Imatges de pÓgina
[blocks in formation]

A Soothsayer.

CINNA, a Poet. Another Poet.

LUCILIUS, TITINIUS, MESSALA, young CATO, and VOLUMNIUS, Friends to Brutus and Cassius.


NIUS, Servants to Brutus.

PINDARUS, Servant to Cassius.

CALPHURNIA, Wife to Cæsar.

PORTIA, Wife to Brutus.

Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.

SCENE, during a great part of the Play, at Rome; afterwards at Sardis; and near Philippi.



SCENE I. Rome. A Street.

Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and a Rabble of



HENCE; home, you idle creatures, get you home;
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? 1 Cit. Why, sir, a carpenter.

Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule? What dost thou with thy best apparel on?You, sir; what trade are you?

2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.

Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience: which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soals.

Mar. What trade, thou knave; thou naughty knave, what trade?

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

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

2 Cit. Why sir, cobble you.

Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod neat's leather, have gone upon my handy work.


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

2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph. Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings

he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome,

To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless

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 sat
The live-long day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome;
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tyber trembled underneath her banks1,

1 The Tyber being always personified as a god, the feminine gender is here, strictly speaking, improper. Milton says thatthe river of bliss

Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber streams.'

But he is speaking of the water, and not of its presiding power

To hear the replication of your sounds,
Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Be gone;

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.

Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault, Assemble all the poor men of your sort2; Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears Into the channel, till the lowest stream Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

[Exeunt Citizens.
See, whe'r their basest metal be not mov'd;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
This way will I: Disrobe the images,
If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.
Mar. May we do so?

You know, it is the feast of Lupercal.
Flav. It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies 5. I'll about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets :
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck'd from Cæsar's wing,

or genius. Malone observes that Drayton describes the pre-
siding powers of the rivers of England as females; Spenser more
classically represents them as males.
3 Whether.
4 Honorary ornaments; tokens of respect.

2 Condition, rank.

5 We gather from a passage in the next scene what these trophies were. Casca there informs. Cassius that Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images, are put to silence..

Will make him fly an ordinary pitch;

Who else would soar above the view of men,
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.


SCENE II. The same. A Publick Place.

Enter, in Procession, with Musick, CÆSAR, ANTONY, for the course; CALPHURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA, a great Crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.

[blocks in formation]

Cæs. Stand you directly in Antonius' way 2, When he doth run his course.-Antonius.

1 This person was not Decius but Decimus Brutus. The poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof, and declined so large a share of his favours and honours as the other had constantly accepted. Lord Sterline has made the same mistake in his tragedy of Julius Cæsar. The error has its source in North's translation of Plutarch, or in Holland's Suetonius, 1606.

2 The old copy reads Antonio's way:' in other places we have Octavio, Flavio. The players were more accustomed to Italian than Latin terminations, on account of the many versions from Italian novels, and the many Italian characters in dramatic pieces formed on the same originals. The correction was made by Pope.

The allusion is to a custom at the Lupercalia,' the which (says Plutarch) in olde time men say was the feaste of shepheards or heardsmen, and is much like unto the feast Lyceians in Arcadia. But howsoever it is, that day there are diverse noble men's sonnes, young men (and some of them magistrates themselves that govern them) which run naked through the city, striking in sport them they meet in their way with leather thongs. And many noblewomen and gentlewomen also go of

« AnteriorContinua »