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ACT I. SCENE I. Rome. A Street. Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens, with Stapes,
Clubs, and other Weapons. 1 Cit. Before we proceed any further, hear me Cit. Speak, speak. [Several speaking at once.
1 Cit. You are all resolved rather to die, than to famish?
Cit. Resolved, resolved.
i Cit. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people. .
Çit. We know't, we know't.
i Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict ?
Cit. No more talking on't; let it be done: away, away.
2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
i Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good:1 What authority surfeits on, would relieve us; If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear:' the leanness that afflicts us, the object
Auity, while it humanely; but he is the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.
i Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good ;) Good is here used in the mercantile sense. • 2 but they think, we are too dear:] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth.
Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes:3 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?
Cit. 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 for't, but that he pays himself with being proud..
2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1 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. : 1 Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.7. What shouts are these? The other side o’the city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol. - Cit. Come, come.
... Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere ve become rakes: ] It is plain that, in our author's time, we had the proverb, us lean as a rake. Of this proverb the original is obscure. Rake now signifies a dissolute man, a man worn out with disease and debauchery. But the signification is, I think, much more modern than the proverb. Rækel, in Islandick, is said to mean a cur-dog, and this was probably the first use among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dor too worthless to be fed. JOHNSON,
i Cit. Soft; who comes here? .
Enter Menenius AGRIPPA. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people. A
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. i Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll show '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 ho
. nest neighbours, Will you undo yourselves?
i 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 thein 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 thein as enemies.
i Cit. Care for us!—True, indeed!- They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their
store-houses crammed 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 uş,
Men. Either you must
1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you inust not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale:5 but, an't please you, deliver.
Men. There was a time, when alt the body's
1. members Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:That only like a gulf it did remain l' the midst o'the body, idle and inactive, Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing Like labour with the rest; where the other instru
i 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,
4. I will venture
To scale 't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The word is still used in the North, The sense of the old reading is, Though soine of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.
s disgrace with a tale:] Disgraces are hardships, injuries. 6 a where the other instruments ---] Where for whereas.
participate,] Here means participant, or participating.
(For, look you, I may make the belly smile,
Your belly's answer: What!
What then? 'Fore me, this fellow speaks! --what then? what
then? ' fit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain’d, Who is the sink o'the body, 777 Men,
Well, what then. ļ Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?
I will tell you;
1 Çit. You are long about it,
i 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, i 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 brains."
8 Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt.
9 -- even so most fitly-] i. e. exactly.