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And talk to you sometimes ? Dwell I but in the
Bru. You are my true and honourable wife;
wordes she showed him her wounde on her thigh, and tolde him what she had done to proue her selfe.” Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch. 'Steevens.
Here also we find our author and Lord Sterline walking over the same ground :
“ I was not, Brutus, match'd with thee, to be
“ A partner only of thy board and bed;
“ That did herself to nought but pleasure wed.
Thy fellow in all fortunes, good or ill; “ With chains of mutual love together ty'd, “ As those that have two breasts, one heart, two souls,
one will.” Julius Cæsar, 1607. Malone. - COMFORT your bed,] “ Is but an odd phrase, and gives as odd an idea," says Mr. Theobald. He therefore substitutes, consort. But this good old word, however disused through modern refinement, was not so discarded by Shakspeare. Henry VIII. as we read in Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, in commendation of Queen Katharine, in publick said : “ She hathe beene to me a true obedient wife, and as comfortable as I could wish.” Upton.
In the book of entries at Stationers' Hall, I meet with the following, 1598: "A Conversation between a careful Wyfe and her comfortable Husband.” Steevens.
In our marriage ceremony, the husband promises to comfort his wife ; and Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580, says, that “ to comfort” is, 'to recreate, to solace, to make pastime.'
COLLINS. - in the SUBURBS -] Perhaps here is an allusion to the place in which the harlots of Shakspeare's age resided. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas :
“ Get a new mistress,
“ Will draw to parley:" STEEVENS. 4 As dear to me, &c.] These glowing words have been adopted by Mr. Gray in his celebrated Ode : “ Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart."
Por. If this were true, then should I know this
secret. I grant, I am a woman; but, withal, A woman that lord Brutus took to wife : I grant, I am a woman; but, withal, A woman well-reputed; Cato's daughter 6. Think you, I am no stronger than my sex, Being so father'd, and so husbanded ? Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them : I have made strong proof of my constancy, Giving myself a voluntary wound Here, in the thigh: Can I bear that with patience, And not my husband's secrets ? BRU.
O ye gods, Render me worthy of this noble wife!
[Knocking within. Hark, hark ! one knocks: Portia, go in a while ; And by and by thy bosom shall partake The secrets of my heart. All my engagements I will construe to thee, All the charactery? of my sad brows :Leave me with haste.
s I grant, I am a woman ; &c.] So, Lord Sterline :
" And though our sex too talkative be deem'd,
“ As those whose tongues import our greatest pow'rs, “ For secrets still bad treasurers esteem'd,
“ Of others' greedy, prodigal of ours ;
“ And I this vantage have to a vertuous life,
MALONE. 6 A woman well-reputed; Cato's daughter.] By the expression well-reputed, she refers to the estimation in which she was held, as being the wife of Brutus ; whilst the addition of Cato's daughter, implies that she might be expected to inherit the patriotic virtues of her father. It is with propriety therefore, that she immediately asks : 66 Think
you, I am no stronger than my sex,
Enter Lucius and LIGARIUS.
Lucius, who is that, knocks & ? Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with
you. Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.Boy, stand aside.—Caius Ligarius ! how ? Lic. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble
tongue. Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave
Caius, To wear a kerchief' ? 'Would you were not sick!
7 All the CHARACTERY - ] i. e. “all that is character'd on,” &c. The word has already occurred in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
STEEVENS. See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, vol. ix. p. 180, n. 8. Malone.
who is that, knocks ?] i. e. who is that, who knocks ? Our poet always prefers the familiar language of conversation to grammatical nicety. Four of his editors, however, have endeavoured to destroy this peculiarity, by reading –“ who's there that knocks ? ” and a fifth has, “ who's that, that knocks ? " 9 0, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
To wear a kerchief?] So, in Plutarch's Life of Brutus, translated by North : “ - Brutus went to see him being sicke in his bedde, and sayed unto him, O Ligarius, in what a time art thou sicke? Ligarius rising up in his bedde, and taking him by the right hande, sayed unto him, Brutus, (sayed he,) if thou hast any great enterprise in hande worthie of thy selfe, I am whole." Lord Sterline also has introduced this passage into his Julius Cæsar :
By sickness being imprison'd in his bed
“Whilst I Ligarius spied, whom pains did prick,
“ In what a time Ligarius art thou sick ?
“ Or that he had imagin’d my design,
* Then Brutus I am whole, and wholly thine.” Here it may be observed, Shakspeare gives to Rome the manners of his own time. It was a common practice in England for those who were sick to wear a kerchief on their heads, and still continues among the common people in many places. If” says Fuller, “ this county (Cheshire], hath bred no writers in that Lig. I am not sick, if Brutus have in hand Any exploit worthy the name of honour.
Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius, Had you a healthful ear to hear of it.
Lig. By all the gods that Romans bow before, I here discard my sickness. Soul of Rome ! Brave son, deriv'd from honourable loins ! Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up My mortified spirit'. Now bid me run, And I will strive with things impossible ; Yea, get the better of them. What's to do? Bru. A piece of work, that will make sick men
whole. Lig. But are not some whole, that we must make
Set on your foot ;
Follow me, then.
faculty (physick,] the wonder is the less, if it be true what I read, that if any there be sick, they make him a posset, and tye a kerchief on his head, and if that will not mend him, then God be merciful to him.” Worthies : Cheshire, p. 180. MALONE. I Thou, like an EXORCIST, hast conjur'd up
My mortified spirit.] Here, and in all other places where the word occurs in Shakspeare, to exorcise means to raise spirits, not to lay them; and I believe he is singular in his acceptation of it. M. Mason.
See vol, x. p. 490, n. 3. MALONE,
The Same. A Room in CÆSAR's Palace.
Thunder and Lightning. Enter Cæsar, in his
Night-gown. Cæs. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace
to-night: Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out, Help, ho! They murder Cæsar! Who's within ?
Enter a Servant.
Cæs. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice,
[Exit. Enter CALPHURNIA. Cal. What mean you, Cæsar ? Think you to
walk forth? You shall not stir out of your house to-day. CÆs. Cæsar shall forth: The things that threat
en'd me, Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see The face of Cæsar, they are vanished.
Cal. Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies ?,
2 Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,] i. e. I never paid a ceremonious or superstitious regard to prodigies or omens.
The adjective is used in the same sense in The Devil's Charter, 1607 :
“ The devil hath provided in his covenant,
“ I never was so ceremonious." The original thought is in the old translation of Plutarch : “ Calphurnia, until that time, was never given to any fear or superstition.” Stesyens.