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subjoins, “You forget yourself, To hedge me in" — although Johnson interprets these words as meaning "to limit my authority by your direction or censure."--The present passage may be compared with one in A Winter's Tale, ii. 3 :
“ Who late hath beat her husband,
And now baits me." A third Anglicized form of battre, in addition to beat and bait, is probably bate, explained by Nares as in falconry ; to flutter the wings as preparing for flight, particularly at the sight of prey.” Thus Petrucio, in The Taming of the Shrew, iv. 1, speaking of his wife, after observing that his “falcon now is sharp, and passing empty” (that is, very empty, or hungry), goes on to say that he has another way to man his haggard (that is, apparently, to reduce his wild hawk under subjection to man),
" That is, to watch her, as we watch those kites
That bate, and beat, and will not be obedient. Nares quotes the following passage from a letter of Bacon's as beautifully exemplifying the true meaning of the word : “Wherein [viz. in matters of business] I would to God that I were hooded, that I saw less; or that I could perform more : for now I am like a hawk that bates, when I see occasion of service; but cannot fly, because I am tied to another's fist.” The letter, which was first printed by Rawley in the First Part of the Resuscitatio (1657), is without date, and is merely entitled “ A Letter to Queen Elizabeth, upon the sending of a New-year's Gift."
530. I am a soldier, I.-It is impossible to be quite certain whether the second I here be the pronoun or the adverb which we now write Ay. See the note on “I, as Æneas,” in 54.
530. To make conditions. To arrange the terms on which offices should be conferred.
531. Go to.-Johnson, in his Dictionary, explains this expression as equivalent to “ Come, come, take the right course” (meaning, contemptuously or sarcastically). He adds, that, besides being thus used as a scornful exhortation," it is also sometimes "a phrase of exhortation or encouragement ;" as in Gen. xi. 4, where the people, after the flood, are represented as saying, “ Go to, let us build us a city and a tower,” etc. But it must be understood to be used, again, in the scornful sense three verses lower down, where the Lord is made to say “ Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language,” etc.
534. Have mind upon your health.- Mind, is here remembrance, and health is welfare, or safety, generally ; senses which are both now obsolete.
535. Away, slight man !- Vid. 494 and 522.
537. Hear me, for I will speak.–The emphasis is not to be denied to the will here, although it stands in the place commonly stated to require an unaccented syllable. Vid. 426, 436, and 613.
539. Must I observe you ?—Pay you observance, or reverential attention.
541. You say you are a better soldier.—Vid. 525.
541. I shall be glad to learn of abler men. The old reading is “ noble men;" abler is the correction of Mr Collier's MS. annotator. Even if this were a mere conjecture, its claim to be accepted would be nearly irresistible. Noble here is altogether inappropriate. Cassius, as Mr Collier remarks, had said nothing about " noble men," whereas abler is the very expression that he had used (in 530) :
“I am a soldier, I, Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions." 542. I said, an elder soldier.- This is the reading of all the old copies. But Mr Collier prints older.
551. You have done that you should be sorry for:--The
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 cíow (olda) and cidéw. 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