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XXI. - QUARREL OF BRUTUS AND CASSIUS.
We have few higher proofs than this celebrated scene presents of the wonderful creative powers of Shakespeare. It is from his tragedy of Julius Cæsar. There is no historical basis, so far as we know, for the dialogue. It seems to have been introduced solely for the dramatic development and contrast of the two characters, — Cassius, impulsive, hasty, unscrupulous ; Brutus, noble, unswerving in reverence for the right, outspoken and uncompromising in detestation for the wrong, — yet generous, forgiving, tender. “I know,” says Coleridge, “no part of Shakespeare that more impresses on me the belief of his genius being superhuman, than this scene."
See in Index, DRACHMA, IDES, LEGION, OFFENSE or OFFENCE, TO, VAUNT, YEA, BRUTUS, CAIUS, JULIUS, PLUTUS, SHAKESPEARE.
Delivery. The dialogue requires variations in the pitch from low or middle to high; of tone from pure to guttural and aspirate; of force from loud to gentle. The language of intense emotion, let it be remembered, is not always loud. A stifled tone often better conveys the idea of overpowering passion. The respective characters of Brutus and Cassius should be well considered by the reader. There should be nothing like sarcasm or irony in the angry tone of Brutus. It should be suggestive of bold and honest indignation.
Cassius. That you have wronged me doth appear in this: You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella, For taking bribes here of the Sardians; Wherein my letters (praying on his side Because I knew the man) were slighted off.
Brutus. You wronged yourself, to write in such a case.
Cas. At such a time as this, it is not meet
nice offense should bear its comment.
Cas. I an itching palm?
Bru. The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
Cas. Chas'tisement !
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
shall we now
Cas. Brutus, bay not me!
Bru. Go to! you're not, Cassius.
Cas. Urge me no more: I shall forget myself:
Bru. Away, slight man !
Bru Hear me, for I will speak.
Cas. Must I endure all this?
Bru. All this ? Ay, more! Fret till your proud heart break:
your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
for mirth, — yea, for my laughter, When you are waspish.
Gas. Is it come to this?
Bru. You say you are a better soldier ;
Cas. You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus ; I said an elder soldier, not a better. Did I
do that I shall be sorry for. Bru. You have done that you should be sorry for. There is no terror, Cassius, in
Was that done like Cassius ?
Cas. I denied you not.
Cas. I did not: he was but a fool
heart. A friend should bear a friend's infirmities; But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.
Bru. I do not, till you practice them on me.
A friendly eye could never see such faults.
Bru. A fatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come!
Bru. Sheathe your dagger:
when you will, it shall have scope:
Cas. Hath Cassius lived
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me,
gave me Makes me forgetful ?
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and, henceforth,
INVECTIVE AGAINST MR. CORRY.
The following speech was delivered in the Irish Parliament, February 14th, 1800, in reply to Mr. Corry who had said that Grattan, instead of having a voice in the councils of his country, should have been standing as a culprit at her bar. A duel, in which Corry was wounded in the arm, was provoked by this severe retort from Grattan. We do not commend the spirit either of the retort or of the duel, but the former has been rarely paralleled in power since the days of Demosthenes.
For GOVERNMENT, LIBERTY, UTTERED, see § 7; WORSE, Ş 16; PARENT, § 11; CONSTITUTION, GRATITUDE, MAGNITUDE, § 23.
See in Index, AGAINST, COUNCILOR or COUNCILLOR, DEFENSE or DEFENCE, PARLIAMENT, PHALANX, SCAFFOLD, THEREFORE, GRATTAN.
Delivery. The general tone is sarcastic, vehement, scornful. Several passages that might seem to require the high pitch would be more effective in a subdued middle pitch, with moderate if not slow time, deliberate pauses, and reserved force, as if the okject of the invective were too contemptible for explosive anger. In the last paragraph, however, where government is defied, high pitch and loud force are appropriate.
1. Has the gentleman done? Has he completely done? He was unparliamentary from the beginning to the end of his speech. There was scarce a word that he uttered that was not a violation of the privileges of the House. But I did not call him to order. Why? Because the limited talents of some men render it impossible for them to be severe without being unparliamentary. But before I sit down I shall show him how to be severe and parliamentary at the same time. On any other occasion, I should think myself justifiable in treating with silent contempt anything which might fall from that honorable member; but there are times when the insignificance of the accuser is lost in the magnitude of the accusation.
2. I know the difficulty the honorable gentleman labored under when he attacked me, conscious that, on a comparative view of our characters, public and private, there is nothing he could say which would injure me. The public would not believe the charge. I despise the falsehood. If such a charge were made by an honest