!
Days, maybe, that I have wandered these troubling shores.
No doubt that Octavian made quick work of you—
I know thou canst not boast of nine years without me.
I’ll call my comrades in arms to witness,
If ever yet I find them more. But speak you true?
As true as the blades that pierced that purple robe i’th’Senate.
Hold thy tongue, for I have substance yet enough,
I warrant, in this place, to rip it out.
How can nine years pass so without notice?
Are clocks such baseless things? Such rude mechanicals?
There’s strange play afoot here. Mark you,
There is politicking about, as that dread Henry
Seems to be on the move…
Can there be power after death? Ah, woe’s the Gods.
I’ve seen no Gods here yet.
No Gods? Are we not, then, Gods ourselves,
That we live on after dying?
What hubris, this?
Will not men walk on Earth as Gods?
Is not that Roman policy, since Caesar’s triumph?
Still that self-same insolence, ingratitude—
And wilt thou slay me now again?
No, gentle Brutus. You’ve offered only words now.
Our slates are clean, no need to wash them with our bloods.
Yet there’s thy sword, all bared. Why bear it?
There may be bears yet in these woods.
And if there’s one, I’ll wear it.