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By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
you for gold to pay my legions,
Caf. I deny'd you not.
Caf. I did not :- he was but a fool,
A friend should bear a friend's infirmities,
7 Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.
than to wring From the hard hands of peasants their wile trash.] This is a noble sentiment, altogether in character, and expressed in a manner inimitably happy. For 10 wring, implies both to get unjustly, and to use force in getting: and hard bands fignify both the peasant's great labour and pains in acquiring, and his great unwillingness to quit his hold.
WARBURTON. ? Bru. I do not, till you pra tise them on me.) But was this talking like Brutus ? Casius complained that his friend made his infirmities greater than they were. To which Brutus replies, not till those inarmities were injuriously turned upon me. But was this any excuse for aggravating his friend's failings ? Shakespeare knew better what was fit for his hero to say, and certainly wrote and pointed the line thus, I do not.
Still you practise them on me. i. e. I deny your charge, and this is a fresh injury done me.
WARBURTON. 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.
Bru. I do not like your faults.
Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.
Caf. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come; Revenge yourselves alone on Callius, For Caffius is a-weary of the world : Hated by one he loves ; brav'd' by his brother ; Check'd like a bondman; all his faults observ’d, Set in a note-book, learn’d, and conn'd by rote, To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep My spirit from mine eyes!--There is my dagger, And here my naked breast; within, a heart Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold: If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth.
If ibat thou be'st a ROMAN, take it forth, &c.] But why is he bid to rip out his heart, if he were a Roman? There is no other sense but this, If you have the courage of a Roman. But this is so poor, and so little to the purpose, that the reading may be justly suspected. The occasion of this quarrel was Cassius's réfulál to supply the neceflities of his friend, who charges it on him as a dishonour and crime, with great asperity of language. Carfias, to thew him the injustice of accusing him of avarice, tells him, he was ready to expose his life in his service; but at the same time, provoked and exasperated at the other's reproaches, he upbraids him with the severity of his temper, that would pardon nothing, but always aimed at the life of the offender; and delighted in his blood, though a Roman, and attached to him by the ftrongest bonds of alliance: hereby obliquely infinuating the case of Cæfar. The sense being thus explained, it is evident we should read,
If that thou needST A Roman’s, take it furth. i.e. if nothing but another Roman's death can satisfy the unrelenting severity of your temper, take my life as you did Cæsar's.
WARBURTON. I am not satisfied with the change propofed, yet cannot deny, that the words, as they now ftand, require fome interpretation. I think he means only, that he is so far from s varice, when the cause of his country requires liberality, that if any man hould wish for his heart, he would not need enforce his desire any otherwise, than by shewing that he was a Roman. JOHNSON
I, that deny'd thee gold, will give my heart:
Bru. Sheath your dagger :
when you will, it shall have scope ;
Caf. Hath Cassius liv'd
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too.
Caf. Have you not love enough to bear with me,
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth
[ A noise within.
Luc. within. You shall not come to them.
Caf. How now? What's the matter ?
9 Love, and be friends, as two such men should be ; For I have seen more years, I am sure, than ye.
Caf. Ha, ha ;-how vilely doth this cynick rhime !
[Exit Poet. Enter Lucilius and Titinius. Bru. Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders Prepare to lodge their companies to night. Caf. And come yourselves, and bring Messala with
you Immediately to us. [Exeunt Lucilius and Titinius.
Bru. Lucius, a bowl of wine.
Bru. No man bears sorrow better :-Portia's dead.
Caf. How 'scap'd I killing, when I crost you so?--
. Love, and be friends, as two such min fhould be s
For I have seen more years, I'm sure, than ye. This paffage is a translation from the following one in the first book of Homer,
'Αλλα αίθεσθ' άμφω δε νεωτέρω έσον εμείο, which is thus given in fir Thomas North’s Plutarch,
“ My lords, I pray you hearken both to me,
Bru. Impatient of my absence ;
Cas. And dy'd lo ?
Re-enter Lucius with wine and tapers.
wine. In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius. (Drinks.
Caf. My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge : Fill, Lucius, 'till the wine o'er-swell the cup; I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love. Bru. Come in, Titinius:--Welcome, good
Enter Titinius, and Messala. Now fit we close about this taper here, And call in question our 'necessities,
Cos. Portia! art thou gone?
Bru. No more, I pray you.-
'And, her attendants abfunt, frallow'd fire.] This circumNance is taken from Plutarch..
It may not, however, be amiss to remark, that the death of Portia wants that foundation which has hitherto entitled her to a place in poetry, as a pattern of Roman fortitude. She is reported, by Pliny I think, to have died at Rome of a lingering illness while Brutus was abroad; but some writers seem to look on a natural death as a derogation from a diftinguished character.