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You fragments! if the Volscians are in arms,
As I do hear, we shall have means to vent

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 sin in envying his nobility :
And, were I anything but what I am,

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
Only my wars with him : he is a lion
That I am proud to hunt. You have my promise

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;
The Volscians have much corn; take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners :--worshipful muti'neers,
Your valour puts well forth; I

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,
Or mock the modest moon: the wars devour him;
So proud to be so valiant! Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow,
Which he treads on at noon. But I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded

Under Cominius.
[Sicinius.] Fame, at which he aims,

And which already graces him,-fame cannot
Be better held, nor more attain'd, than by
A place below the first: for whạt miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man; and giddy judgement
Will then cry out of Marcius, — “Oh, if he
Had borne this business !” If things go well,
Opinion, that so holds on Marcius, shall

Of merit rob Cominius. [Junius.] Truly said.

Half of Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
Though Marcius earn'd them not, and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed

In aught he merit not.
[Sicinius.] Let's hence, and hear

How the despatch is made; and in what fashion,
More than his singularity, he goes
Upon this present action : let's along.




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 :
I see him pluck Aufidius by the hair,

-As children fear a bear, the Volscians shunning him:
Methinks I see him stamp, and call his Romans,-
“ Come on, you cowards !" Then his bloody brow
With his mail'd hand thus wiping, forth he goes
Like to a harvest man, that's task'd to mow

Or all, or lose his hire.
[Virgilia.] His bloody brow! O Jupiter! no blood.
[Volumnia.] Away, you fool !—it more becomes a man

Than gilt his trophy: Oh! the breasts of Hecuba
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood,
With Grecian swords contending. Tell Valeria
We a're fit to bid her welcome. See, she comes.

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.

with us.

[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


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