Abbildungen der Seite



Enter Brutus.


HAT, Lucius! ho!
I cannot by the progress of the stars,

Give guess how near to day-Lucius, I say!
I would, it were my fault to sleep so soundly.
When, Lucius, when? awake, I fay! what, Lucius!

Enter Lucius.
Luc. Calld you, my lord?

Bru. Get me a taper in my Study, Lucius :
When it is lighted, come and call me here.
Luc. I will, my

Bru. It must be by his death : and, for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him;
But for the general. He would be crown'd.
How that might change his nature, there's the question?
It is the bright day, that brings forth the adder ;
And that craves wary walking : crown him- -that-
And then I grant we put a fting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
Th' abuse of Greatness is, when it disjoins
Remorse from Power: and, to speak truth of Cafar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd
More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber upward turns his face ;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend: so Cæfar may:
Then, left he may, prevent. And since the quarrel


Will bear no colour, for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus ; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these, and these extremities :
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg,
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischie

vous ;
And kill him in the shell.

Enter Lucius.
Luc. The taper burneth in your closet, Sir:-
Searching the window for a fint, I found
This paper, thus seald up; and, I am sure,
It did not lie there, when I went to bed.

[Gives him the letters Bru. Get you to bed again, it is not day: Is not to morrow, boy, the Ides of March (6)

Luc. I know not, Sir.

(6) is not to morrow, boy, the first of March:] I dare pronounce a palpable Blunder here, which none of the Editors have ever been aware of. Brutus enquires whether the first of March be. come, and the Boy brings him word ’ris wasted 13 Days. Ale lowing Brutus to be a most contemplative Man, and his Thoughts taken up with high Matters, yet I can never agree, that he so little knew how Time went, as to be mistaken a whole Fortnight in the Reckoning. I make no Scruple to afsert, the Poet wrote Ides. But how could Ides, may it not be obje&ted, be corrupted into firf? What Similitude in the Traces of the Letters? This. Difficulty may very easily be solv’d, by only supposing that the Word ldes in the Manuscript Copy happend to be wrote contractedly thus, js: The Players knew the Word well enough in the Contraction ; but when the MSS came to the Press, the Compositors were not so well informed in it: They knew, that jft frequently stood for first; and blunderingly thought that is was meant to do so too : and thence was deriv'd the Corruption of the Text. But that the Poet wrote Ides, we have This in Confirmation. Brutus makes the Enquiry on the Dawn of the very Day, in which Cafar was kill'd in the Capitol. Now 'tis very well known, that this was on the Isth Day, which is the ides, of March. I ought to ackņowledge, that my Friend Mr. Warburton likewise started this very. Emendation, and communicated it to Me by Letter..

Bru. Look in the kalendar, and bring me word.
Luc. I will, Sir.

Bru. The exhalations, whizzing in the air,
Give so much light, that I may read by them.

(Opens the letter, and readsi
Brutus, thon sleep'A ; awake, and see thy self:
Shall Rome, Speak, Arike, redress.
Brutus, thou sleep A: awake.
Such instigations have been often dropt,
Where I have took them up:.
Shall Rome- -thus muft I piece it out,
“ Shall Rome stand under one man's awe ? what !

My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
• The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a King.
Speak, Arike, redress, -am I entreated then
To speak, and strike ? O Rome! I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receiv'ft
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!

Enter Lucius.
Luc. Sir, March is waited fourteen days. (7)

[knocks within Bru. 'Tis good. Go to the gate ; fome body, knocks :

[Exit Lucius.
Since Caffius first did whet me against Cæfar,
I have not slept.-
Between the ačting of a dreadful thing,
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream :
The Genius, and the mortal instruments
Are then in council ; and the state of man,
Like to a little Kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection..

Enter Lucius.
Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Caffius at the door,
(7) Sir, March is wasted fifteen days.] The Editors are
Nightly mistaken : It was wasted but 14 Days; this was the Dawn
of the 15th, when the Boy makes his Report.


[ocr errors]

Who doth desire to see you.

Bru. Is he alone?
Luc. No, Sir, there are more with him.
Bru. Do you know them?

Luc. No, Sir, their Hats are pluckt about their ears,
And half their faces buried in their Cloaks ;
That by no means I may discover them
By any mark of favour.
Bru. Let them enter,

[Exit Lucius,
They are the faction. Conspiracy!
Sham'st thou to Thew thy dang'rous brow by night,
When Evils are most free? O then, by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough,
To mask thy monstrous visage? seek none, Conspiracy
Hide it in Smiles and Affability :
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus it self were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Enter Cassius, Casca, Decius, Cinna, Metellus, and

Caf. I think, we are too bold upon your Reft;
Good morrow, Brutus, do we trouble you?

Bru. I have been up this hour, awake all night. Know I these men, that come along with you? [Afide.

Caj. Yes, every man of them; and no man here,
But honours you: and every one doth with,
You had but that opinion of your self,
Which every

noble Roman bears of you. This is Trebonius.

Bru. He is welcome hither.
Caf. This, Decius Brutus.
Bru. He is welcome too.

Caf. This, Casca'; this, Cinna;
And this, Metellus Cimber.

Bru. They are all welcome.
What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?

Caf. Shall I entreat a word? [They whisper.
Déc. Here lies the East: doch not the day break

here? VOL. VII.



Casca. No.

Cin. O pardon, Sir, it doth ; and yon grey lines, That fret the Clouds, are messengers of day.

Casca. You shall confess, that you are both deceiv'd:
Here, as I point my sword, the Sun arises,
Which is a great way growing on the South,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
Some two months hence, up higher toward the North
He first presents his fire ; and the high East
Stands, as the Capitol, directly here.

Brú. Give me your hands all over, one by one.
Caf. And let us swear our resolution.

Bru. No, not an oath: if that the face of men,
The sufferance of our fouls, the time's abuse,
If these be motives weak, break off betimes;
And ev'ry man hence to his idle bed :
So let high-lighted tyranny range on,
'Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to steel with valour
The melting spirits of women ; then, countrymen,
What need we any spur, but our own cause,
To prick us to redress? what other bond,
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter ? and what other oath,
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?
Swear priests, and cowards, and men cautelousy
Old feeble carrions, and such suffering fouls
That welcome wrongs : unto bad causes, swear
Such creatures as men doubt ; but do not stain
The even virtue of our enterprize,
Nor th' infuppressive mettle of our spirits ;
To think, that or our cause, or our performance,
Did need an oath : When ev'ry drop of blood,
That ev'ry Roman bears, and nobly bears,
Is guilty of a several baftardy,
If he doth break the smallest particle
Of any promise that hath past from him.
Caf. But what of Cicero? shall we found him?

I think,

« ZurückWeiter »