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however, in the few cases in which he does not run the two syllables into one, always accents the first. And he uses both toward and towards.
53. Set Honour in one eye, etc.—This passage has occasioned some discussion. Johnson's explanation is:"When Brutus first names Honour and Death, he calmly declares them indifferent; but, as the image kindles in his mind, he sets Honour above life.” It does not seem to be necessary to suppose any such change or growth either of the image or the sentiment. What Brutus means by saying that he will look upon Honour and Death indifferently, if they present themselves together, is merely that, for the sake of the honour, he will not mind the death, or the risk of death, by which it may be accompanied; he will look as fearlessly and steadily upon the one as upon the other. He will think the honour to be cheaply purchased even by the loss of life; that price. will never make him falter or hesitate in clutching at such a prize. He must be understood to set honour above life from the first; that he should ever have felt otherwise for a moment would have been the height of the unheroic.-The convenient elisions the and o' the have been almost lost to our modern English verse, at least in composition of the ordinary regularity and dignity. Byron, however, has in a well-known passage ventured upon "Hived in our bosoms like the bag o' the bee."
54. Your outward favour.-A man's favour is his aspect or appearance. 'In beauty," says Bacon, in his 43rd Essay, "that of favour is more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion more than that of favour." The word is now lost to us in that sense; but we still use favoured with well, ill, and perhaps other qualifying terms, for featured or looking; as in Gen. xli. 4:"The ill-favoured and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favoured and fat kine." Favour seems to be used for face from the same confusion or natural trans
ference of meaning between the expressions for the feeling in the mind and the outward indication of it in the look that has led to the word countenance, which commonly denotes the latter, being sometimes employed, by a process the reverse of what we have in the case of favour, in the sense of at least one modification of the former; as when we speak of any one giving something his countenance, or countenancing it. In this case, however, it ought to be observed that countenance has the meaning, not simply of favourable feeling or approbation, but of its expression or avowal. The French terms from which we have borrowed our favour and countenance do not appear to have either of them undergone the transference of meaning which has befallen the English forms. But contenance, which is still also used by the French in the sense of material capacity, has drifted far away from its original import in coming to signify one's aspect or physiognomy. It is really also the same word with the French and English continence and the Latin continentia.
54. For my single self. Here is a case in which we are still obliged to adhere to the old way of writing and printing my self. Vid. 56.
54. I had as lief.-Lief (sometimes written leef, or leve), in the comparative liefer or lever, in the superlative liefest, is the Original English leof, of the same meaning with our modern dear. "No modern author, I believe,' says Horne Tooke (D. of P. 261), "would now venture any of these words in a serious passage; and they seem to be cautiously shunned or ridiculed in common conversation, as a vulgarity. But they are good English words, and more frequently used by our old English writers than any other word of a corresponding signification." The common modern substitute for lief is soòn, and for liefer, sooner or rather, which last is properly the comparative of rath, or rathe, signifying early, not found in Shakespeare, but used in one expression-" the rathe
primrose" (Lycidas, 142)-by Milton, who altogether ignores lief. Lief, liefer, and liefest, are all common in Spenser. Shakespeare has lief pretty frequently, but never liefer; and liefest occurs only in the Second Part of King Henry VI., where, in iii. 1, we have "My liefest liege." In the same Play, too (i. 1), we have “Mine alderliefest sovereign," meaning dearest of all. "This beautiful word," says Mr Knight, "is a Saxon compound. Alder, of all, is thus frequently joined with an adjective of the superlative degree, as alderfirst, alderlast." But it cannot be meant that such combinations are frequent in the English of Shakespeare's day. They do occur, indeed, in a preceding stage of the language. Alder is a corrupted or at least modified form of the Original English genitive plural aller, or allre; it is that strengthened by the interposition of a supporting d (a common expedient). Aller, with the same signification, is still familiar in German compounds.-The effect and construction of lief in Middle English may be seen in the following examples from Chaucer :-" For him was lever han at his beddes head" (C. T. Pro. 295), that is, To him it was dearer to have (lever a monosyllable, beddes a dissyllable); "Ne, though I say it, I n' am not lefe to gabbe" (C. T. 3510), that is, I am not given to prate; "I hadde lever dien," that is, I should hold it preferable to die, And Chaucer has also "Al be him loth or lefe" (C. T. 1839), that is, Whether it be to him agreeable or disagreeable; and "For lefe ne loth" (C. T. 13062), that is, For love nor loathing. We may remark the evidently intended. connexion in sound between the lief and the live, or rather the attraction by which the one word has naturally produced or evoked the other.
54. Cæsar said to me, etc.—In the Second Folio it is "Cæsar saies to me." And three lines lower down it is there" Accounted as I was." Other errors of that copy
in the same speech are "chasing with her shores," and "He had a Feaher when he was in Spaine."
54. Arrive the point proposed.-Arrive without the now indispensable at or in is found also in the Third Part of King Henry VI. (v. 3) :—
"Those powers that the queen
Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast."
And Milton has the same construction (P. L. ii. 409) :
"Ere he arrive
The happy isle."
54. I, as Æneas, etc.-This commencement of the sentence, although necessitating the not strictly grammatical repetition of the first personal pronoun, is in fine rhetorical accordance with the character of the speaker, and vividly expresses his eagerness to give prominence to his own part in the adventure. Even the repetition (of which, by the by, we have another instance in this same speech) assists the effect. At the same time, it may just be noted that the I here is not printed differently in the original edition from the adverb of affirmation in "Ay, and that tongue of his," a few lines lower down. Nor are the two words anywhere distinguished. It may be doubted whether Macbeth's great exclamation (ii. 2) should not be printed (as it is by Steevens) "Wake Duncan with thy knocking: Ay, would thou could'st!" (instead of “I would," as commonly given).
54. The old Anchises, etc.-This is a line of six feet; but it is quite different in its musical character from what is called an Alexandrine, such as rounds off the Spenserian stanza, and also frequently makes the second line in a rhymed couplet or the third in a triplet. It might perhaps be going too far to say that a proper Alexandrine is inadmissible in blank verse. There would seem to be nothing in the principle of blank verse opposed to the occasional employment of the Alexandrine; but the
custom of our modern poetry excludes such a variation even from dramatic blank verse; and unquestionably by far the greater number of the lines in Shakespeare which have been assumed by some of his editors to be Alexandrines are only instances of the ordinary heroic line with the very common peculiarity of certain superfluous short syllables. That is all that we have here,-the ordinary heroic line overflowing its bounds,-which, besides that great excitement will excuse such irregularities, or even demand them, admirably pictures the emotion of Cassius, as it were acting his feat over again as he relates it,—with the shore the two were making for seeming, in their increasing efforts, to retire before them,—and panting with his remembered toil.
54. His coward lips did from their colour fly.-There can, I think, be no question that Warburton is right in holding that we have here a pointed allusion to a soldier flying from his colours. The lips would never otherwise be made to fly from their colour, instead of their colour from them. The figure is quite in Shakespeare's manner and spirit. But we may demur to calling it, with Warburton, merely "a poor quibble." It is a forcible expression of scorn and contempt. Such passions are, by their nature, not always lofty and decorous, but rather creative and reckless, and more given to the pungent than the elegant.
54. Did lose his lustre.-There is no personification here. His was formerly neuter as well as masculine, or the genitive of It as well as of He; and his lustre, meaning the lustre of the eye, is the same form of expression that we have in the texts:- "The fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself" (Gen. i. 11); "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. iii. 15); “If the salt have lost his savour" (Matt. v. 13, and Luke xiv. 34); “If the salt have lost his saltness (Mark ix. 50); "When they were past the first