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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.

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Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and certain

Commoners.
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 ?

First Com. 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?

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

10

3. mechanical, of the artisan class.

3. you ought not walk, etc. ; a VOL. VIII

regulation borrowed from Eng-
lish trade-guilds.
12. directly, without evasion.

с

17

use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir,
a mender of bad soles.
Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty

knave, what trade?
Sec. Com. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not
out with me : yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend
you.

Mar. What meanest thou by that? mend me, 20 thou saucy fellow !

Sec. Com. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou ?

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

you

climb'd up to walls and battlements, To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,

40. senseless, inanimate.

30

40

50

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome :
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire ?
And do you now cull out a holiday ?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood ?
Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
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 Tiber banks, and weep your tears
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

[Exeunt all the Commoners.
See, whether their basest metal be not moved ;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol ;
This way will I : disrobe the images,

бо 70

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
overcome captains that were
strangers, nor barbarous kings,
but had destroyed the sons of
the noblest man of Rome, whom
fortune had overthrown' (Shak-
speare's Library, iii.
62. sort, class, rank.

whether, pronounced where.'

66.

If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.

Mar. May we do so ?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

Flav. It is no matter ; let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies. I'll about,
And drive away the vulgar from the streets :
So do you too, where you perceive them thick.
These growing feathers pluck'd from Cæsar's wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness. [Exeunt. 80

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Flourish. Enter CÆSAR; ANTONY, for the course ;

CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS,
Cassius, and CASCA; a great crowd following,

among them a Soothsayer.
Cæs. Calpurnia !
Casca. Peace, ho! Cæsar speaks.
Cæs.

Calpurnia !
Cal. Here, my lord.
Cas. Stand you directly in Antonius' way,

on

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).

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