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722. Sirrah, what news ?—The expressive effect of the break in the even flow of the rhythm produced by the superfluous syllable here, and the vividness with which it brings before us the sudden awakening of Cassius from his reverie, startled, we may suppose, by some sign of agitation on the part of Pindarus, will be felt if we will try how the line would read with “ Sir, what news?”
725. Titinius is enclosed round about, etc.—The metrical arrangement here given is the same that we have in the First Folio. In many modern editions the following new disposition of the lines is substituted, the contrivance of Steevens or some one of the other editors of the latter part of the last century :
They shout for joy." This alteration (made without notice) improves nothing, but seriously injures nearly every line over which it extends.
725. With horsemen that make to him on the spur. -One of the applications of the verb to make which we have now lost.-Vid. 681.
725. Now, Titinius! Now some light : O he lights too.--It
be doubted whether the verb to light or alight have any connection with either the substantive or the adjective light. The prosodical irregularity of this line is not greater than that of the “ Now some light: 0, he lights too :-he's ta'en; and, hark !" of the other arrangement. In the original text, “ He's
ta’en” stands in a line by itself, as frequently happens in that edition with words that really belong to the preceding verse, and possibly, notwithstanding their detached position, were intended to be represented as belonging to it.
726. Take thou the hilts.-Formerly the hilts was rather more common than the hilt. Shakespeare uses both forms. Hilt is A. Saxon, and is connected, apparently, with healdan, to hold.
726. Even with the sword that killed thee.--Vid. 363.—The stage directions, Dies and Exit, are modern; and for “ Re-enter Titinius, with Messala” the old copies have " Enter," etc.
728. It is but change.—The battle is only a succession of alternations or vicissitudes.
735. No, this was he, Messala.—With the emphasis
735. As in thy red rays thou dost sink to night.The to night here seems to be generally understood as meaning this night. Both Mr. Collier and Mr. Knight print "to-night.” But surely a far nobler sense is given to the words by taking sink to night to be an expression of the same kind with sink to rest or sink to sleep. The colourless dulness of the coming night is contrasted with the red glow in which the luminary is descending. “O setting sun, Thou dost sink," meaning simply thou dost set, is not much in Shakespeare's manner. Besides, we hardly say, absolutely, that the sun sinks, whether we mean that it is setting or only that it is descending. And the emphasis given by the to-night to the mere expression of the time seems uncalled-for and unnatural. There is no trace of a hyphen in the old copies.
735, 736. Mistrust of my success, etc.—These two lines may show us that the word success was not yet when Shakespeare wrote quite fixed in the sense which it now bears. It is plain that success simply was not understood to imply all that was conveyed by the expression good success. By "mistrust of my success Titinius must be interpreted as meaning no more than mistrust, doubt, or apprehension of what I had met with; in conformity with what he afterwards says in apostrophizing Cassius, "Alas, thou hast misconstrued everything."-Vid. 229.
736. O hateful Error! Melancholy's child!-Error and Melancholy are personages, and the words are proper names, here.
736. To the apt thoughts of men.-Vid. 345.
739. Hie you, Messala.-Vid. 139.
739. And I will seek for Pindarus the while.—We are still familiar enough with the while, for meanwhile, or in the meantime, in poetry, in which so many phrases not of the day are preserved; but the expres sion no longer forms part of what can properly be called our living English.
The stage direction, "Exit Messala," is modern.
739. And bid me give it thee? etc.—This is no Alexandrine, but only a common heroic verse with two supernumerary short syllables.
739. But hold thee.-Equivalent to our modern But hold, or but stop.
739. Brutus, come apace.—Apace is literally at, or rather on, pace; that is, by the exertion of all your power of pacing. Vid. 65.
739. By your leave, gods.—Vid. 358. The stage direction that follows this speech in the original edition
is ;-"Alarum. Enter Brutus, Messala, yong Cato, Strato, Volumnius, and Lucillius.'
741. Titinius mourning it.--An unusual construction of the verb to mourn in this sense. commonly enough of mourning the death of a person, or any other thing that may have happened; we might even perhaps speak of mourning the person who is dead or the thing that is lost; but we only mourn over the dead body. So with lament. We lament the death or the loss, the man or the thing ; but not the body out of which the spirit is gone.
744. In our own proper entrails. That is, into, as we should now say. Vid. 122.
745. Look, whe'r he have not.—That is, “ whether he have not.” Vid. 16. The word is here again printed “where” in the original edition.
746. The last of all the Romans. This is the reading of all the Folios; and it is left untouched by Mr. Collier's MS. corrector.
“ Thou last” is the conjectural emendation of Rowe.
746. I owe moe tears.--Moe (or mo) is the word as it stands in both the First and the Second Folio. Vid. 158.
746. To Thassos send his body.—Thassos is misprinted Tharsus in all the Folios, and the error escaped both Rowe and Pope. Nor does Mr. Collier state that it is corrected by his MS. annotator. Thassos was first substituted by Theobald, who reasons thus :“ Tharsus was a town of Cilicia in Asia Minor; and is it probable that Brutus could think of sending Cassius's body thither out of Thrace, where they were now encamped ? Thassos, on the contrary, was a little isle lying close upon Thrace, and at but a small dis
tance from Philippi, to which the body might very commodiously be transported. Vid. Plutarch, Appian, Dion Cassius, etc." It is sufficient to say that Thassos is the place mentioned by Plutarch (in his life of Brutus) as that to which the body was sent to be interred, and that the name, as Steevens has noted, is correctly given in North's translation, which Shakespeare had before him.
746. His funerals.-As we still say nuptials, so they formerly often said funerals. So funérailles in French and funera in Latin. On the other hand, Shakespeare's word is always nuptial. Nuptials occurs only in one passage of the very corrupt text of Pericles :-"We'll celebrate their nuptials" (v. 3), and in one other passage of Othello as it stands in the Quarto,-"It is the celebration of his nuptials" (ii. 2)-where, however, all the other old copies have nuptial, as elsewhere.
746. Labeo and Flavius, etc.-In the First Folio, "Labio and Flavio;" in the others, "Labio and Flavius."-For "set our battles on" see 669.
746. 'Tis three o'clock.-In the original edition, "three a clocke." Vid. 65.
All that we have in the Folios for the heading of the next scene, called Scene IV. in the modern editions, is, "Alarum. Enter Brutus, Messala, Cato, Lucilius, and Flavius." And the only stage directions that we have throughout the Scene are "Enter Soldiers, and fight," immediately before the speech of Brutus (747), and the "Exeunt" at the end.
748. What bastard doth not ?-Vid. 177.
752. There is so much that thou wilt kill me straight. The evident meaning of these words has