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No Rome of safety for Octavius yet;
Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay a while;
[Exeunt, with CESAR'S Body.
The same. The Forum.
Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a Throng of Citizens.
CIT. We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied. BRU. Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.
Cassius, go you into the other street,
Those that will hear me speak, let them stay here;
Of Cæsar's death.
No Rome of safety &c.] If Shakspeare meant to quibble on the words Rome and room, in this and a former passage, he is at least countenanced in it by other authors.
So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1638:
"My Rome indeed, for what I seem to be,
I will hear Brutus speak.
2 CIT. I will hear Cassius; and compare their
When severally we hear them rendered.
[Exit CASSIUS, with some of the Citizens. BRUTUS goes into the Rostrum.
3 CIT. The noble Brutus is ascended: Silence! BRU. Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be silent that you may hear: believe me for mine honour; and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Bru
countrymen, and lovers! &c.] There is no where, in all Shakspeare's works, a stronger proof of his not being what we call a scholar than this; or of his not knowing any thing of the genius of learned antiquity. This speech of Brutus is wrote in imitation of his famed laconick brevity, and is very fine in its kind; but no more like that brevity than his times were like Brutus's. The ancient laconick brevity was simple, natural, and easy; this is quaint, artificial, jingling, and abounding with forced antitheses. In a word, a brevity, that for its false eloquence would have suited any character, and for its good sense would have become the greatest of our author's time; but yet, in a style of declaiming, that sits as ill upon Brutus as our author's trowsers or collar-band would have done. WARBUrton.
I cannot agree with Warburton that this speech is very fine in its kind. I can see no degree of excellence in it, but think it a very paltry speech for so great a man, on so great an occasion. Yet Shakspeare has judiciously adopted in it the style of Brutus -the pointed sentences and laboured brevity which he is said to have affected. M. MASON.
This artificial jingle of short sentences was affected by most of the orators in Shakspeare's time, whether in the pulpit or at the bar. The speech of Brutus may therefore be regarded rather as an imitation of the false eloquence then in vogue, than as a specimen of laconick brevity. STEEvens.
tus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer,-Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all free men? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him : but, as he was ambitious, I slew him: There is tears, for his love; joy, for his fortune; honour, for his valour; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
CIT. None, Brutus, none.
[Several speaking at once. BRU. Then none have I offended. I have done no more to Cæsar, than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol : his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Enter ANTONY and Others, with CESAR's Body.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; As which of you shall not? With this I depart; That, as I slew my best lover for the
as I stew
best lover-] See p. 323, n. 3.
good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
CIT. Live, Brutus, live! live!
1 CIT. Bring him with triumph home unto his house.
2 CIT. Give him a statue with his ancestors.
3 CIT. Let him be Cæsar.
Cæsar's better parts
Shall now be crown'd in Brutus.3
This term, which cannot but sound disgustingly to modern ears, as here applied, Mr. Malone considers (see p. 219, n. 6,) as the language of Shakspeare's time; but this opinion, from the want of contemporary examples to confirm it, may admit of a doubt. It is true it occurs several times in our author, who probably found it in North's Plutarch's Lives, and transferred a practice sanctioned by Lycurgus, and peculiar to Sparta, to Rome, and to other nations. It was customary in the former country for both males and females to select and attach themselves to one of their own sex, under the appellation of lovers and favourers. These, on one part, were objects to imitate, and on the other, to watch with constant solicitude, in order to make them wise, gentle, and well conditioned. "To the lovers" (says Mr. Dyer, in his revision of Dryden's Plutarch, Vol. I. p. 131,)" they (the elders of Lacedemon) imputed the virtues or the vices which were observed in those they loved; they commended them if the lads were virtuous, and fined them if they were otherwise. They likewise fined those who had not made choice of any favourite. And here we may observe Lycurgus did not copy this instruction from the practice observed in Crete, thinking without doubt such an example of too dangerous a tendency." See Strabo, L. X.
Since writing this note I have met with several instances which satisfy me of the truth of Mr. Malone's observation. I therefore retract my doubt on this subject. REED.
3 Shall now be crown'd in Brutus.] As the present hemistich, without some additional syllable, is offensively unmetrical, the adverb-now, which was introduced by Sir Thomas Hanmer, is here admitted. STEEVENS.
1 CIT. We'll bring him to his house with shouts and clamours.
BRU. My countrymen,
Peace; silence! Brutus speaks.
1 CIT. Peace, ho!
BRU. Good countrymen, let me depart alone,
I do entreat you, not a man depart,
1 CIT. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony. 3 CIT. Let him go up into the publick chair; We'll hear him :-Noble Antony, go up. ANT. For Brutus' sake, I am beholden to you." 4 CIT. What does he say of Brutus ?
He says, for Brutus' sake," He finds himself beholden to us all.
4 CIT. 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus
1 CIT. This Cæsar was a tyrant.
Nay, that's certain: We are bless'd, that Rome is rid of him.
2 CIT. Peace; let us hear what Antony can say.
beholden to you.] Throughout the old copies of Shakspeare, and many other ancient authors, beholden is corruptly spelt-beholding. STEEVENS.
He says, for Brutus' sake,] Here we have another line rendered irregular, by the interpolated and needless words-He says. STEEVENS.