« 上一頁繼續 »
412. Read the will ; etc.--This and most of the subsequent exclamations of the populace need not be considered as verse.
413. I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it.—That is, To tell you of it, or my telling you of it, was to overshoot myself (to do more than I had intended).
419. He comes down, etc.—This stage direction is not in the older copies.
422. Stand from the hearse.—The hearse was the frame or stand on which the body lay. It is the French herse or herce, meaning a portcullis or harrow; whence the English term seems to have been applied to whatever was constructed of bars or beams laid crosswise.
426. As rushing out of doors to be resolved.—Vid.
426. This was the most unkindest cut of all.-Vid.
Caesar 426. For when the noble Brutas saw him stab.–The him is here strongly emphatic, notwithstanding its occupation of one of the places assigned by the common rule to short or unaccented syllables. Vid. 436.
426. For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel.I cannot think that the meaning can be, as Boswell suggests, his guardian angel. It is much more natural to understand it as being simply his best beloved, his darling.
426. Even at the base of Pompey's statue. Vid. 246. The measure, Malone remarks, will be defective (unless we read statua) if even be a monosyllable, which he says it usually is in Shakespeare. He thinks that it would be all right with the prosody if even could be taken as a dissyllable!
426. Which all the while ran blood. This is almost in the words of North’s Plutarch: “ Against the very base whereon Pompey's statue stood, which ran all a gore of blood.” Gore is a Saxon word meaning anything muddy, possibly connected with the German gähren, to ferment, and other German words.
426. Whilst bloody treason flourished over us. — Surely this can mean nothing more than that treason triumphed, -put forth, as it were, its flowers,-shot up into vigorous efflorescence,-over us. Yet the only, interpretation the Variorum commentators supply is that of Steevens, who says that flourishes means flourishes its sword, and quotes from Romeo and Juliet, i. 1, the line, “ And flourishes his blade in spite of me,” -as if that would prove that to flourish used absolutely meant or could mean to flourish a sword.
426. The dint of pity.—Dint seems to be the same word with dent, or indentation, that is, the impression made as by a tooth. It is commonly dent in the old writers.
426. These are gracious drops.-Falling, the thought seems to be, like the bountiful and refreshing rain from heaven.
426. Marred, as you see, with traitors.-Vid. 363.
433. Stay, countrymen.—To this speech Mr. Col. lier's MS. annotator appends the stage direction, “They are rushing out."
436. What private griefs they have.--Vid. 129.Griefs with Shakespeare involves the notion rather of to aggrieve than that expressed by to grieve. So again in 519: “Speak your griefs softly;” and “ Enlarge your griefs."
436. That gave me public leave to speak of him.-
The Second Folio has "That give me." Mr. Collier restores gave.
436. For I have neither wit, etc.—This is the reading of the Second Folio. The First has writ, which Malone actually adopts and defends! Here is a most animated and admirable enumeration of the various powers, faculties, and arts by which a great orator is enabled "to stir men's blood," beginning, naturally, with that gift of imagination and invention which is at once the highest of them all and the fountain of most of the others; and this editor, rather than admit the probability of the misprint of a single letter in a volume swarming with undeniable typographical errata, would make Antony substitute the ridiculous remark that the first requisite for his purpose, and that in which he was chiefly deficient, was what he calls a writ, meaning a written speech! Is it possible that such a critic can have had the smallest feeling of anything in Shakespeare above the level of the merest prose?" Wit," he goes on to tell us, "in our author's time had not its present signification, but meant understanding." The fact is, that there are numerous passages in Shakespeare in which the word has exactly its present signification. "Sir Thurio," says Valentine to Silvia, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (ii. 4), "borrows his wit from your ladyship's looks, and spends what he borrows, kindly, in your company." "Sir," replies Thurio, "if you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt." So in Much Ado About Nothing, i. 1, “ There is a kind of merry war," says Leonato, speaking of his niece. Beatrice, "betwixt Signior Benedick and her: they never meet but there is a skirmish of wit between
them.” Or, to go no farther, how would Malone, or those who think with him (if there be any), explain the conversation about Benedick's wit in the First Scene of the Fifth Act of the last-mentioned Play without taking the word as there used in the sense which it now ordinarily bears ? In the passage
before us, to be sure, its meaning is more comprehensive, corresponding nearly to what it still conveys in the expression “the wit of man.
436. And bid them speak for me.-The them here, emphatic and yet occupying a place in the verse in which it is commonly laid down that only a short or unaccented syllable can properly stand, is in precisely the same predicament with the him of “ When the noble Brutus saw him stab” of 426. Vid. 537.
444. To every several man.-Several is connected with the verb sever, which is from the Latin separo, through the French sevrer (though that language has also séparer, as we too have separate). “Every several man” is every man by himself or in his individual capacity. The phrase may be illustrated by the legal distinction between estates in severalty and in jointtenancy or in common. So in 449 we have “common pleasures."
449. He hath left them you.—The emphasis is on you.
450. And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.This is the reading of the First Folio : the Second has " all the traitors' houses,” which may be right; for the prolongation of fire into a dissyllable, though it will give us the requisite number of syllables (which satisfies both Malone and Steevens), will not make a very musical verse. Yet the harshness and dissonance
produced by the irregular fall of the accent, in addition to the diæresis, in the case of the word fire, may be thought to add to the force and expressiveness of the line. Mr. Collier omits the “ all.”
454. Take thou what course thou wilt !-How now, fellow.—The abruptness, or unexpectedness, of the appearance of the Servant is vividly expressed by the unusual construction of this verse, in which we have an example of the extreme licence, or deviation from the normal form, consisting in the reversal of the regular accentuation in the last foot. The stage directions before and after this speech are in the original edition ;—“ Exit Plebeians,” and “ Enter Servant.”
458. He comes upon a wish.—Coincidently with, as it were upon the back of, my wish for him. Vid. 589.
459. I heard them say. This conjectural emendation appears to be Capel's. In all the old copies it is “I heard him say;" which Jennens explains thus :-“ Him evidently refers to Octavius, who, as he was coming into Rome, had seen Brutus and Cassius riding like madmen through the gates, and had related the same in the presence of the servant.” Mr. Collier, however, prints them. It would be satisfactory to know if he has the authority of his manuscript annotator.
459. Are rid like madmen.-Vid. 374,
460. Belike they had some notice of the people.This now obsolete word belike (probably) is commonly held to be a compound of by and like. But it may perhaps be rather the Anglo-Saxon gelice (in like manner), with a slight change of meaning. Vid. 390.
“Some notice of the people” is some notice respecting the people.