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i Cit. Very well: and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud,
All. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
i Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end ; though soft-conscienc'd men can be confent to say it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and partly to be 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.
I Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations ; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Sbouts within.] What shouts are those ? the other side o'th'city is risen; why stay we prating here? to th’ Capitol
all. Come, come.
I Cit. Soft · who comes here?
SCENE II. - Enter Menenius Agrippa. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loy'd the people.
i Cit. He's one honest encugh; would all the rest were so!
Men. What work's my countrymen, in hand? where go you with your
bats and clubs ? the matter--speak, I pray you. 2 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate ; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll thew 'em in deeds: they say, poor suitors have strong, breaths ; they fall know we have strong
Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours, will you undo your felves?
2 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 sufferings in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them
Against the Roman fate; whose course will on
way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong links 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. Alck,
You are transported by calamity
Thither, where more attends you ; and you
The helms o'th'state, who care for you, like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.
2 Cit. Care for us ? true indeed! they ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses cramm'd with grain : make edicts for usury, to support usurers ; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and 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 your felves wond'rous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I fall tell you
A pretty tale ; it may be you have heard it;
But since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To stale't a little more.
2 Cit. Well,
We'll hear it, Sir, but yet you must not think
To fob off our disgraces 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
l'th’midst o'th' body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest ; where th' 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 answer'd
2 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 reply'd
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his ceit; even so most
As you malign our senators, for that
They are not such as you -
2 Cit. Your belly's answer - - what?
The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our foldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter ;
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabrick, if that they
Men. What then? - for me this fellow speaks.
What then? what then ?
2 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain's, Who is the sink o'th' body
Men. Well, what then ?
2 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.
2 Cit. Y'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 th' seat o'th' 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
2 Cie. Ay, Sir, well, well.
Men. Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flow'r of all,
And leave me but the bran. What say you to't ?
2 Cie. 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’th' common, you shall find
No publick benefit which you receive,
But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
And no way from your selves. What do you think?
You, the great toe of this affembly?
2 Cit. I the great toe! why the great toe ?
Men. For that being one o’th’ lowest, bafest, poorest
Of this most wise rebellion, thou goeft foremost :
Thou rascal, that art first from blows to run,
Lead'At firit 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 bane.
SCENE III, Enter Caius Martius,
Hail, noble Martius !
Mar. Thanks. What's the matter, you diffentious rogues, That, rabbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make your selves scabs ?
2 Cit. We have ever your good word.
Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, ye curs,
That like not peace, nor war ? The one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to 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 bailftone in the sun. Your virtue is,
To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness,
Deserves your hate ; and your affections are
A fick man's appetite, who desires moit that
Which would encrease his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye trust ye !
minute you do change a mind,
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter,
That in the several places of the city
You cry against the noble Senate, who (Under the Gods) keep you in awe, which else Would feed on one another? - What's their seeking ?
Men. For corn at their own rates, whereof, they say, The city is well stor’d.
Mar. Hang 'em : they say !
They'll fit by th' fire, and presume to know
What's done i'th' Capitol ; who's like to rise,
And who declines : side factions, and give out
Conjectural marriages ; making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking,
Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain
Enough! would the Nobility lay aside
Their ruth, and let me use my sword, I'd make
A quarry with thousands of these quarter'd Naves,
As high as I could pitch my lance.
Men. Nay, these
Are almost thoroughly persuaded : for
Although abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they pafling cowardly. I beseech you,
What says the other troop?
Mar. They are diffolv’d;
They said they were an hungry, figh'd forth proverbs ;
That bunger broke ftone 7 alls that dogs must eat
That meat was made for mouths that the Gods sent not
Corn for the rich men only With these shreds
They vented their complainings ; which being answer'd,
And a petition granted them, a strange one,
To break the heart of generosity,
And make bold power look pale ; they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o'th' moon,
Shouting their émulation.
Men. What is granted ?
Mar. Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice. One of them's Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not s'death!
The rabble should have first unroof'd the city
Ere so prevail'd with me : it will in time
Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.