ePub 版

CES. Cowards die many times before their


The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard',
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end 2,

Will come, when it will come.

Re-enter a Servant.

What say the augurers?

SERV. They would not have you to stir forth to


which appeared last: with a courage answerable to the greatnesse of her state, shee caused the windowe to be sette open, and cast out thys word, jacta est alea, the dice are thrown, &c.


9 Cowards die many times before their deaths ;] Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613:

"Fear is my vassal; when I frown, he flies,
"A hundred times in life a coward dies."

So, in


Lord Essex, probably before either of these writers, made the same remark. In a letter to Lord Rutland, he observes, that as he which dieth nobly, doth live for ever, so he that doth live in fear, doth die continually." MALONE.

So, in the ancient translation of Plutarch, so often quoted: "When some of his friends did counsel him to have a guard for the safety of his person; he would never consent to it, but said, it was better to die once, than always to be affrayed of death." STEEVENS.

As a specimen of Mr. Steevens's love of mischief, I may mention that by putting the quotation from Plutarch first, and changing the words either of these writers, i. e. Shakspeare or Marston, to any; he made Mr. Malone appear to write nonsense. BOSWELL.

I that I yet have heard,] This sentiment appears to have been imitated by Dr. Young in his tragedy of Busiris, King of Egypt:


Didst thou e'er fear?

"Sure 'tis an art; I know not how to fear;
""Tis one of the few things beyond my power;
"And if death must be fear'd before 'tis felt,


Thy master is immortal.".


- death, a necessary end, &c.] This is a sentence derived from the stoical doctrine of predestination, and is therefore improper in the mouth of Cæsar. JOHNSON.

Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,


They could not find a heart within the beast.
CES. The gods do this in shame of cowardice 3:
Cæsar should be a beast without a heart,

If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Cæsar shall not: Danger knows full well,
That Cæsar is more dangerous than he.


We were two lions litter'd in one day,

3 in shame of cowardice:] The ancients did not place courage, but wisdom, in the heart. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson remarks on this occasion, that "the ancients did not place courage in the heart." He had forgotten his classics strangely.

Nunc animis opus, Ænea, nunc pectore firmo. En. vi. 261.
Juvenes, fortissima frustra
En. ii. 263.


-Teucrûm mirantur inertia corda. En. ix. 55.

Corde metum

excute, dicens,

Ovid. Metam. lib. iii. 689,

Corda pavent comitum, mihi mens interrita mansit.

Ovid. Metam. lib. xv. 514.

Cor pavet admonitu temeratæ sanguine noctis.

Ovid. Epist. xiv. 16.

Nescio quæ pavidum frigora pectus habent.

Ovid. Epist. xix. 192. DOUCE. 4 WE WERE -] In old editions: "We heare

The copies have been all corrupt, and the passage, of course, unintelligible. But the slight alteration I have made, [We were] restores sense to the whole; and the sentiment will neither be unworthy of Shakspeare, nor the boast too extravagant for Cæsar in a vein of vanity to utter: that he and danger were two twinwhelps of a lion, and he the elder, and more terrible of the two. THEOBALD.

Mr. Upton recommends us to read: "We are---"

This resembles the boast of Otho:

Experti invicem sumus, Ego et Fortuna. Tacitus.


It is not easy to determine which of the two readings has the best claim to a place in the text. If Theobald's emendation be adopted, the phraseology, though less elegant, is perhaps more Shakspearian. It may mean the same as if he had written-"We two lions were litter'd in one day," and I am the elder and more terrible of the two. MALONE.

And I the elder and more terrible;

And Cæsar shall go forth 5.


Alas, my lord,
Your wisdom is consum'd in confidence.

Do not go forth to-day: Call it my fear,
That keeps you in the house, and not your own.
We'll send Mark Antony to the senate-house :
And he shall say, you are not well to-day:
Let me, upon my knee, prevail in this.

CES. Mark Antony shall say, I am not well;
And, for thy humour, I will stay at home.


Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
DEC. Cæsar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy

Cæsar :

I come to fetch you to the senate-house.

CES. And you are come in very happy time,

To bear my greeting to the senators,

And tell them, that I will not come to-day:
Cannot, is false; and that I dare not, falser;

5- Cæsar shall go forth,] Any speech of Cæsar, throughout this scene, will appear to disadvantage, if compared with the following sentiments, put into his mouth by May, in the seventh book of his Supplement to Lucan:


Plus me, Calphurnia, luctus

Et lachrymæ movere tuæ, quam tristia vatum
Responsa, infaustæ volucres, aut ulla dierum
Vana superstitio poterant. Ostenta timere
Si nunc inciperem, quæ non mihi tempora posthac
Anxia transirent? quæ lux jucunda maneret?
Aut quæ libertas? frustra servire timori
(Dum nec luce frui, nec mortem arcere licebit)
Cogar, et huic capiti quod Roma veretur, aruspex
Jus dabit, et vanus semper dominabitur augur.

There cannot be a stronger proof of Shakspeare's deficiency in classical knowledge, than the boastful language he has put in the mouth of the most accomplished man of all antiquity, who was not more admirable for his achievements, than for the dignified simplicity with which he has recorded them. BoSWELL.

I will not come to-day: Tell them so, Decius.
CAL. Say, he is sick.

Shall Cæsar send a lie ?
Have I in conquest stretch'd mine arm so far,
To be afeard to tell grey-beards the truth?
Decius, go tell them, Cæsar will not come.

DEC. Most mighty Cæsar, let me know some


Lest I be laugh'd at, when I tell them so.

CES. The cause is in my will, I will not come ; That is enough to satisfy the senate.

But, for your private satisfaction,

Because I love you, I will let you know.
Calphurnia here, my wife, stays me at home:
She dreamt to-night she saw my statue,
Which like a fountain, with a hundred spouts,
Did run pure blood; and many lusty Romans
Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it.
And these does she apply for warnings, and por-
ténts 7,

And evils imminent; and on her knee
Hath begg'd, that I will stay at home to-day.
DEC. This dream is all amiss interpreted;
It was a vision, fair and fortunate:

Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
In which so many smiling Romans bath'd,
Signifies that from you great Rome shall suck



-my STATUA,] [Old copy, statue.] See vol. iv. p. 119.


- warnings, portents,] Old copy, unmetrically-" warnings,

and portents.


8 AND evils imminent;] The late Mr. Edwards was of opinion that we should read:


Of evils imminent." STEEVENS. The alteration proposed by Mr. Edwards is needless, and tends to weaken the force of the expressions, which form, as they now stand, a regular climax.



Reviving blood; and that great men shall press
For tinctures, stains, relicks, and cognizance 9.
This by Calphurnia's dream is signified.

CES. And this way have you well expounded it.
DEC. I have, when you have heard what I can


And know it now; The senate have concluded
To give, this day, a crown to mighty Cæsar.
If you shall send them word, you will not come,
Their minds may change. Besides, it were a mock
Apt to be render'd, for some one to say,

Break up the senate till another time,

When Casar's wife shall meet with better dreams3.
If Cæsar hide himself, shall they not whisper,
Lo, Casar is afraid?

Pardon me, Cæsar; for my dear, dear love

9 and that great men shall press

For TINCTURES, STAINS, RELICKS, and cognizance.] This speech, which is intentionally pompous, is somewhat confused. There are two allusions; one to coats armorial, to which princes make additions, or give new tinctures, and new marks of cognizance; the other to martyrs, whose reliques are preserved with veneration. The Romans, says Decius, all come to you as to a saint, for reliques, as to a prince, for honours. JOHNSON.

I believe tinctures has no relation to heraldry, but means merely handkerchiefs, or other linen, tinged with blood. Bullokar, in his Expositor, 1616, defines it "a dipping, colouring, or staining of a thing." So, in Act III. Sc. II. :

"And dip their napkins in his sacred blood." MALONE.

I concur in opinion with Mr. Malone. At the execution of several of our ancient nobility, martyrs, &c. we are told that handkerchiefs were tinctured with their blood, and preserved as affectionate or salutary memorials of the deceased. STEEVENS.

1 When Cæsar's wife shall meet with better dreams.] So, in Lord Sterline's Julius Cæsar, 1607:

"How can we satisfy the world's conceit,

"Whose tongues still in all ears your praise proclaims? "Or shall we bid them leave to deal in state,

“Till that Calphurnia first have better dreams?"


« 上一頁繼續 »