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Cin. Casca, you are the first that rears your
hand. Casca. Are we all ready? Cæs.
What is now amiss That Cæsar and his senate must redress? Met. Most high, most mighty, and most puis
sant Cæsar, Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat An humble heart,
I must prevent thee, Cimber. These couchings16 and these lowly courtesies Might fire the blood of ordinary men.
Be not fond, To think that Cæsar bears such rebel blood That will be thaw'd from the true quality With that which melteth fools; I mean, sweet
words, Low-crooked court’sies and base spaniel-fawning. Thy brother by decree is banished: If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him, I spurn thee like a cur out of my way. Know, Cæsar doth not wrong, nor without cause Will he be satisfied. Met. Is there no voice more worthy than my
16. Couchings means crouchings. It may be that Shakespeare wrote crouchings, and that the mistake crept in afterward.
17. Fond meant, in olden times, foolish, and is so used here. 18. Repealing is here used in its obsolete sense of recalling.
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.
As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
Cin. O Caesar,
Caes. Hence! wilt thou lift up Olympus?
Casca. Speak, hands, for me!
words in dying. Most commentators think that it is a decidedly false note for Shakespeare to introduce this Latin exclamation here.
By JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE
His features were more refined than
extremely thick and sinewy. His complexion was pale. His beard and mustache were kept carefully shaved. His hair was short and naturally scanty, falling off towards the end of his life and leaving him partially bald. His voice, especially when he spoke in public, was high and shrill. His health was uniformly strong until his last year, when he became subject to epileptic fits.
He was a great bather and scrupulously clean in all his habits, abstemious in his food, and careless in what it consisted, rarely or never touching wine, and noting sobriety as the highest of qualities when describing any new people. He was an athlete in early life, admirable in all manly exercises, and especially in riding.
In Gaul he rode a remarkable horse, which he had bred himself, and which would let no one but Cæsar mount him. From his boyhood it was observed of him that he was the truest of friends, that he avoided quarrels, and was most easily appeased when offended. In manner he was quiet and gentlemanlike, with the natural courtesy of high breeding. On one occasion when he was dining somewhere the other guests found the oil too rancid for them. Caesar took it without remark, to spare his entertainer's feelings. When on a journey through a forest with his friend Oppius, he came one night to a hut where there was a single bed. Oppius being unwell, Caesar gave it up to him, and slept on the ground. It was by accident that Caesar took up the profession of a soldier; yet perhaps no commander who ever lived showed greater military genius. The conquest of Gaul was effected by a force numerically insignificant, which was worked with the precision of a machine. The variety of uses to which it was capable of being turned implied, in the first place, extraordinary forethought in the selection of materials. Men whose nominal duty was merely to fight were engineers, architects, mechanics of the highest order. In a few hours they could extemporize an impregnable fortress on an open hillside. They bridged the Rhine in a week. They built a fleet in a month. The legions at Alesia” held twice their number pinned within their works, while they kept at bay the whole force of insurgent Gaul, entirely by scientific superiority. The machine, which was thus perfect, was composed of human beings who required supplies of tools, and arms,
1. This character sketch of Cæsar is from the Cæsar of James Anthony Froude (1818-1894), an English historian. His judg. ment of Cæsar is much more favorable than is that of Plutarch.