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To wear a kerchief ?9 'Would you were not sick!
Lig. I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand Any exploit worthy the name of honour.
Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
Lig. By all the gods that Romans bow before,
Bru. A piece of work, that will make sick men whole.
Bru. That must we also. What it is, my Caius,
Set on your foot ;
Follow me then. [Exeunt.
9 0, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
To wear a kerchief?] So, in Plutarch's Life of Brutus, translated by North: 6- - Brutus went to see him being sicke in his bedde, and sayed unto him, O Ligarius, in what a time art thou sicke! Ligarius rising up in his bedde, and taking him by the right hande, sayed unto him, Brutus, (sayed he) if thou hast any greai enterprise in hande worthie of thy selfe, I am whole.” Lord Sterline also has introduced this passage into his Julius Cæsar:
“ By sickness being imprison'd in his bed
“ Whilst I Ligarius spied, whom pains did prick,
“ In what a time Ligarius art thou sick ?
“ Or that he had imagin’d my design,
“ Then Brutus I am whole, and wholly thine.” Malone. Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up
My mortified spirit.] Here, and in all other places where the word occurs in Shakspeare, to exorcise means to raise spiriis, not to lay them; and I believe he is singular in his acceptation of ir.
M, Mason. See Vol. V, p. 309, n. 5. Malone.
A Room in Cæsar's Palace. Thunder and Lightning. Enter CESAR, in his Night-gown. Cæs. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace to
Enter a Servant.
Cæs. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
forth? You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
Cæs. Cæsar shall forth: The things that threaten'd me,
Cal. Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,
2 Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,] i.e. I never paid a ceremo- nious or superstitious regard to prodigies or omens.
The adjective is used in the same sense in The Devil's Charter, 1607 :
“ The devil hath provided in his covenant,
" I never was so ceremonious.” The original thought is in the old translation of Plutarch: “ Calphurnia, until that time, was never given to any fear or superstition.”
Steevens. 3 And
graves have yawn’d and yielded up their dead : &c.] So, in a funeral Song in Much Ado about Nothing :
“ Graves yawn, and yield your dead.” Again, in Hamlet:
“ A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
What can be avoided,
Cal. When beggars die, there are no comets seen; The hcavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.8 4 Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks, and squadrons, and right form of war,] So, in Tacitus,
“ I will persista terror to the world;
6. For honour of my wondrous victories." Malone. 5 The noise of battle hurtled in the air,] To hurtle is, I suppose, to clash, or move with violence and noise. So, in Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, 1594:
« Here the Polonian he comes hurtling in,
“ Under the conduct of some foreign prince.” Again, ibid:
“ To toss the spear, and in a warlike gyre
“ To hurtle my sharp sword about my head.” Shakspeare uses the word again in As you Like it :
- in which hurtling, - From miserable slumber I awak'd.” Steevens. To hurtle originally signified to push violently; and, as in such au action a loud noise was frequently made, it afterwards seems to have been used in the sense of to clash. So, in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, v. 2018:
“ And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun.” Malone. 6 Horses did neigh,] Thus the second folio, Its blundering prede. cessor reads:
“ Horses do neigh. Steevens. 7 And ghosts did shriek, and squeal about the streets.] So, in Lodge's Looking Glasse for London and England, 1598:
“ The ghosts of dead men howling walke about,
Crying Ve, Ve, woe to this citie, woe.” Todd.
Cæs. Cowards die many times before their deaths ;9 The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,1 It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come, when it will come.
Re-enter a Servant.
What say the augurers ? Serv. They would not have you to stir forth to-day. Plucking the entrails of an offering forth, They could not find a heart within the beast.
8 When beggars die there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes ] “Next to the shadows and pretences of experience, (which have been met withall at large) they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow (for the most part) after blazing starres; as if they were the summoners of God to call princes to the seat of judgment. The surest way to shake their painted bulwarks of experience is, by making plaine, that neyther princes always dye when comets blaze, nor comets ever [i.e always) when princes dye.” Defensative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies, by Henry Howard, Earl of Northamp
Again, ibid: “Let us look into the nature of a comet, by the face of which it is supposed that the same should portend plague, famine, warre, or the death of potentates.” Malone.
9 Cowards die many times before their deaths ;] So, in the ancient translation of Plutarch, so often quoted :
“ When some of his friends did counsel him to have a guard for the safety of his person; he would never consent to it, but said, it was better to die once, than always to be affrayed of death.” Steevens. So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:
“ Fear is my vassal ; when I frown, he flies,
“ A hundred times in life a covard dies.” Lord Essex, probably before any of these writers, made the same remark. In a letter to Lord Rutland, he observes, “that as he which dieth nobly, doth live for ever, so he that doth live in fear, doth die continually.” Malone.
that I yet have heard,] This sentiment appears to have been imitated by Dr. Young in his tragedy of Busiris, King of Egypt:
Didst thou e'er fear?
death, a necessary end, &c.] This is a sent nce derived froin the stoical doctrine of predestination, and is therefore improper in the mouth of Cæsar. Johnson.
Cæs. The gods do this in shame of cowardice :3
Alas, my lord,
in shame of cowardice:] The ancients did not place courage but wisdom in the heart. Johnson. 4 We were - ] In old editions:
We heare The copies have been all corrupt, and the passage, of course, unintelligible. But the slight alteration I have made, [We were] restores sense to the whole; and the sentiment will neither be unwor. thy of Shakspeare, nor the boast too extravagant for Cæsar in a vein of vanity to utter: that he and danger were two twin-whelps of a lion, and he the elder, and more terrible of the two. Theobald. Mr. Upton recommends us to read:
We are —
Experti invicem sumus, Ego et Fortuna. Tacitus. Steevens. It is not easy to determine, which of the two readings has the best claim to a place in the text If Theobald's einendation be adopted, the phraseology, though less elegant, is perhaps more Shaksperian. It may mean the same as if he had written-We two lions were litter'd in one day, and I am the elder and more terrible of the two.
Malone. Cæsar shall go forth.] Any speech of Cæsar, throughout this scene, will appear to disadvantage, if compared with the following sentiments, put into his mouth by May, in the seventh Book of his Supplement to Lucan:
· Plus me, Calphurnia, luctus “ Et lacrymæ movere tuæ, quam tristia vatum “ Responsa, infaustæ volucres, aut ulla dierum “ Vana superstitio poterant. Ostenta timere “ Si nunc inciperem, quæ non mihi tempora posthac “ Anxia transirent ? quæ lux jucunda maneret? “ Aut quæ libertas ? frustra servire timori “(Dum nec luce frui, nec mortem arcere licebit) s Cogar, et huic capiti quod Roma veretur, aruspex " Jus dabit, et vanus semper dominabitur augur.” Steegens.