ACT IV SCENE III

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Julius Caesar

ACT IV SCENE III Brutus’s tent.
Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS.
CASSIUS That you have wrong’d me doth appear in this:
You have condemn’d and noted Lucius Pella
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, were slighted off.  5
BRUTUS You wronged yourself to write in such a case.
CASSIUS In such a time as this it is not meet
That every nice offence should bear his comment.
BRUTUS Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemn’d to have an itching palm;  10
To sell and mart your offices for gold
To undeservers.
CASSIUS I an itching palm!
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
BRUTUS The name of Cassius honours this corruption,
And chastisement doth therefore hide his head.  16
CASSIUS Chastisement!
BRUTUS Remember March, the ides of March remember:
Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?
What villain touch’d his body, that did stab,  20
And not for justice? What, shall one of us
That struck the foremost man of all this world
But for supporting robbers, shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes,
And sell the mighty space of our large honours  25
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
CASSIUS Brutus, bay not me;
I’ll not endure it: you forget yourself,
To hedge me in; I am a soldier, I,  30
Older in practise, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
BRUTUS Go to; you are not, Cassius.
CASSIUS I am.
BRUTUS I say you are not.
CASSIUS Urge me no more, I shall forget myself;  35
Have mind upon your health, tempt me no further.
BRUTUS Away, slight man!
CASSIUS Is’t possible?
BRUTUS Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?  40
CASSIUS O ye gods, ye gods! must I endure all this?
BRUTUS All this! ay, more: fret till your proud heart break;
Go show your slaves how choleric you are,
And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? must I stand and crouch  45
Under your testy humour? By the gods
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you; for, from this day forth,
I’ll use you for my mirth, yea, for my laughter,
When you are waspish.
CASSIUS Is it come to this?  50
BRUTUS You say you are a better soldier:
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well: for mine own part,
I shall be glad to learn of noble men.
CASSIUS You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus;  55
I said, an elder soldier, not a better:
Did I say ‘better’?
BRUTUS If you did, I care not.
CASSIUS When Caesar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
BRUTUS Peace, peace! you durst not so have tempted him.
CASSIUS I durst not!  60
BRUTUS No.
CASSIUS What, durst not tempt him!
BRUTUS For your life you durst not!
CASSIUS Do not presume too much upon my love;
I may do that I shall be sorry for.  65
BRUTUS You have done that you should be sorry for.
There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,
For I am arm’d so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me:  70
For I can raise no money by vile means:
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection: I did send  75
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which you denied me: was that done like Cassius?
Should I have answer’d Caius Cassius so?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,  80
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts;
Dash him to pieces!
CASSIUS I denied you not.
BRUTUS You did.
CASSIUS I did not: he was but a fool that brought
My answer back. Brutus hath rived my heart:  85
A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities,
But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
BRUTUS I do not, till you practise them on me.
CASSIUS You love me not.
BRUTUS I do not like your faults.
CASSIUS A friendly eye could never see such faults.  90
BRUTUS A flatterer’s would not, though they do appear
As huge as high Olympus.
CASSIUS Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world;  95
Hated by one he loves; braved by his brother;
Cheque’d like a bondman; all his faults observed,
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,  100
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;
I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart:
Strike, as thou didst at Caesar; for, I know,  105
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
BRUTUS Sheathe your dagger:
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb  110
That carries anger as the flint bears fire;
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
CASSIUS Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief, and blood ill-temper’d, vexeth him?  115
BRUTUS When I spoke that, I was ill-temper’d too.
CASSIUS Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
BRUTUS And my heart too.
CASSIUS O Brutus!
BRUTUS What’s the matter?
CASSIUS Have not you love enough to bear with me,
When that rash humour which my mother gave me  120
Makes me forgetful?
BRUTUS Yes, Cassius; and, from henceforth,
When you are over-earnest with your Brutus,
He’ll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
Poet Within
There is some grudge between ’em, ’tis not meet  125
They be alone.
LUCILIUS Within
Poet Within
Enter Poet, followed by LUCILIUS, TITINIUS, and LUCIUS.
CASSIUS How now! what’s the matter?
Poet For shame, you generals! what do you mean?  130
Love, and be friends, as two such men should be;
For I have seen more years, I’m sure, than ye.
CASSIUS Ha, ha! how vilely doth this cynic rhyme!
BRUTUS Get you hence, sirrah; saucy fellow, hence!
CASSIUS Bear with him, Brutus; ’tis his fashion.  135
BRUTUS I’ll know his humour, when he knows his time:
What should the wars do with these jigging fools?
Companion, hence!
CASSIUS Away, away, be gone.
Exit Poet
BRUTUS Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders
Prepare to lodge their companies to-night.  140
CASSIUS And come yourselves, and bring Messala with you
Immediately to us.
Exeunt LUCILIUS and TITINIUS.
BRUTUS Lucius, a bowl of wine!
Exit LUCIUS.
CASSIUS I did not think you could have been so angry.
BRUTUS O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.
CASSIUS Of your philosophy you make no use,  145
If you give place to accidental evils.
BRUTUS No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead.
CASSIUS Ha! Portia!
BRUTUS She is dead.
CASSIUS How ‘scaped I killing when I cross’d you so?  150
O insupportable and touching loss!
Upon what sickness?
BRUTUS Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong:–for with her death
That tidings came;–with this she fell distract,  155
And, her attendants absent, swallow’d fire.
CASSIUS And died so?
BRUTUS Even so.
CASSIUS O ye immortal gods!
Re-enter LUCIUS, with wine and taper.
BRUTUS Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine.
In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius. [Drinks.]
CASSIUS My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.  160
Fill, Lucius, till the wine o’erswell the cup;
I cannot drink too much of Brutus’ love. [Drinks.]
BRUTUS Come in, Titinius!
Exit LUCIUS.
Re-enter TITINIUS, with MESSALA
Welcome, good Messala.
Now sit we close about this taper here,
And call in question our necessities.  165
CASSIUS Portia, art thou gone?
BRUTUS No more, I pray you.
Messala, I have here received letters,
That young Octavius and Mark Antony
Come down upon us with a mighty power,
Bending their expedition toward Philippi.  170
MESSALA Myself have letters of the selfsame tenor.
BRUTUS With what addition?
MESSALA That by proscription and bills of outlawry,
Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus,
Have put to death an hundred senators.  175
BRUTUS Therein our letters do not well agree;
Mine speak of seventy senators that died
By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
CASSIUS Cicero one!
MESSALA Cicero is dead,
And by that order of proscription.  180
Had you your letters from your wife, my lord?
BRUTUS No, Messala.
MESSALA Nor nothing in your letters writ of her?
BRUTUS Nothing, Messala.
MESSALA That, methinks, is strange.
BRUTUS Why ask you? hear you aught of her in yours?
MESSALA No, my lord.  186
BRUTUS Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true.
MESSALA Then like a Roman bear the truth I tell:
For certain she is dead, and by strange manner.
BRUTUS Why, farewell, Portia. We must die, Messala:
With meditating that she must die once,  191
I have the patience to endure it now.
MESSALA Even so great men great losses should endure.
CASSIUS I have as much of this in art as you,
But yet my nature could not bear it so.
BRUTUS Well, to our work alive. What do you think
Of marching to Philippi presently?
CASSIUS I do not think it good.
BRUTUS Your reason?
CASSIUS This it is:
‘Tis better that the enemy seek us:
So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,  200
Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still,
Are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.
BRUTUS Good reasons must, of force, give place to better.
The people ‘twixt Philippi and this ground
Do stand but in a forced affection;  205
For they have grudged us contribution:
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refresh’d, new-added, and encouraged;
From which advantage shall we cut him off,  210
If at Philippi we do face him there,
These people at our back.
CASSIUS Hear me, good brother.
BRUTUS Under your pardon. You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:  215
The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life  220
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
CASSIUS Then, with your will, go on;
We’ll along ourselves, and meet them at Philippi.  225
BRUTUS The deep of night is crept upon our talk,
And nature must obey necessity;
Which we will niggard with a little rest.
There is no more to say?
CASSIUS No more. Good night:
Early to-morrow will we rise, and hence.  230
BRUTUS Lucius!
Enter LUCIUS.
My gown.
Exit LUCIUS
Farewell, good Messala:
Good night, Titinius. Noble, noble Cassius,
Good night, and good repose.
CASSIUS O my dear brother!
This was an ill beginning of the night:
Never come such division ‘tween our souls!
Let it not, Brutus.
BRUTUS Every thing is well.
CASSIUS Good night, my lord.
BRUTUS Good night, good brother.
TITINIUS |
| Good night, Lord Brutus.
MESSALA |
BRUTUS Farewell, every one.
Exeunt all but BRUTUS.
Re-enter LUCIUS, with the gown.
Give me the gown. Where is thy instrument?
LUCIUS Here in the tent.
BRUTUS What, thou speak’st drowsily?
Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o’er-watch’d.  241
Call Claudius and some other of my men:
I’ll have them sleep on cushions in my tent.
LUCIUS Varro and Claudius!
Enter VARRO and CLAUDIUS.
VARRO Calls my lord?  245
BRUTUS I pray you, sirs, lie in my tent and sleep;
It may be I shall raise you by and by
On business to my brother Cassius.
VARRO So please you, we will stand and watch your pleasure.
BRUTUS I will not have it so: lie down, good sirs;  250
It may be I shall otherwise bethink me.
Look, Lucius, here’s the book I sought for so;
I put it in the pocket of my gown.
VARRO and CLAUDIUS lie down.
LUCIUS I was sure your lordship did not give it me.
BRUTUS Bear with me, good boy, I am much forgetful.
Canst thou hold up thy heavy eyes awhile,  256
And touch thy instrument a strain or two?
LUCIUS Ay, my lord, an’t please you.
BRUTUS It does, my boy:
I trouble thee too much, but thou art willing.
LUCIUS It is my duty, sir.
BRUTUS I should not urge thy duty past thy might;
I know young bloods look for a time of rest.
LUCIUS I have slept, my lord, already.
BRUTUS It was well done; and thou shalt sleep again;
I will not hold thee long: if I do live,  265
I will be good to thee.
Music, and a song.
This is a sleepy tune. O murderous slumber,
Lay’st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy,
That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night;
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee:  270
If thou dost nod, thou break’st thy instrument;
I’ll take it from thee; and, good boy, good night.
Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn’d down
Where I left reading? Here it is, I think.
Enter the Ghost of CAESAR.
How ill this taper burns! Ha! who comes here?  275
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me. Art thou any thing?
Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That makest my blood cold and my hair to stare?  280
Speak to me what thou art.
GHOST Thy evil spirit, Brutus.
BRUTUS Why comest thou?
GHOST To tell thee thou shalt see me at Philippi.
BRUTUS Well; then I shall see thee again?
GHOST Ay, at Philippi.  285
BRUTUS Why, I will see thee at Philippi, then.
Exit Ghost.
Now I have taken heart thou vanishest:
Ill spirit, I would hold more talk with thee.
Boy, Lucius! Varro! Claudius! Sirs, awake! Claudius!
LUCIUS The strings, my lord, are false.
BRUTUS He thinks he still is at his instrument.
Lucius, awake!
LUCIUS My lord?
BRUTUS Didst thou dream, Lucius, that thou so criedst out?  295
LUCIUS My lord, I do not know that I did cry.
BRUTUS Yes, that thou didst: didst thou see any thing?
LUCIUS Nothing, my lord.
BRUTUS Sleep again, Lucius. Sirrah Claudius!
To VARRO.
Fellow thou, awake!  300
VARRO My lord?
CLAUDIUS My lord?
BRUTUS Why did you so cry out, sirs, in your sleep?
VARRO |
| Did we, my lord?
CLAUDIUS |
BRUTUS Ay: saw you any thing?
VARRO No, my lord, I saw nothing.
CLAUDIUS Nor I, my lord.
BRUTUS Go and commend me to my brother Cassius;
Bid him set on his powers betimes before,  307
And we will follow.
VARRO |
| It shall be done, my lord.
CLAUDIUS |
Exeunt

Next: Julius Caesar, Act 5, Scene 1

_________

Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 3

From Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908.

SCENE III. Dowden points out that this scene was already celebrated in Shakespeare’s own day, Leonard Digges recording its popularity, and Beaumont and Fletcher imitating it in The Maid’s Tragedy. “I know no part of Shakespeare that more impresses on me the belief of his genius being superhuman than this scene between Brutus and Cassius.”–Coleridge.

1. “Now as it commonly happened in great affairs between two persons, both of them having many friends and so many captains under them, there ran tales and complaints between them. Therefore, before they fell in hand with any other matter they went into a little chamber together, and bade every man avoid, and did shut the doors to them. Then they began to pour out their complaints one to the other, and grew hot and loud, earnestly accusing one another, and at length both fell a-weeping. Their friends that were without the chamber, hearing them loud within, and angry between themselves, they were both amazed and afraid also, lest it would grow to further matter: but yet they were commanded that no man should come to them.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

2. noted: marked with a stigma. North thus uses the word. See quotation from Marcus Brutus on following page, l. 3.

3. “The next day after, Brutus, upon complaint of the Sardians, did condemn and note Lucius Pella…. This judgment much misliked Cassius, because himself had secretly … warned two of his friends, attainted and convicted of the like offences, and openly had cleared them.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

5. was. The verb is attracted into the singular by the nearest substantive.–slighted off: contemptuously set aside.

6. to write: by writing. This gerundive use of the infinitive is very common in this play. Cf. ‘to have’ in l. 10; ‘To sell and mart’ in l. 11; ‘To hedge me in’ in l. 30, and so on. See Abbott, §356.

8. nice: foolish, trifling.–his: its. The meaning of the line is, Every petty or trifling offense should not be rigidly scrutinized and censured. Cassius naturally thinks that “the honorable men whose daggers have stabb’d Cæsar” should not peril their cause by moral squeamishness. “He reproved Brutus, for that he should show himself so straight and severe, in such a time as was meeter to bear a little than to take things at the worst.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

18. “Brutus in contrary manner answered that he should remember the Ides of March, at which time they slew Julius Cæsar, who neither pilled[A] nor polled[B] the country, but only was a favourer and suborner of all them that did rob and spoil, by his countenance and authority. And if there were any occasion whereby they might honestly set aside justice and equity, they should have had more reason to have suffered Cæsar’s friends to have robbed and done what wrong and injury they had would[C] than to bear with their own men.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

A. i.e. robbed, pillaged.

B. i.e. taxed, spoiled.

C. i.e. wished (to do).

20-21. “Who was such a villain of those who touched his body that he stabbed from any other motive than justice?”–Clar.

28-32. “Now Cassius would have done Brutus much honour, as Brutus did unto him, but Brutus most commonly prevented him, and went first unto him, both because he was the elder man as also for that he was sickly of body. And men reputed him commonly to be very skilful in wars, but otherwise marvellous choleric and cruel, who sought to rule men by fear rather than with lenity: and on the other side, he was too familiar with his friends and would jest too broadly with them.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

32. ‘Go to’ is a phrase of varying import, sometimes of reproof, sometimes of encouragement. ‘Go till’ is its earliest form.

45. observe: treat with ceremonious respect or reverence.

47. The spleen was held to be the special seat of the sudden and explosive emotions and passions, whether of mirth or anger. Cf. Troilus and Cressida, I, iii, 178; 1 Henry IV, V, ii, 19.

55. Two lines in Ff.

51-54. This mistake of Brutus is well conceived. Cassius was much the abler soldier, and Brutus knew it; and the mistake grew from his consciousness of the truth of what he thought he heard. Cassius had served as quæstor under Marcus Crassus in his expedition against the Parthians; and, when the army was torn all to pieces, both Crassus and his son being killed, Cassius displayed great ability in bringing off a remnant. He showed remarkable military power, too, in Syria.

75. indirection: crookedness, malpractice. In King John, III, i, 275-278, is an interesting passage illustrating this use of ‘indirection.’ Cf. 2 Henry IV, IV, v, 185.

80. The omission of the conjunction ‘as’ before expressions denoting result is a common usage in Shakespeare.–rascal counters: worthless money. ‘Rascal’ is properly a technical term for a deer out of condition. So used literally in As You Like It, III, iii, 58. ‘Counters’ were disks of metal, of very small intrinsic value, much used for reckoning. Cf. As You Like It, II, vii, 63; The Winter’s Tale, IV, iii, 38. Professor Dowden comments aptly on what we have here: “Brutus loves virtue and despises gold; but in the logic of facts there is an irony cruel or pathetic. Brutus maintains a lofty position of immaculate honour above Cassius; but ideals, and a heroic contempt for gold, will not fill the military coffer, or pay the legions, and the poetry of noble sentiment suddenly drops down to the prosaic complaint that Cassius had denied the demands made by Brutus for certain sums of money. Nor is Brutus, though he worships an ideal of Justice, quite just in matters of practical detail.”

82-83. “Whilst Brutus and Cassius were together in the city of Smyrna, Brutus prayed Cassius to let him have part of his money whereof he had great store…. Cassius’s friends hindered this request, and earnestly dissuaded him from it; persuading him, that it was no reason that Brutus should have the money which Cassius had gotten together by sparing, and levied with great evil will of the people their subjects, for him to bestow liberally upon his soldiers, and by this means to win their good wills, by Cassius’s charge. This notwithstanding, Cassius gave him the third part of this total sum.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

102. Plutus (for the Folio reading see note on ‘Antonio’ for Antonius, I, ii, 5) is the old god of riches, who had all the world’s gold in his keeping and disposal. Pluto was the lord of Hades.

109. Whatever dishonorable thing you may do, I will set it down to the caprice of the moment.–humour. See note, p. 60, l. 250.

111-113. Cf. the words of Cassius, I, ii, 176-177. See also Troilus and Cressida, III, iii, 257. It was long a popular notion that fire slept in the flint and was awaked by the stroke of the steel. “It is not sufficient to carry religion in our hearts, as fire is carried in flintstones, but we are outwardly, visibly, apparently, to serve and honour the living God.”–Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, VII, xxii, 3.

129-133. “One Marcus Phaonius, that … took upon him to counterfeit a philosopher, not with wisdom and discretion, but with a certain bedlam and frantic motion; he would needs come into the chamber, though the men offered to keep him out. But it was no boot to let Phaonius, when a mad mood or toy took him in the head: for he was an hot hasty man, and sudden in all his doings, and cared for never a senator of them all. Now, though he used this bold manner of speech after the profession of the Cynic philosophers, (as who would say, Dogs,) yet his boldness did no hurt many times, because they did but laugh at him to see him so mad. This Phaonius at that time, in spite of the door-keepers, came into the chamber, and with a certain scoffing and mocking gesture, which he counterfeited of purpose, he rehearsed the verses which old Nestor said in Homer:

My lords, I pray you hearken both to me,
For I have seen mo years than suchie three.

Cassius fell a-laughing at him; but Brutus thrust him out of the chamber, and called him dog, and counterfeit Cynic. Howbeit his coming in brake their strife at that time, and so they left each other.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

137. jigging: moving rhythmically, rhyming. So in the Prologue to Marlowe’sTamburlaine the Great:

From jigging veins of rhyming mother wits,
And such conceits as clownage keeps in pay.

138. ‘Companion’ was often used contemptuously. Cf. Coriolanus, IV, v, 14; V, ii, 65. Cf. the way ‘fellow’ is often used today.

145. In his philosophy, Brutus was a mixture of the Stoic and the Platonist. What he says of Portia’s death is among the best things in the play, and is in Shakespeare’s noblest style. Profound emotion expresses itself with reserve. Deep grief loves not many words.

152. Strict harmony of construction would require ‘impatience’ for ‘impatient’ here, or ‘griev’d’ for ‘grief’ in the next line. Shakespeare is not very particular in such niceties. Besides, the broken construction expresses dramatically the deep emotion of the speaker.

155. distract: distracted. So in Hamlet, IV, v, 2. ‘Distraught’ is the form in Romeo and Juliet, IV, iii, 49. For the dropping of the terminal -ed of the participle in verbs ending in t or te, see Abbott, §342.

156. It appears something uncertain whether Portia’s death was before or after her husband’s. Plutarch represents it as occurring before; but Merivale follows those who place it after. “For Portia, Brutus’s wife, Nicolaus the philosopher and Valerius Maximus do write, that she determining to kill herself (her parents and friends carefully looking to her to keep her from it) took hot burning coals, and cast them into her mouth, and kept her mouth so close that she choked herself. There was a letter of Brutus found, written to his friends, complaining of their negligence, that, his wife being sick, they would not help her, but suffered her to kill herself, choosing to die rather than to languish in pain.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

165. call in question: bring up for discussion. ‘Question,’ both noun and verb, is constantly found in Shakespeare in the sense of ‘talk.’ So “in question more” inRomeo and Juliet, I, i, 235.

170. Bending their expedition: directing their march. Cf. ‘expedition’ in this sense inRichard III, IV, iv, 136.

179. “These three, Octavius Cæsar, Antonius, and Lepidus, made an agreement between themselves, and by those articles divided the provinces belonging to the empire of Rome among themselves, and did set up bills of proscription and outlawry, condemning two hundred of the noblest men of Rome to suffer death, and among that number Cicero was one.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

183. Both ‘nor nothing’ and ‘writ’ survive today as vulgarisms.

184. Nothing, Messala. This may seem inconsistent with what has gone before (see more particularly ll. 154-155), but we are to suppose that Brutus’s friends at Rome did not write to him directly of Portia’s death, as they feared the news might unnerve him, but wrote to some common friends in the army, directing them to break the news to him, as they should deem it safe and prudent to do so.

194. art: theory. This speech may be paraphrased, I am as much a Stoic by profession and theory as you are, but my natural strength is weak when it comes to putting the doctrines into practice.

196. work alive: work in which we have to do with the living.

197. presently: at once. See note, p. 82, l. 28.

203. of force: of necessity, necessarily. Plutarch represents this talk as occurring at Philippi just before the battle: “Cassius was of opinion not to try this war at one battle, but rather to delay time, and to draw it out in length, considering that they were the stronger in money, and the weaker in men and armour. But Brutus, in contrary manner, did alway before, and at that time also, desire nothing more than to put all to the hazard of battle, as soon as might be possible; to the end he might either quickly restore his country to her former liberty, or rid him forthwith of this miserable world.”–Marcus Brutus.

209. new-added: reënforced. Singer suggested ‘new aided.’

218-221. Cf. Troilus and Cressida, V, i, 90; The Tempest, I, ii, 181-184. Dr. Wright (Clar) quotes from Bacon a parallel passage: “In the third place I set down reputation, because of the peremptory tides and currents it hath; which, if they be not taken in their due time, are seldom recovered, it being extreme hard to play an after game of reputation.”–The Advancement of Learning, II, xxiii, 38.

224 ventures: what is risked, adventured. The figure of a ship is kept up, and ‘venture’ denotes whatever is put on board in hope of profit, and exposed to “the perils of waters, winds, and rocks.” Cf. The Merchant of Venice, I, i, 15, 42; III, ii, 270.

228. niggard: supply sparingly. In Sonnets, I, 12, occurs ‘niggarding’. In Elizabethan English “almost any part of speech can be used as any other part of speech. Any noun, adjective, or neuter verb can be used as an active verb.”–Abbott.

241. Poor knave: Cf. ‘Gentle knave,’ l. 269. The word ‘knave’ is here used in the literal sense of ‘boy.’ It was used as a term of endearment, or of loving familiarity with those of lower rank. So in King Lear, I, iv, 107.–o’er-watch’d: worn out with keeping awake. So in King Lear, II, ii, 177. Cf. ‘o’ershot’ in III, ii, 150.

252-253. These two simple lines, with the answer of Lucius, “I was sure your lordship did not give it me,” are among the best things in the play. Consider how much is implied in them, and what a picture they give of the earnest, thoughtful, book-loving Brutus. And indeed all his noblest traits of character come out, “in simple and pure soul,” in this exquisite scene with Lucius, which is hardly surpassed by anything in Shakespeare. Who could be troubled by the anachronism in the book being of modern shape? “Brutus was a careful man, and slept very little, both for that his diet was moderate, as also because he was continually occupied. He never slept in the day-time, and in the night no longer than the time he was driven to be alone, and when everybody else took their rest. But now whilst he was in war, and his head ever busily occupied to think of his affairs and what would happen, after he had slumbered a little after supper, he spent all the rest of the night in dispatching of his weightiest causes, and after he had taken order for them, if he had any leisure left him, he would read some book till the third watch of the night, at what time the captains, petty captains, and colonels, did use to come to him.”–Plutarch, Marcus Brutus.

267. murderous slumber: The epithet probably has reference to sleep being regarded as the image of death; or, as Shelley put it, “Death and his brother Sleep.” Cf. Cymbeline, II, ii, 31.

268. thy leaden mace: Upton quotes from Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I, iv, 44:

But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace
Arrested all that courtly company.

Shakespeare uses ‘mace’ both as ‘scepter,’ Henry V, IV, i, 278, and as ‘a staff of office,’ 2 Henry VI, IV, vii, 144.

269. The boy is spoken of as playing music to slumber because he plays to soothe the agitations of his master’s mind, and put him to sleep. Bacon held that music “hindereth sleep.”

275. The presence of a ghost was believed to make lights burn blue or dimly. So inRichard III, V, iii, 180, when the ghosts appear to Richard, he says: “The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight. Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.”

277. this monstrous apparition: “Above all, the ghost that appeared unto Brutus shewed plainly that the gods were offended with the murder of Cæsar. The vision was thus: Brutus … thought he heard a noise at his tent-door, and, looking towards the light of the lamp that waxed very dim, he saw a horrible vision of a man, of a wonderful greatness and dreadful look, which at the first made him marvellously afraid. But when he saw that it did no hurt, but stood at his bedside and said nothing; at length he asked him what he was. The image answered him: ‘I am thy ill angel, Brutus, and thou shalt see me by the city of Philippes.’ Then Brutus replied again, and said, ‘Well, I shall see thee then.’ Therewithal the spirit presently vanished from him.”–Plutarch,Julius Cæsar.

280. stare: stand on end. ‘To be stiff, rigid, fixed’ is the primary idea. Cf. The Tempest, I, ii, 213; Hamlet, I, v, 16-20.

267. murderous slumber: The epithet probably has reference to sleep being regarded as the image of death; or, as Shelley put it, “Death and his brother Sleep.” Cf. Cymbeline, II, ii, 31.

268. thy leaden mace: Upton quotes from Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I, iv, 44:

But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace
Arrested all that courtly company.

Shakespeare uses ‘mace’ both as ‘scepter,’ Henry V, IV, i, 278, and as ‘a staff of office,’ 2 Henry VI, IV, vii, 144.

269. The boy is spoken of as playing music to slumber because he plays to soothe the agitations of his master’s mind, and put him to sleep. Bacon held that music “hindereth sleep.”

275. The presence of a ghost was believed to make lights burn blue or dimly. So inRichard III, V, iii, 180, when the ghosts appear to Richard, he says: “The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight. Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.”] 277.this monstrous apparition: “Above all, the ghost that appeared unto Brutus shewed plainly that the gods were offended with the murder of Cæsar. The vision was thus: Brutus … thought he heard a noise at his tent-door, and, looking towards the light of the lamp that waxed very dim, he saw a horrible vision of a man, of a wonderful greatness and dreadful look, which at the first made him marvellously afraid. But when he saw that it did no hurt, but stood at his bedside and said nothing; at length he asked him what he was. The image answered him: ‘I am thy ill angel, Brutus, and thou shalt see me by the city of Philippes.’ Then Brutus replied again, and said, ‘Well, I shall see thee then.’ Therewithal the spirit presently vanished from him.”–Plutarch,Julius Cæsar.

280. stare: stand on end. ‘To be stiff, rigid, fixed’ is the primary idea. Cf. The Tempest, I, ii, 213; Hamlet, I, v, 16-20.

306. commend me to: greet from me, remember me kindly to.

307. set on: cause to advance.–betimes: early. Formerly ‘betime’; “the final ‘s’ is due to the habit of adding ‘-s’ or ‘-es’ to form adverbs; cf. ‘whiles’ (afterwards ‘whilst’) from ‘while.'”–Skeat.

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How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Henry Norman Hudson. New York: Ginn and Co., 1908.