« PreviousContinue »
treats Parolles' loss of his drum as 'a disaster of war which Cæsar himself could not have prevented if he had been there to command' (III, vi, 54-56).
The roisterous Pistol, in his magniloquent way, inquires at Dame Quickly, hostess of the Boar's Head, Eastcheap:
And Trojan Greeks?'—2 Henry, IV, II, iv, 176.
There are some very spirited lines in the chorus-prologue of Henry V, in which Shakespeare asks his audience to
Go forth and fetch their conquering Cæsar in '-Act V. Pucelle, in i Henry VI, thus refers to Cæsar's words to the master of the pinnace, in which he, disguised as a slave, was striving to make his way from Apollonia to Brundusium, and was compelled, as Plutarch relates (Cæsar, 31), to reveal himself as Cæsar, that he might urge the mariners to make greater exertions:
“Now am I like that proud insulting ship
Which Cæsar and his fortunes bare at once '-1, ii, 139. Lord Bardolph, speaking to old Northumberland of the battle of Shrewsbury, exclaims :
“O, such a day,
Since Cæsar's fortunes '-2 Henry IV, I, i, 20-23. In the play of Cymbeline, in which our ancient hist is linked with that of Rome, there are, of course, many references to Julius Cæsar. There is, for instance, the boastful confidence expressed by Posthumus to his friend Philario, in the valour of his compatriot Britons:
That mend upon the world'-II, iv, 20-26. When Lucius, in Cymbeline's palace, urges the Roman claim to tribute, he states the case thus :
When Julius Cæsar-whose remembrance yet
Is left untendered'-111, i, 2-10.
“There be many Cæsars Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself; and we will nothing pay'-III, i, 11•14. The queen, taking part in the policy of the court, asserts :
"A kind of conquest
overcame:" with shame-
And Britons strut with courage'-III, i, 22-33.
Come, there's no more tribute to be paid :
saw," and "
Other of them may have crooked noses ; but,
To owe such straight arms, none !'~III, i, 34-38. And, after a little more talk, Cymbeline, addressing Lucius, declares:
•You must know,
Ourselves to be'-III, i, 47-54. Not only in the speech given to the queen in Cymbeline, and quoted above, is reference made in Shakespeare's plays to the brief despatch in which Cæsar announced to the senate of Rome his victory over Pharnaces, in the decisive battle of Zela (B.C. 47),‘Veni, vidi, vici.' Sir John Falstaff, after describing to John of Lancaster his capture of Sir John Colville of the Dale, avers : 'He saw me, and yielded ; that I may justly say, with the hook-nosed fellow of Rome, “I came, saw, and overcame (2 Hen. IV, IV, iii, 45). And Rosalind merrily alludes to Cæsar's thrasonical brag, 'I came, saw, and overcame' (V, ii, 29). Lord Say reminds Jack Cade and his co-rioters that
·Kent in the Commentaries Cæsar writ,
—2 Henry VI, IV, vii, 64-67. And so indeed we find Cæsar saying : 'Ex his omnibus longe sunt humanissimi qui Cantium incolunt'—'Of all these, those who dwell in Kent are the most civil and cultured (De Bello Gallico, v, 14).
Our antiquarian historian Stow states that in regard to the building of the Tower of London: 'It hath been the common opinion, and some have written (but of none assured ground), that Julius Cæsar, the first conqueror of the Britons, was the original author, as well thereof as also of many other towers, castles, and great buildings within this realm.' Poetry is the foster-parent of Tradition, and Shakespeare has employed this tradition with excellent effect in the scene in which he brings the queen of Richard II to the model where old (new ?] Troy '-- Troy novant-did stand :
"To Julius Caesar's ill-erected tower,
- Richard 11, V, i, 2-4; and once again to even better purpose in Richara III when he makes the young Prince Edward say to Buckingham, when his uncle, the Earl of Gloster, gives his counsel that
"Your highness shall repose you at the Tower'-III, i, 65. 'I do not like the Tower, of any place.
Did Julius Cæsar build that place, my lord ?'-III, i, 68, 69. And the conversation thereafter proceeds thus :
‘Buckingham. He did, my gracious lord, begin that place; Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.
Prince. Is it upon record, or else reported
Buck. Upon record, my gracious lord.
For now he lives in fame, though not in life'-—III, i, 70-88. In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare makes Pompey say to the triumvirate near Misenum :
Have one man but a man?'-II, iv, 8-19.
Come, soldier, show what cruelty ye can,
Murdered sweet Tully; Brutus' bastard * hand
-IV, i, 132-138. When Prince Edward is killed by Edward, Gloster, and Clarence, Queen Margaret exclaims:
O traitors, murderers !
If this foul deed were by to sequel it—3 Henry VI, V, V, 2-5. Then of the portents and terrors which preceded Cæsar's murder, besides the fine descriptive recital in this play, we have, in a famous passage in Hamlet, spoken by Horatius, this epitome of the prologue to the omen coming on:'
'In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
-1, i, 113-120. The Duke of Bedford, while apostrophising his deceased brother, thus refers to the apotheosis t of the murdered conqueror, saying:
'Harry the fifth ! thy ghost I invocate;
Than Julius Cæsar, or bright-'-i Henry VI, I, i, 52-56. One or two other slight references to the facts of Cæsar's life are also to be found in Antony and Cleopatra, such as the passages in which the heroine boasts:
* This epithet refers to a scandalous story-of which Voltaire unfortunately availed himself in his Julius Cæsar—that Brutus was the son of Cæsar by Servilia, the sister of Cato. That this is a calumny may easily be shown: Julius Cæsar was born 12th July B.C. 100; Brutus was born in the autumn of 85 B.C.
+ In a glowing access of poetic flattery this apotheosis is described, in a passage with which "Shakespeare was surely acquainted, in Ovid's Metamorphoses, xv, 745-870.