Imatges de pàgina

Which, out of use, and stal'd by other men,
Begin his fashion: Do not talk of him,
But as a property 2. And now, Octavius,
Listen great things.-Brutus and Cassius,
Are levying powers: we must straight make head:
Therefore, let our alliance be combin'd,

Our best friends made, our means stretch'd to the utmost;


which Mr. Steevens has well illustrated by a line in our poet's 152d Sonnet :

"And made them swear against the thing they see."

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Begin his fashion:] Shakspeare has already woven this circumstance into the character of Justice Shallow: " He came ever in the rearward of the fashion; and sung those tunes that he heard the carmen whistle." STEEVENS.


— a PROPERTY.] i. e. as a thing quite at our disposal, and to be treated as we please. So, in Twelfth-Night:

"They have here propertied me, kept me in darkness," &c. STEEVENS.

3 Our best friends made, our means stretch'd TO THE UTMOST ;] In the old copy, by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, this line is thus imperfectly exhibited :

"Our best friends made, our means stretch'd;" The editor of the second folio supplied the line by reading

"Our best friends made, and our best means stretch'd out." This emendation, which all the modern editors have adopted, was, like almost all the other corrections of the second folio, as ill conceived as possible. For what is best means? Means, or abilities, if stretched out, receive no additional strength from the word best, nor does means, when considered without reference to others, as the power of an individual, or the aggregated abilities of a body of men, seem to admit of a degree of comparison. However that may be, it is highly improbable that a transcriber or compositor should be guilty of three errors in the same line; that he should omit the word and in the middle of it, then the word best after our, and lastly the concluding word. It is much more probable that the omission was only at the end of the line, (an error which is found in other places in these plays,) and that the author wrote, as I have printed:

"Our best friends made, our means stretch'd to the utmost." So, in a former scene:

And let us presently go sit in council,
How covert matters may be best disclos'd,
And open perils surest answered.

OCT. Let us do so: for we are at the stake *,

And bay'd about with many enemies;

And some, that smile, have in their hearts, I fear, Millions of mischiefs.



Before BRUTUS' Tent, in the Camp near Sardis.


Enter BRUTUS, LUCILIUS, LUCIUS, and Soldiers: TITINIUS and PINDARUS meeting them. BRU. Stand, ho!

Luc. Give the word, ho! and stand.

BRU. What now, Lucilius ? is Cassius near?
Luc. He is at hand; and Pindarus is come

To do you salutation from his master.

[PINDARUS gives a Letter to BRUTUS. BRU. He greets me well.-Your master, Pinda



and, you know, his means,

"If he improve them, may well stretch so far—.”

Again, in the following passage in Coriolanus, which, I trust, will justify the emendation now made;


for thy revenge

"Wrench up your power to the highest." MALONE.

Best is a

I am satisfied with the reading of the second folio, in which I perceive neither aukwardness nor want of perspicuity. word of mere enforcement, and is frequently introduced by Shakspeare. Thus, in King Henry VIII. :


'My life itself and the best heart of it———."

Why does best, in this instance, seem more significant than when it is applied to means? STEEVENS.


-at the STAKE,] An allusion to bear-bating. So, in Macbeth, Act V. Sc. VII. vol. xi. p. 268:


They have chain'd me to a stake, I cannot fly,

"But bear-like I must fight the course." STEEVENS.

In his own change, or by ill officers 5,
Hath given me some worthy cause to wish
Things done, undone : but, if he be at hand,
I shall be satisfied.

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But that my noble master will appear
Such as he is, full of regard, and honour.

BRU. He is not doubted.-A word, Lucilius; How he receiv'd you, let me be resolv❜d.

Luc. With courtesy, and with respect enough; But not with such familiar instances,

5 In his own CHANGE, or by ill officers,] The sense of which is this Either your master, by the change of his virtuous nature, or by his officers abusing the power he had intrusted to them, hath done some things I could wish undone. This implies a doubt which of the two was the case. Yet, immediately after, on Pindarus's saying, "His master was full of regard and honour," he replies, "He is not doubted." To reconcile this we should read : "In his own charge, or by ill officers."

i. e. Either by those under his immediate command, or under the command of his lieutenants, who had abused their trust. Charge is so usual a word in Shakspeare, to signify the forces committed to the trust of a commander, that I think it needless to give any instances. WARBURTON.

The arguments for the change proposed are insufficient. Brutus could not but know whether the wrongs committed were done by those who were immediately under the command of Cassius, or those under his officers. The answer of Brutus to the Servant is only an act of artful civility; his question to Lucilius proves, that his suspicion still continued. Yet I cannot but suspect a corruption, and would read:

"In his own change, or by ill offices-."

That is, either changing his inclination of himself, or by the ill offices and bad influences of others. JOHNSON.

Surely alteration is unnecessary. In the subsequent conference Brutus charges both Cassius and his officer, Lucius Pella, with corruption. STEEVENS.

Brutus immediately after says to Lucilius, when he hears his account of the manner in which he had been received by Cassius: "Thou hast describ'd

"A hot friend cooling."

That is the change which Brutus complains of. M. MASON.

Nor with such free and friendly conference,
As he hath used of old.

Thou hast describ'd
A hot friend cooling: Ever note, Lucilius,
When love begins to sicken and decay,

It useth an enforced ceremony.

There are no tricks in plain and simple faith:
But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,
Make gallant show and promise of their mettle :
But when they should endure the bloody spur,
They fall their crests, and, like deceitful jades,
Sink in the trial. Comes his army on?

Luc. They mean this night in Sardis to be quar


The greater part, the horse in general,

Are come with Cassius.


[March within.

Hark, he is arriv'd:

March gently on to meet him.

Enter CASSIUS and Soldiers.

CAS. Stand, ho!

BRU. Stand, ho! Speak the word along.

WITHIN. Stand.

WITHIN. Stand.

WITHIN. Stand.

CAS. Most noble brother, you have done me


BRU. Judge me, you gods! Wrong I mine enemies?

And, if not so, how should I wrong a brother? CAS. Brutus, this sober form of yours hides wrongs;

And when you do them



Cassius, be content,

Speak your griefs softly,-I do know you well:

6 your GRIEFS] i. e. your grievances. See Henry IV. Part I. Act IV. Sc. III. :

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Before the eyes of both our armies here,
Which should perceive nothing but love from us,
Let us not wrangle: Bid them move away;
Then in my tent, Cassius, enlarge your griefs,
And I will give you audience.



Bid our commanders lead their charges off
A little from this ground.

BRU. Lucilius, do you the like; and let no man Come to our tent, till we have done our conference. Let Lucius and Titinius guard our door. [Exeunt.


Within the Tent of BRUTUS.

LUCIUS and TITINIUS at some distance from it.


CAS. That you have wrong'd me, doth appear in this:

You have condemn'd and noted Lucius Pella,
For taking bribes here of the Sardians;
Wherein, my letters, praying on his side,
Because I knew the man, were slighted off.
BRU. You wrong'd yourself, to write in such a



CAS. In such a time as this, it is not meet That every nice offence should bear his comment. BRU. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself


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The King hath sent to know

"The nature of your griefs." MALONE.

- do the like ;] Old copy-" do you the like;" but without regard to metre. STEEVENS.


every NICE offence-] i. e. small trifling offence.

So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act V. vol. vi. p. 229:
"The letter was not nice, but full of charge
"Of dear import." STEEVENS.

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