Page images

The horn and noise o'the monsters, wants not spirit
To say, he'll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power,
Then vail your ignorance: if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,
When both your voices blended, the greatest taste
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate;
And such a one as he, who puts his shall,
His popular shall, against a grayer bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece! By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base: and my soul akes,.
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take.
The one by the other.

Com. . Well-on to the market-place,

Cor. Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth The corn o'the store-house gratis, as 'twas us'd Sometime in Greece,-: ; Men.. : Well, well, no more of that. Cor. (Though there the people had more absolute

" power, I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed The ruin of the state. ? Bru.

Why, shall the people give One, that speaks thus, their voice?

6 Then rail your ignorance:) If this man has power, let the ige norance that gave it him vail or bow down before him. You are plebeians,

If they be senators: and they are no less,
When, both your woices blended, the greatest taste

Most palates theirs.] Perhaps the meaning is, the plebeians are no less than senators, when, the voices of the senate and the people being blended together, the predominant taste of the com. pound smacks more of the populace than the senate.


I'll give my reasons, More worthier than their voices. They know, the

' corn .. . Was not our recompense; resting well assur'd They ne'er did service for’t: Being pressd to the war, Even when the navel of the state was touch'd, They would not thread the gates:8 this kind of service Did not deserve corn gratis: being i' the war, Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they showd Most valour, spoke not for them: The accusation Which they have often made against the senate, All cause unborn, could never be the native Of our so frank donation. Well, what then? How shall this bosom multiplied digest The senate's courtesy? Let deeds express What's like to be their words:-We did request it; We are the greater poll, and in true fear They gave us our demands:--Thus we debase The nature of our seats, and make the rabble Call our cares, fears: which will in time break ope The locks o'the senate, and bring in the crows ii To peck the eagles. Men.

Come, enough. : Bru. Enough, with over-measure. Cor. i.

No, take more: What may be sworn by, both divine and human, Seal what I end withal!- This double worship, Where one part does disdain with cause, the other Insult without all reason; where gentry,"title, wisdoin Cannot conclude, but by the yea and no Of general ignorance, it must omit


8 They would not thread the gates :] That is, pass them. We yet say, to thread an alley.

9 could never be the native-] Native is here not natural birth, but natural parent, or cause of birth. JOHNSON.

this bosom multiplied --] This multitudinous bosom; the bosom of that great monster, the people.

Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd, it follows,
Nothing is done to purpose: Therefore, beseech

Nothing you, we fearful than of state, hat prefer

You that will be less fearful than discreet;

That love the fundamental part of state, . More than you doubt the change of't;that prefer A noble life before a long, and wish To jump a body with a dangerous physick That's sure of death without it, at once pluck out The multitudinous tongue, let them not lick The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state Of that integrity which should become it; Not having the power to do the good it would, For the ill which doth control it. Bru.

He has said enough, Sic. He has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer As traitors do.

Cor. Thou wretch! despite o'erwhelm thee!
What should the people do with these bald tribunes ?
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To the greater bench: In a rebellion,
When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
Then were they chosen; in a better hour,
Let what is meet, be said it must be meet,
And throw their power i' the dust. '

Bru. Manifest treason.

This a consul? no.

? More than you doubt the change of *t;] To doubt is to fear. The meaning is, You whose zeal predominates over your terrors; you who do not so much fear the danger of violent measures, as wish the good to which they are necessary, the preservation of the original constitution of our government.

3 To jump a body-] Thus the old copy. To jump anciently signified to jolt, to give a rude concussion to any thing. To jump e body may. therefore mean, to put it into a violent agitation or commotior.


Bru. The Ædiles, ho!-Let him be apprehended.
Sic. Go, call the people; [Exit Brutys.] in

whose name, myself :
Attach thee, as a traitorous innovator,
A foe to the publick weal: Obey, I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.

Hence, old goat!
Sen. & Pat. We'll surety him,

Aged sir, hands off.
Cor. Hence, rotten thing, or I shall shake thy

' bones Out of thy garments. Sia

Help, ye citizens. Re-enter Brutus, with the Ædiles, and a Rabble of

- Citizens.. Men. On both sides more respect. Sic.

Here's he, that would Take from you all your power. Bru..

Seize him, Ædiles. Cit. Down with him, down with him!

[Several speak. 2 Sen.

Weapons, weapons, weapons!

[They all bustle about CORIOLANUS. Tribunes, patricians, citizens !--what ho! Siçinius, Brutus, Coriolanus, citizens!

Cit. Peace, peace, peace; stay, hold, peace!

Men. What is about to be?-I am out of breath; Confusion's near: I cannot speak:-You, tribunes To the people, ---Coriolanus, patience :Speak, good Sicinius. Sic.

Hear me, people;-Peace. ? Cit. Let's hear our tribune:--Peace. Speak,

speak, speak. Sic. You are at point to lose your liberties: Marcius would have all froin you; Marcius,


Whom late you have nam’d for consul.

i Fye, fye, fye! This is the way to kindle, not to quench.

i Sen. To unbuild the city, and to lay all flat.
Sic. What is the city, but the people?

The people are the city.

Bru. By the consent of all, we were establish'd · The people's magistrates. Cit.

You so remain,
Men. And so are like to do.

Cor. That is the way to lay the city flat;
To bring the roof to the foundation;
And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
In heaps and piles of ruin.

This deserves death.
Bru. Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it:~We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o'the people, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Marcius is worthy
Of present death.

Therefore, lay hold of him;
Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence '
Into destruction cast him.

Ædiles, seize him.
Cit. Yield, Marcius, yield.

Hear me one word. Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.

Ædi. Peace, peace.
Men. Be that you seem, truly your country's

And temperately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redress.

Sir, those cold ways,
That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
Where the disease is violent:-Lay hands upon him,
And bear him to the rock.

« PreviousContinue »