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O world! thou wast the forest to this hart;
Cas. Mark Antony, -
Pardon me, Caius Cassius;
Cas. I blame you not for praising Cæsar so;
you be pricked in number of our friends 2 ; Or shall we on, and not depend on you?
Ant. Therefore 3 I took your hands; but was, indeed,
Bru. Or else were this a savage spectacle.
they have despoiled thee, and arrayed in the erimson of thy death. Lethe must here signify death, or destruction, and may be a derivative from the Latin word letum or lethum, which has that meaning; but Shakspeare may have written death.
Shall say this.] Shall speak thus in praise of him; therefore in the mouth of a friend it is the language of cool moderation.
2 Be pricked in number.] Marked off from the generality as one in the number of our friends.
* Therefore.] It was with that desire, viz., to join you as a friend, that I took you severally by the hand.
• Friends am I with you.] See the Editor's "Text-Book of Grammar,' p. 92, note 2.
5 Good regard.] Good appearance; what must be regarded as good.
That's all I seek :
Bru. You shall, Mark Antony.
Brutus, a word with you. -
By your pardon 3 ; -
Cas. I know not what may fall : I like it not.5
Bru. Mark Antony, here, take you Cæsar's body.
| And am moreover.] Strict grammar requires I am. moreover come to beg that I may produce his body to the people in the Forum.
2 In the order of his funeral.] In the ceremony of his funeral. Order here means formal arrangement or ceremony, and has reference to the liturgical word for a prescribed religious service, as The Order for the Burial of the Dead.'
* By your pardon.] By your leave, let me answer that objection.
4 All true rites.] All just observances, or such as befit his character and rank. 5 I like it not.] See Extr. from Plutarch, 37.
I am Be it so ;
And say you do it by our permission ;
[Exeunt all but ANTONY.
1 Tide of times.]
The course of ages. 2 Now do I prophesy.] The next two lines are parenthetic, and Antony begins to prophesy in the words, 'A curse shall light,' &c.
3 The limbs of men.] As the limbs are said to bear the burdens laid on the body, so Antony prophesies that the burden of a curse shall light on men’s limbs. The word limbs, however, is generally considered an unsatisfactory reading here; loins is the best of the proposed substitutes, though we are surprised that heads, a better reading still, has not been suggested.
And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
Enter a Servant.
You serve Octavius Cæsar, do
Serv. He did receive his letters, and is coming :
[Seeing the body.
Serv. He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome.
1 With Até by his side.] Até, the goddess of mischief, is repeatedly referred to by Shakspeare.
2 With a monarch's voice.] In allusion to his having been slain in order to prevent his assumption of royalty.
8 Havoc.] This, according to Sir William Blackstone, was a word used formerly in time of war to signify that no quarter should be given.
4 That this foul deed.] So that this foul murder shall have the sense of its odiousness retained above ground, shall have its offensiveness memorialised above ground by the carcases of dying men groaning for interment.
5 To come to Rome.] Octavius was son of Atia, Julius Cæsar's niece, and was adopted by the dictator. He was pursuing his studies at Apollonia, in Illyricum, at the time of Cæsar's murder, the news of which brought him to Rome. He was then about nineteen years old. Passion.] Emotion is of a 'catching nature.
Ant. Post back with speed, and tell him what hath
Octavius of the state of things.
[Exeunt, with CÆSAR's body.
Lend me your
Enter BRUTUS and CASSIUS, and a throng of Citizens. Cit. We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied.
Bru. Then follow me and give me audience, friends.Cassius, go into the other street, And part the numbers.2 — Those that will hear me speak, let them stay here; Those that will follow Cassius, go with him ; And public reasons shall be rendered Of Cæsar's death. 1 Cit.
I will hear Brutus speak. 2 Cit. I will hear Cassius; and compare their reasons, When severally we hear them rendered.
[Exit Cassius, with some of the Citizens.
BRUTUS goes into the Rostrum. 3 Cit. The noble Brutus is ascended : Silence !
No Rome of safety.] A quibbling allusion to the word room ; see note 3, p. 19.
* And part the numbers.] And thus divide this throng of citizens into two companies.