Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

expression as well as the prosody. Mr Knight, by whom it is rejected, says, “The pause which naturally occurs before Cassius offers an answer to the impassioned argument of Brutus would be most decidedly marked by a proper reader or actor.” This pause Mr Knight would have to be equivalent to a single short syllable, or half a time. Surely one somewhat longer would have been necessary for such an effect as is supposed.—The manner in which the next line is given in the original text shows that the printer or so-called editor had no notion of what the words meant, or whether they had any meaning: in his exhibition of them, with a full-point after Cæsar, they have none.

189. Is to himself, etc. To think, or to take thought, seems to have been formerly used in the sense of to give way to sorrow and despondency. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra, iii. 11, to Cleopatra's question, after the battle of Actium, “ What shall we do, Enobarbus ?” the answer of that worthy is, “ Think and die.”

189. And that were much he should.-That would be much for him to do.

190. There is no fear in him.-That is, cause of fear. It is still common to use terror in this active sense, when in 551 Brutus says, “ There is no terror, Cassius, in

99

as

[ocr errors]

your threats.”

192. The clock hath stricken.-Vid. 46.

194. Whether Cæsar will come forth to day or no.Whether is thus given uncontracted here in all the old copies. And it might have so stood, inoffensively enough, in all the other passages in which the slight irregularity of the superfluous short syllable has been got rid of by its conversion into where or whe'r.

194. Quite from the main opinion.—“Quite from ” is quite away from. So in Twelfth Night, v. 1, Malvolio, charging the Countess with having written the letter, says:

“ You must not now deny it is your hand;

Write from it, if you can, in hand or phrase.” Malone remarks that the words “main opinion” occur also in Troilus and Cressida, where, as he thinks, they signify, as here, general estimation. The passage is in i. 3:

“Why then we should our main opinion crush

In taint of our best man.” Johnson's interpretation is perhaps better ;-"leading, fixed, predominant opinion." Mason has ingeniously proposed to read “mean opinion” in the present passage.

194. Of fantasy, etc.— Fantasy is fancy, or imagination, with its unaccountable anticipations and apprehensions, as opposed to the calculations of reason. By ceremonies, as Malone notes, we are to understand here omens or signs deduced from sacrifices or other ceremonial rites. The word is used again in the same sense in 233. For another sense of it see 16.

194. These apparent prodigies.- Apparent is here plain, erident, about which there can be no doubt; as in Falstaff's (to Prince Henry) "Were it not here apparent that thou art heir apparent" (First part of King Henry the Fourth, i. 2),—where the here is also certainly intended to coincide with the heir, giving rise to a suspicion that the latter word may have, sometimes at least, admitted of a different pronunciation in Shakespeare's day from that which it always has now.

So when Milton says of our first parents after their fall (Par. Lost, x. 112) that

“ Love was not in their looks, either to God

Or to each other, but apparent guilt,” he means by “ apparent guilt” manifest and undoubted guilt. In other cases by apparent we mean, not emphatically apparent, or indisputable, but simply apparent, apparent and nothing more, or what we otherwise call probable or seeming. “The sense is apparent” would

לל

[ocr errors]

mean that the sense is plain ; " the apparent sense is,” that the sense seems to be.

194. The unaccustomed terror.- Unaccustomed is unusual; we now commonly employ it for unused to. Terror has here the active sense, as fear has in 190.

194. And the persuasion of his augurers. - Augurer, formed from the verb, is Shakespeare's usual word, instead of the Latin augur, which is commonly employed, and which he too, however, sometimes has. So again in 236.

195. That unicorns, etc.——“Unicorns,” says Steevens, are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was dispatched by the hunter.” He quotes in illustration Spenser's description (F. Q. ii. 5):

“ Like as a lion whose imperial power
A proud rebellious unicorn defies,
To avoid the rash assault and wrathful stour
Of his fierce foe him to a tree applies ;
And, when him running in full course he spies,
He slips aside; the whiles the furious beast
His precious horn, sought of his enemies,
Strikes in the stock, ne thence can be releast,
But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast.”

[ocr errors]

Bears,".adds Steevens, “are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking a surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed: See Pliny's Natural History, Book viii.” Reference might also be made to a speech of Timon to Apemantus in Timon of Athens, iv. 3, "If thou wert the lion," etc., which is too long to be quoted. The

import of the For, with which Decius introduces his statement, is not seen till we come to his “But when I tell him," etc., which, therefore, ought not, as is commonly done, to be separated from what precedes by so strong a point as the colon,--the substitute of the modern editors for the full stop of the original edition.

195. He says, he does; being then most flattered.—The ing of being counts for nothing in the prosody. For the ed of flattered, see the note on 246.

197. By the eighth hour. It is the eight hour in the first three Folios. The author, however, probably wrote eighth.

199. Doth bear Cesar hard.Did. 105. In the Second Folio the hard in this passage is changed into hatred. But the meaning is manifestly different from what that would give, even if to bear one hatred were English at all.

200. Go along by him.-Pope, who is followed by the other editors before Malone, changed by into to. But to go along by a person was in Shakespeare's age to take one's way where he was. So afterwards in 620, “The enemy, marching along by them” (that is, through the country of the people between this and Philippi).

200. I'll fashion him.--I will shape his mind to our purposes.

201. The morning comes upon us.-It may just be noted that all the old copies have "upon's.” And probably such an elision would not have been thought inelegant at any time in the seventeenth century.

202. Let not our looks put on our purposes.-Put on such expression as would betray our purposes. Compare the exhortation of the strong-minded wife of Macbeth to her husband (Macbeth, i. 5) :

“ To beguile the time,
Look like the time : bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue ; look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it.”

But the sentiment takes its boldest form from the lips of Macbeth himself in the first fervour of his weakness exalted into determined wickedness (i. 7):

Away, and mock the time with fairest show :
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”

2

202. Formal constancy.- Constancy in outward form, or aspect; the appearance, at any rate, of perfect freedom from anxiety and the weight of our great design. The original stage direction is; “Exeunt. Manet Brutus.'

202. The heavy honey-dew of slumber.—This is the correction by Mr Collier's MS. annotator of the old reading “the honey-heavy dew.” I cannot doubt that it gives us what Shakespeare wrote. “The compound,” as Mr Collier remarks, “unquestionably is not honey-heavy, but honey-dew, a well-known glutinous deposit upon the leaves of trees, etc.; the compositor was guilty of a transposition.” We have a trace, it might be added, of some confusion or indistinctness in the manuscript, perhaps occasioned by an interlineation, and of the perplexity of the compositor, in the strange manner in which in the First Folio the dew also, as well as the heavy, is attached by a hyphen; thus, “ the honey-heavy-Dew.”

202. Thou hast no figures, etc.- Pictures created by imagination or apprehension. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. 2, Mrs Page, to Mrs Ford's “Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him (Falstaff) ?” replies, “ Yes, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains.”

205. You've ungently.--All the Folios have Y' have ; which, however, was perhaps not pronounced differently from the modern elision adopted in the present text. As that elision is still common, it seems unnecessary to substitute the full You have, as most of the recent editors have done.

205. Stole from my bed. Vid. 46.

« ПредишнаНапред »