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speare's day. He has a hit at the affectation in his Twelfth Night, iii. 1, where the Clown, conversing with Viola, says, "Who you are, and what you would, are out of my welkin: I might say, element: but the word is over worn." Of course, welkin is, and is intended to be, far more absurd. Yet we have element for the sky or the air in other passages besides the present. Thus :
"The element itself,
Shall not behold her face at ample view."
Twelfth Night, i. 1.
"I, in the clear sky of fame, o'ershine you as much as the full moon doth the cinders of the element, which show like pins' heads to her" (Falstaff, in 2 Hen. IV., iv. 3).
It is curious to find writers of the present day who are scrupulous about the more delicate proprieties of expression still echoing Shakespeare's dissatisfaction: "The territorial element, to use that favourite word," says Hallam, Mid. Ages, I. 297 (edit. of 1855), probably without any thought of the remark of the all-observing dramatist two centuries and a half before.
130. In favour's like the work.-The reading in all the Folios is "Is favors" (or "favours" for the Third and Fourth). The present reading, which is that generally adopted, was first proposed by Johnson; and it has the support, it seems, of Mr Collier's MS. annotator. Favour, as we have seen (vid. 54), means aspect, appearance, features. Another emendation that has been proposed (by Steevens) is "Is favoured.” But to say that the complexion of a thing is either featured like, or in feature like, to something else is very like a tautology. I should be strongly inclined to adopt Reed's ingenious conjecture, "Is feverous," which he supports by quoting from Macbeth, ii. 3, "Some say the earth Was feverous and did shake.' So also in Coriolanus, i. 4;—" Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world Were feverous and did tremble." Feverous is exactly the sort of word that, if
not very distinctly written, would be apt to puzzle and be mistaken by a compositor. It may perhaps count, too, for something, though not very much, against both "favour's like " and "favoured like" that a very decided comma separates the two words in the original edition.
134. One incorporate To our attempts.—One of our body, one united with us in our enterprise. The expression has probably no more emphatic import.
135. There's two or three.-The contraction there's is still used indifferently with a singular or a plural; though there is scarcely would be.
136. Am I not staid for ?—This is the original reading, which has been restored by Mr Knight. The common modern reading is, "Am I not staid for, Cinna?" the last word being inserted (and that without notice, which is unpardonable) only to satisfy the supposed demands of the prosody.
137. This speech stands thus in the First Folio:— "Yes, you are. O Cassius,
If you could but winne the Noble Brutus
To our party.”
The common metrical arrangement is :
person either having or believing himself to have a true feeling of the Shakespearian rhythm can believe this to be right. Nor am I better satisfied with Mr Knight's distribution of the lines, although it is adopted by Mr Collier :
"Yes, you are.
O, Cassius, if you could but win the noble Brutus,
which gives us an extended line equally unmusical and undignified whether read rapidly or slowly, followed (to make matters worse which were bad enough already) by
what could scarcely make the commencement of any kind of line. I cannot doubt that, whatever we are to do with “Yes, you are,”—whether we make these comparatively unimportant words the completion of the line of which Cassius's question forms the beginning, or take them along with what follows, which would give us a line wanting only the first syllable (and deriving, perhaps, from that mutilation an abruptness suitable to the occasion)— the close of the rhythmic flow must be as I have given it :
"O Cassius, if you could
But win the noble Brutus to our party."
138. Where Brutus may but find it.—If but be the true word (and be not a misprint for best), the meaning must be, Be sure you lay it in the prætor's chair, only taking care to place it so that Brutus may be sure to find it.
138. Upon old Brutus' statue.--Lucius Brutus, who expelled the Tarquins, the reputed ancestor of Marcus Lucius Brutus; also alluded to in 56, "There was a Brutus once," etc.
139. I will hie.-To hie (meaning to hasten) is used reflectively, as well as intransitively, but not otherwise as an active verb. Its root appears to be the Original English hyge, meaning mind, study, earnest application; whence the various verbal forms hyggan, hygian, hiegan, higgan, higian, hogian, hugian, and perhaps others. Hug is probably another modern derivative from the same root.
139. And so bestow these papers.-This use of bestow (for to place, or dispose of) is now gone out; though something of it still remains in stow.
140. Pompey's theatre.-The same famous structure of Pompey's, opened with shows and games of unparalleled cost and magnificence some ten or twelve years before the present date, which has been alluded to in 130 and 138.
142. You have right well conceited.-To conceit is an
other form of our still familiar to conceive. And the noun conceit, which survives with a limited meaning (the conception of a man by himself, which is so apt to be one of over-estimation), is also frequent in Shakespeare with the sense, nearly, of what we now call conception, in general. So in 349. Sometimes it is used in a sense which might almost be said to be the opposite of what it now means; as when Juliet (in Romeo and Juliet, ii. 5) employs it as the term to denote her all-absorbing affection for Romeo:"Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Brags of his substance, not of ornament:
They are but beggars that can count their worth;
I cannot sum the sum of half my wealth."
Or as when Gratiano, in The Merchant of Venice, i. 1, speaks of a sort of men who
"do a wilful stillness entertain, With purpose to be dressed in an opinion Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit "
that is, deep thought.
So, again, when Rosaline, in Love's Labour's Lost, ii. 1, speaking of Biron, describes his "fair tongue" as "conceit's expositor," all that she means is that speech is the expounder of thought. The scriptural expression, still in familiar use, "wise in his own conceit means merely wise in his own thought, or in his own eyes, as we are told in the margin the Hebrew literally signifies. In the New Testament, where we have "in their own conceits," the Greek is simply παρ' ἑαυτοῖς (in or with themselves).
SCENE I.-The same.
143. Bru. What, Lucius! ho!
I cannot, by the progress of the stars,
Give guess how near to day.-Lucius, I say!
I would it were my fault to sleep so soundly.-
Luc. Called you, my Lord?
Bru. Get me a taper in my study, Lucius:
When it is lighted, come and call me here.
Luc. I will, my lord.
147. Bru. It must be by his death: and, for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crowned :
How that might change his nature, there's the question.
And that craves wary walking. Crown him?-That;—
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg,
Which, hatched, would, as his kind, grow mischievous;
148. Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, Sir.
149. Bru. Get you to bed again; it is not day.
[Gives him the letter.
Bru. Look in the calendar, and bring me word.