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In the old copies the word, when thus contracted, is usually printed exactly as the adverb of place always is, where. But if it were to be here spelled whether at full length, and pronounced as a dissyllable, we should have no more of prosodical irregularity than we have in many other lines. And it is occasionally in similar circumstances so presented in the old copies.
16. Decked with ceremonies. — To deck (the same with the Latin teg-ere and the German deck-en) signifies properly no more than to cover. Hence the deck of a ship. Thatch (the German Dach) is another formation from the same root. To deck, therefore, has no connection with to decorate, which is of the same stock with decent (from the Latin decus, or decor, and deçet). The supposition that there was a connection, however, has probably helped to acquire for deck its common acceptation, which now always involves the notion of decoration or adornment. And that was also its established sense when Shakespeare wrote. By ceremonies must here be meant what are afterwards in 18 called “ Cæsar's trophies,” and are described in 95
“ scarfs” which were hung on Cæsar's images. No other instance of this use of the word, however, is produced by the commentators. In our commoil English the meaning of ceremony has been extended so as to include also forms of civility and outward forms of state. We have it in that sense in 27. And we shall find lower down that Shakespeare uses it in still another sense, which is peculiar to himself, or which has now at least gone out. [White gives
ceremony” here.] See 194.
as he thinks,“ in what respects they are better.” All the other editors, I believe, give whe'r, or whêr.]
17. The feast of Lupercal. — The Roman festi val of the Lupercalia (-ium or -iorum) was in honor of the old Italian ġod Lupercus, who came to be identified with Pan. It was celebrated annually on the Ides (or 13th) of February. A third company of Luperci, or priests of Pan, with Antony for its chief, was instituted in honor of Julius Cæsar.
18. Will make him Ay.— A modern sentence constructed in this fashion would constitute the him the antecedent to the who, and give it the meaning of the person generally who (in this instance) else would soar, etc., or whoever would. But it will be more accordant with the style of Shakespeare's day to leave the him unemphatic, and to regard Cæsar as being the antecedent to who. It was not then so unusual, or accounted so inelegant, as it would now be, in our more precise and straitened syntax, thus to separate the relative from its true antecedent by the interposition of another false or apparent one, or to tack on the relative clause to the completed statement as if it had been an afterthought. Thus, again in the present Play, we have, in 703,
Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign
Who to Philippi here consorted us; and in 715, —
O Cassius, Brutus gave the word too early;
SCENE II. - The original heading here is :"Enter Cæsar, Antony for the Course, Calphurnia, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Caska, a
Soothsayer: after them Murellus and Flavius." The three stage directions about the Music are all modern.
23. Stand you directly, etc. — The sacerdotal runners wore only a cincture of goatskins, the same material of which their thongs were made. The passage in Plutarch's Life of Julius Cæsar as translated by Sir Thomas North is as follows:
At that time the feast Lupercalia was celebrated, the which in old time, men say, was the feast of Shepherds or Herdsmen, and is much like unto the feast of Lyceians [Auxɛữa] in Arcadia. But, howsoever it is, that day there are divers noblemen's sons, young men (and some of them magistrates themselves that govern them), which run naked through the city, striking in sport them they meet in their way with leather thongs. And many noble women and gentlewomen also go of purpose to stand in their way, and do put forth their hands to be stricken, persuading themselves that, being with child, they shall have good delivery, and also, being barren, that it will make them conceive with child. Cæsar sat to behold that sport upon the pulpit for orations, in a chair of gold, apparelled triumphant manner. Antonius, who was Consul at that time, was one of them that ronne this holy course.
Here, and in 25, as generally throughout the Play, Antonius is Antonio in the original text, and in all the editions down to that of Pope.
32. The Ides of March. - In the Roman Kalendar the Ides (Idus) fell on the 15th of March, Mays July, and October, and on the 13th of the eight remaining months.
34. A soothsayer, bids. That is, It is a soothsayer, who bids. It would not otherwise be an answer to Cæsar's question. The omission of the relative in such a construction is still common [All the editors omit the comma here.] 39. The old stage direction here is — Senner.
Exeunt. Manet Brut. et Cass.” The word Sennet is also variously written Sennit, Senet, Synnet, Cynet, Signet, and Signate. Nares explains it as "a word chiefly occurring in the stage directions of the old plays, and seeming to indicate a particular set of notes on the trumpet, or cornet, different from a flourish.” In Shakespeare it occurs again in the present Play at 67, in the heading to Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 7, in Henry VIII., ii. 4, and in Coriolanus, i. I and 2, where in the first scene we have “A Sennet. Trumpets sound.” In the heading of the second scene of the fifth act of Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of Malta we have “Synnet, i. e. Flourish of Trumpets.” But in Dekker's Satiromastix (1602) we have “ Trumpets sound a flourish, and then a sennet.” Steevens says, “I have been informed that sennet is derived from senneste, an antiquated French tune formerly used in the army; but the Dictionaries which I have consulted exhibit no such word.”
44. That gentleness ... as I was, etc. - We should now say
“ that gentleness that I was wont to have.” It is not very long since the conjunction as was used at least in one case in which we now always employ that. “So - as," says Bishop Lowth (Introd. to Eng. Gram.), " was used by the writers of the last (17th century to express a corfsequence, in stead of so- that. Swift (who died 1745], I believe, is the last of our good writers who has frequently used this manner of expression."
44. Over your friend that loves you. - It is friends in the Second Folio.
45. Merely upon myself. – Merely (from the Latin merus and mere) means purely, only. It separates that which it designates or qualifies from
everything else. But in so doing the chief or most emphatic reference may be made either to that which is included, or to that which is excluded. In modern English it is always to the latter; by“ merely upon myself” we should now mean upon nothing else except myself; the nothing else is that which the merely makes prominent. In Shakespeare's day the other reference was the more common, that namely to what was included; and “ merely upon myself” meant upon myself altogether, or without regard to anything else. Myself was that which the merely made prominent. So when Hamlet, speaking of the world, says (i. 2), “ Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely,” he by the merely brings the possession before the mind, and characterizes it as complete and absolute; but by the same term now the prominence would be given to something else from which the possession might be conceived to be separable ; " possess it merely ” would mean have nothing beyond simply the possession of it (have, it might be, no right to it, or no enjoyment of it). It is not necessary that that which is included, though thus emphasized, should therefore be more definitely conceived than that with which it is contrasted. So, again, when in Henry VIII., iii. 2, the Earl of Surrey charges Wolsey with having sent large supplies of substance to Rome “to the mere undoing of all the kingdom,” he means to the complete undoing of all the kingdom, to nothing less than such undoing ; but in our modern English the words would sound as if the speaker's meaning were, to nothing more than the undoing of the kingdom. The mere would lead us to think of something else, some possible aggravation of the undoing (such, foi