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Shakespeare's time in current use with either signification. It was in its state of transition from the one to the other, and consequently of fluctuation between the two. The German Knabe still retains the original sense.
646. I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
The stage direction “ He sits down” is modern. 646. It comes upon me. It advances upon me.
646. Speak to me what thou art. - We scarcely now use speak thus, for to announce or declare generally.
647, 648. Thy evil spirit, Brutus, etc. - It is absurd to attempt, as the modern editors do, to make a complete verse out of these two speeches. It cannot be supposed that Brutus laid his emphasis on thou. The regularities of prosody are of necessity neglected in such brief utterances, amounting in some cases to mere ejaculations or little more, as make
up the greater part of the remainder of this
650. Well; then I shall see thee again? - So the words stand in the old copies. Nothing whatever is gained by printing the words in two lines, the first consisting only of the word Well, as is done by the generality of the modern editors. [Not by Collier, Hudson, or White.]
651. Ghost vanishes. This stage direction is not in the old editions. Steevens has objected that the apparition could not be at once the shade of Cæsar and the evil genius of Brutus. Shakespeare's expression is the evil spirit of Brutus, by which apparently is meant nothing more than a supernatural visitant of evil omen. At any rate, the present apparition is afterwards, in 773, distinctly stated by Brutus himself to have been the ghost of the murdered Dictator:
The ghost of Cæsar hath appeared to me
Two several times by night: at Sardis, once.
Since Julius Cæsar,
O Julius Cæsar, thou art mighty yet!
Thy spirit walks abroad. And to "Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,” in 362. It
may be well to append the two accounts of the incident given by Plutarch, as translated by North. In the Life of Brutus the apparition
described merely as a wonderful strange and monstruous shape of a body," and the narrative proceeds: “Brutus boldly asked what he was, a god or a man, and what cause brought him thither. The spirit answered him, I am thy evil spirit, Brutus; and thou shalt see me by the city of Philippi. Brutus, being no otherwise afraid, replied again unto it, Well, then, I shall see thee again. The spirit presently vanished away; and Brutus called his men unto him, who told him that they heard no noise nor saw anything at all.” In the Life of Cæsar the account is as follows: “ Above all, the ghost that appeared unto Brutus showed plainly that the gods were offended with the murder of Cæsar. The vision was thus. Brutus, being ready to pass over his army from the city of Abydos to the other coast lying directly against it, slept every night (as his manner was) in his tent, and, being yet awake, thinking of his affairs, .. he thought he heard a noise at his tent door, and, looking toward the light of the lamp that
waxed very dim, he saw a horrible vision of a man, of a wonderful greatness and dreadful look, which at the first made him marvellously afraid. But when he saw that it did him no hurt, but stood at his bedside and said nothing, at length he asked him what
The image answered him, I am thy ill angel, Brutus, and thou shalt see me by the city of Philippi. Then Brutus replied again, and said, Well, I shall see thee then. Therewithal the spirit presently vanished from him.”
It is evident that Shakespeare had both passages in his recollection, though the present scene is chiefly founded upon the first. Plutarch, however, it will be observed, nowhere makes the apparition to have been the ghost of Cæsar.
652. Why, I will see thee. This is an addition by Shakespeare to the dialogue as given by Plutarch in both lives. And even Plutarch's simple affirmative I shall see thee appears to be converted into an interrogation in 650. It is remarkable that in our next English Plutarch, which passes as having been superintended by Dryden, we have "I will see thee" in both lives. The Greek is, in both passages, merely "o Lomas (I shall see thee).
652. Boy! Lucius! - Varro! Claudius !- Here again, as in 634, all the Folios, in this and the next line, have Varrus and Claudio. So also in 660.
660. Sleep again, Lucius, etc. - It is hardly necessary to attempt to make verse of this. In the original text Fellow is made to stand as part of the first line.
668. Go, and commend me to my brother Cassius.
668. Bid him set on his powers betimes before. The only sense which the expression to set on now
retains is to excite or instigate to make an attack. The other senses which it had in Shakespeare's day may be seen from 27 (“Set on; and leave no ceremony out"); from the passage before us, in which it means to lead forward or set out with ; from 713 (“Let them set on at once"); from 745 (“Labeo and Flavius, set our battles on”). – Betimes (meaning early) is commonly supposed to be a corruption of by time, that is, it is said, by the proper time. But this is far from satisfactory. Shakespeare has occasionally betime. [Compare Chaucer (Parson's Tale): “If men be so negligent that they descharge it nought by tyme;" and Rob. de Brunne: “If he bi tyme had gon.” These and similar examples seem to confirm the etymology mentioned above. Betimes is found in the Bible, Gen. xxvi. 31; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15, etc.]
SCENE I. The heading "Scene I. The plains of Philippi" - is modern, as usual.
670. Their battles are at hand. - Battle is common in our old writers with the sense of a division of an army, or what might now be called a battalion. So again in 673. When employed more precisely the word means the central or main division. 670. They mean to warn us.
- To warn was formerly the common word for what we now call to summon. Persons charged with offences, or against whom complaints were made, were warned to appear to make their answers; members were warned to attend the meetings of the companies or other associations to which they belonged; and in war either of the hostile parties, as here, was said to be warned when in any way called upon or appealed to by the other. Thus in King John, ii. I, the citizens of Angiers, making their appearance in answer to the French and English trumpets, exclaim, 16 Who is it that hath warned us to the walls?” The word, which is connected with ware and wary, is from the Saxon warnian. But the Anglo-Norman dialect of the French has also garner and garnisher with the same meaning.
671. With fearful bravery. - Malone's notion is, that "fearful is used here, as in many other places, in an active sense, - producing fear — intimidating.” But the utmost, surely, that Antony can be understood to admit is, that their show of bravery was intended to intimidate. It seems more consonant to the context to take fearful bravery for bravery in show or appearance, which yet is full of real fear or apprehension. Steevens suggests that the expression is probably to be interpreted by the following passage from the Second Book of Sidney's Arcadia : “ Her horse, fair and lusty ; which she rid so as might show a fearful boldness, daring to do that which she knew that she knew not how to do.” The meaning is only so as showed (not so as should show). In like manner a few pages before we have, “But his father had so deeply engraved the suspicion in his heart, that he thought his flight rather to proceed of a fearful guiltiness, than of an humble faithfulness.” [“ Fearful” in the sense of timorous, faint-hearted, is very common in Old English. See Deut. xx. 8; Judges vii. 3; Isa. xxxv. 4; Matt. viii. 26; Rev. xxi. 8, etc. So in 3 Henry VI. ii. 5, “the fearful flying hare.” 66 Dreadful' is used in the same sense by Chaucer (C. T. 1481): 6. With dredful foot than stalketh Palamon;" and