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If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
Cas. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world, Like a Colossus; and we petty men Walk under his huge legs, and peep about To find ourselves dishonourable graves. Men at some time are masters of their fates :
5 His coward lips did from their colour fly;] A plain man would have said, the colour fled from his lips, and not his lips from their colour. But the false expression was for the sake of as false a piece of wit: a poor quibble, alluding to a coward Aying from his colours.
Warburton. - feeble temper -] i.e. temperament, constitution. Steevens.
get the start of the majestick world, &c.] This image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games. tick world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion Orbis Romanus. But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexander, who being asked, Whether he would run ihe course at he Olympic games, replied, Yes, if the racers were kings. Warburton.
That the allusion is to the prize allotted in games to the foremost in the race, is very clear. All the rest existed, I apprehend, only in Dr. Warburton's imagination. Malone.
and we petty men Walk under his huge legs,] So, as an anonymous writer has observed, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. X:
6 But I the meanest man of many moren
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
walls Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough, When there is in it but one only man. 0! you and I have heard our fathers say, There was a Brutus once,2 that would have brook'd The eternal devils to keep his state in Rome, As easily as a king.
Bru. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous ; What
you would work me to, I have some aim :4 How I have thought of this, and of these times, I shall recount hereafter; for this present,
9 Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ;] A similar thought occurs in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630 :
“What diapason's more in Tarquin's name,
“Of a poor maid?" Steevens. 1 Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.] Dr. Young, in his Busiris, appears to have imitated this passage:
“ Nay, stamp not, tyrant; I can stamp as loud,
“ And raise as many dæmons with the sound.” Steevens. 2 There was a Brutus once,] i. e. Lucius Junius Brutus. Steevens.
eternal devil - ] I should think that our author wrote rather, infernal devil. Johnson.
I would continue to read eternal devil. L. J. Brutus (says Cassius) would as soon have submitted to the perpetual dominion of a dæmon, as to the lasting government of a king. Steevens.
- aim:] i. e. guess. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : “ But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err, Steevens.
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Than to repute himself a son of Rome
Is like to lay upon us.
Cas. I am glad, that my weak words?
Re-enter CÆSAR, and his Train,
Cas. As they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve ;
Bru. I will do so :-But, look you, Cassius,
Cas. Casca will tell us what the matter is.
Cæs. Let me have men about me that are fat;
chew upon this;] Consider this at leisure ;. ruminate on this.
Johnson. 6 Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.] As, in our author's age, was frequently used in the sense of that. So, in North's translation of Plutarch, 1579: 66
insomuch as they that saw it, thought he had been burnt." Malone.
7 I am glad, that my weak words -] For the sake of regular measure, Mr. Ritson would read : Cas.
I am glad, my words
- ferret -] A ferret has red eyes. Johnson. 9 Sleek-headed men, &c.] So, in Sir Thomas Nrth's translation of Plutarch, 1579: “When Cæsar's friends complained unto him of
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look ;
Ant. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous ;
Cæs. 'Would he were fatter:1-But I fear him not: Yet if my name were liable to fear, I do not know the man I should avoid So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much; He is a great observer, and he looks Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays, As thou dost, Antony; he hears no musick: Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort, As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit That could be mov'd to smile at any thing. Such men as he be never at heart's ease, Whiles they behold a greater than themselves; And therefore are they very dangerous. I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd, Than what I fear; for always I am Cæsar. Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf, And tell me truly what thou think’st of him.
[Exeunt CÆs. and his Train. Casc A stays behind. Casca. You pull’d me by the cloak; Would
you speak with me?
Bru. Ay, Casca; tell us what hath chanc'd to-day, That Cæsar looks so sad.
Casca. Why you were with him, were you not ? Antonius and Dolabella, that they pretended some mischief towards him; he answered, as for those fat men and smooth-combed heads, (quoth he) I never reckon of them; but these pale-visaged and carrion-lean people, I fear them most; meaning Brutus and Cassius."
And again :
“ Cæsar had Cassius in great jealousy, and suspected him much; whereupon he said on a time, to his friends, what will Cassius do, think you? I like not his pale looks.” Steevens.
1 'Would he were fatter:] Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew-Fair, 1614, unjustly sneers at this passage, in Knockham's speech to the Pig-woman: “ Come, there's no malice in fat folks; I never feat thee, an I can scape thy lean moon-calf there." Warburton.
- he hears no musick:] Our author considered the having no delight in musick as so certain a mark of an austere disposition, that in The Merchant of Venice he has pronounced, that
“ The man that hath no musick in himself,
“ Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.” Malone. See Vol. I, p. 419, n.7. Steevens.
Bru. I should not then ask Casca what hath chanc'd.'
Casca. Why, there was a crown offered him: and being offered him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a' shouting.
Bru. What was the second noise for?
for? Casca. Why, for that too. Bru. Was the crown offer'd him thrice?
Casca. Ay, marry, was ’t, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by, mine honest neighbours shouted.
Cas. Who offered him the crown?
Casca. I can as well be hanged, as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery, I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown ;-yet, 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets ;3--and, as I told you, he put it by once: but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again : but, to my thinking, he was very loth to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted, and clapped their chopped hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinkine breath because Cæsar refused the crown, that it had almost choked Cæsar; for he swooned and fell down at it: And for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips, and receiving the bad air.
Cas. But, soft, I pray you: What ? did Cæsar swoon?
Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foamed at mouth, and was speechless.
Bru. "Tis very like; he hath the falling-sickness.
Cas. No, Cæsar hath it not; but you, and I, And honest Casca, we have the falling-sickness.
Casca. I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure, Cæsar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him, and hiss him, according as he pleased, and dis
one of these coronets;] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: - he came to Cæsar, and presented him a diadem wreathed about with laurel.” Steevens.