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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
provide more piercing 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,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale : it may be you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To stale't a little more.
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:
That only like a gulf it did remain
I’ the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered,-
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
That envied his receipt ; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators for that
They are not such as you.
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?
. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink o' the body,– Men.
Well, what then? 1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer ?
I will tell you ;
If you'll bestow a small, ---of what you have little,-
Patience awhile, you'll hear the belly's answer.
1 Cit. You are long about it.
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd :
True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,
That I receive the general food at first
Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the storehouse and the shop
Of the whole body; but, if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart,--to the seat o' the brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: and though that all at once
You, my good friends,—this says the belly,-mark me,-
i Cit. Ay, sir; well, well.
Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,
And leave me but the bran. What say you to't?
1 Cit. It was an answer: how apply you this?
Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members: for, examine
Their counsels and their cares; digest things rightly
Touching the weal o'the common; you shall find,
No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
And no way from yourselves.—What do you think,-
You, the great toe of this assembly?
i Cit. I the great toe? why the great toe?
Men. For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest,
Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost:
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
Lead'st first to win some vantage. —
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs :
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
The one side must have bale. —
Enter Caius MARCIUS.
Hail, noble Marcius!
Mar. Thanks.—What’sthematter, 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 ye will flatter
Beneath abhorring. -What would you have, you curs,
That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find
Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye!
With every minute you do change a mind;
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter,
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another?—What's their seeking?
Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
The city is well stor’d.
Hang 'em! They say !
They'll sit by the fire and presume to know
What's done i' the Capitol; who's like to rise,
Who thrives and who declines; side factions, and give out
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking
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
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
As I could pick my lance.
Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
the other troop? Mar. They are dissolved: hang'
s'em! They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs,That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat, That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
Corn for the rich men only :-with these shreds
They vented their complainings; which being answer'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.
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 uproof'd the city
Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time
Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.
This is strange.
Mar. Go, get you home, you fragments!
Enter a Messenger, hastily.
Mess. Where's Caius Marcius?
Here: what's the matter? Mess. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
Mar. I am glad on't: then we shall ha' means to vent Our musty superfluity.-See, our best elders. Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators;
JUNIUS BRUTUS and SICINIUS VELUTUS.
1 Sen. Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us,-
The Volsces are in arms.
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 would wish me only he.
You have fought together.
Mar. We alf 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.
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
Com. It is your former promise.
Sir, it is;
And I am constant.—Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Túllus' face.
What, art thou stiff? stand’st out?
I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with the other
Ere stay behind this business.
1 Sen. Your company to the Capitol; where, I know, Our greatest friends attend us.
Follow, Cominius; we must follow you;
Right worthy your priority.
1 Sen. Hence to your homes; be gone! [To the Citizens. Mar. The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither To gnaw their garners.-Worshipful mutineers, Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
[Exeunt Senators, COM., MAR., TIT., and MEN.
Citizens steal away.
Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
Bru. He has no equal.
Sic. When we were chosen tribunes for the people,—
Bru. Mark'd you his lip and eyes?
Bru. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the
Sic. Be-mock the modest moon.
Bru. The present wars devour him: he is grown Too proud to be so valiant.
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Fame, at the which he aims,—
In whom already he is well grac'd,—cannot
Better be held, nor more attain'd, than by
A place below the first: for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man; and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius, O, if he
Besides, if things go well,
Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.
Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults