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(rota), or by frequent repetition., Rote is the same word with routine.
It is more difficult to explain the expression to con thanks, which is of frequent occurrence in our old writers, and is several times used by Shakespeare. Nares explains it as meaning to study expressions of gratitude. But it really seems, in most instances at least, to signify no more than to give or return thanks. See a note on Gammer Gurton's Needle in Collier's edition of Dodsley's Old Plays, ii. 30. Con in the present passage may perhaps mean to utter or repeat; such a sense might come not unnaturally out of the common use of the word in the sense of to get by heart. It is remarkable that in German also they say Dank wissen (literally to know thanks) for to give thanks. [Con thanks is precisely like the Latin scire gratias and the French savoir gré. There is no difficulty in the case.]
Our common know is not from any of the Saxon verbs above enumerated, but is the modernized form of cnawan,
not be related to all or to some of them.
Corresponding to cennan and connan, it may finally be added, we have the modern Gerinan kennen, to know, and können, to be able or to know. But, whatever may be the case with the German König (a king), it is impossible to admit that our English king, the representative of the Saxon cyng, cyncg, or cyning, can have anything to do with either cennan or connan. It is of quite another family, that of which the head is cyn, nation, offspring, whence our present kin, and kindred, and kind (both the substantive and the adjective).
559. Dearer than Plutus' mine. - Dear must here be understood, not in the derived sense of beloved, but in its literal sense of precious or of value. See 348. It is “ Pluto's mine” in all the Folios, and also in Rowe; nor does it appear that the mistake is corrected by Mr. Collier's MS. annotator, although it is, of course, in Mr. Collier's regulated text.
559. If that thou beest a Roman. Our modern substantive verb, as it is called, is made up of fragments of several verbs, of which, at the least, am, was, and be are distinguishable, even if we hold is, as well as are and art, to belong to the same root with am (upon this point see Latham's Eng. Lang. 5th edit. 612). In the Saxon we have eom (sometimes am), waes (with waere and waeron, and wesan, and gewesen), beo (with bíst or býst, beódh, beón, etc.), eart (or eardh), is (or ys); and also sý, seó, síg, synd, and syndon (related to the Latin sum, sunt, sim, sis, etc.), of which forms there is no trace in our existing English. On the other hand, there is no representative in the written Saxon of our modern plural are. Beest, which we have here, is not to be confounded with the subjunctive be; it is bíst, býst, the 2d pers. sing. pres. indic. of beón, to be. It is now obsolete, but is also used by Milton in a famous passage: “If thou beest he; but oh how fallen ! how changed,” etc. P. L. i. 84.
560. Dishonor shall be humour. Any indignity you offer shall be regarded as a mere caprice of the moment. Humour here probably means nearly the same thing as in Cassius's 66 that rash humour which my mother gave me ” in 567. The word had scarcely acquired in Shakespeare's age the sense in which it is now commonly used as a name for a certain mental faculty or quality ; though its companion wit had already, as we have seen, come to be so employed. See 435. But what
if the true reading should be “ dishonor shall be honor?” [White " strongly suspects” that Shakespeare wrote “ honor.”]
560. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb. Pope prints, on conjecture, " with a man;” and “a lamb," at any rate, can hardly be right.
561. Blood ill-tempered. We have now lost the power of characterizing the blood as ill-tempered (except in imitation of the antique), although we might perhaps speak of it as ill-attempered. The epithet ill-tempered, now only applied to the sentient individual, and with reference rather to the actual habit of the mind or nature than to that of which it is supposed to be the result, was formerly employed, in accordance with its proper etymological import, to characterize anything the various ingredients of which were not so mixed as duly to qualify each other.
567. Have not you love enough to bear with me?
This is the reading of all the old copies, and is that adopted by Mr. Knight. [So Dyce and White.] Both the Variorum text, which is generally followed, and also Mr. Collier in his regulated text, give us “ Have you not.”
568. Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth. — All the irregularity that we have in this line is the slight and common one of a superfluous short syllable (the ius of Cassius). Steevens, in his dislike to even this much of freedom of versification, and his precise grammatical spirit, would strike out the from, as redundant in respect both of the sense and of the
568. He'll think your mother chides. – To chide is the Saxon cédan, to strive, to contend. It is now scarcely in use except as an active verb with the sense of to reprove with sharpness; but it was formerly used also absolutely or intransitively, as here, for to employ chiding or angry expressions. Shakespeare has both to chide and to chide at.
Instead of the stage direction “Noise within,” the original edition has "Enter a Poet."
569. Poet (within]. - The within is inserted here and before the next two speeches by the modern editors. The present incident (as well as the hint of the preceding great scene) is taken from Plutarch's Life of Brutus. The intruder, however, is not a Poet in Plutarch, but one Marcus Favonius, who affected to be a follower of Cato, and to pass for a Cynic philosopher. [Plutarch adds (North's trans., 1579, p. 1071, as quoted by Collier), “ Cassius fel a laughing at him; but Brutus thrust him out of the chamber, and called him dogge and counterfeate cynick. Howbeit, his comming in brake their strife at that time, and so they left eche other.”] There was probably no other authority than the Prompter's book for designating him a Poet.
570. Lucil. [within). You shall not come to them. - In the Variorum and the other modern editions, although they commonly make no distinction between the abbreviation for Lucilius and that for Lucius, this speech must be understood to be assigned to Lucius, whose presence alone is noted by them in the heading of the scene. But in the old text the speaker is distinctly marked Lucil. This is a conclusive confirmation, if any were wanting, of the restoration in 520. [White takes the same view of it.] How is
that the modern editors have one and all of them omitted to acknowledge the universal deviation here from the authority which they all profess to follow ? Not even Jennens notices it.
573. For I have seen more years, I'm sure, than ye. Plutarch makes Favonius exclaim, in the words of Nestor in the First Book of the Iliad,
'Αλλά πίθεσθ • άμφω δε νεωτέρω έστoν έμείο, which North translates,
My Lords, I pray you hearken both to me;
For I have seen more years than such ye three. But this last line can hardly be correctly printed. The Poet's quotation, it may be noted, is almost a repetition of what Antony has said to Octavius
574. Ha, ha; how vilely doth this Cynic rhyme! - The form of the word in all the Folios is vildely, or vildly; and that is the form which it generally, if not always, has in Shakespeare. The modern editors, however, have universally substituted the form now in use, as with then (for than), and (for an), and other words similarly circumstanced.
577. I'll know his humour when he knows his time. - In this line we have what the rule as commonly laid down would make to be necessarily a short or unaccented syllable carrying a strong emphasis no fewer than four times : Ill his- he-his.
577. With these jigging fools. -" That is,” Malone notes, “with these silly poets. A jig signified, in our author's time, a metrical composition, as well as a dance.” Capell had proposed jingling.
577. Companion, hence! - The term companion was formerly used contemptuously, in the same way in which we still use its synonyme fellow. The notion originally involved in companionship, or accompaniment, would appear to have been rather that of inferiority than of equality. A companion (or comes) was an attendant. The Comites of the im