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For he is superstitious grown of late;
DEC. Never fear that: If he be so revolv'd,
8 WHE'R Cæsar, &c.] Whe'r is the ancient abbreviation of whether, which likewise is sometimes written-where. Thus in Turberville's translation of Ovid's Epistle from Penelope to Ulysses:
"But Sparta cannot make account
"Where thou do live or die." STEEVENS.
9 Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies:] Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fixed, predominant opinion. JOHNSON.
Main opinion, according to Johnson's explanation, is sense; but mean opinion would be a more natural expression, and is, I believe, what Shakspeare wrote. M. MASON.
The words main opinion occur again in Troilus and Cressida, where (as here) they signify general estimation:
Why then we should our main opinion crush 66 In taint of our best man."
There is no ground therefore for suspecting any corruption in the text.
Fantasy was in our author's time commonly used for imagination, and is so explained in Cawdry's Alphabetical Table of Hard Words, 8vo. 1604. It signified both the imaginative power, and the thing imagined. It is used in the former sense by Shakspeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor:
"Raise up the organs of her fantasy." In the latter, in the present play :
"Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies."
Ceremonies means omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites. So, afterwards:
"Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies, "Yet now they fright me." MALONE. That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes.] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
For I can give his humour the true bent;
CAS. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.
BRU. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermost? CIN. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then. MET. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard3,
the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter.
So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. c. v. :
"Like as a lyon whose imperiall powre
"T" avoid the rash assault and wrathfull stowre
But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast.” Again, in Bussy D'Ambois, 1607:
"An angry unicorne in his full career
Charge with too swift a foot a jeweller
"That watch'd him for the treasure of his brow,
Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed. See Pliny's Natural History, b. viii.
2 Let me work:] These words, as they stand, being quite unmetrical, I suppose our author to have originally written :
"Let me to work." STEEVENS.
i. e. go to work.
bear CESAR hard,] Thus the old copy: but Messieurs Rowe, Pope, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, on the authority of the
Who rated him for speaking well of Pompey;
BRU. Now, good Metellus, go along by him 5: He loves me well, and I have given him reasons; Send him but hither, and I'll fashion him.
CAS. The morning comes upon us: We'll leave you, Brutus:
And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember What you have said, and show yourselves true Ro
BRU. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily; Let not our looks put on our purposes; But bear it as our Roman actors do, With untir'd spirits, and formal constancy: And so, good-morrow to you every one. [Exeunt all but BRUTUS. Boy! Lucius!-Fast asleep? It is no matter; Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber : Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies, Which busy care draws in the brains of men; Therefore thou sleep'st so sound.
Brutus, my lord!
latter folios, read-hatred, though the same expression appears again in the first scene of the following Act: "I do beseech you, if you bear me hard;" and has already occurred in a former one:
"Cæsar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus."
STEEVENS. Hatred was substituted for hard by the ignorant editor of the second folio, the great corrupter of Shakspeare's text. MALONE.
5 By him:] That is, by his house. Make that your way home. Mr. Pope substituted to for by, and all the subsequent editors have adopted this unnecessary change. MALONE.
6 Let not our looks-] Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs. JOHNSON.
7 Thou hast no FIGURES, &c.] Figures occurs in the same sense in The First Part of King Henry IV. Act I. Sc. III. :
"He apprehends a world of figures." HENLEY.
BRU. Portia, what mean you? Wherefore rise
It is not for your health, thus to commit
Stole from my bed: And yesternight, at supper,
BRU. I am not well in health, and that is all. POR. Brutus is wise, and, were he not in health, He would embrace the means to come by it.
BRU. Why, so I do :-Good Portia, go to bed. POR. Is Brutus sick? and is it physical To walk unbraced, and suck up the humours Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick; And will he steal out of his wholesome bed, To dare the vile contagion of the night? And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
on your CONDITION,] On your temper; the disposition
your mind. See vol. v. p. 23, n. 7. MALONE.
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus ;
Kneel not, gent.e Portia.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
9 I CHARM YOU,] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope and Sir Thomas Hanmer read-charge, but unnecessarily. So, in Cymbeline: tis your graces
"That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
To keep with you at meals, &c.] "I being, O Brutus, (sayed she) the daughter of Cato, was married vnto thee, not to be thy beddefellowe and companion in bedde and at borde onelie, like a harlot; but to be partaker also with thee, of thy good and euill fortune. Nowe for thyselfe, I can finde no cause of faulte in thee touchinge our matche: but for my parte, how may I showe my duetie towards thee, and how muche I woulde doe for thy sake, if I can not constantlie beare a secrete mischaunce or griefe with thee, which requireth secrecy and fidelitie? I confesse, that a woman's wit commonly is too weake to keep a secret safely: but yet, Brutus, good education, and the companie of vertuous men, haue some power to reforme the defect of nature. And for my selfe, I haue this benefit moreouer: that I am the daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus. This notwithstanding, I did not trust to any of these things before; vntil that now I have found by experience, that no paine nor grife whatsoeuer can ouercome me. With these