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ACT III. SCENE 1.
The Same. A Street.
Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Senators, and Patricians. COR. Tullus Aufidius then had made new head? LART. He had, my lord; and that it was, which caus'd
Our swifter composition.
COR. So then the Volces stand but as at first; Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make
LART. On safe-guard he came to me; and did
Against the Volces, for they had so vilely
He did, my lord.
LART. How often he had met you, sword to
That, of all things upon the earth, he hated
4- LORD consul,] Shakspeare has here, as in other places, attributed the usage of England to Rome. In his time the title of lord was given to many officers of state who were not peers; thus, lords of the council, lord ambassador, lord general, &c.
5 On SAFE-GUARD he came to me ;] i. e. with a convoy, a guard appointed to protect him. STEEVENS.
Your person most: that he would pawn his fortunes To hopeless restitution, so he might
Be call'd your vanquisher.
LART. At Antium.
At Antium lives he?
COR. I wish, I had a cause to seek him there, To oppose his hatred fully.-Welcome home, [TO LARTIUS.
Enter SICINIUS and BRUTus.
Behold! these are the tribunes of the people,
For they do prank them in authority",
Against all noble sufferance.
COм. Hath he not pass'd the nobles, and the
BRU. Cominius, no.
Have I had children's voices?
6- PRANK them in authority,] Plume, deck, dignify themselves.
So, in Measure for Measure, Act II. Sc. II. :
"Drest in a little brief authority." STEEVENS.
7 Hath he not pass'd the nobles, and the commons?] The first folio reads: " noble," and " common." The second hasI have not hesitated to reform this passage on the authority of others in the play before us.
the nobles bended "As to Jove's statue :
"A shower and thunder," &c. STEEVENS.
1 SEN. Tribunes, give way; he shall to the mar
BRU. The people are incens'd against him.
Or all will fall in broil.
COR. Are these your herd ?— Must these have voices, that can yield them now, And straight disclaim their tongues?-What are your offices?
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?
Be calm, be calm,
COR. It is a purpos'd thing, and grows by plot, To curb the will of the nobility :
Suffer it, and live with such as cannot rule,
Nor ever will be rul'd.
Call't not a plot :
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
COR. Have you inform'd them since ??
Not to them all.
How! I inform them!
COR. You are like to do such business 1.
Each way, to better yours 2.
why rule you not their teeth?] The metaphor is from men's setting a bull-dog or mastiff upon any one. WARBURTON.
9 since?] The old copy-sithence. STEEVENS. You are like to do such business, &c.] This speech is given in the old copy to Cominius. It was rightly attributed to CorioJanus by Mr. Theobald. MALone.
Each way, to better yours, &c.] i. e. likely to provide betteṛ
COR. Why then should I be consul? By yon
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
You show too much of that,
For which the people stir: If you will pass
To where you are bound, you must inquire your
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit;
Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.
Let's be calm.
COM. The people are abus'd:-Set on. This
Becomes not Rome 3; nor has Coriolanus
Deserv'd this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
I' the plain way of his merit.
Tell me of corn!
This was my speech, and I will speak't again ;
MEN. Not now, not now.
Not in this heat, sir, now.
COR. Now, as I live, I will.-My nobler friends,
I crave their pardons :
for the security of the commonwealth than you (whose business it is) will do. To which the reply is pertinent :
"Why then should I be consul?"
3 -This PALT'RING
Becomes not ROME ;] That is, this trick of dissimulation; this shuffling:
"And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd,
"That palter with us in a double sense." Macbeth.
"Becomes not Rome; I would read:
"Becomes not Romans;
Coriolanus being accented on the first, and not the second
syllable, in former instances. STEEVENS.
♦ — rub, laid falsely, &c.] Falsely, for treacherously.
The metaphor is from the bowling-green. MALONE.
For the mutable, rank-scented many 5, let them Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves: I say again,
In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate
Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd and scatter'd,
By mingling them with us, the honour'd number; Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that Which they have given to beggars.
Well, no more.
How! no more?
1 SEN. No more words, we beseech you. COR. As for my country I have shed my blood, Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs Coin words till their decay, against those meazels, Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.
You speak o' the people,
As if you were a god to punish, not
A man of their infirmity.
many.] i. e. the populace. The Greeks used o
exactly in the same sense. HOLT WHITE.
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Let them look in the mirror
which I hold up to them, a mirror which does not flatter, and see themselves. JOHNSON.
7 The COCKLE of rebellion,] Cockle is a weed which grows up with the corn. The thought is from Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, where it is given as follows: "Moreover, he said, that they nourished against themselves the naughty seed and cockle of insolency and sedition, which had been sowed and scattered abroad among the people," &c. STEEVENS. "The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition." Here are three syllables too many. We might read, as in North's Plutarch: "The cockle of insolency and sedition." RITSON. -meazels,] Mesell is used in Pierce Plowman's Vision, for a leper. The same word frequently occurs in The London Prodigal, 1605. STEEVENS.