Page images

Like a phantasma,8 or a hideous dream:

“ Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

66 The nature of an insurrection.” Comparing the troubled mind of a conspirator to a state of anarchy, is just and beautiful ; but the interim or interval, to an hideous vision, or a frightful dream, holds something so wonderfully of truth, and lays the soul so open, that one can hardly think it possible for any man, who had not some time or other been engaged in a conspiracy, to give such force of colouring to nature. Warburton.

The devoy of the Greek criticks does not, I think, mean senti. ments which raise fear, more than wonder, or any other of the tumultuous passions; zo deivov is that which strikes, which astonishes with the idea either of some great subject, or of the author's abilities.

Dr. Warburton's pompous criticism might well have been shortened. The genius is not the genius of a kingdom, nor are the instruments, conspirators. Shakspeare is describing what passes in a single bosom, the insurrection which a conspirator feels agitating the little kingdom of his own mind; when the genius, or power that watches for his protection, and the inortal instruments, the passions, which excite him to a deed of honour and danger, are in council and de. bate; when the desire of action, and the care of safety, keep the mind in continual fluctuation and disturbance. Johnson.

The foregoing was perhaps among the earliest notes written by Dr. Warburton on Shakspeare. Though it was not inserted by him in Theobald's editions, 1732 and 1740, (but was reserved for his own in 1747) yet he had previously communicated it, with little variation, in a letter to Matthew Concanen, in the year 1726. See a note on Dr. Akenside's Ode to Mr. Edwards, at the end of this play. Steevens.

There is a passage in Troilus and Cressida, which bears some resemblance to this:

Imagin’d worth
“ Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse,
" That, 'twixt his mortal, and his active parts,
“ Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,

" And batters down himself.” Johnson is right in asserting that by the Genius is meant, not the Genius of a Kingdom, but the power that watches over an individual for his protection.-So, in the same play, Troilus says to Cressida:

Hark! you are callid. Some say, the Genius so

“ Cries. Come, to him that instantly must die." Johnson's explanation of the word instruments, is also confirmed by the following passage in Macbeth, whose mind was, at the time, in the very state which Brutus is here describing :

I am settled, and bend up “ Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.” M. Mason. The word genius, in our author's time, meant either " a good angel or a familiar evil spirit," and is so defined by Bullokar in his English Expositor, 1616. So, in Macbeth:

and, under him,

The genius, and the mortal instruments,

My genius is rebuk’d; as, it is said,

“ Mark Antony's was by Cæsar's." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

Thy dæmon, that thy spirit which keeps thee, is,” &c. The more usual signification now affixed to this word was not known till several years afterwards. I have not found it in the com. mon modern sense in any book earlier than the Dictionary published by Edward Phillips, in 1657.

Mortal is certainly used here, as in many other places, for deadly. So, in Othello:

“ And you, ye mortal engines,” &c. The mortal instruments then are, the deadly passions, or as they are called in Macbeth, the “ mortal thoughts," which excite each “corporal agent" to the performance of some arduous deed.

The little kingdom of man is a notion that Shakspeare seems to have been fond of. So, K. Richard II, speaking of himself:

“ And these same thoughts people this little world.Again, in King Lear:

“ Strives in his little world of man to outscorn

“ The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain." Again, in King John:

- in the body of this fleshly land, “ This kingdom, —.” I have adhered to the old copy, which reads--the state of a man. Shakspeare is here speaking of the individual in whose mind the genius and the mortal instruments hold a council, not of man, or mankind in general. The passage above, quoted from King Lear, does not militate against the old copy here. There the individual is marked out by the word his, and the little world of man" is thus circumscribed, and appropriated to Lear. The editor of the second folio omitted the article, probably from a mistaken notion concern. ing the metre; and all the subsequent editors have adopted bis al. teration. Many words of two syllables are used by Shakspeare as taking up the time of only one; as whether, either, brother, lover, gentle, spirit, &c. and I suppose council is so used here.

The reading of the old authentick copy, to which I have adhered, is supported by a passage in Hamlet: - - What a piece of work is a man.”

As council is here used as a monosyllable, so is noble in Titus Año dronicus:

“ Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose.” Malone. Influenced by the conduct of our great predecessors, Rowe, Pope, Warburton, and Johnson ; and for reasons similar to those ad. vanced in the next note, I persist in following the second folio, as our author on this occasion, meant to write verse instead of prose.--The instance from Hamlet can have little weight; the article-a, which is injurious to the metre in question, being quite innocent in a speech decidedly prosaick : and as for the line adduced from Titus Andro nicus, the second syllable of the word-noble, may be melted down

Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.

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

Is he alone?
Lục. No, sir, there are more with him.

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 favour.i Bru.

Let them enter. [Exit Luc: 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, conspiracy; Hide it in smiles, and affability: For if thou path thy native semblance on,

into the succeeding vowel, an advantage which cannot be obtained in fayour of the present restoration offered from the first folio.

Steevens. Neither our author, nor any other author in the world, ever used such words as either, brother, lover, gentle, &c. as monosyllables; and though whether is sometimes so contracted, the old copies on that oc. casion usually print-where. It is, in short, morally impossible that two syllables should be no more than one. Ritson.

8 Like a phantasma,] “Suidas maketh a difference between phantạsma and phantasia, saying that phantasma is an imagination, or appearance, or sight of a thing which is not, as are those sightes whiche men in their sleepe do thinke they see: but that phantasia is the seeing of that only which is in very deeds.” Lavaterus, 1572.

Henderson. A phantasme,” says Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, " is a vision, or imagined appearance.” Malone.

- your brother Cassius - ] Cassius married Junia, Brutus' sister. Steevens. 1 - any mark of favour.] Any distinction of countenance.

Fohnson. See Vol. III, p. 432, n.2. Steevens.

2 For if thou path, thy native semblance on,] If thou walk in thy true form. Fohnson. . The same verb is used by Drayton in his Polyolbion, Song II:,

Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Enter Cassius, CASCA, Decius, CINNA, METELLUS

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

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.

He is welcome hither.
Cas. This Decius Brutus.

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

They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves3
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. O, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon grey 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.


“ Where, from the neighbouring hills, her passage Wey doth

path.Again, in his Epistle from Duke Humphrey to Elinor Cobham:

Pathing young Henry's unadvised ways.” Steevens.

do interpose themselves &c.] For the sake of measure I am willing to think our author wrote as follows, and that the word themselves is an interpolation:

What watchful cares do inter pose betwixt
Your eyes and night?

Shall I entreat a word? Steevens.

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 face of men,
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,

4 No, not an oath: If not the face of men, &c.] Dr. Warburton would read fate of men; but his elaborate emendation is, I think, erroneous. The face of men is the countenance, the regard, the esteem of the publick; in other terms, honour and reputation; or the face of men may mean the dejected look of the people. Johnson.

So, Tully in Catilinam--Nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt?

Shakspeare formed this speech on the following passage in Sir T. North's translation of Plutarch :-" The conspirators having never taken oaths together, nor taken or given any caution or assurance, nor binding themselves one to another by any religious oaths, they kept the matter so secret to themselves,” &c. Steevens.

I cannot reconcile myself to Johnson's explanation of this passage, but believe we should read :

- If not the faith of men, &c.
which is supported by the following passages in this very speech:

What other bond
“ Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
66 And will not palter:-

when every drop of blood
" That every Roman bears, and nobly bears
“ Is guilty of a several bastardy,
“ If he do break the smallest particle

Of any promise that hath pass'd from him.Both which


that Brutus considered the faith of men as their firmest security in each other.

M. Mason. In this sentence, [i. e. the two first lines of the speech) as in several others, Shakspeare, with a view perhaps to imitate the abruptness and inaccuracy of discourse, has constructed the latter part without any regard to the beginning. “If the face of men, the suf. ferance of our souls, &c. If these be not sufficient; if these be mo. tives weak,” &c. So, in The Tempest:

“ I have with such provision in mine art,
“ So safely order'd, that there is no soul

“ No, not so much perdition,” &c.
Mr. M. Mason would read—if not the faith of men,

If the text be corrupt. faiths is more likely to have been the poet's word ; which might have been easily confounded by the ear with face, the word exhibited in the old copy. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

the manner of their deaths? " I do not see them bleed." Again, in King Henry VI, P III:

“ And with their helps only defend ourselves." Again, more appositely, in The Rape of Lucrece:

You, fair lords, quoth she,-
« Shall plight your honourable faiths to me." Malone.

« PreviousContinue »