Imatges de pÓgina

Luc. Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.

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About the ninth hour, lady.

POR. Is Cæsar yet gone to the Capitol?

SOOTH. Madam, not yet; I go to take my stand,

To see him pass on to the Capitol.

POR. Thou hast some suit to Cæsar, hast thou not?

SOOTH. That I have, lady: if it will please Cæsar To be so good to Cæsar, as to hear me,

I shall beseech him to befriend himself.

POR. Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards him?

SOOTH. None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance 8.

Good morrow to you. Here the street is narrow:
The throng that follows Cæsar at the heels,
Of senators, of prætors, common suitors,
Will croud a feeble man almost to death:
I'll get me to a place more void, and there
Speak to great Cæsar as he comes along.


POR. I must go in.-Ah me! how weak a thing The heart of woman is! O Brutus !

"Enter Soothsayer.] The introduction of the Soothsayer here is unnecessary, and, I think, improper. All that he is made to say, should be given to Artemidorus; who is seen and accosted by Portia in his passage from his first stand, p. 68, to one more convenient, p. 70. TYRWHITT.

8 None that I know will be, much that I fear MAY CHANCE.] Sir Thomas Hanmer, very judiciously in my opinion, omits-may chance, which I regard as interpolated words; for they render the line too long by a foot, and the sense is complete without them.


The heavens speed thee in thine enterprize!
Sure, the boy heard me :-Brutus hath a suit,
That Cæsar will not grant.-O, I grow faint :—
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
Say, I am merry: come to me again,

And bring me word what he doth say to thee.



The Same. The Capitol; the Senate sitting.

A Croud of People in the Street leading to the Capitol; among them ARTEMIDORUS, and the Soothsayer. Flourish. Enter CESAR, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, CASCA, DECIUS, METELLUS, TREBONIUS, CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPILIUS, PUBLIUS, and Others.

CES. The ides of March are come.
SOOTH. Ay, Cæsar; but not gone.

ART. Hail, Cæsar! Read this schedule.
DEC. Trebonius doth desire you to o'er-read,
At your best leisure, this his humble suit.

ART. O, Cæsar, read mine first; for mine's a suit
That touches Cæsar nearer; Read it, great Cæsar.
CES. What touches us ourself, shall be last serv'd.
ART. Delay not, Cæsar; read it instantly.
CES. What, is the fellow mad?


Sirrah, give place.

CAS. What, urge you your petitions in the street? Come to the Capitol.

9 Brutus hath a suit, &c.] These words Portia addresses to Lucius, to deceive him, by assigning a false cause for her present perturbation. MALONE.

CESAR enters the Capitol, the rest following.
All the Senators rise.

Pop. I wish, your enterprize to-day may thrive.
CAS. What enterprize, Popilius ?


Fare you well. [Advances to Cæsar.

BRU. What said Popilius Lena ?

CAS. He wish'd, to-day our enterprize might thrive.

I fear, our purpose is discovered.

BRU. Look, how he makes to Cæsar: Mark him 1. Cas. Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known, Cassius or Cæsar never shall turn back 2, For I will slay myself.


Mark him.] The metre being here imperfect, I think we should be at liberty to read :- Mark him well." So, in the paper read by Artemidorus, p. 68 :-" Mark well Metellus Cimber."" STEEVENS.


2 Cassius OR Cæsar never shall turn back,] I believe Shakspeare


"Cassius on Cæsar never shall turn back."

The next line strongly supports this conjecture. If the conspiracy was discovered, and the assassination of Cæsar rendered impracticable by "prevention," which is the case supposed, Cassius could have no hope of being able to prevent Cæsar from "turning back" (allowing "turn back" to be used for "return back ;”) and in all events this conspirator's "slaying himself" could not produce that effect.

Cassius had originally come with a design to assassinate Cæsar, or die in the attempt, and therefore there could be no question now concerning one or the other of them falling. The question now stated is, if the plot was discovered, and their scheme could not be effected, how each conspirator should act ; and Cassius declares, that, if this should prove the case, he will not endeavour to save himself by flight from the Dictator and his partizans, but instantly put an end to his own life.

The passage in Plutarch's Life of Brutus, which Shakspeare appears to have had in his thoughts, adds such strength to this


Cassius, be constant:

Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;

For, look, he smiles, and Cæsar doth not change. CAS. Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus,

He draws Mark Antony out of the way.



and the Senators take their Seats.

DEC. Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go, And presently prefer his suit to Cæsar.

BRU. He is address'd3: press near, and second


emendation, that if it had been proposed by any former editor, I should have given it a place in the text: "Popilius Læna, that had talked before with Brutus and Cassius, and had prayed the gods they might bring this enterprize to pass, went unto Cæsar, and kept him a long time with a talke.-Wherefore the conspirators-conjecturing by that he had tolde them a little before, that his talke was none other but the verie discoverie of their conspiracie, they were affrayed euerie man of them, and one looking in another's face, it was easie to see that they were all of a minde, that it was no tarrying for them till they were apprehended, but rather that they should kill themselves with their own handes. And when Cassius and certain others clapped their handes on their swordes under their gownes to draw them, Brutus, marking the countenance and gesture of Læna, &c. with a pleasant countenance encouraged Cassius," &c.

They clapped their hands on their daggers undoubtedly to be ready to kill themselves, if they were discovered. Shakspeare was induced to give this sentiment to Cassius, as being exactly agreeable to his character, and to that spirit which has appeared in a former scene:

"I know where I will wear this dagger then ;

"Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius." MALONE. The disjunctive is right, and the sense apparent. Cassius says, 'If our purpose is discovered, either Cæsar or I shall never return alive; for, if we cannot kill him, I will certainly slay myself.' The conspirators were numerous and resolute, and had they been betrayed, the confusion that must have arisen might have afforded desperate men an opportunity to despatch the tyrant. RITSON, 3 He is ADDRESS'D;] i. e. he is ready. STEEVENS.

CIN. Casca, you are the first that rears your


CES. Are we all ready? what is now amiss, That Cæsar, and his senate, must redress? MET. Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Cæsar,

Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat

An humble heart:


CES. I must prevent thee, Cimber. These couchings, and these lowly courtesies, Might fire the blood of ordinary men ; And turn pre-ordinance, and first decree, Into the law of children 7. Be not fond,


- you are the first that rears your hand.] This, I think, is not English. The first folio has reares, which is not much better. To reduce the passage to the rules of grammar, we should read— "You are the first that rears his hand." TYRWHITT.

According to the rules of grammar Shakspeare certainly should have written his hand; but he is often thus inaccurate. So, in the last Act of this play, Cassius says of himself—


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"Set in a note-book, learn'd and conn'd by rote,
"To cast into my teeth.”

There in strict propriety our poet certainly should have written into his teeth." MALONE.

As this and similar offences against grammar, might have originated only from the ignorance of the players or their printers, I cannot concur in representing such mistakes as the positive inaccuracies of Shakspeare. According to this mode of reasoning, the false spellings of the first folio, as often as they are exampled by corresponding false spellings in the same book, may also be charged upon our author. STEEVENS.

5 Cin. Casca, you are the first that rear your hand. Cæs. Are we all ready? What is now amiss,

That Cæsar, and his senate, must redress ?] The words"Are we all ready?" seem to belong more properly to Cinna's speech, than to Cæsar's. RITSON.

6 And turn PRE-ORDINANCE,] Pre-ordinance, for ordinance already established. WARBURTON.

7 Into the LAW of children.] [Old copy-lane.] I do not well

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