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Besides the authorities already mentioned, see Marsh, Lect. on Eng. Lang., First Series, p. 397.]
54, 55. — And bear the palm alone. Another general shout! - Two hemistichs or broken lines thus following one another are not necessarily to be regarded as prosodically connected, any more than if they were several sentences asunder. The notion that two such consecutive fragments were always intended by Shakespeare to make a complete verse, has led the modern editors, more especially Steevens, into a great deal of uncalled-for chopping and tinkering of the old text.
56. But in ourselves. - In the original edition it is divided 56 our selves,” exactly as our stars” in the preceding line. And so always with our self, your self, her self, my self, thy self, and also it self, but never with himself or themselves. See 54.
56. What should be in that Cæsar? — A form of speech now gone out. It was a less blunt and direct way of saying What is there? or What may there be? These more subtle and delicate modes of expression, by the use of the subjunctive (or potential, as some call it] for the indicative, and of the past for the present, which characterize not only the Greek and Latin languages, but even the German, have for the greater part perished in our modern English. The deep insight and creative force — the “great creating nature - which gave birth to our tongue has dried up under the benumbing touch of the logic by which it has been trained and cultivated.
56. More than yours. - See Prolegomena, Sect. v. p. 27. [Than and then are different forms of the same word, often used interchangeably by old writers. See Richardson's Dict., etc. Milton has than for then in the Hymn on the Nativity, 88.]
56. Become the mouth as well. - Always aswell, as one word, in the First Folio.
56. The breed of noble bloods.-We scarcely now use this plural. Shakespeare has it several times; as afterwards in 644, “ I know young bloods look for a time of rest; in Much Ado About Nothing, iii. 3, where Boracio remarks how giddily fashion “turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five and thirty; in The Winter's Tale, i. 1, where Leontes says, “ To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods ;” in King John, ii. 1, where Philip of France, to the boast of John before the walls of Angiers that he brings as witnesses to his right and title “twice fifteen thousand hearts of English breed,” replies (aside) that
As many and as well-born bloods as those
Stand in his face to contradict his claim. 56. That her wide walls encompassed but one
- The old reading is “ wide walks.” Despite the critical canon which warns us against easy or obvious amendments, it is impossible not to believe that we have a misprint here. What Rome's wide walks may mean is not obvious; still less, how she could be encompassed by her walks, however wide. [Hudson has walks; Collier, Dyce, and White, walls.]
56. Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough. Shakespeare's pronunciation of Rome seems to have been Room. Besides the passage before us we have afterwards in the present Play (367) “No Rome of safety for Octavius yet;” and in King John, iii. 1, " That I have room with Rome to curse a while.” In the First Part of King Henry the Sixth, it is true, we have the other pronunciation; there (iii. 2), the Bishop of Winchester having exclaimed “Rome
shall remedy this,” Warwick replies "Roam thither, then.” This little fact is not without its significance in reference to the claim of that Play to be laid at Shakespeare's door. [Staunton quotes Prime, Commentary on Galatians, p. 122, 1587: “Rome is too narrow a Room for the church of God.”]
56. But one only man. In the original text 6 but one onely man,” probably indicating that the pronunciation of the numeral and of the first syllable of the adverb was the same.
57. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous. I am nowise jealous, doubtful, suspicious, in regard to its being the fact that you love me. This seems to be the grammatical resolution of a construction which, like many similar ones familiar to the freer spirit of the language two centuries ago, would now scarcely be ventured upon. 57. I have some aim. -Aim, in old French
eyme, esme, and estme, is the same word with esteem (from the Latin aestimatio and aestimare), and should therefore signify properly a judgment or conjecture of the mind, which is very nearly its meaning here. We might now say, in the same sense, I have some notion. In modern English the word has acquired the additional meaning of an intention to hit, or catch, or in some other way attain, that to which the view is directed. It does not seem impossible that the French name for the loadstone, aimant, may be from the same root, although it has usually been considered to be a corruption of adamant. A ship’s reckonings are called in French estimes, which is undoubtedly the same word with our aims. In the French of the early part of the sixteenth century we find esme and esmé (or esmez, as it was commonly written) confounded with the totally different aimer, to love. Rabelais, for instance, writes bien aymez for bien esmez, well disposed. See Duchat's Note on liv. i., ch. 5.
57. For this present. - So in the Absolution, “ that those things may please him which we do at this present.” This expression, formerly in universal use and good repute, now remains only a musty law phrase, never admitted into ordinary composition except for ludicrous effect. 57. So with love I might entreat you.
- This form of expression is still preserved both in our own language and in German. Thus (John i. 25), 6 Warum taufest du denn, so du nicht Christus bist?” or, “So Gott will” (If God please). The conjunction thus used is commonly said to be equivalent to if. But so, according to Horne Tooke (D. of P. 147), is merely the Meso-Gothic demonstrative pronoun, and signifies properly this or that. In German, though commonly, as with ourselves, only an adverb or conjunction, it may still be also used pronominally; as Das Buch, so ihr mir gegeben habt (the book which you gave me). Upon this theory, all that so will perform in such a passage as the present will be to mark and separate the clause which it heads by an emphatic introductory compendium - That (or this), namely, that with love I might, etc.; and the fact of the statement in the clause being a supposition, or assumption, will be left to be inferred. The First Folio points, blunderingly, “I would not so (with love I might intreat you)."
57. Chew upon this. — We have lost the Saxon word in this application; but we retain the metaphor, only translating chew into the Latin equivalent, ruminate.
57. Brutus had rather be .. than to repute. [See on had as lief, 54.] The to before repute is, apparently, to be defended, if at all, upon the ground that had rather is equivalent in import to would prefer, and that, although it is only an auxiliary before be a villager, it is to be taken as a common verb before to repute. It is true that, as we have seen (1), the to was in a certain stage of the language sometimes inserted, sometimes omitted, both after auxiliaries and after other verbs; but that was hardly the style of Shakespeare's age. We certainly could not now say 66 I had rather to repute ;
" and I do not suppose that any one would have directly so written or spoken then. The irregularity is softened or disguised in the passage before us by the intervening words.
57. Under these hard conditions as. This is the reading in all the old copies; these — as where we should now say such
- that. So in 129 we have “ To such a man That is no fleering tell-tale.” Although those
as, or that common, however, these as is certainly at any rate unusual. I should suspect the true reading to be “ under those hard conditions."
57. Is like. -- This form of expression is not quite, but nearly, gone out. We now commonly say is likely.
58. I am glad that my weak words. - In this first line of the speech of Cassius and the last of the preceding speech of Brutus we have two hemistichs, having no prosodical connection. [See 54, 55.]
Re-enter Cæsar. - In the original text it is Enter.
60. What hath proceeded. - That is, simply, happened, a sense which the verb has now lost.
61. I will do so, etc. — Throughout the Play, the
as, or those