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Plucking the entrails of an offering forth,
They could not find a heart within the beast.
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
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.
Teucrûm mirantur inertia corda. En. ix. 55.
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.
-] In old editions:
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:
This resembles the boast of Otho:
Experti invicem sumus, Ego et Fortuna.
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.
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.
CES. Mark Antony shall say, I am not well;
Here's Decius Brutus, he shall tell them so.
I come to fetch you to the senate-house.
CES. And you are come in very happy time,
And tell them, that I will not come to-day:
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
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.
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;
And evils imminent; and on her knee
It was a vision, fair and fortunate:
Your statue spouting blood in many pipes,
6- my STATUA,] [Old copy, statue.] See vol. iv. p. 119. STEEVENS.
warnings, portents,] Old copy, unmetrically—“ warnings, and portents." STEEVENS.
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
CES. And this way have you well expounded it.
And know it now; The senate have concluded
When Casar's wife shall meet with better dreams3.
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 Caesar'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?"
To your proceeding bids me tell you this;
CES. How foolish do your fears seem now, Calphurnia ?
I am ashamed I did yield to them.
Give me my robe, for I will go :
Enter PUBLIUS, Brutus, Ligarius, Metellus,
And look where Publius is come to fetch me.
Cæsar was ne'er so much your enemy,
As that same ague which hath made you lean.What is't o'clock ?
Cæsar, 'tis strucken eight.
CES. I thank you for your pains and courtesy.
See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,
Is notwithstanding up --Good morrow, Antony. ANT. So to most noble Cæsar.
Bid them prepare within :
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
Now, Cinna :-Now, Metellus :-What, Trebonius!
TREB. Cæsar, I will:-and so near will I be,
[Aside. That your best friends shall wish I had been further.
2 And reason, &c.] "And reason," or propriety of conduct and language, is subordinate to my love. JOHNSON.