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Cæs. Cowards die many times before their deaths ;9 The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,1 It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, 2 Will come, when it will come.
Re-enter a Servant.
What say the augurers ? Serv. They would not have you to stir forth to-day. Plucking the entrails of an offering forth, They could not find a heart within the beast.
8 When beggars die there are no comets seen ;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes ] « Next to the shadows and pretences of experience, (which have been met withall at large) they seem to brag most of the strange events which follow (for the most part) after blazing starres; as if they were the summoners of God to call princes to the seat of judgment. The sürest way to shake their painted bulwarks of experience is, by making plaine, that neyther princes always dye when comets blaze, nor comets ever [i.e always] when princes dye.” Defensative against the Poison of supposed Prophecies, by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1583. *
Again, ibid: “Let us look into the nature of a comet, by the face of which it is supposed that the same should portend plague, famine, warre, or the death of potentates.” Malone.
9 Cowards die many times before their deaths ;] So, in the ancient translation of Plutarch, so often quoted:
“ When some of his friends did counsel him to have a guard for the safety of his person; he would never consent to it, but said, it was better to die once, than always to be affrayed of death.” Steevens. So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:
« Fear is my yassal ; when I frown, he flies,
66 A hundred times in life a coward dies.” Lord Essex, probably before any of these writers, made the same remark. In a letter to Lord Rutland, he observes, "that as he which dieth nobly, doth live for ever, so he that doth live in fear, doth die continually.” Malone.
1_ that I yet have heard,] This sentiment appears to have been imitated by Dr. Young in his tragedy of Busiris, King of Egypt:
" Didst thou e'er fear?
“ Thy master is immortal.” Steevens. 2 d eath, a necessary end, &c.] This is a sent 'nce derived from the stoical doctrine of predestination, and is therefore improper in the mouth of Cæsar. Johnson.
Cæs. The gods do this in shame of cowardice:3 ·
Alas, my lord,
3 in shame of cowardice:7 The ancients did not place courage but wisdom in the heart. Johnson. 4 We were — ] In old editions:
We heare — The copies have been all corrupt, and the passage, of course, unintelligible. But the slight alteration I have made, [We were restores sense to the whole; and the sentiment will neither be unwor. thy of Shakspeare, nor the boast too extravagant for Cæsar in a vein of vanity to utter: that he and danger were two twin-whelps of a lion, and he the elder, and more terrible of the two. Theobald. Mr. Upton recommends us to read:
Experti invicem sumus, Ego et Fortuna. Tacitus. Steevens. It is not easy to determine, which of the two readings has the best claim to a place in the text If Theobald's einendation be adopted, the phraseology, though less elegant, is perhaps more Shaksperian. It may mean the same as if he had written-We two lions were litter'd in one day, and I am the elder and more terrible of the two.
Malone. 5 — Cæsar shall go forth.] Any speech of Cæsar, throughout this scene, will appear to disadvantage, if compared with the following sentiments, put into his mouth by May, in the seventh Book of his Supplement to Lucan:
" — Plus me, Calphurnia, luctus
And he shall say, you are not well to-day :
Cæs. Mark Antony shall say, I am not well;
Dec. Cæsar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Cæsar ; I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
Cæs. And you are come in very happy time,
Shall Cæsar send a lie ?
Dec. Most mighty Cæsar, let me know some cause, Lest I be laugh'd at, when I tell them so.
Cæs. The cause is in my will, I will not come;
Dec. This dream is all amiss interpreted;
6 my statua,] See Vol. II, p. 226, n. 4; and Vol. XI, p. 113. n. 2. Steevens.
7- warnings, portents,] Old copy, unmetrically-warnings and portents. Steevens.
8 And evils imminent;] The late Mr. Edwards was of opinion that we should read :
Of evils imminent. Steevens. The alteration proposed by Mr. Edwards is needless, and tends to weaken the force of the expressions, which form, as they now stand, a regular climax. Henley.
It was a vision, fair and fortunate :
Cæs. And this way have you well expounded it.
Dec. I have, when you have heard what I can say : And know it now: The senate have concluded To give, this day, a crown to mighty Cæsar. If you shall send them word, you will not come, Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock Apt to be rendered, for some one to say, Break up the senate till another time, When Cæsar's wife shall meet with better dreams.1 If Cæsar hide himself, shall they not whisper, Lo, Cesar is afraid? Pardon me, Cæsar; for my dear, dear love To your proceeding bids me tell you this ; And reason to my love is liable.
9— 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 cognizance ; the other to mar. tyrs, 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.
I believe tinctures has no relation to heraldry, but means merely handkerchiefs, or other linen, tinged with blood. Bullokar, in his Expositor, 1616, defines it “a dipping, colouring or staining of a thing." So, in Act III, sc. ii :
“ And dip their napkins,” &c. Malone. I concur in opinion with Mr. Malone At the execution of seve. ral of our ancient nobility, martyrs, &c. we are told that handker. chiefs were tinctured with their blood, and preserved as affectionate or salutary memorials of the deceased. Steevens.
1 When Cæsar's wife shall meet with better dreams.] So, in Lord Sterline s Julius Cæsar, 1607 :
“ How can we satisfy the world's conceit,
“ Whose tongues still in all ears your praise proclaims? “ Or shall we bid them leave to deal in state,
“ Till that Calphurnia first have better dreams?" Malone. 2 And reason &c.] And reason, or propriety of conduct and language, is subordinate to my love. Fohnsom
Cæs. How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia?
TREBONIUS, and Cinna.
Cæsar, 'tis strucken eight.
So to most noble Cæsar,
Treb. Cæsar, I will :-and so near will I be, [Aside. That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
Cæs. Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me; And we, like friends, will straightway go together.
Bru. That every like is not the same, O Cæsar, The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon! [Exeunt.
The same. A Street near the Capitol.
Enter ARTEMIDORUS, reading a Paper. Art. Cæsar, beware of Brutus; take heed of Cassius; come not near Casca; have an eye to Cinna ; trust not Trebonius; mark well Metellus Cimber; Decius Brutus loves thee not; thou hast wronged Caius Ligarius. There is but one mind in all these men, and it is bent against Cæ.