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For let the Gods so speed me, as I love
Cassius, in Contempt of Cæfar.
I was born free as Cæfar, so were you;
city : my principles lead me to purfue it: this is my end, my good: whatever comes in competition with the general good, will weigh nothing : death and honour are to me things of an indifferent nature: but, however, I freely acknowledge, that of these indifferent things, honour has my greatest eftcem, my choice and love: the very name of honour I iove, more than I fear death." Upton's Observations on Shakespear, p. 314.
(2) For once, &c.] It is too well known that swimming was an usual exercise with the hardy and noble Roma.is, to infist upon it here: Horace makes it a mark of effeminacy to neglect it: and complains to Lydia, that she had enervated Sybaris, by making him afraid even to touch the yellow Tyber's fircas Cur timet flavum Tyberim tangere?
See ode 8. 1.1.
Julius Cæsar was remarkable for his excellence in swimming : Beaumont and Fletcher, in their False One, thus nobly describe one of the most illustrious incidents of his life
But got near the sea,
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
should (3) So get the start of the majestic world, And bear the palm alone.
(3) So get, &c.} Mr. Warburton tells us, “ the image is cxtremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games.” Tho'that does not appear fo certain or necessary, since the allusion to any public games will do full as well; yet what he says afterwards is more to the purpose : “ The majestic world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion, Orbis Romanus."
But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæfar's great pattern, Akwarder, who being asked whe
Bru. Another general shout!
Caf: Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
about To find ourselves dishonourable graves. Men at sometimes are masters of their fates : The fault, dear. Brutus, is not in our Itars But in ourselves, that we are underlings. Brutus and Cæfar! what should be in that Cafar ? Why should that name be founded more than yours? Write them together; yours is as fair a name : Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ; Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em, Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæfar. Now in the name of all the Gods at once, Upon what meat doth this our Cæfar feed, That he is grown fo great ? Age, thou art sham’d; Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods. When went there by an age, fince the great flood, But it was fam'd with more than with one man? When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome, That her wide walls encompass'd but one man.
SCENE IV. Cæsar's Dislike of Cassius.
Would he were fatter: but I fear him not :
ther he would run the courfe at the Olympic games, replied, “yes, if the racers were kings.” For this allusion also, there does not seem the least hint in the passage ; rather the contrary : Cassius wonders how such a feeble man should so get the start of all the Romans, the majestic world, as to bear the palm alone? How he, feebler than the rest, Bhould in the course out-strip 'em all, and carry off the prize a
He is a great observer; and he looks
SCENE VII. Spirit of Liberty. I know, where I will wear this dagger, then: Caffius from bondage will deliver Caffius. Therein, ye Gods, you make the weak most strong; Therein, ye Gods, you tyrants do defeat : Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the itrength of spirit: But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. If I know this; know all the world befides, That part of tyranny, that I do bear, I can shake off at pleasure.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Ambition, covered with specious Humility.
But 'tis a common proof,
(4) 11e hears, &c.] Mr. Theclald obferves well here: “ This is not a trivial obfervation, nor does our poet mean barely by it, that Caffius was not a merry, sprightly man, but that he haul not a due temperament of harmony in his composition : and
Whereto the climber upward turns his face;
Conspiracy, dreadful till executed. (5) Between the acting of a dreadful thing, And the first motion, all the interim is
that, therefore, natures so uncorrected, are dangerous." He hath finely dilated on this sentiment, in his Merchant of Venice.
The man that hath no music, &c. (5) Between, &c.] Mr. Addison has paraphrased this inimitable passage, in his Cato, which alwaysserves to remind me of that excellent distinction, made by Mr. Guibrie, in his Elay on Trata gedy, betwixt a poet and a genius :
O think what anxious moments pass between
Either Mr. Theobald or Mr. Warburton (which who can pro. nounce, since the one prints the same words in his preface, which the other uses as his own in his notes ! See Thiobald's preface, vol. 1. p. 23. and Warburton on the passage) either the one or the other of them have observed, “that nice critic, Dionysius, of Halicarnassus, confesses, that he could not find those great strokes which he calls the terrible graces, any where so frequent as in Homer. I believe the success would be the same, likewise, if we fought for them in any other of our authors besides our Britisha Homer, Shakespear. This description of the condition of conspirators has a pomp and terror in it, that perfectly astonishes; our excellent Mr. Addison, whose modesty made him sometimes diffident in his own genius, but whose exquisite judgment always led him to the safest guides, has paraphrased this fine description : but we are no longer to expect those terrible graces, which he could not binder from evaporating in the transfusion. We may observe two things on his imitation: first, that the subjects