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spirit with the ghost of Cæsar.' Thus Julius Cæsar at the threshold of the tragic period already betrays that sense of mysterious persistences of spiritual energy which continually emerges in the tragedies and inspires some of their most haunting and thrilling moments ;-energy which defies the accident of death
For it is, as the air, invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery. Brutus'
O Julius Cæsar, thou art mighty yet ! is the pathetic recognition of that which Macbeth divines with his horror-stricken
the time has been That, when the brains were out, the man would die.
Undoubtedly, however, Shakespeare's wonderful intuition of the potency of Cæsarism was facilitated by positive political prepossessions. He interpreted the Rome of Cæsar by the England of Elizabeth, and the analogy was sufficiently close to supply in a measure the place of genuine historical insight. Elizabeth, like Plutarch's Cæsar, was old and infirm, capricious and vain ; her death was imminent and the succession not absolutely sure. The failure of Essex's fatuous rebellion may or may not have occurred when Shakespeare wrote; but in any case the monarchy itself must have seemed to him utterly beyond assault. His picture of the Roman demos is notoriously coloured by the Elizabethan's genial contempt for the masses. Plutarch's People, as we have seen, were far from being a quantité négligeable to a clever orator.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and certain
First Com. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron and thy rule ?
Sec. Com. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler. Mar. But what trade art thou ? answer me
directly. Sec. Com. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may
3. mechanical, of the artisan class.
3. you ought not walk, etc. ; a VOL. VIII
regulation borrowed from Eng-
use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir,
knave, what trade?
Mar. What meanest thou by that? mend me, 20 thou saucy fellow !
Sec. Com. Why, sir, cobble you.
Sec. Com. 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. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork. Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to
day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets ?
Sec. Com. 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 home? What tributaries follow him to Rome, To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels ? You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless
things! O you
hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome, Knew you not Pompey ? Many a time and oft Have
climb'd up to walls and battlements, To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
40. senseless, inanimate.
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
[Exeunt all the Commoners.
56. Pompey's blood, i.e. his son, Cneius, who had fallen in the battle of Munda, the immediate occasion of Cæsar's Triumph. That blood' has this special reference is shown by Plutarch's emphatic statement, which Shakespeare clearly had in view, that this triumph was peculiarly offensive to the
Romans because he had not
whether, pronounced where.'
If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.
Mar. May we do so ?
Flav. It is no matter ; let no images
Flourish. Enter CÆSAR; ANTONY, for the course ;
CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS,
among them a Soothsayer.
70. ceremonies, festal orna- Shakespeare treats it as prements, the 'scarfs' of the next liminary to this. scene (v. 289); Plutarch says diadems.' In Plutarch's nar
72. the feast of Lupercal, a rative, however, the offer of the
feast of purification annually • diadem
celebrated to Cæsar, which
the 15th of Shakespeare places in the follow
February, the month deriving its ing scene, has already occurred.
name from the purifying rite With him, the crowning of the
(februare). images was a second attempt to 78. pitch, height (a term in sound the popular disposition falconry for the height of the after the collapse of the first : falcon's flight).