Imatges de pÓgina

Ant. Cæsar, my lord.

Cæs. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius, To touch Calphurnia: for our elders say, The barren, touched in this holy chase, Shake off their steril curse.


I shall remember:

When Cæsar says, Do this, it is perform❜d.
Cæs. Set on; and leave no ceremony out.

Sooth. Cæsar.

Caes. Ha! who calls?


Casca. Bid every noise be still :-Peace yet again.

[Musick ceases. Cæs. Who is it in the press, that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the musick, Cry, Cæsar Speak; Cæsar is turn'd to hear. Sooth. Beware the ides of March.


What man is that? Bru. A soothsayer, bids you beware the ides of March.

Cæs. Set him before me, let me see his face.
Cas. Fellow, come from the throng: Look upon

Cas. What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.

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Sooth. Beware the ides of March..

Cæs. He is a dreamer; let us leave him;-pass.

[Sennet3. Exeunt all but BRU. and CAS.

purpose to stand in their way, and doe put forth their handes to be stricken, persuading themselves that being with childe they shall have good deliverie; and also being barren, that it will make them conceive with child. Cæsar sat to behold that sport upon the pulpit for orations, in a chayre of gold, apparelled in triumphant manner. Antonius, who was consul at that time, was one of them that ronne this holy course.'

North's translation. 3 See King Henry VIII. Act ii. Sc. 4, note 1.

Cas. Will you go see the order of the course?
Bru. Not I.

Cas. I pray you, do.

Bru. I am not gamesome: I do lack some part Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.

Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I'll leave you.

Cas. Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness,
And show of love, as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.

Be not deceiv'd: if I have veil'd my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am,
Of late, with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,

Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviours:
But let not therefore my good friends be griev'd
(Among which number, Cassius, be you one);
Nor construe any further my neglect,

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

Cas. Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your
passion *,

By means whereof, this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
Bru. No, Cassius: for the eye sees not itself,
But by reflection, by some other things.

Cas. "Tis just:

And it is very much lamented, Brutus,

4 i. e. the nature of the feelings which you are now suffering. Thus in Timon of Athens :

I feel my master's passion.'

That you have no such mirrors, as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,

That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
Where many of the best respect in Rome
(Except immortal Cæsar), speaking of Brutus,
And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.
Bru. Into what dangers would you lead me,

That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?

Cas. Therefore, good Brutus, be prepar❜d to hear:
And, since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself

That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous of me, gentle Brutus :
Were I a common laugher, or did use
To stale 5 with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester: if you know
That I do fawn on men, and hug them hard,
And after scandal them; or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting

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To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

[Flourish and Shout. Bru. What means this shouting? I do fear, the people

Choose Cæsar for their king.

5 Johnson has erroneously given the meaning of allurement to stale in this place. To stale with ordinary oaths my love,' is 'to prostitute my love, or make it common with ordinary oaths,' &c. The use of the verb to stale here may be adduced as a proof that in a disputed passage of Coriolanus, Acti. Sc. 1, we should read stale instead of scale: see note there. Thus in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Humour, Act ii. Sc. 1:

'He's grown a stranger to all due respect,
and not content

To stale himself in all societies,

He makes my house here common as a mart.'


Ay, do you fear it? Then must I think you would not have it so.

Bru. I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well:—
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye, and death i'the other,
And I will look on both indifferently:
For, let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.
Cas. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story.—
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be

In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar; so were you:
We both have fed as well: and we can both
Endure the winter's cold, as well as he.
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tyber chafing with her shores,
Cæsar said to me, Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point? Upon the word,
Accouter'd as I was, I plunged in,

And bade him follow: so, indeed, he did.
The torrent roar'd; and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews; throwing it aside

And stemming it with hearts of controversy.

6 Shakspeare probably remembered what Suetonius relates of Cæsar's leaping into the sea, when he was in danger by a boat being overladen, and swimming to the next ship with his Commentaries in his hand. Holland's Translation of Suetonius, 1606, p. 26. And in another passage, Were rivers in his way to hinder his passage, cross over them he would, either swimming, or else bearing himself upon blowed leather bottles.' Ibid. p. 24.

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But ere we could arrive the point propos'd,
Cæsar cry'd, Help me, Cassius, or I sink.

I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,

Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so, from the waves of Tyber
Did I the tired Cæsar: And this man

Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
If Cæsar carelessly 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 8;
And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius,

As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper 9 should
So get the start of the majestick world,
And bear the palm alone.

Bru. Another general shout!

[Shout. Flourish.

7 But ere we could arrive the point propos'd.' The verb arrive, in its active sense, according to its etymology, was formerly used for to approach, or come near. Milton several times uses it thus without the preposition. Thus in Paradise Lost, b. ii. :

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And in his Treatise of Civil Power, Lest a worse woe arrive him.' Shakspeare has it again in the Third Part of King Henry VI. Act v. Sc. 3 :

those powers that the queen

Hath rais'd in Gallia, have arriv'd our coast.'

8 This is oddly expressed, but a quibble, alluding to a coward flying from his colours, was intended.

9 Temperament, constitution.



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