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In his own change, or by ill officers 5,
BRU. He is not doubted.-A word, Lucilius;
Luc. With courtesy, and with respect enough; But not with such familiar instances,
5 In his own CHANGE, or by ill officers,] The sense of which is this Either your master, by the change of his virtuous nature, or by his officers abusing the power he had intrusted to them, hath done some things I could wish undone. This implies a doubt which of the two was the case. Yet, immediately after, on Pindarus's saying, "His master was full of regard and honour," he replies, "He is not doubted." To reconcile this we should read: "In his own charge, or by ill officers."
i. e. Either by those under his immediate command, or under the command of his lieutenants, who had abused their trust. Charge is so usual a word in Shakspeare, to signify the forces committed to the trust of a commander, that I think it needless to give any instances. WARBURTON.
The arguments for the change proposed are insufficient. Brutus could not but know whether the wrongs committed were done by those who were immediately under the command of Cassius, or those under his officers. The answer of Brutus to the Servant is only an act of artful civility; his question to Lucilius proves, that his suspicion still continued. Yet I cannot but suspect a corruption, and would read:"
"In his own change, or by ill offices-."
That is, either changing his inclination of himself, or by the ill offices and bad influences of others. JOHNSON.
Surely alteration is unnecessary. In the subsequent conference Brutus charges both Cassius and his officer, Lucius Pella, with corruption. STEEVENS.
Brutus immediately after says to Lucilius, when he hears his account of the manner in which he had been received by Cassius:
"Thou hast describ'd
"A hot friend cooling."
That is the change which Brutus complains of. M. MASON.
Nor with such free and friendly conference,
As he hath used of old.
There are no tricks in plain and simple faith:
Luc. They mean this night in Sardis to be quarter'd;
The greater part, the horse in general,
[March within. BRU. Hark, he is arriv'd:March gently on to meet him.
Enter CASSIUS and Soldiers.
CAS. Stand, ho!
BRU. Stand, ho! Speak the word along.
CAS. Most noble brother, you have done me
BRU. Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies?
And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother?
And when you do them-
Cassius, be conte. †, Speak your griefs softly, I do know you well :
your GRIEFS] i. e. your grievances. See Henry IV. Part I. Act IV. Sc. III. :
Before the eyes of both our armies here,
Pindarus, Bid our commanders lead their charges off A little from this ground.
BRU. Lucilius, do you the like'; and let no man Come to our tent, till we have done our conference. Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door. [Exeunt.
Within the Tent of BRutus.
LUCIUS and TITINIUS at some distance from it.
Enter BRUTUS and Cassius.
CAS. That you have wrong'd me, doth appear in this:
You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella,
BRU. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a
CAS. In such a time as this, it is not meet That every nice offence should bear his comment. BRU. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
The King hath sent to know
"The nature of your griefs." MALONE.
do the like ;] Old copy-"do you the like; " but without regard to metre. STEEVENS.
every NICE offence-] i. e. small trifling offence.
So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act V. vol. vi. p. 229:
Are much condemn'd to have an itching palm;
I an itching palm?
You know, that you are Brutus that speak this,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
BRU. Remember March, the ides of March remember!
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
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,
I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
CAS. I am.
BRU. I say, you are not 3.
Again, in Coriolanus:
- why stay we to be baited
Go to; you are not, Cassius.
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
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." MALONE. 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: "And I am Brutus; Marcus Brutus I." STEEVENS. 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.: drink no more than will do me good for no man's pleasure, I.”
4 To make conditions.] fit to confer the offices which 5 Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.] to metre, if we read:
Brutus, I am.
MALONE. That is, to know on what terms it is are at my disposal. JOHNSON.
This passage may easily be restored
Cassius, I say, you are not." STEEVENS.