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Sure, the boy heard me :--Brutus hath a suit,
ACT III....SCENE. I.
The same. The Capitol ; the Senate sitting. A Crowd of People in the Street leading to the Capitol;
among them ARTEMIDORUS, and the Soothsayer. Flourish. Enter Cæsar, Brutus, CassiUS, CASCA, DEeius, METELLUS, TREBONIUS, CINNA, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPJLIUS, PUBLIUS, and Others.
Cæs. The ides of March are come.
Dec. Trebonius doth desire you to o'er-read,
your best leisure, this his humble suit.
Cæs. What touches us ourself, shall be last serv’d.
Sirrah, give place.
Fare you well. [Advances to Cæs. Bru. What said Popilius Lena?
Cas. He wish'd, to-day our enterprize might thrive. I fear, our purpose is discovered.
Bru. Look, how he makes to Cæsar: Mark him.1
Brutus hath a suit, &c.] These words Portia addresses to Lucius, to deceive him, by assigning a false cause for her present perturbation. Malone.
Cas. Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
Cassius, be constant:
Cas. Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus, He draws Mark Antony out of the way. [Exeunt Ant. and TRE.-Cæs. and the Senators
take their Seats. Dec. Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go, And presently prefer his suit to Cæsar.
Bru. He is address’d:press near, and second him. Cin. Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.
Mark him.] The metre being here imperfect, I think, we should be at liberty to read :-Mark him well. So, in the paper read by Artemidorus, p. 54:-“ Mark well Metellus Cimber.” Steevens.
2 Cassius or Cæsar never shall turn back,] Cassius says, If our purpose is discovered, either Cæsar or I shall never return alive ; for, if we cannot kill him, I will certainly slay myself. The conspirators were numerous and resolute, and had they been betrayed, the confusion that must have arisen might have afforded desperate men an opportunity to despatch the tyrant. Ritson. 3 He is address d;] i. e. he is ready. See Vol. IX, p. 279, n. 3.
Steevens. - you are the first that rears your hand.] This, I think, is not English. The first folio has reares, which is not much better. To reduce the passage to the rules of grammar, we should read-You are the first that rears his hand. Tyrwhitt.
According to the rules of grammar Shakspeare certainly should have written his hand; but he is often thus inaccurate. So, in the Jast Act of this play, Cassius says of himself,
Cassius is aweary of the world ;
all his faults observ'd,
“ To cast into my teeth.” There in strict propriety our poet certainly should have written
- into his teeth.” Malone. As this and similar offences against grammar, might have originated only from the ignorance of the players or their printers. I can. not concur in representing such mistakes as the positive inaccuracies of Shakspeare. According to this mode of reasoning, the false spellings of the first folio, as often as they are exampled by corresponding false spellings in the same book, may also be charged upon our anthor. Steevens.
Cæs. Are we all ready? what is now amiss,
I must prevent thee, Cimber.
5 Cin. Casca, you are the first that rears your hand. Cæs. Are we all ready? What is now amiss,
That Cæsar, and his senate, must redress.?] The words Are we all ready-seem to belong more properly to Cinna's speech, than to Cæsar's. Ritson.
6 And turn pre-ordinance,] Pre-ordinance, or ordinance already established. Warburton.
7 Into the law of children.] [Old copy-lane.) I do not well understand what is meant by the lane of children. I should read, the law of children. That is, change pre-ordinance and decree into the law of children; into such slight determinations as every start of will would alter. Lane and lawe in some manuscripts are not easily distinguished. Fohnson.
If the lane of children be the true reading, it may possibly receive illustration from the following passage in Ben Jonson's Staple of News :
“ A narrow-minded man! my thoughts do dwell
66 All in a lane." The lane of children will then mean the narrow conceits of children which must change as their minds grow more enlarged. So, in Ham
" For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
“ Grows wide withal.” But even this explanation is harsh and violent. Perhaps the poet wrote: “in the line of children,”. e. after the method or manner of children. In Troilus and Cressida, he uses line for method, course :
in all line of order.” In an ancient bl. I. ballad, entitled, Houshold Talk, or Good Councel for a Married Man. I meet indeed with a phrase somewhat similar to the lane of children:
“ Neighbour Roger, when you come
“- Into the row of neighbours married.” Steedens. The w of Shakspeare's time differed from an n only by a small curl at the bottom of the second stroke, which if an e happened to follow, could scarcely be perceived. I have not hesitated therefore
To think that Cæsar bears such rebel blood,
thee like a cur out of my way.
Met. Is there no voice more worthy than my own, To sound more sweetly in great Cæsar's ear,
to adopt Dr. Johnson's emendation. The words pre-ordinance and decree strongly support it. Malone. 8 Know, Cesar doth not wrong ; nor without cause
Will he be satisfied.] Ben Jonson quotes this line unfaithfully among his Discoveries, and ridicules it again in the Introduction to his Staple of News: “ Cry you mercy; you never did wrong, but with just
Steevens. It may be doubted, I think, whether Jonson has quoted this line unfaithfully. The turn of the sentence, and the defect in the metre (according to the present reading), rather incline me to believe that the passage stood originally thus:
Know, Cesar doth not wrong, but with just cause ;
Nor without cause will he be satisfied, We may suppose that Ben started this formidable criticism at one of the earliest representations of the play, and that the players, or perhaps Shakspeare himself, over-awed by so great an authority, withdrew the words in question ; though, in my opinion, it would have been better to have told the captious censurer that his criticism was ill-founded ; that wrong is not always a synonymous term for injury; that, in poetical language especially, it may be very well understood to mean only harm, or hurt, what the law calls damnum sine injuriâ; and that, in this sense, there is nothing absurd in Cæsar's saying, that he doth not wrong (i.e. doth not inflict any evil, or punishment) but with just cause. But, supposing this passage to have been really censurable, and to have been written by Shakspeare, the ex. ceptionable words were undoubtedly left out when the play was printed in 1623; and therefore what are we now to think of the malignant pleasure with which Jonson continued to ridicule his deceased friend for a slip, of which posterity, without his information, would have been totally ignorant? Tyrwhitt.
Mr. Tyrwhiti's interpretation of the word wrong is supported by a line in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
- Time's glory is
“ To wrong the wronger, till he render right.” Malone. Thus also, in King Henry IV, P. II, where Justice Shallow assures Davy that his friend (an arrant knave) “shall have no wrong."
For the repealing of my banish'd brother?
Bru. I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Cæsar ;
Cæs. What, Brutus !
Pardon, Cæsar; Cæsar, pardon:
Cæs. I could be well mov’d, if I were as you ;
Cin, O Cæsar,
apprehensive ;] Susceptible of fear, or other passions.
Fohnson Apprehensive does not mean, as Johnson explains it, susceptible of fear, but intelligent, capable of apprehending. M. Mason.
So, in King Henry IV, P. II, Act IV, sc. iii : makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive,” &c. Steevens.
but one -] One and only one. Fohnson. - holds on his rank,] Perhaps, holds on his race; continues his
We commonly say, To hold a rank, and To hold on a course or way. Johnson.
To " hold on his rank,” is to continue to hold it; and I take rank to be the right reading. The word race, which Johnson proposes, would but ill agree with the following words, unshak’d of inotion, or with the comparison to the polar star :
“ Of whose true fix'd, and resting quality,
“ 'There is no fellow in the firniament." Hold on his rank, in one part of the comparison, has precisely the same import with hold his pluce, in the other. M. Mason.
3 Unshak'd of motion:] i. e. Unshak'd by suit or solicitation, of which the object is to move the person addressed. Malone. VOL. XIV.