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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 wrong. Bru. Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies? And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother?
Cas. Brutus, this sober form of yours hides wrongs; And when you do them
Cassius, be content,
Speak your griefs5 softly,--I do know you well:-
Which should perceive nothing but love from us,
Bid our commanders lead their charges off
Bru. Lucilius, do the like ;6 and let no man
Come to our tent, till we have done our conference.
Within the Tent of Brutus.
LUCIUS and TITINIUS at some distance from it.
Cas. That you have wrong'd me doth appear in this: You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella,
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein, my letters, praying on his side,
Bru. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a case.
5 your griefs-] i. e. your grievances. See Vol. VIII, p. 306, n. 8. Malone.
do the like;] Old copy-" do you the like;" but without regard to metre. Steevens.
Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet
I 'an itching palm?
You know, that you are Brutus that speak this,
Bru. The name of Cassius honours this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March remember! Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake? What villain touch'd his body, that did stab, And not for justice? What, shall one of us, That struck the foremost man of all this world, But for supporting robbers; shall we now Contaminate our fingers with base bribes? And sell the mighty space of our large honours, For so much trash, as may be grasped thus?— I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Brutus, bay not me,9
every nice offence - i. e. small trifling offence. Warburton. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act V:
"The letter was not nice, but full of charge
"Of dear import." Steevens.
8 What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice?] This question is far from implying that any of those who touched 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.
9 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 sense:
"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,
Again, in Coriolanus:
I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
Cas. I am.
Go to; you're not, Cassius.
Bru. I say, you are not.4
Cas. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself; Have mind upon your health, tempt me no further. Bru. Away, slight man!
Cas. Is 't possible?
Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
why stay we to be baited
"With one that wants her wits?"
So also, in a comedy intitled, How to choose a Good Wife from a Bad, 1602:
"Do I come home so seldom, and that seldom
"Am I thus baited ?"
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, P. II, &c. &c. Steevens.
1 To hedge me in;] That is, to limit my authority by your direction or censure. Johnson.
2 I am a soldier, I,
Oider 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.
See Vol. IX, p. 65, n. 5.
3 To make conditions.] That is, to know on what terms it is fit to confer the offices which are at my disposal. Johnson.
4 Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.] This passage may easily be restored to metre, if we read:
Brutus, I am.
Cassius, I say you are not. Steevens.
Cas. O ye gods! ye gods! Must I endure all this? Bru. All this? ay, more: Fret, till your proud heart
Go, show your slaves how cholerick you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Is it come to this?
Bru. You say, you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well: For mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
Cas. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus ; I said, an elder soldier, not a better:
Did I say, better?
If you did, I care not.
Cas. When Cæsar liv'd, he durst not thus have mov'd
Bru. Peace, peace; you durst not so have tempted him. Cas. I durst not?
Cas. What? durst not tempt him?
For your life you durst not.
Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love,
I may do that I shall be sorry for.
Bru. You have done that you should be sorry for. There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am arm'd so strong in honesty,
That they pass by me, as the idle wind,
For certain sums of gold, which you deny'd me ;-
5 I'll use you for my mirth,] Mr. Rowe has transplanted this insult into the mouth of Lothario:
“And use his sacred friendship for our mirth." Steevens.
than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,] This is a noble
By any indirection. I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me: Was that done like Cassius?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
Bru. You did.
I denied you not.
That brought my answer back.7-Brutus hath riv'd my
A friend should bear his friend's infirmities,
I do not like your faults. Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults. Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come, Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world:
Hated by one he loves; brav'd by his brother;
sentiment, altogether in character, and expressed in a manner inimitably happy. For to wring, implies both to get unjustly, and to use force in getting and hard hands signify both the peasant's great labour and pains in acquiring, and his great unwillingness to quit his hold. Warburton.
I do not believe that Shakspeare, when he wrote hard hands in this place, had any deeper meaning than in the following line in 4 Midsummer Night's Dream:
"Hard-handed men that work in Athens here." H. White. Mr. H White might have supported his opinion, (with which I perfectly concur) by another instance from Cymbeline:
"Made hourly hard with falsehood as with labour." Steevens. 7 — my answer back.] The word back is unnecessary to the sense, and spoils the measure. Steevens.
8 Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.] The meaning is this: I do not look for your faults, I only see them, and mention them with vehemence, when you force them into my notice, by practising them on me.