Графични страници
PDF файл

If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And, when the fit was on him, I did mark

How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake :
His coward lips did from their colour fly;5

And that same eye, whose bend doth awe the world,
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius,
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestick world,
And bear the palm alone.

Bru. Another general shout!

I do believe, that these applauses are

[Shout. Flourish.

For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar.
Cas. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus; and we petty men

Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.

Men at some time are masters of their fates:

5 His coward lips did from their colour fly ;] A plain man would have said, the colour fled from his lips, and not his lips from their colour. But the false expression was for the sake of as false a piece of wit: a poor quibble, alluding to a coward flying from his colours. Warburton.

6 - feeble temper -] i. e. temperament, constitution. Steevens. 7 get the start of the majestick world, &c.] This image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games. The majestick world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion Orbis Romanus. But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexander, who being asked, Whether he would run the course at he Olympic games, replied, Yes, if the racers were kings. Warburton.

That the allusion is to the prize allotted in games to the foremost in the race, is very clear. All the rest existed, I apprehend, only in Dr. Warburton's imagination. Malone.


and we petty men

Walk under his huge legs,] So, as an anonymous writer has observed, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. x:

"But I the meanest man of many more
"Yet much disdaining unto him to lout,
"Or creep between his legs." Malone.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.


Brutus and Cæsar: What should be in that Cæsar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name ;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ;9
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with them,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.1
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art sham'd:
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walks"encompass'd but one man? walls
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,

When there is in it but one only man.

O! you and I have heard our fathers say,

There was a Brutus once,2 that would have brook'd
The eternal devil3 to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.

Bru. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous;
What you would work me to, I have some aim :4
How I have thought of this, and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,

9 Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;] A similar thought occurs in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:

"What diapason's more in Tarquin's name,

"Than in a subject's? or what 's Tullia

"More in the sound, than should become the name
"Of a poor maid?" Steevens.

1 Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.] Dr. Young, in his Busiris, appears to have imitated this passage:

"Nay, stamp not, tyrant; I can stamp as loud,

"And raise as many dæmons with the sound." Steevens.

2 There was a Brutus once,] i. e. Lucius Junius Brutus. Steevens. 3 -eternal devil-] I should think that our author wrote rather, infernal devil. Johnson.

I would continue to read eternal devil. L. J. Brutus (says Cassius) would as soon have submitted to the perpetual dominion of a dæmon, as to the lasting government of a king. Steevens.

aim:] i. e. guess. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : "But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err, --. Steevens?

I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
any further mov'd. What you have said,
I will consider; what you have to say,

I will with patience hear: and find a time
Both meet to hear, and answer, such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this ;5
Brutus had rather be a villager,

Than to repute himself a son of Rome

Such Under'these" hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.

Cas. I am glad, that my weak words?

Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
Re-enter CESAR, and his Train.

Bru. The games are done, and Cæsar is returning.
Cas. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve;
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded, worthy note, to-day.

[ocr errors]

Bru. I will do so :-But, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Cæsar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:
Calphurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero
Looks with such ferrets and such fiery eyes,
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
Cas. Casca will tell us what the matter is.
Ces. Antonius.

Ant. Cæsar.

Cas. Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights:

5 chew upon this;] Consider this at leisure; ruminate on this.


6 Under these hard conditions as this time Is like to lay upon us.] As, in our author's age, was frequently used in the sense of that. So, in North's translation of Plutarch, 1579: 66 - - insomuch as they that saw it, thought he had been Malone.


7 I am glad, that my weak words —] For the sake of regular measure, Mr. Kitson would read:



Have struck &c. Steevens.

I am glad, my words

- ferret —] A ferret has red eyes. Johnson.

9 Sleek-headed men, &c.] So, in Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, 1579: "When Cæsar's friends complained unto him of

Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look ;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

Ant. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous;
He is a noble Roman, and well given.

Cas. 'Would he were fatter:1-But I fear him not: Yet if my name were liable to fear,

I do not know the man I should avoid

So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;
He is a great observer, and he looks

Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no musick :2
Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort,
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be mov'd to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves;
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd,
Than what I fear; for always I am Cæsar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

[Exeunt CEs, and his Train. CASCA stays behind. Casca. You pull'd me by the cloak; Would you speak with me?

Bru. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanc'd to-day, That Cæsar looks so sad.

Casca. Why you were with him, were you not?

Antonius and Dolabella, that they pretended some mischief towards him; he answered, as for those fat men and smooth-combed heads, (quoth he) I never reckon of them; but these pale-visaged and carrion-lean people, I fear them most; meaning Brutus and Cassius.” And again :

"Cæsar had Cassius in great jealousy, and suspected him much; whereupon he said on a time, to his friends, what will Cassius do, think you? I like not his pale looks." Steevens.

1 'Would he were fatter:] Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew-Fair, 1614, unjustly sneers at this passage, in Knockham's speech to the Pig-woman: "Come, there's no malice in fat folks; I never fear thee, an I can scape thy lean moon- -calf there." Warburton.

2 ·he hears no musick:] Our author considered the having no delight in musick as so certain a mark of an austere disposition, that in The Merchant of Venice he has pronounced, that

"The man that hath no musick in himself,

"Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." Malone. See Vol. IV, p. 419, n. 7. Steevens.

Bru. I should not then ask Casca what hath chanc'd.

Casca. Why, there was a crown offered him and being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a' shouting.

Bru. What was the second noise for?

Casca. Why, for that too.

Cas. They shouted thrice; What was the last cry for? Casca. Why, for that too.

Bru. Was the crown offer'd him thrice?

Casca. Ay, marry, was 't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by, mine honest neighbours shouted.

Cas. Who offered him the crown?

Casca. Why, Antony.

Bru. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.

Casca. I can as well be hanged, as tell the manner of it it was mere foolery, I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown;—yet, 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets ;3—and, as I told you, he put it by once: but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loth to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chopped hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar; for he swooned and fell down at it: And for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.

Cas. But, soft, I pray you: What? did Cæsar swoon? Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.

Bru. "Tis very like; he hath the falling-sickness.
Cas. No, Cæsar hath it not; but you, and I,
And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness.

Casca. I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure, Cæsar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him, and hiss him, according as he pleased, and dis

3 one of these coronets;] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: he came to Cæsar, and presented him a diadem wreathed about with laurel."


« ПредишнаНапред »