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If we keep to the ordinary promunciation, the line will merely have two supernumerary short, or unaccented, syllables ; that is to say, “sacrificers, but not” will count for only two feet, or four syllables. This is nothing more than what we have in many other lines. [See 161.]
187. We all stand up, etc. Spirit is the emphatic word in this line.
187. And let our hearts, etc.
187. This shall mark. For the shall see 181. The old reading is, " This shall make," which is sense, if at all, only on the assumption that make is here equivalent to make to seem. I have no hesitation in accepting the correction, which we owe to Mr. Collier's MS. annotator. We have now a clear meaning perfectly expressed ; - this will show to all that our act has been a measure of stern and sad necessity, not the product of envy (or private hatred). [Dyce, Hudson, and White have make. No change seems called for.] 187. Our purpose necessary,
etc. - There is nothing irregular in the prosody of this line, nor any elision to be made. The measure is completed by the en of envious; the two additional unaccented syllables have no prosodical effect. [See above on Let us be sacrificers.]
188. Yet I do fear him. - The old reading is, “ Yet I fear him ;” the do was inserted by Steevens. It improves, if it is not absolutely required by, the sense or expression as well as the prosody. Mr. Knight, by whom it is rejected (as it is by Dyce, Hudson, and White], says, “ The pause which naturally occurs before Cassius offers an answer to the impassioned argument of Brutus, would be most decidedly marked by a proper reader or actor.” This
pause Mr. Knight would have to be equivalent to a single short syllable, or half a time. Surely one somewhat longer would have been necessary for such an effect as is supposed. The manner in which the next line is given in the original text shows that the printer or so-called editor had no notion of what the words meant, or whether they had any meaning: in his exhibition of them, with a full point after Cæsar, they have none.
189. Is to himself, etc. – To think, or to take thought, seems to have been formerly used in the sense of to give way to sorrow and despondency. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra, iii. II, to Cleopatra's question, after the battle of Actium,“What shall we do, Enobarbus?” the answer of that worthy is, “ Think and die.” [Compare i Sam. ix. 5, and Matt. vi. 25. See also Hamlet, iii. I:
And thus the native hue of resolution
So Bacon, Henry VII. p. 230: “Hawis, an alderman of London, was put in trouble, and dyed with thought, and anguish, before his business came to an end."]
189. And that were much he should. That would be much for him to do. 190. There is no fear in him.
That is, cause of fear. It is still common to use terror in this active sense,
194 192. The clock hath stricken.
See 46 and 252. 194. Whether Cæsar will come forth to-day or
Whether is thus given uncontracted here in all the old copies. [See 16.]
194. Quite from the main opinion. -“Quite from” is quite away from. So in Twelfth Night, v.
1, Malvolio, charging the Countess with having written the letter, says,
You must not now deny it is your hand;
Write from it, if you can, in hand or phrase. Malone remarks that the words “ main opinion occur also in Troilus and Cressida, where, as he thinks, they signify, as here, general estimation. The passage is in i. 3:
Why then we should our main opinion crush
In taint of our best man. Johnson's interpretation is perhaps better : “ leading, fixed, predominant opinion.” Mason has ingeniously proposed to read “ mean opinion” in the present passage. 194. Of fantasy, etc.
fantasy, etc. -- Fantasy is fancy, or imagination, with its unaccountable anticipations and apprehensions, as opposed to the calculations of reason. By ceremonies, as Malone notes, we are to understand here omens or signs deduced from sacrifices or other ceremonial rites. The word is used again in the same sense in 233. For another sense of it see 16.
194. These apparent prodigies. — Apparent is here plain, evident, about which there can be no doubt; as in Falstaff's (to Prince Henry) “ Were it not here apparent that thou art heir apparent (1 Henry IV. i. 2), - where the here is also certainly intended to coincide with the heir, giving rise to a suspicion that the latter word may have, sometimes at least, admitted of a different pronunciation in Shakespeare's day from that which it always has
So when Milton says of our first parents after their fall (Par. Lost, X. 112) that
Love was not in their looks, either to God
he means manifest and undoubted guilt. In other cases by apparent we mean, not emphatically apparent, or indisputable, but simply apparent, apparent and nothing more, or what we otherwise call probable or seeming. “ The sense is apparent” would mean that the sense is plain ;
6 the apparent sense is,” that the sense seems to be.
194. The unaccustomed terror. Unaccustomed is unusual : we now commonly employ it for unused to.
For terror see 19o. 194. And the persuasion of his augurers. Augurer, formed from the verb, is Shakespeare's usual word, instead of the Latin augur, which is commonly employed, and which he too, however, sometimes has. So again in 236.
195. That unicorns, etc. — “Unicorns,” says Steevens, are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter." He quotes in illustration Spenser's description (F. 2. ii. 5):
Like as a lion whose imperial power
But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast. “ Bears,” adds Steevens, " are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking a surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed. See Pliny's Natural History, Book viii.” Reference might also be made to a speech of Timon to Apemantus in Timon of Athens, iv. 3, 66 If thou wert the lion,” etc., which is too long to be quoted. The import of the For, with which Decius introduces his statement, is not seen till we come to his “But when I tell him," etc., which, therefore, ought not, as is commonly done, to be separated from what precedes by so strong a point as the colon the substitute of the modern editors for the full stop of the original edition.
195. He says, he does; being then most flattered. — The ing of being counts for nothing in the prosody. For the ed of flattered, see the note on 246.
197. By the eighth hour. - It is the eight hour in the first three Folios. The author, however, probably wrote eighth.
199. Doth bear Cæsar hard. - See 105.
200. Go along by him. — Pope, who is followed by the other editors before Malone, changed by into to. But to go along by a person was in Shakespeare's age to take one's way where he was. So afterwards in 619, “ The enemy, marching along by them” (that is, through the country of the people between this and Philippi).
200. I'll fashion him. - I will shape his mind to our purposes.
201. The morning comes upon us. - It may just be noted that all the old copies have “ upon's.” And probably such an elision would not have been thought inelegant at any time in the seventeenth century.