Графични страници
PDF файл

which gives us an extended line equally unmusical and undignified whether read rapidly or slowly, followed (to make matters worse which were bad enough already) by what could scarcely make the commencement of any kind of line. I cannot doubt that, whatever we are to do with “ Yes, you are,” whether we make these comparatively unimportant words the completion of the line of which Cassius's question forms the beginning, or take them along with what follows, which would give us a line wanting only the first syllable (and deriving, perhaps, from that mutilation an abruptness suitable to the occasion), - the close of the rhythmic flow must be as I have given it:

O Cassius, if you could But win the noble Brutus to our party. [Collier, Dyce, and Staunton adopt Craik's arrangement. White follows Knight, but suspects that the passage is corrupt.]

138. Where Brutus may but find it. If but be the true word (and be not a misprint for best), the meaning must be, Be sure you lay it in the prætor's chair, only taking care to place it so that Brutus may be sure to find it.

138. Upon old Brutus' statue. — Lucius Brutus, who expelled the Tarquins, the reputed ancestor of Marcus Lucius Brutus ; also alluded to in 56, “ There was a Brutus once,” etc.

139. I will hie. - To hie (meaning to hasten) is used reflectively, as well as intransitively, but not otherwise as an active verb.

139. And so bestow these papers. This use of bestow (for to place, or dispose of) is now gone out; though something of it still remains in stow. [Compare 2 Kings v. 24; Luke xii. 17, 18.]

140. Pompey's theatre. The same famous structure of Pompey's, opened with shows and games of unparalleled cost and magnificence some ten or twelve years before the present date, which has been alluded to in 130 and 138.

142. You have right well conceited. To conceit is another form of our still familiar to conceive. And the noun conceit, which survives with a limited incaning (the conception of a man by himself, which is so apt to be one of over-estimation), is also frequent in Shakespeare with the sense, nearly, of what we now call conception, in general. So in 348. Sometimes it is used in a sense which might almost be said to be the opposite of what it now means; as when Juliet (in Romeo and Juliet, ii. 5) employs it as the term to denote her all-absorbing affection for Romeo :

Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Brags of his substance, not of ornament:
They are but beggars that can count their worth;
But my true love is grown to such excess,

I cannot sum the sum of half my wealth. Or as when Gratiano, in The Merchant of Venice, i. I, speaks of a sort of men who

do a wilful stillness entertain, With purpose to be dressed in an opinion

Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit that is, deep thought.

So, again, when Rosaline, in Love's Labour's Lost, ii. I, speaking of Biron, describes his “ fair tongue” as conceit's expositor,” all that she means is, that speech is the expounder of thought. The scriptural expression, still in familiar use, “ wise in his own conceit,” means merely wise in his own thought, or in his own eyes, as we are told in the


margin the Hebrew literally signifies. In the New Testament, where we have " in their own conceits," the Greek is simply napłautois (in or with themselves).


SCENE I. - The heading here in the Folios (in which there is no division into Scenes) is merely, Enter Brutus in his Orchard.” Assuming that Brutus was probably not possessed of what we now call distinctively an orchard (which may have been the case), the modern editors of the earlier part of the last century took upon thein to change Orchard into Garden. But this is to carry the work of rectification (even if we should admit it to be such) beyond what is warrantable. To deprive Brutus in this way of his orchard was to mutilate or alter Shakespeare's conception. It is probable that the words Orchard and Garden were commonly understood in the early part of the seventeenth century in the senses which they now bear; but there is nothing in their etymology to support the manner in which they have come to be distinguished. In Much Ado About Nothing, ii. 3, although the scene is headed Leonato's Garden," Benedick, sending the Boy for a book from his chamber-window, says,

Bring it hither to me in the orchard.” A Garden (or yard, as it is still called in Scotland) means merely a piece of ground girded in or enclosed; and an Orchard (properly Ortyard) is, literally, such an enclosure for worts, or herbs. At one time Orchard used to be written Hortyard, under the mistaken notion that it was derived from hortus (which may, however, be of the same stock).


143. How near to day. — How near it may

be to the day.

143. I would it were my fault. - Compare the use of fault here with its sense in 120.

143. When, Lucius? when? This exclamation had not formerly the high tragic or heroic sound which it would now have. It was merely a customary way of calling impatiently to one who had not obeyed a previous summons. So in Richard II. (i. 2) John of Gaunt calls to his son, “When, Harry? when? Obedience bids, I should not bid again."

147. But for the general. The general was formerly a common expression for what we now call the community or the people. Thus Angelo in Measure for Measure, ii. 4:

The general, subject to a well-wished king,
Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness

Crowd to his presence. 147. And that craves. - It might be questioned whether that here be the demonstrative (as it is commonly considered) or the relative (to the antecedent “ the bright day”).

147. Crown him? That. — Here the emphatic that appears to be used exactly as so often is. See 57. Either, or any equivalent term, thus used, might obviously serve very well for the sign of affirmation; in the present passage we might substitute yes for that with the same effect. It used to be held that the French oui, anciently oyl, was merely the ill of the classic ill-e, ill-a, ill-ud, and that the old Provençal oc was hoc. It appears, however, that oui or oyl is really voul (or je voul), the old present of vouloir. The coinmon word for yes in Italian, again, si (not unknown in the same sense to the French

tongue), may be another form of so. The three languages used to be distinguished as the Langue d'Oyl (or Lingua Oytana), the Langue d'Oc (or Lingua Occitana), and the Lingua di Si. The pointing in the First Folio here is, 6 Crowne him that, And then,” etc. [Littré (Hist. de la Langue Française, 1863, vol. i. p. 155) derives oui from hoc-illud. He says that there is no dispute in regard to the origin of the -il of the old form oil, but only in regard to the

0-, which Reynouard and most others believe to be the Latin hoc. Burguy argues that it is the old Celtic preposition 6 = ab, de, ex, which is sometimes used as a conjunction, = ex quo, and sometimes as an adverb; but Littré proves very clearly, I think, that he is wrong.

Chevallet (Origine et Formation de la Lang. Fr., vol. iii. p. 310 foll.) says that oil or oïl is an elliptical expression for o (= hoc) est il= c'est cela : oil became ouil and finally oui. Diez (Etymol. Wörterb.) also makes oui = hocillud, and Scheler (Dict. d'Etymologie Française, 1862) says that this derivation, though it has been vehemently disputed, cannot be overthrown.]

147. Do danger. - [The history of the word danger is curious and instructive. Damnum in Medieval Latin signified a legal fine or "damages.” It was thence applied to the limits within which a lord could exact such fines, and so to the enclosed field of a proprietor. In this sense the word was often rendered dommage, dommaige, or damage, in French. It next acquired the sense of trespass, as in the legal phrase damage feasant, whence the French damager, to seize cattle found in trespass. From this verb came the abstract domigerium, signifying the power of exacting a damnum or fine for trespass. From domigerium to danger the transi

« ПредишнаНапред »