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Re-enter ANTONY. Bru. But here comes Antony.--Welcome, Mark
Antony. Ant. O mighty Cæsar! Dost thou lie so low ? Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, Shrunk to this little measure ?-Fare thee well.I know not, gentlemen, what you intend, Who else must be let blood, who else is rank: If I myself, there is no hour so fit As Cæsar's death's hour; nor no instrument Of half that worth, as those your swords, made rich With the most noble blood of all this world. I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard, Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke, Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years, I shall not find myself so apt to die : No place will please me so, no mean of death, As here by Cæsar, and by you cut off, The choice and master spirits of this age.
Bru. O Antony! beg not your death of us.
4- who else is rank :] Who else may be supposed to have overtopped his equals, and grown too high for the publick safety.
Johnson. I rather believe the meaning is, who else is too replete with blood ? In our author's Venus and Adonis it is used to express exuberance :
“ Rain added to a river that is rank,
“ Perforce will force it overflow the bank.” So, in King John, Act V. Sc. IV.:
“ And like a bated and retired flood
Leaving our rankness and irregular course.”. Malone, In The Tempest we have
- whom to trash
“For overtopping.” I conceive Dr. Johnson's explanation therefore to be the true
The epithet rank is employed, on a similar occasion in King Henry VIII.
“ Ha! what, so rank?" and without allusion to a plethora. Steevens.
Though now we must appear bloody and cruel,
Cas. Your voice shall be as strong as any man's, In the disposing of new dignities?.
5 As fire drives out fire, &c.] So, in Coriolanus :
“ One fire drives out one fire; one nail one nail.” Malone. Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
“Even as one heat another heat expels,
STEEVENS. 6 Our arms, in STRENGTH of malice,] Thus the old copies :
“ To you (says Brutus) our swords have leaden points: our arms, strong in the deed of malice they have just performed, and our hearts united like those of brothers in the action, are yet open to receive you with all possible regard.” The supposition that Brutus meant,
“ their hearts were of brothers' temper in respect of Antony,” seems to have misled those who have commented on this
passage before. For “ in strength of,” Mr. Pope substituted exempt from ;” and was too hastily followed by other editors. If alteration were necessary, it would be easier to read :
“Our arms no strength of malice” Steevens. One of the phrases in this passage, which Mr. Steevens has so happily explained, occurs again in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts,
“ With an unslipping knot." Again, ibid. : · The heart of brothers
our love!" The counterpart of the other phrase is found in the same play:
I'll wrestle with you in my strength of love." Malone. 7. Your voice shall be as strong as any man's, In the disposing of new dignities.] Here, as Mr. Blakeway
Bru. Only be patient, till we have appeas'd
I doubt not of your wisdom.
Yours, Cinna ;-and, my valiant Casca, yours ;Though last, not least in love o, yours, good Trebo
nius. Gentlemen all,—alas ! what shall I say ? My credit now stands on such slippery ground, That one of two bad ways you must conceit me, Either a coward or a flatterer.That I did love thee, Cæsar, O, tis true: If then thy spirit look upon us now, Shall it not grieve thee, dearer than thy death, To see thy Antony making his peace, Shaking the bloody fingers of thy foes, Most noble ! in the presence of thy corse ? Had I as many eyes as thou hast wounds, Weeping as fast as they stream forth thy blood, It would become me better, than to close In terms of friendship with thine enemies.
observes, Shakspeare has maintained the consistency of Cassius's character, who, being selfish and greedy himself, endeavours to influence Antony by similar motives. Brutus, on the other hand, is invariably represented as disinterested and generous, and is adorned by the poet with so many good qualities that we are almost tempted to forget that he was an assassin. Boswell. 8 Though last, not least in love,] So, in King Lear :
Although the last, not least in our dear love.” The same expression occurs more than once in plays exhibited before the time of Shakspeare. MALONE.
Pardon me, Julius !-Here wast thou bay'd, brave
Cas. Mark Antony,--
Pardon me, Caius Cassius :
Cas. I blame you not for praising Cæsar so; But what compact mean you to have with us? Will you be prick'd in number of our friends; Or shall we on, and not depend on you ?
Ant. Therefore I took your hands; but was, indeed, Sway'd from the point, by looking down on Cæsar. Friends am I with you all ', and love you all : Upon this hope, that you shall give me reasons, Why, and wherein, Cæsar was dangerous.
Bru. Or else were this a savage spectacle:
* First folio, hart.
8 - crimson'd in thy lethe.] Lethe is used by many of the old translators of novels, for death; and in Heywood's Iron Age, Part II. 1632 :
“ The proudest nation that great Asia nurs'd,
“ Is now extinct in lethe.” *Again, in Cupid's Whirligig, 1616:
“ For vengeance' wings bring on thy lethal day.” Dr. Farmer observes, that we meet with lethal for deadly in the information for Mungo Campbell. Steevens.
9 Friends am l with you all, &c.] This grammatical impropriety is still so prevalent, as that the omission of the anomalous S, would give some uncouthness to the sound of an otherwise familiar expression. Henley.
That's all I seek :
Brutus, a word with you '. -You know not what you do; Do not consent,
[Aside. That Antony speak in his funeral : Know you how much the people may be moy'd By that which he will utter? BRU.
By your pardon ;I will myself into the pulpit first, And show the reason of our Cæsar's death : What Antony shall speak, I will protest He speaks by leave and by permission; And that we are contented, Cæsar shall Have all true rites, and lawful ceremonies. It shall advantage more, than do us wrong.
Cas. I know not what may fall; I like it not.
Be it so;
Brutus, a word with you.] With you is an apparent interpolation of the players. In Act IV. Sc. II. they have retained the elliptical phrase which they have here destroyed at the expence of metre :
“ He is not doubted. A word, Lucilius,” Steevens.