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Thou seest the world, Volumnius, how it goes ;
Hold thou my sword-hilts, whilst I run on it.
[Alarum still. Cli. Fly, fly, my lord ! there is no tarrying here.
30 Bru. Farewell to you; and you; and you, Volumnius.
Strato, thou hast been all this while asleep;
28. sword-hilts] Sword Hilts F 1, 2; Swords Hilt F 3, 4. 33. thee too, Strato. Countrymen) Theobald ; thee, to Strato, Countrymen : Ff. 34. in] F 1; omitted in F 2, 3, 4.
22. the world, . : . how it goes) the philosophy and rhetoric in which present position of affairs. Compare Volumnius and Brutus had been the colloquial question "How goes associated as grown-up men. Shakethe world with you ?” and As You speare makes the appeal more touchLike It, 11. vii. 23: "How the world ing by supposing that they were wags.” For the construction, compare schoolboys together. Compare the III. ii. 278.
reference to school-days friend 23. the pit] of destruction. "Gulf” ship" in Midsummer Night's Dream, is used in the same sense in Richard 11. ii. 202, and Hamlet, ill. iv. III. III. vii. 128:
202, where Hamlet is indignant that the swallowing gulf his schoolfellows should have been Of blind forgetfulness and dark selected to betray him. In Hamlet, oblivion,'
1. ii. 113, "school" means "college." and Henry V. iv. iii. 82:
31. you, Volumnius) The change "For certainly thou art so near the to the plural in addressing Volumnius gulf,
may be intended to indicate a shade Thou needs must be englutted." of coldness due to the fact that Brutus 26. went to school together) Brutus was disappointed at his refusal to help in Plutarch "prayed him for the him to kill himself. In the following studies' sake which brought them line Strato is naturally addressed in acquainted together, that he would the singular number, as he is described help him to put his hand to his as a servant in the list of dramatis sword, to thrust it in him to kill him." persona. Plutarch, however, calls Plutarch here refers to the studies of him “ Brutus' friend.”
I found no man but he was true to me.
40 Night hangs upon mine eyes; my bones would
[Alarum. Cry within, “ Fly, fly, fly!” Cli. Fly, my lord, fly! Bru.
Hence! I will follow.
35. but he] Owing to the common 42. to attain this hour] It is not ellipse of the pronominal subject in this easy to determine whether this is an construction," but” has come to be expression of satisfaction that he has used as a negative relative = "who crowned a virtuous life by a glorious not." See 11. i. 90. Brutus has not death (see line 36), or a lament that this consolation in Plutarch's Life, all his labours for the right have ended in which he is related to have been in defeat and failure. In Plutarch much distressed by the desertion of a he tells his friends, “I do not comvaliant soldier called Camulatius just plain of my fortune but only for my before the second battle. According country's sake: for as for me, I think to Plutarch, what Brutus said on this myself happier than they that have occasion was, “It rejoiceth my heart overcome, considering that I leave a that not one of my friends hath failed perpetual fame of virtue and honesty." me at my need," confining his reflec. 44. stay thou by thy lord ] support tion to his friends and to the last scene thy lord, do not fail him. Compare of his life.
3 Henry VI, 1. i. 31. 38. vile conquest] Verity well com 45. of a good respect ) respectable in pares Milton's description of Chær- the old sense of the word, worthy of onea as a "dishonest victory." esteem.
40. Hath almost ended ] This speech 46. smatch] another form 01 will be one of the last facts of his life. “ smack."
Stra. Give me your hand first : fare you well, my lord. Bru. Farewell, good Strato. Cæsar, now be still : 50 I killd not thee with half so good a will.
[He runs on his sword, and dies.
Alarum. Retreat. Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY,
MESSALA, LUCILIUS, and their Army.
The conquerors can but make a fire of him ; 55
And no man else hath honour by his death.
That thou hast prov'd Lucilius' saying true.
Fellow, wilt thou bestow thy time with me?
65 Mes. Octavius, then take him to follow thee,
49. your] Strato answers in the survives in Indian official correplural, as he is speaking to his spondence. master.
62. prefer] recommend. Compare 50. be still] Brutus thinks that by Cymbeline, iv. ii
. 394: dying he will succeed in laying
“The Roman emperor's Cæsar's ghost.
letters, 55. make a fire of him] burn his Sent by a consul to me, should body, not lead him captive. See i. not sooner 109-112.
Than thine own worth prefer 59. Lucilius' saying] See iv. 21, 22. thee,”
60. entertain] take into my service. and Bacon's Advancement of LearnCompare Two Gentlemen, 11. iv. 110: ing: “Moral Philosophy may be “Sweet lady, entertain him for your preferred unto her (Divinity) as a servant,” This use of the word still wise servant and humble handmaid."
That did the latest service to my master.
All the conspirators save only he
And say to all the world, “This was a man!" 75 Oct. According to his virtue let us use him,
With all respect and rites of burial.
80 To part the glories of this happy day. [Exeunt. 71. He only, in] He, onely in Ff.
69. save only he] he only being and water, the proportions of which excepted. “He" is a nominative in each person were supposed to absolute, and "save" is treated as an determine his character. adjective or participle.
74. So mixd] so harmoniously com71. in a general honest thought] bined. actuated by honourable regard for the 75. a man] a true man, a man good of the community. Compare really worthy of the name. Compare 11. i: 12. If the punctuation of the Hamlet, 1. ii. 187, III. iv. 62. Folio is retained, the meaning is that 79. Most like a soldier] Compare Brutus was actuated by no other Hamlet, v. ii. 407. The honourable more interested motives.
treatment of his dead body included 72. common good] We must by its being "wrapped up in one of the zeugma understand a new preposi- richest coat-armours that Antony tion “ for" to govern
common possessed, so that good.” Compare Love's Labour's “He lay like a warrior taking his Lost, iv. i. 29: “That more for
rest praise than purpose meant to kill,” With his martial cloak around where "on" has to be understood to
him." govern “purpose.”
80. field] by metonymy for the 72. to all] is pleonastic.
soldiers on the field of battle. 73. the elements] fire, air, earth,
I. iii. 65. The use of “calculate” intransitively in the sense of “prophesy” is so strange and gives such unsatisfactory sense, that I am tempted to conjecture that “why” in line 65 is an emphatic interjectional expletive as it is in line 68. The meaning will then be, “If you would consider why the fires, ghosts, birds, and beasts act in such an extraordinary manner, I may tell you that the significance of these prodigies is so obvious that not only old men, but even fools and children can form an estimate of the reason why these things act contrary to their nature. You will assuredly find that the reason is that they are intended by heaven to point to an unnatural state of affairs, namely, the state of Rome under the dominion of one man grown portentously great.” In support of this interpretation, it may be urged that the two preceding lines refer to prodigies already recorded, whereas the folly of old men and the prophesying of fools and children is not among the prodigies related either by Shakespeare or Plutarch, nor are they such prodigies as Shakespeare would be likely to invent and suddenly add to lines referring to prodigies recorded before. Exception may be taken to the use of “why” in a sense different from that in which it is used in the lines immediately preceding and following, but this objection would prove too much, as it would condemn the undoubtedly expletive use of “why” . in line 68, where also as in line 65 “why" is not followed by a comma in the Folio.
II. i. 177 : seem to chide. Mr. Marshall in Irving's
edition of Shakespeare says that here Brutus “is advising
a course of deliberate hypocrisy; the conspirators are to
try and entrap the sympathies of the people by commit