« PreviousContinue »
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
Enter a Servant.
Serv. I do, Mark Antony.
Serv. He did receive his letters, and is coming :
[Seeing the Body.
Serv. He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome. Ant. Post back with speed, and tell him what hath
chanc'd: Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome, No Rome of safetyø for Octavius yet ; Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay a while ; Thou shalt not back, till I have borne this corse Into the market-place : there shall I try, In my oration, how the people take The cruel issue of these bloody men; According to the which, thou shalt discourse To young Octavius of the state of things. Lend me your hand.* [Exeunt, with CÆSAR's body.
Cit. We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied.
for mine e;es,] Old copy-from mine eyes. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
9 No Rome of safety &c.) If Shakspeare meant to quibble on the words Rome and rooin, in this and a former passage, he is at least countenanced in it by other authors. So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1638:
You shall have my rooin
“ Brutus is not, but born great Rome to free.” Steerens. * Lend me your hand.] i. e. assist me to bear the body. Am. Ed.
Cassius, go you into the other street,
I will hear Brutus speak. 2 Cit. I will hear Cassius; and compare their reasons, When severally we hear them rendered. [Exit Cas. with some of the Citizens. Bru. goes
into the Rostrum. 3 Cit. The noble Brutus is ascended : Silence!
Bru. Be patient till the last. Romans, countrymen, and lovers !? hear me for my cause; and be silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honour; and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer --Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living,
countrymen, and lovers! &c.] There is no where, in all Shakspeare's works, a onger proof of his not being what we call a scholar than this;
or of his not knowing any thing of the genius of learned antiquity. This speech of Brutus is wrote in imitation of his famed laconick brevity, and is very fine in its kind; but no more like that brevity, than his times were like Brutus's. The ancient laconick brevity was simple, natural, and easy; this is quaint, artificial, jingling, and abounding with forced antitheses. In a word, a brevity, that for its false eloquence would have suited any character, and for its good sense would have become the greatest of our author's time; but yet, in a style of declaiming, that sits as ill upon Brutus as our author's trowsers or collar-band would have done. "Warburton.
I cannot agree with Warburton that this speech is very fine in its kind. I can see no degree of excellence in it, but think it a very paltry speech for so great a man, on so great an occasion. Yet Shakspeare has judiciously adopted in it the style of Brutus--the pointed sentences and laboured brevity which he is said to have affected.
M. Mason, This artificial jingle of short sentences was affected by most of the orators in Shakspeare's time, whether in the pulpit or at the bar. The speech of Brutus may therefore be regarded rather as an imitar tion of the false eloquence then in vogue, than as a specimen of laconick brevity. Steevens. VOL. XIV.
and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all free men ? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him ; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him: There is tears, for his love ; joy, for his fortune; honour', for his valour; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
Cit. None, Brutus, none. [Several speaking at once.
Bru. Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Cæsar, than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol : his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Enter Antony and Others, with Cæsar's Body. Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth ; As which of you shall not? With this I depart; That, as I slew my best lover2 for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my
2 - as I slew my best lover -] See p. 55, n. 3. Malone.
This term, which cannot but sound disgustingly to modern ears, as here applied, Mr. Malone considers as the language of Shakspeare's time; but this opinion, from the want of contemporary examples to confirm it, may admit of a doubt. It is true it occurs several times in our author, who probably found it in North's Plutarch's Lives, and transferred a practice sanctioned by Lycurgus, and peculiar to Sparta, to Rome, and to other nations. It was customary in the former country for both males and females to select and attach themselves to one of their own sex, under the appellation of lovers and favourers. These, on one part, were objects to imitate, and on the other, tv watch with constant solicitude, in order to make them wise, gentle, and well conditioned. “ To the lovers" (says Mr. Dyer, in his revision of Dryden's Plutarch, Vol. I, p. 131,) “they (the elders of Lacedemon) imputed the virtues or the vices which were observed in those they loved; they commended them if the lads were virtuous, and fined them if they were otherwise. They likewise fined those who had not made choice of any favourite And here we may observe Lycurgus did not copy this instruction from the practice observed in Crete, thinking without doubt such an example of too dangerous a tendency.” See Strabo, L. X. Reel.
Cit. Live, Brutus, live! live! i Cit. Bring him with triumph home unto his house, 2 Cit. Give him a statue with his ancestors. 3 Cit. Let him be Cæsar. 4 Cit.
Cæsar's better parts Shall now be crown'd in Brutus.3 i Cit. We 'll bring him to his house with shouts and
clamours. Bru. My countrymen, 2 Cit.
Peace; silence! Brutus speaks. 1 Cit. Peace, ho !
Bru. Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
[Exit. i Cit. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.
3 Cit. Let him go up into the publick chair ; We'll hear him :-Noble Antony, go up.
Ant. For Brutus' sake, I am beholden to you.
He says, for Brutus' sake, He finds himself beholden to us all.
4 Cit. 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus here. i Cit. This Cæsar was a tyrant. 3 Cit.
Nay, that's certain : We are bless'd, that Rome is rid of him.
2 Cit. Peace ; let us hear what Antony can say.
Peace, ho! let us hear him. Ant. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears ;
3 Shall now be crown'd in Brutus ] As the present hemistich without some additional syllable, is offensively unmetrical, the adverb
which was introduced by Sir Thomas Hanmer, is here admit. ted. Steevens.
beholden to you. ] Throughout the old copies of Shakspeare, and many other ancient authors, beholden is corruptly spelt-beholding. Steevens.
5 He says, for Brutus' sake,] Here we have another line rendered irregular, by the interpolated and needless words-He says
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
6 My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.] Perhaps our author re: collected the following passage in Daniel's Cleopatra, 1594:
“ As for my love, say, Antony hath all;
“ With him, in whom it rests, and ever shall.” Malone. The passage from Daniel is little more than an imitation of part of Dido's speech in the second Æneid, v. 28 & seq:
« Ille meosamores