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This was the most unkindest cut of all :
here, Here is himself, marr’d, as you sce, with traitors.5
1 Even at the base of Pompey's statua,] [Old copy-statue.] It is not our author's practice to make the adverb even a dissyllable. If it be considered as a monosyllabie, the measure is defective. I sus. pect therefore he wrote-at Pompey's statua. The word was not yet completely denizened in his time. Beaumont, in his Masque, writes it statua, and its plural statuaes. Yet, it must be acknowledged, tha: statue is used more than once in this play, as a dissyllable. Malone. See Vol. II, p. 226, n. 5; and Vol. XI, p. 113, 11. 2.
could bring a multitude of instances in which statua is used for statue. Thus, in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, 540: “ – and Callistratus by the helpe of Dædalus about Cupid's statua, made”' &c. Again, 574: " - his statua was to be seene in the temple of Venus Elusina." Steevens.
2 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.
Shakspeare took these words from Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch: “ - against the very base whereon Pompey's image stood, which ran all a gore of blood, till he was slain.” Steevens.
treason flourish'd —] i.e. flourished the sword. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“And flourishes his blade in spite of me.” Steevens. 4 The diut of pity:] is the impression of pity.
The word is in common use among our ancient writers. So, in Preston's Cambyses: " Your grace therein may hap receive, with other for your
parte, “ The dent of death, &c. Again, ibid: “ He shall dye by dent of sword, or else by choking rope."
Steevenz 6 Here is himself, marrd, as you see, with traitors.] To mar seems
i Cit. O piteous spectacle!
2 Cit. We will be revenged: revenge; about,—seek, -burn,-fire,-kill,—slay!-let not a traitor live.
Ant. Stay, countrymen.
2 Cit. We'll hear him, we 'll follow him, we ’ll die with him.
Ant. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up To such a sudden flood of mutiny. They, that have done this deed, are honourable ; What private griefs they have, alas, I know not, That made them do it; they are wise, and honourable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you. I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts; I am no orator, as Brutus is: But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man, That love my friend; and that they know full well That gave me publick leave to speak of him. For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
to have anciently signified to lacerate. So, in Solyman and Perseda, a tragedy, 1599. Basilisco feeling the end of his dagger, says:
“ This point will mar her skin.” Malone. To mar sometimes signified to deface, as in Othello:
“ Nor mar i hat whiter skin of hers than snow—." and sometimes to destroy, as in Timon of Athens :
• And mar men's spurring.” Ancient alliteration always produces mar as the opposite of make.
Steevens. 6 For I have neither wit,] [Old copy-writ ] So, in King Henry VI, P. II:
“Now, my good lord, let's see the devil's writ." į. e. writing. Again, in Hamlet : " the law of writ and the liber. ty.”—The editor of the second folio, who altered whatever he did not understand, substituted wit for writ. Wit in our author's time had not its present signification, but meant understanding. Would Shakspeare make Antony declare himself void of common intelligence?
Malone. The first folio (and, I believe, through a mistake of the press) has -writ, which in the second folio was properly changed into—wit. Dr. Juhuson, however, supposes, that by writ was meant a "penned and premeditated oration."
But the artful speaker, on this sudden call for his exertions, was
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
Cit. We'll mutiny.
Cit. Most true ;-the will;--let's stay, and hear the will.
Ant. Here is the will, and under Cæsar's seal.
2 Cit. Most noble Cæsar! -we'll revenge his death.
surely designed, with affected modesty, to represent himself as one who had neither wit, (i. e. strength of understanding) persuasive language, weight of character, graceful action, harmony of voice, &c. (the usual requisites of an orator) to influence the minds of the people. Was it necessary, therefore, that, on an occasion so precipitate, he should have urged that he had brought no written speech in his pocket ? since every person who heard him must have been aware that the interval between the death of Cæsar, and the time present, would have been inadequate to such a composition, which indeed could not have been produced at all, unless, like the indictment of Lord Hastings in King Richard III, it had been got ready through a premonition of the event that would require it.
What is styled the devil's writ in King Henry VI, P. II, is the de. position of the dæmon, written down before witnesses on the stage. I therefore continue to read with the second folio, being unambitious of reviving the blunders of the first. Steevens.
7 — seventy-five drachmas.] A drachma was a Greek coin, the same as the Roman denier, of the value of four sesterces, 7d. ob.
Cit. Peace, ho!
Ant. Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
1 Cit. Never, never:--Come, away, away:
2 Cit. Go, fetch fire.
[Exeunt Citizens with the Bodya Ant. Now let it work: Mischief, thou art afoot, Take thou what course thou wilt! How now, fellow?
Enter a Servant.
Ant. And thither will I straight to visit him:
8 On this side Tyber;] The scene is here in the Forum near the Capitol, and in the most frequented part of the city ; but Cæsar's gardens were very remote from that quarter:
“ Trans Tiberim longe cubat is, prope Cæsaris hortos.” says Horace: and both the Naumachia and gardens of Cæsar were separated from the main city by the river; and lay out wide, on a line with Mount Janiculum. Our author therefore certainly wrote:
On that side Tyber; and Plutarch, whom Shakspeare very diligently studied, in The Life of Marcus Brutus, speaking of Cæsar's will, expressly says, That he left to the public his gardens, and walks, beyond the Tyber. Theobald.
This emendation has been adopted by the subsequeni editors; but hear the old translation, where Shakspeare's study lay: “ He bequeathed unto every citizen of Rome seventy-five drachmas a man, and he left his gardens and arbours unto the people, which he had on this side of the river Tiber." Farmer.
fire the traitors' houses.] Thus the old copy. The more modern editors (read-fire all the traitor's houses; but fire was then pronounced, as it was sometimes written, fier. So, in Humor's Ordimary, a collection of Epigrams:
“O rare compound, a dying horse to choke,
And in this mood will give us any thing.
Serv. I heard him say, Brutus and Cassius
Ant. Belike, they had some notice of the people,
The same. A Street.
Enter CINNA, the Poet. Cin. I dreamt to-night, that I did feast with Cæsar, And things'unluckily'charge my fantasy:3 unlikely I have no will to wander forth of doors, Yet something leads me forth.
Enter Citizens. 1 Cit. What is your name? 2 Cit. Whither are you going? 3 Cit. Where do
dwell? 4 Cit. Are you a married man, or a bachelor? 2 Cit. Answer every man directly. 1 Cit. Ay, and briefly. 4 Cit. Ay, and wisely. 3 Cit. Ay, and truly, you were best.
Cin. What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I dwell? Am I a married man, or a bachelor? Then to answer every man directly, and briefly, wisely, and truly. Wisely I say, I am a bachelor.
2 Cit. That's as much as to say, they are fools that marry :-You 'll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Pro. ceed; directly.
Cin. Directly, I am going to Cæsar's funeral.
1 Scene III.] The subject of this scene is taken from Plutarch.
Steevens, 2 I dreamt to-night, that I did feast &c.] I learn from an old black letter treatise on Fortune-telling &c. that to dream “of being at banquets, betokeneth misfortune." &c. Steevens.
things unluckily charge my fantasy :] i. e. circumstances op. press my fancy with an ill-omened weight. Stectens.