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ACT I....SCENE I.
Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS,1 and a Rabble of Citizens.
Flav. Hence; home, you idle creatures, get you home; Is this a holiday? What! know you not, Being mechanical, you ought not walk, Upon a labouring day, without the sign
Of your profession?-Speak, what trade art thou? 1 Cit. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule? What dost thou with thy best apparel on ?.
You, sir; what trade are you?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly. 2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soals.2
Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade ?3
2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
1 Marullus,] Old copy-Murellus. I have, upon the authority of Plutarch, &c. given to this tribune his right name, Marullus.
2 — a mender of bad soals.] Fletcher has the same quibble in his Women Pleas'd:
mark me, thou serious sowter,
"If thou dost this, there shall be no more shoe-mending;
3 Mar. What trade, &c.] This speech in the old copy is given to Flavius. The next speech but one shows that it belongs to Marullus, to whom it was attributed, I think, properly, by Mr. Capell.
Mar. What meanest thou by that?4 Mend me, thou saucy fellow?
2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobler, art thou?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl.5 I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neats-leather, have gone upon my handy-work.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.
Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
4 Mar. What meanest thou by that?] As the Cobler, in the preceding speech, replies to Flavius, not to Marullus, 'tis plain, I think, this speech must be given to Flavius. Theobald.
I have replaced Marullus, who might properly enough reply to a saucy sentence directed to his colleague, and to whom the speech was probably given, that he might not stand too long unemployed upon the stage. Johnson.
I would give the first speech to Marullus, instead of transferring the last to Flavius. Ritson.
5 I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl.] This should be: "I meddle with no trade,-man's matters, nor woman's matters, but with awl." Farmer.
Shakspeare might have adopted this quibble from the ancient ballad, intitled, The Three Merry Coblers:
"We have awle at our command,
"And still we are on the mending hand." Steevens.
I have already observed in a note on Love's Labour's Lost, Vol. IV, p. 61, n. 7, that where our author uses words equivocally, he imposes some difficulty on his editor with respect to the mode of exhibiting them in print. Shakspeare, who wrote for the stage, not for the closet, was contented if his quibble satisfied the ear. I have, with the other modern editors, printed here-with awl, though in the first folio, we find withal; as in the preceding page, bad soals, instead of-bad souls, the reading of the original copy.
The allusion contained in the second clause of this sentence, is again repeated in Coriolanus, Act IV, sc. v:-" 3 Serv. How, sir, do you meddle with my master? Cor. Ay, 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy mistress." Malone.
To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
That needs must light on this ingratitude.
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault, Assemble all the poor men of your sort;
Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all. [Exeunt Citizens.
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
her banks,] As Tyber is always represented by the figure of a man, the feminine gender is improper. Milton says, that—
"Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream."
But he is speaking of the water, and not of its presiding power or genius. Steevens.
Drayton, in his Polyolbion, frequently describes the rivers of England as females, even when he speaks of the presiding power of the stream. Spenser on the other hand, represents them more classically, as males. Malone.
The presiding power of some of Drayton's rivers were females; like Sabrina, &c. Steevens.
7 See, whe'r-] Whether, thus abbreviated, is used by Ben Jonson: "Who shall doubt, Donne, whe'r I a poet be,
"When I dare send my epigrams to thee." Steevens..
See Vol. VII, p. 310, n. 6. Malone.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
You know, it is the feast of Lupercal.
Flav. It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies.
And drive away the vulgar from the streets:
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
Who else would soar above the view of men,
The same. A publick Place.
Enter, in Procession, with Musick, CÆSAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPHURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS,1 CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA, a great Crowd following; among them a Soothsayer.
Peace, ho! Cæsar speaks. [Musick ceases.
deck'd with ceremonies.] Ceremonies, for religious orna. ments. Thus afterwards he explains them by Casar's trophies; i. e. such as he had dedicated to the gods. Warburton. Ceremonies are honorary ornaments; tokens of respect. Malone. 9 Be hung with Caesar's trophies.] Cæsar's trophies, are, I-believe, the crowns which were placed on his statues. So, in Sir Thomas North's translation: "- There were set up images of Cæsar in the city with diadems on their heads, like kings. Those the two tribunes went and pulled down." Steevens.
What these trophies really were, is explained by a passage in the next scene, where Casca informs Cassius, that "Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Cæsar's images, are put to silence.
1 This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof, and declined so large a share of his favours and honours, as the other had constantly accepted. Velleius Paterculus, speaking of Decimus Brutus, says :-" ab iis, quos miserat Antonius jugulatus est; justissimasque optimè de se merito viro C. Cæsari pœnas dedit. Cujus cum primus omnium
Cal. Here, my lord.
Cas. Stand you directly in Antonius' way,2 When he doth run his course.-Antonius. Ant. Cæsar, my lord.
Cas. Forget not, in your speed, Antonius, To touch Calphurnia: for our elders say, The barren, touched in this holy chase, Shake off their steril curse.
amicorum fuisset, interfector fuit, et fortunæ ex qua fructum tulerat, invidiam in auctorem relegabat, censebatque æquum, quæ acceperat à Cæsare retinere: Cæsarem, quia illa dederat, perîsse." Lib. II, c. Ixiv:
"Jungitur his Decimus, notissimus inter amicos
"Cæsaris, ingratus, cui trans-Alpina fuisset
"Ante alios Decimus, cui fallere, nomen amici
Shakspeare's mistake of Decius for Decimus, arose from the old translation of Plutarch. Farmer.
Lord Sterline has committed the same mistake in his Julius Cæsar and in Holland's translation of Suetonius, 1606, which I believe Shakspeare had read, this person is likewise called Decius Brutus. Malone.
2 in Antonius' way,] The old copy generally reads-Antonio, Octavio, Flavio. The players were more accustomed to Italian than Roman terminations, on account of the many versions from Italian novels, and the many Italian characters in dramatick pieces formed on the same originals. Steevens.
The correction was made by Mr. Pope.- At that time, (says Plutarch) the feast Lupercalia was celebrated, the which in olde time men say was the feast of Shepheards or heardsmen, and is much like unto the feast of Lyceians in Arcadia. But howsoever it is, that day there are diverse noble men's sonnes, young men, (and some of them magistrates themselves that govern them) which run naked through the city, striking in sport them they meet in their way with leather thongs.-And many noble women and gentlewomen also go of purpose to stand in their way, and doe put forth their handes to be stricken, persuading themselves that being with childe, they shall have good deliverie; and also, being barren, that it will make them conceive with child. Cæsar sat to behold that sport vpon the pulpit for orations, in a chayre of gold, apparelled in triumphant manner. Antonius, who was consul at that time, was one of them that ronne this holy course." North's translation.
We learn from Cicero that Cæsar constituted a new kind of these Luperci, whom he called after his own name, Juliani; and Mark Antony was the first who was so entitled. Malone.