Imatges de pàgina
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To choke it in the utt'rance; so our virtues
Lie in the interpretation of the time ;
And Power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb fo evident, as a chair
T' extol what it hath done.
One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
*Right's by right fouled, strengths by strengths do fail.
Come, let's away; when, Cains, Rome is thine,
Thou'rt poor'st of all, then shortly art thou mine.

[Exeunt.

A CT V.

S CE N E

I.

A public Place in Rome.
Enter Menenius, Cominius, Sicinius, Brutus,

with others.

M E NENIU S.

,

Which was sometime his General; who lov'd

him
In a most dear particular. He call'd me father :
But what o' that? go you, that banish'd him,
A mile before his Tent, fall down, and knee.
The way into his mercy : nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.

Com. He would not seem to know me.
Men. Do

you

hear ?
Com. Yet one time he did call me by my name :
I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus

* Right's by right fouler,] This has no Manner 'of Sense. We should read, -Right's by right fouled.

-Or as it is commonly written in English, foiled, from the French, fouler, to tread or trample kunder Foot.

Warburton. Vol. VIII.

E

Hc

He would not answer to ; forbade all names;
He was a kind of Nothing, titleless,
'Till he had forg'd himself a name o' th' fire
Of burning Rome.

Men. Why, fo ; you've made good work :
A pair of Tribunes, that have reck'd for Rome,
To make coals cheap: a noble memory!

Com. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon
When it was lealt expected. He reply'd,
It was a bare petition of a State
To one whom they had punish'd.

Men. Very well, could he say less ?

Con. I offer'd to awaken his regard
For's private friends. His answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
Of noisom mufty chaff. He said, 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And Itill to nose th' offence.

Men. For one poor grain or two ?
I'm one of those : his mother, wife, his child,
And this brave fellow too, we are the grains;
You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
Above the Moon. We must be burnt for you.
Sic. Nay, pray, be patient: if

your

aid
In this fo-never-needed help, yet do not
Upbraid us with our distress. But, sure, if you
Would be your Country's pleader, your good tongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our Country-man.

Men. No : I'll not meddle.
Sic. Pray you, go to him.
Men. What should I do?

Bru. Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome, tow'rds Marcius,

Men. Well, and say, that Marcius
Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
Unheard : (what then ?)
But as a discontented friend, grief-shot

ye refuse

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With his unkindness. Say't be so ?

Sic. Yet your good will Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure As you intended well.

Men. I'll undertake it : I think, he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip, And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me. He was not taken well, he had not din'd. The veins un fill'd, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the morning, are unapt To give or to forgive ; but when we've stuff'd These pipes, and these conveyances of blood With wine and feeding, we have fuppler souls Than in our priest-like fasts ; therefore I'll watch him 'Till he be dieted to my request, And then I'll set upon him.

Bru. You know the very road into his kindness, And cannot lose your way.

Men. Good faith, I'll prove him, Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge Of my success.

[Exit. Com. He'll never hear him. Sic. Not ?

Com. I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye Red as 'twould burn Rome ; and his injury The Goaler to his pity. I kneel'd before him, 'Twas very faintly he faid, rise : dismiss'd me Thus, with his speechless hand. What he would do, He sent in writing after ; what he would not, Bound with an oath not yield to new conditions : So that all hope is vain, unless his mother And wife, who (as I hear) mean to solicit him, * Force mercy to his country. Therefore hence, And with our fair intreaties haste them on. (Exeunt.

* For mercy to his country.] Unless his Mother and Wife-do what ? the Sentence is imperfe&. We should read, ---Force Mercy to his Country :

Warb.

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STA

SCENE II.

Changes to the Volscian Camp..
Enter Menenius to the Watch or Guard,
I Watch.

TAY: whence are you?
2 Watch. Stand, and

go

back. Men. You guard like men, 'tis well. But, by your

leave, I am an officer of State, and come To speak with Coriolanus.

I Watch. Whence ? Men. From Rome. 1 Watch. You may not pass, you must return.:

our General Will no more hear from thence. 2 Watch. You'll see your Rome embrac'd with fire,

before You'll speak with Coriolanus.

Men. Good my friends,
If you have heard your General talk of Rome,
And of his friends there, it is Lots to Blanks,
My name hath touch'd your ears; it is Menenius.
1 Watch. Be it fo, go back : the virtue of your

Name
Is not here paffable.

Men. I tell thee, fellow,
Thy General is my lover: I have been
The book of his good acts ; whence men have read
His fame unparallel'd haply amplified :
* For I have ever narrified my friends,

* For I have ever verified my friends, &c.] Shakespear's mighty Talent in painting the Manners, is especially remarkable in this place. Menenius here, and Polonius in Hamlet, have much of the same natural Chara&er. The Difference is only accidental. The one was a Senator in a free State ; and the other a Courtier, and Minifter to a King ; which two Circumstances afforded Matter for that inimitable Ridicule thrown over the Character of Polonius. Without Doubt he wrote, — -For I have ever narrified my friends, -i. c. made their Encomium.

Warb.

(OF

(of whom he's chief) with all the size that verity
Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes, ,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground,
I've tumbled past the throw ; and in his praise
Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing. Therefore, fellow,
I must have leave to pass.

1 Watch. Faith, Sir, if you had told as many lies: in his behalf, as you have utter'd words in your own, you should not pass here : no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chastly. Therefore,

go back.

Men. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember, my name is Menenius ; always factionary of the Party of your General.

2 Watch. Howsoever you have been his liar, (as you say, you have :) I am one that, telling true under him, must say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back.

Men. Has he din'd, canst thou tell ? for I would not speak with him till after dinner.

1 Watch. You are a Roman; are you?
Men. I am as thy General is.
I Watch, Then

you

should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have push'd out of your gates the very Defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front his revenges with the easy groans of old wor men, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such a decay'd Dotard as you seem to be ? can you think to blow out the iniended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak breath as this ? no, you are deceiv'd, therefore back to Rome, and prepare for your execution ; you: are condemn'd, cur General has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.

Men. Sirrah, if thy Captain knew I were here, he would use me with estimation.

1 Watch. Come, my Captain knows you not. Men. I mean, thy General.

E 3

1 Watch,

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