Are much condemn'd to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold,

To undeservers.

I an itching palm ?

You know, that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
BRU. The name of Cassius honours this corrup-

And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
CAS. Chastisement!

BRU. Remember March, the ides of March remember!

Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice?? What, shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers; shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes?
And sell the mighty space of our large honours,
For so much trash, as may be grasped thus ?-
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.


Brutus, bait not me1,

9 What VILLAIN touch'd his body, that did stab,

And not for justice?] This question is far from implying that any of those who touch'd Cæsar's body, were villains. On the contrary, it is an indirect way of asserting that there was not one man among them, who was base enough to stab him for any cause but that of justice. MALOne.

Cas. Brutus, BAY not me,] The old copy"bait not me." Mr. Theobald and all the subsequent editors read-" bay not me; and the emendation is sufficiently plausible, our author having in Troilus and Cressida used the word bay in the same


"What moves Ajax thus to bay at him!"

But as he has likewise twice used bait in the sense required here, the text, in my apprehension, ought not to be disturbed. "I will not yield," says Macbeth:

"To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
"And to be baited with the rabble's curse."

I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in 2; I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions *.


CAS. I am.

Go to; you are not, Cassius.


BRU. I say, you are not 3.

Again, in Coriolanus:


why stay we to be baited

"With one that wants her wits?"

So also, in a comedy entitled, How to choose a Good Wife from a Bad, 1602:

"Do I come home so seldom, and that seldom

"Am I thus baited?"

The reading of the old copy, which I have restored, is likewise supported by a passage in King Richard III.:

"To be so baited, scorn'd, and storm'd at.”


The second folio, on both occasions, has-bait; and the spirit of the reply will, in my judgment, be diminished, unless a repetition of the one or the other word be admitted. I therefore continue to read with Mr. Theobald. Bay, in our author, may be as frequently exemplified as bait. It occurs again in the play before us, as well as in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Cymbeline, King Henry IV. Part II. &c. &c. STEEVENS.

2 To hedge me in;] That is, to limit my authority by your direction or censure. JOHNSON.

3 - I am a soldier, I,

Older in practice, &c.] Thus the ancient copies; but the modern editors, instead of I, have read ay, because the vowel I sometimes stands for ay the affirmative adverb. I have replaced the old reading, on the authority of the following line: STEEVENS.

"And I am Brutus; Marcus Brutus I."

So, in Romeo and Juliet, vol. vi. p. 124:

"I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I." Again, in King Edward II. by Marlowe, 1598:

"I am none of these common peasants, I."

So also, in Henry IV. Second Part, Act II. Sc. IV.: “I'll drink no more than will do me good for no man's pleasure, I." MALONE.

4 To make conditions.] That is, to know on what terms it is fit to confer the offices which are at my disposal. JOHNSON. 5 Cas. I am.

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CAS. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself; Have mind upon your health, tempt me no further. BRU. Away, slight man!

CAS. Is't possible?

BRU. Hear me, for I will speak. Must I give way and room to your rash choler? Shall I be frighted, when a madman stares? CAS. O ye gods! ye gods! Must I endure all this ?

BRU. All this? ay, more: Fret, till your proud heart break;

Go, show your slaves how cholerick you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch
Under your testy humour? By the gods,
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,

Though it do split you: for, from this day forth,
I'll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.


Is it come to this? BRU. You say, you are a better soldier:

Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,

And it shall please me well: For mine own part,

I shall be glad to learn of noble men.

CAS. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus ;

I said, an elder soldier, not a better;

Did I say, better?


If you did, I care not.

CAS. When Cæsar liv'd, he durst not thus have

mov'd me.

BRU. Peace, peace; you durst not so have tempted him.

CAS. I durst not?

6 I'll use you for my mirth,] Mr. Rowe has transplanted this insult into the mouth of Lothario:

"And use his sacred friendship for our mirth." STEEVENS.

BRU. No.

CAS. What? durst not tempt him?


For your life you durst not. CAS. Do not presume too much upon my love,

I may do that I shall be sorry for.

BRU. You have done that you should be sorry for. There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;

For I am arm'd so strong in honesty,

That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you

For certain sums of gold, which you denied me ;-
For I can raise no money by vile means:
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,

And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash 7,
By any indirection. I did send

To you for gold to pay my legions,

Which you denied me: Was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts,
Dash him to pieces!

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From the HARD hands of peasants their vile trash,] This is a noble sentiment, altogether in character, and expressed in a manner inimitably happy. For to wring, implies both to get unjustly, and to use force in getting: and hard hands signify both the peasant's great labour and pains in acquiring, and his great unwillingness to quit his hold. WARBURTON.

I do not believe that Shakspeare, when he wrote hard hands in this place, had any deeper meaning than in the following line in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:

66 Hard-handed men that work in Athens here."


Mr. H. White might have supported his opinion, (with which I perfectly concur) by another instance, from Cymbeline:

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"Made hourly hard with falsehood as with labour."



BRU. You did.


I denied you not.

I did not :-he was but a fool, That brought my answer back 3.—Brutus hath riv'd my heart:

A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
BRU. I do not, till you practise them on me 9.
CAS. You love me not.


I do not like your faults. CAS. A friendly eye could never see such faults. BRU. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear

As huge as high Olympus.

CAS. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come, Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,

For Cassius is aweary of the world:

Hated by one he loves; brav'd by his brother;
Check'd like a bondman; all his faults observ'd,
Set in a note-book, learn'd, and conn'd by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes!-There is my dagger,
And here my naked breast; within, a heart
Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold:
If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth 1;
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:


- my answer BACK.] The word back is unnecessary to the sense, and spoils the measure. STEEVENS.

9 Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.] The meaning is this: I do not look for your faults, I only see them, and mention them with vehemence, when you force them into my notice, by practising them on me.' JOHNSON.

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If that thou BE'ST A ROMAN, take it forth;] I think he means only, that he is so far from avarice, when the cause of his country requires liberality, that if any man would wish for his heart, he would not need enforce his desire any otherwise, than by showing that he was a Roman. JOHNSON.

This seems only a form of adjuration like that of Brutus, p. 125: Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true." BLACKSTONE.


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