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O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit,
their servants to an act of rage,
Yet I do fear him :
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.]
“ Funus erat." Stat. Theb. VII. 1, 696. .STEEVENS. $ 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 bedst taken of hunters." MALONE.
• 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.
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 : And that were much he should; for he is given To sports, to wildness, and much company.
Treb. There is no fear in him ; let him not die; For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter
[Clock strikes. BRU. Peace, count the clock. CAS.
The clock hath stricken three. TREB. 'Tis time to part.
take thought,] That is, turn melancholy. JOHNSON. So, in Antony and Cleopatra .
« What shall we do, Enobarbus?
« Think and die.” Again, in Holinshed, p. 833 : “—now they are without service, which caused them to take thought, insomuch that some died by the way,” &c. STEEVENS.
The precise meaning of take thought may be learned from the following passage in St. Matthew, where the verb pegiuvaw, which signifies to anticipate, or forbode evil, is so rendered: “ Take no thought for the morrow : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself ; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”—Cassius not only refers to, but thus explains, the phrase in question, when, in answer to the assertion of Brutus concerning Antony, Act III:
" I know that we shall have him well to friend." he replies:
wish we may: but yet I have a mind
“ Falls shrewdly to the purpose.” To take thought then, in this instance, is not to turn melancholy, whatever think may be in Antony and Cleopatra.
HENLEY. See Vol. V. p. 313, n. 7. MALONE.
company. ] Company is here used in a disreputable See a note on the word companion, Act IV. HENLEY.
But it is doubtful yet, Whe'r Cæsaro will come forth to-day, or no: For he is superstitious grown of late Quite from the main opinion he held once Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies : It may be, these apparent prodigies, The unaccustom'd terror of this night, And the persuasion of his augurers, May hold him from the Capitol to-day.
9 Whe'r Cæsar &c.] Whe'r is the ancient abbreviation of whether, which likewise is sometimes written—where. Thus in Turberville’s translation of Ovid's Epistle from Penelope to Ulysses :
“ But Sparta cannot make account
.66 Where thou do live or die.” STEEVENS. Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies:] Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fixed, predominant opinion.
JOHNSON, Main opinion, according to Johnson's explanation, is sense ; but mean opinion would be a more natural expression, and is, I believe, what Shakspeare wrote. M. MASON.
The words main opinion occur again in Troilus and Cressida, where (as here) they signify general estimation:
«« Why then we should our main opinion crush
66 In taint of our best man." There is no ground therefore for suspecting any corruption in the text. MALONE.
Fantasy was in our author's time commonly used for imagination, and is so explained in Cawdry's Alphabetical Table of hard Words, 8vo. 1604. It signified both the imaginative power, and the thing imagined. It is used in the former sense by Shakspeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ Raise up
organs of her fantasy." In the latter, in the present play:
“ Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies.” Ceremonies means omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites. So, afterwards :
« Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,
DEC. Never fear that: If he be so resolvid,
• That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. v:
“ Like as a lyon whose imperiall powre
« Of his fiers foe, him to a tree applies:
But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast.” Again, in Bussy D'Ambois, 1607:
“ An angry unicorne in his full career
" Nail him with his rich antler to the earth.” Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them, was exposed. See Pliny's Natural History, B.VIII.
ŠTEEVENS. 3 Let me work :] These words, as they stand, being quite unmetrical, I suppose our author to have originally written:
Let me to work. i. e. go to work. STEEVENS.
For I can give his humour the true bent;
bring him to the Capitol. CAS. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch
him. Bru. By the eighth họur: Is that the uttermost? Cin. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then,
MET. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard,
Bry. Now, good Metellus, go along by him :5
you, Brutus :And, friends, disperse yourselves: but all remember What you have said, and show yourselves true Ro
mans, Bru. Good gentlemen, look fresh and merrily; Let not our lookso put on our purposes ; But bear it as our Roman actors do,
-bear Cæsar hard,] Thus the old сору,
but Messieurs Rowe, Pope, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, on the authority of the second and latter folios, read-hatred, though the same expression appears again in the first scene of the following Act: I do beseech you, if you bear me hard;" and has already occurred in a former one: “ Cæsar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus."
STEEVENS. Hatred was substituted for hard by the ignorant editor of the second folio, the great corrupter of Shakspeare's text,
MAŁONE. by him:] That is, by his house. Make that your way home. Mr. Pope substituted to for by, and all the subsequent editors have adopted this unnecessary change. MALONE.
• Let not our looks—] Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs. Johnson.