Slike strani

so thickly sprinkled with classical allusions of all kinds, there are several to the great Roman Dictator. "Henry the Fifth thy ghost I invocate;" the Duke of Bedford apostrophizes his deceased brother in the First Part (i. 1);

"Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils!
Combat with adverse planets in the heavens!
A far more glorious star thy soul will make
Than Julius Cæsar, or bright Cassiope.'

In the next Scene the Maid, setting out to raise the siege of Orleans, and deliver her king and country, compares herself to

'That proud insulting ship

Which Cæsar and his fortunes bare at once."

In the Second Part (iv. 1) we have Suffolk, when hurried away to execution by the seamen who had captured him, consoling himself with

"Great men oft die by vile bezonians :

A Roman sworder and banditto slave

Murdered sweet Tully; Brutus' bastard hand
Stabbed Julius Cæsar; savage islanders

Pompey the great; and Suffolk dies by pirates."

* The Cassiope is supplied by Mr Collier's MS. annotator. But Theobald had proposed Cassiopeia, and not without supporting his conjecture by some ingenious and plausible reasoning. See his letter to Warburton, dated 29th January 1730, in Nichols's Illustrations, II. 451-453. This, then, is one of those remarkable instances in which the recently discovered MS. is found to concur with a previously published conjectural emendation,-like two independent witnesses testifying separately to the same fact, and so at once adding confirmation to the fact and corroborating each other's testimony, sagacity, or judgment. It is proper to add, however, that Theobald was afterwards induced to give up this reading. Writing again to Warburton on the 12th of February, he says:-" I have received the pleasure of yours dated February 3, with a kind and judicious refutation of Cassiopeia; and, with a just deference to your most convincing reasons, I shall with great cheerfulness banish it as a bad and unsupported conjecture.” (Illustrations, II. 478).

And afterwards (iv. 7) we have Lord Say, in somewhat similar circumstances, thus appealing to Cade and his mob of men of Kent :

"Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
Kent, in the Commentaries Cæsar writ,

Is termed the civilest place of all this isle;

Sweet is the country, because full of riches;
The people liberal, valiant, active, worthy;
Which makes me hope you are not void of pity."

"O traitors! murderers!" Queen Margaret in the Third Part (v. 5) shrieks out in her agony and rage when the Prince her son is butchered before her eyes;—

"They that stabbed Cæsar shed no blood at all,
Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame,
If this foul deed were by to sequel it :

He was a man; this, in respect, a child;
And men ne'er spend their fury on a child."

In King Richard the Third (iii. 1) is a passage of great pregnancy. "Did Julius Cæsar build that place, my lord?" the young Prince asks Buckingham when it is proposed that he shall retire for a day or two to the Tower before his coronation. And, when informed in reply that the mighty Roman at least began the building, Is it," he further inquires,


"upon record, or else reported

Successively from age to age, he built it?"

"It is upon record, my gracious lord," answers Buckingham. On which the wise royal boy rejoins,

"But say, my lord, it were not registered,

Methinks the truth should live from age to age,

As 'twere retailed to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.”

And then, after a "What say you, uncle?", he explains the great thought that was working in his mind in these striking words:

"That Julius Cæsar was a famous man :
With what his valour did enrich his wit
His wit set down to make his valour live.
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror,*
For now he lives in fame, though not in life."


Far away from anything Roman as the fable and locality of Hamlet are, various passages testify how much Cæsar was in the mind of Shakespeare while writing that Play. First, we have the famous passage (i. 1) so closely resembling one in the Second Scene of the Second Act of Julius Cæsar :

"In the most high and palmy state of Rome,

A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,

The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
Ast stars with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse." +

Then there is (iii. 2) the conversation between Hamlet and Polonius, touching the histrionic exploits of the latter in his university days: "I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed me." "It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there" (surely, by the bye, to be spoken aside, though not so marked). Lastly, there is the Prince's rhyming moralization (v.1):—

“Imperial Cæsar, dead and turned to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.

O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!"


"His conqueror "is the reading of all the Folios. "This restored by Theobald from the Quarto of 1597, and has been adopted by Malone and most modern editors.

+ Something is evidently wrong here; but even Mr Collier's annotator gives us no help.


This passage, however, is found only in the Quartos, and is omitted in all the Folios. Nor, although retained by Mr Collier in his " gulated" text, is it stated to be restored by his MS. annotator.

Many notices of Cæsar occur, as might be expected, in Cymbeline. Such are the boast of Posthumus to his friend Philario (ii. 4) of the valour of the Britons :—

"Our countrymen
Are men more ordered than when Julius Cæsar
Smiled at their lack of skill, but found their courage
Worthy his frowning at;



in the First Scene of the Third Act:

"When Julius Cæsar (whose remembrance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
Be theme and hearing ever) was in this Britain,
And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle
(Famous in Cæsar's praises no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it)," etc.;

"There be many Cæsars,

Ere such another Julius; "

"A kind of conquest
Cæsar made here; but made not here his brag
Of came, and saw, and overcame with shame
(The first that ever touched him) he was carried
From off our coast twice beaten; and his shipping
(Poor ignorant baubles!) on our terrible seas,
Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, cracked
As easily 'gainst our rocks. For joy whereof
The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point
(0 giglot Fortune!) to master Cæsar's sword,
Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage;


"Our kingdom is stronger than it was at that time; and, as I said, there is no more such Cæsars; other of them may have crooked noses; but to owe such straight arms, none;"

"Cæsar's ambition

(Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o' the world) against all colour, here,
Did put the yoke upon us; which to shake off
Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be."

Lastly, we have a few references in Antony and Cleopatra; such as:

"Broad-fronted Cæsar,

When thou wast here above the ground, I was
A morsel for a monarch " (i. 4);

"Julius Cæsar,

Who at Philippi the good Brutus ghosted" (ii. 6);
"What was it

That moved pale Cassius to conspire? And what
Made the all-honoured, honest, Roman Brutus,
With the armed rest, courtiers of beauteous freedom,
To drench the Capitol, but that they would
Have one man but a man?" (ii. 6);

"Your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Cæsar
Grew fat with feasting there" (ii. 6);

"When Antony found Julius Cæsar dead,
He cried almost to roaring; and he wept
When at Philippi he found Brutus slain” (iïï. 2);

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These passages taken all together, and some of them more particularly, will probably be thought to afford a considerably more comprehensive representation of "the mighty Julius" than the Play which bears his name. We cannot be sure that that Play was so entitled by Shakespeare. "The Tragedy of Julius Cæsar," or "The Life and Death of Julius Cæsar," would describe no more than the half of it. Cæsar's part in it terminates with the opening of the Third Act; after that, on to the end, we have nothing more of him but his dead body, his ghost, and his memory. The Play might more fitly be called after Brutus than after Cæsar. And still more remarkable is the partial delineation that we have of the man.

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