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The hypermeter, here, might be obviated without much violence:
As Æneas, our great ancestor, "Did, from Troy's flames, upon his shoulders bear
"The old Anchises, so, from the waves of Tyber," &c.
Or Tyber's waves.
"A man of such a feeble temper.”
Cassius seems, here, to pay a compliment to Cæsar that he did not intend; he wonders that Cæsar should be liable to the attack of a fever, or the common incidents of humanity.
268. "Another general shout!"
There is no occasion for the word "general," here, which only spoils the measure :
"And bear the palm alone.
"Men, at some time are masters of their fates."
Every man has it in his power, at some time or other, to achieve his fortune or assert his dignity. A similar reflection occurs again:
"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."
"Brutus and Cæsar: what should be in (that) Cæsar ?"
"That" should be omitted.
"Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar."
The word sprite, which in other places is put for spirit, would improve the measure.
269. "Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,"
I wish there was no room for this pun.
"Room enough," &c.
The occasion to pun was too tempting, as it seems to be at present.
I am nothing jealous."
Jealous," for doubtful.
The eternal devil.”
Eternity is here ascribed to the devil, generally, as an attribute; and not, as Mr. Steevens supposes, with any reference to the continuance of his reign in Rome.
270. "Under these hard conditions, as this time "Is like to lay upon us."
The "ass," again, "in compound," &c. See Coriolanus, Act 2, Scene 1, 67.
"I am glad, that my weak words." This is too much for the measure, 66 weak" might be omitted, and " upon us, in the component part of the line, compressed to two syllables:
"Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes, "As we have seen him in the Capitol."
The construction is wrong; a verb is wanting.
We might obtain concord by reading,
'As i' the capitol he's wont to shew,
Being cross'd," &c.
272. "Such men as he be never at heart's ease.
The using, thus, the subjunctive "be," instead of the indicative are, is an error that, I think, should be silently repaired in the text. Notwithstanding it was the practice of our author, as well as others of his time, why should mistakes confessed, be perpetuated when they can be corrected without any inconvenience?
Why, you were with him, were you not?" The measure, here, is unnecessarily interrupted. I would read,
"That Cæsar looks so sad.
"What was the second noise for?"
"Why, for that too
"-Was the crown offer'd (him) thrice?"
Why" and "him" should both be ejected.
273. "I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.”
Casca was not in quite such piteous case as a certain sea-sick traveller, who, in excuse for the intolerable clamour he made, observed, that his neighbour above him was vomiting on his face, while he himself was so sick that he could not keep his mouth shut.
275. "With better appetite.".
This hemistic might be accommodated in the
following line, dismissing from the latter three useless words-" for this time:"
"With better appetite.".
I'll leave you."
"I will come home to you; or, if you will, "Come home with me, and I will wait for you."
This must be wrong: if Cassius went with Brutus, Brutus could not wait. I would
"I will go home to you; or, if you will, "Come home to me, and I will wait for you." "From that it is dispos'd: therefore 'tis meet."
The grammar and the metre both require correction. We might read:
"From that it is dispos'd to; so 'tis meet."
276. "Cæsar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus :
"If I were Brutus now, and he were
"He should not humour me."
Cassius is a selfish moralist; he would not be tempted to betray his friend, though he advises Brutus to do so.
281. Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind."
This line should certainly be placed, as Dr. Johnson proposes, after the line which now follows it.
Infus'd them with these spirits," &c.
"Infused," for inspired, endued. The same abuse of this word occurs in The Tempest, where Prospero tells Mirando, he has "infus'd her with a fortitude."
583. He were no lion, were not Romans hinds."
Hinds," here, is equivocal: the beasts so called, and peasants.
Such a man,
"That is no fleering tell-tale.”
This inaccuracy has occurred more than once before; the pronoun instead of the comparative conjunction.
284. "Be factious for redress.".
Mr. Malone is clearly right in his explanation. of "be factious,"-combine, strengthen your party. Mr. Steevens gives no support to Dr. Johnson's interpretation, (be active) in the passage from Coriolanus, where "factionary, on the part of your general," is to be understood exactly in the sense that Mr. Malone gives; i. e. of the same party or faction with your general: and one would hardly have supposed that Mr. Steevens was to be told, that "faction," in such instances, is not used in the unfavourable sense:
Her faction will be full as strong as our's." Henry VI. Second Part. 286. "Will change to virtue, and to worthiness.”
The harmony of Shakspeare's versification is so varied, that the cadences falling exactly on the same places, in different lines, is remarkable. In Hamlet there is a verse completely consonant to this:
"She turns to favour and to prettiness."