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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, Cassius, 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 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
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.
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:2
9 — a common laugher,] Old copy-laughter. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.
1 To stale with ordinary oaths my love &c.] To invite every new protester to my affection by the stale or allurement of customary oaths.
Fohnson. 2 And I will look on both indifferently:) Dr. Warburton has a long note on his occasion, which is very trilling. When Brutus first names honour and death, he calmly declares them indifferent; but as the image kindles in his mind, he sets honour above life. Is not this natural? Johnson.
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 floud,3
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.
But ere we could arrive the point propos’d,4
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,
Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,] Shakspeare probably re-
collected the story which Suetonius has told of Cæsar's leaping into
the sea, when he was in danger by a boat's being overladen, and
swimming to the next ship with his Commentaries in his left hand.
Holland's translation of Suetonius, 1606, p. 26. So also, ibid. p. 24:
“ Were rivers in his way to hinder his passage, cross over thein he
would, either swimming, or else bearing himself upon blowed leather
4 But ere we could arrive the point propos’d,] The verb arrive is used, without the preposition at, by Milton in the second Book of Paradise Lost, as well as by Shakspeare in The Third Part of King Henry VI, Act V, sc. ii:
those powers, that the queen
“ Hath rais'din Gallia, have arriv'd our coast.” Steevens.
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;5
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 temperó should
So get the start of the majestick world,
And bear the palm alone.
Bru. Another general shout!
I do believe, that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar.
Cas. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world, Like a Colossus; and we petty men Walk under his huge legs, and peep about To find ourselves dishonourable graves. Men at some time are masters of their fates :
5 His coward lips did from their colour fly;] A plain man would have said, the colour fled from his lips, and not liis lips from their colour. But the false expression was for the sake of as false a piece of wit: a poor quibble, alluding to a coward Aying from his colours.
Warburton. - feeble temper -] i.e. temperament, constitution. Steevens.
get the start of the majestick world, &c.] This image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games. The majestick world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion Orbis Romanus. But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexander, who being asked, Whether he would run the course at he Olympic games, replied, Yes, if the racers were kings. Warburton.
That the allusion is to the prize allotted in games to the foremost in the race, is very clear. All the rest existed, I apprehend, only in Dr. Warburton's imagination. Malone.
and we petty men Walk under his huge legs.] So, as an anonymous writer has observed, in Spenser's Fuiry Quein, B. IV, c. X:
- But I the meanest man of many more,
“ Yet much disdaining unto him to lout,
« Or creep between his legs." Malone.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Cæsar : What should be in that Cæsar ?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ;9
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with them,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.1 [Shout.
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great ? Age, thou art sham’d:
Romc, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods !
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam’d with more than with one man?
When could they say,
that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walks encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once,2 that would have brook'd
The eternal devil3 to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.
Bru. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim :4
How I have thought of this, and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
9 Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ;] A similar thought occurs in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:
“What diapason's more in Tarquin's name,
" Than in a subject's ? or what's Tullia
“ More in the sound, than should become the name
“Of a poor maid ?" Steevens. 1 Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.] Dr. Young, in his Busiris, appears to have imitated this passage:
“Nay, stamp not, tyrant; I can stamp as loud,
“ And raise as many dæmons with the sound.” Steevens. 2 There was a Brutus once,] i.e. Lucius Junius Brutus. Steevens.
3 eternal devil -] I should think that our author wrote rather, infernal devil. Johnson.
I would continue to read eternal devil. L. J. Brutus (says Cassius) would as soon have submitted to the perpetual dominion of a dæmon, as to the lasting government of a king. Steevens.
aim:] i. e. guess. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : “ But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err, " Steevens:
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further mov’d. What you have said,
I will consider; what you have to say,
I will with patience hear: and find a time
Both meet to hear, and answer, such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this;5
Brutus had rather be a villager,
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.
Cas. I am glad, that my weak words?
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
Re-enter CÆSAR, and his Train.
Bru. The games are done, and Cæsar is returning.
Cas. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve ;
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded, worthy note, to-day.
Bru. I will do so :-But, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Cæsar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train :
Calphurnia's cheek is pale ; and Cicero
Looks with such ferrets and such fiery eyes,
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
Cas. Casca will tell us what the matter is,
Ces. Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:
chew upon this ;] Consider this at leisure ; ruminate on this.
Fohnson 6 Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.] As, in our author's age, was frequently used in the sense of that. So, in North's translation of Plutarch, 1579: “ — insomuch as they that saw it, thought he had been burnt." Malone.
7 I am glad, that my weak words -] For the sake of regular measure, Mr. Ritson would read : Cas.
I am glad, my words
Have struck &c. Steevens.
ferret -] A ferret has red eyes. Johnson. 9 Sleek-headed men, &c.] So, in Sir Thomas Nrth's translation of Plutarch, 1579: “When Cæsar's friends complained unto him of