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Line 521. Have thewes and limbs-] Thewes is an obsolete word implying nerves or muscular strength.
Line 555. My answer must be made :] I shall be called to account, and must answer as for seditious words.
-Hold my hand:] Is the same as, Here's my
Line 559. Be factious for redress-] Factious seems here to mean active. JOHNSON. It means, I apprehend, embody a party or faction. MALONE.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 22. Remorse from power:] Remorse, for mercy. WARB. Remorse (says Mr. Heath) signifies the conscious uneasiness arising from a sense of having done wrong; to extinguish which feeling, nothing hath so great a tendency as absolute uncontrouled power.
I think Warburton right.
base degrees-] Low steps.
-as his kind,] According to his nature. JOHNS. Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, &c.] The genius is not the genius of a kingdom, nor are the instruments, conspirators. Shakspeare is describing what passes in a single bosom, the insurrection which a conspirator feels agitating the little kingdom of his own mind; when the genius, or power that watches for his protection, and the mortal instruments, the passions, which excite him to a deed of honour and danger, are in council and debate; when the desire of action, and the care of safety, keep the mind in continual fluctuation and disturbance. JOHNSON.
Line 73. Like a phantasma,]" A phantasme," says Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, "is a vision, or imagined appearMALONE.
Line 78. your brother Cassius-] Cassius married Junia, Brutus' sister. STEEVENS. Line 87. any mark of favour.] Any distinction of coun
Line 96. For if thou path, thy native semblance on.] If thou walk in thy true form.
Line 133. No, not on oath: If not the face of men, &c.] The face of men is the countenance, the regard, the esteem of the publick; in other terms, honour and reputation; or the face of men may mean the dejected look of the people. JOHNSON.
Line 138. Till each man drop by lottery.] Perhaps the poet alluded to the custom of decimation, i. e. the selection by lot of every tenth soldier in a general mutiny for punishment. STEEV. -Line 148. cautelous,] Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, explains cautelous thus: "Warie, circumspect;" in which sense it is certainly used here. MALONE.
and envy afterwards :] Envy is here, as almost always in Shakspeare's plays, malice.
take thought,] That is, turn melancholy. JOHNS. That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes.] Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed. See Pliny's Natural History, B. VIII. STEEVENS. Line 255. Let not our looks put on-] Let not our faces put on, that is, wear or show our designs. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 395. Casar, I never stood on ceremonies,] i. e. I never paid a ceremonious or superstitious regard to prodigies or omens. STEEVENS.
Line 405. The noise of battle hurtled in the air,] To hurtle originally signified to push violently; and, as in such an action a loud noise was frequently made, it afterwards seems to have been used in the sense of to clash. MALONE.
death, a necessary end, &c.] This is a sentence derived from the stoical doctrine of predestination, and is therefore improper in the mouth of Cæsar.
Line 429. in shame of cowardice:] The ancients did not
place courage but wisdom in the heart.
Line 480. —and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relicks, and cognizance.] This speech, which is intentionally pompous, is somewhat confused. There are two allusions; one to coats armorial, to which princes make additions, or give new tinctures, and new marks of cog nizance; the other to martyrs, whose reliques are preserved with veneration. The Romans, says Decius, all come to you as to a saint, for reliques, as to a prince, for honours. JOHNSON, Line 497. And reason to my love is liable.] And reason, or propriety of conduct and language, is subordinate to my love.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 594. Brutus hath a suit, &c.] These words Portia addresses to Lucius, to deceive him, by assigning a false cause for her present perturbation.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 35. He is address'd ;] i. e. he is ready.
55. Know, Cæsar doth not wrong; nor without cause
Will he be satisfied.] Ben Jonson quotes this line
unfaithfully among his Discoveries, and ridicules it again in the Introduction to his Staple of News: "Cry you mercy; you never did wrong, but with just cause ?" STEEVENS.
apprehensive;] Susceptible of fear or other pasJOHNSON.
Line 80. Unshak'd of motion :] i. e. Unshak'd by suit or sulicitation, of which the object is to move the person addressed.
MALONE. -Stoop, Romans, stoop,] Plutarch, in The Life of Casar, says, "Brutus and his followers, being yet hot with the
murder, marched in a body from the senate-house to the Capitol, with their drawn swords, with an air of confidence and assurance." And in The Life of Brutus:-" Brutus and his party betook themselves to the Capitol, and in their way, showing their hands all bloody, and their naked swords, proclaimed liberty to the people." THEOBALD. Line 176. —who else is rank:] Who else may be supposed to have overtopped his equals, and grown too high for the publick 'safety.
crimson'd in thy lethe.] Lethe is used by many
of the old translators of novels, for death.
-in the tide of times.] That is, in the course of
Line 308. Cry, Havock,] A learned correspondent [sir William Blackstone] has informed me, that, in the military operations of old times, havock was the word by which declaration was made, that no quarter should be given. JOHNSON.
Line 308. let slip-] To let slip a dog at a deer, &c. was the technical phrase of Shakspeare's time. So, in Coriolanus:
"Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
"To let him slip at will."
By the dogs of war, as Mr. Tollet has elsewhere observed, Shakspeare probably meant fire, sword, and famine. MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 476. And none so poor-] The meanest man is now too high to do reverence to Cæsar. JOHNSON.
⚫ Line 489. their napkins-] Napkin is the northern term for handkerchief, and is used in this sense at this day in Scotland. Our author frequently uses the word. MALONE.
Line 551. 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
Line 556. The dint of pity:] Is the impression of pity.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 7. Upon condition Publius shall not live,] Mr. Upton has sufficiently proved that the poet made a mistake as to this cha racter mentioned by Lepidus; Lucius, not Publius, was the person meant, who was uncle by the mother's side to Mark Antony: and, in consequence of this, he concludes that Shakspeare wrote;
You are his sister's son, Mark Antony.
. The mistake, however, is more like the mistake of the author, than of his transcriber or printer.
On objects, arts, and imitations; &c.] Objects means, in Shakspeare's language, whatever is presented to the eye. So, in Timon of Athens: "Swear against objects, which Mr. Steevens has well illustrated by a line in our poet's 152d Sonnet:
"And made them swear against the thing they see."
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 67. In his own change, or by ill officers,] Brutus could not but know whether the wrongs committed were done by those who were immediately under the command of Cassius, or those under his officers, The answer of Brutus to the servant is only an act of artful civility; his question to Lucilius proves, that his suspision still continued. JOHNSON. Line 109. your griefs-] i. e. your grievances. MALONE. ACT IV. SCENE III,
Line 130. fence.
every nice offence—] i. e. small, trifling ofWARBURTON.
Line 156. To hedge me in ;] That is, to limit my authority by your direction or censure.
Line 158. To make conditions.] That is, to know on what terms it is fit to confer the offices which are at my disposal.
-than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash,] This is a noble sentiment, altogether in character, and expressed in a manner inimitably happy. For to wring, implies both to get unjustly, and to use force in getting: and hard hands signify both the peasant's great labour and pains in acquiring, and his greut unwillingness to quit his hold. WARBURTON.
Line 227. 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, JOHNSON.
Line 244. If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth;] I think