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PLAYS OF SHAKSPEARE.
ACT I. SCENE I
256. Be not out with me.”
i. e. Be not out of humour with me'; be not unkindly disposed towards me: the phrase is still current in Ireland.
This corrupt use of the imperfect past tense for the perfect, sitten, has become so general as to make propriety almost obsolete.
"That Tyber trembled," &c.
Insomuch that Tyber trembled, &c. as in Macbeth:
There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cried murder,
"That they did wake each other."
Weep your tears
"Into the channel, till the lowest stream "Do kiss the most exalted shores of all."
This thought, without the extravagance of the hyperbole, occurs in As You Like It:
"Stood on the extremest verge of the swift brook, Augmenting it with tears."
261. "When Cæsar says, do this, it is perform'd."
"Sit lux et lux fuit."
263. Br. "I'll leave
I'll leave you.”
This, like many other fragments, is evidently an idle interpolation; it is utterly useless to the sense and spirit of the dialogue, and disfigures the verse. The removal of this hemistic would obviate Mr. Steevens's anxiety about the prosody in what follows.
"I have not from your eyes that gentleness, "And shew of love, as I was wont to have."
This mode of speech, the using "as," for that, is an abuse which our poet himself seems to have been prompt to reprehend, if I mistake not, the meaning of a passage in Coriolanus, where Menenius, railing at the citizens, says, "I find the ass (quibble upon ass and as) in compound with the major part of your syllables.
If I have veil'd my look,
"I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself."
I do not know what Brutus could mean by veiling his countenance, unless he wore a mask,
which is by no means implied: I believe the word has been misprinted, and that we should read "vail'd," if I appear to have a dejected, or cast down look: "to vail," in the sense of to bow, submit, is frequently occurring:
"If he have power, then vail your ignorance." Coriolanus.
"Vailing their high tops lower than their ribs." Merchant of Venice.
Vexed I am,
Of late, with passions of some difference."
With contending passions.
264. "Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion."
This abuse of the tense may be found in writers who are supposed to be, generally, more correct than Shakspeare. We might, however, easily read, for "mistook," mista'en.
" 'Tis just."
This fragment might be spared, and Cassius proceed, connectedly enough, without such interruption of the measure.
"For that which is not in me."
Both the metre and the sense of the context shew that some words have been lost here: Cassius, I suppose, replied,
Nay, it is,
Be not jealous of me."
i. e. Be not suspicious."
265. "Set honour in one eye, and death i the other,
"And I will look on both indifferently."
"In the eye," for in my view. I cannot think that Dr. Johnson has accurately explained this passage: the meaning of "indifferently" is not, I apprehend, without preference, but serenely, coolly, without that alarm or perturbation which might prevent my chusing properly. A sentiment resembling this occurs in K. Henry IV. where Hotspur exclaims,
"Send danger from the East unto the West, "So honour cross it from the North to South; "And let them grapple."
266. "The troubled Tyber chafing with her shores."
This mistake of the gender of Tyber was noted before in the first scene, by Mr. Steevens; it is very uncouth, and ought, I think, to be corrected in the text.
Ere we could arrive the point," &c.
Arrive, as a verb active, is used in other places; and we find it so applied by Milton:
The nominative pronoun, here, has no verb belonging to it. The awkward pleonasm might be removed by reading, for "I,"
66 Then, as Æneas," &c.
"The old Anchises," &c.