« ПредишнаНапред »
emphasis, of course, is on should. The common meaning of shall, as used by Cassius, is turned, in Brutus's quick and unsparing replication, into the secondary meaning of should (ought to be). Vid. 181.
551. Which I respect not.—Which I heed not. Here respect has rather less force of meaning than it has now acquired; whereas observe in 539 has more than it now conveys. Respect in Shakespeare means commonly no more than what we now call regard or view. Thus, in The Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1, Lysander says of his aunt, "She respects me as her only son;" and, in ii. 1, Helena says to Demetrius, "You, in my respect, are all the world." So, in The Merchant of Venice, v. 1, when Portia, on hearing the music from the lighted house as she approaches Belmont at night in company with Nerissa, says,—
"Nothing is good, I see, without respect;
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day,"
she means merely that nothing is good without reference to circumstances, or that it is only when it is in accordance with the place and the time that any good thing can be really or fully enjoyed. As she immediately subjoins :
"How many things by season seasoned are
To their right praise and true perfection!"
So afterwards Nerissa to Gratiano,-" You should have been respective, and have kept it" (the ring),—that is, you should have been mindful (of your promise or oath).
551. And drop my blood.-Expend my blood in drops. 551. Than to wring.-Although had rather (Vid. 54 and 57), being regarded as of the nature of an auxiliary verb, does not in modern English take a to with the verb that follows it (Vid. 1), it does so here in virtue of being equivalent in sense to would or should prefer.
551. By any indirection.—Indirectness, as we should now say.
551. To lock such rascal counters.-As to lock. Vid. 408. Rascal means despicable. It is an Original English word, properly signifying a lean worthless deer.
551. Be ready, gods, etc.-I cannot think that Mr Collier has improved this passage by removing the comma which we find in the old copies at the end of the first line, and so connecting the words "with all your thunderbolts," not with "Be ready," but with "Dash him to pieces."
551. Dash him to pieces.—This is probably to be understood as the infinitive (governed by the preceding verb be ready) with the customary to omitted. Vid. 1.
554. Brutus hath rived my heart. Vid. 107.
559. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear.This is the reading of all the old copies. Mr Collier's MS. annotator gives " did appear."
560. Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius. In this line and the next we have Cassius used first as a trisyllable and immediately after as a dissyllable.
560. For Cassius is aweary of the world. Whatever may be its origin or proper meaning, many words were in the habit of occasionally taking a as a prefix in the earliest period of the language. Thence we have our modern English, arise, arouse, abide, await, awake, aweary, etc. Some of the words which are thus lengthened, however, do not appear to have existed in the Original English; while, on the other hand, many ancient forms of this kind are now lost. More or less of additional expressiveness seems usually to be given by this prefix, in the case at least of such words as can be said to have in them anything of an emotional character. Shakespeare has used the present word in another of his most pathetic lines,-Macbeth's "I 'gin to be aweary of the sun.”—The a here seems to be the same element that we have in the “Tom's-a-cold” of Lear, iii. 4, and iv. 7, and also with the an that we have in the "When I was an-hungered" of the
New Testament, and Shakespeare's "They said they were an-hungry” (Coriol. i. 4).
560. Conned by rote.-The Original English connan, or cunnan, signifying to know, and also to be able,-its probable modification cunnian, to inquire, and cennan, to beget or bring forth, appear to have all come to be confounded in the breaking up of the old form of the language, and then to have given rise to our modern ken, and can, and con, and cunning, with meanings not at all corresponding to those of the terms with which they severally stand in phonetic connexion. Can is now used only as an auxiliary verb with the sense of to be able, though formerly it was sometimes employed with the same sense as a common verb. 'In evil," says Bacon, in his 11th Essay (Of Great Place), "the best condition is not to will; the second, not to can." Ken is still in use both as a verb and as a substantive. The verb Nares interprets as meaning to see, the substantive as meaning sight; and he adds, "These words, though not current in common usage, have been so preserved in poetic language that they cannot properly be called obsolete. Instances are numerous in writers of very modern date. . . . In Scotland these words are still in full currency." But the meaning of to ken in the Scottish dialect is not to see, but to know. And formerly it had also in English the one meaning as well as the other, as may be seen both in Spenser and in Shakespeare. The case is similar to that of the Greek ɛidw (oida) and ɛidéw. Cunning, again, instead of being the wisdom resulting from investigation and experience, or the skill acquired by practice, as in the earlier states of the language, has now come to be understood as involving always at least something concealed and mysterious, if not something of absolute deceit or falsehood.
As for con its common meaning seems to be, not to
know, but to get by heart, that is, to acquire a knowledge of in the most complete manner possible. And to con by rote is to commit to memory by an operation of mind similar to the turning of a wheel (rota), or by frequent repetition. Rote is the same word with routine.
It is more difficult to explain the expression to con thanks, which is of frequent occurrence in our old writers and is several times used by Shakespeare. Nares explains it as meaning to study expressions of gratitude. But it really seems, in most instances at least, to signify no more than to give or return thanks. See a note on Gammer Gurton's Needle in Collier's edition of Dodsley's Old Plays, II. 30. Con in the present passage may perhaps mean to utter or repeat; such a sense might come not unnaturally out of the common use of the word in the sense of to get by heart. The case would be somewhat like that of the two senses assigned to the same word in the expressions "to construct a sentence" and "to construe a sentence.' It is remarkable that in German also they say Dank wissen (literally to know thanks) for to give thanks.
Our common know is not from any of the Original English verbs above enumerated, but is the modernized form of cnawan, which may or may not be related to all or to some of them.
Corresponding to cennan and connan, it may finally be added, we have the modern German kennen, to know, and können, to be able or to know. But, whatever may be the case with the German König (a king), it is impossible to admit that our English king, the representative of the ancient cyng, cyncg, or cyning, can have anything to do with either cennan or connan. It is apparently of quite another family, that of which the head is cyn, nation, offspring, whence our present kin, and kindred, and kind (both the substantive and the adjective).
560. Dearer than Plutus' mine.-Dear must here be
understood, not in the derived sense of beloved, but in its literal sense of precious or of value. Vid. 349. It is "Pluto's mine" in all the Folios, and also in Rowe; nor does it appear that the mistake is corrected by Mr Collier's MS. annotator, although it is, of course, in Mr Collier's regulated text.
560. If that thou beest a Roman.-Our modern substantive verb, as it is called, is made up of fragments of several verbs, of which, at the least, am, was, and be are distinguishable, even if we hold is, as well as are and art, to belong to the same root with am (upon this point see Latham's Eng. Lang. 3rd edit. 346). In the original form of the language we have com (sometimes am), waes (with waere and waeron, and wesan, and gewesen), beo (with bist or býst, beódh, beón, etc.), eart (or eardh), is (or ys); and also sý, seó, sig, synd, and syndon (related to the Latin sum, sunt, sim, sis, etc.), of which forms there is no trace in our existing English. On the other hand, there is no representative in the written English of the times before the Conquest of our modern plural are. Beest, which we have here, is not to be confounded with the subjunctive be; it is bíst, býst, the 2nd pers. sing. pres. indic. of beón, to be. It is now obsolete, but is also used by Milton in a famous passage:-" If thou beest he; but oh how fallen! how changed," etc. P. L. i. 84.
561. Dishonour shall be humour.- Vid. 205.—Any indignity you offer shall be regarded as a mere caprice of the moment. Humour here probably means nearly the same thing as in Cassius's "that rash humour which my mother gave me" in 568. The word had scarcely acquired in Shakespeare's age the sense in which it is now commonly used as a name for a certain mental faculty or quality; though its companion wit had already, as we have seen, come to be so employed. Vid. 436. But what if the true reading should be "dishonour shall be honour?" 561. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb.-Pope prints,