Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Met: Is there no voice more worthy than my

own,
To sound more sweetly in great Cæfar's ear,-
For the repealing of my banished brother?

Bru. I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Cæfar;
Defiring thee, that Publius Cimber may
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.

Caf. What, Brutus !

Cas. Pardon, Cæfar; Cæsar, pardon ;;
As low as to thy foot doth Callius fall,
To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.

CæfI could be well moved, if I were as jou; Sage:-“Cry you mercy, you never did wrong but with jult cause." - The words are constantly printed in a diffc- : rent character, and that they are levelled at Shakespeare is fully cleared up by another passage in Ben's Discoveries, where he thus speaks of our Author : “ Many times he fell into those things could not escape laughter; as when he said in the person of Cæfar, one speaking to him;---Cæsar, thou doft me wrong; be replied, Cæfar did never wrong, but with just cause." -1 cannot pretend to guess for what reason Ben has left this far asm upon our Author, when there is no room for it from any of the printed copies; nor fhould I have thought it worth while to revive the memory of such as remark, had not Mr Pope purpofely deviated into a criticisin upon the atlair. There is a sort of fatality attends fome people when they aim at: being hypercritical. He thinks Ben Johnton's remark was made upon no better credit than fome blunder of an actor in speaking the verse now upderr debate; and, perhaps (says he) this. play was never printed jo Ben Johnfou's time; and so he had nothing to judge by, but as the actor was employed to speak it. I don't kno:v how this gentleman's hcad was employed, when he made this profound observation ; for he could not but know. that

Ben Johnson lived to the year 1637, fourteen years before *which the players had put out their edition of all Shakefpeare's genuine plays in Folio. The furly. Laureat there fore cannot stand excused, from any blunder of an actor, for wounding the memory of a poet, when the absurdity, rear flected on is not to be found in his works.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

If I could pray to move, prayers would mave me :
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true, fixt, and relting quality,
There is no fellow in the firmament:
The skies are painted with unnunibered sparks,
They are all fire, and every one doth shine;
But there's but one in all doth hold his place.
So, in the world, 'tis furnished well with men;
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number, I do know but one
That unailailable holds on his rank,
Undhaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little shew it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banished,
And constant do remain to keep him so.

Cim. O Cæfar
Caf. Hence! wilt thou lift up Olympus?
Dec. Great Cæsar
Cæs. Duth not Brutus bootless kneel?
Casc. Speak hạnds for me. [They ftab Cæfar..
Caf. Et tu Brute? then fall Cæsar! [Dies.

Cin. Liberty! freedom! Tyranny is dead-
Run hence, proclain, cry it about the streets-

Caf. Some to the cominon pulpits, and cry out, Liberty, freedom, and infranchisement. Bru. People, and Senators ! be not affrighted; Fly not, stand still. Ambition's debt is paid.

Caf. Go to the pulpit, Brutus. Dec. And Casius too. : Bru. Where's Publius ?

Gin. Here, quite confounded with this mutiny. Met. Stand fast together, lest some friends of Should chance.....

[Cafar's Bru. Talk not of standing. Publius, good cheer; There is no harm intended to your perion, Nor to no Roman elfe ; fo tell them, Publius.

Caf. And leave us; Publius, lest that the people, Rushing: on us, shouldido your age.

some mischief. Bru. Do so; and let no man abide this deed, But we clie doers.

Enter TREBONIUS.
Caf. Where is Antony ?

Tre. Fled to his house amazed.
Men, wives, and children, ftare, cry out, and rung--
As it were dooms-day

Bru. Fates! we will know your pleasures ;
That we shall die, we know; 'tis hut the time,
And drawing days out, that men stand upon.

Caf. Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life, .
Cuts off so many years of fearing death.

Bru. Grant that, and then is death a benefit.
So are we Cæsar's friends, that have abridged
His time offearing death. (18) Stoop, Romans, stoop;

[ocr errors][merged small]

(18) Stoop, Romans, loop;} Mr Pope, in" both his editions, has from these words arbitrarily taken away the remainder of this speech from Brutus, and placed it.co Casca; because he thinks, nothing is more inconsistent with Brutus's mild and philofophical character. Add as he often finds speeches in the latter editions (fays he) put into wrong mouths, he thinks this hberly not unreasonable. 'Tis true, a diligent editor may find inany such errors committed even in the first printed copies ; but it has not often been Mr Pope's good fortune to hit upon themy I dare warrant the printers made no blunder in this instance; and therefore

have made bold to restore the ipeech to its righe owner. Brutus esteemed the death of Cæsar a facritice to literty; and. as such gloricd in his heading the enterprise, Besides, our Poet is ítrictly copying a fact in history. Plutarch, in the life of Cæfer, fays, “ Brutus and his followers, bing yet hoc with the murder, inarched in a body from the fenaie-doule. to the Capitol, with their drawn fwords, with an air (1 con. fidence and assurance." And, in the lite of Bry:15.-- "Prutus and his party betook themelves to the Capitol, and in their way thewing their hands ait bioody, and their naked fwords, proclaiased liberty in the people.”

ething

And let us bathe our hands in Cæfa s blood
Un to the eibows, and besmea our swords;
Then walk we forth even to tie Market-placer
And, waving our red weapons o'er our heads,
Let's all cry, peace! freedom ! and liberty !
Caf. Stoop then, and wash-- How many ages hence

[Dipping their Swords in Cæfar's Blood. Shall this our lofty scene be acted o'er, In states unborn, and accents yet unknown !

Bru. How many times shall Cæsar bleed in sports,
That now on Pompey's basis lyes along,
No worthier than the dust!

Cas. So oft as that shall be,
So often shall the knot of us be called,
The men that gave their country liberty.

Des. What, shall we forth?

Cafi Ay, every man away.
Brutus ihall-lead, and we will grace his heels
With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.

Enter a Servant..
Bru. Soft, who comes here? A friend of Antony's,

Ser. Thus, Brutus, did my nrafter bid. me kneel; Thus did Mark Antony bid.me fall down; [KneelingAnd, being prostrate, thus he bade me say: Brutus.is. noble, wise, valiant and honest; Cæfar was mighty, royal, bold and loving; Say, I love Brutus, and I honour bim ; Say, I feared Cæsar, honoured him, and loved him. If Brutus: will vouchfafe that Antony May safely come to him, and be resolved How Cæfar hath deserved to ly in death, Mark Antony thall not love Cæsar dead, So well as Brutus living; but will follow The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus, Thorough the hazards of this untrod Itate,

With all true faith. So says my master Antony.

Bru. Thy master is a wise and valiani Roman;
I never thought him worfe.
Tell Him, so please him come unto this place,
He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,
Depart untouched.

Serv. I'll fetch him presently. [Exit Servant.
Bru. I know that we shall have hiin well to

friend.
Caf. I wish we may: but yet have I a mind
That fears him much; and my misgiving still
Falls fhrewdly to the purpose.

Ester ANTONY.
Bru. But here comes Antony. Welcome, Mars

Antony.
Ant. O mighty Cafar! dost thou ly so low?
Are all thy conqueits, glories, triumphs, fpoils," !
(19) Shrunk to this little measure !---Fare thee well.
I know not, Gentlemen, what you intend;
Who else mnit be let blood, who else is rank:
If I my self, there is no hour fo fit
As Cæsar's death's hour; nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world. -
I do beleech ye, if you bear me hard,
Now whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoak,
Fulfil your pleasure, Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself fo apt to die:
No place will please me fo, no mean of death,
Ass here by Cæfar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master fpirits of this age.

Bru. O Antony! beg not your death of us:

(19) Shrunk to this little measure!] Perhaps our Poet might have Juvenal in his view here;

- Mors jola fatetur, Quentula fint hominum corpuj cula.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »