Page images


Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus? Dec. Great Cæsar, Cæs.

Doth not Brutus bootless kneel ?4 Casca. Speak, hands, for me.' [Casca stabs CÆSAR in the neck. CÆSAR catches

hold of his Arm. He is then stabbed by several other

Conspirators, and at last by Marcus BRUTUS. Cæs. Et tu, Brute 25--Then fall, Cæsar.

[Dies. The Senators and People retire in confusion.

4 Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?] I would read :

Do not Brutus bootless kneel? Fohnson. I cannot subscribe to Dr. Johnson's opinion. Cæsar, as some of the conspirators are pressing round him, answers their importunity properly: See you not my own Brutus kneeling in vain? What success can you expect to your solịcitations, when his are ineffectual? This might have put my learned coadjutor in mind of the passage of Homer, which he has so elegantly introduced in his preface. Thou? (said Achilles to his captive) when so great a man as Patroclus has fallen before thee, dost thou complain of the common lot of mortality? Steevens.

The editor of the second folio saw this passage in the same light as Dr. Johnson did, and made this improper alteration. By Brutus here Shakspeare certainly meant Marcus Brutus, because he has confounded him with Decimus (or Decius as he calls him); and imagined that Marcus Brutus was the peculiar favourite of Cæsar, call. ing him his well-beloved," whereas in fact it was Decimus Brutus that Cæsar was particularly attached to, appointing him by his will his second heir, that is, in remainder after his primary devisees.

Malone. See p. 8, n. 1. Steevens. 5 Et ti, Brute ?] Suetonius says, that when Cæsar put Metellus Cimber back, “he caught hold of Cæsar's gowne at both shoulders, whereupon, as he cried out, This is violence, Cassius came in second full a front, and wounded him a little beneath the throat. Then Cæsar catching Cassius by the arme thrust it through with his stile, or writing punches; and with that being about to leape forward, he was met with another wound and stayed.” Being then assailed on all sides, “ with three and twenty wounds he was stabbed, during which time he gave but one groan, (without any word uttered) and that was at the first thrust; though some have written, that as Marcus Brutus came running upon him, he said, xai téxvoy, and thou, my

Holland's translation, 1607. No mention is here made of the Latin exclamation, which our author has attributed to Cæsar, nor did North furnish him with it, or with English words of the same iinport, as might naturally have been supposed. Plutarch says, that on receiving his first wound from Çasca, “ he caught hold of Casca's sword, and held it hard ; and they both cried out, Cæsar in Latin, O vile traitor, Casca, what doest thou ? and Casca in Greek to his brother, Brother help me."--The conspi.


Cin. Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead ! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

Cas. Some to the common pulpits, and cry out, Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!

Bru. People, and senators! be not affrighted;
Fly not; stand still :-ambition's debt is paid.

Casca. Go to the pulpit, Brutus.

And Cassius too.
Bru. Where's Publius ?
Cin. Here, quite confounded with this mutiny.

Met. Stand fast together, lest some friend of Cæsar's Should chance

Bru. Talk not of standing ;-Publius, good cheer;
There is no harm intended to your person,
Nor to no Roman else :? so tell them, Publius.

rators then “compassed him on every side with their swordes drawn in their handes, that Cæsar turned him no where but he was stricken by some, and still had naked swords in his face, and was hacked and mangled amongst them as a wild beast taken of hunters.--And then Brutus himself gave him one wound above the privities.-Men report also, that Cæsar did still

Il defend himself against the reste, running every way with his bodie, but when he saw Brutus with his sworde drawen in his hande, then he pulled his gowne over his heade, and made no more resistance.”

Neither of these writers therefore, we see, furnished Shakspeare with this exclamation. His authority appears to have been a line in the old play, entitled, The true Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, &c. printed in 1600, on which he forined his Third Part of King Henry VI:

« Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Cæsar too?" This line Shakspeare rejected when he wrote the piece above mentioned, (See Vol. X, p. 406, n. 5.) but it appears it had made an impression on his memory. The saine line is also found in Açotaustus his After-witte, a poem by S. Nicholson, printed in 1600:

" Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Cæsar too?

“ Thou art my friend, and wilt not see me wrong'd." So, in Cæsar's Legend, Mirror for Magistrates, 1587 :

« this, quoth I, is violence; then Cassius pierc'd my breast; " And Brutus thou, my sonne, quoth I, whom erst I loved

best." The Latin words probably appeared originally in Dr. Eedes's play on this subject. See p. 338, n. Malone.

6 Go to the pulpit, Brutus.] We have now taken leave of Casca. Shakspeare for once knew that he had a sufficient number of heroes on his hands, and was glad to lose an individual in the crowd. It may be added, that the singularity of Casca's manners would have appeared to little advantage amidst the succeeding varieties of tumult and war. Steevens:

Cas. And leave us, Publius ; lest that the people, Rushing

on us, should do your age some mischief. Bru. Do so ;-and let no man abide this deed, But we the doers.

Cas. Where's Antony?

Fled to his house amaz'd :
Men, wives, and children, stare, cry out, and run,
As it were doomsday,

Bru. Fates! we will know your pleasures :That we shall die, we know; 'tis but the time, And drawing days out, that men stand upon.

Cas.8 Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life,
Cuts off so many years of fearing death,

Bru. Grant that, and then is death a benefit:
So are we Cæsar's friends, that have abridg'd
Flis time of fearing death.-Stoop, Romans, stoop,
And let us bathe our hands in Cæsar's blood
Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords :
Then walk we forth, even to the market-place;
And, waving our red weapons o'er our heads,
Let's all cry, Peace! Freedom! and Liberty!

Cas. Stoop then, and wash.—How many ages hence,
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over,
In stätes unborn;2 and accents yet unknown ?


7 Nor to no Roman else: ] This use of two negatives, not to make an affirmative, but to deny more strongly, is common to Chaucer, Spenser, and other of our ancient writers. Dr. Hickes observes, that in the Saxon, even four negatives are sometimes conjoined, and still preserve a negative signification. Steevens. 8 Cas.] Both the folios give this speech to Casca. Reed.

Stvop, Romans, stoop,] Plutarch, in The Life of Cæsar, says, • Brutus and his followers, being yet hot with the murder, marched in a body from the senate-house to the Capitol, with their drawn swords, with an air of confidence and assurance." And in The Life of Brutus :

- Brutus and his party betook themselves to the Capitol, and in their way, showing their hands all bloody, and their naked swords, proclaimed liberty to the people.” Theobald.

1 Stoop then, and wash.] To wash does not mean here to cleanse, but to wash over, as we say, washed with gold; for Cassius means that they should steep their hands in the blood of Cæsar. M. Mason.

2 In states unborn,] The first folio has-state ; very properly corrected in the second folio-states. Mr. Malone admits the first of these readings, which he thus explains--In theatrick pomp yet undisplayed.

Bru. How many times shall Cæsar bleed in sport,
That now on Pompey's basis lies along,
No worthier than the dust?

Só oft as that shall be,
So often shall the knot of us be call'd
The men that gave our country liberty.

Dec. What, shall we forth?


, every man away: Brutus shall lead; and we will grace his heels With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.

Enter a Servant.
Bru. Soft, who comes here? A friend of Antony's.

Serv. Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me kneel;
Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down;
And, being prostrate, thus he bade me say,
Brutus is noble, wise, valiant, and honest;
Cæsar was mighty, bold, royal, and loving:
Say, I love Brutus, and I honour him;
Say, I fear'd Cæsar, honour'd him, and lov’d him.
If Brutus will vouchsafe, that Antony
May safely come to him, and be resolv'd
How Cæsar hath deservd to lie in death,
Mark Antony shall not love Cæsar dead
So well as Brutus living ; but will follow
The fortunes and affairs of noble Brutus,
Thorough the hazards of this untrod state,
With all true faith. So says my master Antony.

Bru. Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman;
I never thought him worse.
Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,
Depart untouch'd.

I'll fetch him presently. [Exit Serv. Bru. I know, that we shall have him well to friend. Cas. I wish, we may: but yet have I a mind,

But surely, by unborn states, our author must have meant-communities which as yet have no existence. Steevens.

3 So oft as that shall be.] The words--shall be, which render this verse too long by a foot, may be justly considered as interpolations, the sense of the passage being obvious without a supplement. As ofi as that, in elliptical phrase, will signify—as oft as that shall happen. There are too many instances of similar ellipsis destroyed by the player editors, at the expense of metre. Stecvens.

That fears him much; and my misgiving still
Falls shrewdly to the purpose.

Re-enter ANTONY.
Bru. But here comes Antony.Welcome, Mark An-

Ant. O mighty Cæsar! Dost thou lie so low?
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure? -Fare thee well.
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:4
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
As Cæsar's death's hour; nor no instrument
Of half that worth, as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world.
I do beseech


you bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Cæsar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age.

Bru. O Antony! beg not your death of us.
Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,
As, by our hands, and this our present act,
You see we do; yet see you but our hands,
And this the bleeding business they have done:
Our hearts you see not, they are pitiful;
And pity to the general wrong of Rome
(As fire drives out fire,5 so pity, pity,)


who else is rank:] Who else may be supposed to have ouets topped his equals, and groovn too high for the public safety. Fohnson:

I rather believe the meaning is, who else is too replete with blood So, in our author's Venus and Adonis:

Rain added to a river that is rank,

« Perforce will force it overflow the bank." See Vol. VII, p. 411, n. 1. Malone. In The Tempest we have

whom to trash “ For overtopping." I conceive Dr. Johnson's explanation therefore to be the true one. The epithet rank is employed, on a similar occasion in King Henry VIII:

• Ha! what, so rank.?" and without allersion to a plethora. Stcerius:

« PreviousContinue »