sar. If thou be'st not immortal, look about you: Security gives way to conspiracy. The mighty gods defend thee! Thy lover,

Artemidorus. Here will I stand, till Cæsar pass along, And as a suitor will I give him this. My heart laments, that virtue cannot live Out of the teeth of emulation.4 If thou read this, O Cæsar, thou may'st live; If not, the fates with traitors do contrive.5 [Erit.

SCENE IV. The same.

Another Part of the same Street, before the

House of Brutus.

Por. I pr’ythee, boy, run to the senate-house;
Stay not to answer me, but get thee gone :
Why dost thou stay ?6

To know my errand, madam.
Por. I would have had thee there, and here again,
Ere I can tell thee what thou should'st do there.
O constancy, be strong upon my side!
Set a huge mountain 'tween my heart and tongue !
I have a man's mind, but a woman's might.
How hard it is for women to keep counsel! -
Art thou here yet?

Madam, what should I do?
Run to the Capitol, and nothing else?
And so return to you, and nothing else?

Por. Yes, bring me word, boy, if thy lord look well,

3 Thy lover,] See Vol. IV, p. 384, n. 5. Malone.

- emulation,] Here, as on many other occasions, this word is used in an unfavourable sense, somewhat like-factious, enviouş, or malicious rivalry. So, in Troilus and Cressida:

“ Whilst emulation in the army crept.” Steevens. 5—the fates with traitors do contrive.] The fates join with traitors in contriving thy destruction. Johnson.

6 Why dost thou stay? &c.] Shakspeare has expressed the perturbation of King Richard the Third's mind by the same incident:

· Dull, unmindful villain !
“Why stay'st thou here, and go'st not to the duke?
Cat. First, mighty liege, tell me your highness' pleasure,

" What from your grace I shall deliver to hiin.” Steevents.

For he went sickly forth : And take good note,
What Cæsar doth, what suitors press to him.
Hark, boy! what noise is that?

Luc. I hear none, madam.

Pr’ythee, listen well:
I heard a bustling rumour, like a fray,
And the wind brings it from the Capitol.
Luc. Sooth, madam, I hear nothing.

Enter Soothsayer.?

Come hither, fellow: Which way hast thou been ? Sooth.

At mine own house, good lady. Por. What is 't o'clock? Sooth.

About the ninth hour, lady. Por. Is Cæsar yet gone to the Capitol ?

Sooth. Madam, not yet; I go to take my stand, To see him pass on to the Capitol.

Por. Thou hast some suit to Cæsar, hast thou not?

Sooth. That I have, lady: if it will please Cæsar To be so good to Cæsar, as to hear me, I shall beseech him to befriend himself. Por. Why, know'st thou any harm's intended towards

him ? Sooth. None that I know will be, much that I fear may

chance 8
Good morrow to you. Here the street is narrow:
The throng that follows Cæsar at the heels,
Of senators, of prætors, common suitors,
Will crowd a feeble man almost to death :
I'll get me to a place more void, and there
Speak to great Cæsar as he comes along. [Exit.

Por. I must go in.--Ah me! how weak a thing
The heart of woman is ! O Brutus!
The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!

7 Enter Soothsayer.] The introduction of the Soothsayer here is unnecessary, and, I think, improper. All that he is made to say, should be given to Artemidorus; who is seen and accosted by Portia in his passage from his first stand, p. 55, to one more convenient, p. 57. Tyrwhitt.

8 None that I know will be, much that I fear may chance.] Sir T. Hanmer, very judiciously in my opinion, omits—may chance, which I regard as interpolated words; for they render the line too long by a foot, and the sense is complete without them. Steevens.

Sure, the boy heard me :-Brutus hath a suit,
That Cæsar will not grant.-0, I grow

faint :
Run, Lucius, and commend me to my lord;
Say, I am merry: come to me again,
And bring me word what he doth say to thee.



The same. The Capitol; the Senate sitting,

A Crowd of People in the Street leading to the Capitol ;

among them ARTEMIDORUS, and the Soothsayer. Flourish. Enter CÆSAR, BRUTUS, Cassius, CASCA, DEcius, METELLUS, TREBONIUS, Cinna, ANTONY, LEPIDUS, POPLIUS, PUBLIUS, and Others.

Cæs. The ides of March are come.
Sooth. Ay, Cæsar; but not gone.
Art. Hail, Cæsar! Read this schedule.

Dec. Trebonius doth desire you to o'er-read,
At your best leisure, this his humble suit.

Art. 0, Cæsar, read mine first; for mine 's a suit
That touches Cæsar nearer: Read it, great Cæsar.

Cæs. What touches us ourself, shall be last serv'd.
Art. Delay not, Cæsar; read it instantly.
Cæs. What, is the fellow mad?

Sirrah, give place.
Cas. What, urge you your petitions in the street ?
Come to the Capitol.
CÆSAR enters the Capitol, the rest following. All the

Senators rise.
Pop. I wish, your enterprize to-day may thrive.
Cas. What enterprize, Popilius?

Fare you well. (Advances to CÆS. Bru. What said Popilius Lena?

Cas. He wish'd, to-day our enterprize might thrive. I fear, our purpose is discovered.

Bru. Look, how he makes to Cæsar: Mark him.)


Brutus hath a suit, &c.] These words Portia addresses to Lucius, to deceive him, by assigning a false cause for her present perturbation Malone.

Cas. Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
Brutus, what shall be done? If this be known,
Cassius or Cæsar never shall turn back,
For I will slay myself.

Cassius, be constant :
Popilius Lena speaks not of our purposes;
For, look, he smiles, and Cæsar doth not change.

Cas. Trebonius knows his time; for, look you, Brutus, He draws Mark Antony out of the way. [Exeunt Ant. and TRE-Cæs. and the Senators

take their Seats. Dec. Where is Metellus Cimber? Let him go, And presently prefer his suit to Cæsar.

Bru. He is address'd:press near, and second him. Cin. Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.


Mark him.] The metre being here imperfect, I think, we should be at liberty to read :-Mark him well. So, in the paper read by Artemidorus, p. 54:-“ Mark well Metellus Cimber."" Steevens.

2 Cassius or Gæsar never shall turn back,] Cassius says, If our pur. pose is discovered, either Cæsar or I shall never return alive ; for, if we cannot kill him, I will certainly slay myself. The conspirators were numerous and resolute, and had they been betrayed, the confusion that must have arisen might have afforded desperate men an opportunity to despatch the tyrant. Ritson. 3 He is address’d ;] . e. he is ready. See Vol. IX, p. 279, n. 3.

Steevens. - you are the first that rears your hand.] This, I think, is not English. The first folio has reares, which is not much better. To reduce the passage to the rules of grammar, we should read - You are the first that rears his hand. Tyrwhitt.

According to the rules of grammar Shakspeare certainly should have written his hand; but he is often thus inaccurate. So, in the last Act of this play, Cassius says of himself,

Cassius is aweary of the world ;

all his faults observ'd,
“ Set in a note-book, learn'd and conn’d by rote,

To cast into my teeth.” There in strict propriety our poet certainly should have written "— into his teeth." Malone.

As this and similar offences against grammar, might have originated only from the ignorance of the players or their printers. I can. not concur in representing such mistakes as the positive inaccuracies of Shakspeare. According to this mode of reasoning, the false spellings of the first folio, as often as they are exampled by corresponding false spellings in the same book, may also be charged upon our author. Steevens.

Cæs. Are we all ready? what is now amiss,
That Cæsar, and his senate must redress ?5
Met. Most high, most mighty, and most puissant

Metellus Cimber, throws before thy seat
An humble
eart :

[Kneeling. Cæs.

I must prevent thee, Cimber.
These couchings, and these lowly courtesies,
Might fire the blood of ordinary men;
And turn pre-ordinance, and first decree,
Into the law of children. Be not fond,

5 Cin. Casca, you are the first that rears your hand.

Cæs. Are we all ready? What is now amiss,

That Cæsar, and his senate, must redress?] The words Are we all ready-seem to belong more properly to Cinna's speech, than to Cæsar's. Ritson.

6 And turn pre-ordinance,] Pre-ordinance, or ordinance already established. Warburton.

7 Into the law of children.] [Old copy-lane.] I do not well understand what is meant by the lane of children. I should read, the law of children. That is, change pre-ordinance and decree into the law of children; into such slight determinations as every start of will would alter. Lane and lawe in some manuscripts are not easily distinguished. Johnson.

If the lane of children be the true reading, it may possibly receive illustration from the following passage in Ben Jonson's Staple of News :

“ A narrow-minded man! my thoughts do dwell

6 All in a lane." The lane of children will then inean the narrow conceits of children which must change as their minds grow more enlarged. So, in Hamlet :

“ For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
“ In thewes and bulk; but as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul,

Grows wide withal.But even this explanation is harsh and violent. Perhaps the poet wrote: “ in the line of children," i. e, after the method or manner of children. In Troilus and Cressida, he uses line for method, course:

in all line of order." In an ancient bl. I. ballad, entitled, Houshold Talk, or Good Councel for a Married Man, I meet indeed with a phrase somewhat similar to the lane of children:

“ Neighbour Roger, when you come

“ Into the row of neighbours married.Steevens. The w of Shakspeare's time differed from an n only by a small carl at the bottom of the second stroke, which if an e bappened to follow, could scarcely be perceived. I have not hesitated therefore

« ForrigeFortsett »