Page images


I denied you not.
Bru. You did.

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

my heart :

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

Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me '.
Cas. You love me not.

I do not like your faults. CAS. A friendly eye could never see such faults. Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do

appear As huge as high Olympus.

CAs. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come, Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius, For Cassius is aweary 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 conn’d by rote, To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep My spirit from mine eyes !—There is my dagger, And here my naked breast; within, a heart Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold: If that thou be’st a Roman, take it forth '; I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart :

-my answer back.] The word back is unnecessary to the sense, and spoils the measure. Steevens.

9 Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.] The meaning is this: 'I do not look for your faults, I only see them, and mention them with vehemence, when you force them into my notice, by practising them on me.' Johnson.

! If that thou BE'st A Roman, take it forth ;) I think he means only, that he is so far from avarice, when the cause of his country requires liberality, that if any man would wish for his heart, he would not need enforce his desire any otherwise, than by showing that he was a Roman. Johnson. This seems only a form of adjuration like that of Brutus, p. 125:

Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true.” Blackstone.



Strike, as thou didst at Cæsar; for, I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lov’dst him

Than ever thou lov’dst Cassius.

Sheath your dagger: Be angry when you will, it shall have scope; Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb That carries anger, as the flint bears fire; Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark, And straight is cold again.

Hath Cassius liv'd To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus, When grief, and blood ill-temper’d, vexeth him ?

Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too. Cas. Do you confess so much ? Give me your

hand. Bru. And my heart too. ' Cas.

O Brutus!— Bru.

What's the matter? Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me, When that rash humour, which my mother gave me, Makes me forgetful ?

Yes, Cassius; and, from henceforth ?, When you are over-earnest with your Brutus, He'll think your mother chides", and leave you so.

[Noise within. PoET. . [Within.] Let me go in to see the gene

[ocr errors]


2 - and, HENCEFORTH,] Old copy, redundantly in respect both of sense and measure :-" and from henceforth.But the present omission is countenanced by many passages in our author, besides the following in Macbeth :

- Thanes and kinsmen,

Henceforth be earls.” Steevens. -chides,] i. e. is clamorous, scolds. So, in As You Like It: " For what had he do to chide at me?" STEEVENS.


There is some grudge between them, 'tis not meet They be alone.

Luc. [Within.) You shall not come to them. Poet. [1Vithin.] Nothing but death shall stay


Enter Poet. Cas. How now? What's the matter? Poet. For shame, you generals ; What do you

mean ? Love, and be friends, as two such men should be ; For I have seen more years, I am sure, than ye'.

Cas. Ha, ha; how vilely doth this cynick rhyme !
Bru. Get you hence, sirrah ; saucy fellow, hence.
Cas. Bear with him, Brutus; 'tis his fashion.
Bru. I'll know his humour, when he knows his

time: What should the wars do with these jigging fools 6? Companion, hence?.

Enter Poet.] Shakspeare found the present incident in Plutarch. The intruder, however, was Marcus Phaonius, who had been a friend and follower of Cato ; not a poet, but one who assumed the character of a cynick philosopher. Steevens. s Love, and be friends, as two such men should be;

For I have seen more years, I am sure, than ye.] This passage is a translation from the following one in the first book of Homer:

Αλλά πίθεσθ. άμφω δε νεωτέρω έσον εμείο : which is thus given in Sir Thomas North’s Plutarch :

My lords, I pray you hearken both to me,

“ For I have seen more years than such ye three.” See also Antony's speech, p. 108 :

“ Octavius, 'I have seen more days than you." Again, in Chapman's Iliad, book ix. : "I am his greater, being a king, and more in yeares than he.”

STEEVENS. 6 What should the wars do with these Jigging fools ?] i. e. with these silly poets. A jig signified, in our author's time, a metrical composition, as well as a dance. So, in the prologue to Fletcher's Fair Maid of the Inn :

" A jig shall be clapp'd at, and every rhyme
* Prais'd and applauded by a clamorous chime."


Away, away, be gone.

[Exit Poet.

Enter Lucilius and TITINIUS. Bru. Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders Prepare to lodge their companies to-night.

Cas. And come yourselves, and bring Messala

with you

Immediately to us.

[Exeunt Lucilius and TITINIUS. BRU.

Lucius, a bowl of wine. Cas. I did not think, you could have been so


[See note on Hamlet, Act II. Sc. II. vol. vii. p. 308.] A modern editor, (Mr. Capell,) who, after having devoted the greater part of his life to the study of old books, appears to have been extremely ignorant of ancient English literature, not knowing this, for jigging, reads (after Mr. Pope,) jingling. His work exhibits above Nine Hundred alterations of the genuine text, equally capricious and unwarrantable.

This editor, of whom it was justly said by the late Bishop of Glocester, that “ he had hung himself in chains over our poet's grave," having boasted in his preface, that “his emendations of the text were at least equal in number to those of all the other editors and commentators put together," I some years ago had the curiosity to look into his volumes with this particular view. On examination I then found, that, of three hundred and twentyfive emendations of the ancient copies, which, as I then thought, he had properly received into his text, two hundred and eighty-five were suggested by some former editor or commentator, and forty only by himself. But on a second and more rigorous examination I now find, that of the emendations properly adopted, (the number of which appears to be much smaller than that above mentioned,) he has a claim to not more than fifteen. The innovations and arbitrary alterations, either adopted from others, or first introduced by this editor, from ignorance of our ancient customs and phraseology, amount to no less a number than nine hundred and seventy-two! It is highly probable that many yet have escaped my notice. Malone.

7 COMPANION, hence.) Companion is used as a term of reproach in many of the old plays; as we say at present-fellow. So, in King Henry IV. Dol Tearsheet says to Pistol :

I scorn you, scurvy companion,&c. Steevens.

Bru. O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.

Cas. Of your philosophy you make no use, If you give place to accidental evils. Bru. No man bears sorrow better :-Portia is

Cas. Ha ! Portia ?
BRU. She is dead.
Cas. How scap'd I killing, when I cross'd you

O insupportable and touching loss ! -
Upon what sickness?

Impatient of my absence; And grief, that young Octavius with Mark Antony Have made themselves so strong ;-for with her

death That tidings came ;-With this she fell distract, And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire®.

8 And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.] This circumstance is taken from Plutarch. It is also mentioned by Val. Maximus, iv. 6.

It cannot, however, be amiss to remark, that the death of Portia may want that foundation which has hitherto entitled her to a place in poetry, as a pattern of Roman fortitude. She is reported, by Pliny, I think, to have died at Rome of a lingering illness while Brutus was abroad; but some writers seem to look on a natural death as a derogation from a distinguished character.

STEEVENS. Valerius Maximus says that Portia survived Brutus, and killed herself on hearing that her husband was defeated and slain at Philippi. Plutarch's account in The Life of Brutus is as follows :

And for Portia, Brutus' wife, Nicolaus the philosopher, and Valerius Maximus, doe wryte, that she determining to kill her selfe, (her parents and friends carefullie looking to her to kepe her from it,) tooke hotte burning coles, and cast them into her mouth, and kept her mouth so close, that she choked her selfe. - There was a letter of Brutus found, wrytten to his frendes, complaining of their negligence; that his wife being sicke, they would not helpe her, but suffered her to kill herselfe, choosing to dye rather than to languish in paine. Thus it appeareth that Nicolaus knew not well that time, sith the letter (at least if it were Brutus' letter,) doth plainly declare the disease and love of this lady, and the manner of her death.” North's Translation.

« PreviousContinue »