Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

.

A CT V.

SCENE, the Fields of Philippi, with the two Camps.

Enter Octavius, Antony, and their Army.

N

It

OCTAVIUS.

OW, Antony, our hopes are answered. You faid, the enemy would not come down, But keep the hills and upper regions; proves not fo; their battels are at hand, They mean to warn us at Philippi here, Anfwering, before we do demand of them. Ant. Tut, I am in their bofoms, and I know Wherefore they do it; they could be content To vifit other places, and come down With fearful bravery, thinking, by this face, To faften in our thoughts that they have courage. But 'tis not fo.

Enter a Messenger.

Mef. Prepare you, Generals;

The enemy comes on in gallant thew;
Their bloody fign of battel is hung out,
And fomething to be done immediately.
Ant. Octavius, lead your battel foftly on,

Upon the left hand of the even field.

Ota. Upon the right hand I, keep thou the left.
Ant. Why do you crofs me in this exigent?
Octa. I do not cross you; but I will do fo. [March.

Drum. Enter Brutus, Caffius, and their army.
Bru. They stand, and would have parley.
Caf. Stand faft, Titinius, we muft out and talk.

[ocr errors]

Otta.

O&ta. Mark Antony, fhall we give fign of battel?
Ant. No, Cæfar, we will anfwer on their charge.
Make forth, the Generals would have fome words.
Octa. Stir not until the fignal.

Bru. Words before blows: is it fo, Countrymen?
Octa. Not that we love words better, as you do.
Bru. Good words are better than bad strokes, Oña-.
vius.

Ant. In your bad strokes, Brutus, you give good words.

Witness the hole you made in Cafar's heart,
Crying, "long live! hail, Cæfar!

Caf. Antony,

The posture of your blows are yet unknown;
But for your words, they rob the Hybla bees,
And leave them honeyless.

Ant. Not ftinglefs too.

Bru. O yes, and foundless too:

For you have ftoln their buzzing, Antony;
And very wifely threat, before you fting.

Ant. Villains! you did not fo, when your vile dag-
gers

Hack'd one another in the fides of Cafar.

You fhew'd your teeth like apes, and fawn'd like hounds,
And bow'd like bond-men, kiffing Cafar's feet;
Whilft damned Cafca, like a cur behind,

Struck Cafar on the neck. O flatterers!
Caf. Flatterers! now Brutus thank your felf;
This tongue had not offended fo to day,

If Caffius might have rul'd.

Ofta. Come, come, the cause. If arguing make us
fweat,

The proof of it will turn to redder drops.
Behold, I draw a fword against confpirators;
When think you, that the fword goes up again?.
Never, 'till Cæfar's three and twenty wounds (31)

Be

(31) Three and thirty wounds.] Thus all the Editions implicitly; but I have ventur'd to reduce this Number to three and twenty from the

joint

Be well aveng'd; or 'till another Cafar

Have added flaughter to the fword of traitors.
Bru. Cæfar, thou can'ft not die by traitors' hands,
Unless thou bring'ft them with thee.

Octa. So I hope;

I was not born to die on Brutus' sword.

Bru. O, if thou wert the nobleft of thy Strain, Young man, thou couldst not die more honourable. Caf. A peevish school-boy, worthlefs of fuch ho

nour,

Join'd with a masker and a reveller.

Ant. Old Caffius ftill!

Octa. Come, Antony, away;

Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth: you dare fight to day, come to the field;

If

If not, when you have ftomachs.

[Exe. Octavius, Antony, and army.

Caf. Why, now blow wind, fwell billow, and swim

bark!

The ftorm is up, and all is on the hazard.

Bru. Lucilius,

[blocks in formation]

hark a word with you.

[blocks in formation]

Mef. What fays my General?

Caf. Meffala,

This is my birth-day; as this very day

Was Caffius born. Give me thy hand, Meffala;
Be thou my witnefs, that against my will,

As Pompey was, am I compell'd to fet

Upon one battel all our liberties.

You know, that I held Epicurus strong,
And his opinion; now I change my mind

joint Authorities of Appian, Plutarch, and Suetonius; and I am perfwaded, the Error was not from the Poet, but his Transcribers. The fame Miftake has happen'd in the Noble Gentleman, by Beaumont and Fletcher.

So Cæfar fell, when in the Capitol

They gave his Body two and thirty Wounds.

For here we must likewife correct, three and twenty. Perhaps, the Number might be wrote in Figures; and thofe accidentally tranfpos'd.

And partly credit things, that do prefage.
Coming from Sardis, on our foremost enfign
Two mighty eagles fell; and there they perch'd;
Gorging and feeding from our foldiers hands,
Who to Philippi here conforted us:

This morning are they fled away and gone,
And, in their fteads, do ravens, crows and kites
Fly o'er our heads; and downward look on us,
As we were fickly prey; their fhadows feem
A canopy moft fatal, under which

Our army lies ready to give the ghost.
Mef. Believe not fo.

Caf. I but believe it partly;

For I am fresh of fpirit, and refolv'd
To meet all peril, very conftantly.
Bru. Even fo, Lucilius.

Caf. Now, molt noble Brutus,

The Gods to day ftand friendl

that we may,

Lovers in peace, lead on our days to age!

[ocr errors]

But fince th' affairs of men reft ftill incertain,
Let's reafon with the worst that may befall.
If we do lofe this battel, then is this

The very last time we fhall fpeak together.
What are you then determined to do?

Bru. Ev'n by the rule of that Philofophy, (32)
By which I did blame Cato, for the death
Which he did give himself; I know not how,
But I do find it cowardly, and vile,

(32) Bru. Ev'n by the Rule] This Speech from Plutarch our Shakespeare has extremely foften'd in all the offenfive parts of it; as any one may fee, who confults the Original: And, with no lefs Caution, has omitted his famous Exclamation against Virtue. O Virtue! I have wor Ship'd Thee as a real Good; but find thee only an unfubflantial Name. His great Judgment in this is very remarkable, on two Accounts. Firft in his Caution, not to give Offence to a moral Audience; and Secondly, as he has hereby avoided a Fault, in drawing his Hero's Character. For to have had Brutus gone off the Stage in the manner Plutarch reprefents it, would have fupprefs'd all that Pity (efpecially in a Chriftian Audience;) which it was the Poet's Bufinefs to raife. So that, as Shakespeare has managd this Character, he is as perfect a one for the Stage as Oedipus; which the Criticks fo much admire. Mr. Warburton.

For

For fear of what might fall, fo to prevent
The time of life; arming my felf with patience,
To stay the providence of fome high powers,
That govern us below.

Caf. Then if we lofe this battel,

You are contented to be led in triumph
Thorough the streets of Rome.

Bru, No, Caffius, no; think not, thou noble Roman, That ever. Brutus will go bound to Rome;

He bears too great a mind. But this fame day
Muft end that Work, the Ides of March begun;
And, whether we fhall meet again, I know not;
Therefore our everlafting farewel take;
For ever, and for ever, farewel, Caffius!
If we do meet again, why, we shall fmile;
If not, why, then this parting was well made,
Caf. For ever, and for ever, farewel, Brutus!
If we do meet again, we'll fmile indeed;
If not, 'tis true, this parting was well made.
Bru. Why then, lead on. O, that a man might know
The end of this day's bufinefs ere it come!
But it fufficeth, that the day will end;

And then the end is known. Come, ho, away.

Alarum. Enter Brutus and Meffala.

[Exeunt.

Bru. Ride, ride, Messala; ride, and give these bills Unto the legions, on the other fide.

Let them fet on at once; for I perceive

But cold demeanor in Octavius' wing;

[Loud alarum,

And fudden Pufh gives them the overthrow.

Ride, ride, Meffala; let them all come down. [Exe,

Alarum. Enter Caffius and Titinius.

Caf. O look, Titinius, look, the villains fly!
My felf have to mine own turn'd enemy;
This enfign here of mine was turning back,
I flew the coward, and did take it from him,
Tit. O Caffius, Brutus gave the word too early;
Who having fome advantage on Octavius,

Took

« AnteriorContinua »