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The first time ever Cæsar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii :—7
Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through :
See what a rent the envious Cascas made :

Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabbed ; 80 And as he plucked his cursed steel away,

Mark how the blood of Cæsar followed it,
As rushing out of doors to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knocked or no ;
For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel :-
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Cæsar loved him !
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,

Quite vanquished him: then burst his mighty heart; 90 And, in his mantle muffling up his face,

Even at the base of Pompey's statue, o
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell.
Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen !
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.
Oh, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity : these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold

Our Cæsar's vesture wounded ? Look you here ; 100 Here is himself, marred, as you see, with traitors. 10





Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable :
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.

I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts :
I am no orator, as Brutus is ;

But, as you know me all, a plain, blunt man, 110 That loves my friend ; and that they know full well

That gave me public leave to speak of him :
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood ;-I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor dumb

And bid them speak for me : but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony

Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue 120 In every wound of Cæsař, that should move The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

Shakspere. 1. Mark Antony.-A friend and but he afterwards became the authoi relation of Cæsar. It was the custom of the conspiracy to murder Cæsar. in Rome, at a funeral for a relative 6. Legacy.-Anything left by will. or friend to deliver an oration.

7. Nervii.-The most warlike of 2. Cæsar.- A great Roman general the Belgic tribes. They lived in the who was killed in the Senate house, N.E. of France. March 15th, 44 B.C.

8. Casca.-One of the conspirators, 3. Brutus.-At one time a friend the first to stab Cæsar. of Cæsar, but afterwards his enemy. 9. Pompey's statue.-A statue

4. Lupercal.- A place in Rome to the Roman general Pompey, set where the public games were held. up in the Forum.

5. Cassius.-A noble Roman, and 10. Traitor. One who plots at one time a great friend of Cæsar, against his sovereign.

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THE FRIENDSHIP OF BOOKS. 1. I have some fear that an age of reading is not always favourable to the cultivation of this friendship. I have known both boys and men who have looked at books with a kind of hatred, as if they were the natural foes of the human species. I am far from thinking that these were bad boys or bad men; nor were they stupid. I could trace the dislike, in some cases, to a cause which I thought honourable.

2. The dogs and horses which they did care about, and were always on good terms with, they regarded as living creatures, who could receive affection, and in some measure could return it. Their horses could carry them over hills and moors; their dogs had been out with them from morning till night, and took interest in the pursuit that was interesting them. Books seemed to them dead things in stiff bindings, that might be patted and caressed ever so much and would take no notice, that knew nothing of toil or pleasure, of hill or stubble-field, of sunrise or sunsetting, of the earnest chase or the feast after it.

3. Is it not better to leave them in the shelves which seemed to be made for them? Is it not treating them most respectfully not to finger or soil them, but to secure the services of a housemaid who should occasionally dust them? If books are only dead things, if they do not speak to one, or answer one when one speaks to them, if they have nothing to do with the common things that we are busy with—with the sky over our head, and the ground under our feet-I think any horse or dog, or tree or flower, is a better companion for human beings than they are.

4. I want to speak to you about a few books which exhibit very clearly, I think, what sort of a person he was who wrote them, which show him to us.

I think we shall find that there is the


charm, the worth of the book. He may be writing about a great many things; but there is a man who writes; and when you get acquainted with that man, you get acquainted with the book. It is no more a collection of letters and leaves; it is a friend.

5. I shall begin with a writer who seems to offer a great exception to the remark I have just made. Since he is the greatest and the best known of all English authors, for him to be an instance against me would be a clear proof that I am wrong.

6. We continually hear this observation, “ William Shaksperel is not to be found in any of his plays.” It is his great and wonderful distinction that he is not. Shakspere never intrudes himself; he does not want us to know what he thought about this matter or that. If you look into one corner or another for him, he is not there. It would appear, then, according to my maxim, as if Shakspere could never be his reader's friend.

7. But that this is not the truth, I think the feeling and judgment of the people of England (I might say of the continents of Europe and of America) might convince you without any arguments of mine. For they have been so sure that there was a William Shakspere, they were so certain that he had a local habitation and a name, that they have searched parish-registers, hunted Doctors' Commons2 for wills, made pilgrimages to Stratford-on-Avon, put together traditions about old houses and shops, that they might make, if possible, some clear image of him in their minds.

8. I do not know that they have succeeded very well. The facts of his biography are few. A good deal of imagination has been needed to put them together, and to fill up the blanks in them. But that only shows how very clear a witness his own works give, even when the outward information is ever so scanty, of the man he was, and of the characteristics which distinguished him from his fellows.

9. If you ask me how this can be so, when he does not put himself forward, or give his own opinions, I answer, Have you found that the man who is in the greatest hurry to tell you all that he thinks about all possible things, is the friend that is best worth knowing ? Have you found that the one who talked most about himself and his own doings is the most worth knowing? Do you not generally become rather exhausted with men of this kind ? Do not you say sometimes, in Shakspere's own words, “I do see to the bottom of this same Justice Shallow ;3 he has told me all he has to tell. There is no reserve in him, nothing that is worth searching after"?

10. On the other hand, have you not met with some men who very rarely spoke about their own impressions and thoughts, who seldom laid down the law, and yet who you were sure had a fund of wisdom within, and who made you partakers of it by the light which they threw on the earth in which they were dwelling, especially by the kindly,

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