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Which, out of use, and stald hy other men,
A man who can avail himself of neglected hints thrown out by others, though without original ideas of his own, is no uncommon character. Steevens.
Objects means, in Shakspeare's language, whatever is presented to the eye. So, in Timon of Athens : “ Swear against objects," which Mr. Steevens has well illustrated by a line in our poet's 152d Sonnet :
“ And made them swear against the thing they see.” Malone.
and stald by other men, Begin his fashion:] Shakspeare has already woven this circum. stance into the character of Justice Shallow : “- - He came ever in the rearward of the fashion; and sung those tunes that he heard the carmen whistle.” Steevens.
1 a property.] i.e. as a thing quite at our disposal, and to be treated as we please. So, in Twelfth Night: “They have here propertied me, kept me in darkness,” &c.
Steevens. 2 Our best friends made, and our best means stretch'd out;] In the old copy, by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, this line is thus imperfec-ly exhibited :
“ Our best friends made, our means stretch'd ;" The editor of the second folio supplied the line by reading,
“ Our best friends made, and our best means stretch'd out." This emendation, which all the modern editors have adopted, was, like almost all the other corrections of the second folio, as ill conceived as possible. For what is best means? Means, or abilities, if stretch'd out, receive no additional strength from the word best, nor does means, when considered without reference to others, as the power of an individual, or the aggregated abilities of a body of men, seem to admit of a degree of comparison. However that may be, it is highly improbable that a transcriber or compositor should be guilty of three errors in the same line; that he should omit the word and in the middle of it; then the word best after our, and lastly the concluding word. It is much more probable that the omission was only at the end of the line, (an error which is found in other places in these plays) and that the author wrote, as I have printed :
Our best friends made, our means stretch'd to the utmost. So, in a former scene:
and, you know, his mearts, “ If he improve them, may well stretch so far, —." Again, in the following passage in Coriolanus, which, I trust, will justify the emendation now made:
And let us presently go sit in council,
Oct. Let us do so: for we are at the stake,3
Before Brutus' Tent, in the Camp near Sardis.
TITINIUS and PINDARUS meeting them.
Luc. He is at hand; and Pindarus is come
[Pin. gives a Letter to Bru. Bru. He greets me well. Your master, Pindarus, In his own change, or by ill officers,
for thy revenge “ Wrench up your power to the highest." Malone. I am satisfied with the reading of the second folio, in which I perceive neither awkwardness nor want of perspicuity. Best is a word of mere enforcement, and is frequently introduced by Shakspeare. Thus, in King Henry VIII:
“ My life itself and the best heart of it." Why does best, in this instance, seem more significant than when it is applied to means? Steevens.
at the stake,] An allusion to bear baiting. So, in Macbeth, Act V:
• They have chain'd me to a stake, I cannot fly,
“ But bear-like I must fight the course.” Steevens. 4 In his own change, or by ill officers,] The sense of which is this : Either your master, by the change of his virtuous nature, or by his officers abusing the power he had intrusted to them, hath done some things I could wish undone. This implies a doubt which of the two was the case. Yet, immediately af er, on Pudarus's saying, His master was full of regard and honour, he replies, He is not doubted. To reconcile this we should read:
In his own charge or by ill officers, i. e. Either by those under his immediate command, or under the cominand of his lieut nants, who had abused their trust. Charge is so usual a word in Shakspeare, to signify the forces committed to
Hath given me some worthy cause to wish
I do not doubt,
Bru. He is not doubted. A word, Lucilius;
Luc. With courtesy, and with respect enough ;
Thou hast describ'd
Luc. They mean this night in Sardis to be quarter'd;
March within Bru.
Hark, he is arriv'd:
the trust of a commander, that I think it needless to give any in
Warburton. The arguments for the change proposed are insufficient. Brutus could not but know wliether the wrongs committed were done by those who were iminediately under the command of Cassius, or those under his officers. The answer of Brutus to the servant is only an act of arifui civility; his question to Lucilius proyes, that his suspicion still continued. Yet I cannot but suspect a corruption, and would read:
In his own change, or by ill offices, That is, either changing his inclination of himself, or by the ill offices and bad influences of others. Johnson.
Surely alteration is unnecessary. In the subsequent conference Brutus charges both Cassius and his officer, Lucius Pella, with corruption. Steevens
Brutus immediately after says to Lucilius, when he hears his ac. count of the manner in which he had been received by Cassius:
“ Thou hast describ'd
" A hot friend cooling." That is the change which Brutus complains of. M. Masotz.
March gently on to meet him.
Enter Cassius and Soldiers, Cas. Stand, ho! Bru. Stand, ho! Speak the word along. Within. Stand. Within. Stand. Within, Stand. Cas. Most noble brother, you have done me wrong.
Bru. Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies? And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother?
Cas. Brutus, this sober form of yours hides wrongs;
Cassius, be content,
Bru. Lucilius, do the like ;6 and let no man Come to our tent, till we have done our conference. Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door. [Exeunt.
Within the Tent of Brutus.
Enter BRUTUS and Cassius.
Bru. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a case.
your griefs -] 1. e. your grievances. See Vol. VIII, p. 306, n. 8. • Malone.
do the like;) Old copy- do you the like;" but without regard to metre. Steedens.
Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
I an itching palm?
Bru. The name of Cassius honours this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Cas. Chastisement !
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March remember! Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake? What villain touch'd his body, that did stab, And not for justice ? What, shall one of us, That struck the foremost man of all this world, But for supporting robbers; shall we now Contaminate our fingers with base bribes? And sell the mighty space of our large honours, For so much trash, as may be grasped thus?I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon, Than such a Roman. Cas.
Brutus, bay not me,
every nice offence - ] i. e. small trifling offence. Warburtor. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act V:
“ The letter was not nice, but full of charge
“Of dear import.” Steevens. 3 What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
and not for justice?] This question is far from implying that any of those who touched Cæsar's body, were villains. On the contrary, it is an indirect way of asserting that there was not one man among them, who was base enough to stab him for any cause but that of justice. Malone.
9 Cas. Brutus, bay not me,] The old copy-bait not ine. Mr. Theobald and all the subsequent editors read-bay not me; and the emendation is sufficiently plausible, our author having in Troilus and Cressida used he word bay in the same sense :
What moves Ajax thus to bay ai bim!” But as he has likewise twice used bait in the sense required here, the text, in my apprehension, ought not to be disturbed.“ I will not yield,” says Macbeth:
“ To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
“ And to be baited with the rabble's curse." Again, in Coriolanus :