Imatges de pÓgina
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absence wherein he won honour, than in the embracements of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied, and' the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way1; when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I,-considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown made it not stir,-was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter,-I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.

Vir. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?

Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely: Had I a dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius,-I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.

Enter a Gentlewoman.

Gent. Madam, the lady Valeria is come to visit you.

Vir. 'Beseech you, give me leave to retire3 myself.

1 Attracted the attention of every one toward him.

2 The crown given by the Romans to him that saved the life of a citizen, which was accounted more honourable than any other.

3 This verb active (signifying to withdraw) occurs in The Tempest:

I will thence

Retire me to my Milan.'

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Methinks, I hear hither your husband's drum;
See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair;
As children from a bear, the Volces shunning him:
Methinks, I see him stamp thus, and call thus,-—
Come on, you cowards, you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome: His bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes;
Like to a harvest-man, that's task'd to mow
Or all, or lose his hire.

Vir. His bloody brow! O, Jupiter, no blood!
Vol. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man,
Than gilt his trophy: The breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead, when it spit forth blood
At Grecian swords' contending.-Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.
[Exit Gent.
Vir. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
Vol. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee,
And tread upon his neck.

Re-enter Gentlewoman, with VALERIA and her Usher.

Val. My ladies both, good day to you.

Vol. Sweet madam,

Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.

Val. How do you both? you are manifest housekeepers. What, are you sewing here? A fine spot5, in good faith. How does your little son?

Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

4 Gilt means a superficial display of gold. The word is now obsolete.

'Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirched.'..
King Henry V.

5 i. e. a handsome spot of embroidery. We often hear of spotted muslin,

Vol. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than look upon his school-master.

Val. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear, 'tis a very pretty boy. O'my troth, I looked upon him o' Wednesday half an hour together: he has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth, and tear it; O, I warrant, how he mammocked it!

Vol. One of his father's moods.

Val. Indeed la, 'tis a noble child.

Vir. A crack', madam.

Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle huswife with me this after

noon.

Vir. No, good madam; I will not out of doors. Val. Not out of doors!

Vol. She shall, she shall.

Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience: I will not over the threshold, till my lord return from the

wars.

Val. Fye, you confine yourself most unreasonably; Come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.

Vir. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

6 To mammock is to tear or cut in pieces.

7 A crack signifies a sprightly forward boy: it is often used by Jonson and his cotemporaries :

'If we could get a witty boy now, Eugine,

That were an excellent crack, I could instruct him
To the true height.'

A notable dissembling lad, a crack.'

Devil is an Ass.

Four Prentices of London, 1615.

Vol. Why, I pray you?

Vir. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love. Val. You would be another Penelope: yet they say, all the yarn she spun, in Ulysses' absence, did but fill Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would, your cambrick were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.

Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.

Val. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.

Vir. O, good madam, there can be none yet.
Val. Verily, I do not jest with
you; there came

news from him last night.

Vir. Indeed, madam?

Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is:-The Volces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power: your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.

Vir. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every thing hereafter.

Vol. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our better mirth.

Val. In troth, I think she would:-Fare you well then.-Come, good sweet lady.-Pr'ythee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o'door, and go along with us.

Vir.. No: at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish you much mirth.

Val. Well, then farewell.

'VOL. VIII.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV. Before Corioli.

Enter, with Drum and Colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Officers and Soldiers. To them a Messenger.

Mar. Yonder comes news:-A wager, they have

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Mar. Say, has our general met the enemy?
Mess. They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.
Lart. So, the good horse is mine.

Mar.

I'll buy him of you.

Lart. No, I'll nor sell, nor give him: lend you

him, I will,

For half a hundred years.

Summon the town.

Mar. How far off lie these armies?

Mess.

Within this mile and half. Mar. Then shall we hear their larum, and they ours. Now, Mars, I pr'ythee make us quick in work; That we with smoking swords may march from hence, To help our fielded friends1!-Come, blow thy blast. They sound a parley. Enter, on the walls, some Senators, and Others.

Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he 2,

1 i. e, our friends who are in the field of battle.

2 The poet means-No, nor a man that fears you more than he; but he often entangles himself in the use of less and more. In the Winter's Tale we meet with an inaccuracy of the same kind. See vol. iv. p. 49:

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- I ne'er heard yet,

That any of these bolder vices wanted

Less impudence to gainsay what they did,

Than to perform it first.'

And in Cymbeline - Be it but to fortify her judgment, which else an easy battery might lay flat, for taking a beggar without less quality. Here also less should be more.

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