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Not Erebus itself were dim enough

To hide thee from prevention.


Cas. I think, we are too bold upon your rest:
Good-morrow, Brutus; Do we trouble you?

Bru. I have been up this hour; awake, all night.
Know I these men, that come along with you?
Cas. Yes, every man of them; and no man here,
But honours you: and every one doth wish,
You had but that opinion of yourself,

Which every noble Roman bears of you.
This is Trebonius.

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[They whisper.

And this, Metellus Cimber.


What watchful cares do interpose themselves3

Betwixt your eyes and night?

Ças. Shall I entreat a word?

Dec. Here lies the east: Doth not the day break here? Casca. No.

Cin. O, pardon, sir, it doth; and yon grey lines,

That fret the clouds, are messengers of day.

Casca. You shall confess, that you are both deceiv'd. Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises;

Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.

Some two months hence, up higher toward the north
He first presents his fire; and the high east
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.

"Where, from the neighbouring hills, her passage Wey doth path.”

Again, in his Epistle from Duke Humphrey to Elinor Cobham : "Pathing young Henry's unadvised ways." Steevens.

3 do interpose themselves &c.] For the sake of measure I am willing to think our author wrote as follows, and that the wordthemselves is an interpolation:

What watchful cares do interpose betwixt
Your eyes and night?


Shall I entreat a word? Steevens.

Bru. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Cas. And let us swear our resolution.

Bru. No, not an oath: If not the face of men,1
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,—

• No, not an oath: If not the face of men, &c.] Dr. Warburton would read fate of men; but his elaborate emendation is, I think, erroneous. The face of men is the countenance, the regard, the esteem of the publick; in other terms, honour and reputation; or the face of men may mean the dejected look of the people. Johnson.

So, Tully in Catilinam-Nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt? Shakspeare formed this speech on the following passage in Sir T. North's translation of Plutarch:-" The conspirators having never taken oaths together, nor taken or given any caution or assurance, nor binding themselves one to another by any religious oaths, they kept the matter so secret to themselves," &c. Steevens.

I cannot reconcile myself to Johnson's explanation of this passage, but believe we should read:

• If not the faith of men, &c.

which is supported by the following passages in this very speech:
What other bond

"Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
"And will not palter.—

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when every drop of blood

"That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,

"Is guilty of a several bastardy,

"If he do break the smallest particle

"Of any promise that hath pass'd from him."

Both of which prove, that Brutus considered the faith of men as their firmest security in each other. M. Mason.

In this sentence, [i. e. the two first lines of the speech] as in several others, Shakspeare, with a view perhaps to imitate the abruptness and inaccuracy of discourse, has constructed the latter part without any regard to the beginning. "If the face of men, the sufferance of our souls, &c. If these be not sufficient; if these be motives weak," &c. So, in The Tempest:

"I have with such provision in mine art,
"So safely order'd, that there is no soul –
"No, not so much perdition," &c.

If the

Mr. M. Mason would read-if not the faith of men. text be corrupt, faiths is more likely to have been the poet's word; which might have been easily confounded by the ear with face, the word exhibited in the old copy. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

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the manner of their deaths?

"I do not see them bleed."

Again, in King Henry VI, P. III:

"And with their helps only defend ourselves."

Again, more appositely, in The Rape of Lucrece:

66 You, fair lords, quoth she,

"Shall plight your honourable faiths to me." Malone.

If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
And every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to steel with valour
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
What need we any spur, but our own cause,
To prick us to redress? what other bond,
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter?6 and what other oath,
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,

That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelous,
Old feeble carrions, and such suffering souls
That welcome wrongs; unto bad causes swear
Such creatures as men doubt: but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprize,9

Till each man drop by lottery.] Perhaps the poet alluded to the custom of decimation, i. e. the selection by lot of every tenth soldier, in a general mutiny, for punishment.

He speaks of this in Coriolanus:

"By decimation, and a tithed death,
"Take thou thy fate." Steevens.

6 And will not palter?] And will not fly from his engagements. Cole, in his Dictionary, 1679, renders to palter, by tergiversor. In Macbeth it signifies, as Dr. Johnson has observed, to shuffle with ambiguous expressions: and, indeed, here also it may mean to shuffle; for he whose actions do not correspond with his promises is properly called a shuffler. Malone.

7 Swear priests, &c.] This is imitated by Otway:


"When you would bind me, is there need of oaths?" &c. Venice Preserved. Johnson.

cautelous,] Is here cautious, sometimes insidious. So, in Woman is a Weathercock, 1612: "Yet warn you, be as cautelous not to wound my integrity."

Again, in Drayton's Miseries of Queen Margaret :


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Witty, well-spoken, cautelous, though young." Again, in the second of these two senses in the romance of Kynge Appolyn of Thyre, 1610: "— a fallacious policy and cautelous wyle.' Again, in Holinshed, p. 945: " the emperor's councell thought by a cautell to have brought the king in mind to sue for a licence from the pope." Steevens.

Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, explains cautelous thus: "Warie, circumspect;" in which sense it is certainly used here.

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Nor the insuppressive mettle of our spirits,
To think, that, or our cause, or our performance,
Did need an oath; when every drop of blood,
That every Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several bastardy,

If he do break the smallest particle

Of any promise that hath pass'd from him?
Cas. But what of Cicero? Shall we sound him?
I think, he will stand very strong with us.
Casca. Let us not leave him out.


No, by no means.
Met. O let us have him; for his silver hairs
Will purchase us a good opinion,1

And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be said, his judgment rul'd our hands;
Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity.

Bru. O, name him not; let us not break with him; For he will never follow any thing

That other men begin.


Then leave him out.

Casca. Indeed, he is not fit.

Dec. Shall no man else be touch'd, but only Cæsar? Cas. Decius, well urg'd:-I think, it is not meet, Mark Antony, so well belov'd of Cæsar,

Should outlive Cæsar: We shall find of him
A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means,

If he improves them, may well stretch so far,

As to annoy us all which to prevent,

Let Antony, and Cæsar, fall together.

Bru. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius. To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs ;

Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards :2

For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar.

9 The even virtue of our enterprize,] The calm, equable, temperate spirit that actuates us. Malone.

Thus in Mr. Pope's Eloisa to Abelard:


"Desires compos'd, affections ever even,—. Steevens.

-opinion,] i. e. character. So, in King Henry IV, P. I:
"Thou hast redeem'd thy lost opinion,"

The quotation is Mr. Reed's. See Vol. VIII, p. 328, n. 5. Steevens. 2 and envy afterwards :] Envy is here, as almost always in Shakspeare's plays, malice. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7; and p. 273, n. 6. Malone.

Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar;
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,3
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,
Cæsar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds :5
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious:
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.

Yet I do fear him :6
For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar, -
Bru. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him:

If he love Cæsar, all that he can do

Is to himself; take thought and die for Cæsar :

30, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit, &c.] Lord Sterline has the same thought: Brutus remonstrating against the taking off Antony, says:


"Ah! ah! we must but too much murder see,

"That without doing evil cannot do good;

"And would the gods that Rome could be made free,
"Without the effusion of one drop of blood?' Malone.
as a dish fit for the gods, &c.]


Gradive, dedisti,

"Ne qua manus vatem, ne quid mortalia bello

"Lædere tela queant, sanctum et venerabile Diti
"Funus erat." Stat. Theb. VII, 1. 696. Steevens.

5 Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds:] Our author had probably the following passage in the old translation of Plutarch in his thoughts: "Cæsar turned himselfe no where but he was stricken at by some, and still had naked swords in his face, and was hacked and mangled among them as a wild beast taken of hunters." Malone. 6 Yet I do fear him:] For the sake of metre I have supplied the auxiliary verb. So, in Macbeth:


There is none but him

"Whose being I do fear." Steevens.

1 ---- Take thought,] That is, turn melancholy. Johnson.

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