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the spirit of putting down kings and princes. . . . My father was a Mortimer,
Dick (aside). He was an honest man, and a good bricklayer.
Cade. My mother a Plantagenet,
Dick (aside). I knew her well; she was a midwife.
Dick (aside). She was, indeed, a peddler's daughter, and sold many laces.
Cade. Therefore am I of an honourable house.
Dick (aside). Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable; and there was he born, under a hedge, for his father had never a house but the cage.
Cade. Valiant I am.
Smith (aside). A' must needs; for beggary is valiant.
Dick (aside). No question of that; for I have seen him whipped three market-days together.
Cade. I fear neither sword nor fire.
Smith (aside). He need not fear the sword, for his coat is of proof.
Dick (aside). But methinks he should stand in fear of fire, being burnt i' the hand for stealing of sheep.
Cade. Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer; all the realm shall be in common, and in Cheapside shall my palfry go to grass; and when I am king, as king I will be,
All. God save your majesty!
Cade. I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord.
Dick. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
Cade. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings; but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since." -IV, ii, 5-91.
The clerk of Chatham is then brought before Cade charged with being able to read, write, and cast accounts, and with setting copies for boys. He is pronounced guilty and is led off to be hanged.
Says Walter Bagehot:
"An audience which bona fide entered into the merit of this scene would never believe in everybody's suffrage. They would know that there is such a thing as nonsense; and when a man has once attained to that deep conception, you may be sure of him ever after. . . The author of Coriolanus never believed in a mob, and did something toward preventing anybody else from doing so." Another "peculiar tenet which we ascribe to Shakespeare's political creed," continues Bagehot, "is a disbelief in the middle classes. We fear he had no opinion of traders. . . . You will generally find that when a 'citizen' is mentioned he does or says something absurd.”
Two other bits from 2 Henry VI must be given. Cade, striking his staff on London stone, utters the following proclamation:
"Now is Mortimer lord of this city. And here, sitting upon London stone, I charge and command that, of the city's cost, the [little] conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign. And now, henceforward, it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer.". IV, vi, 1–7.
When Lord Say is captured and brought into the presence of Cade, the latter worthy accuses him as follows:
"Be it known unto thee by these presence, even the pres ence of Lord Mortimer, that I am the besom that must sweep the court clean of such filth as thou art. Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school; and, whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used, and, contrary to the king, his crown and dignity, thou hast built a paper mill. It will be proved to thy face that thou hast men about thee that
usually talk of a noun and a verb, and such abominable words as no Christian ear can endure to hear. Thou hast appointed justices of peace, to call poor men before them about matters they were not able to answer.” — IV, vii, 32-47.
We need to remember that Shakespeare as a dramatist was concerned entirely with what the common people were in his own time and had been in the past. A dramatist has, perhaps, no call to be a prophet. If in Shakespeare's own thinking he caught no glimpse of the coming day of democratic institutions - and this seems probable - then by so much his great mind failed him; so much the less Shakespeare he.
Concerning the play of Julius Caesar, it must be admitted that the attempt of the conspirators to revive the Roman republic was foredoomed to failure. The play is true to history in representing that the time for the establishment of the empire had come. The judgment of posterity. upon the killing of Cæsar received its most savage expression when Dante reserved the lowest deep of Hell for the three arch-traitors, Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius. It is a lesson which may easily tempt to cowardice, but this play teaches that the good man who is blind to the signs of the time may go down in death to no purpose, even as does the felon.
XI. THE VERSE
The typical line. Julius Cæsar is written in what is called blank verse, that is, in verse without rhyme. The typical line is made up of five measures, also called feet, each measure having two syllables. A stress, or accent, falls on the second syllable of each measure. More briefly: a typical blank verse line consists of five two-syllabled measures, each with an accent on the second syllable. For example:
These growing feathers plúck'd | from Caesar's wíng. — I, i, 72.
If we represent an accented syllable by a and an unaccented one by x, we may represent a typical line by the formula 5 xa. The versification of Julius Cæsar is very regular, and the play will be found to contain a large number of typical lines.
The accents of verse come at regular intervals. In general they mark off to the ear equal intervals of time, like the accents in music; but in verse the movement is not so exact and uniform as in music. Shifting of the stress. If all lines were of the typical character, the verse of a play would be exceedingly monotoOne way to avoid monotony is to allow the stress to fall occasionally upon the first syllable of a measure instead of the second. This "shifting of the stress" is especially common at the beginning of a line, or immediately after a natural pause within the line. Examples are:
Rún to your houses, fáll upon your knées,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague. — I, i, 53–54. Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears. — I, i, 58. But név er till | to-night, | néver | till nów. — I,
The first three of the above lines may be said to be of the form ax + 4 xa; the last one is plainly 3 xa + ax + xa.
One advantage of this shifting of the stress, as has been pointed out, is the avoiding of monotony. But lines of this kind are especially effective when the word that receives the irregular, or shifted accent is decidedly emphatic. The energy given to the first two lines cited above, by having them begin with a blow of the voice, and the emphasis thus put upon the ideas "Run" and "Pray," is very effective.
Degrees of stress. Measures with no stress. There are various degrees of stress, or accent, but if one of the syllables of the measure receives more stress than the other, that syllable is felt to be stressed, even though the accent is really a very light one. In some cases it seems correct to
say that a measure has no stress. This means that both syllables are very light, and are equally light. It is often hard to say whether a measure should be interpreted as unstressed or as slightly stressed; sometimes it seems fitting to read a line either way. Perhaps the first two of the measures italicized below may be said to have no stress; the others are somewhat doubtful, but they seem to be lightly stressed:
To be | exált | ed with | the threatening clouds. — I, iii, 8.
Or else the world, too sauc | y with | the gods,
Measures with two stresses. Some measures seem to have two stresses. One of these is usually stronger than the other; or, if both are substantially equal, the voice naturally follows the habit of the verse and slightly increases the second stress.
Ride, ríde, | Messala, ride, and give these bills.
V, ii, 1.
A measure with two stresses is decidedly heavy, and is often followed or preceded by one that is very light, as in this case:
That her | wide wálls | encóm | pass'd but | óne mán ? — I, ii, 155.
The following line is peculiar in that three of its measures, and perhaps four, may be said to have each two distinct stresses:
Why, now, blow wind, | swell bil | low, and | swim bark !— V, i, 67.
Is it not true that the great weight of this line is felt to symbolize the gravity of the decision just made, and the sternness and importance of the battle that is now to begin? Measures of three syllables give variety to the movement.
A sooth | sayer bids | you beware | the ides | of March. — I, ii, 19.