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to have been anciently written both controve and contreve (Vid. Chaucer's Rom. of the Rose, 4249 and 7547). Spenser, however, has a learned contrive of his own (though somewhat irregularly formed too), meaning to spend, consume, wear out, from the Latin contero, contrivi (from which we have also contrite).
Scene IV.—The heading of this scene in the original text is only “ Enter Portia and Lucius.”
261. Get thee gone.-An idiom ; that is to say, a peculiar form of expression the principle of which cannot be carried out beyond the particular instance. Thus we cannot say either Make thee gone, or He got him (or himself) gone. Phraseologies, on the contrary, which are not idiomatic are paradigmatic, or may serve as models or moulds for others to any extent. All expression is divided into these two kinds. And a corresponding division may be made of the inflected parts of speech in any language. Thus, for instance, in Greek or Latin, while certain parts of speech are indeclinable, those that are declined are either paradigmatic (that is exemplary), such as the noun and the verb, or non-exemplary, such as the articles and the pronouns. They might be distinguished as reproductive and non-reproductive. And such an arrangement of them might be found convenient for some purposes. .
263. O constancy.--Not exactly our present constancy ; rather what we should now call firmness or resolution. In the same sense afterwards, in 297, Brutus says, “ Cassius, be constant." The French have another use of constant,-Il est constant (It is certain),-borrowed from the Latin impersonal constat, and not unknown to consto. Vid. 310.
263. I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.That is, but only a woman's might.
263. How hard it is for women to keep counsel.Counsel in this phrase is what has been imparted in consultation. In the phrases To take counsel and To hold counsel it means simply consultation. The two words Counsel and Council have in some of their applications got a little intermingled and confused, although the Latin Consilium and Concilium, from which they are severally derived, have no connexion.
267. I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray.—Mr. Knight has by mistake “I hear.”—Rumour is here (though not generally in Shakespeare) only a noise ; a fray is a fight, from the French; bustle is apparently connected with busy, which is Anglo-Saxon, and may perhaps be the same word with the German böse, wicked. This, if it be so, might lead us to suspect that quick is also wicked. And is weak another variation of the same etymon ?
268. Sooth, madam.-Sooth, when used at all, may still mean either truth or true. We see that in Shakespeare's time it also meant truly. The A. Saxon sóth is in like manner used in all these different ways. It may be doubted whether this word has any connexion either with our modern verb to sooth, or with sweet (anciently sot), the süss of the modern German.
269. Come hither, fellow; which way hast thou been? -The line, which stands thus in the original edition, and makes a perfect verse, is commonly cut up into two hemistichs. But.“ which way hast thou been” is not a possible conimencement of a verse, unless we were to lay an emphasis on thou, which would be absurd. Our been, it may be noted, is here, and com
monly elsewhere, bin in the old text, as the word is still pronounced. Tyrwhitt would substitute Artemidorus for the Soothsayer in this scene; but the change is not necessary. It is to be observed that we have both Artemidorus and the Soothsayer in the next scene (the First of the Third Act). Nevertheless, there is some apparent want of artifice in what may be almost described as the distribution of one part between two dramatis persone ; and there may possibly be something wrong.
271. What is't o'clock? - In the original text a clocke. Vid. 65.
277. Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards him ?—Any harm that is intended. As in 34 and 214.
278. None that I know, etc.—Hanmer and Steevens object to the may chance here, as at once unnecessary to the sense and injurious to the prosody. We should not have much missed the two words, certainly; but they may be borne with. The line is bisected in the original edition ; but, if it is to be accepted, it is better, perhaps, to consider it as a prolonged verse. In this somewhat doubtful instance the rhythm will be certainly that of an Alexandrine. Let the three words know will be, and also the three fear may chance, at any rate, be each and all emphatically enunciated.
278. I'll get me.-Compare this with get thee gone in 261, and also with get you home in 1.
279. Ay me! how weak a thing. This is the reading of all the old copies. That of the modern editions, Mr. Collier's one-volume included, is “ Ah me!” ,279. The heart of woman is ! etc.—The broken lines here seem to require to be arranged as I have given
them. We do not get a complete verse (if that were an object) by the incongruous annexation of the “O Brutus” to the previous exclamation.
279. Brutus hath a suit, etc.—This she addresses in explanation to the boy, whose presence she had for a moment forgotten.
279. Commend me to my lord.—In this idiomatic or formal phrase the word commend has acquired a somewhat peculiar signification. The resolution would seem to be, Give my commendation to him, or Say that I commend myself to him, meaning that I commit and recommend myself to his affectionate remembrance. So we have in Latin “ Me totum tuo amori fideique commendo” (Cicero, Epist. ad Att. iii. 20); and “Tibi me totum commendo atque trado” (Id. Epist. Fam. ii. 6). At the same time, in considering the question of the origin and proper meaning of the English phrase the custom of what was called Commendation in the Feudal System is not to be overlooked: the vassal was said to commend himself to the person whom he selected for his lord. Commend is etymologically the same word with command; and both forms, with their derivatives, have been applied, in Latin and the modern tongues more exclusively based upon it, as well as in English, in a considerable variety of ways.
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, Artemedorus, 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