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Meihinks, I hither hear your haslxınd's drun
Ilis bloody brow (exclaimed the tiirid Virgilia)
O Jupiter, no blood! ***
At Grecian sword: contending.*** replied Polumnia--the valiant moiher of the valiant Marcius, a noble Roman. She who had trained her son to war, and gloried in liis achievements; while his tender wife, whose love was truly feminine
thought only of his danger, and would willingly hare yielded a portion of his extended fame, to ensure his perpetual safety.
Marcius had been solely educated by his widowcd mother, a woman of high spirit and exalted mind, who considered valour to be the first of virtues, martial fame the greatest bliss, and a warrior's death the highest glory, In her earnest desire to render her son the bulwark of his country, she had neglected to curb his overweening pride ; and though she had taught him to aim at conquering every competitor by the prowess of his arm, she had not impressed upon hiin the necessity of conquering his own crrors by the efforts of his judgment. He too soon experienced the evil efiects of such blameable selfindulgence; for while his courage, firmness of mind, and liberality of disposition, ensured him esteem and admiration, his pride, violence, and obstinacy, rendered him intractable to the advice of more prudent friends, and proveked emity against him, amongst the equally headstrong and equally unruly Roman people. At a very early age he had obtaincd the honour of the civic crown, and twice since that, his brows had been entwined with the oaken garland. . He was now engaged against the Volscians—whose general, Tullus Aufidius, a man of the most invincible courage, he had overpowered several times i: single fight., Ile had now fought against the most desperate odds, had daringly pur
rd the Vcisces into the very gates of the city 1 orioli, and fought with such incredible valour, that de conquerexi rather liy the wonder he inspired in the contemplation of such extraordinary conduct, than even by his prowes: : for one, opposed to a whole city, must have been aided apparently in the eyes of a superstitious people, by a sort of supernatural power, to chill the valour of his numerous foes. His general, Titus Lartius described him as
Titus Lartius, and Cominus, the Roman generals, were the most enthusiatic admirers of his courage, and being free from the passion of envy, willingly gave him the whole praise of the victory. They offered to his acceptance a tenth of the spoils, before they were distributed, which he refused, saying, he would take his common share with his companions in the fight; and he entreated his generals and soldiers, to withhold their praises, as he had done no more than many else had done, so that their rapturous encomiums displeased him. Cominus, however, insisted that he should accept his own noble steed, with its superb trappings, and in future should bear in addition to his name of Caius Marcius—that of Coriolanus, as the undisputed conqueror of the city of Corioli. This honour he accepted ; and preparations were made for the return of the army to Rome.
The news of the late victory had flown before them, and the city was in universal clamour to receive the preserver of their country. He was ushered in with the sound of drums and trumpets ; and the heralds preceding him, recounted his deeds , proclaiming that all alone he had fought within the gates of Corioli ; and that in honour due, he had received the title of Coriolanus ; whilst the air resounded with shouts and acclamations.
Among the raptured spectators his mother stood, and viewed him with such pride of soul as if Mars himself had descended from Olympus, and she were mother of the god. He would have knelt ; but she clasper him to her heart, and would not permit bis filial homage. Menentus, also his aged friend, who loved him with a father's fondness, was in an ecstasy of joy-and bid an hundred thousand welcomes; whilst his gentle wife stood trembling and weeping with delight, but was unable to speak. He caught her on his arms and imprinted kisses on her forehead
My gracious silence, hail ! (he cried)
They now proceeded to the capitol, where Volumnia hoped her son would receive that high reward, at which her ambition aimed. The consulship was an honour he had truly merited ; but there were eremonies to be passed through, at which his nature revolted : and he would rather forego the envied distinction, than submit to the apparent degradations which must precede its attainment.
The lofty character of Coriolanus—the honours and distinctions poured upon him—the fame which followed his success, all subjected hiin to envy and malice. Envy ever chooses a high mark; as curs say the moon, the spleen of malignity shows itself nost against those of greatest deserving !
Envy, thou art indeed a fiend malignant,
Yot more woe still to those, who list beneath
-As balmy sleep were ne'er an inmate there-
-As blooming health had never spread its rose,
and gloomy smile
-As strength or power had never strung the nerves-
This fiend of darkness, hovering around the steps of Coriolanus, may be figuratively said to have resolved to mar his projects, and intercept the progress of his well merited rewards. It was the custom of Rome that those, who were to be candidates for the consulship, should stand in the market place, clad in mean garments, thrown loosely round their bodies, so as to enable them more easily to display their wounds or scars, to the citizens as they passed along ; which marks of honour, entitled them to the suffrages of the people, without a majority of whose voices the candidate could not be chosen. This ceremony was loathsome to Coriolanus, for many reasons ; first, that he detested those vain boasters, who made a parade of their deeds, and sought reward simply for the performance of their duties ; next, his pride disdained to sue for that which he had well earned; but most of all