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Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick;
Kneel not, gentle Portia.
Por. I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus. Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted, I should know no secrets
To keep with you at meals,1 comfort your bed,2
9 I charm you,] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope and Sir Thomas Hanmer read-charge, but unnecessarily. So, in Cymbeline:
"" 'tis your graces
"That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
" Charms this report out."
To keep with you at meals, &c ] "I being, O Brutus, (sayed she) the daughter of Cato, was married vnto thee, not to be thy beddefellowe and companion in bedde and at borde onelie, like a harlot; but to be partaker also with thee, of thy good and euill fortune. Nowe for thyselfe, I can finde no cause of faulte in thee touchinge our matche: but for my parte, how may I showe my duetie towards thee, and how muche I woulde doe for thy sake, if I can not constantlie beare a secrete mischaunce or griefe with thee, which requireth secrecy and fidelitie? I confesse, that a woman's wit commonly is too weake to keep a secret safely but yet, Brutus, good education, and the companie of vertuous men, haue some power to reforme the defect of nature. And for my selfe, I haue this benefit moreouer: that I am the daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus. This notwithstanding, I did not trust to any of these things before: vntil that now I have found by experience, that no paine nor grife whatsoeuer can ouercome me. With those wordes she showed him her wounde on her thigh, and tolde him what she had done to proue her selfe." Sir Thomas North's Translation of Plutarch. Steevens.
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs3 Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.
Bru. You are my true and honourable wife;
As dear to me, as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.4
Por. If this were true, then should I know this secret.
I grant, I am a woman ; but, withal,
Here also we find our author and Lord Sterline walking over the same ground:
"I was not, Brutus, match'd with thee, to be
"A partner only of thy board and bed;
"As those that have two breasts, one heart, two souls,
2 comfort your bed,] "is but an odd phrase, and gives as odd an idea," says Mr. Theobald. He therefore substitutes, consort. But this good old word, however disused through modern refinement, was not so discarded by Shakspeare. Henry VIII, as we read in Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, in commendation of Queen Katharine, in publick said: "She hathe beene to me a true obedient wife, and as comfortable as I could wish." Upton.
In the book of entries at Stationers' Hall, I meet with the following, 1598: A Conversation between a careful Wyfe and her comfortable Husband" Steevens.
In our marriage ceremony, the husband promises to comfort his wife; and Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580, says, that to comfort is, " to recreate, to solace, to make pastime." Collins.
in the suburbs -] Perhaps here is an allusion to the place in which the harlots of Shakspeare's age resided. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas:
"Get a new mistress,
"Some suburb saint, that sixpence, and some oaths,
4 As dear to me, &c.] These glowing words have been adopted by Mr. Gray in his celebrated Ode:
"Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart."
5 Igrant, I am a woman; &c.] So, Lord Sterline: "And though our sex too talkative be deem'd,
"As those whose tongues import our greatest pow'rs, "For secrets still bad treasurers esteem'd,
"Of others' greedy, prodigal of ours;
A woman that lord Brutus took to wife :
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose them :
Here, in the thigh: Can I bear that with patience,
O ye gods,
Render me worthy of this noble wife! [Knocking within. Hark, hark! one knocks: Portia, go in a while;
And by and by thy bosom shall partake
The secrets of my heart.
All my engagements I will construe to thee,
Leave me with haste.
Enter LUCIUS and LIGARIUS.
Lucius, who 's that, knocks ?8
Luc. Here is a sick man, that would speak with you. Bru. Caius Ligarius, that Metellus spake of.—
Boy, stand aside.-Caius Ligarius! how?
Lig. Vouchsafe good morrow from a feeble tongue. Bru. O, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
"Good education may reform defects,
"And I this vantage have to a vertuous life,
"I'm Cato's daughter, and I'm Brutus' wife.” Malone. • A woman well-reputed, Cato's daughter.] By the expression wellreputed, she refers to the estimation in which she was held, as being the wife of Brutus; whilst the addition of Cato's daughter, implies that she might be expected to inherit the patriotic virtues of her father. It is with propriety therefore, that she immediately asks:
"Think you, I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father'd, and so husbanded 2" Henley.
7 All the charactery -] i. e. all that is character'd on, &c. The word has already occurred in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Steevens. See Vol. III, p. 151, n. 3. Malone.
8 ·who's that, knocks?] i. e. who is that, who knocks? Our poet always prefers the familiar language of conversation to grammatical nicety. Four of his editors, however, have endeavoured to destroy this peculiarity, by reading-who's there that knocks? and a fifth has, who's that, that knocks? Malone.
To wear a kerchief?9 'Would you were not sick!
Bru. Such an exploit have I in hand, Ligarius,
Lig. By all the gods that Romans bow before,
Bru. A piece of work, that will make sick men whole. Lig. But are not some whole, that we must make sick? Bru. That must we also. What it is, my Caius, I shall unfold to thee, as we are going
To whom it must be done.
Set on your foot;
Follow me then. [Exeunt.
90, what a time have you chose out, brave Caius,
To wear a kerchief?] So, in Plutarch's Life of Brutus, translated by North: " Brutus went to see him being sicke in his bedde, and sayed unto him, O Ligarius, in what a time art thou sicke? Ligarius rising up in his bedde, and taking him by the right hande, sayed unto him, Brutus, (sayed he) if thou hast any great enterprise in hande worthie of thy selfe, I am whole." Lord Sterline also has introduced this passage into his Julius Cæsar:
"By sickness being imprison'd in his bed
“Whilst I Ligarius spied, whom pains did prick, "When I had said with words that anguish bred,
"In what a time Ligarius art thou sick?
"He answer'd straight, as I had physick brought,
"If worthy of thyself thou wouldst do aught,
"Then Brutus I am whole, and wholly thine." Malone.
Thou, like an exorcist, hast conjur'd up
My mortified spirit.] Here, and in all other places where the word occurs in Shakspeare, to exorcise means to raise spirits, not to lay them; and I believe he is singular in his acceptation of it.
See Vol. V, p. 309, n. 5. Malone.
The same. A Room in Cæsar's Palace.
Thunder and Lightning. Enter CESAR, in his Night-gown.
Cas. Nor heaven, nor earth, have been at peace tonight:
Thrice hath Calphurnia in her sleep cried out,
Serv. My lord?
Cas. Go bid the priests do present sacrifice, And bring me their opinions of success.
Serv. I will, my lord.
Cal. What mean you, Cæsar? Think you to walk
You shall not stir out of your house to-day.
Cas. Cæsar shall forth: The things that threaten'd me, Ne'er look'd but on my back; when they shall see The face of Cæsar, they are vanished.
Cal. Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,2 Yet now they fright me. There is one within, Besides the things that we have heard and seen, Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch. A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead :3
2 Cæsar, I never stood on ceremonies,] i. e. I never paid a ceremo nious or superstitious regard to prodigies or omens.
The adjective is used in the same sense in The Devil's Charter, 1607:
"The devil hath provided in his covenant,
"I should not cross myself at any time:
The original thought is in the old translation of Plutarch: "Calphurnia, until that time, was never given to any fear or superstition."
3 And graves have yawn'd and yielded up their dead: &c.] So, in a funeral Song in Much Ado about Nothing:
"Graves yawn, and yield your dead."
Again, in Hamiet:
"A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
"The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead