Imatges de pàgina
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Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus, that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these, and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's ege,
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mis-

chievous,
And kill him in the shell.

Re-enter Lucius.
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.
Luc. I will, sir.

[Erit. Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air, Give so much light, that I may read by them.

[Opens the Letler, and reads. 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? What!

Rome? My ancestors did from the streets of Rome The Tarquin drive, when he was call’d a king. Speak, strike, redress! -- Am I entreated To speak, and strike? O Rome! I make thee promise,

6. As his kind, like the rest of his species. Thus in Antony and Cleopatra :- You must think this, look you, the worm (i. e. serpent] will do his kind.' .? The old copy erroneously reads, “the first of March.' The correction was inade by Theobald; as was the following.

If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus !

Re-enter Lucius.
Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days.

Knock within. Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody knocks.

[Erit LUCIUS. Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar, I have 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 mano, Like to a little kingdom, suffers then The nature of an insurrection10.

8 Here again the old copy reads, fifteen. This was only the dawn of the fifteenth when the boy makes his report. The old copy reads :

• Are then in council, and the state of a man,' &c. 10 There is a long and fanciful, but erroneous note by Warburton on this passage, which is curious, as being one of his earliest comments on Shakspeare, addressed to Concanen, when, in league with Theobald and others, he made war against Pope. The following note, by the Rev. Mr. Blakeway, is quite of another character, and takes with it my entire concurrence and approbation :

• The genius, and the mortal instrumente,' &c. Mortal is assuredly deadly; as it is in Macbeth :

Come, you spirits,

That tend on mortal thoughts.' By instruments. I understand our bodily powere, our members : as Othello calls his eyes and hands his specolative and active instruments; and Menenius, in Coriolanus, Act i. Sc. I, speaks of the

cranks and offices of man, The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins.' So intending to paint, as he does very finely, the inward conflict which precedes the commission of some dreadful crime; he represents, as I conceive him, the genius, or soul, consulting with the body, and, as it were, questioning the limbs, the instruments which are to perform this deed of death, whether they can undertake to bear her out in the affair, whether they can screw up their courage to do what she shall enjoin them. The tumultuous commotion of opposing sentiments and feelings produced by the firmness of the soul, contending, with the secret misgivings of the body; during which the mental faculties are, though not actually dormant, yet in a sort of waking stupor, crushed by one overwhelming image,' is finely compared to a phantasm or a hideous dream, and by the state of man suffering the nature of an insurrection. Tibalt has something like it in Řomeo and Juliet :

Re-enter Lucius. Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius at the door, Who doth desire to see you. Bru.

Is he alone? Luc. No, sir; there are more with him. Bru.

Do you know them ? Luc. No, sir; their hats are pluck'd about their ears, And half their faces buried in their cloaks, That by no means I may discover them By any mark of favourii. Bru.

Let them enter.

Erit LUCIUS. They are the faction. O conspiracy! Sham'st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night, When evils are most free? O, then, by day, Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough To mask thy monstrous visage ? Seek none, con

spiracy; Hide it in smiles, and affability: For if thou path thy native semblancel2 on, Not Erebus itself were dim enough To hide thee from prevention. Enter CASSIUS, CASCA, Decius, Cinna, METELLUS

CIMBER, and TREBONTUS. Cas. I think we are too bold upon your rest; Good morrow, Brutus: Do we trouble you?

• Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting,

Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.' And what Macbeth says of himself, in a situation nearly allied to this of Brutus, will in some degree elucidate the passage :

• My thoughts, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man, that function

ls smother'd in surmise.'
And again, in Troilus and Cressida, Ulysscs says:--

'twixt bis mental and his active parts, Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,

And battery down himself' 11 See Act i. Sc. 3, note 13. 19 • If thou walk in thy true form.'

Bru. I have been up this hour; awake, all night. Know I these men, that come along with you?

Cas. Yes, every man of them; and no man here,
But honours you : and every one doth wish,
You had but that opinion of yourself,
Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.
Bru.

He is welcome hither.
Cas. This Decius Brutus.
Bru.

He is welcome too.
Cas. This, Casca; this, Cinna;
And this, Metellus Cimber.
Bru.

They are all welcome. What watchful cares do interpose themselves Betwixt your eyes and night?

Cas. Shall I entreat a word ? [They whisper. Dec. Here lies the east: Doth not the day break

here? Casca. No.

Cin. 0, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines, That fret the clouds, are messengers of day. Casca. You shall confess, that you are both

deceiv'd. Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises ; Which is a great way growing on the south, Weighing the youthful season of the year. Some two months hence, up higher toward the

north
He first presents his fire; and the high east
Stands as the Capitol, directly here.

Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Cas. And let us swear our resolution.
Bru. No, not an oath: If not the face13 of men,

13 Johnson thus explains this passage; in which, with a view perhaps to imitate the abruptness of discourse, Shakspeare has constructed the latter part without any regard to the beginning. • The face of men' is the countenance, the regard, the esteem of the public;in other terms, honour and reputation : or the face of men may mean the dejected look of the people. Thus Cicero in CatilinamiNihil horum ora vultusque moverunt.'

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The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse, -
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery14. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and so steel with valour
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
What need we any spur but our own cause,
To prick us to redress? what other bond,
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter15? and what other oath,
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelous 16,
Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprize,
Nor the insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think, that, or our cause, or our performance,
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood,

Gray may perhaps support Johnson's explanation :

• And read their history in a nation's eyes.' Mason thought we should read, the faith of men;' to which, he says, the context evidently gives support:-

what other bond,
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,

And will not palter,' &c. The speech is formed on the following passage in North's Plutarch :- The conspirators having never taken oath together, nor taken or given any caution or assurance, nor binding themselves one to another by any religious vaths, they kept the matter 80 secret to themselves,' &c.

14 Steevens thinks there may be an allusion here to the custom of decimation, i. e, the selection by lot of every tenth soldier in a general mutiny for punishment. The poet speaks of this in Coriolanus:

By decimation and a tithed death

Take thou thy fate.' 15 To palter is to shuffle, to equivocate; to go from engagements once made.

16 Though cautelous is often used for wary, circumspect, by old writers, the context plainly shows that Shakspeare uses it here for artful, insidious; opposed to honesty. It is used in Coriolanu8, Act iv. Sc. 1, in the same sense.

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