Page images

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 '.-Hail, noble Mar-
cius !


MAR. Thanks.-What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,

That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs ?

1 CIT.

We have ever your good word. MAR. He that will give good words to thee, will


Beneath abhorring.-What would you have, you


That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights


The other makes you proud3. He that trusts you, Where he should find you lions, finds you hares; 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,

have I found any instance of the term in blood being applied to the canine species. MALONE.

2 The one side must have bale.] Bale is an old Saxon word, for misery or calamity:


For light she hated as the deadly bale."

Spenser's Fairy Queen. Mr. M. Mason observes that " bale, as well as bane, signified poison in Shakspeare's days." So, in Romeo and Juliet: With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers."



This word was antiquated in Shakspeare's time, being marked as obsolete by Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616.


3 That LIKE NOR peace nor war? the one affrights you, The other makes you PROUD.] Coriolanus does not use these two sentences consequentially, but first reproaches them with unsteadiness, then with their other occasional vices.


To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him, And curse that justice did it. Who deserves great


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


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 mat

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 seek

ing 5?

MEN. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they


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

[blocks in formation]

To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,

And curse that justice did it.] i. e. Your virtue is to speak well of him whom his own offences have subjected to justice; and to rail at those laws by which he whom you praise was punished. STEEVENS.

5 What's THEIR seeking?] Seeking is here used substantively. -The answer is, "Their seeking, or suit, (to use the language of the time,) is for corn." MALONE.

6 who's like to rise,
WHO THRIVES, and who declines:]

The words-who thrives,

which destroy the metre, appear to be an evident and tasteless interpolation. They are omitted by Sir T. Hanmer.


Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking,
Below their cobbled shoes. They say, there's grain

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 9.

7 their RUTH,] i. e. their pity, compassion. Fairfax and Spenser often use the word. Hence the adjective-ruthless, which is still current. STEEVENS.

8 - I'd make a quarry

With thousands-] Why a quarry ?

I suppose, not because he would pile them square, but because he would give them

for carrion to the birds of prey. JOHNSON.

So, in The Miracles of Moses, by Drayton :

"And like a quarry cast them on the land."

See vol. xi. p. 233, n. 4. STEEVENS.

The word quarry occurs in Macbeth, where Ross says to Macduff:

[ocr errors]

to state the manner,

"Were on the quarry of these murder'd deer
"To add the death of you."

In a note on this last passage, Steevens asserts, that quarry means game pursued or killed, and supports that opinion by a passage in Massinger's Guardian: and from thence I suppose the word was used to express a heap of slaughtered persons.

In the concluding scene of Hamlet, where Fortinbrass sees so many lying dead, he says:

"This quarry cries, on havock!”

and in the last scene of A Wife for a Month, Valerio, in describing his own fictitious battle with the Turks, says:

"I saw the child of honour, for he was young,

"Deal such an alms among the spiteful Pagans,

[ocr errors]

And round about his reach, invade the Turks,

"He had intrench'd himself in his dead quarries."


Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, says that "a quarry among hunters signifieth the reward given to hounds after they have hunted, or the venison which is taken by hunting." This sufficiently explains the word of Coriolanus. MALONE.


[ocr errors]

PICK my lance.] And so the word [pitch] is still pronounced in Staffordshire, where they say-picke me such a thing, that is, pitch or throw any thing that the demander wants.




MEN. Nay, these are almost thoroughly per


For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
What says the other troop?


They are dissolved: Hang 'em! They said, they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth pro

verbs ;

That, hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must


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


As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon 2. *

Shouting their emulation ".

*First folio, shooting.

Thus, in Froissart's Chronicle, cap. C.lxiii. fo. Ixxxii. b: and as he stouped downe to take up his swerde, the Frenche squyer dyd pycke his swerde at hym, and by hap strake hym through bothe the thyes." STEEVENS.

So, in An Account of Auntient Customes and Games, &c. MSS. Harl. 2057, fol. 10, b:

"To wrestle, play at strole-ball, [stool-ball] or to runne,


To picke the barre, or to shoot off a gun.'

[ocr errors]

The word is again used in King Henry VIII. Act V. Sc. III. with only a slight variation in the spelling: "I'll peck you o'er the pales else." Malone.


the heart of GENEROSITY,] To give the final blow to the nobles. Generosity is high birth.

So, in Measure for Measure:

[blocks in formation]


gravest citizens

See vol. ix. p. 176, n. 2. STEEVENS.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

hang them on the horns o' the moon,] So, in Antony and



What is granted them? MAR. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wis


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

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.

MESS. Where's Caius Marcius?

Here: What's the matter?

MESS. The news is, sir, the Volces are in arms.
MAR. I am glad on't; then we shall have means

to vent

Our musty superfluity :-See, our best elders.

"Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' the moon.” STEEVENS.

3 Shouting their emulation.] Each of them striving to shout louder than the rest. MALONE.


Emulation, in the present instance, I believe, signifies faction. Shouting their emulation," may mean, 'expressing the triumph of their faction by shouts.'

Emulation, in our author, is sometimes used in an unfavourable sense, and not to imply an honest contest for superior excellence. Thus, in King Henry VI. Part I.:



the trust of England's honour

Keep off aloof with worthless emulation."

Again, in Troilus and Cressida :

"While emulation in the army crept."

i. e. faction. STEEVENS.


UNROOF'D the city,] Old copy-unroost. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

5 For insurrection's arguing.] For insurgents to debate upon. MALONE.

« PreviousContinue »