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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!
LIG. But are not some whole, that we must make sick?
BRU. That must we also. What it is, my Caius, I shall unfold to thee, as we are going
To whom it must be done.
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 CESAR'S Palace.
Thunder and Lightning. Enter CESAR, in his Night-gown.
CES. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace to-night:
Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out, Help, ho! They murder Casar! Who's within?
Enter a Servant.
SERV. My lord?
CES. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice, And bring me their opinions of success.
SERV. I will, my lord.
CAL. What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to walk forth?
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
CES. Cæsar shall forth: The things that threat
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,
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 should not cross myself at any time :
"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." STEEVENS.
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead":
Fierce firy warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks, and squadrons, and right form of war1, Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol :
The noise of battle hurtled in the air 3,
3 And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead: &c.] So, in a funeral song in Much Ado About Nothing:
Graves, yawn, and yield your dead.”
Again, in Hamlet:
"A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
"The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
'Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets."
4 Fierce firy warriors fight upon the clouds,
In ranks, and squadrons, and right form of war,] So, in Tacitus, Hist. b. v. : "Visa per coelum concurrere acies, rutilantia arma, & subito nubium igne collucere," &c. STEEVENS. Again, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590:
"I will persist a terror to the world;
Making the meteors that like armed men
"Are seen to march upon the towers of heaven,
"And break their burning launces in the ayre,
"For honour of my wondrous victories." MALONE.
5 The noise of battle HURTLED in the air,] To hurtle is, I suppose, to clash, or move with violence and noise. So, in Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, 1594:
"Here the Polonian he comes hurtling in,
"To toss the spear, and in a warlike gyre "To hurtle my sharp sword about Shakspeare uses the word again in As You Like It:
in which hurtling,
"From miserable slumber I awak'd." STEEVENS. Again, in The History of Arthur, Part I. c. xiv.: "They made both the Northumberland battailes to hurtle together." BowLE. To hurtle originally signified to push violently; and, as in such an action a loud noise was frequently made, it afterwards seems
Horses do neigh, and dying men did groan;
And I do fear them.
What can be avoided,
Whose end is purpos'd by the mighty gods?
CAL. When beggars die, there are no comets
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of
to have been used in the sense of to clash. So, in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, v. 2618:
"And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun." MALONE. Horses DID neigh,] Thus the second folio. Its blundering predecessor reads:
"Horses do neigh." STEEVENS. Yet Mr. Steevens does not object to "fierce firy warriors fight," not fought. Mr. Malone has followed the original copy. BOSWELL. And ghosts did shriek, and squeal about the streets.] So, in Lodge's Looking Glasse for London and England, 1598: "The ghosts of dead men howling walke about, Crying Ve, Ve, woe to this citie, woe."
8 When beggars die, there are no COMETS seen;
The heavens themselves BLAZE forth the death of PRINCES.] "Next to the shadows and pretences of experience, (which have been met withall at large,) they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow (for the most part,) after blazing starres; as if they were the summoners of God to call princes to the seat of judgment. The surest way to shake their painted bulwarks of experience is, by making plaine, that neyther princes always dye when comets blaze, nor comets ever [i. e. always] when princes dye." Defensative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies, by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1583.
Again, ibid."Let us look into the nature of a comet, by the face of which it is supposed that the same should portend plague, famine, warre, or the death of potentates."
I will add one more quotation from the same work, as it contains an anecdote of Queen Elizabeth: "I can affirme thus much as a present witnesse by mine owne experience, that when dyvers upon greater scrupulosity then cause, went about to disswade her majestye, (lying then at Richmonde) from looking on the comet
CES. Cowards die many times before their
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Will come, when it will come.
Re-enter a Servant.
What say the augurers?
SERV. They would not have you to stir forth to
which appeared last with a courage answerable to the greatnesse of her state, shee caused the windowe to be sette open, and cast out thys word, jacta est alea, the dice are thrown, &c.
9 Cowards die many times before their deaths;] So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:
"Fear is my vassal; when I frown, he flies,
Lord Essex, probably before either of these writers, made the same remark. In a letter to Lord Rutland, he observes, as he which dieth nobly, doth live for ever, so he that doth live in fear, doth die continually." MALone.
So, in the ancient translation of Plutarch, so often quoted: "When some of his friends did counsel him to have a guard for the safety of his person; he would never consent to it, but said, it was better to die once, than always to be 'affrayed of death." STEEVENS.
As a specimen of Mr. Steevens's love of mischief, I may mention that by putting the quotation from Plutarch first, and changing the words either of these writers, i. e. Shakspeare or Marston, to any; he made Mr. Malone appear to write nonsense. BOSWELL.
that I yet have heard,] This sentiment appears to have been imitated by Dr. Young in his tragedy of Busiris, King of Egypt:
Didst thou e'er fear?
"Sure 'tis an art; I know not how to fear;
Thy master is immortal."
death, a necessary end, &c.] This is a sentence derived
from the stoical doctrine of predestination, and is therefore im
proper in the mouth of Cæsar.