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SCENE I. The same. Before a Gate of the City. Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA,
MENENIUS, COMINIUS, and several young Patricians. Cor. Come, leave your tears; a brief farewell:
the beast 1 With many heads butts me away.-Nay, mother, Where is
ancient courage ? To say, extremity was the trier of spirits; That common chances common men could bear; That, when the sea was calm, all boats alike Show'd mastership in floating : fortune's blows, When most struck home, being gentle wounded,
you were us'd
A noble cunning 3 : you were us'd to load me
Vir. O heavens! O heavens !
Nay, I pr’ythee, woman,
What, what, what! I shall be lov'd when I am lack’d. Nay, mother, 1 Horace, speaking of the Roman mob, says :
* Bellua multorum est capitum.' 2 This is the reading of the second folio; the first folio reads, extremities was, &c.
3 · When Fortune strikes her hardest blows, to be wounded, and yet continue calm, requires a noble wisdom.' Cunning is often used in this sense by Shakspeare. Johnson reprehends Warburton for misinterpreting the poet's words, and has himself mistaken the meaning of this.
Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
My first son, Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius With thee a while : Determine on some course, More than a wild exposture7 to each chance That starts i’the way before thee. Cor.
O the gods! Com. I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee Where thou shalt rest, that thou may’st hear of us, And we of thee: so, if the time thrust forth A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send O'er the vast world, to seek a single man; And lose advantage, which doth ever cool I'the absence of the needer. Cor.
Fare ye well; ;
? Exposure; for which it is probably a typographical error, as we have no other instance of the word exposture.
Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
Come, let's not weep.If I could shake off but one seven years From these old arms and legs, by the good gods, I'd with thee
Give me thy hand : Come.
A Street near the Gate.
Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an Ædile.
Bru. Now we have shown our power,
Bid them home:
Dismiss them home.
8 i. e. of true metal. The metaphor from the touchstone for trying metals, is common in Shakspeare.
Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and MeNENIUS.
Let's not meet her.
Why? Sic. They say, she's mad. Bru. .
They have ta’en note of us : Keep on your way. Vol. O, you're well met: The hoarded plague
o'the gods Requite your love ! Men.
Peace, peace; be not so loud.
[T. BRUTUS. Vir. You shall stay too: [To Sic.] I would, I
had the power
To say so to my husband.
mankind 1 ?
fool. Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship? To banish him that struck more blows for Rome, Than thou hast spoken words? Sic.
O blessed heavens ! Vol. More noble blows, than ever thou wise words ; And for Rome's good.-I'll tell thee what:-Yet
go:Nay, but thou shalt stay too :- I would my son Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him, His good sword in his hand.
| Mankind is fierce, ferocious. See vol. iv. p. 40, note 6. That it had this sense is evident, because we sometimes find it applied to a stubborn or ferocious animal. Volumnia chooses to understand it as meaning a human creature.
? i. e, mean cunning,
What then? He'd make an end of thy posterity.
Vol. Bastards, and all. Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
Men. Come, come, peace.
Sic. I would he had continu'd to his country,
I would he had.
Pray, let us go
have banish’d, does exceed you all. Bru. Well, well, we'll leave you. Sic.
Why stay we to be baited With one that wants her wits? Vol. Take my prayers
you.I would the gods had nothing else to do,
Exeunt Tribunes. But to confirm my curses! Could I meet them But once a day, it would unclog my heart Of what lies heavy to't, Men.
You have told them home, And, by my troth, you have cause.
with me? Vol. Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself, And so shall starve with feeding.–Come, let's go: