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Another passage of the same kind, and of eminent beauty, is to be found in the scene where the conspirators assemble at the house of Brutus at midnight. Brutus, welcoming them all, says
"What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Betwixt your eyes and night?
Cassius. Shall I entreat a word? [They whisper.]
Decius. Here lies the east: doth not the day break here?
Cinna. O pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines,
That fret the clouds, are messengers of day.
Casca. You shall confess, that you are both deceived
Here, as I point my sword, the sun arises;
Which is a great way growing on the south,
Weighing the youthful season of the year.
Some two months hence, up higher toward the north
It is not only heroic manners and incidents which the all-powerful pen of Shakspeare has expressed with great historic truth in this play; he has entered with no less penetration into the manners of the factious plebeians, and has exhibited here, as well as in Coriolanus, the manners of a Roman mob. How could Johnson say, that "his adherence to the real story, and to Roman manners, seems to have impeded the natural vigor of his genius"!!
MARCUS ANTONIUS,Triumvirs after the death of Julius Cæsar.
M. ÆMIL. Lepidus,
LUCILIUS, TITINIUS, MESSALA, young CATO, and VOLUMNIUS, Friends to Brutus and Cassius.
VARRO, CLITUS, CLAUDIUS, STRATO, LUCIUS, DARDANIUS, Servants
PINDARUS, Servant to Cassius.
CALPHURNIA, Wife to Cæsar.
PORTIA, Wife to Brutus.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.
SCENE, during a great part of the Play, at Rome; afterwards at Sardis, and near Philippi.
SCENE 1. Rome. A Street.
Enter FLAVIUS, MARULLUS, and a rabble of Citizens. Flavius. HENCE; home, you idle creatures, get you home;
Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule? What dost thou with thy best apparel on?
You, sir; what trade are you ?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly. 2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
Mar. What trade, thou knave; thou naughty knave, what trade?
2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
Mar. What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?
2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the aw]:
I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl. I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handy work.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.
Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
And do you now put on your best attire?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault, Assemble all the poor men of your sort;1
Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears
1 Condition, rank.
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
[Exeunt Citizens. See, whe'r1 their basest metal be not moved; They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness. Go you down that way towards the Capitol ; This way will I. will I. Disrobe the images,
If you do find them decked with ceremonies."
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.
Flav. It is no matter; let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies.
And drive away the vulgar from the streets;
So do you too, where you perceive them thick. These growing feathers plucked from Cæsar's wing, Will make him fly an ordinary pitch;
Who else would soar above the view of men,
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
SCENE II. The same.
Enter, in procession, with music, CESAR, ANTONY, for the course; CALPHURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA, a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer.
2 Honorary ornaments.
3 These trophies were scarfs.
4 This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The Poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof. The error has its source in North's translation of Plutarch, or in Holland's Suetonius, 1606.