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mean that there is no saluting at court, only kissing of hands, but that people never salute without kissing hands. There ought to be no comma after court. The form of phrase is the same that we have afterwards in iii. 5 :
124. Let it be who it is.—Not who it may be ; Cassius, in his present mood, is above that subterfuge. While he abstains from pronouncing the name, he will not allow it to be supposed that there is any doubt about the actual existence of the man he has been describing.
124. Thews and limbs.-The common signification of the word thews in our old writers is manners, or qualities of mind and disposition. This is the sense in which it is always used both by Chaucer and by Spenser. It is also the only sense of the Original English theaw. And even at a comparatively late date any other sense seems to have been felt to be strange. The editors of the Third and Fourth Folios (1664 and 1685) substitute sinews in the present passage. Pope, on the other hand, retaining, or restoring, thews, explains it as meaning here manners or capacities. But, even if the true meaning of the word were disputable in this passage considered by itself, the other instances of its use by Shakespeare would clearly show what sense he attached to it. They are only two. "Care I," says Falstaff, in the Second Part of King Henry IV., iii. 2, "for the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk, and big assemblance of a man? Give me the spirit, Master Shallow." And exactly in the same way it is used by Laertes in Hamlet, i. 3:
"For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk; but, as this temple waxes,
In all the three passages by thews Shakespeare means unquestionably brawn, nerves, muscular vigour. And to this sense, and this only, the word has now settled down; the other sense, which was formerly so familiar in our literature, is quite gone out and forgotten. Shakespeare's use of it had probably been always common in the popular language. There appear in fact to have been two Original English words, theaw and theow, the latter the original of our modern thigh and also of Shakespeare's thew. It is preserved, too, in the Scottish thowless, meaning feeble or sinewless. Only one or two instances, however, have been discovered of the word being used by any other English writer before Shakespeare in his sense of it. One is given by Nares from George Turbervile, who, in his translation of Ovid's Epistles, first printed in 1567, has "the thews of Helen's passing [that is, surpassing] form." In the earlier version of Layamon's Brut, also, which belongs to the end of the twelfth century, we have in one place (verse 6361), "Monnene strengest of maine and of theawe of alle thissere theode" (of men strongest of main, or strength, and of sinew, of all this land). But Sir Frederic Madden remarks (III. 471):-"This is the only instance in the poem of the word being applied to bodily qualities, nor has any other passage of an earlier date than the sixteenth century been found in which it is so used." It may be conjectured that it had only been a provincial word in this sense, till Shakespeare adopted it.
124. But, woe the while!—This, I believe, is commonly understood to mean, alas for the present time; but may not the meaning, here at least, rather be, alas for what hath come to pass in the mean while, or in the interval that has elapsed since the better days of our heroic ancestors?
124. And we are governed with.—We now commonly employ by to denote agency, and with where there is only instrumentality; but that distinction was not formerly so
fully established, and with was used more frequently than it is with us. Shakespeare even has (Rich. II., iii. 3) “I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief.”
126. I know where I will wear this dagger, then.—The true meaning of this line is ruined by its being printed, as it is in the old, and also in most of the modern editions, without the comma. Cassius does not intend to be understood as intimating that he is prepared to plunge his dagger into his heart at that time, but in that case.
126. Can be retentive to.—Can retain or confine the spirit.
126. If I know this, etc.-The logical connexion of “If I know this" is with "That part of tyranny," etc.; but there is also a rhetorical connexion with "Know all the world besides." As if he had said, "Knowing this, I can shake off, etc.; and, I knowing this, let all others too know and be aware that I can," etc.
127. The power to cancel, etc.-Here, it will be observed, we have power reduced to a monosyllable, although it had been employed as a dissyllable only five lines before, "Never lacks power," etc.
128. He were no lion, etc.-His imagination is still filled with the image by which he has already pictured the tyranny of the Dictator;—“roars, as doth the lion, in the Capitol."-Hind, a she stag, is correctly formed from the Original English hinde, of the same meaning; our other hind, a peasant, was originally hine and hina, and has taken the d only for the sake of a fuller or firmer enunciation. It may be noted, however, that, although there is a natural tendency in certain syllables to seek this addition of breadth or strength, it is most apt to operate when it is aided, as here, by the existence of some other word or form to which the d properly belongs. Thus, soun (from sonner and sono) has probably been the more easily converted into sound from having become confounded in the popular ear and understanding with
the adjective sound and the verb to sound, meaning to search; and such obsolete or dialectic forms as drownd and swound (for drown and swoon) may be supposed to have been the more readily produced through the misleading influence of the parts of the verb which actually and properly end in d or ed. As we have confounded the old hinde and hine, so we have also the Original English herd, or heord, meaning a flock or crowd (the modern German heerde), with hyrd, meaning a keeper or tender (the modern German hirt); our one form for both being now herd.
128. My answer must be made.—I must answer for what I have said.
129. To such a man, That is, etc.— Vid. 57.-To fleer (or flear, as is the old spelling) is to mock, or laugh at. The word appears to have come to us from the Norse or Scandinavian branch of the Gothic,-one of the roots of our English tongue which recent philology has almost abjured, although, besides all else, we owe to it even forms of such perpetual occurrence as the are of the substantive verb and the ordinary sign of our modern genitive (for such a use of the preposition of, common to us with the Swedish, is unknown to the classical English of the times before the Norman Conquest, although we have it in full activity, probably adopted from the popular speech of the northern counties, in the written language of the twelfth century).
129. Hold, my hand.—That is, Have, receive, take hold (of it); there is my hand. The comma is distinctly marked in the early editions.
129. Be factious for redress of all these griefs.—Here factious seems to mean nothing more than active or urgent, although everywhere else, I believe, in Shakespeare the word is used in the same disreputable sense which it has at present. Griefs (the form still used in the French language, and retained in our own with another meaning)
is his by far more common word for what we now call grievances, although he has that form too occasionally (which Milton nowhere employs). Vid. 436.
130. To undergo, with me, an enterprise.-We should now rather say to undertake where there is anything to be done.
130. Of honourable-dangerous.-These two words were probably intended to make a compound adjective, although the hyphen with which they are connected by most of the modern editors is not in the oldest printed text. The language does not now, at least in serious composition, indulge in compounds of this description. Shakespeare, however, has apparently several such. Thus :
"More active-valiant, or more valiant-young."
Mer. W. of Wind., v. 5.
"So full of shapes is fancy,.
That it alone is high-fantastical."
Twelfth Night, i. 1.
130. By this they stay for me.-That is, by this time. And it is a mode of expression which, like so many others which the language once possessed, we have now lost. Yet we still say, in the same sense, ere this, before this, after this, the preposition in these phrases being felt to be suggestive of the notion of time in a way that by is not.
130. There is no . . . walking.-In another connexion this might mean, that there was no possibility of walking; but here the meaning apparently is that there was no walking going on.
130. The complexion of the element.-That is, of the heaven, of the sky. North, in his Plutarch, speaks of "the fires in the element." The word in this sense was much in favour with the fine writers or talkers of Shake