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23 Knives Against Caesar

Crime Classics

23 Knives Against Caesar

Feb 10 1954



CAST:

THOMAS HYLAND, our host

ANNOUNCER

JULIUS CAESAR

CLEOPATRA, lover

FLAVIUS, citizen

LUCCA, citizen

CASSIUS, noble

BRUTUS, noble

PHANTOM / SOOTHSAYER

CALPURNIA, wife

and various CROWDS




HYLAND: Good evening. This is "Crime Classics." I am Thomas Hyland, with another true story of crime. Listen-- The drone of lawmakers before the president of the Senate raps the gavel for silence.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, FADE IN MURMUR OF SENATORS ... THEN GAVEL RAPS TWICE


HYLAND: The year: Forty-Four, B. C. The city: Rome, conclave of the togaed and jeweled men awaiting the arrival of Caesar. And there stands Brutus, silken-clad and heavy-jawed. And there Cassius, slight of figure and hawk-like features. And there Casca -- Casca, later called Vile. Probably he didn't deserve such a name at all, for he was only one of several who held sharp daggers beneath their vestment this day: the Ides of March.


SOUND: SENATORS FALL SILENT


HYLAND: Here he comes.


SOUND: CAESAR'S STEPS APPROACH ... THEN STOP


HYLAND: Tonight, my report to you on "Twenty-Three Knives Against Caesar."


ANNOUNCER: "Crime Classics" -- a series of true-crime stories taken from the records and newspapers of every land, from every time. Your host each week, Mr. Thomas Hyland, connoisseur of crime, student of violence, and teller of murders. Now, once again, Mr. Thomas Hyland.


MUSIC: MARTIAL INTRODUCTION ... PURE PERCUSSION ... TYMPANI AND SNARE, ET CETERA


HYLAND: Julius Caesar was born in the year One Hundred and Two, B. C., and by the time he was sixteen -- the year he received the toga virilis, the symbol of manhood -- he was already an opinionated young fellow--


CAESAR: I'm a direct descendant of the goddess Venus.


HYLAND: --when anybody asked him of his ancestry. And a few years later, having been houseguest at many homes on both sides of the Appian Way--


CAESAR: To all women, I am all men.


HYLAND: Prompted to give an opinion about his prowess as a soldier--


CAESAR: The world will taste my sword.


HYLAND: About his intellect--


CAESAR: A genius. Bold strategist. Of unsurpassed valor. Godlike.


HYLAND: Which is a good time to tell you what he looked like. Suetonius has him as a man of tall stature, fair complexion, shapely limbs, somewhat full-faced, and keen black eyes. He was somewhat over-nice in the care of his person. Smoothly shaven, with superfluous hair above his eyes plucked out. He combed his hair forward -- to hide the fact of his growing baldness, a fact which disturbed him greatly.


SOUND: WATER LAPS AGAINST RIVER BARGE, IN BG


CAESAR: Cleopatra?


CLEOPATRA: (IN A ROMANTIC MOOD) Noble Caesar.


CAESAR: Twine not your fingers in my hair.


CLEOPATRA: Oh, but it is the remembered touching of you that-- (SIGH) Oh, do you have to go back to Rome?


CAESAR: Because it is the time to.


CLEOPATRA: Oh, what would be better? To float on this barge till where the Nile begins, to the heaven that lies over the edge of the world.


CAESAR: Pretty thought.


CLEOPATRA: Of a woman in love.


CAESAR: (CHUCKLES QUIETLY, SKEPTICAL) Woman. (CORRECTS HER GENTLY) Girl.


CLEOPATRA: In truth?


CAESAR: (CONCEDES) Woman.


CLEOPATRA: (LOVINGLY) Oh, Caesar--!


CAESAR: What?


CLEOPATRA: There is about you--


CAESAR: What?


CLEOPATRA: --a divine thing.


CAESAR: (AMUSED, LIGHTLY) Now girl again.


CLEOPATRA: Something godlike. Long ago-- Oh, long ago, when I first heard the name Caesar -- master of men that mastered Gaul and the unknown places beyond the seas -- and my teacher said your name and what you had done, the word came to mind: godlike.


CAESAR: (HALF-CONVINCED) Truly?


CLEOPATRA: And when you came to Egypt in pursuit of Pompey, and finding him already murdered, and the weariness and, at the same time, elation on your face, when I saw you for the first time. Oh, that word again: godlike.


CAESAR: (THOUGHTFUL) Hm. Cleopatra?


CLEOPATRA: Oh, Caesar, conqueror. Caesar, king. Divine Caesar!


CAESAR: Perhaps-- Perhaps--


CLEOPATRA: Yes?


CAESAR: When I return to Rome--


CLEOPATRA: A hero! Hero of the world!


CAESAR: --there will be talk as you have talked.


CLEOPATRA: That you are of the gods?


CAESAR: Yes.


CLEOPATRA: But now soft flows the Nile and quiet curves the moon in Egypt's sky -- and I am at the feet of my conqueror.


CAESAR: (AFFECTIONATE) Child. Queen.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... VIBES AND GENTLE PERCUSSION ... THEN DRUM ROLL AND CYMBAL CRASH


SOUND: EXPLODES INTO NOISY PARADE BACKGROUND ... CROWD HOLLERS AND CHEERS, HORSES AND PEOPLE WALK THE STREETS, ET CETERA


HYLAND: A parade in the first century, B. C. Triumphant parade! Entrance of hero! People on Roman holiday! Julius Caesar has returned to the city!


MUSIC: ACCOMPANIES THE PARADE ... UPTEMPO TYMPANI, CYMBAL, AND SNARE ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]


HYLAND: Past the Temple of Concordia! Past the House of the Vestals! Turn left under the Arch of Septimius Severus and into the Forum! Caesar has come home from Egypt! The conqueror is home again! The laurel wreath sets well upon his brow! Everything will be all right again -- Caesar will see to it. [X] And he mounts the rostrum. And the crowd hushes.


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS TO A MURMUR ... SLIGHT ECHO ON CAESAR'S VOICE AS HE ADDRESSES THE CROWD


HYLAND: And Caesar speaks.


CAESAR: I came! I saw! I conquered!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS! ... THEN QUIETS AGAIN


CAESAR: Since last I left your bosoms, Gaul -- once torn asunder by marauding and barbaric tribes -- is now united, and pays homage and tribute to all of us here!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS! ... THEN QUIETS AGAIN


CAESAR: And the civil war with Pompey is at an end! Pompey is dead in Alexandria and his legions I pursued into the desert! And I am home!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS! ... THEN QUIETS AGAIN


CAESAR: And these things I must tell you. Those veterans of my legions who wish it, will receive land and booty in the transmarine colonies!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS! ... THEN QUIETS AGAIN


CAESAR: Those among you who are without slaves may choose among the barbarians, the prisoners!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS! ... THEN QUIETS AGAIN


CAESAR: The constitution of our state will be re-explored so that you, my people, will reap its blessings and rewards -- no longer at the mercy of corruption!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS! ... THEN QUIETS AGAIN


CAESAR: These things, by divine word! These things, by the divinity which lies close to me!


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... UPTEMPO TYMPANI, CYMBAL, AND SNARE ... THEN SNARE DRUM ROLL, OUT BEHIND--


HYLAND: And this is the first time on record that Julius Caesar hinted openly of his divine potential. He didn't shout it. He just let it fall nice and easy against the ears of the Roman citizen. And, speaking of Roman citizens, I'd like you to meet a couple. The one's name is Flavius, a shopkeeper, forty-three years old.


FLAVIUS: Wife, three children. Hobbies: the Spring rituals, Greek picture stories. Ambition: to visit Greece.


HYLAND: And the second citizen is named Lucca.


LUCCA: Son of Timbor. Leather worker, forty years old. Wife, two children. Hobbies: the arena; watching all sports.


HYLAND: Just average gentlemen: family men, decent, home-loving; owning a toga for dress and one for work, and sandals to match. And friends: now and then, they were apt to meet on the street, somewhere near their respective shops.


SOUND: STREET BACKGROUND


FLAVIUS: Hail, Lucca.


LUCCA: Hail, Flavius. Where do you go?


FLAVIUS: Returning from the parade.


LUCCA: As am I. A spectacle. 


FLAVIUS: (SIGHS, IN PAIN) Yes.


LUCCA: What ails thee?


FLAVIUS: Here, where I have lifted my son Cassio on my shoulder so he could see.


LUCCA: I have seen your Cassio. He waxes with each day. 


FLAVIUS: Yeah.


LUCCA: Did you get close enough to hear Caesar?


FLAVIUS: Yes.


LUCCA: What did you think?


FLAVIUS: (UNCERTAIN GRUMBLING EXHALATION) Well--


LUCCA: I'm not sure, either. What about the slaves? Are you going to take a slave?


FLAVIUS: I've got four to feed now.


LUCCA: He's giving too much to the veterans.


FLAVIUS: Well, if it wasn't for the veterans, where would we be now?


LUCCA: Hm, I guess so. He said he was going to--


FLAVIUS: You mean about the, er, constitution? 


LUCCA: Uh huh. (CHUCKLE) You remember he came from back from Britain? He said the same thing? He came back from Gaul; the same thing? Spain, the same thing? Now Egypt, the same thing. Only a little dustier.


FLAVIUS: (CONFIDENTIALLY) Talking about Egypt--


LUCCA: Er, Cleopatra?


FLAVIUS: A friend of mine in the legion saw her.


LUCCA: Oh, really?


FLAVIUS: (SLY) He says, in Egypt, it was good to be Caesar. 


LUCCA: Uh huh.


FLAVIUS: Listen, do you want stop off at the shop? He brought back some picture stories--


LUCCA: Er, maybe. Uh, let me ask you something, Flavius.


FLAVIUS: What?


LUCCA: Did you hear what I heard?


FLAVIUS: What do you mean?


LUCCA: What Caesar said. About divinity.


FLAVIUS: Yeah, I remember he said something--


LUCCA: Divinity. You think he's trying to get us to raise temples to him?


FLAVIUS: Oh, he wouldn't!


LUCCA: I don't know. Caesar now--


FLAVIUS: Mm, maybe so. 


LUCCA: Well--


FLAVIUS: Well, I have got to get back, too. Give my love at home. Thumbs.


LUCCA: Thumbs.


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... GENTLE CHIMES AND VIBES ... THEN BEHIND HYLAND--


HYLAND: Friends gesturing each other farewell. And down this street and up a hill named Capitoline Hill and halfway down its farther side, there was a building of marble in a grove of cypress -- a building dedicated to leisure and sweating off the fat. Roman baths for the Roman nobles, highest stratum. Slaves to bring apples and towels and pills and unguents. The tier of rocks steaming and the waters of the pool warm and scented. And, sitting on edge, feet adangle, two highest stratum nobles, Brutus and Cassius, waiting for their Caesar.


SOUND: FADE IN DURING ABOVE ... ROMAN BATH BACKGROUND ... SLOSH OF WATER, ET CETERA


BRUTUS: And that's what you think, Cassius?


CASSIUS: (TENSE) It doesn't take a Sophocles to figure it out. Promise the poor what they want, promise the middle class what they want, promise the nobility what we want -- that's the kind of speech it was, Brutus. And it's a danger.


BRUTUS: Danger?


CASSIUS: Consider. He can only satisfy one group by taking away from the other. Therefore it is impossible that he keep his promise. Therefore--


BRUTUS: I don't think that's the danger at all.


CASSIUS: Oh?


BRUTUS: What's the matter with you? Weren't you listening?


CASSIUS: Of course I was.


BRUTUS: He wants to be a god.


CASSIUS: (RELIEVED) I wanted you to say it, Brutus, because you are his friend and he leans much on--


CAESAR: (CALLS, FROM OFF) Hail! Hail, Brutus!


BRUTUS: Hail, Caesar!


CAESAR: (OFF, A GREETING) Cassius.


CASSIUS: Long life to Caesar!


SOUND: CAESAR PLUNGES INTO BATH AND SPLASHES AROUND, OFF


BRUTUS: (WRY) Not so godlike, our Caesar, when he swims.


CASSIUS: (AGREES) Egypt has swelled him.


BRUTUS: They say Cleopatra--


CASSIUS: Yeeeesssss.


BRUTUS: Look at him. 


CASSIUS: Bald. 


BRUTUS: Caesar who would be god.


SOUND: CAESAR EMERGES FROM BATH, DRIPPING WET


CAESAR: Haul, slave! Take towel to me! 


SOUND: SLAVE PATS DOWN CAESAR WITH TOWEL BEHIND--


CAESAR: The dust of continents is washed from me, Brutus.


BRUTUS: How well you swim.


CAESAR: The Nile, Brutus; the Nile. What exercises it provides.


CASSIUS: Oh, ah, Caesar--?


CAESAR: Speak, Cassius, speak.


CASSIUS: Your speech of this afternoon--


CAESAR: What thought you of it?


CASSIUS: Interesting.


CAESAR: And you, Brutus?


BRUTUS: Provocative.


CAESAR: Oh? What did it provoke, Brutus?


BRUTUS: (LIGHTLY) I asked myself how it would be were I friend to a god.


CAESAR: (SERIOUS) It would be worthwhile, Brutus, I can tell you that. And I can tell you, too, Cassius.


CASSIUS: The custom of naming new gods is only for the Greeks and Orientals.


CAESAR: In Gaul, Cassius, I tamed the torrent of a river; in Britain, the torrent of a people; in Egypt, a queen's torrent -- tamed and changed. So what now is a custom that I cannot change it? Listen--


CASSIUS: (INTERRUPTS) Already there is talk that--


BRUTUS: (INTERRUPTS POINTEDLY) Caesar speaks, Cassius.


CASSIUS: (APOLOGETIC) Caesar speaks.


CAESAR: In Egypt, the people bowed down to me and burned incense.


BRUTUS: Made sacrifice?


CAESAR: In the Senate tomorrow, I shall propose the erection of a statue and Mark Antony will lay upon my brow the laurel wreath.


BRUTUS: He approaches, Caesar.


CAESAR: Who?


BRUTUS: Your poet.


CAESAR: (WARMLY) Cinna.


SOUND: CINNA'S STEPS APPROACH ... CINNA KNEELS BEFORE CAESAR


CAESAR: (WARM GREETING) Well, Cinna, Cinna, friend of my heart. Rise. Rise, Cinna, so that I may embrace thee.


SOUND: CINNA RISES ... CINNA AND CAESAR EMBRACE AND WALK OFF


CAESAR: (LOVINGLY) Dear Cinna. (MOVING OFF) How I've missed you these months and your sweet words.


BRUTUS: (WITH CONTEMPT, TO CASSIUS) Caesar. Divine Caesar.


CASSIUS: What catastrophe would be Rome's if suddenly there were no more laws, but divine commandments.


BRUTUS: It must not happen.


CASSIUS: He is your friend.


BRUTUS: Rome is my life.


CASSIUS: Brutus?


BRUTUS: Yes?


CASSIUS: There are others who speak as we do.


BRUTUS: Who?


CASSIUS: Casca. Tillius. And those who are alarmed.


BRUTUS: How do they speak?


CASSIUS: Of the death of Caesar. (BEAT) Are you with us, Brutus?


BRUTUS: I have said it. Rome is my life. Therefore death to Caesar.


CASSIUS: Death to the tyrant Caesar.


MUSIC: DRUM ACCENT ... THEN BRIEF TRANSITION ... SHAKER, WOOD BLOCK


HYLAND: And while this kind of unkindly talk was going on about him, Caesar was on the hot rocks, listening to what Cinna the poet had written for him. And liking it.


CAESAR: (CHUCKLES WARMLY, LOVINGLY) Cinna, Cinna, Cinna.


HYLAND: Saturday afternoon in the Roman baths.


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN ... PERCUSSION


ANNOUNCER: You are listening to "Crime Classics" and your host Thomas Hyland.


Tomorrow night there's laughter ahead for all who come to CBS Radio to "Meet Mr. McNutley." Ray Milland stars as Professor McNutley, a master in the classroom who is somewhat wobbly in the social whirl. You'll enjoy every minute of the occasion when you "Meet Mr. McNutley" Thursday nights on most of these same stations.


And now once again, Thomas Hyland and the second act of "Crime Classics" and his report to you on "Twenty-Three Knives Against Caesar."


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... GENTLE CHIMES, VIBES, TYMPANI ... THEN BEHIND HYLAND--


HYLAND: A refresher paragraph on ancient Rome. It may come as a shock to some, but I must tell you that the primitive city of Rome was not in the Tiber Valley at all, but on the ridges surrounding. It was not until the empire flourished that Rome spread out to take up all of the compost marshes that hugged the bend of the river opposite the Vatican Hill. The streets weren't paved until about the Second Century, B. C. The first paved street ran down the Capitoline Hill to Casa Hecate, the popular pathway that it was, and so it remains to this day. Since the city depended on wells and springs for its water supply, aqueducts were put in at an early date. And, with the most important plumbing down, they started to build the houses and the temples and the roads you've heard so much about. Yes, the Romans were there to stay.


SOUND: ROAD BACKGROUND ... CARTS, BIRDS WHISTLE, ET CETERA


LUCCA: Hail, Flavius!


FLAVIUS: Lucca? Hail, Lucca. Have a fig.


LUCCA: Well, thanks. (SWALLOWS) Mm, Smyrna.


FLAVIUS: Smyrna of the north. That is why they are so skinny.


LUCCA: (WITH CONTEMPT) Well, I've heard our Caesar eats no skinny figs.


FLAVIUS: You seem troubled.


LUCCA: Troublous times.


FLAVIUS: The stomach again, Lucca?


LUCCA: (WITH DISCOMFORT) It hurts when I place palm of hand to it, so, and press. (EXHALES IN PAIN)


FLAVIUS: Then press not.


LUCCA: Then I could not tell whether it hurt.


FLAVIUS: True, true.


LUCCA: But more vexing is my trouble.


FLAVIUS: Caesar?


LUCCA: My wife disagrees with me.


FLAVIUS: (SHRUGS) The function of a wife.


LUCCA: She thinks Caesar's a god.


FLAVIUS: Yeah, my wife also; and my eldest daughter and my son.


LUCCA: My children talk, too, of the new god who walks the Roman streets and sits in the Roman Senate and who wears the laurel crown. And they call Caesar god.


FLAVIUS: (AGREES SADLY) Troublous times.


LUCCA: How easy the times could become - not troublous.


FLAVIUS: How?


LUCCA: Accept Caesar as god.


FLAVIUS: Foolishness!


LUCCA: Is it?


FLAVIUS: How say you?


LUCCA: I've done much thinking. Since Alexander the Greek, there's been no such mortal as Caesar -- a singular human Caesar. Therefore perhaps no human. Therefore perhaps a god. Therefore--


FLAVIUS: (INTERRUPTS, DISMISSIVE) This is your wife speaking through your mouth.


LUCCA: With logic.


FLAVIUS: There are rumors.


LUCCA: What rumors?


FLAVIUS: That a statue is to be erected to Caesar while he lives and sacrifices to be brought to it.


LUCCA: Then Caesar will enter the realm, Flavius. He will be a god. I believe it better that we accept the fact. Perhaps it will be fruitful for all of us if we have a god in our midst.


FLAVIUS: As it has not been fruitful in spite of the promises Caesar has made.


LUCCA: As a mortal.


FLAVIUS: Ah, it is to ponder. In truth, it is to ponder. Have another fig.


LUCCA: Hm.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... GENTLE CHIMES AND VIBES 


CAESAR: (MELODRAMATIC ORATION) Countrymen! Beloved subjects! I behold here the statue! Well up, the tears in mine eyes! Shiver thou, my body! Be humble, my soul! And yet I cannot! For within me is a flame, and a voice in the flame, a voice that speaks and says: "This is your statue, Caesar, which they have built for you! Accept it, Caesar! Divine Caesar!" Hear me, my people?! Divine Caesar! Descended from the gods! And himself a g--!


SOUND: SCREECHING, FLAPPING FLOCK OF BIRDS ENTERS DURING ABOVE AND DROWNS OUT CAESAR ... THEN IN BG


CAESAR: (TRIES AGAIN) Descended from the gods! And himself a--!


SOUND: BIRDS CONTINUE SHRIEKING NOISILY ... THEN FADES OUT SLOWLY WITH--


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... EERIE CHIMES AND VIBES ... THEN BEHIND HYLAND--


HYLAND: Quite a phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of birds suddenly appearing in the Forum at the precise instant when Caesar was proclaiming himself a god. And they hovered and they shrieked and they beat their wings -- and Caesar could not make himself heard. And the people ran from that place because they knew it was an omen.


CAESAR: (SLIGHT ECHO OF EMPTY FORUM) Descended from the gods! And himself a god!


HYLAND: But there was no one to hear him -- for all the people had fled from that place, for they knew it was an omen.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... EERIE CHIMES AND VIBES ... SEGUES TO OMINOUS THRASHING TYMPANI ... THEN RUMBLING EERIE TYMPANI BEHIND PHANTOM-- 


SOUND: ECHO ON VOICES OF PHANTOM AND CAESAR


PHANTOM: Caesar! Take my hand, Caesar! For I am blind. For I will take you to a place so that you may wander. (BEAT) This is where we walk. A place of darkness, Caesar.


CAESAR: (LISTLESS, AS IF IN A TRANCE) No. It is bright with sunlight.


PHANTOM: Dark -- for I am blind. Lead me. Lead me. (BEAT) Caesar?


CAESAR: Yes?


PHANTOM: What else besides sunlight do you see?


CAESAR: There -- a soldier.


PHANTOM: Yes, where the corridor brightens.


CAESAR: Where it darkens.


PHANTOM: (CHUCKLES DARKLY)


CAESAR: Phantom--? Phantom, why do you laugh?


PHANTOM: Lead me to the soldier, Caesar.


SOUND: CAESAR AND PHANTOM'S ECHOING STEPS TO SOLDIER


PHANTOM: And what does the soldier hold in his hand?


CAESAR: A flame.


PHANTOM: (BEAT) And now what does he hold?


CAESAR: (UNEASY) Nothing. The flame has destroyed itself. And yet-- Yet where the soldier has held it, no scar, nor sear, nor burn.


PHANTOM: An omen, Caesar. Your passing. Your death!


CAESAR: (WITH HORROR) No!


PHANTOM: Your death! Nor will you leave a mark! A flame you are, and quickly will you die!


CAESAR: No! 


PHANTOM: Your death, Caesar! 


CAESAR: No! No! (ECHO OUT AS CAESAR SCREAMS) Ohhhhhhh--!


CALPURNIA: Caesar! Caesar, wake!


CAESAR: (GASPS, GRUNTS, AND BREATHES HEAVILY WITH FEAR ... THEN IN BG)


CALPURNIA: (WORRIED) Oh, what nightmare are you having? (NO ANSWER) Wake! Wake, Caesar!


CAESAR: (AWAKE, RECOGNIZES HER) Calpurnia. Wife.


CALPURNIA: What nightmare did you have?


CAESAR: Of death. Of my own death.


CALPURNIA: (BEAT) I dreamed it also.


CAESAR: What?


CALPURNIA: Last night. That I held you in my arms and you were slain.


CAESAR: How?


CALPURNIA: With knives!


CAESAR: The knives of whom?


CALPURNIA: Friends to you.


MUSIC: QUIET OMINOUS SHIMMER BEHIND EACH OF SOOTHSAYER'S LINES--


SOOTHSAYER: (OFF) Beware the Ides of March!


CAESAR: What was that? What voice?


SOOTHSAYER: (OFF) Beware the Ides of March!


CALPURNIA: An outside voice. List to what he says.


SOOTHSAYER: (OFF) O Caesar! Beware the Ides of March!


SOUND: CAESAR'S RUNNING STEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS


CAESAR: (URGENT) Slave! Slave! Outside there is one who cries that Caesar should beware the Ides of March! Bring him to me! Go!


SOUND: SLAVE'S RUNNING STEPS AWAY


CAESAR: (WEEPS QUIETLY WITH FEAR)


CALPURNIA: (COMFORTING) Oh, Caesar. My husband Caesar, weep not.


CAESAR: (SHUDDERS) That voice-- A voice of dread. I know it. I know it well.


CALPURNIA: How could you know it--?


CAESAR: (TEARFUL) Woman! I know it well! (QUIETLY) I know it well. For it is the voice of my troubled dreams. A voice that said to me - I would die.


CALPURNIA: Oh, but your imaginings--


CAESAR: (INSISTS) That said to me I would die. And your dream. And the birds in the Forum. And now--


SOUND: SLAVE AND SOOTHSAYER'S STEPS APPROACH


CAESAR: And now! (TO SOOTHSAYER) Voice! Voice of my dreams! Dread voice! Who are you? What are you that you say, "Caesar, beware the Ides of March"?


SOOTHSAYER: I am a soothsayer.


CAESAR: And why do you shout beneath my window?


SOOTHSAYER: O Caesar! Beware the Ides of March!


CAESAR: Why? Why?!


SOOTHSAYER: Beware tomorrow, Caesar! For the portents say that tomorrow, the Ides of March, is your death.


CAESAR: (LAUGHS HEARTILY)


SOOTHSAYER: Laugh not, Caesar. But mourn for your passing.


CAESAR: (WITH RELIEF) I laugh because it is a huge joke I play upon myself. In truth, the voice of this soothsayer is similar to the voice of my dreams, and the face; yet there is a difference. The eyes of the man in my dreams were sightless!


SOOTHSAYER: I am blind, Caesar.


CAESAR: (PAUSE, QUIET DEFIANCE) If the gods will it. For I am their brother.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... OMINOUS DRUM ROLLS WITH CRASHING CYMBALS FOR PUNCTUATION


HYLAND: And you remember. The year: Forty-Four B. C. The day: the fifteenth of March. The scene: the Roman Senate.


SOUND: BOOK PAGES TURNED


HYLAND: I would like to read to you from Plutarch's Lives.


SOUND: MURMUR OF SENATORS ... THEN IN BG


HYLAND: (READS) "When Caesar entered, the Senate stood up to show their respect to him."


SOUND: MURMUR OF SENATORS WHO RISE AND SAY, "HAIL, CAESAR"


HYLAND: (READS) "And, of Brutus' confederates, some came about his chair and stood behind it."


BRUTUS: (MOCK SOLICITUDE) How pale today, my Caesar.


CAESAR: (WEARY) What petition have you, Brutus?


BRUTUS: Poor Tillius' brother is in exile.


CAESAR: I will not grant it.


HYLAND: (READS) "Whereupon Tillius lay hold of Caesar's robe and, with both hands, pulled it down from his neck--"


SOUND: TOGA PULLED DOWN


HYLAND: (READS) "--which was the signal for the assault."


SOUND: CALM SCUFFLE ... SENATORS QUIETLY SWARM CAESAR AND STAB HIM ... CONTINUES IN BG


HYLAND: (READS) "Casca gave him the first cut in the neck."


CAESAR: (HORRIFIED, WITH EFFORT) Vile Casca! What does this mean?


HYLAND: (READS) "But Casca did not answer. Those who came prepared for the business enclosed Caesar on every side -- with their naked daggers in their hands. Whichsoever way he turned, he met with blows and was encompassed like a wild beast on every side. And Brutus was the last."


CAESAR: (DYING) You, - too, - Brutus?


BRUTUS: (WITH EFFORT AS HE THRUSTS) Die, Caesar.


HYLAND: (READS) "And gave him one stab."


SOUND: SCUFFLE ENDS ... CAESAR SLUMPS TO GROUND


BRUTUS: (BEAT) Caesar is dead!


SOUND: BRUTUS' HURRIED STEPS TO STREET


BRUTUS: Citizens! Romans! Listen! Caesar is dead! End to tyranny! End to a despot! Caesar is dead! 


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, OUR PERSPECTIVE CHANGES FROM NEAR BRUTUS TO NEAR FLAVIUS AND LUCCA


LUCCA: It must be true, Flavius -- else the noble Brutus would not say it.


FLAVIUS: Well-- (EXHALES) It just goes to show.


LUCCA: Er, show what?


FLAVIUS: You can have ambition; don't let it run away with you. My son Cassio wants to be a senator. I'm trying to tell him to be content. Got a nice business he can step into.


LUCCA: Well, you know how kids are. (EXHALES) Oh, I can hardly believe it.


FLAVIUS: What?


LUCCA: Caesar dead.


FLAVIUS: Why not? You think he was a god or something?


LUCCA: Well, uh--


FLAVIUS: Well, I'm going home, Lucca. Give my love to the family.


LUCCA: Thumbs.


FLAVIUS: Thumbs.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... A MARCH: DRUMS, CHIMES, AND VIBES ... THEN OUT BEHIND HYLAND--


HYLAND: Twenty-three stab wounds were counted, speeches were made, and Caesar was cremated. The next day, official decree by the Senate elevated him to the rank of a god. There was a celebration that lasted for twenty-three days -- and all the Romans agreed it was one of the finest celebrations on record. They danced around his statue a lot and decked it with flowers. And a god couldn't expect much more than that.


MUSIC: CURTAIN ... PERCUSSION


ANNOUNCER: In just a moment, Thomas Hyland will tell you about next week's Crime Classic. "Caesar," tonight's Crime Classic, was adapted from accounts of the times by Morton Fine and David Friedkin. The music was composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann, and the program is produced and directed by Elliott Lewis. Thomas Hyland is portrayed on radio by Lou Merrill. In tonight's story, Edgar Barrier was heard as Caesar. Featured in the cast were Hy Averback, Lou Krugman, Irene Tedrow, Betty Harford, Marvin Miller, and Harry Bartell. Bob LeMond speaking. And here again is Thomas Hyland.


HYLAND: Next week: a field in France during the reign of Louis-Napoléon. We will concern ourselves at that time with a missing family and several freshly opened graves. It's listed in my files as "Jean-Baptiste Troppmann -- Killer of Many." Thank you. Good night.


ANNOUNCER: "Forward on Liberty's Team" -- that's the Nineteen Fifty-Four slogan of the Boy Scouts of America -- three million, three hundred thousand strong -- who celebrate their forty-fourth birthday this week. Behind that slogan is a great team of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers, and adult leaders organized in eighty-nine thousand units through the country, its territories, and wherever Americans live abroad. To them -- to all of them -- a salute from CBS Radio and its affiliates. Congratulations and happy birthday. Keep up the good work.


MUSIC: GENTLE CHIMES, VIBES, TYMPANI ... IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: Everybody loves "Junior Miss," Thursday nights on the CBS Radio network.


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