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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:
Brutus. You wronged yourself, to write in such a case.
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Cas. I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Bru. The name of Cassius honors this corruption,
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March remember!
Did not great Julius bleed for justice' sake?
Cas. Brutus, bay not me!
I'll not endure it. You forget yourself,
Bru. Go to! you're not, Cassius.
Bru. I say you are not.
Cas. Urge me no more: I shall forget myself:
Have mind upon your health: tempt me no further!
Cas. Is't possible?
Bru. Hear me, for I will speak.
Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
Bru. All this? Ay, more! Fret till your proud heart break:
You shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Cas. Is it come to this?
Bru. You say you are a better soldier;
Let it appear so; make your vaunting true,
And it shall please me well. For mine own part,
Cas. You wrong me every way; you wrong me, Brutus ; I said an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say
What! durst not tempt him? Bru. For your life you durst not. Cas.
Do not presume too much upon my love. may do that I shall be sorry for.
Bru. You have done that you should be sorry
If you did, I care not.
When Cæsar lived, he durst not thus have moved me.
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
To you for gold to pay my legions;
Which you denied me.
Cas. I denied you not.
Cas. I did not: he was but a fo
That brought my answer back. Brutus hath rived my 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.
I do not like your faults.
A friendly eye could never see such faults.
Bru. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.
Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come!
Strike as thou didst at Cæsar; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
Bru. Sheathe your dagger:
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope:
Cas. Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. O Brutus !
What's the matter?
Have you not love enough to bear with me, When that rash humor which my mother gave me Makes me forgetful?
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and, henceforth,
XXII. - 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, § 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 object 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