Imatges de pÓgina
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relieve us; If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes: for, the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

Cit. Against him first; he's a very dog to the commonalty.

2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?

1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.

2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.

1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft conscienc'd men can be content to say it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.

2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: You must in no way say, he is covetous.

1 Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o'the city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol..

Cit. Come, come.

1 Cit. Soft; who comes here?

Thin as rakes.

Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA.

2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.

1 Cit. He's one honest enough; 'Would, all the rest were so!

Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you

With bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray

you.

1 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say, poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall know, we have strong arms too.

Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,

Will you undo yourselves?

1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already. Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman state; whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment: For the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity

Thither where more attends you; and you slander The helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers,

Vhen you curse them as enemies.

1 Cit. Care for us!-True, indeed! They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers: repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and

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provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up
and restrain the poor.
If the wars eat us not up,
they will; and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To scale't a little more.

1 Cit. Well, Ill hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver.

Men. There was a time, when all the body's

members

Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :
That only like a gulf it did remain

I' the midst o'the body, idle and inactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing

Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments

Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered,-

1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly? Men. Sir, I shall tell you. . With a kind of

smile,

Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus, (For, look you, I may make the belly smile, As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied

To the discontented members, the mutinous parts That envied his receipt; even so most fitly'

As you malign our senators, for that

They are not such as you.

1 Cit.

Your belly's answer: What!

The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,

3 Spread it.

4 Whereas.

s Exactly.

Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps

In this our fabrick, if that they

Men.

What then?

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'Fore me, this fellow speaks? what then? what

then?

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1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,

Who is the sink o'the body,

Men.

Well, what then?

1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?

Men. I will tell you; If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little,) Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's answer. 1 Cit. You are long about it.

Men.
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,

Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd.
True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,
That I receive the general food at first,
Which you do live upon and fit it is;
Because I am the store-house, and the shop
Of the whole body: But if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o'the brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins,
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
You, my good friends, (this says the belly,) mark

me,

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Though all at once cannot

See what I do deliver out to each;
Yet I can

make my audit up, that all,

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From me do back receive the flower of all, And leave me but the bran. What say you to't? 1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this? Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly, And you the mutinous members: For examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly,

Touching the weal o'the common; you shall find, No publick benefit which you receive,

But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you,
And no way from yourselves. What do you think?
You the great toe of this assembly?

1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe?· Men. For that being one o'the lowest, basest, poorest,

Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost :
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
Lead'st first to win some vantage.

But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs;
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle,
The one side must have bale 7. Hail, noble Marcius!

Enter CAIUS MARCIUS.

Mar. Thanks.

1 Cit.

What's the matter, you dissen

tious rogues.

We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will

flatter

Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you

curs,

That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese: You are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is,

7 Bane.

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