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Transformed with their fear; who swore, they saw
Men, all in fire, walk up and down the streets.
And, yesterday, the bird of night did sit,
Even at noon-day, upon the market-place,
Hooting, and shrieking. When these prodigies
Do so conjointly meet, let not men say,
These are their reasons,-They are natural;
For, I believe, they are portentous things
Unto the climate that they point upon.

Cic. Indeed, it is a strange-disposed time:
But men may construe things after their fashion,
Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.
Comes Cæsar to the Capitol to-morrow?


CASCA. He doth; for he did bid Antonius Send word to you, he would be there to-morrow. CIC. Good night then, Casca: this disturbed sky Is not to walk in.

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CASCA. Your ear is good. Cassius, what night

is this?

CAS. A very pleasing night to honest men.

CASCA. Who ever knew the heavens menace so? CAS. Those, that have known the earth so full of faults.


my part, I have walk'd about the streets,

"I whyles essaied the Grece in Frenche to praise

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Whyles in that toung I gave a lusty glaise

"For to descryve the Trojan Kings of olde."

Dubartas's original affords us no assistance; and, for once, I have applied to Dr. Jamieson's valuable Dictionary in vain. BOSWELL. Clean is altogether, entirely. MALONE.

4 CLEAN from the purpose-]

It is still so used in low language.

Submitting me unto the perilous night;
And, thus unbraced, Casca, as you see,

Have bar'd my bosom to the thunder-stone 5:
And, when the cross blue lightning seem'd to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.

CASCA. But wherefore did you so much tempt
the heavens ?

It is the part of men to fear and tremble,
When the most mighty gods, by tokens, send
Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.

CAS. You are dull, Casca; and those sparks of

That should be in a Roman, you do want,
Or else you use not: You look pale, and gaze,
And put on fear, and cast yourself in wonder,
To see the strange impatience of the heavens:
But if you would consider the true cause,
Why all these fires, why all these gliding ghosts,
Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind;
Why old men fools, and children calculate' ;


thunder-stone:] A stone fabulously supposed to be dis-. charged by thunder. So, in Cymbeline:

"Fear no more the lightning-flash,

"Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone."


6 Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind; &c.] That is, Why they deviate from quality and nature. This line might perhaps be more properly placed after the next line:


"Why birds, and beasts, from quality and kind,
Why all these things change from their ordinance."

7 - and children CALCULATE ;] Calculate here signifies to foretel or prophesy: for the custom of foretelling fortunes by judicial astrology (which was at that time much in vogue) being performed by a long tedious calculation, Shakspeare, with his usual liberty, employs the species [calculate] for the genus [foretel]. WARBURTON.

Shakspeare found the liberty established. "To calculate the nativity," is the technical term. JOHNSON.

So, in The Paradise of Daintie Deuises, edit. 1576, Art. 54, signed, M. Bew:

Why all these things change, from their ordinance,
Their natures, and pre-formed faculties,

To monstrous quality; why, you shall find,
That heaven hath infus'd them with these spirits,
To make them instruments of fear, and warning,
Unto some monstrous state.

Now could I, Casca, name to thee a man
Most like this dreadful night;

That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
As doth the lion in the Capitol :

A man no mightier than thyself, or me,

In personal action; yet prodigious grown,
And fearful, as these strange eruptions are.
CASCA. "Tis Cæsar that you mean: Is it not,
Cassius ?


CAS. Let it be who it is: for Romans now
Have thewes and limbs like to their ancestors;
But, woe the while! our fathers' minds are dead,
And we are govern'd with our mothers' spirits;
Our yoke and sufferance show us womanish.
CASCA. Indeed, they say, the senators to-morrow
Mean to establish Cæsar as a king:

"Thei calculate, thei chaunt, thei charme,
"To conquere us that meane no harme."

This author is speaking of women. STEEVENS.

There is certainly no prodigy in old men's calculating from their past experience. The wonder is, that old men should not, and that children should. I would therefore [instead of old men, fools, and children, &c.] point thus:


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Why old men fools, and children calculate."


-PRODIGIOUS grown,] Prodigious is portentous. So, in Troilus and Cressida :

"It is prodigious, there will be some change." See vol. viii. p. 406. STEEVENS.

9 Have THEWES and limbs-] Thewes is an obsolete word implying nerves or muscular strength. It is used by Falstaff in The Second Part of King Henry IV. and in Hamlet :

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The two last folios, [1664 and 1685,] in which some words are injudiciously modernized, read-sinews. STEEVENS.

And he shall wear his crown by sea, and land,
In every place, save here in Italy.

CAS. I know where I will wear this dagger then ;
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.

If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny, that I do bear,

I can shake off at pleasure.

So can I :

So every bondman in his own hand bears
The power to cancel his captivity 1.

CAS. And why should Cæsar be a tyrant then?
Poor man! I know, he would not be a wolf,
But that he sees the Romans are but sheep:
He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.
Those that with haste will make a mighty fire,
Begin it with weak straws: What trash is Rome,
What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves
For the base matter to illuminate

So vile a thing as Cæsar? But, O, grief!
Where hast thou led me? I, perhaps, speak this
Before a willing bondman: then I know

My answer must be made 2: But I am arm'd,

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The power to CANCEL his CAPTIVITY.] So, in Cymbeline, Act V. Posthumus speaking of his chains :

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"And cancel these cold bonds." HENLEY.

2 My ANSWER must be made:] I shall be called to account, and must answer as for seditious words. JOHNSON.

So, in Much Ado About Nothing:


Sweet prince, let me go no further to mine answer; do you hear me, and let this count kill me." STEEVENS.

And dangers are to me indifferent.

CASCA. You speak to Casca; and to such a


That is no fleering tell-tale.


Hold my hand 3:

Be factious for redress* of all these griefs;
And I will set this foot of mine as far,
As who goes farthest.


There's a bargain made.

Now know you, Casca, I have mov'd already
Some certain of the noblest-minded Romans,
To undergo, with me, an enterprize
Of honourable-dangerous consequence;
And I do know, by this, they stay for me
In Pompey's porch: For now, this fearful night,
There is no stir, or walking in the streets;
And the complexion of the element,


In favour's like the work we have in hand,

3 Hold

hand:] Is the same as, my

"Here's my hand." JOHNSON.

4 BE FACTIOUS for redress-] Factious seems here to mean active. JOHNSON.


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It means, I apprehend, embody a party or faction.' MALONE. Perhaps Dr. Johnson's explanation is the true one. Menenius, in Coriolanus, says: "I have been always factionary on the part of your general;" and the speaker, who is describing himself, would scarce have employed the word in its common and unfavourable sense. STEEVENS.

5 In FAVOUR's like the work —] The old edition reads : Is favors, like the work."


I think we should read:

"In favour's like the work we have in hand,

"Most bloody, fiery, and most terrible.”

Favour is look, countenance, appearance. JOHNSON.

To favour is to resemble. Thus Stanyhurst, in his translation of the third book of Virgil's Æneid, 1582:

"With the petit town gates favouring the principal old portes." read It favours, or-Is favour'd-i. e. is an appearance or countenance like, &c. STEEVENS.

We may

Perhaps fev'rous is the true reading. So, in Macbeth : "Some say the earth


"Was feverous, and did shake." REED.

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