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Triumvirs, after the Death of
Cicero, Publius, Popilius Lena, Senators.
Flavius, and Marullus, Tribunes.
Cinna, a Poet: Another Poet.
Confpirators against Julius Cæfar.
Lucinius, Titinius, Meffala, Young Cato, and Volumnius, Friends to Brutus and Caffius.
Varro, Clitus, Claudius, Strato, Lucius, Dardanius 3 Servants to Brutus.
Pindarus, Servant to Caffius.
Calphurnia, Wife to Cæfar.
Plebeians, Senators, Guards, Attendants, &c.
SCENE, for the three firft Alts, at Rome: afterwards at an Inland near Mutina; at Sardis; and near Philippi,
ACT I. SCENE I.
Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain Commoners. Flav. Hence; home, you idle creatures, get you home: Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Julius Cafar.] It appears from Peck's Collection of divers curious Hiftorical Pieces, &c. (appended to his Memoirs, &c. of Oliver Cromwell,) p. 14. that a Latin play on this fubject had been written. "Epilogus Cæfaris interfecti, quomodo in fcenam prodiit ea res, acta, in Ecclefia Chrifti, Oxon. Qui Epilogus a Magiftro Ricardo Eedes et fcriptus et in profcenio ibidem dictus fuit, A. D. 1582." Meres, whofe Wit's Commonwealth was published in 1598, enumerates Dr. Eedes among the best tragic writers of that time. STEEVENS.
William Alexander, afterwards earl of Sterline, wrote a tragedy on the story and with the title of Julius Cæfar. It may be prefumed that Shakspeare's play was pofterior to his; for lord Sterline, when he compofed his Julius Cæfar was a very young author, and would hardly have ventured into that circle, within which the most eminent dramatic writer of England had already walked. The death of Cæfar, which is not exhibited but related to the audience, forms the catastrophe of his piece, In the two plays many parallel paffages are found, which might, perhaps, have proceeded only from the two authors drawing from the fame fource. However, there are some reasons for thinking the coincidence more than accidental.
Mr. Steevens has produced from Darius, another play of this writer's, fome lines fo like a celebrated paffage of Shakspeare in the Tempest, act III. that the one muft, I apprehend, have been copied from the other. Lord Sterline's Darius was printed at Edinburgh in 1603, and his Julius Cæfar in 1607, at a time when
Being mechanical, you ought not walk,
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?
Cob. Truly, fir, in refpect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would fay, a cobler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Anfwer me directly.
Cob. A trade, fir, that, I hope, I may use with a fafe confcience; which is, indeed, fir, a mender of bad foals.
he was but little acquainted with English writers; for they abound with Scoticifms, which, in the fubfequent folio edition, 1637, he corrected. But neither the Tempest, nor the Julius Cafar of our author, was printed till 1623.
It must be alfo remembered, that our author has feveral plays, founded on fubjects which had been unfuccefsfully treated by others. Of this kind are King John, King Henry V. King Lear, Meafure for Meafure, the Taming of the Shrew, Antony and Cleopatra, the Merchant of Venice, and perhaps Macbeth*: whereas no proof has hitherto been produced, that any contemporary writer ever prefumed to new model a story that had already employed the pen of Shakspeare. On all thefe grounds it appears more probable, that Shakspeare was indebted to lord Sterline, than that lord Sterline borrowed from Shakspeare. If this reafoning be juft, this play could not have appeared before the year 1607.
The real length of time in Julius Cæfar, Mr. Upton obferves, is as follows: About the middle of February, A. U. C. 709, the festival of Luperci was held in honour of Cæfar, when the regal crown was offered to him by Antony. On the 15th of March in the fame year, he was killed. Nov. 27, A. U. C. 710, the triumvirs met at a fmall island, formed by the river Rhenus, near Bononia, and there adjusted their favage profcription. —A. U. C, 711, Brutus and Caffius were defeated near Philippi. MALONE.
Murellus.] I have, upon the authority of Plutarch, &c, given to this tribune, his right name Marullus. THEOBALD,
* See Dr. Farmer's note at the end of Macbeth.
Flav. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?
Cob. Nay, I befeeeh you, fir, be not out with me; Yet, if you be out, fir, I can mend you.
3 Mar. What meaneft thou by that? Mend me, thou faucy fellow?
Cab. Why, fir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobler, art thou?
Cob. Truly, fir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no trade,-man's matters, nor woman's matters, but with awl 4. I am, indeed, fir, a furgeon to old fhoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neats-leather have gone upon my handywork.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy fhop to-day? Why doft thou lead these men about the streets?
Cob. Truly, fir, to wear out their fhoes, to get myfelf into more work. But indeed, fir, we make holiday, to fee Cæfar, and to rejoice in his triumph. Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conqueft brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
3 Mar. What mean'st thou by that?] As the Cobler, in the preceding speech, replies to Flavius, not to Marullus; 'tis plain, I think, this fpeech must be given to Flavius. THEOBALD.
I have replaced Marullus, who might properly enough reply to a faucy fentence directed to his colleague, and to whom the fpeech was probably given, that he might not stand too long unemployed upon the stage. JOHNSON.
The author of THE REMARKS propofes to give the first speech to Marullus, instead of transferring the laft to Flavius. EDITOR.
4 I meddle with no tradefman's matters, nor woman's matters, but with all.] This should be, "I meddle with no trade,—man's matters, nor woman's matters, but with awl." FARMER.
Shakspeare might have adopted this quibble from the ancient ballad, intitled, The Three Merry Coblers:
"We have awle at our command,
"And still we are on the mending hand." STEEVENS.
You blocks, you ftones, you worfe than fenfelefs
O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
And do you now put on your best attire?
Run to your houfes, fall upon your knees,
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this
Affemble all the poor men of your
-her banks,] As Tyber is always reprefented by the figure of a man, the feminine gender is improper. Milton says, that -the river of blifs
Rolls o'er Elyfian flowers her amber ftream;"
See, whe'r] Whether, thus abbreviated, is ufed by Ben Jonfon: