Act IV - Scene II

Camp near Sardis. Before Brutus' tent.]

Drum Enter Brutus, Lucilius, [Lucius] and the Army; Titinius and Pindarus meet them.

Stand, ho!
Give the word, ho, and stand.
What now, Lucilius, is Cassius near?
He is at hand, and Pindarus is come
To do you salutation from his master.(5)
He greets me well. Your master, Pindarus,
In his own change, or by ill officers,
Hath given me some worthy cause to wish
Things done undone; but if he be at hand,
I shall be satisfied.(10)
I do not doubt
But that my noble master will appear
Such as he is, full of regard and honor.
He is not doubted. A word, Lucilius,
How he received you. Let me be resolved.(15)
With courtesy and with respect enough,
But not with such familiar instances,
Nor with such free and friendly conference,
As he hath used of old.
Thou hast described(20)
A hot friend cooling. Ever note, Lucilius,
When love begins to sicken and decay
It useth an enforced ceremony.
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith;
But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,(25)
Make gallant show and promise of their mettle;
But when they should endure the bloody spur,
They fall their crests and like deceitful jades
Sink in the trial. Comes his army on?
They mean his night in Sardis to be quarter'd;(30)
The greater part, the horse in general,
Are come with Cassius.

Low march within.

Hark, he is arrived.
March gently on to meet him.

Enter Cassius and his powers.

Stand, ho!
Stand, ho! Speak the word along.(35)
Most noble brother, you have done me wrong.
Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies?(40)
And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother?
Brutus, this sober form of yours hides wrongs,
And when you do them—
Cassius, be content,
Speak your griefs softly, I do know you well.(45)
Before the eyes of both our armies here,
Which should perceive nothing but love from us,
Let us not wrangle. Bid them move away;
Then in my tent, Cassius, enlarge your griefs,
And I will give you audience.(50)
Bid our commanders lead their charges off
A little from this ground.
Lucilius, do you the like, and let no man
Come to our tent till we have done our conference.(55)
Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door.

Exeunt [all but] Brutus and Cassius


  1. Brutus’s rhetorical question drips with irony. In the wake of Brutus’s murderous treatment of Caesar, whom he had also considered a brother, these words offer no reassurance.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. In these lines, Brutus calls Cassius’s character into question. Where Cassius had once posed as the ringleader of the assassination, Brutus detects his co-conspirator’s confidence and commitment to the cause shrinking in the aftermath of the violence. It is likely that Brutus is projecting his own “cooling” commitment onto Cassius.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Now in retreat from the Roman public, Brutus appears to express some regret over “things done”—the murder of Caesar. Although Brutus has risen to the position of leader in the assassination, his words here suggest a return to his initial position of doubt about the overthrow.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Shakespeare is creating the illusion that there are two large armies assembled just offstage. 

    — William Delaney
  5. Shakespeare creates the impression that there are two huge armies assembled with a number of officers in their forefront. But he wants to write a scene in which Brutus and Cassius have a violent argument in complete privacy. Therefore, Shakespeare has Brutus tell Cassius that they should not "wrangle" publicly but should have the armies withdraw while they meet in his tent.

    Shakespeare liked to write scenes in which there are only two contrasting characters who are usually quarreling. These are the easiest for a writer to handle. Another example is the meeting between Hamlet and his mother in Act 3. Scene 4 of that play.

    — William Delaney
  6. In this context, "ill officers" refers to the actions happening either through Pandarus's own intention or through others' representation of him.

    — Owl Eyes Reader