Julius Caesar: A Verse Translation Cover

 

Julius Caesar: A Verse Translation

(translator)
ISBN-13 9780983637905
168 pages
Full Measure Press

 

sampler
Julius Caesar: A Verse Translation

(translator)
ISBN-13 9780983637905
190 pages
Full Measure Press

 

Brutus sees a ghost

Brutus sees a ghost

 

Beware the ides of March

 

This complete, line-by-line translation of Julius Caesar makes the language of Shakespeare's play contemporary while preserving the metrical rhythm, complexity, and poetic qualities of the original.

 

The aim is to capture both sound and sense of Shakespeare's tragedy without the need for glosses or notes—to use contemporary language without simplifying or modernizing the play in any other way.

 

Readers experience this tale of the brutal assassination of Rome's most famous leader and its aftermath with the challenge, comprehension, and delight of audiences 400 years ago—the way Shakespeare intended.

 

Read an Excerpt


Excerpt from Julius Caesar: A Verse Translation

 

from Act 3, Scene 2

 

Mark Antony delivers a eulogy for Julius Caesar

 

MARK ANTONY

Read another excerpt

Act 1, Scenes 1-2

Distinguished Romans—

PLEBEIANS

                                      Quiet, please! Let’s listen.

MARK ANTONY

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is often buried with their bones.

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Has said to you that Caesar was ambitious.

If it is so, then it’s a grievous crime,

And grievously has Caesar paid for it.

Here, by consent of Brutus and the rest,—

For Brutus is an honorable man,

As are they all, all honorable men—

I’ve come to speak at Caesar’s funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me,

But Brutus says that Caesar was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

He has brought many captives home to Rome,

Whose ransoms filled the public treasury.

Is this why he says Caesar was ambitious?

And when the poor have cried, Caesar has wept;

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Yet Brutus says that Caesar was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

You saw me at the feast of Lupercal

Present to him three times a kingly crown,

And three times he refused. Was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says that Caesar was ambitious,

And surely he’s an honorable man.

I’m not here to dispute what Brutus said,

But I am here to tell you what I know.

I know you loved him once—not without cause.

What cause prevents you now from mourning him?—

O judgment, you have fled toward brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason! [weeps]—Bear with me.

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it comes back to me.

FIRST PLEBEIAN

There seems to be some sense in what he’s saying.

SECOND PLEBEIAN

If you consider carefully this matter,

Caesar’s been greatly wronged.

THIRD PLEBEIAN

                                                     He has indeed.

I fear that something worse will take his place.

FOURTH PLEBEIAN

Did you hear that? He would not take the crown.

That means it’s certain he was not ambitious.

FIRST PLEBEIAN

If we can prove it, someone must pay dearly.

SECOND PLEBEIAN

Poor soul! His eyes are red as fire from weeping.

THIRD PLEBEIAN

There’s not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

FOURTH PLEBEIAN

Now listen. He’s about to speak again.

MARK ANTONY

Just yesterday the word of Caesar might

Have stood up to the world. Now he lies there,

The lowest now too high to show respect.

O masters, if I were inclined to stir

Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,

It might wrong Brutus and wrong Cassius,

Who, you all know, are honorable men.

I do not wish to wrong them and would choose

To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,

Before I’d wrong such honorable men.

But here’s a document with Caesar’s seal—

I found it in his study—it’s his will.

If citizens could hear his testament—

Forgive me, but I don’t intend to read it—

Then they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds,

And dip their kerchiefs in his sacred blood,

Yes, sneak a strand of hair for memory,

And, dying, mention it within their wills,

Bequeathing it as a rich legacy

Unto their offspring.

FOURTH PLEBEIAN

We want to hear it. Read it, Antony.

You must read us the will—Caesar’s will!

 

Read an excerpt from

Act 1, Scene 1-2

 

 

 

 

 

Julius Caesar and Calpurnia

Julius Caesar and Calpurnia

 

 

Praise

 

"Too often, unless we read a Shakespeare play beforehand, we process the language as if it were coming from a poorly tuned-in radio station. Shakespeare didn’t write his plays to be experienced impressionistically as ‘poetry;’ he assumed his language was readily comprehensible. At what point does a stage of a language become so different from the modern one as to make translation necessary? Mr. Richmond is brave enough to assert that, for Shakespeare, that time has come. The French have Moliere, the Russians have Chekhov—and now, we can truly say that we have our Shakespeare.”

John McWhorter,  Manhattan Institute

 

 

Brutus

Brutus