« AnteriorContinuar »
Enter Brutus and Casius, with the Plebeians. Pleb. We will be satisfied : Let us be satisfied. Bru. Then follow me, and give me audience,
friends. Cassius, go you into the other street, And part the numbers. Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here ; Those, that will follow Callius, go with him ; And publick reasons shall be rendered Of Cæsar's death.
1 Pleb. I will hear Brutus speak. 2 Pleb. I will hear Cassius; and compare their rea
sons, When severally we hear them rendered.
[Exit Cahus, with some of the Plebeians,
Brutus goes into the roftrum. 3
Pleb. The noble Brutus is ascended : silence ! Bru. Be patient 'till the last. Romans, ?countrymen, and lovers! hear me for
? Countrymen, and lovers! &c.] There is no where, in all Shakespeare's works a stronger proof of his not being what we call a scholar than this; or of his not knowing any thing of the genius of learned antiquity. This speech of Brutus is wrote in imitation of his famed laconic brevity, and is very fine in its kind; but no more like that brevity, than his times were like Brutus's. The ancient laconic brevity was simple, natural, and easy: this is quaint, artificial, gingling, and abounding with forced antitheses." In a word, a brevity, that for its false eloquence would have suited any character, and for its good sense would have become the greatest of our author's time; but yet, in a stile of declaiming, that fits as ill upon Brutus as our author's trowsers or collar-band would have done.
WARB. This artificial gingle of short sentences was affected by most of
my cause; and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me for mine honour; and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom ; and awake your senses that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say, that Brutus's love to Cæfar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer :-Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and dye all saves; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all free men ? As Cæsar lov'd me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him ; but as he was ambitious, I new him. There are tears, for his love; joy, for his fortune; honour, for his valour; and death, for his ambition. Who is here so base, that would be a bond-man? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here fo vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
All. None, Brutus, none.
I have done no more to Cæsar, than you shall do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol : his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Enter Mark Antony with Cæsar's body. Here comes his body, mourn'd by Mark Antony: the orators in Shakespeare's time, whether in the pulpit or at the bar. The speech of Brutus may therefore be regarded rather as an imitation of the false eloquence then in vogue, than as a speci. men of laconic brevity.
who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth ; as which of you shall not ? With this I depart; that as I few my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
All. Live, Brutus, live! live! i Pleb. Bring him with triumph home unto his
house. 2 Pleb. Give him a statue with his ancestors, 3
Pleb. Let him be Cæsar. 4 Pleb. Cæsar's better parts Shall be crowned in Brutus, i Pleb. We'll bring him to his house with shouts
and clamours. Bru. My countrymen -2 Pleb. Peace! silence ! Brutus speaks. i Pleb. Peace, ho !
Bru. Good countrymen, let me depart alone, And, for my fake, stay here with Antony: Do grace to Cæsar's corpse, and grace his speech Tending to Cæsar's glories ; which Mark Antony By our permission is allow'd to make. 1 do intreat you, not a man depart, Save I alone, till Antony have spoke. [Exit.
i Pleb. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony.
3 Pleb. Let him go up into the public chair, We'll hear him. Noble Antony, go up.
Ant. For Brutus' sake, I am beholden to you. 4 Pleb. What does he say of Brutus ?
3 Pleb. He says, for Brutus' fake He finds himself beholden to us all. 4 Pleb. 'Twere best he speak no harm of Brutus
here. i Pleb. This Cæsar was a tyrant.
3 Pleb. Nay, that's certain. We are blest, that Rome is rid of him.
2 Pleb. Peace; let us hear what Antony can fay. sint. You gentle Romans,All. Peace, ho ! let us hear him. Ant. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar,
i Pleb. Methinks, there is much reason in his sayings,
Pleb. Has he, masters? I fear there will a worse Come in his place.
Pleb. Mark'd 4
his words? he would not take ye
Therefore, 'tis certain, he was not ambitious.
i Pleb. If it be found so, fon;e will dear abide it. 2 Pleb. Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with
Ant. But yesterday the word of Cæsar might
Cæfar has had great wrong.) 3 Pleb. Cesar had never wrong but with just cause. If ever there was such a line written by Shake. speare, I should fancy it might have its place here, and very humouroully in the character of a plebeian. One might believe Ben Johnson's remark was made upon no better credit than some blunder of an actor in speaking that verse near the beginning of the third act,
Know, Cafar doth not wrong; nor without cause
Will he be satisfied
Pope. I have inserted this note, because it is Pope's, for it is otherwise of no value. It is strange that he should so much forget the date of the copy before him, as to think it not printed in Jonson's time.
JOHNSON. ,. And none so poor) The meanest man is now too high to do reverence to Cæsar,