Imatges de pÓgina
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Is now become a god ; and Caffius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
If Cæsar carelesly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake : 'tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose its lustre ; I did hear him groan:
Aye, and that tongue of his, that bad the Romans
Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cry'd give me some drink, Titinius-
As a fick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble


(3) So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone.

[Shout. flourish
Bru. Another general shout!
I do believe that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar.

Caf. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.

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(3) So get, &c.] Mr. Warburton tells us the image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games.” Though that does not appear so certain or necessary, since the allufion to any publick games will do full as well ; yet what he says afterwards is more to the purpose : “ The majestic world is a fine periphrasis for the Reman empire : their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion, Orbis Romanus.But the particu. lar allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexander, who, being asked whether he would run the course at the Olympic games, replied, if the racers were kings.” For this allufion also, there does not seem the least hint in the piniisage; rather the contrary : Cassius wonders how such a feeble man thould fo get the start of all the Romans, the majestic world, as to bear the palm alone? How he, feebler than the rest, should in the course outHrip 'em all, and carry off the prize ?



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Men at some times are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in our selves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Cæsar! what should be in that Cæsar?
Why should that name be founded more than yours?
Write them together ; yours is as fair a name:
Sound them, it th become the mouth as well ;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit, as soon as Cæsar.
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great ? Age, thou art sham'd;
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods.
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man ?
When could they say, till now, that talk d of Rome,
That her wide walls encompassid but one man ?

Scene IV. Cæsar's Dislike of Cassius.
Would he were fatter; but I fear him not:
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid,
So foon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer; and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men.

He loves no plays,
As thou doft, Antony; (4) he hears no mufick:
Seldom he smiles ; and smiles in such a sort,
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his fpirit,

(4) He bears, &c.] Mr. Tbeobald obferves well here: “ This is not a trivial observation, nor does our poet mean barely by it,

that Caffius was not a merry, sprightly man, but that he had not a due temperament of harmony in his composition: and that, therefore, natures, so uncorrected, are dangerous.'

He hath finely dilated on this iment, in his Merchant of Venice. The man that hath no mufick, &c.

See vol, i p.71.


That could be mov'd to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
Whilst they behold a greater than themselves ;
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd,
Than what I fear; for always I am Cæsar.

SCENE VII. Spirit of Liberty.

I know, where I will wear this dagger then ? Caffius from bondage will deliver Caffius. Therein, ye gods, you make the weak mot strong ; Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat : Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor itrong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit : But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. If I know this ; know all the world besides, That part of tyranny, that I do bear, I can shake off at pleasure.


Ambition, cover'd with specious Humility.

But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber upward turns his face ;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the cloud:, fcorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.


Conspiracy, dreadful till executed.
(5) 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 infruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.


(5) Between, &c ] Mr, Addison has paraphrased this inimitable passage, in his Cato, which always serves to remind me of that excellent distinction, made by Mr. Gutbrie, in his Elay on Tragedy, betwixt a poet and a genius : See p. 18, &c, and p. 237. vol. I.

O think, what anxious moments pafs between
The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods.
Oh 'tis a dreadful interval of time,

Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death. Cato . Either Mr Theobald, or Mr.Warburton (which who can pronounce, since the one prints the same words in his preface, which the other uses as his own in his notes? See Tbeobald's preface vol. 1. p. 25, and Warburton on the passage) either the one or the other of them, have observed," that nice critic, Dionyfius, of Halicarnassus, confesses, that he could not find those great strokes, which he calls the terrible graces, any where so frequent as in Homer. I believe the succeis would be the fame, likewise, if we fought for them in any other of our authors besides our British Homer, Shakespear. This description of the condition of conspirators has a pomp and terror in it, that perfectly astonishes; our excellent Mr. Addison, whose modesty made him sometimes diffident in his own genius, but whole exquisite judgment always led him to the safest guides, has paraphrased this fine description: but we are no longer to expect those terrible graces, which he could not hinder from evaporating in the transfusion, We may observe two things on-his imitation : first, that the subjects of these two conspiracies being so very different, (the fortune of Cæsar and the Roman empire being concern'd in the first, and that of only a few auxiliary troops in the other) Mr. Addison could not with that propriety bring in that magnificent circumstance, which gives the terrible grace to Sbakespear's dea fcription :

The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council.

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O conspiracy! Sham'ft thou to fhew thy dang'rous brow by night, When evils are most free? O then, by day Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough, To mak thy monstrous visage ? Seek none, conspiracy; Hide it in. (miles and affability: For if thou (6) path, thy native semblance on, Not Erebus itself were dim enough To hide thee from prevention.

Against Cruelty.

Gentle friends, Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully ; For kingdoms, in the poetical theology besides their good, have their kvilgenius's likewise, represented here with the most daring stretch of fancy, as sitting in council with the conspirators, whom he calls the mortal instruments. But this would have been too great an apparatus to the rape and desertion of Syphaxand Sempronius. Secondly, the other thing very observeable is, that Mr. Addisen was so warm'd and affected with the fire of Shakespear's description, that instead of copying his author's sentiments, he has, before he was aware, given us only the image of his own expressions, on the reading his great original. For

Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time

up with horror all, and big with death,
Are but the affections rais'd by such forcible images as these,

All the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream,

The state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

The nature of an insurrection Comparing the mind of a conspirator to an anarchy, is juft and beautiful: but the interim to a hideous dream, has something in it so wonderfully natural, and lays the human soul fo open, that one cannot but be surpriz’d, that any poet, who had not himself been some time or other engaged in a conspiracy, could ever have given luch force of colouring to truth and nature.

(6) Path,] i.e. walk ; he makes a verb of the substantive, which is very common with him.


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