Imatges de pÓgina




SCENE, A Street in Rome.

Enter a company of mutinous Citizens with staves, clubs,

and other weapons.


EFORE we proceed any further, hear

me fpeak.

All. Speak, speak.

i Cit. You are all resoly'd rather to die,

than to familh ? All. Resolv'd, resolv'd.

i Cit. First, you know, Caius Marcius is the chief enemy to the people.

Al. We know't, we know't.

i Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have Corn at our own price. Is't a Verdićt ?

Ali. No more talking on't, let't be done ; away, away.

2 Cit. One word, good Citizens.

i Cit. We are accounted poor Citizens; the Patricians, good: what Authority surfeits on, would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while ic

B 2


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 ?

All. Against him first: he's a very dog to the Commonalty.

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

i Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report fort; 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 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.

I 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 those? the other fide o'ch' City is rifen; why stay we prating here? To the Capitol

All. Come, come. i ! Cit. Soft who comes here?

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

i 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. 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 Suiters have strong breaths; they shall know, we have strong arms too. Men. Why, Masters, my good Friends, mine honest

Neighbours, Will you undo your

selves? 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 State, whose Course will on The 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. Alack, You are transported by Calamity Thither, where more attends you; and you slander The Helms o'th' State, who care for you, like Fa

thers, 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 Ulury, to support Usurers ; repeal daily any wholesome A establised against the Rich, and provide more piercing Statutes daily to chain up and reftrain 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 selves wond'rous 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

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(1) To ftale't a little more.

2 Cit. Well,
I'll hear it, Sir yet you must not think
To fob off our disgraces with a Tale:
But, and't please you, deliver.

Men. There was a time, when all the body's members
Rebellid against the belly; thus accus'd it;
That only, like a Gulf, it did remain
I'th' midit o'th' body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the Viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest, where th’other instruments

(1) To scale't a little more.] Thus all the Editions, but without any Manner of Sense, that I can find out.

The Poet must have wrote, as £ have corrected the Text: and then the Meaning will be plainly this,

Perhaps, you may have heard my Tale already, but for all That, I'II. venture to make it more fiale and familiar to You, by telling it over again.” And nothing is more common than the Verb in this Sense, with our three Capital Dramatic Poets. To begin, with our own Author. Anth. and Cleop.

Age cannot wither her, nor Custom stale

Her infinite Variety,
Jul. Cæs.
Were I

a common Laugher, or did use
To stale with ordinary Oaths my Love &c.
And, again,

and Imitations,
Which out of Use, and staled by other Men,

Begin his Fashion
So B. Jonson, in his Every Man in his Humour.

and not content
To ftale bimself in all Societies,

He makes my House here common as a Mart. Cynthia's Revels.

I'll go tell all the Argument of bis Play aforehand, and la ftale bis Invention to the Auditory, before it come forth. And fo Beaumont and Fletcher, in their Beggar's Buffa.

But I should lose my self to speak him further,
And ftale, in my Relation, the much Good

You may be witness of.
Queen of Corinth.

I'll not stale 'em,
By giving up their Characters; but leave You

To make your own Discov’ries.
Wit at several Weapons.

You shall not be seen yet, we'll stale your Friend first;
So please but him to stand for th’Anti mask.

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. (2) Sir, I shall tell you.

With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus (For, look



may make the belly smile,
As well as speak) it tauntingly reply'd
To th' difcontented Members, th’ mutinous Parts,
That envied his receit; even so moft 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 fteed 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. What then? what then?

2 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain’d, Who is the Sink o'ch' 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 answerd;
True is it, my incorporate Friends, quoth he,

(2) Sir, I hall tell you with a kind of Smile,

Which ne'er came from the Lungs.] Thus all the Editors, most itupidly, hitherto; as if Menenius were to smile in telling his Story, tho? the Lines, which immediately follow, make it evident that the Belly was meant to smile.



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