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1 Cit. O piteous spectacle! 2 Cit. O noble Cæsar! 3 Cit. O woful day! 4 Cit. O traitors, villains! 1 Cit. O most bloody sight! 2 Cit. We will be revenged: revenge; about-seek, -burn, fire,-kill,--slay!-let not a traitor live.
Ant. Stay, countrymen.
2 Cit. We 'll hear him, we 'll follow him, we 'll die with him.
Ant. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up To such a sudden flood of mutiny. They, that have done this deed, are honourable ; What private griefs they have, alas, I know not, That made them do it; they are wise, and honourable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you. I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts; I am no orator, as Brutus is: But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man, That love my friend; and that they know full well That gave me publick leave to speak of him. For I have neither wit,6 nor words, nor worth,
to have anciently signified to lacerate. So, in Solyman and Perseda, a tragedy, 1599, Basilisco feeling the end of his dagger, says:
“ This point will mar her skin.” Malone. To mar sometimes signified to deface, as in Othello:
" Nor mar that whiter skin of hers than snow ." and sometimes to destroy, as in Timon of Athens:
“ And mar men's spurring.” Ancient alliteration always produces mar as the opposite of make.
Steevens. 6 Fur I have neither wit,] [Old copy-writ.] So, in King Henry VI, P. II:
“ Now, my good lord, let's see the devil's writ.” j. e. writing. Again. in Hamlet : « - the law of writ and the liberty.”—The editor of the second folio, who altered whatever he did not understand, substituted wit for writ. Wit in our author's time had not its present signification, but meant understanding. Would Shakspeare make Antony declare himself void of common intelligence ?
Malone. The first folio (and, I believe, through a mistake of the press) has
writ, which in the second folio was properly changed into--wit. Dr. Johnson, however, supposes, that by writ was meant a “penned and premeditated oration."
But the artful speaker, on this sudden call for his exertions, was
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
Cit. We'll mutiny.
Ant. Why, friends, you go to do you know not what: Wherein hath Cæsar thus deserv'd your loves? Alas, you know not:-I must tell you then: You have forgot the will I told you of.
Cit. Most true ;--the will;-let's stay, and hear the will.
Ant. Here is the will, and under Cæsar's seal.
2 Cit. Most noble Cæsar!-we'll revenge his death.
surely designed, with affected modesty, to represent himself as one who had neither wit. (i.e. strength of understanding) persuasive language, weight of character, graceful action, harmony of voice, &c. (the usual requisites of an orator) to influence the minds of the people. Was it necessary, therefore, that, on an occasion so precipitate, he should have urged that he had brought no written speech in his pocket? since every person who heard him must have been aware that the interval between the death of Cæsar, and the time present, would have been inadequate to such a composition, which indeed could not have been produced at all, unless, like the indictment of Lord Hastings in King Richard III, it had been got ready through an premonition of the event that would require it.
What is styled the devil's writ in King Henry VI, P. II, is the de. position of the dæmon, written down before witnesses on the stage. Í therefore continue to read with the second folio, being unambitious of reviving the blunders of the first. Steevens. 7 s eventy-five drachmas. A drachma was a Greek coin, the same as the Roman denier, of the value of four sesterces, 7d. ob.
Cit. Peace, ho!
Ant. Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
1 Cit. Never, never:--Come, away, away :
2 Cit. Go, fetch fire.
[Exeunt Citizens with the Body. Ant. Now let it work: Mischief, thou art afoot, Take thou what course thou wilt! How now, fellow?
Enter a Servant.“
Ant. And thither will I straight to visit him:
8 On this side Tyber;] The scene is here in the Forum near the Capitol, and in the most frequented part of the city ; but Cæsar's gardens were very remote from that quarter:
“ Trans Tiberim longe cubat is, prope Cæsaris hortos.” says Horace: and both the Naumachia and gardens of Cæsar were separated from the main city by the river; and lay out wide, on a line with Mount Janiculum. Our author therefore certainly wrote:
On that side Tyber; and Plutarch, whom Shakspeare very diligently studied, in The Life of Marcus Brutus, speaking of Cæsar's will, expressly says, That he left to the public his gardens, and walks, beyond the Tyber. Theobald.
This emendation has been adopted by the subsequent editors; but hear the old translation, where Shakspeare's study lay: “ He bequeathed unto every citizen of Rome seventy-five drachmas a man, and he left his gardens and arbours unto the people, which he had on this side of the river Tiber.” Farmer.
9 fire the traitors' houses. 1 Thus the old copy. The more modern editors read-fire all the traitor's houses; but fire was then pronounced, as it was sometimes written, fier. So, in Humor's Ordi nary, a collection of Epigrams:
“ O rare compound, a dying horse to choke,
And in this mood will give us any thing.
Serv. I heard him say, Brutus and Cassius
Ant. Belike, they had some notice of the people,
Enter Cinna, the Poet.
Cin. What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I dwell? Ain I a married man, or a bachelor? Then to answer every man directly, and briefly, wisely, and truly. Wisely I say, I am a bachelor.
2 Cit. That's as much as to say, they are fools that marry :-You 'll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Proceed; directly.
Cin. Directly, I am going to Cæsar's funeral.
1 Scene III.] The subject of this scene is taken from Plutarch.
Steevens. 2 I dreamt to-night, that I did feast &c.] I learn from an old black letter treatise on Fortune-telling &c. that to dream "of being at banquets, betokeneth misfortune.” &c. Steevens.
3 things unluckily charge my fantasy:] i.e. circumstances oppress my fancy with an ill-omened weight. Steedens.
Cin. Briefly, I dwell by the Capitol.
4 Cit. Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.
Cin. I am not Cinna the conspirator.
4 Cit. It is no matter, his name 's Cinna; pluck but his name out of his heart, and turn him going.
3 Cit. Tear him, tear him. Come, brands, ho! firebrands. To Brutus', to Cassius'; burra all. Some to Decius' house, and some to Casca's; some to Ligarius': away; go.
ACT IV.... SCENE I. · The same. A Room in Antony's House 4 ANTONY, OCTAVIUS, and LEPIDUS, seated at a Table. Ant. These many then shall die ; their names are
4 Antony's House.] Mr. Rowe, and Mr. Pope after him, have marked the scene here to be at Rome. The old copies say nothing of the place. Shakspeare, I dare say, knew from Plutarch, that these triumvirs met, upon the proscription, in a little island; which Appian, who is more particular, says, lay near Mutina, upon the river Lavinius. Theobald.
A small island in the litile river Rhenus near Bononia. Hanmer. So, in the old translation of Plutarch: “Thereuppon all three met together (to wete, Cæsar, Antonius, & Lepidus,) in an island enuyroned round about with a little riuer, & there remayned threc dayes together. Now as touching all other matters, they were easily agreed, & did deuide all the empire of Rome betwene them, as if it had bene their owne inheritance. But yet they could hardly agree whom they would put to death : for euery one of them would kill their enemies, and saue their kinsmen and friends. Ye: at length, giving place to their greedy desire to be reuenged of their enemies, they spurned all reuerence of blood and holiness of friendship at their feete For Cæ. sar left Cicero to Antonius' will, Antonius also forsooke Lucius Cæsar, who was his vncle by his mother: and both of them together suffred Lepidus to kill his own brother Paulus." That Shakspeare, however, meant the scene to be at Rome, may be inferred from what almost immediately follows: