« ПредишнаНапред »
523. That every nice offence, etc.— Nice is the Saxon nesc or hnesc, tender, soft, gentle. [For a different etymology see the revised Webster. For nice in the sense of “ trivial,” compare “ How nice the quarrel was,” Romeo and Juliet, iii. I, and 6. The letter was not nice,” same Play, v. 2. Mrs. Clarke will furnish other examples.] In modern English the word always implies smallness or pettiness, though not always in a disparaginy sense, but rather most usually in the contrary.
So a pet, literally something small, is the common name for anything that is loved and cherished.- For “his comment
see 54 524. Let me tell you, Cassius, etc.
Here we have a line with the first syllable wanting, which may be regarded as the converse of those wanting only the last syllable noticed in the note on 246. So, lower down, in 540, we have another speech of Brutus commencing, with like abruptness, with a line which wants the two first syllables: “You say you are a better soldier.” — For the true nature of the hemistich see the note on “Made in her concave shores ” in 15.
524. Are much condemned to have an itching palm. To condemn to is now used only in the sense of sentencing to the endurance of. In the present passage the to introduces the cause, not the consequence, of the condemnation. “You are condemned " is used as a stronger expression for you are said, you are alleged, you are charged. An itching palm is a covetous palm; as we say an itch for praise, an itch for scribbling, etc., or as in the translation of the Bible we read, in 2 Tim. iv. 3,
of the people “having itching ears" (being exactly after tlie original, κνηθόμενοι την ακοήν).
524. To sell and mart your offices. To make merchandise, or matter of bargain and sale, of your appointments and commissions. Mart is held to be a contraction of market, which is connected with the Latin merx and mercor, and so with merchant, mercantile, commerce, etc.
524. To undeservers. - We have lost both this substantive and the verb to disserve (to do an injury to), which Clarendon uses; though we still retain the adjective undeserving.
528, 529. And bay the moon. . . . Brutus, bay not me. In the First Folio we have “bay the moon,” and “bait not me;” in all the others, “ bait the moon” and “bait not me.” Theobald suggested “bay the moon” and “bay not me;" and this accords with the reading given by Mr. Collier's MS. annotator, who in 528 restores in the Second Folio the bay of the First, and in 529 corrects the bait of all the Folios into bay. [Dyce and White follow Theobald, but Hudson prefers the reading of the First Folio.] To bay the inoon is to bark at the moon; and bay not me would, of course, be equivalent to bark not, like an infuriated dog, at me. See 348. To bait, again, from the French battre, might be understood to mean to attack with violence. So in Macbeth, v. 7, we have “to be baited with the rabble's curse.” It is possible that there may have been some degree of confusion in the minds of our ancestors between bait and bay, and that both words, imperfectly conceived in their import and origin, were apt to call up a more or less distinct notion of encompassing or closing in. Perhaps something of this is what runs in Cassius's head when he subjoins, “You forget yourself, To hedge me in" - although Johnson interprets these words as meaning “to limit my authority by your direction or censure.” The present passage may be compared with one in A Winter's Tale, ii. 3:
Who late hath beat her husband, And now baits me. A third Anglicized form of battre, in addition to bcat and bait, is probably bate, explained by Nares as “ a term in falconry; to flutter the wings as preparing for flight, particularly at the sight of prey.” Thus Petruchio, in The Taming of the Shrew, iv. I, speaking of his wife, after observing that his "falcon now is sharp, and passing empty” (that is, very empty, or hungry), goes on to say that he has another way to man his haggard (that is, apparently, to reduce his wild hawk under subjection to man):
That is, to watch her, as we watch those kites
That bate, and beat, and will not be obedient. Nares quotes the following passage from a letter of Bacon's as beautifully exemplifying the true meaning of the word: “Wherein (viz. in matters of business] I would to God that I were hooded, that I saw less; or that I could perform more: for now I am like a hawk that bates, when I see occasion of service; but cannot fly, because I am tied to another's fist.” The letter, which was first printed by Rawley in the First Part of the Resuscitatio (1657), is without date, and is merely entitled " A Letter to Queen Elizabeth, upon the sending of a New-Year's Gift.”
529. I am a soldier, 1. — It is impossible to be quite certain whether the second I here be the pronoun or the adverb which we now write Ay. See the note on “ I, as Æneas,” in 54.
529. To make conditions. — To arrange the terms on which offices should be conferred.
530. Go to. — Johnson, in his Dictionary, explains this expression as equivalent to “ Come, come, take the right course” (meaning, contemptuously or sarcastically). He adds, that, besides being thus used as “a scornful exhortation,” it is also sometimes“ a phrase of exhortation or encouragement;" as in Gen. xi. 4, where the people, after the flood, are represented as saying, 6 Go to, let us build us a city and a tower,” etc. But it must be understood to be used, again, in the scornful sense three verses lower down, where the Lord is made to say, Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language,” etc.
533. Have mind upon your health. — Mind is here remembrance, and health is welfare, or safety, generally ; senses which are both now obsolete.
534. Away, slight man!— See 493 and 521.
536. Hear me, for I will speak. — The emphasis is not to be denied to the will here, although it stands in the place commonly stated to require an unaccented syllable. See 425, 435, and 612.
538. Must I observe you? - Pay you observance, or reverential attention. [Compare 2 Henry IV. iv. 2: “ For he is gracious, if he be observed," and 6. I shall observe him with all care and love.” The word is used in the same sense in Mark vi. 20.]
540. You say you are a better soldier. - See 524.
540. I shall be glad to learn of abler men. - The old reading is " noble men ;” abler is the correction of Mr. Collier's MS. annotator. Even if this were a mere conjecture, its claim to be accepted would be nearly irresistible. Noble here is altogether propriate. [Dyce, Hudson, Staunton, and White retain “noble,” which is by no means so l'ad as Craik makes it.] Cassius, as Mr. Collier remarks, had said nothing about “noble men,” whereas abler is the very expression that he had used (in 529):
I am a soldier, I,
To make conditions. 550. You have done that you should be sorry for. – The emphasis, of course, is on should. The common meaning of shall, as used by Cassius, is turned, in Brutus's quick and unsparing replication, into the secondary meaning of should (ought to be). See 181.
550. Which I respect not. Which I heed not. Here respect has rather less force of meaning than it has now acquired; whereas observe in 538 has more than it now conveys. Respect in Shakespeare means commonly no more than what we now call regard or view. Thus, in The Midsummer Nighť s Dream, i. 1, Lysander says of his aunt, “ She respects me as her only son;" and, in ii. I, Helena says to Demetrius, “ You, in my respect, are all the world.” So, in The Merchant of Venice, v. 1, when Portia, on hearing the music from the lighted house as she approaches Belmont at night in company with Nerissa, says, –
Nothing is good, I see, without respect;
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day, she means merely that nothing is good without reference to circumstances, or that it is only when it is in accordance with the place and the time that any good thing can be really or fully enjoyed. As she immediately subjoins,
How many tl.ings by season seasoned are
To their right praise and true perfection! So afterwards Nerissa to Gratiano : 66 You should