« PreviousContinue »
March gently on to meet him.
Enter Cassius and Soldiers. Cas. Stand, ho! Bru. Stand, ho! Speak the word along. Within. Stand. Within. Stand. Within. Stand. Cas. Most noble brother, you have done me wrong.
Bru. Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies!
wrongs; And when you do them Bru.
Cassius, be content,
Bru. Lucilius, do the like ;6 and let no man Come to our tent, till we have done our conference. Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door. [Excunt.
Within the Tent of Brutus.
Enter BRUTUS and Cassius.
Bru. You wrong’d yourself, to write in such a case.
your griefs —] i. e. your grievances. See Vol. VIII, p. 306, n. 8. Malone.
do the like ;] Old copy do you the like;" but without tegard to metre. Steepens.
Cas. In such a time as this, it is not meet
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
I 'an itching palm?
Bru. The name of Cassius honours this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March remember! Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake? What villain touch'd his body, that did stab, And not for justice ?8 What, shall one of us, That struck the foremost man of all this world, But for supporting robbers; shall we now Contaminate our fingers with base bribes? And sell the mighty space of our large honours, For so much trash, as may be grasped thus? I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon, Than such a Roman. Cas.
Brutus, bay not me,
every nice offence -] i. e. small trilling offence. Warburton. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act V:
• The letter was not nice, but full of charge
“Of dear import." Sicevens. 8 What villain touch'd his body, that did stab,
And not for justice?] This question is far from implying that any of those who touched Cæsar's body, were villains. On the contrary, it is an indirect way of asserting that there was not one man among them, who was base enough to stab him for any cause but that of justice. Malone.
9 Cas. Brutus, bay not me,] The old copy--bait not ine. Mr. Theobald and all the subsequent editors read-bay not me; and the emendation is sufficiently plausible, our author having in Troilus and Cressida used the word bay in the same sense :
“ What moves Ajax thus to bay at him !" But as he has likewise twice used bait in the sense required here, the text, in my apprehension, ought not to be disturbed. “ I will not yield,” says Macbeth:
“ To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
16 And to be baited with the rabble's curse." Again, in Coriolanus:
I'll not endure it: you forget yourself,
Go to; you ’re not, Cassius.
Cas. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself;
Bru. Away, slight man!
Hear me, for I will speak.
why stay we to be baited « With one that wants her wits?" So also, in a comedy intitled, How to choose a Good Wife from a Bad, 1602:
• Do I come home so seldom, and that seldom
6 Am I thus baited.?" The reading of the old copy, which I have restored, is likewise supported by a passage in King Richard III:
“ To be so baited, scorn’d, and storm’d at.” Malone The second folio, on both occasions, has--bait; and the spirit of the reply will, in my judgment, be diminished, unless a repetition of the one or the other word be admitted. I therefore continue to read with Mr. Theobald. Bay, in our author, may be as frequently exemplified as bait. It occurs again in the play before us, as well as in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cymbeline, King Henry IV, P. II, &c. &c. Steevens.
1 To hedge me in;] That is, to limit my authority by your direction or censure. Johnson.
I am a soldier, I, Oider in pructice, &c.] Thus the ancient copies; but the modern editors, instead of Í, have read ay, because the vowel I sometimes stands for ay the allirinative adverb. I have replaced the old reading, on the authority of the following line:
" And I am Brutus; Marcus Brutus I." Steevens. See Vol. IX, p. 65, n. 5. Malone.
3 To make conditions.] That is, to know on what terms it is fit to confer the offices which are at my disposal. Johnson. 4 Cas. I am.
Bru. I say, you are not.] This passage may easily be restored to metre, if we read : Brutus, I am.
Cassius, I say you are not. Steevens.
Cas. O ye gods! ye gods! Must I endure all this?
Is it come to this?
Cas. You wrong me every way, you wrong me, Brutus;
If you did, I care not. Cas. When Cæsar liv’d, he durst not thus have mov'd
Bru. Peace, peace; you durst not so have tempted him.
durst not. Cas. Do not presume too much upon my love, I may do that I shall be sorry for. Bru. You have done that
should be sorry for.
5 I'll use you for my mirth,] Mr. Rowe has transplanted this insult into the mouth of Lothario:
“ And use his sacred friendship for our mirth.” Steevens.
than to wring From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,] This is a noble
By any indirection. I did send
denied me: Was that done like Cassius?
I denied you not.
I did not:-he was but a fool,
Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.8
I do not like your faults.
Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
sentiment, altogether in character, and expressed in a manner inimi. tably happy. For to wring, implies both to get unjustly, and to use force in getting: and hard hands signify both he peasant's great labour and pains in acquiring, and his great unwillingness to quit his hold.
Warburton. I do not believe that Shakspeare, when he wrote hard hanus in this place, had any deeper meaning than in the following line in 1 Mid summer Night's Dream :
“ Hard-handed men that work in Athens here." H White. Mr. H. White might have supported his opinion, (with which I perfectly concur) by another instance from Gymnbeline :
hands “Made hourly hard with falsehood as with labour.” Steevens.
my answer back.] The word back is unnecessary to the sense, and spoils the measure. Steerens.
8 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.