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Corioli. The Senate House.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, and certain Senators.
1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius, That they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels, And know how we proceed.
Is it not yours?
Our army 's in the field:
Nor did you think it folly,
hath been thought on -] Old copy-have. Corrected by the second folio. Steevens.
-'Tis not four days gone,] i. e. four days past. Steevens. 9 They have press'd a power,] Thus the modern editors. The old copy reads-They have prest a power; which may signify, have a power ready; from pret. Fr. So, in The Merchant of
"And I am prest unto it."
See note on this passage, Act 1, sc. i. Steevens.
The spelling of the old copy proves nothing, for participles were generally so spelt in Shakspeare's time: so distrest, blest, &c. I believe press'd in its usual sense is right. It appears to have been used in Shakspeare's time in the sense of impress'd. So, in Plutarch's Life of Coriolanus, translated by Sir T. North, 1579: ". the common people-would not appeare when the consuls called their names by a bill, to press them for the warres.' Again, in King Henry VI, P. III:
"From London by the king was I press'd forth."
To keep your great pretences veil'd, till when
If they sit down before us, for the remove
O, doubt not that;
The gods assist you! Auf. And keep your honours safe!
1 To take in many towns,] To take in is here, as in many other places, to subdue. So, in The Execration of Vulcan, by Ben Jonson:
"" - The Globe, the glory of the Bank,
Again, more appositely, in Antony and Cleopatra: cut the Ionian sea,
"And take in Toryne." Steevens.
2 - for the remove
Bring up your army;] Says the Senator to Aufidius, Go to your troops, we will garrison Corioli. If the Romans besiege us, bring up your army to remove them. If any change should be made, I would read:
- for their remove. Johnson.
The remove and their remove are so near in sound, that the transcriber's ear might easily have deceived him. But it is always dangerous to let conjecture loose where there is no difficulty.
Malone. 3 I speak from certainties. Nay, more,] Sir Thomas Hanmer completes this line by reading:
I speak from very certainties. &c. Steevens.
Rome. An Apartment in Marcius' House. Enter VOLUMNIA, and VIRGILIA: They sit down on two low Stools, and sew.
Vol. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a more comfortable sort: If my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour, than in the embracements of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way; when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I,-considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown made it not stir, -was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.
Vir. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?
Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely-Had I a dozen sons,-each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius,-I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Enter a Gentlewoman.
Gent. Madam, the lady Valeria is come to visit you.
when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way;] i. e. attracted the attention of every one towards him. Douce.
5brows bound with oak.] The crown given by the Romans to him that saved the life of a Citizen, which was accounted more honourable than any other. Johnson.
to retire myself.] This verb active (signifying to withdraw) has already occurred in The Tempest:
66 -I will thence
"Retire me to my Milan-."
Again, in Timon of Athens:
Methinks, I hear hither your husband's drum;
Vir. His bloody brow! O, Jupiter, no blood!
Vol. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man, Than gilt his trophy: The breasts of Hecuba, When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier Than Hector's forehead, when it spit forth blood CentenningAt Grecian swords" "contendingTell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.
Vir. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
Re-enter Gentlewoman, with VALERIA and her Usher,
Vol. Sweet madam,
Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.
Val. How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers. What, are you sewing here? A fine spot,1 in good faith.How does your little son?
Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam. Vol. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than look upon his school-master.
With his mail'd hand then wiping,] i. e. his hand cover'd or arm'd with mail. Douce.
8 Than gilt his trophy:] Gilt means a superficial display of gold, a word now obsolete. So, in King Henry V:
"Our gayness and our gilt, are all besmirch'd." Steevens. At Grecian swords' contending.-Tell Valeria,] The accuracy of the first folio may be ascertained from the manner in which this line is printed:
At Grecian sword. Contending, tell Valeria. Steevens.
1 A fine spot,] This expression (whatever may be the precise meaning of it) is still in use among the vulgar: "You have made a fine spot of work of it," being a common phrase of reproach to those who have brought themselves into a scrape.