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he and Steevens imagined that the poem had originally been printed in 1598. In the quarto of 1596, and in the undated edition, it is not divided into books, and is in seven-line stanzas : and what is there said of Mortimer bears no likeness whatever to Shakespeare's expressions in “ Julius Cæsar.” Drayton afterwards changed the title from “Mortimeriados” to “ The Barons' Wars," and re-modelled the whole historical poem, altering the stanza from the English ballad form to the Italian ottava rima. This course he took before 1603, when it came out in octavo, with the stanza first quoted, which contains so marked a similarity to the lines from “ Julius Cæsar.” We apprehend that he did so because he had heard or seen Shakespeare's tragedy before 1603; and we think that strong presumptive proof that he was the borrower, and not Shakespeare, is derived from the fact, that in the subsequent impressions of “ The Barons' Wars,” in 1605, 1608, 1610, and 1613, the stanza remained precisely as in the edition of 1603; but that in 1619, after Shakespeare's death and before “ Julius Cæsar" was printed, Drayton made even a nearer approach to the words of his original, thus:
“ He was a man, then boldly dare to say,
In whose rich soul the virtues well did suit;
That none to one could sovereignty impute;
He of a temper was so absolute,
We have been thus particular, because the point is obviously of importance, as regards the date when “Julius Cæsar” was brought upon the stage. Malone seems to have thought that “The Barons' Wars" continued under its original name and in its first shape until the edition of 1608, and concluded that the resemblance to Shakespeare was first to be traced in that impression. He had not consulted the copies of 1603, or 1605 (which were not in his possession), for if he had looked at them he must have seen that Drayton had copied “ Julius Cæsar" as early as 1603, and, consequently, unless Shakespeare imitated Drayton, that that tragedy must then have been in existence. That Drayton had not remodelled his “ Mortimeriados” as late as 1602, we gather from the circumstance, that he reprinted his poems in that year without “ The Barons' Wars” in any form or under any title.
Another slight circumstance might be adduced to show that “ Julius Caesar" was even an older tragedy than “ Hamlet.” In the latter (Act iii. sc. 2) it is said that Julius Cæsar was “ killed in the Capitol:" in Shakespeare's drama such is the representation, although contrary to the truth of history. This seems to have been
the popular notion, and we find it confirmed in Sir Edward Dyer's "Prayse of Nothing," 1585, quarto, a tract unknown to every bibliographer, where these words occur : “ Thy stately Capitol (proud Rome) had not beheld the bloody fall of pacified Cæsar, if nothing had accompanied him.” Robert Greene, a graduate of both Universities, makes the same statement, and Shakespeare may have followed some older play, where the assassination scene was laid in the Capitol: Chaucer had so spoken of it in his “ Monk's Tale.” It is not, however, likely that Dr. Eedes, who wrote a Latin academical play on the story, acted at Oxford in 1582, should have committed the error.
Shakespeare appears to have derived nearly all his materials from Plutarch, as translated by Sir Thomas North, and first published in 1579'. At the same time, it is not unlikely that there was a preceding play, and our reason for thinking so is assigned in a note in Act iii. sc. i. It is a new fact, ascertained from an entry in Henslowe's Diary dated 22d May, 1602, that Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, John Webster, Thomas Middleton, and other poets, were engaged upon a tragedy entitled “ Cæsar's Fall.” The probability is, that these dramatists united their exertions, in order without delay to bring out a tragedy on the same subject as that of Sbakespeare, which, perhaps, was then performing at the Globe Theatre with success. Malone states, that there is no proof that any contemporary writer “ had presumed to new-model a story that had already employed the pen of Shakespeare.” He forgot that Ben Jonson was engaged upon a “Richard Crook back” in 1602; and he omitted, when examining Henslowe's Diary, to observe, that in the same year four distinguished dramatists, and “other poets,” were employed upon “Cæsar's Fall."
From Vertue's manuscripts we learn that a play, called “ Cæsar's Tragedy," was acted at Court in 1613, which might be the production of Lord Stirling, Shakespeare's drama, that written by Munday, Drayton, Webster, Middleton, and others, or a play printed in 1607, under the title of “The Tragedy of Cæsar and Pompey, or Cæsar's Revenge." Mr. Peter Cunningham, in his “Revels' Accounts," (Introd. p. xxv.) has shown that a dramatic piece, with the title of “ The Tragedy of Cæsar," was exhibited at Court on Jan. 31, 1636-7.
| Lord Stirling published a tragedy under the title of “ Julius Cæsar," in 1604 : the resemblances are by no means numerous or obvious, and probably not more than may be accounted for by the fact, that two writers were treating the same subject. The popularity of Shakespeare's tragedy about 1603 may have led to the printing of that by Lord Stirling in 1604, and on this account the date is of consequence. Malone appears to have known of no edition of Lord Stirling's “ Julius Cæsar" until 1607.
Conspirators against Julius Cæsar..
LUMNIUS; Friends to Brutus and Cassius. VARRO, CLITUS, CLAUDIUS, STRATO, LUCIUS, DAR
DANIUS; Servants to Brutus. PINDARUS, Servant to Cassius.
CALPHURNIA, Wife to Cæsar.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, &c.
SCENE, during a great part of the Play, at Rome : afterwards at
Sardis ; and near Philippi.
1 A list of characters was first prefixed by Rowe.
Enter Flavius, Marullus', and a body of Citizens.
1 Cit. Why, sir, a carpenter.
2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler. Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me di
rectly. 2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles. Flav. What trade, thou knave?? thou naughty knave,
1- Marullus,] The folios call him Murellus ; but it is an obvious error, and Theobald changed it to “ Marullus," on the authority of Plutarch. The “ Citizens” in the old copies are called Commoners.
? Flar. What trade, thou knave ?] We follow the old copy in this and in the next speech but one, by giving the first to Flavius, and the second to Marullus. Most of the commentators seem to have thought that both should be given to the same person, either both to Flavius or both to Marullus. The necessity for this change does not strike us, because, as Johnson remarks, the object of giving “What trade, thon knave ?” &c. to Flavius might be, that he should not stand too long unemployed upon the stage.
2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
Mar. What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?
2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with all'. I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neats-leather have gone upon my handywork.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph. Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he
3 — but with all.] Printed withal in the old editions, and without any stop, so that the reading may merely be, “but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes.”