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Johnson " a kind of musical prelude.” It is commonly, if not always, of trumpets. The word is of continual occurrence in the stage directions of our old Plays; and Shakespeare has, not only in his Richard III. iv. 4,
A flourish, trumpets !- strike alarum, drums ! but in Titus Andronicus, iv. 2,
Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish thus? 282. 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.
282. 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.
282. 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 Latin sequor, secutus). A suit of clothes is a set, one piece following or corresponding to another. Suite is the same word, whether used for a retinue, or for any other kind of succession (such as a suite of apartments).
284. That touches us? Ourself shall be last served. - This is the correction of Mr. Collier's MS. annotator. [“ A specious, but entirely needless change,” as White well calls it.] The common reading is, • What touches us ourself shall be last served." To serve, or attend to, a person is a familiar form of expression; to speak of a thing as served, in the sense of attended to, would, it is apprehended, be unexampled. The “ us ourself,” however, would be unobjectionable. Whatever may be the motive or view which has led to the 'substitution of the plural for the singular personal pronoun in certain expressions, it is evident that the plurality of the pronoun could not conveniently be allowed to carry along with it a corresponding transformation of all the connected words. Although an English king might speak of himself as We, it would be felt that the absurdity was too great if he wete to go on to say, “We the Kings of England.” Hence such awkward combinations as “We burself,” or “Us ourself;" which, however, are only exemplifications of the same construction which we constantly employ in common life when in addressing an individual we say “You yourself.” The same contradiction, indeed, is involved in the word Yourself standing alone. It may be observed, however, that the verb always follows the number of the pronoun which is its nominative, so that there is never any violation of the ordinary rule of grammatical concord. Upon the nature of the word Self, see Latham, Eng. Lan. 5th Ed. § 661. See also the note on 54, Did lose his lustre.
288. There is no such stage direction in the old editions as we now have at the end of this speech.
291. The stage direction attached to this speech is also modern. 294. Look, how he makes to Cæsar. - We should say,
he makes up to. And we also say to make for, with another meaning. — For the prosody of this verse, see note on 246.
295. Casca, be sudden, etc. - We should now
rather say, Be quick. Prevention is hinderance by something happening before that which is hindered.
295. Cassius on Cæsar never shall turn back. The reading of all the old copies is " or Cæsar," and it is retained by most or all of the modern editors. It is interpreted by Ritson as meaning
66 Either Cæsar or I shall never return alive." But to turn back cannot mean to return alive, or to return in any way. The most it could mean would be to make a movement towards returning; which is so far from being the same thing with the accomplished return which this translation would have it to imply that it may almost be said to be the very opposite. Besides, even if to turn back could mean here to leave or get away from the Capitol alive, although Cassius, by plunging his dagger into his own heart, would indeed have prevented himself from so escaping, how was that act to bring with it any similar risk to Cæsar? I will slay myself, Cassius is supposed to say, whereby either I shall lose my life or Cæsar will his. The emendation of " or Cæsar" into “
on Cæsar was proposed and is strongly supported by Malone, although he did not venture to introduce it into his text. [White adopts it.] We have probably the opposite misprint of on for or in the speech of Paulina in the concluding scene of The Winter's Tale, where the old copies give us,
Then, all stand still:
I am about, let them depart, although Mr. Knight adheres to the on and the point. [White has or.]
296. Cassius, be constant. See 262. 296. Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes. Although this verse has twelve syllables, it is not for that an Alexandrine. Its rhythm is the same as if the last word had been merely the dissyllable purpose, or even a monosyllable, such as act or deed. It is completed by the strong syllable pur- in the tenth place, and the two unaccented syllables that follow have no prosodical effect. Of course, there is also an oratorical emphasis on our, although standing in one of those places which do not require an accented syllable, but which it is a mistake to suppose incapable of admitting such.
296. Cæsar doth not change. — In his manner of looking, or the expression of his countenance.
297. The stage direction attached to this speech is modern.
299. He is addressed. - To dress is the same word with to direct. Immediately from the French dresser, it is ultimately from the Latin dirigere, and its literal meaning, therefore, is, to make right or straight. Formerly, accordingly, anything was said to be dressed or addressed when it was in complete order for the purpose to which it was to be applied. Thus, in 2 Henry IV. iv. 4, the King says, “Our navy is addressed, our power collected;
" and in A Midsummer Night's Dream, v. 1, Philostrate, the Master of the Revels, makes his official announcement to Theseus thus : " So please your Grace, the prologue is addressed.” So He is addressed in the present passage means merely He is ready. The primary sense of the word is still retained in such phrases as To dress the ranks; and it is not far departed from in such as To dress cloth or leather, To dress a wound, To dress meat. The notion of decoration or embellishment which we commonly associate with dressing does not enter fully even into the expression To dress the hair. In To redress, meaning to set to rights again that which has gone wrong, to make that which was crooked once more straight, we have the simple etymological or radical import of the word completely preserved. To redress is to re-rectify.
The following are some examples of the employment of the word addressed by writers of the latter part of the seventeenth century: 66 When Middleton came to the King in Paris, he brought with him a little Scotish vicar, who was known to the King, one Mr. Knox. . . . He said he was addressed from Scotland to the Lords in the Tower, who did not then know that Middleton had arrived in safety with the King;
etc. Clarendon, History, Book xiii. “Thereupon they (the King's friends in England] sent Harry Seymour, who, being of his Majesty's bedchamber, and having his leave to attend his own affairs in England, they well knew would be believed by the King, and, being addressed only to the Marquis of Ormond and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he might have opportunity to speak with the King privately and undiscovered;" etc. — Id. Book xiv. “ Though the messengers who were sent were addressed only to the King himself and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer;" etc. — Ibid.
66 Two gentlemen of Kent came to Windsor the morning after the Prince [of Orange] came thither. They were addressed to me. And they told me; ”etc. Burnet, Own Times, i. 799.
300. You are the first that rears your hand. — In strict grammar, perhaps, it should be either 6 rears
rear your;” but the business of an editor of Shakespeare is not to make for us in all cases perfect grammar, but to give us what his author in