« VorigeDoorgaan »
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder The old Anchises bear, so, from the waves of Tyber Did I the tired Cæsar: And this man
Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
And, when the fit was on him, I did mark
66 those powers, that the queen
He had a fever when he was in Spain,] This passage Dr. Falconer observes is a true copy from nature, and shows how an ague may produce cowardice, even in Cæsar himself. Falconer on the Influence of Climate, &c. 4to. p. 163. REED.
• His coward lips did from their colour fly;] A plain man would have said, the colour fled from his lips, and not his lips from their colour. But the false expression was for the sake of as false a piece of wit: a poor quibble, alluding to a coward flying from his colours. WARBURTON.
7-feeble temper-] i. e. temperament, constitution.
-get the start of the majestick world, &c.] This image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympick games. The majestick world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion Orbis Romanus. But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexan
BRU. Another general shout!
I do believe, that these applauses are
For some new honours that are heap'd on Cæsar.
CAS. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
der, who being asked, Whether he would run the course at the Olympick games, replied, Yes, if the racers were kings. WARBURTON.
That the allusion is to the prize allotted in games to the foremost in the race, is very clear. All the rest existed, I apprehend, only in Dr. Warburton's imagination. MALone.
and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs,] So, as an anonymous writer has observed, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV. c. x:
"But I the meanest man of many more,
9 Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;] A similar thought occurs in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:
"What diapason's more in Tarquin's name,
"Than in a subject's? or what's Tullia
"More in the sound, than should become the name
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.] Dr. Young, in Busiris, appears to have imitated this passage:
Now in the names of all the gods at once,
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
BRU. That you do love me, I am nothing jea
What you would work me to, I have some aim;*
"Nay, stamp not, tyrant; I can stamp as loud,
2 There was a Brutus once,] i. e. Lucius Junius Brutus.
-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.
aim;] i. e. guess. So, in The Two Gentlemen of
"But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err,
Both meet to hear, and answer, such high things.
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
CAS. I am glad, that my weak words"
Re-enter CESAR, and his Train.
BRU. The games are done, and Cæsar is returning.
BRU. I will do so :-But, look you, Cassius,
-chew upon this;] Consider this at leisure; ruminate 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:
Have struck &c.
I am glad, my words
-ferret-] A ferret has red eyes. JOHNSON.
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:
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."
"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.
-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.