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Bru. Sheath your dagger;
Be angry when you will, it fhall have scope;
Caf. Hath Caffius liv'd
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
Bru. What's the matter?
Caf. Have you not love enough to bear with me, When that rash humour, which my mother gave me, Makes me forgetful?
Bru. Yes, Caffius, and from henceforth When you are over-earnest with your Brutus, He'll think your mother chides, and leave you
* * *
Bru. O Caffius, I am fick of many griefs. Caf. Of your philofophy you make no ufe, If you give place to accidental evils.
Bru. No man bears forrow better
Caf. Ha! Porcia!
Bru. She is dead.
Caf. How 'fcap'd I killing, when I croft you fo?
Bru. Impatient of my abfence;
And grief, that young Octavius with Mark Antony Have made themselves fo ftrong: (for with her death That tidings came) with this she fell distract,
And (her attendants absent) swallow'd fire.
Caf. And dy'd fo?
Bru. Even fo.
Caf. O ye immortal Gods!
Enter Boy with wine and tapers.
Bru. Speak no more of her; give me a bowl of wine. [Drinks.
Caf. My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
SCENE V. Opportunity to be seiz'd on all Affairs.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
ACT V. SCENE III.
The Parting of Brutus and Caffius.
Bru. No, Caffius, no; think not, thou noble Ro
Caf. For ever, and for ever, farewel, Brutus!
If not, 'tis true, this parting was well made..
Bru. Why then, lead on. O, that a man might know The end of this day's bufinefs ere it come! But it fufficeth, that the day will end; And then the end is known.
Melancholy, the Parent of Error.
Oh, hateful error, melancholy's child!
Antony's Character of Brutus.
This was the noblest Roman of them all : All the confpirators, fave only he, Did, that they did, in envy of great Cæfar: He, only, in a general honeft thought, And common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle, and the elements So mixt in him, that nature might stand up, (16) And fay to all the world; "This was a man !”
(16) It may perhaps be needlefs to inform the Reader, that the Duke of Buckingham, difpleas'd with what the critics esteem fo great a fault in this play, the death of Julius Caefar, in the third act, hath made two plays of it: but I am afraid the lovers of Shakespear will be apt to place that nobleman's performance on a level with the reft of those who have attempted to alter, or amend Shakespear.
THE affaffination of Julius Cæfar (fays Mrs. Griffiths) is a fact famous in hiftory; but notwithstanding the heroic opinion which the world has been taught to conceive of it, I confess that I have ever reputed its fame as a matter of notoriety rather than of applause.
I fhall only confider this action in the perfon of Brutus alone, because it has been thought that he was the only one among the confpirators who had engaged in it upon principle folely, as Antony has faid above.
Plutarch has debated this fubject, in his comparison of Brutus with Dion; and, in my opinion, feems to condemn it, upon the whole. At least, if we take in the character he there draws
of Caefar, with the ftate and circumftances of the commonwealth at that political crifis, it plainly appears that he meant to declare against it.
His words are: "With refpect to Caefar, though, whilst "his imperial power was in its infancy, he treated his oppo"nents with feverity; yet, as foon as that power was con"firmed, the tyranny was rather a nominal, than a real thing; "for no tyrannical action could be laid to his charge. Nay, "fuch was the condition of Rome then, that it evidently "required a mafter; and Caefar was no more than a tender and "fkilful phyfician, appointed by Providence to heal the diflcmpers of the "flate. Of courfe the people lamented his death, and were
implacably enraged against his affaffins."
Cowley, in his fine Ode to Brutus, brings heavy charges alfo against him, on account of this action; though he feems only to do fo, in order to vindicate him from them. But then he does not prétend to defend him from the facts themselves, juftifying him only upon the higher principle which had rendered him guilty of them.
However, I think that he is feverer upon his hero even than Plutarch, by mentioning that weak and unphilofophic exclamation of his, where he fays, he had mistaken virtue for a good but found it only a name.
"What can we fay, but thine own tragic word?
"That virtue, which had worshipped been by thee, "As the most folid good, and greatest deity,
"By this fatal proof became
This circumftance his Biographer had favourably suffered to pafs unnoticed; and of which Balzac fays, "that Brutus feems to lament his disappointment here, as if he was upbraiding a "jilting mistress." If he had acted folely from virtue, he wouldnot have complained that he had miffed the reward.
But though the principle might have been ever so right, in itself, the action was certainly wrong, in him. There are duties involved in duties, fometimes, which may counteract each other, and thereby render what might be the virtue of one perfon, the vice of another. Many fituations and cafes of this kind may be proposed; but I fhall not launch beyond my fubject.
Brutus had many and great obligations to Caefar. He owed him his life-nay, 'tis faid, even his first life; and had the lives of feveral of his friends faved alfo at his interceffion. He had ever lived with him in the greatest intimacy, and on the
Caefar had an amour with Servilia, the mother of Brutus, before his birth.
the footing of his firft friend. Nay, Cefar had created himself enemies, by his partiality towards him, in the preferring him to pofts of profit and honour, which others, from their fervices, were better intitled to. One of thefe malecontents was Caffius, who from that very refentment became the first mover and principal actor in the confpiracy. And were all these obligations to be cancelled by one dath of the Stoic's pen?
Stoical virtues are not always moral ones. Thofe metaphysical braveries (for I was wrong in calling them virtues) which exceed the feelings of humanity, have never, as I faid before, been able to infpire my mind with either admiration or esteem.
The fympathy of nature is wanting, and true philosophy has good reafon to fufpect every principle or motive of action to be fophifticate, that bears not this original impression.