« PreviousContinue »
265. “Set honour in one eye, and death i' the other, “And I will look on both indifferently.”
“In the eye,” for in my view. I cannot think that Dr. Johnson has accurately explained this passage: the meaning of “indifferently” is not, I apprehend, without preference, but serenely, coolly, without that alarm or perturbation which might prevent my chusing properly. A sentiment resembling this occurs in K. Henry IV. where Hotspur exclaims,
“Send danger from the East unto the West, “So honour cross it from the North to South; “And let them grapple.”
266. “The troubled Tyber chasing with her shores.”
This mistake of the gender of Tyber was noted before in the first scene, by Mr. Steevens; it is very uncouth, and ought, I think, to be corrected in the text.
Arrive, as a verb active, is used in other places; and we find it so applied by Milton :
The nominative pronoun, here, has no verb belonging to it. The awkward pleonasm might be removed by reading, for “I,”
The hypermeter, here, might be obviated without much violence:
& 4 As MEneas, our great ancestor,
“Did, from Troy's flames, upon his shoulders bear
“The old Anchises, so, from the waves of Tyber,” &c.
Or Tyber's waves.
Cassius seems, here, to pay a compliment to Caesar that he did not intend ; he wonders that Caesar should be liable to the attack of a fever, or the common incidents of humanity.
268. “Another general shout !”
& There is no occasion for the word “general,” here, which only spoils the measure:
“And bear the palm alone. (Shout.) & 4 Another shout.”
“Men, at some time are masters of their fates.”
Every man has it in his power, at some time or other, to achieve his fortune or assert his dignity. A similar reflection occurs again:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
“Brutus and Caesar: what should be in (that) Caesar 2"
“That” should be omitted. “Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.”
The word sprite, which in other places is put for spirit, would improve the measure.
269. “Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,” &c.
I wish there was no room for this pun.
“Room enough,” &c. The occasion to pun was too tempting, as it seems to be at present. B. ST RU TT.
The etermal devil.” Eternity is here ascribed to the devil, generally, as an attribute; and not, as Mr. Steevens sup
poses, with any reference to the continuance of his reign in Rome.
270. “Under these hard conditions, as this time “Is like to lay upon us.”
The “ass,” again, “in compound,” &c. See Coriolanus, Act 2, Scene 1, 67. “I am glad, that my weak words.” This is too much for the measure, “weak” might be omitted, and “upon us,” in the component part of the line, compressed to two syllables: “Is like to lay upon is. & 4 I am glad my words.”
“Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes, “As we have seen him in the Capitol.”
272. “Such men as he be never at heart's ease.”
The using, thus, the subjunctive “be,” instead of the indicative are, is an error that, I think, should be silently repaired in the text. Notwithstanding it was the practice of our author, as well as others of his time, why should mistakes confessed, be perpetuated when they can be corrected without any inconvenience?
“That Caesar looks so sad.
273. “I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.”
Casca was not in quite such piteous case as a certain sea-sick traveller, who, in excuse for the intolerable clamour he made, observed, that his neighbour above him was vomiting on his face, while he himself was so sick that he could not keep his mouth shut.
275. “With better appetite.”
This hemistic might be accommodated in the following line, dismissing from the latter three useless words—“ for this time:”
“I will come home to you ; or, if you will, “Come home with me, and I will wait for you.”
This must be wrong: if Cassius went with Brutus, Brutus could not wait. I would propose:
“I will go home to you; or, if you will, “Come home to me, and I will wait for you.”
“From that it is dispos'd: therefore 'tis meet.”
The grammar and the metre both require correction. We might read:
“From that it is dispos'd to ; so 'tis meet.”
276. “Casar doth bear me hard ; but he loves Brutus : “If I were Brutus now, and he were Cassius, “ He should not humour me.”
Cassius is a selfish moralist; he would not be tempted to betray his friend, though he advises Brutus to do so.
SCENE III. 281. “Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind.”
This line should certainly be placed, as Dr. Johnson proposes, after the line which now follows it.
& 4 Infus’d them with these spirits,” &c.