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227. Nor heaven nor earth, etc. This use of nor for the usual neither
nor of prose (as well as of or ... or for either
or) is still common in our poetry. On the other hand, either was sometimes used formerly in cases where we now always have or; as in Luke vi. 42: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” — The strict grammatical principle would of course require “ has been at peace;
" but where, as here, the two singular substantives are looked at together by the mind, it is more natural to regard them as making a plurality, and to use the plural verb, notwithstanding the disjunctive conjunction (as it is sometimes oddly designated).
229. Do present sacrifice. - In this and a good many other cases we are now obliged to employ a verb of a more specific character instead of the general do. This is a different kind of archaism from what we have in the “ do danger” of 147, where it is not the do, but the danger, that has a meaning which it has now lost, and for which the modern language uses another word.
229. Their opinions of success. — That is, merely, of the issue, or of what is prognosticated by the sacrifice as likely to happen. Johnson remarks (note on Othello, iii. 3) that successo is also so used in Italian. So likewise is succès in French. In addition to earlier examples of such a sense of the English word, Boswell adduces from Sidney's Arcadia, “ He never answered me, but, pale and quaking, went straight away; and straight my heart misgave me some evil success; " and from Dr. Barrow, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, “ Yea, to a person so disposed, that success which seemeth most adverse justly may be reputed the best and most happy.” Shakespeare's ordinary employment of the word, however, is accordant with our present usage. But see 734, 735. Sometimes it is used in the sense of our modern succession; as in A Winter's Tale, i. 2: “ Our parents' noble names, In whose success we are gentle.” In the same manner the verb to succeed, though meaning etymologically no more than to follow, has come to be commonly understood, when used without qualification, only in a good sense. We still say that George II. succeeded George I., and could even, perhaps, say that a person or thing had succeeded very ill; but when we say simply, that anything has succeeded, we mean that it has had a prosperous issue.
Shakespeare's use of the word success may be further illustrated by the following examples :
Is your blood
Meas. for Meas. i. 5.
Much Ado About Nothing, iv. I. And so success of mischief shall be born, And heir from heir shall hold this quarrel up
2 Henry IV. iv. 2. Should you do so, my lord, My speech should fall into such vile success Which my thoughts aimed not. -- Othello, iii. 3.
233. I never stood on ceremonies. 233. Recounts most horrid sights.
Who recounts. As in 34 and 214.
233. The noise of battle hurtled in the air. The three last Folios substitute hurried for hurtled. Hurtle is probably the same word with hurl (of which, again, whirl may be another variation). Chaucer uses it as an active verb, in the sense of to push forcibly and with violence; as in C. T. 2618,
And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun; and again in C. T. 4717, —
O firste moving cruel firmament!
That naturally wold hold another way. Its very sound makes it an expressive word for any kind of rude and crushing, or “ insupportably advancing,” movement.
233. Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan. This is the reading of the Second and subsequent Folios. The first has “Horses do neigh, and dying men did grone." We may confidently affirm that no degree of mental agitation ever expressed itself in any human being in such a jumble and confusion of tenses as this, - not even insanity or drunkenness. The “Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds" [White reads fought], which we have a few lines before, is not a case in point. It is perfectly natural in animated narrative or description to rise occasionally from the past tense to the present; but who ever heard of two facts or circumstances equally past, strung together, as here, with an and, and enunciated in the same breath, being presented the one as now going on, the other as only having taken place?
233. And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets. - It is rare to find Shakespeare coming so near upon the same words in two places as he does here and in dealing with the same subject in Hamlet, i. 1:
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets. This passage, however, is found only in the Quarto editions of Hamlet, and is omitted in all the Folios.
233. Beyond all use. — We might still say “beyond all use and wont.”
234. Whose end is purposed, etc. The end, or completion, of which is designed by the gods.
236. What say the augurers? — See 194. The preceding stage direction is in the original edition, "Enter a Servant."
238. In shame of cowardice. For the shame of cowardice, to put cowardice to shame.
238. Cæsar should be a beast. We should now say
Cæsar would be a beast. It is the same use of shall where we now use will that has been noticed at 181. So in Merchant of Venice, i. 2, Nerissa, conversing with her mistress Portia about her German suitor, the nephew of the Duke of Saxony, says, “ If he should offer to choose, and choose the right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's will, if you should refuse to accept him." Yet the fashion of saying It should appear, or It should seem (instead of It would), which has come up with the revived study of our old literature, is equally at variance with the principle by which our modern employment of shall and will is regulated.
238. We are two lions. — The old reading, in all the Folios, is We heare (or hear in the Third and Fourth). Nobody, as far as I am aware, has defended it, or affected to be able to make
any sense of it. Theobald proposed We were, which has been generally adopted. But We are, as recommended by. Upton, is at once nearer to the original and much more spirited. It is a singularly happy restoration, and one in regard to which, I conceive, there can scarcely be the shadow of a doubt. [Collier, Dyce, and White have are; Hudson, were.]
239. Is consumed in confidence. — As anything is consumed in fire.
240. For thy humour.- For the gratification of thy whim or caprice. See 205. Mr. Collier's MS. annotator directs that Cæsar should here raise Calphurnia, as he had that she should deliver the last line of her preceding speech kneeling.
241. Cæsar, all hail! — Hail in this sense is the Saxon hael or hál, meaning hale, whole, or healthy (the modern German heil). It ought rather to be spelled hale.
Hail, frozen rain, is from haegl, haegel, otherwise hagol, hagul, or haegol (in modern German hagel).
242. To bear my greeting. – To greet in this sense is the Saxon gretan, to go to meet, to welcome, to salute (the grüssen of the modern German). The greet of the Scotch and other northern dialects, which is found in Spenser, represents quite another Saxon verb, greotan or graetan, to lament.
244. To be a feard. - The common Scotch forin for afraid is still feared, or feard, from the verb to fear, taken in the sense of to make afraid ; in which sense it is sometimes found in Shakespeare; as in Measure for Measure, ii. I: