Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Now in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art sham'd:
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was fam'd with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walks encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.

O! and I have heard our fathers say,

you

2

There was a Brutus once, that would have brook'd
The eternal devil3 to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.

BRU. That you do love me, I am nothing jea

lous;

What you would work me to, I have some aim;*
How I have thought of this, and of these times,
I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further mov'd. What you have said,
I will consider; what you have to say,
I will with patience hear: and find a time

3

"Nay, stamp not, tyrant; I can stamp as loud,
"And raise as many dæmons with the sound."

STEEVENS.

There was a Brutus once,] i. e. Lucius Junius Brutus.

STEEVENS,

[ocr errors]

-eternal devil-] I should think that our author wrote rather, infernal devil. JOHNSON.

I would continue to read eternal devil. L. J. Brutus (says Cassius) would as soon have submitted to the perpetual dominion of a dæmon, as to the lasting government of a king.

STEEVENS.

-aim;] i. e. guess. So, in The Two Gentlemen of

Verona :
"But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err,-."

STEEVENS.

Both meet to hear, and answer, such high things.
Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this ;5
Brutus had rather be a villager,

Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.

CAS. I am glad, that my weak words" Havestruck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.

Re-enter CESAR, and his Train.

BRU. The games are done, and Cæsaris returning.
CAS. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve;
And he will, after his sour fashion, tell you
What hath proceeded, worthy note, to-day.

BRU. I will do so:-But, look you, Cassius,
The angry spot doth glow on Cæsar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:
Calphurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero
Looks with such ferrets and such fiery eyes,
As we have seen him in the Capitol,
Being cross'd in conference by some senators.
CAS. Casca will tell us what the matter is.

5 -chew upon this;] Consider this at leisure; ruminate on this. JOHNSON.

6 Under these hard conditions as this time

Is like to lay upon us.] As, in our author's age, was frequently used in the sense of that. So, in North's translation of Plutarch, 1579: "-insomuch as they that saw it, thought he had been burnt." MALone.

"I am glad, that my weak words-] For the sake of regular measure, Mr. Ritson would read:

Cas.

Have struck &c. STEEVENS.

I am glad, my words

-ferret-] A ferret has red eyes. JOHNSON.

CES. Antonius.

ANT. Cæsar.

CES. Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men," and such as sleep o'nights: Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. ANT. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous; He is a noble Roman, and well given.

CES. 'Would he were fatter:-But I fear him not:

Yet if my name were liable to fear,

I do not know the man I should avoid

So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much; He is a great observer, and he looks

Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays, As thou dost, Antony; he hears no musick:2

9 Sleek-headed men, &c.] So, in Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, 1579: "When Cæsar's friends complained unto him of Antonius and Dolabella, that they pretended some mischief towards him; he answered, as for those fat men and smooth-combed heads, (quoth he) I never reckon of them; but these pale-visaged and carrion-lean people, I fear them most: meaning Brutus and Cassius."

And again:

"Cæsar had Cassius in great jealousy, and suspected him much; whereupon he said on a time, to his friends, what will Cassius do, think you? I like not his pale looks." STEEVENS.

''Would he were fatter :] Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew Fair, 1614, unjustly sneers at this passage, in Knockham's speech to the Pig-woman: "Come, there's no malice in fat folks; I never fear thee, an I can scape thy lean moon-calf there." WARBURTON.

2

-he hears no musick:] Our author considered the having no delight in musick as so certain a mark of an austere disposition, that in The Merchant of Venice he has pronounced, that"The man that hath no musick in himself,

"Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." MAlone. See Vol. VII. p. 377, n. 7. STEEVENS.

Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort,
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be mov'd to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves;
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd,
Than what I fear, for always I am Cæsar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.

[Exeunt CESAR and his Train. CASCA stays
behind.

CASCA. You pull'd me by the cloak; Would you speak with me?

BRU. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanc'd today,

That Cæsar looks so sad.

CASCA. Why you were with him, were you not? BRU. I should not then ask Casca what hath chanc'd.

CASCA. Why, there was a crown offered him : and being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a shouting.

BRU. What was the second noise for?

CASCA. Why, for that too.

CAS. They shouted thrice; What was the last cry for?

CASCA. Why, for that too.

BRU. Was the crown offer'd him thrice? CASCA. Ay, marry, was't, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by, mine honest neighbours shouted.

CAS. Who offered him the crown?

CASCA. Why, Antony.

BRU. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca. CASCA. I can as well be hanged, as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery. I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown ;-yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets ;3 -and, as I told you, he put it by once; but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chopped hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar; for he swooned, and fell down at it: And for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.

CAS. But, soft, I pray you: What? did Cæsar swoon?

CASCA. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.

BRU. 'Tis very like: he hath the falling-sick

ness.

CAS. No, Cæsar hath it not; but you, and I, And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness. CASCA. I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure, Cæsar fell down. If the tag-rag people

5

one of these coronets;] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "he came to Cæsar, and presented him a diadem wreathed about with laurel." STEEVENS.

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »