Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Both Tri.

Well, say.-Peace, ho.
Cor. Shall I be charg'd no further than this present?
Must all determine here?
Sic.

I do demand,
If you submit you to the people's voices,
Allow their officers, and are content
To suffer lawful censure for such faults
As shall be prov'd upon you?
Cor.

I am content.
Men. Lo, citizens, he says, he is content:
The warlike service he has done, consider;
Think on the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i'the holy churchyard.
Cor.

Scratches with briars,
Scars to move laughter only.
Men.

Consider further,
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier: Do not take
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
But, as I say, such as become a soldier,
Rather than envy you.
Com.

Well, well, no more.
Cor. What is the matter,
That being pass’d for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour'd, that the very hour
You take it off again ?
Sic.

Answer to us.
Cor. Say then: 'tis true, I ought so.

Sic. We charge you, that you have contriv'd to take
From Rome all season'd 6 office, and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which, you are a traitor to the people.

Cor. How! Traitor ? 5. Do not take his rougher accents for malicious sounds, but rather for such as become a soldier, than spite or malign you.' See the first note on this scene, and Act i. Sc. viii. note 3.

i. e. wisely tempered office, established by time.

a

5

Men. Nay; temperately: Your promise.

Cor. The fires i’the lowest hell fold in the people! Call me their traitor !—Thou injurious tribune! Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths, In thy hands clutch’d? as many millions, in Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say, Thou liest, unto thee, with a voice as free As I do pray the gods. Sic.

Mark you this, people ?

, Cit. To the rock; to the rock with him! Sic.

Peace.' We need not put new matter to his charge: What

you have seen him do, and heard him speak, Beating your officers, cursing yourselves, Opposing laws with strokes, and here defying Those whose great power must try him; even this, So criminal, and in such capital kind, Deserves the extremest death. Bru.

But since he hath Serv'd well for Rome, Cor.

What do you prate of service ? Bru. I talk of that, that know it. Cor.

'You? Men.

Is this The promise that you made your mother? Com.

Know,
I pray you,
Cor.

I'll know no further:
Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, flaying ; Pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would not buy
Their

mercy at the price of one fair word;
Nor check my courage for what they can give,
To have't with saying, Good morrow.

7 Grasp'd. So in Macbeth:

Come, let me clutch thee.'

Sic.

For that he has (As much as in him lies) from time to time Envied against the people, seeking means To pluck away their power; as 9 now at last Given hostile strokes, and that not 10 in the presence Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers That do distribute it; In the name o’the people, And in the power of us the tribunes, we, Even from this instant, banish him our city; In peril of precipitation From off the rock Tarpeian, never more To enter our Rome gates: I'the people's name, I say, it shall be so.

Cit. It shall be so, it shall be so; let him away:
He's banish’d, and it shall be so.
Com. Hear me, my masters, and my common

friends;
Sic. He's sentenc'd: no more hearing.
Com.

Let me speak: I have been consul, and can show from 11 Rome, Her enemies' marks upon me.

I do love
My country's good, with a respect more tender,
More holy, and profound, than mine own life,

8 Showed hatred.

9 As may here be a misprint for has, or and; or it may signify as well as: such elliptical modes of expression are not uncommon in Shakspeare. We have as apparently for as soon as in All's Well that Ends Well. See vol. iii. p. 329, note 19.

10 Not is here again used for not only. It is thus used in The New Testament, 1 Thess. iv. 8:

• He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God.'

11 i. e. received in her service, or on her account. Theobald substituted for, and supported his emendation by these passages :

• To banish him that struck more blows for Rome.' Again :• Good man! the wounds that he does bear for Rome.'

e

13

My dear wife's estimate 12, her womb's increase,
And treasure of my loins; then if I would
Speak that
Sic.

We know

your
drift:

: Speak what? Bru. There's no more to be said, but he is ba

nishid,
As enemy to the people, and his country:
It shall be so.
Cit.

It shall be so, it shall be so.
Cor. You common cry of curs ! whose breath

I hate
As reek o'the rotten fens 14, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you

15; And here remain with your uncertainty ! Let

every feeble rumour shake your hearts ! Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes, Fan you into despair ! Have the power still To banish your defenders; till, at length, Your ignorance (which finds not, till it feels), Making but reservation of yourselves 16,

12 • I love my country beyond the rate at which I value my dear wife,' &c. 13 Cry here signifies a pack. So in a subsequent scene :

You have made good work,

You and your cry.' A cry of hounds was the old term for a pack. 14 So in The Tempest:

• Seb. As if it had lungs, and rotten ones.

Ant. Or, as 'twere, perfum'd by a fen.' 15 • When it was cast in Diogenes' teeth that the Sinopenetes had banished him Pontus; yea, said he, I them. We have the same thought in King Richard II.:

Think not the king did banish thee,

But thou the king.' '16 Thus in the old copy. Malone, following Capells meddling, changed this line to

Making not reservation of yourselves,' &c. and attempted to defend his reading by a wordy argument, wbich shows that he did not understand the passage. Dr. John

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(Still your own foes), deliver you, as most
Abated 17 captives, to some nation
That won you without blows ! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.

[Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENE

NIUS, Senators, and Patricians.
Æd. The people's enemy is gone, is gone!
Cit. Our enemy's banish’d! he is gone! Hoo!

hoo!

[The People shout, and throw up their Caps. Sic. Go, see him out at gates, and follow him, As he hath follow'd you, with all despite; Give him deserv'd vexation. Let a guard Attend us through the city. Cit. Come, come,

let us see him out at gates ; come:The gods preserve our noble tribunes !—Come.

[Excunt. son's explanation of the text is as correct as bis subsequent remark upon it is judicious. Coriolanus imprecates upon the base plebeians that they may still retain the power of banishing their defenders, till their undiscerning folly, which can foresee no consequences, leave none in the city but themselves; so that for want of those capable of conducting their defence, they may fall an easy prey to some nation who may conquer them without a struggle. If we were to read as Malone would have us

Making not reservation of yourselves,' it would imply that the people banished themselves, after having banished their defenders.

* It is remarkable (says Johnson), that, among the political maxims of the speculative Harrington, there is one that he might have borrowed from this speech :-The people cannot see, but they can feel.It is not much to the honour of the people, that they have the same character of stupidity from their enemy and their friend. Such was the power of our author's mind, that he looked through life in all its relations private and civil.'

17 Abated is overthrown, depressed. To abate castles and houses, &c. is to overthrow them. See Blount's Glossography, in voce.

To abate the courage of a man was to depress or dimi. nish it.

« PreviousContinue »