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Think of this life ; but, for my single self,
Dar'st thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,] Shakspeare probably recollected the story which Suetonius has told of Cæsar's leaping into the sea, when he was in danger by a boat's being overladen, and swimming to the next ship with his Commentaries in his left hand. Holland's translation of Suetonius, 1606, p. 26. So also, ibid. p. 24: “ Were rivers in his way to hinder his passage, cross over them he would, either swimming, or else bearing himself upon blowed leather bottles.” Malone.
4 But ere we could arrive the point propos’d,] The verb arrive is used, without the preposition at, by Milton in the second book of Paradise Lost, as well as by Shakspeare in The Third Part of King Henry VI. Act V. Sc. III. :
those powers, that the “ Hath rais'd in Gallia, have arriv'd our coast."
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
Bru. Another general shout!
s His COWARD lips did from their colouR FLY;] A plain man would have said, the colour fled from his lips, and not his lip from their colour. But the false expression was for the sake of as false a piece of wit : a poor quibble, alluding to a coward flying from his colours. WARBURTON. feeble temper -] i. e. temperament, constitution.
STEEVENS. get the start of the majestick world, &c.] This image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympick games.
The majestick world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire : their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion Orbis Romanus. But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæsar's great pattern, Alexander, who being asked, Whether he would run the course at the Olympick games, replied, “ Yes, if the racers were kings.”
WARBURTON. That the allusion is to the prize allotted in games to the foremost in the race, is very clear. All the rest existed, I apprehend, only in Dr. Warburton's imagination. Malone,
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
and we petty men Walk under his huge legs,] So, as an anonymous writer has observed, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. iv. c. X. st. 19:
“But I the meanest man of many more,
creep between his legs.” MALONE. 9 Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ;] A similar thought occurs in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:
“ What diapason's more in Tarquin's name,
Than in a subject's ? or what's Tullia
More in the sound, than should become the name
“ Of a poor maid ?" Steevens. * Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.] Dr. Young, in his Busiris, appears to have imitated this passage :
Nay, stamp not, tyrant; I can stamp as loud,
“ And raise as many dæmons with the sound.” Steevens. VOL. XII.
There was a Brutus once ?, that would have brook'd
Cas. I am glad, that my weak words?
2 There was a Brutus once,] i. e. Lucius Junius Brutus.
STEEVENS. eternal devil - ] I should think that our author wrote rather, infernal devil. Johnson.
I would continue to read eternal devil. L. J. Brutus (says Cassius) would as soon have submitted to the perpetual dominion of a dæmon, as to the lasting government of a king. Steevens. 4 — aim :] i. e. guess. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : “ But, fearing lest my jealous aim might err-."
STEEVENS. chew upon this ;] Consider this at leisure ; ruminate on this.
JOHNSON. 6 Under these hard conditions as this time
Is like to lay upon us.] As, in our author's age, was frequently used in the sense of that. So, in North’s translation of Plutarch, 1579: “ insomuch as they that saw it, thought he had been burnt.” Malone, 7 I am glad, That my weak words ---] For the sake of
regular measure, Mr. Ritson would read : Cas.
I am glad, my words “ Have struck,” &c.
Have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.
Re-enter Cæsar, and his Train. Bru. The games are done, and Cæsar is return
Bru. I will do so :-But, look you, Cassius,
Cas. Cásca will tell us what the matter is.
CÆs. Let me have men about me that are fat;
Ant. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous; He is a noble Roman, and well given. CES. 'Would he were fatter ' :-But I fear him
- ferret —] A ferret has red eyes. Johnson. 9 Sleek-headed men, &c.] So, in Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, 1579 : “ When Cæsar's friends complained unto him of Antonius and Dolabella, that they pretended some mischief towards him; he answered, as for those fat men and smooth-combed heads, (quoth he) I never reckon of them; but these pale-visaged and carrion-lean people, I fear them most; meaning Brutus and Cassius.”
And again :
“ Cæsar had Cassius in great jealousy, and suspected him much ; whereupon he said on a time, to his friends, What will Cassius do, think you ? I like not his pale looks." STEEVENS. I 'Would he were fatter :] Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew