Page images


Changes to the inside of Brutus's


Re-enter Brutus and Cassius.

Caf. (12) That you have wrongd me doth appear

in this,
You have condemn’d and noted Lucius Pella,
For taking bribes here of the Sardians :
Wherein, my letter (praying on his fide,
Because I knew the man) was flighted of.

Bru. You wrong'd yourself to write in such a cafe.
Caf. In such a time as this it is not meet


(12) That, &c.] I fall not use any apology for quoting this celebrated scene entire ; since to have taken any particular passages from it would have spoilt the beauty of the whole : Its excellence is so generally known, and so greatly admired, that there remains little to be said concerning it: There is a famous scene of the like kind between Agamemnon and Menelaus; in the Iphigenia in Aulis of Euripides, which Mr. Dryden judges inferior to this; the Reader may see what he says upon this head in his preface to Troilus and Creffida, in which he himself has introduced a similar scene : Beaumont and Fletcher, charmed, I suppose, with the applause our author met with for this scene, (which we find particularly commended in some verses prefix'd to the first folio impression of his works,

Or till I hear a scene more nobly take,
Than what thy half-sword parlying Roman make)

They, I say, have endeavoured to imitate him with their usual succes, in the Maid's Tragedy, where “ two virtuous persons, as bere and in Euripides, raised by natural degrees to ihe extremity of paflion, are conducted to the declination of that paffion, and conclude with the warm renewing of their friendship.” See the Maid's Tragedy, Act 3. Mr. Giidon in his remarks on Shakespear's works, at the end of his poems, has translated the quarrelling scene from Euripides, in which, if a good deal of the spirit has evaporated, the Reader will yet in some measure be able to judge of its merits. See Shakespear's Poems, Sewel's edit. p. 388.


That (13) ev'ry nice offence should bear its coma

Bru. Yet let me tell you, Casius, you yourself
Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm;
To sell, and mart your offices for gold,
To undefervers.

Caf. I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this ;
Or, by the Gods, this speech were else your last.

Bru. The name of Caffius honours this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide its head.

Cas, Chastisement !
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March re-

Did not great Julius bleed for justice fake?
What villain touch'd his body, that did ftab,
And not for justice? What! shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers ; shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes ?
And fell the mighty space of our large honours
For so much trash as may be grasped thus ?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.

Caf. Brutus, bay not me,
I'll not endure it ; you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.


[ocr errors]

(13) Every nice, &c.] This may be well understood and explained by every Night or trifling offence; but I am to imagine the author gave it,

That every offence should bear nice comment. It was so easy for the word nice to have been removed from its proper place : his comment is in the folio, which thews there is something wrong, and the metre by this reading is as perfect, Ray more so, than by the other,

Bru. Go to; you are not, (14) Casius..
Caf. I ain.
Bril. I say, you are not.
Caf. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself,
Have mind upon your bealth-tempt me no farther.

Bru, Away, flight man.
Caf. Is't possible?

Bru. Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your

rash choler? Shall I be frighted when a madman stares ?

Caf. O Gods! ye Gods! must I endure all this? Bru. All this ! ay, more. Fret 'till your proud heart

breaks ; Go therv


flaves how choleric you are, And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?


(14) Va are not, Cafsnis.] See Mr. Warburton's note on the place; upon which Mr. Edwards, in his Canons of Criticism, P. 93. obferves thus, “ If Mr. Warburton had not been giddy with his ideas of bravery, disinterestedness, philosophy, honour, and patriotism, which have nothing to do here, he woulí have seen, that Caffius is the vocative case, not the nominative; and that Brutus does not mean to say, you are not an able fodicr; but he says, you are not an abler than I; a poist which it was far from being beneath his character to insist on.

If the words, you are not, Caspus, meant a new imputation en him for degeneracy, his mere denial of it is very fiat, and Brutus replying to that denial, by a mere repetition of his former affertion, without adding any reason for it, is still worse : whereas, if the words mean only a denial of what Caffius had jun faid, it is natural enough for each of them to maintain his ground, by a confident assertion of the truth of his opinion. And that the superiority of soldiership was the point of thz'r dispute, is most manifestly evident; by Brutus relumng it a little lower,

You say you are a better soldier, &c,

Upon which Cafius answers,

You wrong me ev'ry way; you wrong me, Brutus,
I said an elder soldier; not a better,
Did I say butler?

Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour? by the Gods,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Tho'it do split you. For, from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mouth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.

Caf. Is it come to this ?

Bru. You say, you are a better foldier ; Let it appear so; make your vaunting true, And it shall please me well.

For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
Caf. You wrong me every way-you wrong me,

Brutus ;
I said, an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say, better?-

Bru. If you did, I care not.
Caf. When Cæfar liv'd, he durft not thus have

mov'd me. Bru. Peace, peace, you durft not so have tempted

Caf. I durst not?
Bru. No.
Caf. What? durst not tempt him?
Bru. For your


durst not.
Caf. Do not presume too much upon my love ?
I may do that, I shall be forry for.

Bru. You have done that you should be forry for.
There is no terror, Casius, in your

For I am arm'd so strong in honesty,
That they pass by me, as the idle wind,
Which I respect not.

I did send to you
For certain lums of gold, which you deny'd me;
For I can raise no money by vile means ;
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, (15) than to wring


15) Than to wring, &c.} This inimitable passage is not only higłły in character, but as Mr. Warburton has observed, is most


From the bard hands of peasants their vile trash,
By any indirection. I did fend
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you deny'd me; was that done like Casius?
Should I have answer'd Caius Caffius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows


Toʻlock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, Gods, with all your thunderbolts,
Dash him to pieces !

Cal. I deny'd you not.
Bru. You did.

Caf. I did not he was but a fool,
That brought my answer back. Brutus hath riv'd


A friend should bear a friend's infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.

Bru. I do not, 'till you practise them on me.
Caf. You love me not.
Bru. I do not like your faults.

Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.
For Cafsus is a weary of the world :
Hated by one he loves ; brav'd by his brother;
Check'd like a bondman: all his faults observ'd;
Set in a note-book, learn'd and con’d by rote,
To cast into my teeth. 0 I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes—There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast within, a heart
Dearer than Pluius's mine, richer than gold ;
If that thou beeft a Roman, take it forth.
I that deny'd thee gold, will give my heart;
Strike as thou didit at Cæfar ; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worft, thou lov’dst him

better Than ever thou lov’dst Caffius.


happily expressed. “ To wring implies both to get injustly, and to use force in getting: and hard hands fignify both the peasants great labour and pains in acquiring, and his great unwillingness to quit his hold."

« PreviousContinue »