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Clitus. Now is that noble vessel full of grief, That it runs over even at his eyes. Brutus. Come hither, good Volumnius; lista
word. Volumnius. What says my lord ? Brutus.
Why, this, Volumnius: The ghost of Cæsar hath appear'd to me Two several times by night ; at Sardis once, And this last night here in Philippi fields. I know my hour is come. Volumnius.
Not so, my lord. Brutus. Nay, I am sure it is, Volumnius. Thou seest the world, Volumnius, how it goes; Our enemies have beat us to the pit : (Low alarums. It is more worthy to leap in ourselves Than tarry till they push us. Good Volumnius, Thou know'st that we two went to school together; Even for that our love of old, I prithee, Hold thou my sword-hilts whilst I run on it. Volumnius. That 's not an office for a friend, my lord.
(Alarum still. Clitus. Fly, fly, my lord! there is no tarrying here. Brutus. Farewell to you ;—and you ;—and you,
Volumnius. Strato, thou hast been all this while asleep; Farewell to thee too, Strato.—Countrymen, My heart doth joy that yet in all my life I found no man but he was true to me. I shall have glory by this losing day, More than Octavius and Mark Antony By this vile conquest shall attain unto. So, fare you well at once; for Brutus' tongue Hath almost ended his life's history. Night hangs upon my eyes; my bones would rest, That have but labour'd to attain this hour.
(Alarum. Cry within, 'Fly, fly, fly!' Clitus. Fly, my lord, fly! Brutus.
Hence, I will follow.(Exeunt Clitus, Dardanius, and Volumnius. I prithee, Strato, stay thou by thy lord. Thou art a fellow of a good respect;
Thy life hath had some smatch of honour in it:
Strato. Give me your hand first; fare you well,
Brutus. Farewell, good Strato.-Cæsar, now be
still; I kill'd not thee with half so good a will.
(He runs on his sword, and dies. Alarum. Retreat. Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY,
MESSALA, LUCILIUS, and the Army. Octavius. What man is that? Messala. My master's man.-Strato, where is thy
master? Strato. Free from the bondage you are in, Mes
sala : The conquerors can but make a fire of him; For Brutus only overcame himself, And no man else hath honour by his death. Lucilius. So Brutus should be found. I thank
thee, Brutus, That thou hast prov'd Lucilius' saying true. Octavius. All that sery'd Brutus, I will entertain
them.Fellow, wilt thou bestow thy time with me?
Strato. Ay, if Messala will prefer me to you.*
*Cf. Bacon, Adv. of L. II., 21, 1: "And if it be said, that the cure of men's minds belongeth to sacred divinity, it is most true;' but yet moral philosophy may be preferred unto her as a wise servant and humble handmaid. Here Craik thinks it means "to transfer, or hand over,' but it merely implies the transfer. Messala, of course, could not recommend his servant to a new master without giving up his own claim upon him.-Rolfe.
Octavius. Do so, good Messala.
Messala. Octavius, then take him to follow thee, That did the latest service to my master.
Antony. This was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators, save only he, Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar ;*
He only, in a general honest thought
*From Bacon: “How to extinguish envy he knew excellently well, and thought it an object worth purchasing even by the sacrifice of dignity; and being in quest of, real power, he was content during the whole course of his life to decline and put by all the empty show and pomp and circumstance of it, thus throwing the envy upon others;, until at last, whether satiated with power or corrupted by flattery, hé aspired likewise to the Eternal emblems therof, the name of King and the Crown, which turned to his destruction.
In one of Bacon's letters to Sir Toby Matthew, written in 1609, he refers to this tract on the “Character of Julius Caesar" as having been in existence, at least in an early draft, for several years. It seems probable, therefore, that the prose study and the play (circa 1601) were substantially of the same date.
Cf. Bacon: “Nemo virtuti invidiam reconciliaverit praeter mortem.' (No one but death can reconcile envy to virtue.)–Prom. No. 69 (1594).
Octavius. According to his virtue let us use him, With all respect and rites of burial. Within my tent his bones to-night shall lie, Most like a soldier, ordered honourably.So, call the field to rest, and let 's away, To part the glories of this happy day. (Exeunt. REFERENCES.
Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning.
Charge against St. John.
Wisdom of the Ancients.
CRITICAL COMMENTS. "Hardly one of the speeches put in Caesar's mouth can be regarded as historically characteristic; taken altogether, they are little short of a downright caricature. As here represented, Caesar is little better than a grand, strutting piece of puff paste; and when he speaks, he is very much in the style of a glorious vapourer and braggart, full of lofty airs and mock thunder.”—Henry N. Hudson.
Mr. Hudson did not fail, however, to catch a glimpse of the truth, for he added :
"Yet we have ample proof that Shakespeare understood Caesar thoroughly, and that he regarded him as 'the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of times. It is clear that the poet's course did not proceed at all from ignorance or misconception of the man.”—Ibid.
That is to say, the Caesar of the play, even in the opinion of this Shake-spearean, was not the Caesar of our histories, and was never intended by the dramatist to be represented as such. But why Caesar was actually placed before us as a “piece of puff paste” in the play, as Mr. Hudson says he was, we are not informed.
“The lesson of Julius Caesar' is that vengeance, death, shall follow rebellion for insufficient cause, for misjudging the political state of one's country, and misjudging the means—taking unlawful ones to attain your ends.
“The Caesar of the play is not the great conqueror of Britain (did Shake-speare make him despicable for that?), but Caesar old, decaying, failing both in health and mind. His long success had ruined his character, had turned his head."Frederic I. Furnwall, 1877.
“The character of Caesar in our play has been much blamed. He is declared to be unlike the idea conceived of him from his Commentaries; it is said that he does nothing and only utters a few pompous, thrasonical, grandiloquent words, and it has been asked whether this be the Caesar that 'did awe the world?' The poet, if he intended to make the attempt of the republicans his main theme, could not have ventured to create too great an interest in Caesar; it was necessary to keep him in the background, and to present that view of him which gave
reason for the conspiracy. According even to Plutarch, whose biography of Caesar is acknowledged to be very imperfect, Caesar's character