ePub 版


Away, away, be gone.


[Exit Poet.

BRU. Lucilius and Titinius, bid the commanders Prepare to lodge their companies to-night.

CAS. And come yourselves, and bring Messala with you

Immediately to us.


[Exeunt LUCILIUS and TITINIUS. Lucius, a bowl of wine. CAS. I did not think, you could have been so


[See note on Hamlet, Act II. Sc. II. vol. vii. p. 308.]

A modern editor, (Mr. Capell,) who, after having devoted the greater part of his life to the study of old books, appears to have been extremely ignorant of ancient English literature, not knowing this, for jigging, reads (after Mr. Pope,) jingling. His work exhibits above Nine Hundred alterations of the genuine text, equally capricious and unwarrantable.

This editor, of whom it was justly said by the late Bishop of Glocester, that "he had hung himself in chains over our poet's grave," having boasted in his preface, that "his emendations of the text were at least equal in number to those of all the other editors and commentators put together," I some years ago had the curiosity to look into his volumes with this particular view. On examination I then found, that, of three hundred and twentyfive emendations of the ancient copies, which, as I then thought, he had properly received into his text, two hundred and eighty-five were suggested by some former editor or commentator, and forty only by himself. But on a second and more rigorous examination I now find, that of the emendations properly adopted, (the number of which appears to be much smaller than that above mentioned,) he has a claim to not more than fifteen. The innovations and arbitrary alterations, either adopted from others, or first introduced by this editor, from ignorance of our ancient customs and phraseology, amount to no less a number than nine hundred and seventy-two! It is highly probable that many yet have escaped my notice. MALONE.

7 COMPANION, hence.] Companion is used as a term of reproach in many of the old plays; as we say at present-fellow. So, in King Henry IV. Dol Tearsheet says to Pistol :


I scorn you, scurvy companion," &c. STEEVENS.

BRU. O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs. CAS. Of your philosophy you make no use, If you give place to accidental evils.

BRU. No man bears sorrow better:-Portia is dead.

CAS. Ha! Portia ?

BRU. She is dead.

CAS. How scap'd I killing, when I cross'd you


O insupportable and touching loss!

Upon what sickness ?


Impatient of my absence;

And grief, that young Octavius with Mark Antony Have made themselves so strong;-for with her


That tidings came ;-With this she fell distract,
And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire 8.

And, her attendants absent, swallow'd fire.] This circumstance is taken from Plutarch. It is also mentioned by Val. Maximus, iv. 6.

It cannot, however, be amiss to remark, that the death of Portia may want 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 distinguished character. STEEVENS.

Valerius Maximus says that Portia survived Brutus, and killed herself on hearing that her husband was defeated and slain at Philippi. Plutarch's account in The Life of Brutus is as follows: "And for Portia, Brutus' wife, Nicolaus the philosopher, and Valerius Maximus, doe wryte, that she determining to kill her selfe, (her parents and friends carefullie looking to her to kepe her from it,) tooke hotte burning coles, and cast them into her mouth, and kept her mouth so close, that she choked her selfe, -There was a letter of Brutus found, wrytten to his frendes, complaining of their negligence; that his wife being sicke, they would not helpe her, but suffered her to kill herselfe, choosing to dye rather than to languish in paine. Thus it appeareth that Nicolaus knew not well that time, sith the letter (at least if it were Brutus' letter,) doth plainly declare the disease and love of this lady, and the manner of her death." North's Translation,

Cas. And died so?

BRU. Even so.

CAS. O ye immortal gods! ··

Enter Lucius, with Wine and Tapers.

BRU. Speak no more of her.-Give me a bowl

[blocks in formation]

In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius.

[Drinks. CAS. My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge :Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'erswell the cup; I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love. [Drinks.

Re-enter TITINIUS, with MESSALA.

BRU. Come in, Titinius :-Welcome, good Mes


Now sit we close about this taper here,

And call in question our necessities.
CAS. Portia, art thou gone?


No more, I pray you.

Messala, I have here received letters,

That young Octavius, and Mark Antony,

See also Martial, lib. i. ep. 42. Valerius Maximus, and Nicolaus, and Plutarch, all agree in saying that she put an end to her life; and the letter, if authentick, ascertains that she did so in the life-time of Brutus.

Our author, therefore, we see, had sufficient authority for his representation; and there is, I think, little ground for supposing with Dryden that Shakspeare knew that Portia had survived Brutus, and that he, "on purpose neglected a little chronology, only to give Brutus an occasion of being more easily exasperated.' MALONE.

[ocr errors]

9 And died so? &c.] I suppose, these three short speeches were meant to form a single verse, and originally stood as follows:

"Cas. And died so?

[blocks in formation]

Immortal gods!"

The tragick Ahs and Ohs interpolated by the players, are too frequently permitted to derange our author's measure.


Come down upon us with a mighty power,
Bending their expedition toward Philippi.

MES. Myself have letters of the self-same tenour. BRU. With what addition ?

MES. That by proscription, and bills of outlawry, Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus,

Have put to death an hundred senators.

BRU. Therein our letters do not well agree;
Mine speak of seventy senators, that died
By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.
CAS. Cicero one?

MES. Ay, Cicero is dead', and by that order of proscription.

Had you your letters from your wife, my lord ?
BRU. No, Messala.

MES. Nor nothing in your letters writ of her?
BRU. Nothing, Messala.


That, methinks, is strange. BRU. Why ask you? Hear you aught of her in yours?

MES. No, my lord.

BRU. Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true. MES. Then like a Roman bear the truth I tell :: For certain she is dead, and by strange manner. BRU. Why, farewell, Portia.-We must die, Messala :

With meditating that she must die once2,
I have the patience to endure it now.

MES. Even so great men great losses should endure.

Ay, Cicero is dead,] For the insertion of the affirmative adverb, to complete the verse, I am answerable. STEEVENS.


- once,] i. e. at some time or other. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:

[blocks in formation]


C4s. I have as much of this in art as you,

But yet my nature could not bear it so.

BRU. Well, to our work alive. What do you


Of marching to Philippi presently?

CAS. I do not think it good.



Your reason?

This it is 4:

'Tis better, that the enemy seek us:

So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers,
Doing himself offence; whilst we, lying still,

Are full of rest, defence, and nimbleness.

BRU. Good reasons must, of force, give place to. better.

The people, 'twixt Philippi and this ground,
Do stand but in a forc'd affection;

For they have grudg'd us contribution :
The enemy, marching along by them,
By them shall make a fuller number up,
Come on refresh'd, new-added, and encourag'd;
From which advantage shall we cut him off,

If at Philippi we do face him there,

These people at our back.


Hear me, good brother.

BRU. Under your pardon.-You must note be


That we have try'd the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe :
The enemy increaseth every day,

We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,



in ART] That is, in theory. MALONE.

4 This IT IS:] The overflow of the metre, and the disagreeable clash of-it is, with 'Tis at the beginning of the next line, are almost proofs that our author only wrote, with a common ellipsis, -This:- STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »