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You fragments! if the Volscians are in arms,
Our musty superfluity. While the multitude still linger on the spot, Cominius and other senators enter, followed by two of the tribunes of the people, Junius and Sicinius. These last mingle with the crowd, and confer with individuals in it, while Cominius and Marcius are speaking in the foreground: [Cominius.] „Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us;
The Volcians are in arms. [Marcius.] They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
I'd wish me only he. [Cominius.] You've fought together ? [Marcius.] Were half to half the world by the ears, and he
Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
To' attend you to these wars; and I am constant. [Cominius.] It is your former promise. Now your company
To' the Capitol, I pray, where I do know
Our greatest friends attend us. [Marcius.] Lead you on:
For these who linger here, why, let them follow;
pray you, follow. The senators pass on : the citizens steal away: the tribunes, Sicinius and Junius, are left by themselves. [Sicinius.] Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius? [Junius.] He has no equal.
[Sicinius.] When we were chosen tribunes,
Mark'd you his lip and eyes ? [Junius.] Nay but his taunts.
Bei'ng mov'd, he will not spare to scoff the gods,
And which already graces him,-fame cannot
Of merit rob Cominius. [Junius.] Truly said.
Half of Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
In aught he merit not.
How the despatch is made; and in what fashion,
THE CHARACTER OF A ROMAN MATRON, REPRESENTED BY THAT CP
VOLUMNIA, THE MOTHER OF Caius MARCIUS, IN SCENES IMA-
HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. Among the causes which led to the greatness of Rome, the character and influence of the Roman matrons, and the honour in wbich they were held, may be properly reckoned. The founder of the city, by the matronalia, a religious festival, of which the rites were performed by matrons only, had given them a kind of distinct political importance; and they seem to have felt themselves bound, in consequence, to promote, in every suitable way, the glory of the city. The virtue of a Roman matron, outraged by Sextus, led to the expulsion of the Tarquins, and the formation of the republic; and when Junius Brutus, the chief leader in the movements that produced this change, was slain in battle, the matrons went into public mourning for a twelvemonth: nor was this the only instance of such respect to public worth: they mourned for Publicola in a similar manner. When it was necessary to propitiate the Delphian god, and that the proportion of the spoils taken in war was not forthcoming in time for the purpose, the matrons brought their oruaments and jewels of gold as a loan to the state : for which act, the privilege was conferred on them of going through the city in chariots ; a privilege which had belonged only to the principal magistrates. And as one evidence among many of the care with which the matrons educated their sons, of the love of distinction which they instilled into them, and the pride they took in their promises of manhood, we may cite Sempronia, the mother of the Gracchi. Volumnia sums up in her character all that might be expected from a woman belonging to this illustrious order; and if in the tender, the retiring, the timid Virgilia, we have a different picture, we must give the poet credit for introducing the one picture to contrast with and relieve the other, and recollect in his defence, that however strong may be the force of early training, that of nature is still stronger.
We are to imagine an apartment in the house of Caius Marcius : Volumnia, his mother, and Virgilia, his wife, are at needle-work, seated on low stools : Volumnia speaks : [Volumnia.] I pray you, daughter, sing; or express your
self in a more comfortable sort: if my son were my husband, I should much more freely rejoice in the absence wherein he won honour, than in the embraces by which he testified his love. When he was yet but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when, for a day of king's entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; 1-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, whence he returned with his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than then in first
hearing he had proved himself a man. [Virgilia.] But had he died in the business, madam,- how
then ? [Volumnia.] 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 have eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.Know
you, the lady Valeria hathi sent word she comes to visit you? [Virgilia.] I would retire : 'beseech you give me leave. [Volumnia.] Indeed you shall not.
Methinks I hither hear your husband's drum :
-As children fear a bear, the Volscians shunning him:
Or all, or lose his hire.
Than gilt his trophy: Oh! the breasts of Hecuba
Valeria enters and salutes Volumnia and Virgilia : [Valeria.] How do you both ? You are manifest house
keepers. What! are you sewing here? Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle housewife with me this afternoon.
[Virgilia.] No, good madam ; I will not out of doors. [Valeria.] Not out of doors! you shall, you shall. [Virgilia.] Indeed, no, by your patience ; I will not over
the threshold till my lord return from the wars. [Valeria.] Oh, you would be another Penelope: yet, they
say, all the yarn she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill Ithaca full of moths : come, you shall
go [Virgilia.] No, good madam, pardon' me; indeed, I will
not forth. [Valeria.] In truth, now, go with me; and I 'll tell you
excellent news of your husband. (Virgilia.] 0, good madam, there can be none yet. [Valeria.] Verily I do not jest with you: there came news
last night; in earnest, it is true; and thus it is :—The Volscians have an army forth, against whom Cominius the general is gone with one part of our Roman power : your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city Corioli, not doubting to prevail and make the war brief. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray,
go with us. [Virgilia.] Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you
in everything hereafter. Virgilia retires to the back-ground: Volumnia comes forward : [Volumnia.] Let her alone, lady; as she is, she will but
disease our better mirth. Come, good, sweet lady: pr’ythee, Virgilia, though thou go not with us, yet turn
thy solemnness out of door. We will leave her, madam. After a few days' interval, let us imagine ourselves in a street of Rome : old Menenius is in discourse with Junius and Sicinius, tribunes of the people : [Menenius.] The augur tells me we shall have news to