[ocr errors]

thou ?' Casca on the other side cried in Greek, and called his brother to help him. So divers running on a heap together to fly upon Cæsar, he, looking about him to have fled, saw Brutus with a sword drawn in his hand ready to strike at him: then he let Casca's hand go, and, casting his gown over his face, suffered every man to strike at him that would. Then the conspirators thronging one upon another, because every man was desirous to have a cut at him, so many swords and daggers lighting upon one body, one of them hurt another, and among them Brutus caught a blow on his hand, because he would make one in murdering of him, and all the rest also were every man of them bloodied.”

35. I must prevent thee, etc.: As to the grandiloquent speech of Cæsar in this scene, see Introduction, p. xxvi.

39. The law of children : Johnson's conjecture for the Folio “the lane of children.

39-40. Be not fond To think : For the omission of the conjunctions, see Introduction, $ 33, and cf. The Tempest (iv, 1, 119–20): May I be bold To think these spirits?” Fond: foolish, as in Coriolanus (iv, 1, 26): “ 'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes.”

40-1. Such rebel blood That, etc. : Comment on the relative pronoun.

42. With that which melteth fools : The with is again used for by, as in “We are govern'd with our mothers' spirits (i, 3, 83).

43. Low-crooked court sies : In the Folio “Low-crooked-curtsies." See, for the adjective, Introduction, $ 37.

47-8. Know, Cæsar doth not wrong: “These lines,” says Wright, are printed as they stand in the folio editions, and it is to them that Ben Jonson refers in his Sylva or Discoveries; where he says of Shakespeare, ‘Many times he fell into those things could not escape laughter: as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him, “Cæsar thou dost me wrong,” he replied, “Cæsar did never wrong, but with just cause," and such like; which were ridiculous.' Again, in the Induction to The Staple of News, he puts the following into the mouth of the Prologue : Cry you' mercy, you never did wrong, but with just cause.' On this Gifford remarks that the passage as it stands in the folios can never have come from the pen of Shakespeare, and that the poetry is as mean as the sense.' Tyrwhitt proposed to restore the lines thus :

Met. Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.
Cæs. Know, Cæsar doth not wrong, but with just cause,

Nor without cause will he be satisfied.'

If it had not been for Ben Jonson's story, no one would have suspected any corruption in the passage. The question is whether his. authority is sufficient to warrant a change.”

Hudson uses the lines found in Jonson with this note: “I here restore a genuine piece of the Poet's text as preserved and authenticated to us by Ben Jonson.”

51. Repealing : recalling, as frequently in Shakspere. 53. Desiring thee that: an unusual construction.

61. True-fix'd: See Introduction, § 37. The Folio reads “true fixt.”

61. Resting: steadfast. 62. Fellow: equal, peer.

70. Unshak'd of motion: The construing of these words to mean “unshaken in his motion” would seem, as has been pcinted out, inconsistent with Cæsar's comparison of himself to the pole-star. The expression means, probably, immovable.

75. Bootless: profitless, without avail. We might expect the adverb here. See Introduction, & 13.

76. The stage direction in the Folio is simply, They stab Cæsar.

77. Et tu, Brute: There is no classical authority for putting these words in Caesar's mouth. According to Suetonius (lxxxii), “ he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering a groan only, but no cry, at the first wound, although some authors relate, that when Marcus Brutus rushed upon him, he exclaimed, kai Tékvov, “and thou, my son ?'” It has been conjectured that Shakspere took the Et tu Brute from The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, printed in 1595, where Edward exclaims to Clarence, “ Et tu, Brute, wilt thou stab Cæsar too ?"

80. The common pulpits, or rostra, in the Forum, from which speeches were made to the people.

86. Publius : See note on ii, 2, 108. This may be the Publius men. tioned in the earlier scene, but hardly the one mentioned in iv, 1, 4, the ages of the two apparently disagreeing too much to warrant such an inference.

93. Lest that : For the double conjunction, see Introduction, S 34. 95. Abide : await the consequences of. 96. But we : Account for the form of the pronoun.

99. As it were : as if it were. See Introduction, $ 33, and cf. v, 1, 86 : “ As we were sickly prey.” Is the idea of doomsday a pagan


one ?

102. The Folio gives this speech to Casça, but some editors have

followed Pope in transferring it to Cassius, as more appropriate to his Character. Yet, as Hudson remarks, “the sentiment is in strict keeping with what Casca says in i, 3, 101 : 'So every bondman in his own hand bears,' etc.”

104. Grant that, and then is death a benefit : This speech, and in fact the rest of the scene until the entrance of Antony's servant, seems forced, theatrical, and self-conscious on the part of Brutus and Cassius. It is hard to think of them as thus seriously moralising after so great a crisis, spiritual and political, as their killing of Cæsar.

106–7. Stoop, Romans, stoop, and let us bathe, etc. : Cf. Calpurnia's dream (ii, 2, 76, ff).

116. On Pompey's basis lies along : Lies stretched out at the base of Pompey's statue. For “lies along,” in the sense of “stretched out,” cf. Coriolanus (v, 6, 57) :

“ When he lies along
After your way his tale pronounc'd shall bury
His reasons with his body.”

120. Shall we forth : See on “ Cæsar shall forth" (ii, 2, 10).
122. Most boldest : See on “ most unkindest,” iii, 2, 183,
132. Resolv'd : : informed.

137. Thorough : As often in Shakspere, this preposition becomes a dissyllable. See Introduction, $ 35.

137. Untrod state : untried state of affairs.

141. So please him come : According to Abbott, A Shaksperian Grammar ($ 133), this so is used in the sense of provided that. The please, of course, is impersonal. Shakspere uses also the personal construction with please, as in The Winter's Tale (ii, 3, 142): “If they please.” On the omission of the sign to of the infinitive come, see Introduction, $ 18, and note on “You ought not walk” (i, 1, 3).

144. To friend : This quaint old idiom survives only in “ to take or have to wife.”

146–7. My misgiving still Falls shrewdly to the purpose : My misgiving always turns out to be near the mark ; things happen as I expect they will. Still, as frequently in Shakepere, means always.

153. Who else must be let blood : a curious, but not unidiomatic expression for “who else must bleed” or “ be killed.”

153. Rank : too full of blood or life. Cf. As You Like It (i, 1, 78): “I will physic your rankness," and, for a different use of the figure, Troilus and Cressida (i, 3, 316-8) :

“The seeded pride
That hath to this maturity blown up •
In rank Achilles, must or now be cropped,” etc.

156, Of half that worth as those : Comment on this construction.

158. I do beseech ye, if you : For the form of the pronouns, see Introduction, § 1.

158. Bear me hard : For this expression, see on “Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard” (ii, 1, 215).

159. Whilst : See note on whiles (i, 2, 209).

160. Live a thousand years : Comment on the form of this condi. tional clause.

161. Apt to die : fit or ready to die.

162—3. No place will please me so, no mean of death, As here by Cæsar, and by you cut off : that is, by Cæsar is the place and you the mean. Mean and means are used indifferently by Shakspere.

165. O Antony, beg not your death of us : This speech of Brutus, though not free from his usual rhetorical balancing, is nevertheless one of the nobly pathetic passages of the play.

171. And pity to the general wrong of Rome : Cf. (ii, 1, 11-2): “I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general.

172. As fire drives out fire : Cf. Coriolanus (iv, 7, 54): One fire drives out one fire ; one nail, one nail.”

173. Hath done this deed on Cæsar : Is this use of on a vulgarism to-day ?

175–6. Our arms in strength of malice, and our hearts Of brothers' temper : The passage stands thus in the Folio, and may be corrupt. Wright explains the first part : “Strong as if nerved by malice against you, the death grip of enemies being stronger than the most loving embrace.” Steevens considers “in strength of malice” to

“strong in the deed of malice they have just performed,” and White practically follows him. Pope reads “exempt from malice,” and Capell alters thus:



“ To you our swords have leaden points, Mark Antony,

Our arms no strength of malice ; and our hearts,” etc.

Others read “in strength of welcome” and “in strength of amity."

178. Your voice shall be as strong, etc.: Hudson calls this speech "snugly characteristic." Cassius backs up Brutus' moonshine about “ hearts and love ” with a promise to Antony of high dignity and power.

184. I doubt not of your wisdom : Modern usage has split this idiom into “I have no doubt of your wisdom” and “I do not doubt your wisdom.” Is there a different shade of meaning in these expressions ?

185. Let each man render me his bloody hand : This treachery of Antony in seeming to compound with his enemies is paralleled by the treachery of John Duke of Lancaster in 2 Henry IV (iv, 2).

193. Conceit: See Introduction, $ 41, and cf. i, 3, 162.
197. Grieve thee dearer : See Introduction, $ 13.
200. Corse : a poetical form, somewhat over-worn to-day.

203. Close : agree, close a compact. We still say “close an agreement."

205. Bay'd : brought to bay. The figure (as Antony's quibble shows) is that of a deer closed about with barking, yelping hounds. Cf. (iv, 1, 48–9) : “ For we are at the stake, And bay'd about with many enemies."

207. Thy lethe: thy death, a reading adopted by Pope and others from the Folio “Lethee." The meaning is clear enough, whether we conceive Shakspere to have meant “thy oblivion” or to have compared Cæsar's flowing blood to the river Lethe. 208-9. This hart

the heart of thee : The Folio reads hart in both cases.

The taste of the quibble in such a connection is more than questionable. Cf. As You Like It (iii, 2, 230) :

Celia : He was furnish'd like a hunter.

Rosalind : 0, ominous ! He comes to kill my heart.”

210. Strucken : The Folio reads stroken. Cf. strucken, ii, 2, 114.

214. Cold modesty : a cold and modest statement. Modesty is practically equivalent to moderation.

216. But what compact mean you to have with us : Scan, for the probable Shaksperian pronunciation of compact.

217. Prick'd : marked. See iv, 1, 1. 218. Shall we on: Comment on the omission of the verb of motion. 219. Therefore : to that purpose.

222. That you shall give : We should now rather expect to find “that you will give,” etc.

231. In the order of his funeral : in the course of the funeral ceremonies. Funeral orations were spoken from the rostra in the Forum. Cf. on iii, 1, 80. 233. You know not what you do : This was another of Brutus' po.

« ElőzőTovább »