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together to do honour to Cæsar's triumph. As certain decorums were unknown to the writers of Shakspeare's days, he suffers some mechanics to be too loquacious. As it was his business to depress the character of Cæsar, and render his victory over his illustrious rival as odious as possible, he judiciously makes one of the Tribunes thus address himself to the people:
Wherefore rejoice? what conquest brings he home? What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things,
Made in his concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire ?
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
That needs must light on this ingratitude.
The next speech expresses the general apprehension of Cæsar's assuming too great a degree of power.
Let no images
Be hung with Cæsar's trophies. I'll about,
Who else would soar above the view of men,
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
The second scene is the course at the Lupercal games, in which Antony appears the humble courtier of Cæsar. A soothsayer bids him beware the Ides of March.
In the third scene there is a dialogue between Brutus and Cassius, in which the latter tenderly reproaches Brutus, that his countenance is not so open and cordial to him as formerly; to this the other replies, he has some inward discontent,
And that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
This intimation of discontent encourages Cassius to try to incense Brutus against the growing power of Cæsar. On the shouts of the mob, Brutus expresses his fear that they are making Cæsarking; this encourages Cassius to proceed in his design. He makes two speeches, in which he appears envious and malignant to Cæsar, of whom he speaks as men do, who, unwilling to confess the qualities that give superiority to a rival, dwell with malice on those petty circumstances, by which he is not distinguished from ordinary men. The French critic is much offended at this scene, and says, it is not in the style of great men. The language of envy is always low. The speeches of Cassius express well his envious and peevish
temper, and make him a foil to set off to advantage the more noble mind of Brutus. Cassius endeavours to stimulate Brutus to oppose the encroachments of Cæsar on the liberty of Rome, by setting before him its first deliverer, the great Junius Brutus; a name revered by every Roman, but undoubtedly adored by his descendants.
This is truly imitation, when the poet gives us the just copies of all circumstances that accompanied the action he represents. Corneille's dramas are fantastic compositions, void of historical truth, imitation of character, or representation of manners. Some few lines from Seneca, ingrafted into the Cinna, have given it reputation. For, however custom may have taught a very ingenious and polite people to endure the insipid scenes of l'amoreux et l'amoureuse, the fault has been in the poets, not the spectators all their critics have strongly condemned this mode of writing; and the public, by its approbation of this piece on account of the scenes between Augustus and Cinna, shews plainly how much dialogues
of a noble and manly kind would please. Unhappily, Seneca's Augustus makes the Cinna of Corneille appear too mean and little. These borrowed ornaments never will assort perfectly well with the piece; they break in upon the harmony of sentiment, and the proportion of characters, and fall greatly short of the easy propriety, and becoming grace, of a perfect set of imitations designed for and fitted to the work, as in this tragedy of Julius Cæsar, where all the characters appear in due degrees of subordination to the hero of the piece. Our Poet, to interest us the more for Brutus, takes every occasion to make Cassius a foil for him. In the next scene he is represented by Cæsar in an unamiable light; the opportunity of so fit an occasion is taken, to make some fine reflections on the malignant and envious nature of men, not softened by the joys of mirth, and the endearing intercourse of social pleasures.
CESAR. (TO ANTONY, apart.)
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nights: