Imatges de pÓgina

Most like this dreadful night;

That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
As doth the lion in the capitol:

A man no mightier than thyself, or me,

In personal action; yet prodigious grown,
And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.

Casca. 'Tis Cæsar that you mean; is it not, Cassius?
Cas. Let it be who it is; for Romans now
Have thewes and limbs like to their ancestors;
But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits:
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.

Casca. Indeed, they say, the senators to-morrow
Mean to establish Cæsar as a king;

And he shall wear his crown by sea and land,
In every place, save here in Italy.

Cas. I know where I will wear this dagger then;
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:

If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny, that I do bear,
I can shake off at pleasure.

Casca. So can 1:

So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity.

Cas. And why should Cæsar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire,
Begin it with weak straws: What trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate

So vile a thing as Cæsar! But, O, grief,
Where hast thou led me! I, perhaps, speak this
Before a willing bondman; then, I know
My answer must be made; But I am arm'd,
And dangers are to me indifferent.

Casca. You speak to Casca; and to such a man
That is no fleering tell-tale. Hold my hand :
Be factious for redress of all these griefs;
And I will set this foot of mine as far
As who goes furthest.

Cus. There's a bargain made.

Now, know you, Casca, I have moved already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,

To undergo, with me, an enterprise

Of honourable dangerous consequence :

[Thunder and Lightning.

And I do know, by this, they stay for me

In Pompey's porch:

For now, this fearful night,

There is no stir, or walking in the streets;

And the complexion of the element

Is favour'd, like the work we have in hand,

Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.

[Going, R.

Casca. Stand close awhile; for here comes one in haste.

Cas. 'Tis Cinna; I do know him by his gait;

He is a friend.

Enter CINNA, L.

Cinna, where haste you so?

Cin. (L. c.) To find out you. Who's that? Metellus Cimber?

Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate

To our attempts. Am I not stay'd for, Cianna?

Cin. I'm glad on't.

What a fearful night is this!

Cas. Am I not stay'd for? Tell me.

Cin. Yes,

You are. O, Cassius, if you could but win

The noble Brutus to our party


Cas. Be you content: Good Cinna, take this paper, And look you lay it in the prætor's chair,

Where Brutus may but find it: and throw this

In at his window: set this up with wax

Upon old Brutus' statue: all this done,

Repair to Pompey's porch, where you shall find us.
Is Decius, and Trebonius, there?

Cin. All, but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone
To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie,
And so bestow these papers as you bade me.

Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre.

[Exit Cinna, R.

Come, Cassa you and I will, yet, ere day,
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already; and the man entire,
Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.
Casca. O, he sits high in all the people's hearts,
And that, which would appear offence in us,

His countenance, like richest alchemy,

Will change to virtue and to worthiness.

Cas. Him, and his worth, and our great need of him,

You have right well conceited.

Let us go;

continue to shine, with undiminished radiance, to the latest posterity. Brutus was no less the angel of Shakspeare than of Cæsar; for the poet has left no points in his character untouched.-His gentleness and candour alternately shine forth, and relieve the sterner virtues; nor does his philosophy, like Cato's, elevate him above humanity. The remark of Dr. Johnson, that this tragedy is somewhat cold and unaffecting, compared with some others of Shakspeare's plays, is true ;-Lear, Hamlet, and Othello are holy ground: but how insensible must that heart be that is not deeply moved at Brutus's announcement of Portia's death, at his resolution to die rather than be led captive through the streets of Rome, and at the everlasting farewell between the reconciled friends. That nothing might be wanting to complete the glory of his character, Mark Antony is made to bear the following eloquent testimony to his vir


"This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy. of great Cæsar;
He, only, in a general honest thought,
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle; and the elements

So mix'd in him, that nature might stand up,
And say to all the world,' This was a man!"

The chronology of Mr. Malone has fixed the date of this tragedy to the year 1607. It was revived in 1663 by the company formerly belonging to the Red Bull, but at that time acting at the new theatre in Drury Lane, under the management of Thomas Killigrew; who obtained a patent from King Charles II., in order to create them the king's servants. Cassius was played by Major Mohun, Brutus by Mr. Hart, and Mark Antony by Mr. Kynaston. The Merchant of Venice, King Henry IV. Part I., Othello, and Julius Cæsar, were classed among the principal old stock-plays. Out of a list of fifteen dramas given by Downes, seven are by Beaumont and Fletcher, three by Ben Jonson, and three, only, by Shakspeare.

The genius that gave life and energy to this noble tragedy cannot but live in the remembrance of those who have beheld the late Mr. Kemble, in Brutus. To recall the beauties of that grand performance must be gratifying to every lover of the histrionic art; while any attempt to convey a notion of them to those who have never witnessed it, would be flat and unprofitable. We may tell the youthful amateur that, to the highest conception he can possibly form of acting, from his own experience, Kemble's Brutus is Olympus to a molehill.

Mr. Young has of late exchanged Cassius for Brutus; which is not (as Bishop Juxon said to King Charles on the scaffold)" a good exchange," but a bad exchange; for his Cassius was fine, while his Brutus is mediocre. Mark Antony is beautifully acted by Mr. Charles Kemble. This was a part in which the unfortunate Conway more particularly excelled.


Re-enter Lucius, R.

Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, sir.
Searching the window for a flint, I found
This paper, thus seal'd up; and, I am sure,
It did not lie there when I went to bed.

Bru. Get you to bed again: it is not day.—
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March?
Luc. I know not, sir.

Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.

and reads

[Lightning.-Exit Lucius, R The exhalations, whizzing in the air, Give so much light, that I may read by them. [Opens the paper, holds it up, "Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself. Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress! Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake,'


Such instigations have been often dropp'd
Where I have took them up.

"Shall Rome, &c." Thus must I piece it out:-
Shall Rome stand under one man's awe?


My ancestors did from the streets of Rome

The Tarquin drive, when he was called a king.—
Speak, strike, redress!"-Am I entreated then


To speak and strike? O, Rome! I make the promise, If the redress will follow, thou receivest

Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus.

Re-enter LUCIus, r.

Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.

Bru. 'Tis good.

[Knocking without, L.

Go to the gate; somebody knocks.-[Exit Lucius, L.

Since Cassius first

Did whet me against Cæsar, I've not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream":
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.

Re-enter LUCIUS, L.

Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door, Who doth desire to see you.



SCENE I.-Rome.-A Street.-A great Tumult without. Enter CASCA and TREBONIUS, R. meeting Plebeians from 1.

Cas. (c.) Hence; home, you idle creatures, get you

Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk,
Upon a labouring day, without the sign

Of your profession ?-Speak, what trade art thou?
First Ple. Why, sir, a carpenter.

Tre. (R.) Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule? You, sir; what trade are you?

Second Ple. (R. c.) Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.

Tre. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly. Second. Ple. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soals.

Cas. (c.) What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?

Second. Ple. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

Cas. What mean'st by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?

Second. Ple. Why, sir, cobble you.

Tre. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

Second. Ple. Truly, sir, all that I live by is the awl: I meddle with no trade-man's matters, nor woman's matters but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes ; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neats-leather have gone upon my handy-work.

Tre. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

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