Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Speak that
Sic.

We know your drift: Speak what? Bru. There's no more to be said, but he is ba

nish'd,
As enemy to the people, and his country :
It shall be so.

Cit. It shall be so, it shall be so.
Cor. You common cry of curs ! whose breath I

hate
As reek o'the rotten fens, whose lovos I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you ;
And here remain with your uncertainty !
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts !
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders ; till, at length,
Your ignorance, (which finds not, till

it feels,")
Making not reservation of yourselves,
(Still your own foes,) deliver you as most
Abated captives, to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back :

6

$ You common cry of curs !] Cry here significs a troop or pack,

Have the power still
To banish your defenders ; till, at length,

Your ignorance, (which finds not, till it feels,) &c.] Still retain the power of banishing your defenders, till your undiscerning folly, which can foresee no consequences, leave none in the city but yourselves, who are always labouring your own destruction.

It is remarkable, that, among the political maxims of the speculative Harrington, there is one which he might have borrowed from this speech. The people, says he, cannot see, but they can feel. It is not much to the honour of the people, that they have the same character of stupidity from their enemy and their friend. Such was the power of our author's mind, that he looked through life in all its relations private and civil. Johnson.

" Abated captives,] Abated is dejected, subdued, depressed in spirit.

is gone,

There is a world elsewhere.

[E.reunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENE

NIUS, Senators, and Patricians. Æd. The people's enemy,

is gone! Cit. Our enemy's banish’d! he is gone! Hoo!

hoo! [The People shout, and throw up their Caps. Sic. Go, see him out at gates, and follow

him,
As he hath follow'd you, with all despite ;
Give him deserv'd vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.

Cit. Come, come, let us see him out at gates ;

come:

The gods preserve our noble tribunes !—Come.

[Exeunt.

ACT IV.

SCENE 1. The same. Before a Gate of the City.

Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, ME

NENIUS, COMINIUS, and several young Patricians.

Cor. Come, leave your tears; a brief farewell :

the beast With many

heads butts me away.-Nay, mother, Where is your ancient courage ? you were us’d To say, extremity was the trier of spirits ; That common chances common men could bear; That, when the sea was calm, all boats alike Show'd mastership in floating : fortune's blows, When most struck home, being gentle wounded,

craves

A noble cunning :8 you were us'd to load me
With precepts, that would make invincible
The heart that conn'd them.

Vir. O heavens! O heavens!
Cor.

Nay, I pr’ythee woman,
Vol. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in

Rome,
And occupations perish!
Cor.

What, what, what!
I shall be lov’d, when I am lack’d. Nay, mother,
Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
If
you

had been the wife of Hercules, Six of his labours you'd have done, and sav'd Your husband so much sweat.-Cominius, Droop not; adieu:-Farewell, my wife! my mother! I'll do well yet.—Thou old and true Menenius, Thy tears are salter than a younger man's, And venomous to thine eyes.-My sometime general I have seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld Heart-hard’ning spectacles ; tell these sad women, "Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes, As 'tis to laugh at them.-My mother, you wot well, My hazards still have been your solace: and

- fortune's blows,
When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves

A noble cunning :) This is the ancient and authentick reading. The modern editors have, for gentle wounded, silently substituted gently warded, and Dr. Warburton has explained gently by nobly. It is good to be sure of our author's words before we go to explain their meaning

The sense is, when fortune strikes her hardest blows, to be wounded, and yet continue calm, requires a generous policy. He calls this calmness cunning, because it is the effect of reflection and philosophy. Perhaps the first emotions of nature are nearly uniform, and one man differs from another in the powers of endurance, as he is better regulated by precept and instruction. “ They bore as heroes, but they felt as men.”

Johnson. 'Tis fond - ) i. e. 'tis foolish.

Believe't not lightly, (though I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
Makes fear'd, and talk'd of more than 'seen,) yon

son

Will, or exceed the common, or be caught
With cautelous baits and practice.
Vol.

My first son,
Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee a while : Determine on some course,
More than a wild expostures to each chance
That starts i' the way before thee.
Cor.

O the gods! Com. I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee Where thou shalt rest, that thou may’st hear of us, And we of thee: so, if the time thrust forth A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send O'er the vast world, to seek a single man ; And lose advantage, which doth ever cool l' the absence of the needer. Cor.

Fare ye well: Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full Of the wars' surfeits, to go røve with one That's yet unbruis'd: bring me but out at gate.Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and My friends of noble touch, when I am forth, Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come. While I remain above the ground, you shall Hear from me still; and never of me aught But what is like me formerly. Men.

That's worthily cautelous-] Cautelous, in the present instance, signi fies insidious. * My first son,] First, i. e. noblest, and most eminent of men.

3 More than a wild exposture) I know not whether the word exposture be found in any other author. If not, I should incline te read

exposure. MALONE. * My friends of noble touch,] i. e. of true metal unallayed. Metaphor from trying gold on the touchstone.

[ocr errors]

As any ear can hear.—Come, let's not weep.
If I could shake off but one seven years
From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
I'd with thee

every

foot.
Cor.

Give me thy hand :
Come.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The same. A Street near the Gate.

Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an Ædile.
Sic. Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no

further.
The nobility are vex’d, who, we sce, have sided
In his behalf.

Bru. Now we have shown our power,
Let us seem humbler after it is done,
Than when it was a doing.
Sic.

Bid them home:
Say, their great enemy

is
gone,

and they
Stand in their ancient strength.
Bru.

Dismiss them home.

[Exit Ædile.
Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIÀ, and MENENIUS.
Here comes his mother:
Sic.

Let's not meet her.
Bru.

Why?
Sic. They say, she's mad.
Bru.

They have ta’en note of us:
Keep on your way.
Vol. O, you're well met: The hoarded plague

o'the gods Requite your love! Men..

Peace, peace; be not so loud.
VOL, VII.

Q

1

« ForrigeFortsett »