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SCENE: Rome; the neighbourhood of Sardis; the neighbourhood of Philippi.
Julius Cæsar. The name of the great Roman was Caius Julius Cæsar; Julius being his tribal or family name (like Campbell or Graham). But in his branch of the gens the cognomen Cæsar had been added (for reasons unknown) to the family name some generations before, so that the dictator was the eighteenth Julius Cæsar in his own direct line; the others having for their first names, or prenomens, Sextus, Lucius, or, like him, Caius. In Rome he would never be called Julius Cæsar; but by his friends Caius, and by the public Cæsar, par excellence. [So world-wide did the name become as a synonym for chieftainship that even the Slavic races appropriated it. The Russian Czar or Tsar is the same word.]
SCENE I. Rome. A street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and certain Commoners. Flav. Hence! home, you idle creatures, get you
Is this a holiday? what! know you not,
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
Mar. Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine work
man, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? answer me directly.
Sec. Com. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?
16. [knave was originally no other than "boy," the German knabe, and in our common use we give the word "boy" the range of two of the meanings of knave. The notion of villain was a remoter third, and is not in Marullus's mind.]
Sec. Com. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
Mar. What mean'st thou by that? mend me, thou saucy fellow!
Sec. Com. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar and to rejoice in his triumph. Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
47. her banks. Tiber is "Father Tiber
as Thames is
To hear the replication of your sounds
And do you now put on your best attire?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this
Assemble all the poor men of
Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
[Exeunt all the Commoners.
See, whe'er their basest metal be not mov'd;
If you do find them deck'd with ceremony.
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
Flav. It is no matter; let no images
"Father Thames"; but both are referred to in the literature of Shakespeare's day by "her," as well as by "his." In neither case is there a personification by gender; merely a varying use of the pronoun in the possessive form, consequent upon the need afterward supplied by "its," which at that time made its appearance in the language. See "Did lose his lustre," Sc. 2, 1. 124. 63. whe'er whether; a contraction which occurs elsewhere. 67. [ceremony. Another text reads ceremonies, and the word in either form is used for ceremonial symbols. See below, Act I., Sc. 2, 1. 285.]
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies. I'll about,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
SCENE II. A public place.
Flourish. Enter CÆSAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.
Cæs. Stand you directly in Antonius' way,
When he doth run his course.
Ant. Cæsar, my lord?
Cæs. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
Cæs. Set on; and leave no ceremony out. [Flourish.
72. [vulgar. The adjective, used here as a noun, remains in use in its unobjectionable sense in the phrases the "vulgar tongue," and "vulgar fractions."]
75. [pitch. Used of a falcon's flight “which flies the higher pitch." King Henry VI. First Part, Act II., Sc. 4, 1. 11.] Enter Decius. This is Decimus Junius Brutus Albanus, called Decius by mistake in North's Plutarch, whence Shakespeare took the name, which the rhythm of his verse forbids to be changed. It was this Decimus (Decius) Brutus, and not Marcus, who was Cæsar's favorite.