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STAGE DIRECTION. — Enter Antony, for the course, i.e., stripped to the waist and wearing a girdle of goatskin. that time, the feast of Lupercalia was celebrated, the which in old time, men said, was the feast of Shepheards or Herdsmen.
.. That dat there are divers noblemen's sons, 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, hair and all on, to make them give place. And many noble women and gentlewomen also, go of purpose to stand in their way, and do put forth their hands to be stricken, as scholars hold them out to their schoolmaster, to be stricken with the ferula ; persuading themselves that, being with child, they shall have good delivery; and so, being barren, that it will make them to conceive with child. Antonius, who was Consul at that time, was one of them that ran this holy course." — PLUTARCH. Calpurnia (in some editions, Calphurnia) was Cæsar's fourth wife, married to him 59 B.C. Decius : his true name was Decimus Brutus, but he is called Decius throughout the play. It was he, and not Marcus Brutus, who had been the special friend and favorite of Cæsar.
6. Forget not ... To touch Calpurnia: Cæsar was very desirous of having an heir. His only daughter, Julia, had died ten years before.
11. ceremony: usual rite.
18. the ides of March : the Roman month had three divisions : the Calends, the first of each month ; the Nones, the fifth, but the seventh in March, May, July, and October ; the Ides, the thirteenth, but the fifteenth in March, May, July, and October.
19. A soothsayer, etc. : “Furthermore, there was a certaine Soothsayer, that had given Cæsar warning long afore, to take heed of the day of the Ides of March (which is the fifteenth of the moneth), for on that day he should be in great danger." PLUTARCH, Julius Cæsar.
STAGE DIRECTION. — Sennet: a particular set of notes upon the trumpet.
25. the order of the course : the manner in which the race is conducted.
29. quick: lively. See lines 203–204 : also, II., 1, 189.
58. I have heard, etc. : Plutarch tells us that Cæsar's evident desire to be made king “made the multitude turn their eyes on · Marcus Brutus. ... But the honors and favors he had received from Cæsar checked him from attempting of his own accord to subvert the monarchy; for he had not only been pardoned himself after Pompey's defeat at Pharsalia, and had procured the same favor for many of his friends, but was one in whom Cæsar had a particular confidence. He had, at that time, the most honorable etorship, and was named for the consulship four years after, being preferred before Cassius, his competitor. But Cassius, a man of fierce disposition, and one who, out of private malice, rather than love of the public, 131. palm: an allusion to the custom of placing palm branches in the hands of the victors in the Olympic games.
hated Cæsar, not the tyrant, continually inflamed him and urged him on."
59. best respect: most highly esteemed.
74. new protester : a new-found friend who professes love.
76. scandal: defame; speak evil of.
109. stemming it with hearts of controversy : resisting it with courageous spirits.
112. Æneas, our great ancestor: the myth relates that after Troy was taken by the Greeks, Æneas, with a few followers, set out to found a new city, and that he finally landed in Latium in Italy and built Lavinium: whence he is claimed as the founder of the Roman nation.
114. The old Anchises : the aged father of Æneas.
136. Colossus : the Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic statue which bestrode the entrance to the harbor ; it was one of the wonders of the ancient world.
152. the great flood : an allusion to the Greek myth of the flood with which Zeus determined to destroy man because of his
degeneracy ; but Deucalion, king of a city in Thessaly, and his wife, Pyrrha, saved themselves in a vessel and became the progenitors of a new race.
156. Rome indeed, and room enough: this pun arises from the fact that, in Shakespeare's day, the two words, Rome and room, were pronounced almost alike.
159. a Brutus once: Lucius Junius Brutus, who brought about the expulsion of the last of the seven kings of Rome.
162. nothing jealous : in no wise doubtful. 163. aim : idea; conjecture.
171. chew upon this: turn it over and over in your mind as cattle chew the cud, turning it over and over.
181. proceeded : taken place.
186. ferret: an animal of the weasel kind which has bright red eyes with a fierce expression.
188. crossed in conference: opposed in debate.
192. Let me have men about me that are fat, etc. : “ Cæsar also had Cassius in great jealousie, and suspected him much : whereupon he said upon a time to his friends, what will Cassius do, think ye? I like not his pale looks. Another time, when Cæsar's friends complained unto him of Antonius and Dolabella, that they pretended some mischief towards him, he answered them again: 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." — NORTH'S PLUTARCH, Life of Cæsar.
" For intelligence being brought him one day that Antonius and Dolabella did conspire against him, he answered, That these fat long-haired men made him not afraid, but the lean and whitely faced fellows, meaning by that Brutus and Cassius.". NORTH's PLUTARCH, Life of Brutus.
“For it is reported that Cæsar answered one that did accuse Antonius and Dolabella unto him for some matter of conspiracy : 'Tush,' said he, “they be not those fat fellows and finecombed men that I fear, but I mistrust rather these pale and lean men,' meaning by that Brutus and Cassius, who afterward conspired his death and slew him." - NORTH'S PLUTARCH, Life of Marcus Antonius.
197. well given: well-disposed. 199. liable to: subject to the imputation of. 204. he hears no music: cf. the passage in The Merchant of Venice :
The man that hath no music in himself
Is fit for treason, stratagems, and spoils." 220. there was a crown offered him: “When he [Antony] was come to Cæsar, he made his fellow Runners with him lift him up, and so he did put his Lawrell Crown upon his head, signifying thereby that he had deserved to be King. But Cæsar, making as though he refused it, turned away his head. The People were so rejoiced at it, that they all clapped their hands for joy. Antonius again did put it on his head: Cæsar again refused it; and thus they were striving off and on a great while together. As oft as Antonius did put this Lawrell Crown unto him, a few of his followers rejoyced at it: and as oft also as Cæsar refused it, all the People together clapped their hands.
Cæsar in a rage arose out of his Seat, and plucking down the choller of his Gown from his neck, he shewed it naked, bid.