William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (1599):
Cas. Who offered him the crown?
Casca. Why, Antony.
Brut. Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
Casca. I can as well be hanged as tell the manner of it: it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown;--yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets;--and, as I told you, he put it by once: but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked Caesar; for he swounded and fell down at it: and for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
Cas. But, soft, I pray you: what, did Caesar swound?
Casca. He fell down in the market-place, and foam’d at mouth, and was speechless.
Bru. ‘Tis very like, he hath the falling sickness.
Cas. No, Caesar hath it not; but you, and I,
And honest Casca, we have he falling sickness.
Casca. I know not what you mean by that; but, I am sure, Caesar fell down. If the tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him, according as he pleased and displeased them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.
Brut. What said he when he came unto himself?
Casca. Marry, before he fell down, when he perceived the common herd was glad he refused the crown, he plucked me ope his doublet and offered them his throat to cut. An I had been a man of any occupation, if I would not have taken him at a word, I would I might go to hell among the rogues. And so he fell. When he came to himself again, he said, If he had done or said any thing amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches, where I stood, cried 'Alas, good soul!' and forgave him with all their hearts: but there's no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less. (1.2.232-75)
[Cas.] He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,'
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone. (1.2.119-31)
William Shakespeare, Othello (1604):
Oth. Lie with her? lie on her? We say lie on her, when they belie her. Lie with her! ‘Zounds, that's fulsome! Handkerchief – confessions – handkerchief! To confess, and be hanged for his labour – first, to be hanged, and then to confess. I tremble at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction. It is not words that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips. Is't possible? Confess? Handkerchief? O devil! Falls in a trance.
Iago. Work on,
My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught,
And many worthy and chaste dames even thus
(All guiltless) meet reproach. What ho! my lord!
My lord, I say! Othello!
How now, Cassio!
Cas. What’s the matter?
Iago. My lord is fall’n into an epilepsy.
That is his second fit; he had one yesterday.
Cas. Rub him about the temples.
Iago. No, forbear,
The lethargy must have his quiet course;
If not, he foams at mouth, and by and by
Breaks out to savage madness. (4.1.35-55)
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1606):
Enter the Ghost of Banquo and sits in Macbeth’s place….
Len. Here is a place reserv’d, sir.
Len. Here, my good lord. What is’t that moves your highness?
Macb. Which of you have done this?
Lords. What, my good lord?
Macb. Thou canst not say I did it; never shake
Thy gory locks at me.
Rosse. Gentlemen, rise, his highness is not well.
Lady M. Sit, worthy friends; my lord is often thus,
And hath been from his youth. Pray you keep seat.
The fit is momentary, upon a thought
He will be well again. If much you note him,
You shall offend him and extend his passion.
Feed, and regard him not. – Are you a man?...
Lady M. My worthy lord,
Your noble friends do lack you.
Macb. I do forget.
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends,
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
To those that know me, Come, love and health to all. (3.4.37sd-86)