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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Caesar's Revenge
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1905  Monday, 30 July 2001

From:           Richard Kennedy <
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Date:           Sunday, 29 Jul 2001 14:28:49 -0700
Subject:        Caesar's Revenge

I'd like to offer that this anonymous play, "Caesar's Revenge" was
written by Shakespeare.  This is the title page:

                                       The
                                TRAGEDIE
                                        of
                           Caesar and Pompey
                                        or
                                 CAESAR'S
                                    Revenge
   ___________________________________________

             Privately acted by the Students of Trinity
                            Colledge in Oxforde
  ____________________________________________

                                AT LONDON
 Imprinted for Nathaniel Fosbrooke and John Wright and are
                to be sold in Paules Church-yarde at the
                             signe of the Helmet.
                                       1607.

                                 Act I, Scene 1

We have the chorus of the older plays to be "Discord," who whets our
thirst for blood and gore, speaking well of it no matter who wins the
war.  Caesar has defeated Pompey at the battle of Pharsalias.  "Discord"
touches us off with a thumping speech.

                            "Sound alarum then flames of fire.

 Hearke how the Romaine drums sound bloud & death.
 And Mars high mounted on his Thracian Steede:
 Runs madding through Pharsalias purple fieldes.
 The earth that's wont to be a Tombe for Men
 It's now entomb'd with Carkases of Men.
 The Heaven appal'd to see such hideous sights,
 For feare puts out her ever burning lights.
 The Gods amaz'd (as once in Titans war,)
 Do doubt and feare, which boades this deadly iar.
 The starrs do tremble, and forsake their course,
 The Beare doth hide her in forbidden Sea,
 Feare makes Bootes swiften her slowe pace,
 Pale is Orion, Atlas gins to quake,
 And his unwildly burthen to forsake...."

We are called to wonder of the stars, and the signs that come from
Heaven, an eclipse spoken of here I think, and then a curse by
Discord, called down upon the dear world in a Lear-like howling.

 "You gentle Heavens.  O execute your wrath
 On vile mortality, that hath scornd your powers.
 You night borne Sisters to whose haires are ty'd
 In Adamantine Chaines both Gods and Men
 Wind on your webbe of mischiefe and of plagues,
 And if, O starres you have an influence:
 That may confounde this high erected heape
 Downe powre it; Vomit out your worst of ills
 Let Rome, growne proud, with her unconquered strength,
 Perish and conquered Be with her owne strength:
 And win all powers to disjoyne and breake,
 Consume, confound, dissolve, and discipate
 What Lawes, Armes and Pride hath raised up.

Exit Discord, and Titinius and Brutus enter and make their laments of
the day lost to Caesar.  Titinius: "The day is lost our hope and honours
lost./The glory of the Romaine name is lost."  And Brutus speaks with
a bloody echo of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."

 "The Foe prevayles, Brutus, thou strivest in vaine.
 Many a soule to day is sent to Hell,
 And Many a galant have I don to death,
 In Pharsalias bleeding Earth...."

The grevious fates have decreed that Rome, says Brutus,  "By her
owne height should worke her own decay."  Then Pompey enters,
accusing himself for the loss, and wishing he were somewhere else:

 "Where may I fly into some desert place,
 Some uncouth, unfrequented craggy rocke....

 Flie where thou wilt, thou bearst about the smart,
 Shame at thy heels, and greefe lies at thy heart."

A better poet than a general, at this moment.  He needs help, and
remembers his friends in Africa, and he will go there with his hand
out:

 "Flying for ayed unto my forrayne friends,
 And sue and bow, where earst I did command."

                          End Act I, Scene 1

This finishes to page five.  The language is attractive, even to be
poetry,
even to be the work of an early Shakespeare, and the likeness of some
passages follow.  My paging of "Caesar's Revenge".

in Pharsalus bleeding earth  -2
of slaughtered men that bite the bleeding earth -63
o, pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth   - J. Caesar
whose souls lie scattered on the bleeding ground - K. John

grief stopped his breath  - 3
grief of my son's exile hath stopped her breath  - Rom & Juliet
whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopped  - Othello

but Pompey was by envious heavens reserved  - 4
can heaven be so envious  - Rom. & Juliet

of which remain such living monuments  - 4
this grave shall have a living monument  - Hamlet

distilling tears from fainting cowards eyes  - 4
with tears distilled by moans  - Rom & Juliet

the coal-black Libians shall manure the ground  - 5
the blood of English shall manure the ground   - Rich II

Egypt shall be unpeopled for thine aid  - 5
will unpeople the province    - M. for Measure
first shall war unpeople this my realm  - 3 Hen VI
or I'll unpeople Egypt  -  Ant. & Cleopatra

In Act I, Scene 2,  Caesar comes on, and Brutus turns his coat.
Next.

Richard Kennedy

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