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And buy men's voices to commend our deeds:
It shall be said, his judgment rul'd our hands;
Our youths, and wildness, shall no whit appear,
But all be buried in his gravity.

BRU. O, name him not; let us not break with him;

For he will never follow any thing
That other men begin.

CASCA. Indeed he is not fit.

DEC. Shall no man else be touch'd but only
Cæsar ?

Then leave him out.

CAS. Decius, well urg'd:-I think it is not meet, Mark Antony, so well belov'd of Cæsar, Should outlive Cæsar: We shall find of him A shrewd contriver; and, you know, his means, If he improves them, may well stretch so far, As to annoy us all: which to prevent,

Let Antony, and Cæsar, fall together.

BRU. Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius,


To cut the head off, and then hack the limbs;
Like wrath in death, and envy afterwards 2:
For Antony is but a limb of Cæsar.

Let us be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Cæsar,
And in the spirit of men there is no blood:
O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit3,
And not dismember Cæsar! But, alas,


-opinion.] i. e. character. So, in King Henry IV. Part I. Act V. Sc. IV.:

"Thou hast redeem'd thy lost opinion."

The quotation is Mr. Reed's. STEEVENS.

2-and ENVY afterwards :] Envy is here, as almost always in Shakspeare's plays, malice. MALONE.

3 O, that we then could come by Cæsar's spirit, &c.] Lord Sterline has the same thought: Brutus remonstrating against the taking off Antony, says:


Cæsar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods 4,
Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds 5:
And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
Stir up their servants to an act of rage,
And after seem to chide them. This shall make
Our purpose necessary, and not envious:
Which so appearing to the common eyes,
We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.
And for Mark Antony, think not of him;
For he can do no more than Cæsar's arm,
When Cæsar's head is off.



Yet I do fear him 7: For in the ingrafted love he bears to Cæsar,

BRU. Alas, good Cassius, do not think of him : If he love Cæsar, all that he can do

Is to himself; take thought, and die for Cæsar :

"Ah! ah! we must but too much murder see,
"That without doing evil cannot do good;

"And would the gods that Rome could be made free,
"Without the effusion of one drop of blood?"


4 — as a dish fit for the gods, &c.]

Gradive, dedisti,

Ne qua manus vatem, ne quid mortalia bello
Lædere tela queant, sanctum et venerabile Diti
Funus erat. Stat. Theb. vii. 1. 696. STEEVENS.

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5 Not hew him as a carcase fit for hounds :] Our author had probably the following passage in the old translation of Plutarch in his thoughts: Cæsar turned himselfe no where but he was stricken at by some, and still had naked swords in his face, and was hacked and mangled among them as a wild beast taken of hunters.” MALONE.

6 Stir up their servants-] Another instance of the image which occurs, p. 38: "the mortal instruments." BOSWELL. 7 Yet I Do fear him :] For the sake of metre I have supplied the auxiliary verb. So, in Macbeth :


there is none but him

"Whose being I do fear." STEEVENS.

8 take thought,] That is, turn melancholy. JOHNSON,

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And that were much he should; for he is given
To sports, to wildness, and much company.

TREB. There is no fear in him; let him not die; For he will live, and laugh at this hereafter.

[Clock strikes.

BRU. Peace, count the clock. CAS. The clock hath stricken three. TREB. 'Tis time to part. CAS. But it is doubtful yet, Whe'r* Cæsar will come forth to-day, or no ;


*First folio, Whether.

So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"What shall we do, Enobarbus?
"Think and die."

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Again, in Holinshed, p. 833: now they are without service, which caused them to take thought, insomuch that some died by the way, &c. STEEVEns.

The precise meaning of take thought may be learned from the following passage in St. Matthew, where the verb μspuvaw, which signifies to anticipate, or forbode evil, is so rendered: "Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."-Cassius not only refers to, but thus explains, the phrase in question, when, in answer to the assertion of Brutus concerning Antony, Act III. :

"I know that we shall have him well to friend; he replies:

"I wish we may: but yet I have a mind

That fears him much; and my misgiving still "Falls shrewdly to the purpose."

To take thought then, in this instance, is not to turn melancholy, whatever think may be in Antony and Cleopatra. HENLEY.

With great submission, I conceive that Mr. Henley is not quite correct in either of his positions. Mepuvaw, I apprehend, never signifies "to anticipate or forbode evil:" but to be distracted by anxious cares :' and so all the commentators expound it in the passage of St. Matthew vi. 25, &c. ; and Mr. Steevens's quotation from Holinshed, proves, I think, that Dr. Johnson's explanation of take thought in the lines before us is right. Thought is used for extreme grief in a curious letter printed by Mr. Gough in his edit. of Camden, ii. 142: "Oure goode and holsom modyr y' was abbesse is so weryd and brokyn with thowt." BLAKEWAY.

See vol. xi. p. 410.




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For he is superstitious grown of late;
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies 9:
It may be, these apparent prodigies,
The unaccustom'd terror of this night,
And the persuasion of his augurers,
May hold him from the Capitol to-day.

DEC. Never fear that: If he be so revolv'd,
I can o'ersway him: for he loves to hear,
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes',

8 WHE'R Cæsar, &c.] Whe'r is the ancient abbreviation of whether, which likewise is sometimes written—where. Thus in Turberville's translation of Ovid's Epistle. from Penelope to Ulysses:

"But Sparta cannot make account

"Where thou do live or die." STEEVENS.

9 Quite from the main opinion he held once

Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies:] Main opinion, is nothing more than leading, fixed, predominant opinion. JOHNSON. Main opinion, according to Johnson's explanation, is sense; but mean opinion would be a more natural expression, and is, I believe, what Shakspeare wrote, M. MASON.

The words main opinion occur again in Troilus and Cressida, where (as here) they signify general estimation :


Why then we should our main opinion crush "In taint of our best man."

There is no ground therefore for suspecting any corruption in the text.

Fantasy was in our author's time commonly used for imagination, and is so explained in Cawdry's Alphabetical Table of Hard Words, 8vo. 1604. It signified both the imaginative power, and the thing imagined. It is used in the former sense by Shakspeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor:

"Raise up the organs of her fantasy."

In the latter, in the present play :

"Thou hast no figures, nor no fantasies."

Ceremonies means omens or signs deduced from sacrifices, or other ceremonial rites. So, afterwards:


Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies, "Yet now they fright me." MALONE.

I That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,

And bears with glasses, elephants with holes.] Unicorns are said to have been taken by one who, running behind a tree, eluded

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Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But, when I tell him, he hates flatterers,
He says, he does; being then most flattered.
Let me work 2:

For I can give his humour the true bent;
And I will bring him to the Capitol.

CAS. Nay, we will all of us be there to fetch him.

BRU. By the eighth hour: Is that the uttermost ? CIN. Be that the uttermost, and fail not then. MET. Caius Ligarius doth bear Cæsar hard3,

the violent push the animal was making at him, so that his horn spent its force on the trunk, and stuck fast, detaining the beast till he was despatched by the hunter.

So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. c. v.:

"Like as a lyon whose imperiall powre
"A prowd rebellious unicorne defies ;

"T' avoid the rash assault and wrathfull stowre
"Of his fiers foe, him to a tree applies :
"And when him running in full course he spies,
"He slips aside; the whiles the furious beast
"His precious horne, sought of his enemies,
"Strikes in the stocke, ne thence can be releast,
"But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast."
Again, in Bussy D'Ambois, 1607:

"An angry unicorne in his full career


Charge with too swift a foot a jeweller

"That watch'd him for the treasure of his brow,
"And e'er he could get shelter of a tree,
"Nail him with his rich antler to the earth."

Bears are reported to have been surprised by means of a mirror, which they would gaze on, affording their pursuers an opportunity of taking the surer aim. This circumstance, I think, is mentioned by Claudian. Elephants were seduced into pitfalls, lightly covered with hurdles and turf, on which a proper bait to tempt them was exposed. See Pliny's Natural History, b. viii.

i. e.


2 Let me work:] These words, as they stand, being quite unmetrical, I suppose our author to have originally written: Let me to work."


go to work.


3 - bear CESAR hard,] Thus the old copy: but Messieurs Rowe, Pope, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, on the authority of the

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