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213. Uttermost : now less common than utmost. Compare upmost (ii, 1, 24).
215. Doth bear Cæsar hard : See note on i, 2, 311.
224. Fresh and merrily : Are these conjoined words of the same part of speech ?
226. Bear it : bear what ?
229. Fast asleep: This habitual sleepiness of Lucius, and Brutus' kindly reflections thereon, form one of the most natural and beautiful notes of the entire play. Compare the similar scene in iv, 3, 254 ff. The contrast between Brutus' excited state of mind and the boy's care-free condition is charmingly portrayed.
231. No figures : no cares or concerns.
231. Nor no fantasies : Shakspere has been known even to triple negatives. See Twelfth Night (iii, 1, 156–7), Nor never none Shall mistress be of it.”
233. Brutus, my lord: This famous scene has been compared to the equally famous scene between Hotspur and his wife in the first part of King Henry IV (ii, 3). But the scenes are similar mainly in the fact that in each a wife tries to learn from her husband a secret of great political import. The light-hearted Lady Percy is as different from the noble Portia as Hotspur's contemptuous treatment of her is different from Brutus' loving and respectful treatment of his wife. 237-8. You've
stole : Compare “Where I have took them up” (ii, 1, 50).
240. Your arms across: that is, folded.
250–1. Humour, Which sometime hath his hour: Comment on his in this line.
255. Dear my lord : This position of the adjective and the posses. sive pronoun is common in earnest address in Shakspere.
261. Is Brutus sick : Rolfe quotes from Richard Grant White : “For sick, the correct English adjective to express all degrees of suffering from disease, and which is universally used in the Bible and by Shakspere, the Englishman of Great Britain has poorly substi. tuted the adverb ill.”
261. Physical: wholesome or healthful. Compare Coriolanus (i, 5, 18–9): “The blood I drop is rather physical Than dangerous to me.”
263. Dank: Does this word give a better picture than would damp or moist ? Note the high poetical quality of many of these lines of Portia's.
266. Rheumy: that causes colds or rheum. 271. I charm: I appeal by charms, as an enchanter or magician. 275. Heary at heart. 283. In sort or limitation: in a limited sense or manner.
289-90. The ruddy drops That visit my sad heart: Shakspere knew of the general fact of the circulation of the blood, though Harvey's scientific discovery of the modus operandi of it was not published till 1628—twelve years after Shakspere's death.
295. A woman well-reputed, Cato's daughter: Marcus Cato, “the last of the Romans,” was always opposed to Cæsar. He was a narrowminded man, bent on an impossible task—the bringing back of the republic to a government already imperial except in name. Cato was the great conservative check to progress. He killed himself after Cæsar's victory over the followers of Pompey.
297. So father'd and so husbanded : Compare on scandal (i, 2, 76).
300. Giving myself a voluntary wound : Compare North’s Plutarch, Life of Brutus (ed. Skeat, pp. 115–6): His wife Porcia (as we have told you before) was the daughter of Cato, whom Brutus married being his cousin, not a maiden, but a young widow after the death of her first husband Bibulus.
This young lady being excellently well seen in philosophy, loving her husband well, and being of a noble courage, as she was also wise : because she would not ask her husband what he ailed, before she had made somė proof by herself: she took a little razor, such as barbers occupy to pare men's nails, and causing her maids and women to go out of her chamber gave herself a great gash withal in her thigh, that she was straight all of a gore blood : and incontinently after, a vehement fever took her, by reason of the pain of her wound. Then perceiving her husband was marvellously out of quiet, and that he could take no rest, even in her greatest pain of all, she spake in this sort unto him: 'I being, O Brutus (said she) the daughter of Cato, was married unto thee : not to be thy bedfellow, and companion in bed and at board only, like a harlot, but to be partaker also with thee of thy good and evil fortune. Now for thyself, I can find no cause of fault in thee touching our match : but for my part, how may I show my duty towards thee, and how much I would do for thy sake, if I cannot constantly bear a secret mischance or grief, with thee, which requireth secrecy and fidelity? I confess, that a woman's wit commonly is too weak to keep a secret safely : but yet, Brutus, good education, and the company of virtuous men, have some power to reform the defect of nature. And for myself, I have this benefit
moreover, that I am the daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus. This notwithstanding, I did not trust to any of these things before, until that now I have found by experience, that no pain or grief whatsoever can overcome me.' With those words she showed him her wound on her thigh, and told him what she had done to prove herself. Brutus was amazed to hear what she said unto him, and lifting up his hands to heaven, he besought the goddesses to give him the grace he might bring his enterprise to so good pass, that he might be found a husband, worthy of so noble a wife as Porcia: so he then did comfort her the best he could."
For the “well - reputed” Portia, compare The Merchant of Venice (i, 1, 165):
“Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia." 308. Charactery: writing by characters ? See Introduction, $ 35.
311. Spake : See Introduction, $ 16. There is always an effect of dignity about this form of the preterite.
313. Vouchsafe : (here) deign to accept. 314. Chose : Compare stole (ii, 1, 238).
315. To wear a kerchief : Evidently a habit of the sick in Shakspere's day. The editors reproduce Malone's quotation from Fuller's Worthies of Cheshire (p. 180) : “if any there be sick, they make him a posset, and tye a kerchief on his head."
322. Brave son, deriv'd from honourable loins : See note on ii, 1, 53.
323. Exorcist : Shakspere uses the word for one who raises spirits, rather than for one who drives them out.
324. Mortified : dead. Compare Henry V (i, 1, 26) : “His wildness, mortified in him, Seem'd to die too.”
330–1. As we are going To whom it must be done : On the construction, compare Introduction, $ 9.
The Folio reads, Thunder and Lightning. Enter Julius Cæsar in his Night-gowne [i.e., dressing-gown). This scene represents the next important stage in the conspiracy - the inducing of Cæsar to attend the meeting of the Senate, at which his life is to be sacrificed. Note how easily the poet found the material for the scene in his North's Plutarch, Life of Julius Cæsar (ed. Skeat, pp. 98-9).
The contrast between Calpurnia, the yielding wife, and Portia, the brave, heroic woman, should be noted. These two matrons, in their strongly contrasted characters, prove that “Shakspere never repeats himself.”
1. Nor heaven nor earth have been, etc.: Shakspere usually follows this nor
nor construction, if the nouns be singular, with a singular verb. Compare Introduction, $ 24.
6. Their opinions of success : Their opinions of the issue (Craik) ; their opinion of what is to follow (Hudson); “here and in v, 3, 65, denotes good fortune ; but in many cases it is a colourless word, signifying merely “issue,' • result,' which has to be qualified by some adjective, as good or ill.” — Wright.
8. What mean you, Cæsar? think you to walk forth : Compare Brutus' " Portia, what mean you ? wherefore rise you now?” (ii, 1, 234).
10. Cæsar shall forth : Comment on the absence of a verb of mo. tion. See Introduction, $ 22.
13. Ceremonies : religious omens or prophecies. Compare ii, 1, 197.
16. Most horrid sights seen by the watch : In addition to the prodigies Calpurnia tells of, recall the incidents related in the third scene of the first act.
18. And graves have yawn'd and yielded up their dead : Compare Hamlet (i, 1, 115–6):
“ The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets." 22. Hurtled : clashed.
24. And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets : Compare the line from Hamlet above, “ Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets."
25. Beyond all use : beyond all we are accustomed to.
26. What can be avoided, etc. : This speech and the next one of Cæsar's are more in keeping with his character as we find it in history-particularly during his early life. Compare the note on ii, 1, 195.
42. Cosar should be a beast, etc.: What is the force of should in both members of this conditional sentence ?
57. Here's Decius Brutus: Decimus Brutus, by reason of Cæsar's trust in him (see note on ii, 1, 207), was well chosen to bend Cæsar to the purpose of the conspirators.
67. Afeard : still heard in vulgar parlance. This word illustrates the descent expressions often make from literary to inelegant use. Compare, in line 101, below, “ Lo, Cæsar is afraid.”
74. Because I love you : Compare what has been said above on the relations between Cæsar and Decimus Brutus.
75. Stays me at home : See Introduction, $ 40.
76. Statuë: A trisyllable. To mark the trisyllable, Dyce and others printed statua, which, although it is found in Bacon, does not occur in early editions of Shakspere.
89. For tinctures, stains, relics, and cognizance : The average reader can see very well what this line means, but if he desires to learn how much commentators can do to puzzle themselves, let him refer to Craik : “ Tinctures and stains are understood both by Malone and Steevens as carrying an allusion to the practice of persons dipping their handkerchiefs in the blood of those whom they regarded as martyrs. And it must be confessed that the general strain of the passage, and more especially the expression shall press for tinctures,' etc., will not easily allow us to reject this interpretation. Yet does it not make the speaker assign to Cæsar by implication the very kind of death Calphurnia’s apprehension of which he professes to regard as visionary ?
“ Johnson takes both tinctures and cognizance in the heraldic sense as meaning distinctive marks of honour and armorial bearings (in part denoted by colours). But the stains and relics are not to be so easily accounted for on this supposition ; neither would it be very
; natural to say that men should press to secure such distinctions. The speech altogether, Johnson characterises as 'intentionally pom pous' and 'somewhat confused.'”
97. Apt to be render'd: Apt to be returned or answered (at any time).
104. Reason to my love is liable : Reason is subject to, or controlled by, my love.
105. How foolish do your fears seem, etc. : Cæsar's vacillation is equalled only by his illogical reasoning.
108. Publius : not one of the conspirators ; referred to (probably) in iii, 1, 87, as “quite confounded with this mutiny."
109. Welcome, Publius : Note the charming ease and cordiality of Cæsar's greetings throughout this scene. He seems for a moment to become his old self.
110. Are you stirr'd : A more modern use would require, “ Are you astir,” or stirring.”
111. Caius Ligarius : For his relations to Cæsar, compare ii, 1, 215.