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1 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say, poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall know, we have strong arms too.
Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
Thither where more attends you; and you slander The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.
1 Cit. Care for us!-True, indeed!-They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and provide more pierc ing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver.
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:-
I' the midst o'the body, idle and inactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments
1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly? Men. Sir, I shall tell you.-With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus, (For, look you, I may make the belly smile, As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
They are not such as you.
2 Cit. Your belly's answer: What! The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye, The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier, Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter, With other muniments and petty helps In this our fabric, if that they
What then?'Fore me, this fellow speaks!-what then? what then? 1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink o'the body,
I will tell you ;*
If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little,)
The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins,
1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this?
But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you,
And no way from yourselves.-What do you think?
Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost:
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run
Mar. Thanks.-What's the matter, you dissentious
rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs?
We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter
Beneath abhorring.-What would you haye, you curs,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you do change a mind;
Him vile, that was your garland. What's the matter,
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Hang 'em! They say?
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
Below their cobbled shoes. They say, there's grain enough?
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded; For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you, What says the other troop?
Mar. They are dissolved: Hang 'em! They said, they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth prov erbs;
That, hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must eat ; That, meat was made for mouths; that, the gods sent
Corn for the rich men only:-With these shreds They vented their complainings; which being an swer'd,
And a petition granted them, a strange one,
(To break the heart of generosity,
And make bold power look pale,) they threw their caps As they would hang them on the horns o'the moon, Shouting their emulation.
Men. What is granted them? Mar. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms, Of their own choice: One's Junius Brutus, Sicinius Velutus, and I know not-'Sdeath! The rabble should have first unroof'd the city, Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time