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MET. Is there no voice more worthy than my
To sound more sweetly in great Cæsar's ear,
BRU. I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Cæsar;
CES. What, Brutus!
Pardon, Cæsar; Cæsar, pardon: As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,
To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,
Mr. Tyrwhitt's interpretation of the word wrong is supported by a line in our author's Rape of Lucrece :
"Time's glory is
"To wrong the wronger, till he render right."
Thus also, in King Henry IV. P. II. where Justice Shallow assures Davy that his friend (an arrant knave)" shall have no wrong." STEEevens.
apprehensive;] Susceptible of fear, or other passions.
Apprehensive does not mean, as Johnson explains it, susceptible of fear, but intelligent, capable of apprehending.
So, in King Henry IV. P. II. Act IV. sc. iii: "makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive," &c. STEEVENS.
Yet, in the number, I do know but one1
That I was constant, Cimber should be banish'd, And constant do remain to keep him so.
CIN. O Cæsar,
CES. Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus? DEC. Great Cæsar,
Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
but one-] One and only one.
holds on his rank,] Perhaps, holds on his race; continues his course. We commonly say, To hold a rank, and To hold on a course or way. JOHNSON.
To" hold on his rank," is to continue to hold it; and I take rank to be the right reading. The word race, which Johnson proposes, would but ill agree with the following words, unshak'd of motion, or with the comparison to the polar star :
"Of whose true-fix'd, and resting quality,
"There is no fellow in the firmament."
Hold on his rank, in one part of the comparison, has precisely the same import with hold his place, in the other. M. MASON.
Unshak'd of motion:] i. e. Unshak'd by suit or solicitation, of which the object is to move the person addressed. MALONE. * Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?] I would read;
Do not Brutus bootless kneel? JOHNSON.
I cannot subscribe to Dr. Johnson's opinion. Cæsar, as some of the conspirators are pressing round him, answers their importunity properly: See you not my own Brutus kneeling in vain? What success can you expect to your solicitations, when his are ineffectual? This might have put my learned coadjutor in mind of the passage of Homer, which he has so elegantly introduced in his preface. Thou? (said Achilles to his captive,) when so great a man as Patroclus has fallen before thee, dost thou complain of the common lot of mortality? STEEVens.
The editor of the second folio saw this passage in the same light as Dr. Johnson did, and made this improper alteration. By Brutus here Shakspeare certainly meant Marcus Brutus, because
CASCA. Speak, hands, for me.
[CASCA stabs CæSAR in the Neck. CESAR catches hold of his Arm. He is then stabbed
by several other Conspirators, and at last by MARCUS BRUTUS.
CES. Et tu, Brute ?5—Then fall, Cæsar. [Dies. The Senators and People retire in confusion.
he has confounded him with Decimus, (or Decius as he calls him); and imagined that Marcus Brutus was the peculiar favourite of Cæsar, calling him "his well-beloved;" whereas in fact it was Decimus Brutus that Cæsar was particularly attached to, appointing him by his will as second heir, that is, in remainder after his primary devisees. MALONE.
See p. 260, n. 1. STEEVENS.
Et tu, Brute?] Suetonius says, that when Cæsar put Metellus Cimber back, "he caught hold of Cæsar's gowne at both shoulders, whereupon, as he cried out, This is violence, Cassius came in second full a front, and wounded him a little beneath the throat. Then Cæsar catching Cassius by the arme thrust it through with his stile, or writing punches; and with that being about to leape forward, he was met with another wound and stayed." Being then assailed on all sides, "with three and twenty wounds he was stabbed, during which time he gave but one groan, (without any word uttered) and that was at the first thrust; though some have written, that as Marcus Brutus came running upon him, he said, xaì σú téxvov, and thou, my sonne.' Holland's translation, 1607.
No mention is here made of the Latin exclamation, which our author has attributed to Cæsar, nor did North furnish him with it, or with English words of the same import, as might naturally have been supposed. Plutarch says, that on receiving his first wound from Casca, "he caught hold of Casca's sword, and held it hard; and they both cried out, Cæsar in Latin, O vile traitor, Casca, what doest thou? and Casca in Greek to his brother, Brother help me."-The conspirators then "compassed him on every side with their swordes drawn in their handes, that Cæsar turned him no where but he was stricken by some, and still had naked swords in his face, and was hacked and mangled amongst them as a wild beast taken of hunters.-And then Brutus himself gave him one wound above the privities.-Men report
CIN. Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!— Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets. CAS. Some to the common pulpits, and cry out, Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!
BRU. People, and senators! be not affrighted; Fly not; stand still :-ambition's debt is paid. CASCA. Go to the pulpit, Brutus."
BRU. Where's Publius?
And Cassius too.
also, that Cæsar did still defend himself against the reste, running every way with his bodie, but when he saw Brutus with his sworde drawen in his hande, then he pulled his gowne over his heade, and made no more resistance."
Neither of these writers therefore, we see, furnished Shakspeare with this exclamation. His authority appears to have been a line in the old play, entitled The True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, &c. printed in 1600, on which he formed his Third Parte of King Henry VI:
"Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Cæsar too?"
This line Shakspeare rejected when he wrote the piece above mentioned, (See Vol. XIV. p. 177, n. 5.) but it appears it had made an impression on his memory. The same line is also found in Acolasius his After-witte, a poem, by S. Nicholson, printed in 1600:
"Et tu, Brute? Wilt thou stab Cæsar too?
"Thou art my friend, and wilt not see me wrong'd." So, in Cæsar's Legend, Mirror for Magistrates, 1587:
"O this, quoth I, is violence; then Cassius pierc'd my breast;
"And Brutus thou, my sonne, quoth I, whom erst I
The Latin words probably appeared originally in Dr. Eedes's play on this subject. See p. 252, n. *. MALONE.
Go to the pulpit, Brutus.] We have now taken leave of Casca. Shakspeare for once knew that he had a sufficient number of heroes on his hands, and was glad to lose an individual in the croud. It may be added, that the singularity of Casca's manners would have appeared to little advantage amidst the succeeding varieties of tumult and war. STEEVENS.
CIN. Here, quite confounded with this mutiny. MET. Stand fast together, lest some friend of Cæsar's
BRU. Talk not of standing;-Publius, good
There is no harm intended to your person,
CAS. Where's Antony?
TRE. Fled to his house amaz'd: Men, wives, and children, stare, cry out, and run, As it were doomsday.
BRU. Fates! we will know your pleasures:That we shall die, we know; 'tis but the time, And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
CAS. Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life, Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
BRU. Grant that, and then is death a benefit : So are we Cæsar's friends, that have abridg'd
"Nor to no Roman else:] This use of two negatives, not to make an affirmative, but to deny more strongly, is common to Chaucer, Spenser, and other of our ancient writers. Dr. Hickes observes, that in the Saxon, even four negatives are sometimes conjoined, and still preserve a negative signification.
Cas.] Both the folios give this speech to Casca. REED.