Elegy to Julius Caesar:
O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
Which, like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,--
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate' by his side come hot from Hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
-From William Shakespeare
's Julius Caesar
Along with its brutal imagery, this oration delivered over the corpse of Caesar is illustrative of a number of the play's themes. It takes place in the first scene of the play's third act, shortly after Caesar is murdered by Brutus and the other conspirators. Possibly because he knows what gruesome consequences may accompany doing otherwise, Antony shakes the bloody hands of the conspirators and pledges his support, shortly before delivering this oration.