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them; and there be many that they have loved they know not wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground: Therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate him, manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition; and, out of his noble carelessness, let's them plainly see't.
i Off. If he did not care whether he had their love, or no, he waved* indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good, nor harm; but he seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can render it him; and leaves nothing undone, that may fully discover him their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of the people, is as bad as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
2 Off. He hath deserved worthily of his country: And his ascent is not by such easy degrees as those, who, having been supple and courteous to the people, bonnetted,” without any further deed to heave them at all into their estimation and report: but he hath so planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions in their hearts, that for their tongues to be silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.
i Off. No more of him; he is a worthy man: Make way, they are coming.
- he waved ] That is, he would have waved indifferently.
their opposite.] That is, their adversary.
- supple and courteous to the people, bonnetted, &c.] Bonnetter, Fr. is to pull off one's cap. So, in the academick style, to cap a fellow, is to take off the cap to him.
A Sennet. Enter, with Lictors before them, COMINIUS the Consul, MeneniUS, CORIOLANUS, many other Senators, SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their places; the Tribunes take theirs also by themselves.
Men. Having determin’d of the Volces, and
Speak, good Cominius:
We are convented
8 and make us think, .
Than we to stretch it out.] i. e. Rather say that our means are too defective to afford an adequate reward for his services, than suppose our wishes to stretch out those means are defective.
9 Your loving motion toward the cominon body,] Your kind interposition with the common people,
Which the rather
That's off, that's off;'
He loves your people;
[CORIOLanus rises, and offers to go away. 1 Sen. Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear What
you have nobly done. Cor.
Your honours' pardon;
Sir, I hope,
No, sir: yet oft, When blows have made me stay, I fled from words. You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: But, your
people, I love them as they weigh. Men.
Pray now, sit down. Cor. I had rather have one scratch my head i'
When the alarum were struck, than idly sit
[Exit CORIOLANUS. Men.
Masters o'the people, Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter,
That's off, that's off;] That is, that is nothing to the purpose.
how can he flatter,] The reasoning of Menenius is this:
(That's thousand to one good one,) when you now
see, He had rather venture all his limbs for honour, Than one of his ears to bear it?-Proceed, Comi
nius. Com. I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus Should not be utter'd feebly.-It is held, That valour is the chiefest virtue, and Most dignifies the haver: if it be, The man I speak of cannot in the world Be singly counterpois’d. At sixteen years, When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator, Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight, When with his Amazonian chino he drove The bristled lips before him: he bestrid An o'er press'd Roman, and i' the consul's view Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met, And struck him on his knee:' in that day's feats, When he might act the woman in the scene, He prov'd best man i' the field, and for his meed Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea;
How can he be expected to practise flattery to others, who abhors it so much, that he cannot hear it even when offered to himself?
s When Tarquin made a head for Rome,] When Tarquin who had been expelled, raised a power to recover Rome.
- his Amazonian chin ) i. e. his chin on which there was no beard.
5 And struck him on his knee:] This does not mean that he gave Tarquin a blow on the knee, but gave him such a blow as occasioned him to fall on his knee.
o When he might act the woman in the scene,] It has been more than once mentioned, that the parts of women were, in Shakspeare's time, represented by the most smooth-faced young men to be found among the players. But here is a great anachronism. There were no theatres at Rome for the exhibition of plays for about two hundred and fifty years after the death of Coriolanus.
And, in the brunt of seventeen battles since,
Worthy man! 1 Sen. He cannot but with measure fit the ho
? He lurch'd all swords o'the garland.] To lurch, in Shakspeare's time, signified to win a maiden set at cards, &c. “ To lurch all swords of the garland," therefore, was, to gain from all other warriors the wreath of victory, with ease, and incontestable superiority.
- every motion Was tim'd with dying cries.] The cries of the slaughtered regularly followed his motion, as musick and a dancer accompany each other,
9 The mortal gate -] The gate that was made the scene of death.
· He cannot but with measure fit the honours —] That is, no