Companion, hence."


Away, away, be gone.

[Exit Poet.


BRU. Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders Prepare to lodge their companies to-night. CAS. And come yourselves, and bring Messala with you

Immediately to us.


[Exeunt LUCILIUS and TITINIUS. Lucius, a bowl of wine.

CAS. I did not think, you could have been so


BRU. O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.

CAS. Of your philosophy you make no use, If you give place to accidental evils.

BRU. No man bears sorrow better:-Portia is dead.

twenty-five emendations of the ancient copies, which, as I then thought, he had properly received into his text, two hundred and eighty-five were suggested by some former editor or commentator, and forty only by himself. But on a second and more rigorous examination I now find, that of the emendations properly adopted, (the number of which appears to be much smaller than that above mentioned,) he has a claim to not more than fifteen. The innovations and arbitrary alterations, either adopted from others, or first introduced by this editor, from ignorance of our ancient customs and phraseology, amount to no less a number than NINE Hundred and SEVENTY-TWO!! It is highly probable that many yet have escaped my notice. MALONE.

7 Companion, hence.] Companion is used as a term of reproach in many of the old plays; as we say at present-fellow. "So, in King Henry IV. Dol Tearsheet says to Pistol:


I scorn you, scurvy companion," &c.


CAS. Ha! Portia ?

BRU. She is dead.

CAS. How scap'd I killing, when I cross'd


O insupportable and touching loss!-
Upon what sickness?


BRU. Impatient of my absence; And grief, that young Octavius with Mark Antony Have made themselves so strong;-for with her


That tidings came;-With this she fell distract, And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.


And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.] This circumstance is taken from Plutarch. It is also mentioned by Val. Maximus.

It cannot, however, be amiss to remark, that the death of Portia may want that foundation which has hitherto entitled her to a place in poetry, as a pattern of Roman fortitude. She is reported, by Pliny, I think, to have died at Rome of a lingering illness while Brutus was abroad; but some writers seem to look on a natural death as a derogation from a distinguished character. STEEVENS.

Valerius Maximus says that Portia survived Brutus, and killed herself on hearing that her husband was defeated and slain at Philippi. Plutarch's account in The Life of Brutus is as follows: "And for Portia, Brutus' wife, Nicolaus the philosopher, and Valerius Maximus, doe wryte, that she determining to kill her selfe, (her parents and friends carefullie looking to her to kepe her from it,) tooke hotte burning coles, and cast them into her mouth, and kept her mouth so close, that she choked her selfe. -There was a letter of Brutus found, wrytten to his frendes, complaining of their negligence; that his wife being sicke, they would not helpe her, but suffered her to kill her selfe, choosing to dye rather than to languish in paine. Thus it appeareth that Nicolaus knew not well that time, sith the letter (at least if it were Brutus' letter,) doth plainly declare the disease and love of this lady, and the manner of her death." North's Translation. See also Martial, L. I. ep. 42. Valerius Maximus, and Nico


2 C

CAS. And died so ?9

BRU. Even so.

CAS. O ye immortal gods!

Enter LUCIUS, with Wine and Tapers.

BRU. Speak no more of her.-Give me a bow! of wine :

In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.


CAS. My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge:Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'er-swell the cup; I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love. [Drinks.

Re-enter TITINIUS, with MESSALA.

BRU. Come in, Titinius:-Welcome, good Messala.

Now sit we close about this taper here,
And call in question our necessities.
CAS. Portia, art thou gone?

No more,


pray you.

Messala, I have here received letters,

laus, and Plutarch, all agree in saying that she put an end to her life; and the letter, if authentick, ascertains that she did so in the life-time of Brutus.

Our author, therefore, we see, had sufficient authority for his representation. MALONE.

9 And died so? &c.] I suppose, these three short speeches were meant to form a single verse, and originally stood as follows:

[blocks in formation]

Immortal gods!

The tragick Ahs and Ohs interpolated by the players, are too frequently permitted to derange our author's measure.


That young Octavius, and Mark Antony,
Come down upon us with a mighty power,
Bending their expedition toward Philippi.

MES. Myself have letters of the self-same tenour. BRU. With what addition?

MES. That by proscription, and bills of outlawry, Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus,

Have put to death an hundred senators.

BRU. Therein our letters do not well agree; Mine speak of seventy senators, that died By their proscriptions, Cicero being one. CAS. Cicero one?


Ay, Cicero is dead,' And by that order of proscription.

Had you your letters from your wife, my lord?

BRU. No, Messala.

MES. Nor nothing in your letters writ of her? BRU. Nothing, Messala.


That, methinks, is strange.

BRU. Why ask you? Hear you aught of her in


MES. No, my lord.

BRU. Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true. MES. Then like a Roman bear the truth I tell: For certain she is dead, and by strange manner. BRU. Why, farewell, Portia.-We must die, Messala:

With meditating that she must die once,2


1Ay, Cicero is dead,] For the insertion of the affirmative adverb, to complete the verse, I am answerable. STEEVENS.


once,] i. e. at some time or other. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:

I have the patience to endure it now.

MES. Even so great men great losses should endure.

CAS. I have as much of this in art3 as you, But yet my nature could not bear it so.

BRU. Well, to our work alive. What do you


Of marching to Philippi presently?

CAS. I do not think it good.



Your reason?

This it is:

'Tis better, that the enemy seek us:

So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still,
Are full of rest, defence, and nimbleness.

BRU. Good reasons must, of force, give place to better.

The people, 'twixt Philippi and this ground,
Do stand but in a forc'd affection;
For they have grudg'd us contribution:
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refresh'd, new-added, and encourag'd;
From which advantage shall we cut him off,
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.


.I pray thee, once to-night

"Give my sweet Nan this ring."

See Vol. V. p. 147, n. 6. STEEVENS.

3-in art-] That is, in theory. MALONE.

This it is] The overflow of the metre, and the disagreeable clash of it is, with 'Tis at the beginning of the next line, are almost proofs that our author only wrote, with a common ellipsis, -This- STEEVENS.

« VorigeDoorgaan »