Cassius is deeply envious of Caesar’s power and popularity in Rome.
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 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
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
Shakespeare, William, Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2, ll. 92-120
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