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Hat. From the senate.
Lat. From thence too.
Tib. Are they sitting now?
With fools and blind men:
Lat. They stay thy answer, Cæsar.
Had but a mind allied unto his words,
Although the aim were our old liberty:
Their bodies liv'd not, now, again to serve.
"Beneath a virtuous prince. Wish'd liberty
But, when his grace is merely but lip-good,
Are lechery unto him, and so feed
Arr. He should be told this; and be bid
we that know
Should hunt the palace-rats, or give them Fright hence these worse than ravens, that devour
The quick, where they but prey upon the
Sab. Stay, Arruntius,
We must abide our opportunity;
And practise what is fit, as what is needful.
(Say not, but I do call upon thee now)
Sil. 'Tis well pray'd.
Tib. Return the lords this voice, we are their creatures,
And it is fit a good and honest prince,
With so dilate and absolute a power,
Shall want to please us, that hath pleased
Our suffrage rather shall prevent, than stay
18 Men are deceiv'd, who think there can be thrall
Beneath a virtuous prince. Wish'd liberty
Ne'er velier looks than under such a crown.] An instance of the poet's zeal for monarchy, and of his complaisance to the prince then reigning. He has given us a translation of the Latin,
Nunquam libertas gratior exstat,
Quàm sub rege pio.
19 Whom they out of their bounty have INSTRUCTED
With so dilate and absolute a power.] This is the reading of all the editions; but Mr. Seward imagines instructed to be a corruption for intrusted, which gives a more easy and natural construction; and Mr. Theobald has the same correction in the margin of his copy. Perhaps a Latinism is here intended, and Jonson uses instructed in the sense, which the Romans sometimes assigned to instruo, of supplying, or furnishing. And consulting the original, I find this to be really the case; for the beginning of this speech is a translation of what is preserved by Suetonius: Dixit, & nunc, & sæpè aliàs, P. C. bonum & salutarem principem, quem vos tantâ & tam liberâ potestate instruxistis, senatui servire debere, & universis civibus sapè, & plerumque etiam singulis: neque id dixisse me pænitet; & bonos & æquos & faventes vos habui dominos, & adhuc habeo. Tiber. Cæs. c. 29. In this instance, as well as in many others, Jonson has verified the remark of Mr. Dryden, who says of him, that perhaps he did a little too much romanize our tongue, leaving the words which he translated, almost as much Latin as he found them; wherein, though he learnedly followed their language, he did not enough comply with the idiom of ours. What follows, to the conclusion of the speech, is to be met with in Tacitus, Annal. 1. 4. c. 37. & 38. I would observe, however, that the translation of the poet is entirely in the sententious manner of the original, and con cludes with the well-known maxim,
Contemptu fama contemni virtutes.
Yet, for the suit of Spain, t' erect a temple
That our defence for suffering that be known
Since deified Augustus hindered not
Ever, in place of laws, the rather follow'd
But as, t' have once receiv'd it, may de
The gain of pardon; so, to be ador'd
And no less pride: yea even Augustus' name
We here protest it, and are covetous
Careful of your affairs, constant in dangers,
Temples and statues, reared in
Are more contemn'd as dying sepulchres,
The one, until the period of our race,
And (therefore) may neglect; only, a long,
place the gift
Vow'd to the goddess for our mother's health,
As also of their grant to Lepidus,
To our Sejanus, to advance his statue
And placing of their bounties on a man,
-The oracles are ceas'd,
That only Casar, with their tongue, might speak.] The poet with great judgment lays hold on the common opinion of the cessation of oracles about this time, and turns it to a very artful piece of flattery. The fact may be false, but the received notions of Jonson's age sufficiently justify the application. If the reader is desirous to know the sentiments of the learned with regard to the cessation of oracles at this time, I refer him to Vandale de Oraculis, and Fontenelle's Histoire des Oracles.
" Let me be gone, most FELT, and open this!] The honest-hearted Arruntius is impatient to be gone, and vent his indignation at such gross flattery; but the present reading, most felt, conveys no idea of this kind. The true reading seems to be fleet, which agrees with the intention of the speaker.-Mr. SEWARD.
The diction is forced, and uncommon; but I believe the pointing should be corrected, and the present word retained, which is the reading of all the copies.
Arr. Let me be gone: most felt and open this.
The meaning is, "Let me hasten away; this flattery is not to be endured, it is too gross, " (felt for) palpable, and open.' The poet seems to have made perspicuity of expression give place to the measure of his verse.
Associate of our labours, our chief helper;
Above the poor low flats of common men;
Must stand on equal bases. Lead away.
Cor. Great Pompey's theatre was never
Arr. Place the shame of soldiers,
Sil. Check your passion;
Dru. Is my father mad?
Weary of life, and rule, lords? thus to heave
Arr. O, good prince!
Dru. Allow him statues, titles, honours,
All. A Castor, a Castor, a Castor, a Cas-
Chorus-of Musicians 23.
22 A Castor, a Castor, &c.] This appellation, as Jonson himself informs us from Dion Cassius, was given by the people to Drusus, on account of the warmth and violence of his temper. In this action of Drusus, the poet professeth to have followed the account of Tacitus; for the story is told otherwise by Dion, and his epitomizer Xiphilin; and the general character of Drusus is represented by them in disadvantageous colours: Tn Merlo ogrn wiw χαλεπη εχρηλω, ωσε και πληγας ιππει επιφάνει δυναι, και δια τυλο και Καςωρ παρωνύμιον ελαβε. Xiphilin. p. 104. edit. Hen. Steph. Par. 1551. He was of so passionate a disposition, that he beat an illustrious person of the equestrian "order, for which reason he had the surname of Castor given him."
23 Chorus of Musicians.] A band of filers as a chorus to a tragedy, wrote upon the plan of the antients, makes, as Mr. Sympson observes, a very different appearance from what we meet wita in Eschylus, or Sophocles. Jonson was sensible of this, and offers some sort of apology for it in his preface. In the Catiline he hath endeavoured to be more exact; and introduces, yet without much mending the matter, a proper chorus, in imitation of the ancient tragedians.
For the great favours done unto our loves;
I should alone despair of aught, like means,
Liv. Eudemus (I will see it) shall receive A fit and full reward for his large merit. But for this portion we intend to Drusus, (No more our husband now) whom shall we chuse
As the most apt and abled instrument',
Eud. i say Lygdus.
Sej. Lygdus? what's he?
Lic. An eunuch Drusus loves.
Eud. I, and his cup-bearer.
Sej. Name not a second.
If Drusus loves him, and he have that place, We cannot think a fitter.
Quickness, and will, to apprehend the
To your own good and greatness, I protest Myself through rarified, and turn'd all
In your affection: such a spirit as yours,
Look, 'tis not Drusus? Lady, do not fear.
Sej. Illustrious lady, stay-
Sej. Who is it, Eudemus?
Eud. One of your lordship's servants brings The emp'ror hath sent for you.
Sej. O: where is he?
With your fair leave, dear princess, I'll but A question, and return.
[He goes out.
Eud. Fortunate princess! How are you blest in the fruition
Of this unequal'd man, the soul of Rome, The empire's life, and voice of Cæsar's world!
Liv. So blessed, my Eudemus, as to know The bliss I have, with what I ought to owe The means that wrought it. How do I look to-day?
Eud. Excellent clear, believe it. This
As the most apt, and BLEST instrument.] The measure is here defective, by the loss of a foot; and blest instrument is a phrase not very congruous to the place it stands in. The quarto of 1605, and iolio of 1016, both read abled, which undoubtedly is the genuine word; and as such I have admitted it into the text. Ablest seems to have been designed by the editor, which is the reading of the folio in 1640.
Hath given some little taint unto the CERUSE.] By the ceruse, I should imagine is to be understood, not any white-wash, or the common preparation of lead with vinegar, but a colour rather inclining to what the pamters call carnation. It was a composition that could not stand the warmth of the sun. Martial alludes to it, and seems to make a difference between a common white and the ceruse:
Quàm cretata timet Fabulla nimbum,
Cerussata timet Sabella solem.-L. 2. ep. 41.
You should have us'd of the white oil I
Sejanus, for your love! his very name Commandeth above Cupid or his shafts(Liv. Nay, now you've made it worse. Eud. I'll help it straight.)
And but pronounc'd, is a sufficient charm
(Liv. What do you now, Eudemus?
Liv. Here, good physician.
Eud. I like this study to preserve the love Of such a man, that comes not every hour To greet the world. ('Tis now well, lady, you should
Use of the dentifrice I prescrib'd you too, To clear your teeth, and the prepar'd pomatum,
To smooth the skin :) A lady cannot be Too curious of her form, that still would hold The heart of such a person, made her cap
Which no posterity
I shall, Eudemus: but let Drusus' drug
Eud. Were Lygdus made, that's done;
This change came timely, lady, for your
Than art could do.
Liv. Thanks, good physician,
I'll use my fortune (you shall see) with reve
Is my coach ready?
Eud. It attends your highness.
If this be not revenge, when I have done And made it perfect, let Egyptian slaves, Parthians, and bare foot Hebrews brand my face,
And print my body full of injuries. Thou lost thyself, child Drusus, when thou thought'st [out-stand Thou could'st out-skip my vengeance; or The power I had to crush thee into air. Thy follies now shall taste what kind of man They have provok'd, and this thy father's house
Crack in the flame of my incensed rage,
I will commit. A race of wicked acts
Shall e'er approve, nor yet keep silent.] This sentiment, with what precedes and follows it, is expressed from the Thyestes of Seneca: