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One of the three to share it?

Ост. So you thought him; And took his voice who should be prick'd to die, In our black sentence and proscription.


ANT. Octavius, I have seen more days than you: And though we lay these honours on this man, To ease ourselves of divers slanderous loads, He shall but bear them as the ass bears gold," To groan and sweat under the business, Either led or driven, as we point the way; And having brought our treasure where we will, Then take we down his load, and turn him off, Like to the empty ass, to shake his ears, And graze in commons.


You may do your

But he's a tried and valiant soldier.


ANT. So is my horse, Octavius; and, for that, I do appoint him store of provender. It is a creature that I teach to fight, To wind, to stop, to run directly on; His corporal motion govern'd by my spirit. And, in some taste, is Lepidus but so; He must be taught, and train'd, and bid A barren-spirited fellow; one that feeds On objects, arts, and imitations ;9




as the ass bears gold,] This image had occurred before in Measure for Measure, Act III. sc. i:

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like an ass whose back with ingots bows, "Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey, "Till death unloads thee."

one that feeds


On objects, arts, and imitations; &c.] 'Tis hard to conceive why he should be call'd a barren-spirited fellow that could feed. either on objects or arts: that is, as I presume, form his ideas and judgment upon them: stale and obsolete imitation, indeed,

Which, out of use, and stal'd by other men,
Begin his fashion: Do not talk of him,

fixes such a character. I am persuaded, to make the poet consonant to himself, we must read, as I have restored the text:

On abject orts,—

i. e. on the scraps and fragments of things rejected and despised by others. THEOBALD.

Sure, it is easy enough to find a reason why that devotee to pleasure and ambition, Antony, should call him barren-spirited who could be content to feed his mind with objects, i. e. speculative knowledge, or arts, i. e. mechanick operations. I have therefore brought back the old reading, though Mr. Theobald's emendation is still left before the reader. Lepidus, in the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, is represented as inquisitive about the structures of Egypt, and that too when he is almost in a state of intoxication. Antony, as at present, makes a jest of him, and returns him unintelligible answers to very reasonable questions.

Objects, however, may mean things objected or thrown out to him. In this sense Shakspeare uses the verb to object, in King Henry VI. P. I. Act II. sc. iv. where I have given an instance of its being employed by Chapman on the same occasion. It is also used by him, in his version of the seventh Iliad:

"At Jove's broad beech these godheads met; and first Jove's son objects

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Why, burning in contention thus" &c.

A man who can avail himself of neglected hints thrown out by others, though without original ideas of his own, is no uncommon character. STEEVENS.

Objects means, in Shakspeare's language, whatever is presented to the eye. So, in Timon of Athens: "Swear against objects," which Mr. Steevens has well illustrated by a line in our poet's 152d Sonnet:


"And made them swear against the thing they see."

and stal'd by other men,


Begin his fashion:] Shakspeare has already woven this circumstance into the character of Justice Shallow: "

He came ever in the rearward of the fashion; and sung those tunes that he heard the carmen whistle." STEEVENS.


2 B


But as a property. And now,
And now, Octavius,
Listen great things.-Brutus and Cassius

Are levying powers: we must straight make head: Therefore, let our alliance be combin❜d,

Our best friends made, and our best means stretch'd out;3.

- a property.] i. e. as a thing quite at our disposal, and to be treated as we please. So, in Twelfth-Night:

"They have here propertied me, kept me in darkness," &c. STEEVENS.

3 Our best friends made, and our best means stretch'd out;] In the old copy, by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, this line is thus imperfectly exhibited:

"Our best friends made, our means stretch'd;" The editor of the second folio supplied the line by reading"Our best friends made, and our best means stretch'd out."

This emendation, which all the modern editors have adopted, was, like almost all the other corrections of the second folio, as ill conceived as possible. For what is best means? Means, or abilities, if stretch'd out, receive no additional strength from the word best, nor does means, when considered without reference to others, as the power of an individual, or the aggregated abilities of a body of men, seem to admit of a degree of comparison. However that may be, it is highly improbable that a transcriber or compositor should be guilty of three errors in the same line; that he should omit the word and in the middle of it; then the word best after our, and lastly the concluding word. It is much more probable that the omission was only at the end of the line, (an error which is found in other places in these plays,) and that the author wrote, as I have printed :

Our best friends made, our means stretch'd to the utmost. So, in a former scene:


and, you know, his means,

"If he improve them, may well stretch so far,-."

Again, in the following passage in Coriolanus, which, I trust, will justify the emendation now made:


for thy revenge

"Wrench up your power to the highest." MALONE.

I am satisfied with the reading of the second folio, in which I perceive neither aukwardness nor want of perspicuity. Best is a

And let us presently go sit in council,
How covert matters may be best disclos'd,
And open perils surest answered.

OCT. Let us do so: for we are at the stake,*
And bay'd about with many enemies;

And some, that smile, have in their hearts, I fear, Millions of mischief.



Before Brutus' Tent, in the Camp near Sardis.

Drum. Enter BRUTUS, LUCILIUS, LUCIUS, and Soldiers: TITINIUS and PINDARUS meeting them.

BRU. Stand here.

Luc. Give the word, ho! and stand.

BRU. What now, Lucilius? is Cassius near? Luc. He is at hand; and Pindarus is come To do you salutation from his master.

[PINDARUS gives a Letter to BRUTUS. BRU. He greets me well.-Your master, Pinda


word of mere enforcement, and is frequently introduced by Shakspeare. Thus, in King Henry VIII:


My life itself and the best heart of it-." Why does best, in this instance, seem more significant than when it is applied to means? STEEVENS.

at the stake,] An allusion to bear-baiting. So, in Macbeth, Act V:

"They have chain'd me to a stake, I cannot fly,
"But bear-like I must fight the course." STEEVENS.

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In his own change, or by ill officers,5
Hath given me some worthy cause to wish
Things done, undone: but, if he be at hand,
I shall be satisfied.


I do not doubt,
But that my noble master will appear
Such as he is, full of regard, and honour.

BRU. He is not doubted.-A word, Lucilius; How he receiv'd you, let me be resolv'd.

In his own change, or by ill officers,] The sense of which is this: Either your master, by the change of his virtuous nature, or by his officers abusing the power he had intrusted to them, hath done some things I could wish undone. This implies a doubt which of the two was the case. Yet, immediately after, on Pindarus's saying, His master was full of regard and honour, he replies, He is not doubted. To reconcile this we should read:

In his own charge, or by ill officers.

i. e. Either by those under his immediate command, or under the command of his lieutenants, who had abused their trust. Charge is so usual a word in Shakspeare, to signify the forces committed to the trust of a commander, that I think it needless to give any instances. WARBUrton.

The arguments for the change proposed are insufficient. Brutus could not but know whether the wrongs committed were done by those who were immediately under the command of Cassius, or those under his officers. The answer of Brutus to the Servant is only an act of artful civility: his question to Lucilius proves, that his suspicion still continued. Yet I cannot but suspect a corruption, and would read:

In his own change, or by ill offices,-.

That is, either changing his inclination of himself, or by the ill offices and bad influences of others. JOHNSON.

Surely alteration is unnecessary. In the subsequent conference Brutus charges both Cassius and his officer, Lucius Pella, with corruption. STEEVENS.

Brutus immediately after says to Lucilius, when he hears his account of the manner in which he had been received by Cassius:

"Thou hast describ'd

"A hot friend cooling."

That is the change which Brutus complains of.


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