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Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick;
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night?
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus ;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of: And, upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once commended beauty,
By all your vows of love, and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy; and what men to-night
Have had resort to you: for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.


Kneel not, gentle Portia. Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus. Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus, Is it excepted, I should know no secrets That appertain to you? Am I yourself, But, as it were, in sort, or limitation;

To keep with you at meals,1 comfort your bed,2

9 I charm you,] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope and Sir Thomas Hanmer read-charge, but unnecessarily. So, in Cymbeline :

66 'tis your graces

"That from my mutest conscience to my tongue

"Charms this report out."


1 To keep with you at meals, &c ] "I being, O Brutus, (sayed she) the daughter of Cato, was married vnto thee, not to be thy beddefellowe and companion in bedde and at borde onelie, like a harlot; but to be partaker also with thee, of thy good and eull fortune. Nowe for thyselfe, I can finde no cause of faulte in thee touchinge our matche: but for my parte, how may I showe my duetie towards thee, and how muche I woulde doe for thy sake, if I can not constantlie beare a secrete mischaunce or griefe with thee, which requireth secrecy and fidelitie? I confesse, that a woman's wit commonly is too weake to keep a secret safely but yet, Brutus, good education and the companie of vertuous men, haue some power to reforme the defect of nature. And for my selfe, I haue this benefit moreouer that I am the daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus. This notwithstanding, I did not trust to any of these things before: vntil that now I have found by experience, that no paine nor grife whatsoeuer can ouercome me. With those wordes she showed him her wounde on her thigh, and tolde him what she had done to proue her selfe." Sir Thomas North's Translation of Plutarch. Steevens.

And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs3

Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,

Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

Bru. You are my true and honourable wife ;

As dear to me, as are the ruddy drops

That visit my sad heart.4

Por. If this were true, then should I know this secret.

I grant, I am a woman;5 but, withal,

Here also we find our author and Lord Sterline walking over the same ground:


"I was not, Brutus, match'd with thee, to be

"A partner only of thy board and bed;
"Each servile whore in those might equal me,
"That did herself to nought but pleasure wed.
"No;-Portia spous'd thee with a mind t' abide
"Thy fellow in all fortunes, good or ill;
"With chains of mutual love together ty'd,

"As those that have two breasts, one heart, two souls,
one will." Julius Cæsar, 1607.


comfort your bed,]" is but an odd phrase, and gives as odd an idea," says Mr. Theobald. He therefore substitutes, consort. But this good old word, however disused through modern retinement, was not so discarded by Shakspeare. Henry VIII, as we read in Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, in commendation of Queen Katharine, in publick said: "She hathe beene to me a true obedient wife, and as comfortable as I could wish." Upton.

In the book of entries at Stationers' Hall, I meet with the following, 1598: "A Conversation between a careful Wife and her comfortable Husband." Steevens.

In our marriage ceremony, the husband promises to comfort his wife; and Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580, says, that to comfort is, " to recreate, to solace, to make pastime." Collins.

3- in the suburbs -] Perhaps here is an allusion to the place in which the harlots of Shakspeare's age resided. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas:

"Get a new mistress,

"Some suburb saint, that sixpence, and some oaths,
"Will draw to parley." Steevens.

4 As dear to me &c.] These glowing words have been adopted by Mr. Gray in his celebrated Ode:

"Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart.”

5 Igrant, I am a woman; &c.] So, Lord Sterline: "And though our sex too talkative be deem'd,


"As those whose tongues import our greatest pow'rs,

"For secrets still bad treasurers esteem'd,

"Of others' greedy, prodigal of ours;

A woman that lord Brutus took to wife :
I grant, I am a woman; but, withal,
A woman well-reputed; Cato's daughter.
Think you, I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father'd, and so husbanded?

Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them:
I have made strong proof of my constancy,

Giving myself a voluntary wound

Here, in the thigh: Can I bear that with patience,
And not my husband's secrets?


O ye gods,

Render me worthy of this noble wife! [Knocking within.
Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in a while;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake

The secrets of my heart.

All my engagements I will construe to thee,
All the charactery7 of my sad brows :—
Leave me with haste.


[Exit POR.

Lucius, who's that, knocks ?8

Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with you. Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.

Boy, stand aside.-Caius Ligarius! how?

Lig. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue. Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,

"Good education may reform defects,

"And I this vantage have to a vertuous life,
"Which others' minds do want and mine respects,

“I'm Cato's daughter, and I'm Brutus' wife." Malone. 6 A woman well-reputed, Cato's daughter.] By the expression wellreputed, she refers to the estimation in which she was held, as being the wife of Brutus; whilst the addition of Cato's daughter, implies that she might be expected to inherit the patriotic virtues of her father. It is with propriety therefore, that she immediately asks:

"Think you, I am no stronger than my sex,

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Being so father'd, and so husbanded ?" Henley.


7 All the charactery —] i. e. all that is character'd on, &c. word has already occurred in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Steevens. See Vol. III, p. 151, n. 3. Malone.

8 ·who's that, knocks?] i. e. who is that, who knocks? Our poet always prefers the familiar language of conversation to grammatical nicety. Four of his editors, however, have endeavoured to destroy this peculiarity, by reading-who's there that knocks? and a fifth has, who's that, that knocks? Malone.

To wear a kerchief?9 'Would you were not sick!
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!
Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up
My mortified spirit. Now bid me run,
And I will strive with things impossible;
Yea, get the better of them. What's to do?

Bru. A piece of work, that will make sick men whole. 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.

Set on your foot;

And, with a heart new-fir'd, I follow you,
To do I know not what but it sufficeth,
That Brutus leads me on.


Follow me then. [Exeunt.

90, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,


To wear a kerchief?] So, in Plutarch's Life of Brutus, translated by North: Brutus went to see him being sicke in his bedde, and sayed unto him, O Ligarius, in what a time art thou sicke? Ligarius rising up in his bedde, and taking him by the right hande, sayed unto him, Brutus, (sayed he) if thou hast any great enterprise in hande worthie of thy selfe, I am whole." Lord Sterline also has introduced this passage into his Julius Cæsar:

"By sickness being imprison'd in his bed

"Whilst I Ligarius spied, whom pains did prick,
"When I had said with words that anguish bred,
"In what a time Ligarius art thou sick?

"He answer'd straight, as I had physick brought,
"Or that he had imagin'd my design,

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If worthy of thyself thou wouldst do aught,

"Then Brutus I am whole, and wholly thine." Malone.

1 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.

See Vol. V, p. 309, n. 5. Malone.

M. Mason.


The same. A Room in Cæsar's Palace.

Thunder and Lightning. Enter CÆSAR, in his Night-gown.

Cas. 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?

Cas. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice, And bring me their opinions of success.

Serv. I will, my




Cal. What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to walk


You shall not stir out of your house to-day.

Cas. Cæsar shall forth: The things that threaten'd me, 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 Yet now they fright me. There is one within, Besides the things that we have heard and seen, Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch. A lioness hath whelped in the streets;

And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead :3

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."


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."


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