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Brų. Sheath your dagger;
Caf. Hath Cassius liv'd
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too.
Bru. Yes, Casius, and from henceforth
Bru. O Cafius, I am fick of many griefs.
Caf. Of your philosophy you make no use,
Bru. No man bears forrow better Porcia's dead.
Caf. How 'scap'd I killing, when I crost you fo?
Bru. Impatient of my abfence;
Cal And dy'd lo?
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. Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'er-swell the cup; I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love.
Scene V. Opportunity to be feiz'd on all Affairs.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
The Parting of Brutus and Cassius. Bru. No, Casus, no; think not, thou noble Roo
inan, That ever Brutus will
bound to Rome;
Caf. For ever, and for ever, farewel, Brutus !
Bru. Why then, lead on. O, that a man might know
Melancholy, the Parent of Error.
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 honest 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 say to all the world; “ This was a man !"
(16) It may perhaps be needless to inform the Reader, that the Duke of Buckingham, displeas'd with what the critics esteem fo great a fault in this play, the death of Julius Cæfar, 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 rest of those who have attempted to alter, or amend Shakespear.
THE assassination of Julius Cæfar (says Mrs. Griffiths) is a fact famous, in history; 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 notoricty rather than of applause.
I shall only consider this action in the person of Brutus alone, because it has been thought that he was the only one among the conspirators who had engaged in it upon principle solely, as Antonry has said above.
Pluiarch has debated this subject, in his comparison of Brutus with Dion ; and, in my opinion, seems to condemnit, upon the whole. At least, if we take in the character he there draws
of Cæfær, with the state and circumstances of the common wealth at that political crisis, it plainly appears that he meant to declare against it.
His words are : “ With respect to Cæfar, though, whilst “ his imperial power was in its infancy, he treated his oppo
nents with severity; yet, as soon 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, « such was the condition of Rome then, that it evidently “ required a master; and Cæsar was no more than a tender and
jkilful physician, appointed by Providence to heal the diftcmpers of the
ftate. Of course the people lamented his death, and were “ implacably enraged against his asasins.”
Cowley, in his fine Ode to Brutus, brings heavy charges also against him, on account of this action; though he seems only to do so, in order to vindicate him from thein. But then he does not pretend to defend him from the facts themselves, justifying him only upon the higher principle which had rene dered him guilty of them.
However, I think that he is feverer upon his hero even than Plutarch, by mentioning that weak and unphilosophic exclamation of his, where he says, he had mistaken virtue for a good, but found it only a name.
" What can we say, but thine own tragic word ?
66 That virtue, which had worshipped been by thee, 4. As the most solid good, and greatest deity,
“ By this fatal proof became
« An idol only, and a name.' This circumstance his Biographer had favourably suffered to pass unnoticed ; and of which Balzac says, “ that Brutus seems do to lament his disappointment here, as if he was upbraiding a “ jilling mistress.”. If he had acted solely from virtue, he would not have complained that he had missed the reavard.
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, sometimes, which may counteract each other, and thereby render what might be the virtue of one person, the vice of another. Many situations and cases of this kind may be proposed; but I shall not launch beyond my subject
Brutus had many and great obligations to Cæfar. He owed him his life-nay, 'tis faid, even his firf life *; and had the lives of several of his friends faved also at his intercession. He had ever lived with him in the greatest intimacy, and on
the * Cæsar had an amour with Servilia, the mother of Brutus, before his birth,
the footing of his first friend. Nay, Cæsar had created himself enemies, by his partiality towards him, in the preferring him to posts of profit and honour, which others, from their services, were better intitled to. One of these malecontents was Caffius, who from that very resentment became the first mover and principal actor in the conspiracy. And were all these obligations to be cancelled by one dath of the Stoic's pen?
Stoical virtues are not always moral ones. Those metaphysical braveries (for I was wrong in calling them virtues) which exceed the feelings of humanity, have never, as I said before, been able to inspire my mind with either admiration or elteem.
The sympathy of nature is wanting, and true philosophy has good reason to fufpect every principle or motive of action to be fophisticate, that bears not this original imprefion.