Imatges de pÓgina
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figies of their patriots; we must be taught to adore the images of Junius Brutus, the Horatii, Decii, Fabii, and all who had offered dear and bloody facrifice to the liberty of their country, in order to fee this action in the point of view in which it offered itfelf to the deliberation of Brutus, and in which it was beheld by thofe, who judged of it when done. To the very scene, to the very time, therefore, does our Poet transport us: at Rome, we become Romans; we are affected by their manners; we are caught by their enthusiasm. But what a variety of imitations were there to be made by the Artift to effect this! and who but Shakefpear was capable of such a task? A Poet of ordinary genius would have endeavoured to intereft us for Brutus, by the means of fome imagined fond mother, or fonder mistress. But can a few female tears wipe out the stains of Affaffination? A bafe confpirator, a vile affaffin, like the wretched Cinna of Corneille, would Brutus have appeared to us, if the fame feeble arts only had been exerted for him. It is for the genuine

genuine fon of ancient Rome, the lover of the liberty of his country, that we are interefted. A concern for him mixed with compaffion for any other perfon, would only, from these discordant Sentiments, have excited some painful Emotions, in the Spectator. Indeed, the common aim of tragedy writers seems to be merely to make us uneasy, for some reason or other, during the drama. They take any thing to be tragedy, in which there are great perfons, and much lamentation; but our Poet never represents an action of one fort, and raises emotions and paffions of another fort. He excites the fympathies, and the concern, proper to the story. The paffion of love, or maternal affection, may afford good fubjects for a tragedy. In the fables of Phædra and Merope, those fentiments belong to the action; but they had no fhare in the refolution taken to kill Cæfar; and, if they are made to interfere, they adulterate the imitation; if to predominate, they spoil it. Our author difdains the legerdemain trick of fubftituting one paffion for another. He is the great magi

cian who can call forth paffions of any fort. If they are fuch as time has deftroyed, or custom extinguished, he fummons from the dead those fouls in which they once existed. Having fufficiently enlarged on the general scope of our Author in this play, we will now confider it in the detail.

The firft fcene is in the streets of Rome. The Tribunes chide the people for gathering together to do honour to Cæfar's triumph. As certain decorums were unknown to the writers of Shakespear's days, he suffers some poor mechanics to be too loquacious. As it was his business to depress the character of Cæfar, and render his victory over his illustrious rival as odious as poffible, he judiciously makes one of the Tribunes thus address himself to the people:

MARULLUS.

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?

You blocks, you fiones, you worse than fenfelefs

things!

O you

O you hard hearts! you cruel Men of Rome!
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you
climb'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have fat
The live-long day with patient expectation,
To fee great Pompey pass the streets of Romes
And when you faw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an univerfal fhout,
That Tyber trembled underneath his banks
To hear the replication of your founds,
Made in his concave fhores?

And do you now put on your beft attire ?
And do you now cull out an holiday?
And do you now ftrew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Begone-

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods, to intermit the plague

That needs muft light on this ingratitude.

The next speech expreffes the general apprehenfion of Cæfar's affuming too great a degree of power.

FLAVIUS.

FLAVIUS.

Let no images

Be hung with Cæfar's trophies. I'm about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets:

So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
Thefe growing feathers, pluckt from Cæfar's wing,

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch;

Who elfe would foar above the view of men,
And keep us all in fervile fearfulness.

The fecond fcene is the courfe at the Lupercal games, in which Antony appears the humble courtier of Cæfar. A Soothsayer bids him beware the Ides of March.

In the third fcene there is a dialogue between Brutus and Caffius, in which the latter tenderly reproaches Brutus, that his countenance is not fo open and cordial to him as formerly; to this the other replies, he has fome inward discontent,

And that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the fhews of love to other men.

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