Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

he means only, that he is so far from avarice, when the cause of his country requires liberality, that if any man would wish for his heart, he would not need enforce his desire any otherwise, than by showing that he was a Roman. JOHNSON. Line 287. What should the wars do with these jigging fools?] i, e. with these silly poets. A jig signified, in our author's time, a metrical composition, as well as a dance. MALONE.

Line 314. And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.] This circumstance is taken from Plutarch. It is also mentioned by Val. Maximus.

It cannot, however, be amiss to remark, that the death of Portia may want that foundation which has hitherto entitled her to a place in poetry, as a pattern of Roman fortitude. She is reported, by Pliny, I think, to have died at Rome of a lingering illness while Brutus was abroad; but some writers seem to look on a natural death as a derogation from a distinguished character. STEEVENS.

Valerius Maximus says that Portia survived Brutus, and killed herself on hearing that her husband was defeated and slain at Philippi.

Line 362.in art-] That is, in theory.




Line 10. With fearful bravery,] That is, with a gallant show of courage, carrying with it terror and dismay. Fearful is used here, as in many other places, in an active sense-producing fear -intimidating.

Line 51.


Casca,] Casca struck Cæsar on the neck, coming


like a degenerate cur behind him.
Line 117. The very last time we shall speak together:

What are you then determined to do?] i. e. I am resolved in such a case to kill myself. What are you determined of? WARBURTON.

Line 119. of that philosophy,] There is an apparent. contradiction between the sentiments contained in this and the following speech which Shakspeare has put into the mouth of Brutus. In this, Brutus declares his resolution to wait patiently for the determinations of Providence; and in the next he intimates, that

though he should survive the battle, he would never submit to be

led in chains to Rome.

Line 123.

-so to prevent


The time of life;] To prevent is here used in a French sense-to anticipate. By time is meant the full and complete time; the period. MALONE.

Line 124.arming myself with patience, &c.] Dr. Warburton thinks, that in this speech something is lost; but there needed only a parenthesis to clear it. The construction is this: I am de termined to act according to that philosophy which directed me to blame the suicide of Cato; arming myself with patience, &c. JOHNSON


Line 176. Go, Pindarus,] This dialogue between Cassius and Pindarus is beautifully imitated by Beaumont and Fletcher, in their tragedy of Bonduca, Act III. sc. 5. STEEVENS.

Line 183. - -Sirrah, what news?] Sirrah, as appears from many of our old plays, was the usual address in speaking to serv ants and children.

Line 293.




-being Cato's son,] i. e. worthy of him. WARB. Luc. Only I yield to thee:

There is so much, that thou wilt kill me straight;] Dr. Warburton has been much inclined to find lacunæ, or pas sages broken by omission, throughout this play. I think he has been always mistaken. The soldier here says, Yield, or thou diest. Lucilius replies, I yield only on this condition, that I may die; here is so much gold as thou seest in my hand, which I offer thee as a reward for speedy death. JOHNSON.






LINE 8. 10.

reneges-] Renounces.


gipsy's lust.] Gipsy is here used both in the ori

ginal meaning for an Egyptian, and in its accidental sense for a


bad woman. Line 12. The triple pillar-] Triple is here used improperly for third, or one of three. One of the triumvirs, one of the three masters of the world. WARBURTON.

Line 18. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, &c.] Thou must set the boundary of my love at a greater distance than the present visible universe affords.


The sum.] Be brief, sum thy business in a few

Line 21.


Line 22. - 46.

Nay, hear them,] i. e. the news.


-to weet,] To know.


Will be himself.





But stirr'd by Cleopatra.] But,

in this passage, seems to have the old Saxon signification of without, unless, except. Antony, says the queen, will recollect his thoughts. Unless kept, he replies, in commotion by Cleopatra.


Line 54. Let's not confound the time-] i. e. let us not consume the time. MALONE.

Line 62. No messenger; but thine and all alone, &c.] Cleopatra has said, "Call in the messengers ;" and afterwards, "Hear the ambassadors." Talk not to me, says Antony, of messengers; I am now wholly thine, and you and I unattended will to-night wander through the streets. The subsequent words which he utters as he goes out," Speak not to us," confirm this interpretation. MALONE.

Line 72. That he approves the common liar,] Fame. That he proves the common liar, fame, in his case to be a true reporter,



Line 79. change his horns with garlands!] I am in doubt whether to change is not merely to dress, or to dress with changes of garlands.


Line 99. I had rather heat my liver &c.] To know why the lady is so averse from heating her liver, it must be remembered, that a heated liver is supposed to make a pimpled face. JOHNS.

Line 103. —to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage:] Herod paid homage to the Romans, to procure the grant of the kingdom of Judea. STEEVENS. Line 114. Then, belike, my children shall have no names :] If I have already had the best of my fortune, then I suppose I shall never nume children, that is, I am never to be married. However, tell me the truth, tell me, how many boys and wenches?

Line 117. If every of your wishes had a womb,


And fertile every wish, a million.] If every one of your wishes, says the Soothsayer, had a womb, and each womb

invested wish were likewise fertile, you then would have a million of children.


Line 131. Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, &c.] So, in Othello:

[blocks in formation]

"This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart." MALONE. Line 195. Extended Asia from Euphrates ;] i. e. widened or extended the bounds of the Lesser Asia. WARBURTON.

To extend, is a term used for to seize; I know not whether this be not the sense here. JOHNSON.

Line 207. When our quick winds lie still;] The sense is, that man, not agitated by censure, like soil not ventilated by quick winds, produces more evil than good.

Line 226.

the present pleasure

By revolution lowering does become


The opposite of itself:] The allusion is to the sun's diurnal course; which rising in the east, and by revolution lowering, or setting in the west, becomes the opposite of itself. WARBURTON.

Perhaps, Shakspeare, who was less learned than his commentator, meant only, that our pleasures, as they are revolved in the mind, turn to pain. JOHNSON

Line 229. The hand could pluck her back, &c.] The verb could has a peculiar signification in this place; it does not denote power but inclination. The sense is, the hand that drove her off would now willingly pluck her back again.

Line 244.



-poorer moment :] For less reason; upon meaner JOHNSON.

Line 250. We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears ;] i. e. "We cannot call the clamorous heavings of her breast, and the copious streams which flow from her eyes, by the ordinary name of sighs and tears; they are greater storms," &c. MALONE.

Line 266. -it shows to man the tailors of the earth; comforting therein, &c.] When the deities are pleased to take a man's wife from him, this act of theirs makes them appear to man like the tailors of the earth: affording this comfortable reflection, that the deities have made other women to supply the place of his former wife; as the tailor, when one robe is worn out, supplies him with another. MALONE.

« ПредишнаНапред »