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Triumvirs, after


A Soothsayer.

his Death. M. EN L. LEPIDU8,



Brutus and Cassius, CASNIUS,



Conspirators Brutus. LIGARIUS,

against Cæsar. PINDARUS, Servant to Cassius. DECIUS BRITUR, METELLUS CIMBER,

CALPURNIA, Wife to Cæsar.

PORTIA, Wife to Brutus.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.

SCENE, during a great part of the Play, at Rome; afterwards at Sardis; and near


ACT I. SCENE I. Rome. A Street. Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and a Throng 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?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on? -
You, sir; what trade are you?

2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I anı but. as you would say, a cobbler.

Mur. Bit what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

1 Shakespeare uses certain adjectives in the singular with the sense of the plural vown; as mechanical here for mechanics. So, in Hamlei, ii. 2: "'Twas caviare to the general.The sense in the text is, “ Know you not that, bring mechanics, you ought not," &c.

2 In infinitive verbs the Poet sometimes omits the to, where the verse 50 carries it. Thus, in The Merchant of Venice, i. 3: “ Whuse own hard dealing teaches them suspect the thoughts of others."

& Cobbler, it seems, was used of a coarse work man, or a butcher, in any mechanical trade. So that the Cobbler's answer does not give the iutorina. tion required.

2 Cit. A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience; which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

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 mean’st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow !

2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou ?

2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with all.” I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s-leather have gone upon my handywork.

Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets ?

2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.

Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home? What tributaries follow him to Rome, To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels ? You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things !

hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey ? Many a time and oft

climb'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but

appear, Have you not made an universal shout,

O, you

the eye,

4 Of course there is a play upon the two senses of out here. To be ou with a man is to be at odils with him; to be out at the tves is to Deed a mending of one's shoes.

6 The original reads, “but withal;" which modern editions generally change into with awl. In Shakespeare's quibbles, it is often ditficult to teil which word should be used; and, as they were meant rather for the ear than

it makes little difference. 6 Proper is commonly used by Shakespeare for handsome or goodly. See page 194, note 5.

So in Hebrews xi. 23, it is said that the parents of Moses hid bim " because they saw he was a proper child." - Neai was applied to all ca tle of the bovine genus, such as bulls, cows, and oxen. So, in The W’inter's Tale, i. 2: “ î he steer, the heiter, and the calf, are all call'd neart."

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7 What is called the nominative independent: “ Your infants being in

your arms."

That Tyber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his

That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood ? '
Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.10

Flav. Go, go, good countrymen; and, for this fault,
Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all. (Exeunt Citizens
See, whe'r their basest metal be not mov'd ! 17
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.

you down that way towards the Capitol ; This way will I. Disrobe the images, If you

do find them deck'd with ceremony.12 Mar. May we do so? You know it is the feast of Lupercal.18


8 The Tyber being always personified as a god, the feminine gender 19 here, strictly speaking, improper. Milton says: The river of bliss rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber streams." But he is speaking of the water, and Dot of its presiding power or genius. Drayton describes the presiding powers of the rivers of England as females; Spenser more classically represents them as males.

9 The reference is to the great battle of Munda, in Spain, which took place in the Fall of the preceding year. Cæsar was now celebrating his fifth triumph, which was in honour of his final victory over the Pompeian faction. Cnæus and Sextus, the two sons of Pompey the Great, were leaders in that battle, and Cnæus perished. Flowers, in the preceding line, is a dissyllable. The Poet uses this, and also various other words of like form, power, dower, bower, &c., as one or two syllables indifferently, to suit his

10 It is evident from the opening scene, that Shakespeare, even in dealing with classical subjects, laughed at the classic fear of putting the ludicrous and sublime into juxtaposition. After the low and farcical jests of the saucy cobbler, the eloquence of Marullus “spring upwards like a pyramid of tire." - Campbell.

11 IVhe'r is occasionally used by the Poet as a contraction of whether. The idea is, that even such stupid souls as these have yet the grace to be ashamed of their conduct.

12 These images were the busts and statues of Cæsar, ceremoniously decked with scarfs and badges in honour of his triumph.

18 This festival, held in honour of Lupercus, the Roman Pan, fell on the 16th of February, which month was so named from Februus, a surname of the god. Lupercus was, primarily, the god of the shepherds, said to have been so called because he kept off the wolves. His wite Luperca was the deified she-wolf that suckled Romulus. The festival, in its original idea, was meant for religious expiation and purification, February being at thai time the last month of the year.

Flav. It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies.14 I'll about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets :
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck'd from Cæsar's wing,
Will make him tly an ordinary pitch ;
Who else would soar above the view of men,
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.


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Scene II. The Same. A Public Place.
Enter, in Procession with Music, Cæsar; Antony, for the

Course ; CALPURNIA, Portia, Decius, Cicero, Brutus,
Cassius, and Casca; a great Crowd following, among
them a Soothsayer.
Cæs. Calpurnia,
Casca. Peace, ho! Cæsar speaks.

[Music ceases. Cæs. Calpurnia, Cal. Ilere, my

lord. Cæs. Stand you directly in Antonius' way, When he doth run his course." Antonius,

Ant. Cæsar, my lord ?

Cæs. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.?

I shall remember:
When Cæsar says Do this, it is perform’d.

Cæs. Set on; and leave no ceremony out. [Music.
Sooth. Cæsar!
Cæs. Ha! who calls ?
Casca. Bid every noise be still. — Peace yet again!

[Music ceases. Cæs. Who is it in the press that calls on me?

14 “Cæsar's trophies" are the scarfs and badges mentioned in note 12; as appears in the next scene, where it is said that the Tribunes are put to silence for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images."

1 Marcus Antonius was at this time Consul, as Cæsar himself also was. Each Roman gens had its own priesthood, and also its peculiar religious rites. The flamens, or priests, of the Julian gans (so named iron Inlus the son of Æneas) had lately been advanced to the same rank with those of the god Lupercus; and Antony was at this time at their head It was probibly as chief famen of the Julian house that he officiated on this occasion in the holy course."

* 2 It was an old custom at these festivals for the flamens, all naked except a girdle about the loins, to run through the streets of the city, waving in the hand a thong of gott's hide, and striking with it such women as offered themselves for the blow, in the belief that this would prevent or avert the sterile curse."

I'll leave you.

I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry Cæsar! Speak; Cæsar is turn’d to hear.

Sooth. Beware the ides of March.

What man is that?
Bru. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.”
Cæs. Set him before me; let me see his face.
Cass. Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Cæsar.
Cæs. What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.
Sooth. Beware the ides of March.
Cæs. He is a dreamer; let us leave him :- - Pass.

[ Sennet. Exeunt all but BRUTUS and Cassius. Cass. Will

you go see the order of the course ?
Bru. Not I.
Cass. I pray you, do.

Bru. I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires ;

Cass. Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have : 4
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.

Be not deceiv'd: if I have veild my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am er
Of late with passions of some difference, !!
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviours
But let not therefore my good friends be griev'd,
(Among which number, Cassius, be you one,)
Nor construe any further my neglect,

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8 Coleridge has a remark on this line, which, whether true to the subject or not, is very characteristic of the writer: "If my ear does not deceive ice, the metre of this line was meant to express that sort of mild philosophic contempt, characterising Brutus even in his tirst casual speech." The metrical analysis of the line is, an lamb, two Anapeats, and two lainbs.

À The demonstratives this, that, and 'such, and also the relatives which, that and res, had not become fully differentiated in the Poet's time, and so were often used interchangeably. So, a little later in this scene: “Under these hard conditions as this time is like to lay upon us." See page 224,

This man, Caius Cassius Longinus, had married Junia, a sister of Brutus. Both had lately stood for the chief Prætorsnip of the city, and Brutus, through Cæsar's favour, had won it; though Cassius was at the same time elected one of the sixteen Prætors or judges of the city. This is said to hive produced a coldness between Brutus and Cassius, so that they did not speak to each other, till this extraordinary flight of patriotism brought them together.

6 Construe is, I beli sve, always used by Shakespeare with the first sylla. ble long.

note 20.

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