Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm,
To sell and mart your offices for gold
You are willing to take bribes and are believed to have a greed and desire for money, to sell official jobs and positions to people who aren’t fit for them.
I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speaks this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
The name of Cassius honours this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Your name protects this criminal behaviour and that’s the only reason no-one’s getting punished.
What other things are fuelling this argument for both Brutus and Cassius?
Remember March; the ides of March remember.
Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?
What villain touched his body that did stab
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes
And sell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be graspèd thus?
I had rather be a dog and bay the moon
Than such a Roman.
Did one of us murder the most powerful man in the world just to support thieves? Shall we now get our hands dirty accepting bribes and selling our titles and jobs for whatever money we can grab hold of?
Brutus, bait not me.
I’ll not endure it. You forget yourself
To hedge me in. I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Who do you think is more successful in this argument? Who do we respect more?
More experienced than you and better at giving orders.
(Text edited for rehearsals by Angus Jackson)
In some editions of the text these lines appear in Act 4 Scene 3.