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The Gates of Corioli.
TITUS LARTIUS, having set a Guard upon Corioli, going with a Drum and Trumpet toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with a Lieutenant, a Party of Soldiers, and a Scout.
LART. So, let the ports 2 be guarded: keep your duties,
As I have set them down. If I do send, despatch Those centuries to our aid: the rest will serve For a short holding: If we lose the field,
We cannot keep the town.
Fear not our care, sir.
LART. Hence, and shut your gates upon us.Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us. [Exeunt.
A Field of Battle between the Roman and the Volcian Camps.
Alarum. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS.
MAR. I'll fight with none but thee; for I do
Worse than a promise-breaker.
We hate alike;
Not Africk owns a serpent, I abhor
2 the PORTS -] i. e. the gates. So, in Timon of Athens: Descend, and open your uncharged ports." STEEVENS. 3 Those CENTURIES] i. e. companies consisting each of a hundred men. Our author sometimes uses this word to express simply-a hundred; as in Cymbeline:
"And on it said a century of prayers." STEEVENS.
More than thy fame and envy1: Fix thy foot. MAR. Let the first budger die the other's slave, And the gods doom him after 5!
Halloo me like a hare.
If I fly, Marcius,
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls 6,
And made what work I pleas'd; 'Tis not my blood, Wherein thou seest me mask'd; for thy revenge, Wrench up thy power to the highest.
AUF. Wert thou the Hector, That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny",
4thy fame and ENVY:] Envy here, as in many other places, means malice. See vol. v. p. 108, n. 9. MALONE.
The phrase-death and honour, being allowed, in our author's language, to signify no more than-honourable death, so fame and envy, may only mean-detested or odious fame. The verb-to envy, in ancient language, signifies to hate. Or the construction may be Not Africk owns a serpent I more abhor and envy than thy fame.' STEEVENS.
5 Let the first budger die the other's slave, And the gods doom him after !]
So, in Macbeth:
"And damn'd be him who first cries, Hold, Enough!" STEEVENS.
6 Within these three hours, TULLUS,
Alone I fought in your Corioli WALLS,] If the name of Tullus be omitted, the metre will become regular. STEEVENS. 7 Wert thou the Hector,
That was the WHIP of your bragg'd progeny,] The Romans boasted themselves descended from the Trojans; how then was Hector the whip of their progeny? It must mean the whip with which the Trojans scourged the Greeks, which cannot be but by a very unusual construction, or the author must have forgotten the original of the Romans; unless whip has some meaning which includes advantage or superiority, as we say, he has the whip-hand, for he has the advantage. JOHNSON.
Dr. Johnson considers this as a very unusual construction, but it appears to me only such as every page of these plays furnishes ; and the foregoing interpretation is in my opinion undoubtedly the true one. An anonymous correspondent justly observes, that the words mean," the whip that your bragg'd progeny was possessed of." MALONE.
Whip might anciently be used, as crack is now, to denote any
'Thou should'st not scape me here.
[They fight, and certain Volces come to the aid
Officious, and not valiant-you have sham'd me
[Exeunt fighting, driven in by MARCIUS.
The Roman Camp.
A Retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter at one side, COMINIUS, and Romans; at the other side, MARCIUS, with his Arm in a Scarf, and other Romans.
COм. If I should tell thee' o'er this thy day's
thing peculiarly boasted of; as-the crack house in the countythe crack boy of a school, &c. Modern phraseology, perhaps, has only passed from the whip, to the crack of it. STEEVENS.
In your CONDEMNED seconds.] For condemned, we may read contemned. You have, to my shame, sent me help which I despise. JOHNSON.
Why may we not as well be contented with the old reading. and explain it, You have, to my shame, sent me help, which I must condemn as intrusive, instead of applauding it as necessary?" Mr. M. Mason proposes to read second instead of seconds: but the latter is right. So, King Lear: "No seconds? all myself?" STEEVENS.
We have had the same phrase in the fourth scene of this play : "Now prove good seconds!" MALONE.
9 If I should tell thee, &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "There the consul Cominius going up to his chayer of state, in the presence of the whole armie, gaue thankes to the goddes for so great, glorious, and prosperous a victorie: then he spake to Martius, whose valliantnes he commended beyond the moone, both for that he himselfe sawe him doe with his eyes, as also for that Martius had reported vnto him. So in the ende he willed Martius, he should choose out of all the horses they had taken
Thou'lt not believe thy deeds: but I'll report it,
That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,
Our Rome hath such a soldier!—
Yet cam'st thou to a morsel of this feast,
Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his Power, from the
Here is the steed, we the caparison 2:
Hadst thou beheld
Pray now, no more: my mother, Who has a charter to extol3 her blood,
of their enemies, and of all the goodes they had wonne (whereof there was great store) tenne of euery sorte which he likest best, before any distribution should be made to other. Besides this great honorable offer he had made him, he gaue him in testimonie that he had wonne that daye the price of prowes above all other, a goodly horse with a capparison, and all furniture to him: which the whole armie beholding, dyd marvelously praise and commend. But Martius stepying forth, told the consul, he most thanckefully accepted the gifte of his horse, and was a glad man besides, that his seruice had deserued his generalls commendation: and as for his other offer, which was rather a mercenary reward, than an honourable recompence, he would none of it, but was contented to haue his equall parte with other souldiers." STEEVENS
And, gladly quak'd,] i. e. thrown into grateful trepidation. To quake is used likewise as a verb active by T. Heywood, in his Silver Age, 1613:
"We'll quake them at that bar
"Where all souls wait for sentence." STEEVENS.
2 Here is the steed, we the caparison;] This is an odd encomium. The meaning is, "this man performed the action, and we only fil.ed up the show." JOHNSON.
When she does praise me, grieves me. I have
As you have done; that's what I can; induc'd
He, that has but effected his good will,
What you have done,) before our army hear me. MAR. I have some wounds upon me, and they
To hear themselves remember'd.
Should they not",
Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude,
And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses, (Whereof we have ta'en good, and good store,) of
The treasure, in this field achiev'd, and city,
a charter to extol-] A privilege to praise her own son. JOHNSON.
4- that's for my cOUNTRY :] The latter word is used here, as in other places, as a trisyllable. See vol. iv. p. 31, and p. 137. MALONE.
Hath OVERTA'EN mine ACT.] That is, has done as much as I have done, inasmuch as my ardour to serve the state is such that I have never been able to effect all that I wish'd.
So, in Macbeth:
"The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,
"Unless the deed goes with it." MALONE.
NOT TO REWARD
What you have done,)] So, in Macbeth :
To herald thee into his sight, not pay thee."
7 Should they not,] That is, not be remembered.