Imágenes de páginas


I shall remember :
When Cæsar says, Do this, it is performed.

Cæs. Set on; and leave no ceremony out. [Musick.
Sooth. Cæsar.
Cæs. Ha! Who calls ?
Casca. Bid every noise be still :--Peace yet again.

[Musick ceases.
Cæs. Who is it in the press, that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the musick,
Cry, Cæsar: Speak; Cæsar is turn'd to hear.

Sooth. Beware the ides of March.

What man is that?
Bru. A soothsayer, bids you beware the ides of March.
Cæs. Set him before me, let me see his face.
Cas. Fellow, come from the throng: Look upon Cæsar.
Cæs. What say'st thou to me now? Speak once again.
Sooth. Beware the ides of March.
Ces. He is a dreamer; let us leave him ;-pass.

[Sennet.3 Exeunt all but BRU. and Cas.
Cas. Will you go see the order of the course ?
Bru. Not I.
Cas. I pray you, do.

Bru. I am not gamesome : I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I'll leave you.

Cas. Brutus, I do observe you now of late :*

[ocr errors]

3 Sennet ] I have been informed that sennet is derived from senneste, an antiquated French tune formerly used in the army; but the Dictionaries which I have consulted exhibit no such word. In Decker's Satiromastix, 1602:

Trumpets sound a flourish, and then a sennet." In The Dumb Show, preceding the first part of Jeronimo, 1605,

“ Sound a signate and pass over the stage." In Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of Malta a synnet is called a flourish of trumpets bu. I know not on what authority. See a note on King Henry VIII Act II. sc. iv, Vol. XI, p. 258, n. 9. Sennet may be a corruption from sonata, Ital. Steevens.

4 Brutus, I do observe you now of late:] Will the reader sustain any loss by the omission of the words-you now, without which the measure would become regular?

I'll leave you.

Cas. Brutus, I do observe of late,
I have not &c. Steevens.

I have not from your eyes that gentleness,
And show of love, as I was wont to have :
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hands
Over your friend that loves you.

Be not deceiv’d: If I have veil'd my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. 'Vexed I am,
Of late, with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil, perhaps, to my

behaviours : But let not therefore my good friends be griev'd ; (Among which number, Cassius, be you one ;) Nor construe any further my neglect, Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war, Forgets the shows of love to other men. Cas. Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your pas

sion ;?
By means whereof, this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?

Bru. No, Cassius: for the eye sees not itself,8
But by reflection, by some other things.

Cas. 'Tis just :
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,

have no such mirrors, as will turn



strange a hand -] Strange, is alien, unfamiliar, such as might become a stranger. Johnson.

-passions of some difference,] With a fluctuation of discor. dant opinions and desires. Johnson. So, in Coriolanus, Act V, sc. iji:

thou hast set thy mercy and thy honour At difference in thee.” Steevens. A following line may prove the best comment on this:

“ Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war, —.”

- your passion;] i. e. the nature of the feelings from which you are now suffering. So, in Timon of Athens :

“ I feel my master's passion Steevens.

- the eye sees not itself,] So, Sir John Davies in his poem entitled Nosce Teipsum, 1599:

6 Is it because the mind is like the eye,

* Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees ; “Whose rays reflect not, but spread outwardly ;

“ Not seeing itself, when other things it sees?" Steevens.


[ocr errors]


Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
(Except immortal Cæsar) speaking of Brutus,
And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.

Bru. Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me?

Cas. Therefore, good Brutus, be prepar’d to hear :
And, since

you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous of me, gentle Brutus:
Were I a common laugher, or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my lovel
To every new protester; if


That I do fawn on men, and hug them hard,
And after scandal them; or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

[Flourish, and Shout.
Bru. What means this shouting? I do fear, the people
Choose Cæsar for their king.

Ay, do you fear it?
Then must I think you would not have it so.

Bru. I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well :-
But wherefore do you hold me here so long?
What is it that you would impart to me?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye, and death i' the other,
And I will look on both indifferently:2

9 a common laugher,] Old copy-laughter. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.

1 To stale with ordinary oaths my love &c ] To invite every new pretester to my affection by the stale or allurement of customary oaths.

Fohnson. 2 And I will look on both indifferently :) Dr. Warburton has a long note on this occasion, which is very trifling. When Brutus first names honour and death, he calmly declares them indifferent; but as the image kindles in his mind, he sets honour above life. Is not this natural? Johnson.

For, let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.

Ca3. I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story-
I cannot tell, what you and other men
Think of this life ; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar; so were you :
We both have fed as well; and we can both
Endure the winter's cold, as well as he.
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tyber chafing with her shores,
Cæsar said to me, Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry floud,3
And swim to yonder point ?-Upon the word,
Accouter'd as I was, I plunged in,
And bade him follow : so, indeed, he did,
The torrent roar'd; and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews; throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
But ere we could arrive the point propos’d,4
Cæsar cry'd, Help me, Cassius, or I sink.
I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so, from the waves of Tyber
Did I the tired Cæsar: And this man
Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,

Dar'st thou, Cassius, now Leap in with me into this angry flood,] Shakspeare probably recollected the story which Suetonius has told of Cæsar's leaping into the sea, when he was in danger by a boat's being overladen, and swimming to the next ship with his Commentaries in his left hand. Holland's translation of Suetonius, 1606, p. 26. So also, ibid. p. 24: “ Were rivers in his way to hinder his passage, cross over them he would, either swimming, or else bearing himself upon blowed leather bottles.” Malone.

4 But ere we could arrive the point propos’d,] The verb arrive is used, without the preposition at, by Milton in the second Book of Paradise Lost, as well as by Shakspeare in The Third Part of King Henry VI, Act V, sc. üi:

those powers, that the queen
“ Hath rais'd in Gallia, have arriv'd our coast."



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And, when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake :
His coward lips did from their colour fly;5
And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius,
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temperô should
So get the start of the majestick world,
And bear the palm alone.

[Shout. Flourish.
Bru. Another general shout!
I do believe, that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar.

Cas. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep

To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates :



[ocr errors]

5 His coward lips did from their colour fly;] A plain man would have said, the colour fled from his lips, and not his lips from their colour. But the false expression was for the sake of as false a piece of wit: a poor quibble, alluding to a coward flying from his colours.

Warburton. -feeble temper -] i.e. temperament, constitution. Steevens.

get the start of the majestick world, &c.] This image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games. The majestick world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion Orbis Romanus. But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexander, who being asked, Whether he would run ihe course at he Olympic games, replied, Yes, if the racers were kings. Warburton.

That the allusion is to the prize allotted in games to the foremost in the race is very clear. All the rest existed, I apprehend, only in Dr. Warburton's imagination. Malone.

and we petty men Walk under his huge legs,] So, as an anonymous writer has ob. served, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. x:

6. But I the meanest man of many more,
“ Yet much disdaining unto him to lout,
« Or creep between his legs." Malone.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »