Imatges de pÓgina
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I'll go to him, and undertake to bring him
Where he shall answer, by a lawful form
(In peace), to his utmost peril.
1 Sen.

Noble tribunes,
It is the humane way: the other course
Will prove too bloody; and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.
Sic.

Noble Menenius,
Be

you then as the people's officer: Masters, lay down your weapons. Bru.

Go not home. Sic. Meet on the market-place :-We'll attend you

there:
Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed
In our first way.
Men.

I'll bring him to you:
Let me desire your company. [To the Senators.]

He must come, Or what is worst will follow. 1 Sen.

Pray you, let's to him.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II. A Room in Coriolanus's House.

Enter CORIOLANUS, and Patricians. Cor. Let them pull all about mine ears; present me Death on the wheel, or at wild horses' heels 1 ; Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock, That the precipitation might down stretch Below the beam of sight, yet will I still Be thus to them.

Breaking a criminal on the wheel was a punishment unknown to the Romans; and, except in the single instance of Metius Suffetius, according to Livy, dismemberment by being torn to death by wild horses never took place in Rome. Shakspeare attributes to them the cruel punishments of a later age.

Enter VOLUMNIA. 1 Pat.

You do the nobler. Cor. I muse?, my mother Does not approve me further, who was wont To call them woollen vassals, things created To buy and sell with groats ; to show bare heads In congregations, to yawn, be still, and wonder, When one but of

my

ordinance 3 stood up To speak of peace, or war. I talk of

you;

[To VOLUMNIA. Why did you wish me milder? Would you have me False to my nature ? Rather say, I play The man I am. Vol.

0, sir, sir, sir, I would have had you put your power well on, Before

you

had worn it out. Cor.

Let

go. Vol. You might have been enough the man you are, With striving less to be so : Lesser had been The thwartings of your dispositions, if You had not show'd them how you were dispos'd Ere they lack'd power to cross you. Cor.

Let them hang.
Vol. Ay, and burn too.

Enter MENENIUS, and Senators.
Men. Come, come, you have been too rough,

something too rough; You must return, and mend it. 1 Sen.

There's no remedy; Unless, by not so doing, our good city Cleave in the midst, and perish.

91 muse, that is, I wonder.
3 Ordinance is here used for rank.

4 The old copy reads. things of your disposition. The emendation is Theobald's.

my use of

Well,

Vol.

Pray be counsellid: I have a heart as little apt as yours, But yet a brain, that leads

anger, To better vantage. Men.

Well said, noble woman:
Before he should thus stoop to the herd”, but that
The violent fit o’the time craves it as physick
For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
Which I can scarcely bear,

Cor. What must I do?
Men.

Return to the tribunes.
Cor.
What then? what then?
Men.

Repent what you have spoke.
Çor. For them?-I cannot do it to the gods;
Must I then do't to them?
Vol.

You are too absolute; Though therein you can never be too noble, But when extremities speak. I have heard you say, Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends, I'the war do grow together 6: Grant that, and tell me, In

peace, what each of them by th’ other lose, That they combine not there. Cor.

Tush, tush! Men.

A good demand. Vol. If it be honour, in your wars, to seem The same you are not (which, for your

best ends, You adopt your policy), how is it less, or worse, That it shall hold companionship in peace With honour, as in war; since that to both It stands in like request?

5 Old copy,' stoop to the heart.' Theobald made the correction. Herd being anciently heard, the error easily crept in. Coriolanus thus describes the people in another passage :

• You shames of Rome, you herd of Except in cases of extreme necessity, when your resolute and noble spirit, however commendable at other times, ought to yield to the occasion.'

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Cor.

Why force you this? Vol. Because that now it lies you on to speak To the people; not by your own instruction, Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you too, But with such words that are but roted 9 in Your tongue, though but bastards, and syllables Of no allowance, to your bosom's truth 10. Now, this no more dishonours you at all, Than to take in 11 a town with gentle words, Which else would put you to your fortune, and The hazard of much blood. I would dissemble with my nature, where My fortunes, and my friends, at stake, requir’d, I should do so in honour : I am in this, Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles; And

you will rather show our general lowts 12 How you can frown, than spend a fawn upon them, For the inheritance of their loves, and safeguard Of what that want 13

might ruin.

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? Why urge you this ? So in King Henry VIII.:

• If you will now unite in your complaints,

And force them with a constancy.' 8 The word to, which is wanting in the first folio, was supplied in the second. Malone contends for the old reading, and Steevens says that we should perhaps read:

• Nor by the matter which your heart prompts in you.' Without some additional syllable the line, as it stands in the first folio, is defective.

9 The old copy reads roated. Mr. Boswell says, perhaps it should be rooted : we have no example of roted for got by rote, but it is much in Sbakspeare's manner of forming expressions.

• Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.' i. e. of no approbation. Allowance has no connection with the subsequent words, ' to your bosom's truth. The construction is

though but bastards to your bosom's truth, not the lawful issue of your heart.' The words and syllables of no allowance,' are put in opposition with bastards, and are as it were parenthetical.

11 See Act i. Sc. 2, note 3.
12 Common clowns.
13 i. e. the want of their loves..

10

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Men..

Noble lady!Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so, Not 14 what is dangerous present, but the loss Of what is past. Vol.

I pr’ythee now, my son, Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand; And thus far having stretch'd it (here be with

them), Thy knee bussing the stones (for in such business Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant More learned than the ears), waving thy head, Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart 15, Now humble, as the ripest mulberry, That will not hold the handling : Or, say to them, Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils,

14 Not seems here to signify not only. 15 It is probably from want of a more complete acquaintance with the rules of grammar which guided our ancestors, that the use they made of the pronouns appears to us anomalous. Which here, as Malone observes, is to be understood as if the poet had written It often,' &c. Steevens pertinaciously insists upon attributing these seeming anomalies of ancient grammar to the incorrectness of ancient printers, whose presswork, he supposes, seldom received any correction; but those who are familiar with the manuscripts of Shakspeare's age will at once acquit the learned and useful body of typographers. I had marked two or three similar instances of the use of which that occurred to me among the Conway MSS. but have unfortunately mislaid my memoranda. Malone has adduced some passages of similar construction from Shakspeare, in which whom is used where we now should use him, and who where we should place they. The meaning of the text seems to be 'Go to the people (says Volumnia), and appear before them in a supplicating attitude-with thy bonnet in thy hand, thy knees on the ground (for in such cases action is eloquence, &c.), waving thy head thus, it by its frequent bendings subduing thy stout heart, which now should be as humble as the ripest mulberry: or if these silent gestures of supplication do not move them, add words, and say to them,' &c. Æschylus, in a fragment preserved by Athenæus, lib. ii. says of Hector, that he was softer than mulberries :

'Ανήρ δ' εκείνος ήν πεπαίτερος μόρων.

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