Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cin. All but Metellus Cimber; and he's gone To seek you at your house. Well, I will hie, And so bestow these papers as you bade me.

Cas. That done, repair to Pompey's theatre. [Exit Cin.
Come, Casca, you and I will, yet, ere day,
See Brutus at his house: three parts of him
Is ours already; and the man entire,
Upon the next encounter, yields him ours.

Casca. O, he sits high, in all the people's hearts :
And that, which would appear offence in us,
His countenance, like richest alchymy,
Will change to virtue, and to worthiness.

Cas. Him, and his worth, and our great need of him,
You have right well conceited. Let us go,
For it is after midnight; and, ere day,
We will awake him, and be sure of him. [Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]

Enter BRUTUS.
Bru. What, Lucius! ho !
I cannot, by the progress of the stars,

- Brutus's orchard.] The modern editors read garden, but orchard seems anciently to have had the same meaning. Steevens.

That these two words were anciently synonymous, appears from a line in this play:

he hath left you all his walks,
“ His private arbours, and new-planted orchards,

« On this side Tyber." In Sir T. North’s translation of Plutarch, the passage which Shakspeare has here copied, stands thus: “ He left his gardens and arbours unto the people, which he had on this side of the river Tyber."

So also, in Barret's Alvearie, 1580 : “A garden or an orchard, hortus."--The truth is, that few of our ancestors had in the age of Queen Elizabeth any other garden but an orchard; and hence the latter word was considered as synonymous to the former. Malone.

The number of treatises written on the subject of horticulture, even at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, very strongly controvert Mr. Malone's supposition relative to the unfrequency of gardens at so early a period." Steevens.

Give guess how near to day.-Lucius, I say !
I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.-
When, Lucius, when ? Awake, I say: What Lucius!

Enter Lucius.
Luc. Callid you, my lord ?

Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius : When it is lighted, come and call me here. Luc. I will, my lord.

[Eçit. Bru. It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, But for the general. He would be crown'd :How that might change his nature, there's the question. It is the bright day, that brings forth the adder; And that craves wary walking. Crown him ?- That; And then, I grant, we put a sting in him, That at his will he may do danger with. The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins Remorse from power :: And, to speak truth of Cæsar, I have not known when his affections sway'd

Orchard was anciently written hort-yard; hence its original mean. ing is obvious. Henley.

By the following quotation, however, it will appear that these words had in the days of Shakspeare acquired a distinct meaning. “It shall be good to have understanding of the ground where ye do plant either orchard or garden with fruite.” A Booke of the Arte and Maner howe to plant and graffe all Sortes of Trees, &c. 1574, 4to. And when Justice Shallow invites Falstaff to see his orchard, where they are to eat a last year's pippin of his own graffing, he certainly uses the word in its present acceptation.

Leland also, in his Itinerary distinguishes them: “ At Morle in Derbyshire (says he) there is as much pleasure of orchards of great variety of frute, and fair made walks, and gardens, as in any place of Lancashire.” H. White.

7 When, Lucius, when ?] This exclamation, indicating impatience; has already occurred in King Richard II:

When, Harry, when ?Steevens. See Vol. VIII, p. 14, n. 5. Malone. 8 Remorse from power :) Remorse, for mercy. Warburton.

Remorse (says Mr. Heath) signifies the conscious uneasiness arising from a sense of having done wrong; to extinguish which feeling, nothing hath so great a tendency as absolute uncontrouled power.

I think Warburton right. Johnson.

Remorse is pity, tenderness; and has twice occurred in that sense in Measure for Measure. See Vol. III, p. 357, n.7; and p.463, n. 9. The same word occurs in Othello, and several other of our author's dramas, with the same signification. Steevens.

More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face:
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend: So Cæsar may;
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 egg,
Which, hatch’d, would, as his kind,3 grow mischievous;
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 clay,
Is not to-morrow, boy, the ides of March 24

9

common proof,] Common experiment. Johnson. Common proof means a matter proved by common experience. With great deference to Johnson, I cannot think that the word experiment will bear that meaning. M. Mason. 1 But when he once attains the upmost round,

He then unto the ladder turns his back, &c.] So, in Daniel's Civil Wars, 1602:

66 The aspirer, once attain'd unto the top,
“ Cuts of those means by which himself got up:
“ And with a harder hand, and straighter rein,

“ Doth curb that looseness he did find before :
“ Doubting the occasion like might serve again ;

“ His own example makes him fear the more." Malone.

- base degrees - ] Low steps. Johnson. So, in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :

6. Whom when he saw lie spread on the degrees. Steevens. 3 — as his kind,] According to his nature. Johnson.

So, in Antony and Cleopatra: "You must think this, look you, the worm (i. e. serpent] will do his kind.Steevens.

As his kind does not mean, according to his nature, as Johnson asserts, but like the rest of his species. M. Mason.

Perhaps rather, as all those of his kind, that is, nature. Malone. 4 Is not to

morrow, boy, the ides of March?] [Old copy--the first of March.) We should read ides: for we can never suppose the

2

Luc. I know not, sir.
Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.
Luc. I will, sir.

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

[Opens the Letter and reads.
Brutus, thou sleep'st; awake, and see thyself.
Shall Rome &c. Spcak, 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 thens
To speak, and strike ? O Rome! I make thee promise,
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.

speaker to have lost fourteen days in his account. He is here plainly ruminating

on what the Soothsayer told Cæsar (Act I, sc. ii,] in his presence. [-Beware the ides of March.] The boy comes back and says, Sir, March is wasted fourteen days. So that the morrow was the ides of March, as he supposed. For March, May, July, and October, had six nones each, so that the fifteenth of March was the ides of that month. Warburton.

The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. The error must have been that of a transcriber or printer; for our author without any mi. nute calculation might have found the ides, nones, and kalends, opposite the respective days of the month, in the Almanacks of the time. In Hopton's Concordancie of Yeares, 1616, now before me, opposite to the fifteenth of March is printed Idus. Malone.

Am I entreated then - ] The adverb then, which enforces the question, and is necessary to the metre, was judiciously supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. So, in King Richard III:

wilt thou then
Spurn at his edict? - Steevens.

March is wasted fourteen days.] In former editions:

Sir, March is wasted fifteen days. The editors are slightly mistaken: it was wasted but fourteen days: this was the dawn of the 15th, when the boy makes his réport. Theobald,

5

6

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

[Exit Luc. 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

7 Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, &c.] That nice critick, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, complains, that of all kinds of beauties, those great strokes which he calls the terrible graces, and which are s frequent in Ho. mer, are the rarest to be found in the following writers. Amongst our countrymen, it seems to be as much confined to the British No. mer. This description of the condition of conspirators, before the execution of their design, has a pomp and terror in it that perfectly astonishes. The excellent Mr. Addison, whose modesty made him sometimes diffident of his own genius, but whose true judgment always led him to the safest guides, (as we may see by those fine strokes in his Cato borrowed from the Philippics of Cicero) has paraphrased this fine description; but we are no longer to expect those terrible graces which animate his original:

“O think, what anxious moments pass between
“ The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods.
“Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time,

“Filld up with horror all, and big with death.” Cato. I shall make two remarks on this fine imitation. The first is, that the subjects of the two conspiracies being so very different (the fortunes of Cæsar and the Roman empire being concerned in the one; and that of a few auxiliary troops only in the other,) Mr. Ad. dison could not, with propriety, bring in that magnificent circumstance, which gives one of the terrible graces of Shakspeare's descrip. tion :

“ The genius and the mortal instruments

" Are then in council ; For kingdoms, in the Pagan Theology, besides their good, had their -evil genius's, likewise ; represented here, with the most daring stretch of fancy, as sitting in consultation with the conspirators, whom he calls their mortal instruments. But this, as we say, would have been too pompous an apparatus to the rape and desertion of Syphax and Sempronius. The other thing observable is, that Mr. Addison was so struck and affected with these terrible graces in his original, that instead of imitating his author's sentiments, he hath, before he was aware, given us only the copy of his own impressions made by them. For

« Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time,

“ Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death.".
are but the affections raised by such forcible images as these :

All the interim is
“ Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream.

the state of man,

« PreviousContinue »