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This tragedy was neither printed nor entered at Stationers' Hall, till 1623. It was probably composed about the year 1607. From the words of Polonius in Hamlet, who says that, when in the university“ he did enact Julius Cæsar,” it seems probable that an English play on this subject had appeared before Shakspeare commenced a writer for the stage.
A Latin play on the death of Cæsar was acted at Christ's Church, Oxford, so early as 1582, as appears from Peck's Collection of divers curious historical Pieces, &c. (appended to his Memoirs, &c. of Oliver Cromwell) p. 14, and William Alexander, afterwards earl of Sterline, wrote a tragedy on the story, and with the title of Julius Cæsar. “It may be presumed,” says Malone, “ that Shakspeare's play was posterior to his; for Lord Sterline, when he composed his Julius Cæsar, was a very young author, and would hardly have ventured into that circle, within which the most eminent dramatick writer of England had already walked. The death of Cæsar, which is not exhibited, but related to the audience, forms the catastrophe of his piece. In the two plays many parallel passages are found, which might, perhaps, have proceeded only from the two authors drawing from the same source.”
The real length of time in Julius Cæsar is as follows: About the middle of February, A. U.C. 709, a frantick festival, sacred to Pan, and called Lupercalia, was held in honour of Cæsar, when the regal crown was offered to him by Antony. On the 15th of March in the same year, he was slain. November 27, A. U. C.710, the triumvirs met at a small island, formed by the river Rhenus, near Bononia, and there adjusted their cruel proscription.-A. U. C. 711, Brutus and Cassius were defeated near Philippi.
triumvirs after the death of Julius
conspirators against Julius Cæsar.
LUMNIUS; friends to Brutus and Cassius. VARRO, Clitus, CLAUDIUS, STRATO, Lucius, DARDA
NIUS; servants to Brutus. PINDARUS, servant to Cassius.
CALPHURNIA, wife to Cæsar.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.
wards at Sardis; and near Philippi.
SCENE I.-Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and a Rabble of Citizens.
Flav. Hence; home, you idle creatures, get you home; Is this a holiday? What! know you not, Being mechanical, you ought not walk, Upon a labouring day, without the sign Of your profession ?-Speak, what trade art thou?
1 Cit. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soals. Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave,
what trade? 2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me : yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
, Mar. What meanest thou by that? Mend me, thou
2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble
you. Flav. Thou art a cobler, art thou?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no tradesmen's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As pro
- I meddle with no tradesmen's, &c.] This should be “I meddle with no trades-man's matter, nor woman's matters, but with awl.”-Farmer.