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ed to indicate by the printing that the second enunciation of these words is a repetition by Brutus to himself, and not, as it is always made to appear, a further portion of the letter. The letter unquestionably concluded with the emphatic adjuration, “ Speak, strike, redress !” It never, after this, would have proceeded to go over the ground again in the same words that had been already used. They would have only impaired the effect, and would have been quite inappropriate in their new place. We see how the speaker afterwards repeats in the like manner each of the other clauses before commenting upon it.
153. Where I have took.–Vid. 46.
153. Speak, strike, redress !-Am I entreated, etc.— The expression is certainly not strengthened by the then which was added to these words by Hanmer, in the notion that it was required by the prosody, and has been retained by Steevens and other modern editors. At the same time Mr Knight's doctrine, that “a pause, such as must be made after redress, stands in the place of a syllable,” will, at any rate, not do here; for we should want two syllables after redress. The best way is to regard the supposed line as being in reality two hemistichs; or to treat the words repeated from the letter as no part of the verse. How otherwise are we to manage the preceding quotation, “Shall Rome, etc.” ?
153. I make thee promise.-I make promise to thee. In another connexion, the words might mean I make thee to promise. The Second Folio has the promise.” The heading that follows this speech, and also 155, in the First Folio is Enter Lucius.
153. Thou receivest.--Mr Collier prints receiv’st,-it is not apparent why.
154. March is wasted fourteen days.-In all the old editions it is fifteen. The correction was made by Theobald. Vid. 149. Mr Collier has also fourteen ; but he does not bere
appear to have the authority of his MS. annotator.
-The heading which precedes is "Enter Lucius" in the original text.
155. The genius and the mortal instruments. The commentators have written and disputed lavishly upon these celebrated words. Apparently, by the genius we are to understand the contriving and immortal mind, and most probably the mortal instruments are the earthly passions. The best light for the interpretation of the present passage is reflected from 186, where Brutus, advising with his fellow conspirators on the manner in which they should dispatch their mighty victim, not as blood-thirsty butchers, but as performing a sacrifice of which they lamented the necessity, says:
“Let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide'em.” The servants here may be taken to be the same with the instruments in the
proposed to understand by the mortal instruments the bodily powers or organs; but it is not obvious how these could be said to hold consultation with the genius or mind. Neither could they in the other passage be so fitly said to be stirred up by the heart.
The bodily organs, however, seem to be distinctly designated the instruments and agents, in Coriolanus, i. 1, where, first, Menenius Agrippa says, in his apologue of the rebellion of the other members of the body against the belly,-
“The other instruments
Of the whole body”.
" The former agents, if they did complain,
What could the belly answer: " So again, in Macbeth, i. 7:-
“One of these men is genius to the other ;
And which the spirit ?”
" but in neither of these cases is the reference in the word man to an individual, as here.—The Exit Lucius attached to the first line of this speech is modern.
156. Your brother Cassius.- Cassius had married Junia, the sister of Brutus.
158. No, Sir, there are moe with him.-Moe, not more, is the word here and in other passages, not only in the First, but in all the Four Folios. It was probably the common form in the popular speech throughout the seventeenth century, as it still is in Scotland in the dialectic meh' (pronounced exactly as the English may). No confusion or ambiguity is produced in this case by the retention of the old word, of continual occurrence both in Chaucer and Spenser, such as makes it advisable to convert.the then, which the original text of the Plays gives us after the comparative, into our modern than. In some cases, besides, the moe is absolutely required by the verse; as in Balthazar's Song in Much Ado About Nothing (ii. 3):
160. Pluckt about their ears. Pulled down about their ears.
160. By any mark of favour.-That is, of feature or countenance. Vid. 54,
161. When evils are most free! — When evil things have most freedom.
161. To mask thy monstrous visage ?—The only prosodical irregularity in this line is the common one of the one supernumerary short syllable (the age of visage). The two unaccented syllables which follow the fifth accented one have no effect.
161. Hide it in smiles.-This is the old reading, which Mr Knight has restored. He states that all the modern editions have in it.
161. For, if thou path, thy native semblance on.Coleridge has declared himself convinced that we should here read “if thou put thy native semblance on;" and Mr Knight is inclined to agree with him, seeing that putte might be easily mistaken for pathe. If path be the word, the meaning must be, If thou go forth. Path is employed as a verb by Drayton, but not exactly in this sense: he speaks of pathing a passage, and pathing a way, that is, making or smoothing a passage or way. There is no comma or other point after path in the old copies.
161. To hide thee from prevention.- To prevent (prævenire) is to come before, and so is equivalent in effect with to hinder, which is literally to make behind: I make that behind me which I get before.—The heading that follows is in the old copies ;-"Enter the Corspirators, Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus, and Trebonius."
162. We are too bold upon your rest.— We intrude too boldly or unceremoniously upon your rest.
168. This, Casca ; this, Cinna ; etc.— I print this speech continuously, as it stands in the original edition, and as Mr Knight has also given it. It might perhaps be possible, by certain violent processes, to reduce it to the rude semblance of a line of verse, or to break it up, as has also been attempted, into something like a pair of hemistichs; but it is far better to regard it as never having been intended for verse at all, like many other brief utterances of the same level kind interspersed in this and all the other Plays.
173. And yon grey lines. This is the reading of all the Folios. Why does Mr Collier print yond'?
174. Which is a great way, etc.—The commentators, who flood us with their explanations of many easier passages, have not a word to say upon this. Casca means that the point of sunrise is as yet far to the south (of east), weighing (that is, taking into account, or on account of) the unadvanced period of the year. But is there not some allusion, which the look and tone of the speaker might express more clearly than his words, to the great act about to be performed in the Capitol, and the change, as of a new day, that was expected to follow it? Otherwise, it is difficult to understand the elaborate emphasis of the whole speech,—more especially the closing words,
"and the high east Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.” 175. Give me your hands all over.—That is, all included. The idiom is still common.
177. If not the face of men.—The commentators are all alive here, one proposing to read fate of men, another faith of men, another faiths (as nearer in sound to face). It is difficult to see much difficulty in the old reading, understood as meaning the looks of men. It is prefer