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His time of fearing death.-Stoop, Romans, stoop,9
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over,
That now on Pompey's basis lies along,
So oft as that shall be,"
Stoop, Romans, stoop,] Plutarch, in The Life of Cæsar, says, "Brutus and his followers, being yet hot with the murder, marched in a body from the senate-house to the Capitol, with their drawn swords, with an air of confidence and assurance.” And in The Life of Brutus :-" Brutus and his party betook themselves to the Capitol, and in their way, showing their hands all bloody, and their naked swords, proclaimed liberty to the people." THEOBALD.
Stoop then, and wash.] To wash does not mean here to cleanse, but to wash over, as we say, washed with gold; for Cassius means that they should steep their hands in the blood of Cæsar. M. MASON.
2 In states unborn,] The first folio has-state; very properly corrected in the second folio-states. Mr. Malone admits the first of these readings, which he thus explains-In theatrick pomp yet undisplayed.
But, surely, by unborn states, our author must have meantcommunities which as yet have no existence. STEEVENS.
3 So oft as that shall be,] The words-shall be, which render this verse too long by a foot, may be justly considered as interpolations, the sense of the passage being obvious without a supplement. As oft as that, in elliptical phrase, will signify—as oft
So often shall the knot of us be call'd
CAS. Ay, every man away: Brutus shall lead; and we will grace
his heels With the most boldest and best hearts of Rome.
Enter a Servant.
BRU. Soft, who comes here? A friend of An
SERV. Thus, Brutus, did my master bid me
Thus did Mark Antony bid me fall down:
Tell him, so please him come unto this place,
as that shall happen. There are too many instances of similar ellipses destroyed by the player editors, at the expence of metre.
He shall be satisfied; and, by my honour,
I'll fetch him presently.
BRU. I know, that we shall have him well to
CAS. I wish, we may: but yet have I a mind, That fears him much; and my misgiving still Falls shrewdly to the purpose.
BRU. But here comes Antony.-Welcome, Mark Antony.
ANT. O mighty Cæsar! Dost thou lie so low? Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, Shrunk to this little measure?-Fare thee well.I know not, gentlemen, what you intend, Who else must be let blood, who else is rank: If I myself, there is no hour so fit
who else is rank:] Who else may be supposed to have overtopped his equals, and grown too high for the publick safety. JOHNSON.
I rather believe the meaning is, who else is too replete with blood. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis:
"Rain added to a river that is rank,
"Perforce will force it overflow the bank.”
See Vol. X. p. 517, n. 1. MALone.
In The Tempest we have―
whom to trash
I conceive Dr. Johnson's explanation therefore to be the true one. The epithet rank is employed, on a similar occasion in King Henry VIII:
"Ha! what, so rank?”
and without allusion to a plethora. STEEVENS.
As Cæsar's death's hour; nor no instrument
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
BRU. O Antony! beg not your death of us.
Hath done this deed on Cæsar. For your part, To you our swords have leaden points, Mark An
Our arms, in strength of malice, and our hearts,
• As fire drives out fire, &c.] So, in Coriolanus:
Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
"Even as one heat another heat expels,
"Or as one nail by strength drives out another.”
* Our arms, in strength of malice,] Thus the old copies: To you (says Brutus) our swords have leaden points: our arms, strong in the deed of malice they have just performed, and our hearts united like those of brothers in the action, are yet open to receive you with all possible regard. The supposition that Brutus meant, their hearts were of brothers' temper in respect of Antony, seems to have misled those who have commented on this passage before. For-in strength of, Mr. Pope substituted
Of brothers' temper, do receive you in
With all kind love, good thoughts, and reverence. CAS. Your voice shall be as strong as any man's, In the disposing of new dignities.
BRU. Only be patient, till we have appeas'd The multitude, beside themselves with fear, And then we will deliver you the cause, Why I, that did love Cæsar when I struck him, Have thus proceeded.
ANT. I doubt not of your wisdom. Let each man render me his bloody hand : First, Marcus Brutus, will I shake with you :Next, Caius Cassius, do I take your hand;Now, Decius Brutus, yours;-now yours, Me
Yours, Cinna;-and, my valiant Casca, yours ;Though last, not least in love," yours, good Trebonius.
Gentlemen all,-alas! what shall I say?
exempt from; and was too hastily followed by other editors. If alteration were necessary, it would be easier to read:
Our arms no strength of malice,. STEEVENS. One of the phrases in this passage, which Mr. Steevens has so happily explained, occurs again in Antony and Cleopatra s "To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts, "With an unslipping knot."
"The heart of brothers governs in our love!" The counterpart of the other phrase is found in the same play: "I'll wrestle with you in my strength of love."
7 Though last, not least in love,] So, in King Lear:
Although the last, not least in our dear love."
The same expression occurs more than once in plays exhibited before the time of Shakspeare. MALONE.