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tus would not suffer a king in Rome; these considerations compel him to take the following resolution:
It must be by his death; and, for my part,
But for the general. He would be crown'd:
That at his will we may do danger with.
Th' abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
Remorse from power: and to speak truth of Cæsar,
How averse he is to the means, by which
he is to deliver his country from the danger apprehended, appears in the following words:
Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar,
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing,
Disguise and concealment are so abhorrent from the open ingenuousness of his nature, that righteous as he thinks the cause, in which he is going to engage, on hearing his friends are come to him muffled up at midnight, he cannot help breaking out in the following manner:
Sham'st thou to shew thy dang'rous brow by night,
When evils are most free? O then, by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough,
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, Conspiracy,
Hide it in smiles and affability;
For if thou put thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Brutus rises far above his friend and associate Cassius, when, with a noble disdain, he rejects his proposal of swearing to their resolution.
No, not on oath. If not the face of men,
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Nor th' insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think, that or our cause, or our performance,
If he doth break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath past from him.
Is it not wonderful to see a poor player thus ennoble the sentiments, and give full expansion to the magnanimity of the man styled the Deliverer of Rome?
Mr. Voltaire is so little sensible of the noble delicacy of this speech, that he says, the conspirators are not Romans, but a parcel of country-fellows of a former age who conspire in a tippling-house.-Surely there is no partiality in saying our author has given to Brutus Roman sentiments, with a tincture of the Platonic philosophy; and, besides
besides these more general characteristics, has added many nice touches, which specify his personal qualities. We behold on the stage the Marcus Brutus of Plutarch rendered more amiable and more interesting. A peculiar gentleness of manners, and delicacy of mind, distinguish him from all the other conspirators; and we cannot refuse to concur with the confession of his enemies, and the words of Antony.
This was the noblest Roman of them all :
Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar;
He, only, in a general honest thought,
And common good to all, made one of them.
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up,
The following soliloquy, prophetic of the civil war, subsequent to the death of Cæsar, spoken by Antony addressing himself to the dead body, is sublime and solemn.
O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,