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That I am meek and gentle with these butchers !
in the tide of times.] That is, in the course of times. Johnson. 3 Over thy wounds now do I prophecy,
Which, like dumb mouths, &c.] So, in A Warning for faire Women, a tragedy, 1599:
I gave him fifteen wounds,
“ Which will all speak although he hold his peace.” Malone. * A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;] We should read :
line of men; i. e. human race. Warburton. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:
kind of men; I rather think it should be,
- the lives of men; unless we read:
these lymms of men; That is, these bloodhounds of men. The uncommonness of the word lymm easily made the change. Fohnson.
Antony means that a future curse shall commence in distempers seizing on the limbs of men, and be succeeded by commotion, cruelty, and desolation over Italy. So, in Phaer's version of the third Æneid:
“ The skies corrupted were, that trees and corne destroyed to
Sign. E. 1, edit. 1596. Steevens. By men the speaker means not mankind in general, but those Romans whose attachment to the cause of the conspirators, or wish to revenge Cæsar's death, would expose them to wounds in the civil wars which Antony supposes that event would give rise to.-The generality of the curse here predicted, is limited by the subsequent words, “the parts of Italy,” and “ in these confines.” Malone.
And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
5 And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge, &c.]
umbraque erraret Crassus inulta.” Lucan, L. I.
Stat. Theb. VIII. - Furiæ rapuerunt licia Parcis.” Ibid. Steevens. Cry Havock,] A learned correspondent (Sir William Blackstone] has informed me, that, in the military operations of old times, havock was the word by which declaration was made, that no quar. ter should be given. In a tract intitled, The Office of the Constable and Mareschall in the Tyme of Werre, contained in the Black Book of the Admiralty, there is the following chapter:
• The peyne of hym that crieth havock and of them that followeth hym, etit. v."
“ Item Si quis inventus fuerit qui clamorem inceperit qui vocatur Havok."
“ Also that no man be so hardy to crye Havok upon peyne that he that is begynner shall be deede therefore : & the remanent that doo the same or folow, shall lose their horse & harneis: and the persones of such as foloweth and escrien shall be under arrest of the Conestable and Mareschall warde unto tyme that they have made fyn; and founde suretie no morr to offende ; and his body in prison at the Kyng wyll." Johnson. See Coriolanus, Act III, sc. i, Vol. XIII. Malone.
let slip ---] This is a term belonging to the chase. Man. wood, in his Forest Laws, C. xx, s. 9, says:" - that when any pourallee man doth find any wild beasts of the forest in his pourallee, that is in his owne freehold lands, that he hath within the pourallee, he may let slippe his dogges after the wild beastes, and hunt and chase them there,” &c. Reed.
Slips were contrivances of leather by which greyhounds were restrained till the necessary moment of their dismission. See King Henry V, Vol. IX, p. 271, n. 5. Steevens. To let slip a dog at a deer, &c. was the technical phrase of Shakare's time. So, in Coriolanus:
“ Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
“ To let him slip at will." By the dogs of war, as Mr. Tollet has elsewhere observed, Shak. speare probably meant fire, sword, and famine. So, in King Henry V :
“ Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
Enter a Servant.
Serv. I do, Mark Antony.
Serv. He did receive his letters, and is coming:
[Seeing the Body.
Serv. He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome. Ant. Post back with speed, and tell him what hath
chanc'd: Here is a mourning Rome, a dangerous Rome, No Rome of safetyø for Octavius yet; Hie hence, and tell him so. Yet, stay a while ; Thou shalt not back, till I have borne this corse Into the market-place: there shall I try, In my oration, how the people take The cruel issue of these bloody men; According to the which, thou shalt discourse To young Octavius of the state of things. Lend me your hand. [Exeunt, with CESAR's body.
The Forum. Anter 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.-
for mine eyes,] Old copy--from mine eyes. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
9 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:
You shall have iny room
“ Brutus is not, but born great Roine to free.” Steevens. * Lend me your hand. ] i. e, assist me to bear the body. Am. Ed.
Cassius, go you into the other street,
I will hear Brutus speak. 2 Cit. I will hear Cassius; and compare their reasons, When severally we hear them rendered. [Exit Cas. with some of the Citizens. Bru. goes
into the Rostrum. 3 Cit. The noble Brutus is ascended : Silence!
Bru. Be patient till the last. Romans, countrymen, and lovers !1 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 Brutus' 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,
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, jing. ling, 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 ili 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. VOL. XIV.
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 CÆSAR's Body. Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the be. nefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth ; As which of you shall not? With this I depart; That, as I slew my best lover2 for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need
as I slew my best lover -] See p. 55, n. 3. Malone. This term, which cannot but sound disgustingly to modern ears, as here applied, Mr. Malone considers as the language of Shak. speare'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 lovedl; they commended them if the lads were virtuous, and fined them if they were otherwise. They likewise fined tho:e 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. Reed.