Imatges de pÓgina

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.

All. Come, come.

1 Cit. Soft; who comes here?



2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always lov'd 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


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 shew '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?

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 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,
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 storehouses 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 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.



2 Cit. Well, I'll 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 mem、


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

I'the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
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 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 envy'd his receipt; even so most fitly
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 soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabrick, if that they-

Men. What then?



'Fore me, this fellow speaks 1-what then? what


2 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink o' the 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. 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; 140 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


2 Cit. 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 flour of all,

And leave me but the bran. What say you to't?
2 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


Touching the weal o' the common; you shall find,

No public 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?—


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


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.—Hail, noble Marcius Į


Mar. Thanks.-What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,

That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, 170 Make yourselves scabs ?

2 Cit. We have ever your good word.

Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will


Beneath abhorring.-What would have, you curs, That like nor 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,


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