Imatges de pàgina

Cit. [Speaking promiscuously.] Tear him to pieces, do it presently. He killed my son ;--my daughter; -He killed my cousin Marcus;—He killed my father.

2 Lord. Peace, ho;- no outrage ;-peace.
The man is noble, and his fame folds in
This orb o'the earth?. His last offence to us
Shall have judicious8 hearing.–Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.

O, that I had him,
With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword !

Insolent villain ! Con. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him. [AUFIDIUS, and the Conspirators draw, and kill

CORIOLANUS, who falls, and Aufidius stands

on him. Lords.

Hold, hold, hold, hold. Auf. My noble masters, hear me speak. 1 Lord.

0 Tullus. 2 Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour

will weep;

3 Lord. Tread not upon him.-Masters all, be

quiet; Put up your swords.

Auf. My lords, when you shall know (as in Provok'd by him, you cannot) the great danger Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours To call me to your senate, I'll deliver Myself your loyal servant, or endure Your heaviest censure.

this rage,

7° His fame overspreads the world.'

8. Perhaps judicious, in the present instance, means judicial; such a hearing as is allowed to criminals in courts of justice.'

STEEVENS. Steevens is right, it appears from Bullokar's Expositor that the words were convertible; the same meaning is assigned to both, viz. belonging to judgment.'

1 Lord.

Bear from hence his body,
And mourn you for him; let him be regarded
As the most noble corse, that ever herald
Did follow to his urno.
2 Lord.

His own impatience
Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it.

My rage is gone,
And I am struck with sorrow.-Take him up:
Help, three o'the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.--
Beat thou the drum that it speak mournfully:
Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
Which to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet he shall have a noble memory10,-
(Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUB.

A dead March sounded.

9 This allusion is to a custom which was most probably unknown to the ancients, but which was observed in the public funerals of English princes, at the conclusion of which a herald proclaims the style of the deceased.

10 Memorial. See Act iv. Sc. 5, note 3.

The tragedy of CORIOLANUS is one of the most amusing of our author's performances. The old man's merriment in Menenius; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia; the bridal modesty in Virgilia; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malignity and tribunitian insolence in Brutus and 'Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety; and the various revolutions of the hero's fortune fill the mind with apxious curi. osity. There is, perhaps, too much bustle in the first Act, and too little in the last. JOHNSON.






It appears from the Appendix to Peck's Memoira of Oliver Cromwell, &c. p. 14, that a Latin play on this subject had been written: • Epilogus Cæsari interfecti, quomodo in scenam prodiit ea acta, in Ecclesia Christi, Oxon. Qui epilogos a Magistro Ricardo Eedes, et scriptus, et in proscenio ibidem dictus fuit, A. D. 1582. Meres, in his Wits' Commonwealth, 1598, enumerates Dr. Eedes among the best tragic writers of that time.

From what Polonius says in Hamlet, it seems probable that there was also an English play on the story before Shakspeare commenced writer for the stage. Stephen Godson, in his School of Abuse, 1579, mentions a play entitled The History of Cæsar and Pompey.

William Alexander, afterwards earl of Sterline, wrote a tragedy of the story of Julius Cæsar; the death of Cæsar, which is not exhibited, but related to the audience, forms the catastrophe of his piece, which appeared in 1607, when the writer was little acquainted with English writers; it abounds with Scotticisms, which the author corrected in the edition he gave of his works in 1637. There are parallel passages in the two plays, which may bave arisen from the two authors drawing from the same source; but there is reason to think the coincidences more than accidental, and that Sbakspeare was acquainted with the drama of Lord Sterline. It has been shown in a note on The Tempest, that the celebrated passage (The cloud-capt towers, &c.) had its prototype in Darius, another play of the same author.

It should be remembered that Sbakspeare has many plays founded on subjects which had been previously treated by oihers: whereas no proof has hitherto been produced that any cotemporary writer ever presumed to new model a story that had already employed the pen of Shakspeare. If the conjecture that Shakspeare was indebted to Lord Sterline be just, bis drama must have been produced subsequent to 1607, or at latest in that year, which is ibe date ascribed to it, upon these grounds, by Malone.

Upton bas remarked that the real duration of time in Julius Cæsar is as follows:-About the middle of February, A. U. C. 709, a frantic festival sacred to Pan, and called Lupercalia, was held in honour of Cæsar, when the regal crown was offered to him by Antony. On the 15th of March in the same year, he was slain. November 27, A. U. C. 710, the triumvirs met at a

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