« AnteriorContinuar »
For tinctures, stains, relicks, and cognizance.] This speech, which is intentionally pompous, is somewhat confused. There are two allusions; one to coats armorial, to which princes make additions, or give new tinctures, and new marks of cog nizance; the other to martyrs, whose reliques are preserved with veneration. The Romans, says Decius, all come to you as to a saint, for reliques, as to a prince, for honours. JOHNSON. Line 497. And reason to my love is liable.] And reason, or propriety of conduct and language, is subordinate to my love.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 594. Brutus hath a suit, &c.] These words Portia addresses to Lucius, to deceive him, by assigning a false cause for her present perturbation. MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE I. Line 35. He is address'd ;] i. e. he is ready.
55. Know, Cæsar doth not wrong; nor without cause
Will he be satisfied.] Ben Jonson quotes this line unfaithfully among his Discoveries, and ridicules it again in the Introduction to his Staple of News: “ 'Cry you mercy; you never did wrong, but with just cause?” STEEVENS. apprehensive;] Susceptible of fear or other pas
Line SO. Unshak'd of motion :] i. e. Unshak'd by suit or sʊlicitation, of which the object is to move the person addressed.
Line 122. -Stoop, Romans, stoop,] Plutarch, in The Life of Casar, says, "Brutus and his followers, being yet hot with the murder, marched in a body from the senate-house to the Capitol, with their drawn swords, with an air of confidence and assurance." And in The Life of Brutus:-" Brutus and his party betook themselves to the Capitol, and in their way, showing their hands all bloody, and their naked swords, proclaimed liberty to the people." THEOBALD.
Line 176. who else is rank:] Who else may be supposed to have overtopped his equals, and grown too high for the publick 'safety.
Line 234. -crimson'd in thy lethe.] Lethe is used by many of the old translators of novels, for death. STEEVENS. -in the tide of times.] That is, in the course of JOHNSON. Line 308. Cry, Havock,] A learned correspondent [sir William Blackstone] has informed me, that, in the military operations of old times, havock was the word by which declaration was made, that no quarter should be given. JOHNSON. let slip-] To let slip a dog at a deer, &c. was the technical phrase of Shakspeare's time. So, in Coriolanus:
"Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
By the dogs of war, as Mr. Tollet has elsewhere observed, Shakspeare probably meant fire, sword, and famine. MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 476. And none so poor-] The meanest man is now too high to do reverence to Cæsar. JOHNSON.
⚫ Line 489. their napkins-] Napkin is the northern term for hundkerchief, and is used in this sense at this day in Scotland. Our author frequently uses the word. MALONE.
Line 551. Which all the while ran blood,] The image seems to be, that the blood of Cæsar flew upon the statue, and trickled down it. JOHNSON
Line 556. The dint of pity:] Is the impression of pity. STEEVENS.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 7. Upon condition Publius shall not live,] Mr. Upton has sufficiently proved that the poet made a mistake as to this cha racter mentioned by Lepidus; Lucius, not Publius, was the per son meant, who was uncle by the mother's side to Mark Antony and, in consequence of this, he concludes that Shakspeare wrote;
You are his sister's son, Mark Antony.
The mistake, however, is more like the mistake of the author, than of his transcriber or printer.
-one that feeds
On objects, arts, and imitations; &c.] Objects means, in Shakspeare's language, whatever is presented to the eye. So, in Timon of Athens: "Swear against objects, which Mr. Steevens has well illustrated by a line in our poet's 152d Sonnet :
"And made them swear against the thing they see." MALONE
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 67. In his own change, or by ill officers,] Brutus could not but know whether the wrongs committed were done by those who were immediately under the command of Cassius, or those under his officers, The answer of Brutus to the servant is only an act of artful civility; his question to Lucilius proves, that his suspision still continued. JOHNSON. Line 109. your griefs-] i. e. your grievances. MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE III,
Line 130. fence.
every nice offencc-] i. e. small, trifling of WARBURTON. Line 156. To hedge me in ;] That is, to limit my authority by your direction or censure. JOHNSON.
Line 158. To make conditions.] That is, to know on what terms it is fit to confer the offices which are at my disposal,
-than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,] This is a noble 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 greut unwillingness to quit his hold. WARBURTON.
Line 227. 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, JOHNSON. Line 244. If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth;] I think
he means only, that he is so far from avarice, when the cause of his country requires liberality, that if any man would wish for his heart, he would not need enforce his desire any otherwise, than by showing that he was a Roman. JOHNSON.
Line 287. What should the wars do with these jigging fools?] i, e. with these silly poets. A jig signified, in our author's time, a metrical composition, as well as a dance. MALONE.
Line 314. And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.] This circumstance is taken from Plutarch. It is also mentioned by Val. Maximus.
It cannot, however, be amiss to remark, that the death of Portia may want that foundation which has hitherto entitled her to a place in poetry, as a pattern of Roman fortitude. She is reported, by Pliny, I think, to have died at Rome of a lingering illness while Brutus was abroad; but some writers seem to look on a natural death as a derogation from a distinguished character. STEEVENS.
Valerius Maximus says that Portia survived Brutus, and killed herself on hearing that her husband was defeated and slain at Philippi. MALONE. MALONE.
Line 362.in art-] That is, in theory.
ACT V. SCENE 1.
Line 10. With fearful bravery,] That is, with a gallant show of courage, carrying with it terror and dismay. Fearful is used here, as in many other places, in an active sense-producing fear -intimidating. MALONE.
Casca,] Casca struck Cæsar on the neck, coming like a degenerate cur behind him. JOHNSON.
Line 117. The very last time we shall speak together: What are you then determined to do?] i. e. I am resolved in such a case to kill myself. What are you determined of? WARBURTON.
Line 119. of that philosophy,] There is an apparent. contradiction between the sentiments contained in this and the following speech which Shakspeare has put into the mouth of Brutus. In this, Brutus declares his resolution to wait patiently for the determinations of Providence; and in the next he intimates, that
though he should survive the battle, he would never submit to be
led in chains to Rome.
so to prevent
The time of life;] To prevent is here used in a French sense-to anticipate. By time is meant the full and complete time; the period. MALONE.
Line 124.arming myself with patience, &c.] Dr. Warburton thinks, that in this speech something is lost; but there needed only a parenthesis to clear it. The construction is this: I am de termined to act according to that philosophy which directed me to blame the suicide of Cato; arming myself with patience, &c. JOHNSON
ACT V. SCENE III.
Line 176. Go, Pindarus,] This dialogue between Cassius and Pindarus is beautifully imitated by Beaumont and Fletcher, in their tragedy of Bonduca, Act III. sc. 5. STEEVENS. Sirrah, what news?] Sirrah, as appears from many of our old plays, was the usual address in speaking to serv ants and children. MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE IV.
being Cato's son,] i. e. worthy of him. WARB. Luc. Only I yield to thee:
There is so much, that thou wilt kill me straight;} Dr. Warburton has been much inclined to find lacunæ, or pas sages broken by omission, throughout this play. I think he has been always mistaken. The soldier here says, Yield, or thou diest. Lucilius replies, I yield only on this condition, that I may die; here is so much gold as thou seest in my hand, which I offer thee as a reward for speedy death.
Line 293. 295.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON JULIUS CÆSAR.