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Caf. My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
SCENE V. Opportunity to be seiz’d on in all Affairs.
ACT V. SCENE III.
The Parting of Brutus and Caffius.
Bru. No, Cassius, no ; think not, thou noble Row
man, That ever Brutus will
bound to Rome ;
Caf. For ever, and for ever, farewel, Brutus !
Melancholy, the Parent of Error.
- Antony's Chorsetir of Brutus.
It may perhaps be needless to inform the reader, that the duke of Buckingham, displeas’d with what the critics esteem so great a fault in this play, the death of Julius Cæsar, 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 reft of those who have attempted to alter, or a. mend Shakespear.
King L E AR.
AC T I. SCENE III.
An alienated Child
ET it be so, thy truth then be thy dower:
For by the sacred radiance of the sun,
B A STAR D r.
(1) Let, &c.] The reader will do well to observe, Shakespear makes his characters in king Lear strictly conformable to the religion of their times: the not attending sufficiently to this, hath accafioned some Critics greatly to err in their remarks on this play.
(2) Wherefore, &c.) Thé bastard is here complaining of the tyranny of cuftom, and produces two instances, to thew the plague and oppression of it; the first, in the case of elder brothers; the
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
fecond, of bastards. With regard to the first, we are to Tuppose him speaking of himself only as an objector, making the case his own, according to a common manner of arguing :
7. Wherefore, says he, should I (or any man) stand in [within] the plague [the punishment or scourge] of custom, why should I continue in its oppressive power, and permit the courtesy of nations to deprive me, to take away from, rob, and injure me, because, &c.
(3) Who, &c.] Mr. Warburton quotes a passage here, well worth remarking---- • How much the lines following this are in character, says he, may be seen by that monstrous with of Vanini, the Italian atheist, in his tract, De admirandis naturæ reginæ deeque mortalium arcanis, printed at Paris 1616, the very year our
O utinam extra legitimum & connubialem thorum efTem procreatus ! Ita enim progenitores mei in venerem incaluissent ardentius, accumulatim affätimq; gene oja semina contulissent, èquibus ego formæ blanditiam, ac elegantiam robustas corporis vires, mentemque innubilam consequutus fuiffem. At quia conjugatorum sum foboles his orbatus fum bonis. Had the book been publish'd but ten or twenty years sooner, who would not have believ'd that Shakespear alluded to this paffage ? But the divinity of his genius foretold, as it were, what such an atheist, as Vanini, would say, when he wrote upon such a subject.'
I have forbore giving a tranNation of the Latin, because ShakeSpear's words are a fine paraphrase of it, and because it perhaps, is not proper for all ears: but if, fuppofing Vanini had wrote firft, we should have imagined, Shakespear alluded to him ; why may we not, as it is, believe Vanini alluded to Shakespear
(4) Gor 'tween ajleep and wake) This reading runs thro' all the editions, and is indeed very plausible: tho' it seems to me, the
SCENE VIII. Aftrology ridiculd (5) This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are fick in fortune, (often the surfeits of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun the moon and stars;
if we were villains on necessity, fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by spherical predominance; diunkards, 1yars and adulterers, by an inforc'd obedience of planetary influence ; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a ftar! my father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major; so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous. I should
passage originally stood, Got atween sleep and wake. The a might very easily have been so transposed, and atween is very common with all the old writers down to, and below our author,
(5) This, &c ] Altrology was in much higher cred't in our author's time than in Milton's, who, nevertheleis, hath satirised it in the feverest manner possible, by making it patronised even by the devil himself: for in the 4th book of his Paradise Regain'd, the devil thus addresses our saviour.
If I read aught in heaven,
V. 382. Where it is to be observ’d, says Mr. Warburton, that the 'poet thought it not enough to discredit judicial astrology, by making it patronised by the devil, without fhewing at the same time, the absurdity of it. He has therefore very judiciously made him blurder, in the expression of portending a kingdom, which was without beginning. This destroys all he wou'd infinuater"