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ACT 1. SCENE I.
R O M E.
Enter Flavius, · Marullus, and certain Commoners. Flav. Hence; home, you idle creatures, get you
home: Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Being Julius Cæfar.] It appears from Peck's Collection of diversi curious Historical Pieces, &c. (appended to his Memoirs, &c. of Oliver Cromwell,) p. 14. that a Latin play on this subject had; been written. “ Epilogus Cæfaris interfecti, quomodo in scenam prodiit ea res, acta, in Ecclesia Christi, Oxon. Qui Epilogus a Magiftro Ricardo Eedes et scriptus et in proscenio ibi. dem dictus fuit, A. D. 1582.”. Meres, whose Wit's Commonwealth was published in 1598, enumerates Dr. Eedes among the best tragic writers of that time. STEVENS,
William Alexander, afterwards earl of Sterline, wrote a tragedy on the story and with the title of Julius Cæfar. It may be presumed that Shakspeare's play was posterior to his; for lord Sterline, when he composed his Julius Cæsar 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 Cæsar, which is not exhibited but related to the audience, forms the catastrophe of his piece. - In the two plays many parallel passages are found, which might, perhaps, have proceeded only from the two authors drawing from the same source.' 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 passage of Shakspeare in the Tempeft, act III. that the one must, I apprehend, have been copied from the other. Lord Sterline's Darius was printed at Edinburgh in 1603, and his Julius Cæsar in 1607, at a time when
Being mechanical, you ought not walk,
Car. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule? What doft thou with thy best apparel on ?You, fir; what trade are you?
Cob. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I äm but, as you would say, a cobler. Mar. But what trade art thou ? Answer me di
rectly. Cob. A trade, fir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, fir, a mender of bad foals.
he was but little acquainted with English writers ; for they abound with Scoticisms, which, in the subsequent folio edition, 3637, he corrected. But neither the Tempest, nor the Julius Cefar of our author, was printed till 1623.
It must be also remembered, that our author has several plays, founded on subjects which had been unsuccessfully treated by others. Of this kind are King John, King Henry V. King Lear, Meafure for Measure, 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 presumed to new model a story that had already employed the pen of Shakspeare. On all these grounds it appears more probable, that Shakspeare was indebted to lord Sterline, than that lord Sterline borrowed from Shakspeare. If this reasoning be just, this play could not have appeared before the year 1607.
The real length of time in Julius Cæfar, Mr. Upton observes, is as follows: About the middle of February, A. U. C. 709, the festival of Luperci was held in honour of Cæsar, when the regal crown was offered to him by Antony. On the 15th of March in the same year, he was killed.. Nov. 27, A. U.C. 710, the triumvirs met at a small island, formed by the river Rhenus, near Bononia, and there adjusted their favage profcription.
-A. U. C, 7!!, 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,
* Sce Dr. Farmer's note at the end of Macbeth.
Flav. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty
knave, what trade? Cob. Nay, I beseeeh you, sir, be not out with me; Yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
3 Mar. What meanest thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?
Cob. Why, fir, cobble you.
Cob. Truly, sir, 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, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; 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 shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets ?
Cob. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make ho. liday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph. Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings
he hoine? What tributaries follow him to Rome, To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels
3 Mar. What mean't thou by that?] As the Cobler, in the preceding speech, replies to Flavius, not to Marullus ; 'tis plain, I think, this speech must be given to Flavius. THEOBALD.
I have replaced Marullus, who might properly enough reply to a faucy sentence directed to his colleague, and to whom the speech was probably given, that he might not stand too long unemployed upon the stage. JOHNSON.
The author of The Remarks proposes to give the first speech to Marullus, instead of transferring the last to Flavius. Editor.
4 I meddle with no tradesman'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,
You blocks, you ftones, you worse than senseless
climb'd up to walls and battlements,
Be gone ;
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
[Exeunt Commoners. See, whe'r their baseft metal be not mov’d;
-her banks,] As Tyber is always represented by the figure of a man, the feminine gender is improper. Milton says, that
-the river of bliss “ Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ;" but he is speaking of the water, and not of its presiding power or genius. Steevens.
See, whe'r] Whether, thus abbreviated, is used by Ben Jonson:
is Who shall doubt, Donne, whe'r I a poet be,
They vanish tongue-ty'd in their guiltiness.
do find them 7 deck'd with ceremonies.
Flav. It is no inatter ; let no images Be hung with Cæsar's trophies. I'll
about, And'drive away the vulgar from the streets : So do you too, where you perceive them thick. These growing feathers pluck'd from Cæsar's wing, Will make him Ay an ordinary pitch; Who else would foar above the view of men, And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
Enter Cesar; Antony, for the course; Calphurnia,
Portia, * Decius, Cicero, Brutus, Cafíus, Casca,
Cel. 7 deck'd with ceremonies.] Ceremonies, for religious ornaments, : Thus afterwards he explains them by Cæsar's trophies ; i. e. such as he had dedicated to the gods. WARBURTON.
Cæsar's trophies, are, I believe, the crowns which were placed on his statues. So; in fir Tho. North's translation. There were set up images of Cæsar in the city with diadems on their heads, like kings. Those the two tribunes went and pulled down."
STEEVENS. * This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæfar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof, and declined so large a share of his favours and licnours, as the other had constantly accepted. Velleius Paterculus, speaking of Decimus Brutus,