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Poison'd, ill fare! dead, forfook, cast off ;
SCENE X. England, invincible, if unanimous
England never did, nor ever shall Lye at the proud foot of
a conqueror, But when it first did help to wound itself. Now these her princes are come home again, Come the three corners of the world in arms; And we shall shock them.-Nought shall make up rue, If England to itself do rest but true.
The tragedy of King John (says Johnson) though not written with the utmost power of Shakespea“, is varied with a very pleafing interchange of incidents and characters. The Lady's grief is very affecting; and the character of bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity which this author delighted to exhibit.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Patriotism. (1) HAT is it, that you would impart to me?
If it be aught towards the general good, Set honour in one eye, and death i'th'orher, And I will look on both indifferently :
(1) What, &c. " How agreeable to his stoic cbaracter, does Shakespear make Brutus speak here? Cicero de fi. iii. 16. Quid cnim illi AAIAQOPON dicunt, id mihi ila occurrit, ut indifferens dicerem. One of the great division of things among the stoics was into good, bad, indifferent: virtue, and whatever partook of virtue, was gond: vice, bad: but what partook of neithez virtue, nor vice, being not in our power, was i.different: such as honour, wealth, death, &c. But of these indifferent things, some might be esteemed more than others; as here Brudus says, I love the name of honour, more than I frar deaih. See Cicero de fin. jii. 15, 16. The stoics never destroyed choice among indifferent things.
-This being premised, let us see Bruties's speech - If it be aught (says he) towards the general good, (Tscos TO: Nov Acos TOY 70%.») as I am a part of that whole, a citizen of that
For let the Gods so speed me, as I love
Cassius, in Contempt of Cæfar.
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 these 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 Observations on Shakespear, p. 314.
(2) For once, &c.] It is too well known that fivimming was an usual exercise with the hardy and noble Romais, to insist upon it here: Horace makes it a mark of effeminacy to neglect it: and complains to Lydia, that she had enervated Sybaris, by making him afraid even to touch the yellow Tyber's forca Cur timet flavrım Tyberim tangere?
See ode 8. 1.1.
Julius Caesar was remarkable for his excellence in swimming : Beaumont and Fletcher, in their False One, thus nobly describe one of the most illustrious incidents of his life
But got near the sea,
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
should (3) So get the start of the majestic world, And bear the palm alone.
(3) So get, &c.} Mr. Warburton tells us, “ the image is cxtremely noble: it is taken from the Olympic games.” Tho'that does not appear fo certain or necessary, since the allusion to any public games will do full as well; yet what he says afterwards is more to the purpose : “ The majestic world is a fine periphrasis for the Roman empire: their citizens set themselves on a footing with kings, and they called their dominion, Orbis Romanus."
But the particular allusion seems to be to the known story of Cæfar's great pattern, Akwarder, who being asked whe
Bru. Another general shout!
Caf: Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
about To find ourselves dishonourable graves. Men at sometimes are masters of their fates : The fault, dear. Brutus, is not in our Itars But in ourselves, that we are underlings. Brutus and Cæfar! what should be in that Cafar ? Why should that name be founded more than yours? Write them together; yours is as fair a name : Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well ; Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em, Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæfar. Now in the name of all the Gods at once, Upon what meat doth this our Cæfar feed, That he is grown fo great ? Age, thou art sham’d; Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods. When went there by an age, fince the great flood, But it was fam'd with more than with one man? When could they say, till now, that talk'd of Rome, That her wide walls encompass'd but one man.
SCENE IV. Cæsar's Dislike of Cassius.
Would he were fatter: but I fear him not :
ther he would run the courfe at the Olympic games, replied, “yes, if the racers were kings.” For this allusion also, there does not seem the least hint in the passage ; rather the contrary : Cassius wonders how such a feeble man should so get the start of all the Romans, the majestic world, as to bear the palm alone? How he, feebler than the rest, Bhould in the course out-strip 'em all, and carry off the prize a