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For let the Gods fo fpeed me, as I love
Caffius, in Contempt of Cæfar.
I was born free as Cafar, fo were you; We both have fed as well; and we can both Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
(2) For once upon a raw and gufty day,
city: my principles lead me to purfue it: this is my end, my good: whatever comes in competition with the general good, will weigh nothing: death and honour are to me things of an indifferent nature: but, however, I freely acknowledge, that of thefe indifferent things, honour has my greatest eftcem, my choice and love: the very name of honour I love, more than I fear death." Upton's Obfervations on Shakespear, p. 314.
(2) For once, &c.] It is too well known that fwimming was an ufual exercife with the hardy and noble Romans, to infift upon it here: Horace makes it a mark of effeminacy to neglect it: and complains to Lydia, that he had enervated Sybaris, by making him afraid even to touch the yellow Tyber's fiream
Cur timet flavum Tyberim tangere?
See ode 8. 1. 7.
Julius Caefar was remarkable for his excellence in swimming: Beaumont and Fletcher, in their Falle One, thus nobly defcribe one of the moft illuftrious incidents of his life
But got near the fea,
In which his navy anchor'd, in one hand
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his fhoulder
Is now become a god; and Caffius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body,
[Shout, flourish. Bru.
(3) So get, &c.] Mr. Warburton tell's us, "the image is extremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games." Tho' that does not appear fo certain or neceffary, fince the allufion to any public games will do full as well; yet what he fays afterwards is more to the purpose: The majeflic world is a fine periphrafis for the Roman empire: their citizens fet themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion, Orbis Remanus." But the particular allufion feems to be to the known story of Cafar's great pattern, Alexander, who being asked whe
Bru. Another general shout!
I do believe that these applaufes are
For fome new honours that are heap'd on Cafar.
SCENE IV. Cæfar's Diflike of Caffius.
Would he were fatter: but I fear him not:
I do not know the man I should avoid,
ther he would run the courfe at the Olympic games, replied, "yes, if the racers were kings." For this allufion alfo, there does not feem the leaft hint in the paffage; rather the contrary: Caffius wonders how fuch a feeble man fhould fo get the start of all the Romans, the majestic world, as to bear the palm alone? How he, feebler than the reft, fhould in the courfe out-ftrip 'em all, and carry off the prize
He is a great observer; and he looks
Than what I fear; for always I am Cafar.
SCENE VII. Spirit of Liberty.
I know, where I will wear this dagger, then: Caffius from bondage will deliver Caffius. Therein, ye Gods, you make the weak moft strong; Therein, ye Gods, you tyrants do defeat: Nor ftony tower, nor walls of beaten brafs, Nor airless dungeon, nor ftrong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of fpirit: But life, being weary of thefe worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself. If I know this; know all the world befides, That part of tyranny, that I do bear, I can shake off at pleasure.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Ambition, covered with fpecious Humility.
But 'tis a common proof,
(4) He hears, &c.] Mr. Theobald obferves well here: "This is not a trivial obfervation, nor does our poet mean barely by it, that Caffius was not a merry, fprightly man, but that he had not a due temperament of harmony in his compofition: and
Whereto the climber upward turns his face;
Confpiracy, dreadful till executed.
(5) Between the acting of a dreadful thing, And the first motion, all the interim is
that, therefore, natures fo uncorrected, are dangerous." He hath finely dilated on this fentiment, in his Merchant of Venice.
The man that hath no mufic, &c.
(5) Between, &c.] Mr. Addifon has paraphrased this inimitable paffage, in his Cato, which always ferves to remind me of that excellent diftinction, made by Mr. Guthrie, in his Effay on Tra gedy, betwixt a poet and a genius:
O think what anxious moments pafs between
Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death,
Either Mr. Theobald or Mr. Warburton (which who can pronounce, fince the one prints the fame words in his preface, which the other ufes as his own in his notes! See Theobald's preface, vol. 1. p. 25. and Warburton on the paffage) either the one or the other of them have observed, "that nice critic, Dionyfius, of Halicarnaffus, confeffes, that he could not find those great strokes which he calls the terrible graces, any where fo frequent as in Homer. I believe the fuccefs would be the fame, likewise, if we fought for them in any other of our authors befides our British Homer, Shakespear. This defcription of the condition of confpirators has a pomp and terror in it, that perfectly astonishes ; our excellent Mr. Addifon, whofe modefty made him fometimes diffident in his own genius, but whofe exquifite judgment always led him to the fafeft guides, has paraphrafed this fine defcription: but we are no longer to expect thofe terrible graces, which he could not hinder from evaporating in the transfufion. We may obferve two things on his imitation: first, that the subjects