Графични страници
PDF файл

and which, if any change is made, seems the most plausible one.]

619. From which advantage shall we cut him off-Shakespeare perhaps wrote we shall.

621. Under your pardon.-See 357.

621. We, at the height, etc. - Being at the height, are in consequence ready to decline as the tide begins to recede as soon as it has attained the point of full flood.

621. Omitted. - The full resolution will be which tide being omitted to be taken at the flood.

622. Then, with your will, etc. - In the original edition “We'll along” is made part of the first line. Mr. Collier prints, it does not appear on what, or whether on any, authority, “We will along,” as had been done on conjecture by Rowe, Pope, and others. [So Hudson and White. Dyce has “ We'll.”] The “We'll along” gives us merely the very common slight irregularity of a single superabundant syllable. -“With your will” is equivalent to With your consent; “We'll along” to We will onward. But the passage is probably corrupt

623. The deep of night is crept. — See 373.

623. Which we will niggard. - Niggard is common both as a substantive and as an adjective; but this is probably the only passage in the language in which it is employed as a verb. Its obvious meaning is, as Johnson gives it in his Dictionary, “ to stint, to supply sparingly.” [See on fathered, 213.]

623. There is no more to say. — There is no more for us to say. So, “ I have work to do,” “Ile has a house to let,” etc. In Ireland it is thought more correct to announce a house as to be let; but that would rather mean that it is going to be let. [Com pare Marsh, Lectures, First Series, p. 652.]

There are,

624. Early to-morrow will we rise, and hence. It might almost be said that the adverb hence is here turned into a verb; it is construed exactly as riss is : “ Will we rise," - “ will we hence.” So, both with hence and home, in the opening line of the Play:

Hence! home, you idle creatures. 625. Lucius, my gown, etc.

The best way of treating the commencement of this speech of Brutus is to regard the words addressed to Lucius as one hemistich and “Farewell, good Messala” as another.

in fact, two speeches. It is the same case that we have in 505. - In the old editions the stage directions are, after 624,"Enter Lucius," and then, again, after 626, “Enter Lucius with the gown.After 631 there is merely "Exeunt."

633. Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o'erwatched. — For knave see 646. – O'erwatched, or overwatched, is used in this sense, of worn out with watching, by other old writers as well as by Shakespeare, however irreconcilable such an application of it may be with the meaning of the verb to watch. We have it again in Lear, ii. 2:

All weary and o'erwatched,
Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold

This shameful lodging. 633. Some other of my men. — By some other we should now mean some of a different sort. For some more we say some others. But, although other thus used as a substantive, with the plural of the ordinary form, is older than the time of Shakespeare, I do not recollect that he anywhere has others. Nor does it occur, I believe, even in Clarendon. On the other hand, it is frequent in Milton. [See 78.]

634. Varro and Claudius! - In the old copies it

is “Varrus and Claudio,” both in the speech and in the stage direction that follows.

636. I pray you, Şirs. - Common as the word Sir still is, we have nearly lost the form Sirs. It survives, however, in the Scottish dialect, with the pronunciation of Sirce, as the usual address to a number of persons, much as Masters was formerly in English (see 401, 407], only that it is applied to women as well as to men. [Compare Acts vii. 26, xiv. 15, xvi. 30, etc. Mrs. Clarke does not give Sirs, but it occurs in Titus Andronicus, iii. 1.; I Henry IV., ii. 2 and 4, etc.]

638. Servants lie down. This stage direction is modern.

640. Canst thou hold up, etc. – This and the next line are given in the Second Folio in the following blundering fashion, the result, no doubt, of an accidental displacement of the types :

Canst thou hold up thy instrument a straine or two.

And touch thy heavy eyes a-while. The transposition is corrected by Mr. Collier's MS. annotator.

644. I know young blood's look. - See 56.

646. It was well done. So in the old copies; but the Variorum edition has “ It is,” in which it has been followed by other modern editors, though not by either Mr. Knight or Mr. Collier. [Dyce and White have “was;" Hudson has “is.”]

646. [Thy leaden mace. Compare Spenser, F. 2. i. 4. 44:

But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace

Arrested all that courtly company, -] 645. Gentle knave, good night. - Knave, from 'e Saxon cnafa, or cnapa, having meant originally caly a boy, and meaning now only a rogue, was in

See 407

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 cxpression 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 murde, ed Dictator :

The ghost of Cæsar hath appeared to me

Two several times by night: at Sardis, once.
So, also, in Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 6:-

Since Julius Cæsar,
Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted.
Perhaps we might also refer to 743:-

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 is 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 any. thing 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

« ПредишнаНапред »