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If these be notives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery 5 But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to 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 palter ?6 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,
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,

5 Till each man drop by lottery.] Perhaps the poet alluded to the custom of deciination, i. e. the selection by lot of every tenth soldier, in a general mutiny, for punishment. He speaks of this in Coriolanus :

“ By decimation, and a tithed death,

“ Take thou thy fate.” Steevens. 6 And will not palter?] And will not fly from his engagements. Cole, in his Dictionary, 1679, renders to palter, by tergiversor. In Macbeth it signifies, as Dr. Johnson has observed, to shuffle with ambiguous expressions: and, indeed, here also it may mean to shuffle ; for he whose actions do not correspond with his promises is properly called a shuffler. Malone. 7 Swear priests, &c.] This is imitated by Otway: “When you would bind me, is there need of oaths ?" &c.

Venice Preserved. Fohnson. cautelous. ] Is here cautious, sometimes insidious. So, in Woman is a Weathercock, 1612: “ Yet warn you, be'as cautelous not to wound my integrity." Again, in Drayton's Miseries of Queen Margaret :

“ Witty, well-spoken, cautelous, though young.” Again, in the second of these two senses in the romance of Kynge Appolyn of Thyre, 1610 : " - a fallacious policy and cautelous wyle."

Again, in Holinshed, p. 945:"_ the emperor's councell thought by a cautell to have brought the king in mind to sue for a licence from the pope.” Steevens.

Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, explains cautelous thus : “Warie, circumspect ;” in which sense it is certainly used here.

Malone VOL. XIV.



any thing

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,
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?

Cas. But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
I think, he will stand very strong with us.

Casca. Let us not leave him out.

No, by no means.
Met. O let us have him; for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion,
And buy men's voices to commend our deeds :
It shall be said, his judgment ruld our hands;
Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity.

Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with him; For he will never follow That other men begin. Cas.

Then leave him out.
Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.
Dec. Shall no man else be touch'd, but only Cæsar?

Cas. Decius, well urg'd :-I think, it is not meet,
Mark Antony, so well belov’d of Cæsar,
Should outlive Cæsar: We shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,
If he improves them, may well stretch so far,
As to annoy us all : which to prevent,
Let Antony, and Cæsar, fail together.

Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius.
To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs ;
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards ::
For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar.

9 The even virtue of our enterprize,] The calm, equable, temperate spirit that actuates us. Malone. Thus in Mr. Pope's Eloisa to Abelard:

“ Desires compos'd, affections ever even,—.” Steevens.

-opinion, ] i. e. character. So, in King Henry IV, P, I:

- Thou hast redeein'd thy lost opinion," The quotation is Mr. Reed's. See Vol. VIII, p. 328, n. 5. Steevens. 2 — and envy afterwards :] Enoy is here, as almost always in Shakspeare's plays, malice. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7; and p. 273, 1.6. Malone.


Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood :
O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,3
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,
Cæsar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds :5
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious :
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.

Yet I do fear him:6
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,

Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him :
If he love Cæsar, all that he can do
Is to himself; take thought and die for Cæsar :

30, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit, &c.] Lord Sterline has the same thought: Brutus remonstrating against the taking off Antony, says:

« Ah! ah! we must but too much murder see,

“That without doing evil cannot do good ;
“ And would the gods that Rome could be made free,

“ Without the effusion of one drop of blood ?' Malonę. - as a dish fit for the gods, &c.]

Gradive, dedisti,
“Ne qua manus vatem, ne quid mortalia bello
“ Lædere tela queant, sanctum et venerabile Diti

“ Funus erat." Stat. Theb. VII, 1. 696. Steevens. 9 Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds : ] Our author had probably the following passage in the old translation of Plutarch in his thoughts: “ – Cæsar turned himselfe no where but he was stricken at by some, and still had naked swords in his face, and was hacked and mangled among them as a wild beast taken of hunters.Malone.

6 Yet I do fear him :) For the sake of metre I have supplied the auxiliary verb. So, in Macbeth:

There is none but him
“ Whose being I do fear.” Steevens.

Take thought,] That is, turn melancholy. Johnsona

And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.8

Treb. There is no fear in him ; let him not die;
For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter. [Clock strikes.

Bru. Peace, count the clock.

The clock hath stricken three.
Treb. 'Tis time to part.

But it is doubtful yet,
Whe'r Cæsaro will come forth to-day, or no:
For he is superstitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies :1

So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

“ What shall we do, Enobarbus?

Think and die.Again, in Holinshed, p. 833 : “. now they are without service, which caused them to take thought, insomuch that some died by the way," &c. Steevens.

The precise meaning of take thought may be learned from the following passage in St. Matthew, where the verb pepopeyaw which sig. nifies to anticipate, or forbode evil, is so rendered : “ Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."-Cassius not only refers to, but thus explains, the phrase in question, when, in answer to the assertion of Brutus concerning Antony, Act III:

- I know that we shall have him well to friend." he replies:

" I wish we may: but yet I have a mind
“ 'That fears him much ; and my misgiving still

“ Falls shrewdly to the purpose." To take thought then, in this instance, is not to turn melancholy, whatever think may be in Antony and Cleopatra. Henley. See Vol. III, p. 226, n. 7. Malone.

- company. ] Company is here used in a disreputable sense. See a note on the word companion, Act IV. Henley

9 Whe'r Cæsar &c.] Whe'r is the ancient abbreviation of whether, which likewise is sometimes written-where. Thus in Turberville's translation of Ovid's Epistle from Penelope to Ulysses :

“ But Sparta cannot make account

" Where thou do live or die.” Steevens. 1 Quite from the main opinion he held once

Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies : ) Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fixed, predominant opinion. Johnson.

Main opinion, according to Johnson's explanation is sense ; but mean opinion would be a mare natural expression, and is, I believe, what Shakspeare wrote. M. Mason

The words main opinion occur again in Troilus and Cressida, where (as here) they signify zeneral estimation:


It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.

Dec. Never fear that: If he be so resolv’d,
I can o'ersway him : for he loves to hear,
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,


• Why then we should our main opinion crush

os In taint of our best man." There is no ground therefore for suspecting any corruption in the

Malone Fantasy was in our author's time commonly used for imagination, and is so explained in Cawdry's Alphabetical Table of hard Words, 8vo. 1604 It signified both the naginative power, and the thing imagined. It is used in the former sense by Shakspeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor :

“ Raise up the organs of her fantasy." In the latter, in the present play:

“ Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies." Ceremonies means omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites. So, afterwards:

Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,

“ Yet now they fright me." Malone. 2 That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,

And bears with glasses, elephants with holes.] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II, ch. v:

“ Like as a lyon whose imperiall powre
A prowd rebellious unicorne defies;
66 T'avoid the rash assault and wrathfull stowrę
“ Of his fiers foe, him to a tree applies :
“ And when him running in full course he spies,
“ He slips aside ; the whiles the furious beast
“ His precious horne, sought of his enemies,
" Sirikes in the stocke, ne thence can be releast,

“ But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast." Again, in Bussy D' Ambois, 1607:

" An angry unicorne in his full career

Charge with too swift a foot a jeweller
“ That watch'd him for the treasure of his brow,
“ And e'er he could get shelter of a tree,

“ Nail him with his rich antler to the earth.” Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of

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