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The Tarquin drive, when he was call'd a king.
Speak, strike, redress!-Am I entreated 5

To speak, and strike? O Rome! I make thee promise,

If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus !

Re-enter Lucius.

Luc. Sir, March is wasted fourteen days".

[Knock within.

BRU. 'Tis good. Go to the gate; somebody



Since Cassius first did whet me against Cæsar,
I have not slept.

Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, all the interim is

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-] The adverb then, which en

forces the question, and is necessary to the metre, was judiciously supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. So, in King Richard III. :




wilt thou then

Spurn at his edict-?" STEEVENS.

March is wasted FOURTEEN days.] In former editions : "Sir, March is wasted fifteen days."

The editors are slightly mistaken it was wasted but fourteen days this was the dawn of the 15th, when the boy makes his report. THEOBALD.


7 Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, &c.] That nice critick, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, complains, that all kind of beauties, those great strokes which he calls the terrible graces, and which are so frequent in Homer, are the rarest to be found in the following writers. Amongst our countrymen, it seems to be as much confined to the British Homer. This description of the condition of conspirators, before the execution of their design, has a pomp and terror in it that perfectly astonishes. The excellent Mr. Addison, whose modesty made him sometimes diffident of his own genius, but whose true judgment always led him to the safest guides, (as we may see by those fine strokes in his Cato borrowed from the Philippics of Cicero,) has paraphrased this fine description; but we are no longer to expect those terrible graces which animate his original :

Like a phantasma3, or a hideous dream:
The Genius, and the mortal instruments,


"O think, what anxious moments pass between
"The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods.
“Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time,

"Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death." Cato. I shall make two remarks on this fine imitation. The first is, that the subjects of the two conspiracies being so very different (the fortunes of Cæsar and the Roman empire being concerned in the one; and that of a few auxiliary troops only in the other,) Mr. Addison could not, with propriety, bring in that magnificent circumstance which gives one of the terrible graces of Shakspeare's description:

"The genius and the mortal instruments

"Are then in council.”

For kingdoms, in The Pagan Theology, besides their good, had their evil geniuses, likewise represented here, with the most daring stretch of fancy, as sitting in consultation with the conspirators, whom he calls their mortal instruments. But this, as we say, would have been too pompous an apparatus to the rape and desertion of Syphax and Sempronius. The other thing observable is, that Mr. Addision was so struck and affected with these terrible graces in his original, that instead of imitating his author's sentiments, he hath, before he was aware, given us only the copy of his own impressions made by them. For


Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time,

66 Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death."

are but the affections raised by such forcible images as these: All the interim is


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"Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
"The nature of an insurrection."

Comparing the troubled mind of a conspirator to a state of anarchy, is just and beautiful; but the interim or interval, to an hideous vision, or a frightful dream, holds something so wonderfully of truth, and lays the soul so open, that one can hardly think it possible for any man, who had not some time or other been engaged in a conspiracy, to give such force of colouring to nature. WARBURTON.

The divov of the Greek criticks does not, I think, mean sentiments which raise fear, more than wonder, or any other of the tumultuous passions; To devov is that which strikes, which astonishes with the idea either of some great subject, or of the author's abilities.

Are then in council; and the state of a man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.

Dr. Warburton's pompous criticism might well have been shortened. The genius is not the genius of a kingdom, nor are the instruments, conspirators. Shakspeare is describing what passes in a single bosom, the insurrection which a conspirator feels agitating the little kingdom of his own mind; when the genius, or power that watches for his protection, and the mortal instruments, the passions, which excite him to a deed of honour and danger, are in council and debate; when the desire of action, and the care of safety, keep the mind in continual fluctuation and disturbance. JOHNSON.

The foregoing was perhaps among the earliest notes written by Dr. Warburton on Shakspeare. Though it was not inserted by him in Theobald's editions, 1732 and 1740, (but was reserved for his own in 1747,) yet he had previously communicated it, with little variation, in a letter to Matthew Concanen in the year 1726. See a note on Dr. Akenside's Ode to Mr. Edwards, at the end of this play. STEEVENS.

There is a passage in Troilus and Cressida, which bears some resemblance to this:


Imagin'd worth

"Holds in his blood such swoln and hot discourse,



That, 'twixt his mortal, and his active parts,
Kingdom'd Achilles in commotion rages,

"And batters down himself.

Johnson is right in asserting that by the Genius is meant, not the Genius of a Kingdom, but the power that watches over an individual for his protection.-So, in the same play, Troilus says to Cressida :

"Hark! you are call'd. Some say, the Genius so


Cries, Come, to him that instantly must die."

Johnson's explanation of the word instruments is also confirmed by the following passage in Macbeth, whose mind was, at the time, in the very state which Brutus is here describing :


I am settled, and bend up


"Each corporal agent to this terrible feat." M. MASON. The word genius, in our author's time, meant either a good angel or a familiar evil spirit," and is so defined by Bullokar in his English Expositor, 1616. So, in Macbeth:

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"My genius is rebuk'd; as, it is said,

"Mark Antony's was by Cæsar's."

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"Thy dæmon, that thy spirit which keeps thee, is," &c.

Re-enter LUCIUS.

Luc. Sir, 'tis your brother Cassius 9 at the door, Who doth desire to see you.

The more usual signification now affixed to this word was not known till several years afterwards. I have not found it in the common modern sense in any book earlier than the Dictionary published by Edward Phillips, in 1657.

Mortal is certainly used here, as in many other places, for deadly. So, in Othello:

66 And you, ye mortal engines," &c.

The mortal instruments then are, the deadly passions, or as they are called in Macbeth, the "mortal thoughts," which excite each " corporal agent to the performance of some arduous


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The little kingdom of man is a notion that Shakspeare seems to have been fond of. So, K. Richard II. speaking of himself:

"And these same thoughts people this little world." Again, in King Lear:

"Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
"The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain.”

Again, in King John:

"in the body of this fleshly land,

"This kingdom-."

I have adhered to the old copy, which reads "the state of a man." Shakspeare is here speaking of the individual in whose mind the genius and the mortal instruments hold a council, not of man, or mankind, in general. The passage above, quoted from King Lear, does not militate against the old copy here.

There the individual is marked out by the word his, and the little world of man is thus circumscribed, and appropriated to Lear. The editor of the second folio omitted the article, probably from a mistaken notion concerning the metre; and all the subsequent editors have adopted his alteration. Many words of two syllables are used by Shakspeare as taking up the time of only one; as whether, either, brother, lover, gentle, spirit, &c. and I suppose council is so used here.


The reading of the old authentick copy, to which I have adhered, is supported by a passage in Hamlet: What a piece of work is a man."

As council is here used as a monosyllable, so is noble in Titus Andronicus:

"Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose." MALONE. Influenced by the conduct of our great predecessors, Rowe, Pope, Warburton, and Johnson; and for reasons similar to those advanced in the next note, I persist in following the second folio,


Is he alone?
Luc. No, sir, there are more with him.

as our author, on this occasion, meant to write verse instead of prose. The instance from Hamlet can have little weight; the article-a, which is injurious to the metre in question, being quite innocent in a speech decidedly prosaick: and as for the line adduced from Titus Andronicus, the second syllable of the word -noble, may be melted down into the succeeding vowel, an advantage which cannot be obtained in favour of the present restoration offered from the first folio. STEEVENS.

Neither our author, nor any other author in the world, ever used such words as either, brother, lover, gentle, &c. as monosyllables; and though whether is sometimes so contracted, the old copies on that occasion usually print-where. It is, in short, morally impossible that two syllables should be no more than one. RITSON.

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See the Essay on Shakspeare's Versification. BosWELL. "The Genius, and the mortal instruments." Mortal is assuredly deadly, as it is in Macbeth, vol. xi. p. 62:


Come, you spirits,

"That tend on mortal thoughts."

But I cannot think that these mortal instruments are the deadly passions; the passions are rather the motives exciting us to use our instruments, by which I understand our bodily powers, our members :-As Othello calls his eyes and hands, His speculative and active instruments," vol. x. p. 278: and Menenius, in Coriolanus, Act I. Sc. I., speaks of the


cranks and offices of man,

"The strongest nerves and small inferior veins."

So, intending to paint, as he does very finely, the inward conflict which precedes the commission of some dreadful crime, he represents, as I conceive him, the genius or soul, consulting with the body, and, as it were, questioning the limbs, the instruments which are to perform this deed of death, whether they can undertake to bear her out in the affair, whether they can screw up their courage to do what she shall enjoin them. The tumultuous commotion of opposing sentiments and feelings produced by the firmness of the soul contending with the secret misgivings of the body, during which the mental faculties, are, though not actually dormant, yet in a sort of waking stupor, "crushed by one overwhelming image," is finely compared to a phantasm or a hideous dream, and by the state of man suffering the nature of an insurrection. Tibalt has something like it in Romeo and Juliet, vol. vi. 65:


"Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting,

Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting."

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