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But speak all good you can devise of Cæsar,
In the same pulpit whereto I am going,
Ant. Be it so;
I do desire no more.
362. Bru. Prepare the body, then, and follow us.
[Exeunt all but ANTONY. 363. Ant. O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Enter a SERVANT.
You serve Octavius Cæsar, do you not?
Serv. I do, Mark Antony.
Ant. Cæsar did write for him to come to Rome. 366. Serv. He did receive his letters, and is coming : And bid me say to you by word of mouth,—
[Seeing the Body.
Passion, I see, is catching; for mine eyes,
Began to water. Is thy master coming?
Serv. He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome.
369. Ant. Post back with speed, and tell him what hath chanced:
Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome,
No Rome of safety for Octavius yet;
Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay a while;
[Exeunt with CÆSAR's body.
All the heading that we have to this Act in the original copy, where the whole is thrown into one scene, is, "Flourish. Enter Cæsar, Brutus, Cassius, Caska, Decius, Metellus, Trebonius, Cynna, Antony, Lepidus, Artemidorus, Publius, and the Soothsayer."-A Flourish is defined by Johnson "a kind of musical prelude." It is commonly, if not always, of trumpets. Webster has omitted this sense of the word. It is of continual occurrence in the stage directions of our old Plays; and Shakespeare has, not only in his Richard the Third, iv. 4,
"A flourish, trumpets!-strike alarum, drums!"
but in Titus Andronicus, iv. 2,
"Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish thus ?"
283. Doth desire you to o'er-read.—Over (or o'er) in composition has four meanings:-1. Throughout (or over all), which is its effect here (answering to the per in the equivalent peruse); 2. Beyond, or in excess, as in overleap, overpay; 3. Across, as in one sense of overlook; 4. Down upon, as in another sense of the same verb.
283. At your best leisure.-Literally, at the leisure that is best for your convenience, that best suits you. The phrase, however, had come to be understood as implying that the leisure was also to be as early as could be made convenient.
283. This his humble suit.-Suit is from sue (which we also have in composition in ensue, issue, pursue); and sue is the French suivre (which, again, is from the Latin sequor, secutus). A suit of clothes is a set, one piece following or corresponding to another. Suite is the same word, whether used for a retinue, or for any other kind of succession (such as a suite of apartments).
285. That touches us? Ourself shall be last served.— This is the correction of Mr Collier's MS. annotator. The common reading is, "What touches us ourself shall be last served.” To serve, or attend to, a person is a familiar form of expression; to speak of a thing as served, in the sense of attended to, would, it is apprehended, be unexampled. The "us ourself," however, would be unobjectionable. Whatever may be the motive or view which has led to the substitution of the plural for the singular personal pronoun in certain expressions, it is evident that the plurality of the pronoun could not conveniently be allowed to carry along with it a corresponding transformation of all the connected words. Although an English king might speak of himself as We, it would be felt that the absurdity was too great if he were to go on to say, "We the Kings of England." Hence such awkward combinations 66 as We ourself," or "Us ourself;" which, however, are only exemplifications of the same construction which we constantly employ in common life when in addressing an individual we say "You yourself." The same contradiction, indeed, is involved in the word Yourself standing alone. It may be observed, however, that the verb always follows the number of the pronoun which is its nominative, so that there is never any violation of the ordinary rule of grammatical concord. Upon the nature of the word Self, see Latham, Eng. Lan. 416. See also the note on 54, Did lose his lustre.
289. There is no such stage direction in the old editions as we now have at the end of this speech.
292. The stage direction attached to this speech is also modern.
295. Look, how he makes to Cæsar.-We should now say, he makes up to. And we also say to make for, with another meaning.-For the prosody of this verse, see note on 246.
296. Casca, be sudden, etc.—We should now rather say, Be quick. Prevention is hindrance by something happening before that which is hindered. Vid. 147.
295. Cassius on Cæsar never shall turn back. -The reading of all the old copies is "or Cæsar," and it is retained by most or all of the modern editors. It is interpreted by Ritson as meaning "Either Cæsar or I shall never return alive." But to turn back cannot mean to return alive, or to return in any way. The most it could mean would be to make a movement towards returning ; which is so far from being the same thing with the accomplished return which this translation would have it to imply that it may almost be said to be the very opposite. Besides, even if to turn back could mean here to leave or get away from the Capitol alive, although Cassius, by plunging his dagger into his own heart, would indeed. have prevented himself from so escaping, how was that act to bring with it any similar risk to Cæsar? I will slay myself, Cassius is supposed to say, whereby either I shall lose my life or Cæsar will his. The emendation of or Cæsar" into on Cæsar" was proposed and is strongly supported by Malone, although he did not venture to introduce it into his text. We have probably the opposite misprint of on for or in the speech of Paulina in the concluding scene of The Winter's Tale, where the old copies give us―
Although Mr Knight adheres to the on and the point.
297. Cassius, be constant.-Vid. 263.
297. Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes.— Although this verse has twelve syllables, it is not for that an Alexandrine. Its rhythm is the same as if the last word had been merely the dissyllable purpose, or even a monosyllable, such as act or deed. It is completed by the strong syllable pur- in the tenth place, and the two unaccented syllables that follow have no prosodical effect. Of course, there is also an oratorical emphasis on our, although standing in one of those places which do not require an accented syllable, but which it is a mistake to suppose incapable of admitting such.
297. Cæsar doth not change.-In his manner of looking, or the expression of his countenance.
298. The stage direction attached to this speech is modern.
300. He is addressed.-To dress is the same word with to direct. Immediately from the French dresser, it is ultimately from the Latin rectus and directus, through the Italian rizzare and dirizzare; and its literal meaning, therefore, is, to make right or straight. Formerly, accordingly, anything was said to be dressed or addressed when it was in complete order for the purpose to which it was to be applied. Thus, in the Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, iv. 4, the King says, "Our navy is addressed, our power collected;" and in A Midsummer Night's Dream, v. 1, Philostrate, the Master of the Revels, makes his official announcement to Theseus thus ;-"So please your Grace, the prologue is addressed." So He is addressed in the present passage means merely He is ready. The primary sense of the word is still retained in such phrases as To dress the ranks; and it is not far departed from in such as To dress cloth or leather, To . dress a wound, To dress meat. The notion of decoration or embellishment which we commonly associate with dressing does not enter fully even into the expression To