Page images
[ocr errors]

Howleglas the husbandmans gowne and made thereof a woulfe with the head and feete, &c. Then sayd the maister, I ment that you should have made up the russet gown, for a husbandman's gowne is here called a wolfe.” By a wolvish gown, therefore, (if gown be the true reading) Shakspere might have meant Coriolanus to compare the dress of a Roman candidate to the coarse, frock of a ploughman, who exposed himself to solicit the yotes of his fellow rusticks.

Steevens. Why in this wolvish tongue.] The old copy's reading in and not with shews that tongue was, as Mr. Steevens conjectures, an errour of the press for toge. The very same mistake has happened in Othello, where we meet “the tongued consuls," instead of toged consuls.

MALONE. 612. Coriolanus seems now, in earnest, to petition for the consulate: perhaps we may better read :

-battles thrice six
I've seen, and you have heard of; for your voices
Done many things, &c.

FARMER. 658. -aged custom] This was a strange inattention, The Romans at this time had but lately changed the regal for the consular government: for Coriolanus was banished the eighteenth year after the expulson of the kings.

WARBURTON. 664. -ignorant to see't?] Were you ignorant to see it, is, did you want knowledge to discern it.


A place of potency: -]


[ocr errors]

* * *

Thus the old copy, and rightly. So, in the third part
K. Henry VI. act v. line 171.

-those powers that the queen
“ Hath rais'd in Gallia, have arriv'd our coast.

STEEVENS.' 693. -free contempt,] That is, with contempt open and unrestrained.

JOHNSON. 702. Your su’d-for tongues?] Your tongues that have been hitherto solicited.

STEEVENS. Or in other words your suffrages.

714. -Enforce his pride,] Object his pride, and enforce the objection.

Johnson. 719. his present portance,] i. e. carriage. So, in Othello : “ And portance in my travels' history."

Steevens, 740. And Censorinus, darling of the people,] This verse I have supplied; a line having been certainly left out in this place, as will appear to any one who consults the beginning of Plutarch's Life of Coriolanus, rom whence this passage is directly translated.

РОРЕ. . 740. And Censorinus

Was his great ancestor. ]
Now the first censor was created U. C. 314,

and Coriolanus was banished U. C. 262. The truth is this, the passage, as Mr. Pope observes above, was taken from Plutarch's Life of Coriolanus; who, speaking of the house of Coriolanus, takes notice both of his an. cestors and of his posterity, which our author's haste not giving him leave to observe, has here confounded one with the other. Another instance of his inadvertency, from the same cause, we have in the first part of Henry IV. act i, line 71. where an account is given of the prisoners took on the plains of Holmedon :

Mordake the earl of Fife, and eldest son

To beaten Douglas But the earl of Fife was not son to Douglas, but to Robert duke of Albany, governor of Scotland. He took his account from Holinshed, whose words are, And of prisoners amongst others were these, Mordake earl of Fife son to the governor Arkimbald, earl Douglas, &c. And he imagined that the governor and earl Douglas were one and the same person.

WARBURTON. 747. Scaling his present bearing with his past, ] That is weighing his past and present behaviour. Johnson. 760.

-observe and answer

The vantage of his anger.] Mark, catch, and improve the opportunity, which his hasty anger will afford us.



Line 28

PRANK them in authority,] Plume, deck, dignify themselves.

JOHNSON. 45. --why rule you not their teeth 1] The metaphor is from men's setting a bull-dog or mastiff upon any one.


-since?] The old copy-


STEEVENS. 60. -Not unlike,

Each way, to better your's.- -] i. e. likely to provide better for the security of the commonwealth than you (whose business it is) will do. To which the reply is pertinent: Why then should I be consul ?


-This palt'ring

Becomes not Rome;- -]
That is, this trick of dissimulation ; this shuffling.
Thus in Mackbeth, act v. line

And be these jugling fiends no more believ'd,

That palter with us in a double sense. JOHNSON. 76. laid falsely-] Falsely for treacherously.

JOHNSON. let them Regard me as I do not flatter, and

Therein behold themselves : -] Let them look in the mirror which I hold up to them, a mirror which does not flatter, and see themselves.

88. The cockle of rebellion,- --] Cockle is a weed which grows up with the corn. The thought is from sir Tho. North’s translation of Plutarch, where it is given as follows: “ Moreover he said, that they nourished against themselves the naughty seed and cockle of insolency and sedition, which had been sówed and scattered abroad among the people, &c.” STEEVENS. 98. —meazels,] Mesell is used in Pierce Plowmmn's





Vision for a leper. The same word frequently occurs in the London Prodigal.

STEEVENS. 114 -minnows? ] A minnow is one of the smallest river fish, called in some counties a pink.

JOHNSON. 116. 'Twas from the canon.

n.] Was contrary to the established rule; it was a form of speech to which he had no right.

JOHNSON, The horn and noise- -] Alluding to his hay. ing called him Triton before.


Then vail your ignorance :- -] The sense is If this man has power, let the ignorance that gave it him vail or bow down before him.

JOHNSON. 128. -You are plebeians,

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

Most palates theirs. The plain meaning is, that senators and plebeians are equcl, when the highest taste is best pleased with that which pleases the lowest.

STEEVENS. 135. -and my soul akes;] The mischief and absurdity of what is called Imperium in imperio, is here finely expressed.

WARBURTON. 141. Whoever gave that counsel, &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: “ Therefore sayed he, they that gaue counsell, and persuaded that the corne should be giuen out to the common people gratis, as they used to doe in citties of Græce, where the people had more absolute power : dyd but only nourishe their disobedience, which would breake out in the ende, to


« PreviousContinue »