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COR. Cut me to pieces, Volces; men and lads, Stain all your edges on me.-Boy! False hound! If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there, That like an eagle in a dove-cote, I Flutter'd your Volces in Corioli: Alone I did it.-Boy!
CON. Let him die for't. [Several speak at once. CIT. [Speaking promiscuously.] Tear him to pieces, do it presently. He killed my son ;-my daughter;-He killed my cousin Marcus ;-He killed my father.
2 LORD. Peace, ho;-no outrage :-peace.
O, that I had him,
Insolent villain! CON. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him. [AUFIDIUS and the Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS, who falls, and AUFIDIUS stands on him.
his fame FOLDS IN
This orb o' the earth.] His fame overspreads the world.
"The fires i' the lowest hell fold in the people." STEEVENS. JUDICIOUS hearing.] Perhaps judicious, in the present instance, signifies judicial; such a hearing as is allowed to criminals in courts of judicature. Thus imperious is used by our author for imperial. STEEVENS.
Hold, hold, hold, hold.
Aur. My noble masters, hear me speak.
2 LORD. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
3 LORD. Tread not upon him.-Masters all, be quiet;
Put up your swords.
AUF. My lords, when you shall know (as in this rage,
Provok'd by him, you cannot,) the great danger
And mourn you for him:
Bear from hence his body,
My rage is gone; And I am struck with sorrow.-Take him up :Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be
Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully :
3 that ever HERALD
Did follow to his urn.] This allusion is to a custom unknown, I believe, to the ancients, but observed in the publick funerals of English princes, at the conclusion of which a herald proclaims the style of the deceased. STEEVENS.
Yet he shall have a noble memory *.-
[Exeunt, bearing the Body of CORIOLANUS. A dead March sounded".
à noble MEMORY.] Memory for memorial. See p. 166, STEEVENS.
5 The tragedy of Coriolanus is one of the most amusing of our author's performances. The old man's merriment in Menenius; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia; the bridal modesty in Virgilia; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malignity and tribunitian insolence in Brutus and Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety: and the various revolutions of the hero's fortune fill the mind with anxious curiosity. There is, perhaps, too much bustle in the first Act, and too little in the last. JOHNSON.
Men. Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o' the brain.] [Page 12.] Mr. Malone has most ingeniously shown that the heart here signifies the seat of the brain, that is, of the understanding; and this is conformable to the old philosophy. Thus our English Pliny, Bartholomew Glanville, informs us from Aristotle, that the substance of the brain being cold, it is placed before the well of heat, which is, the heart; and that small veins proceed from the heart, of which is made a marvellous caul wherein the brain is wrapped. De propr. rerum, lib. v. c. 3. On this ground, the heart has been very appositely made the seat of reason; and accordingly in another place, Glanville tells us that in the heart is "all business and knowing."
If the above able commentator be right in his chronology of this play, and there appears to be no reason for doubting that he is so, the present lines must have been imitated by a contemporary writer of great ability and poetical talents, though undeservedly obscure. This is W. Parkes, who calls himself a student of Barnard's Inn. In his work entitled The Curtaine-drawer of the World, 1612, 4to. he has two passages which bear so strong a resemblance, that a mere coincidence of thought is entirely out of the question. This is the first, in p. 6: "If any vice arise from the court, as from the head, it immediately discends to the cittie, as the heart, from thence drawes downe to the country, as the heele and so like an endlesse issue or theame, runs through the whole land." The other is in p. 13: For whereas that member was ordained for a light and window, and as a true interpreter to expresse and expound the consultations, and councels, and purposes of that hidden dumbe and secret privy-councellour that sits within the throne and breast and bosome of every living
man, it many times doth belye, and forge and flatter, and speaks then most faire when the deepest deceit and treachery is intended: not the foot, nor the finger, nor the whole hand: no not the whole body, nor all the members thereof, either severally, by themselves, or joyntly together (this one, onely excepted) that doth so stretch and draw, and finger, and fold and unfold this curtaine canopy to the daily use and deceit of itselfe and others, as it alone doth."
It is rather extraordinary that none of Shakspeare's commentators should have noticed the skilful manner in which he has diversified and expanded the well known apologue of the belly and the members, the origin of which it may be neither unentertaining nor unprofitable to investigate, as well as the manner in which it has been used, and by whom.
The composition has been generally ascribed to Menenius Agrippa; but as it occurs in a very ancient collection of Æsopian fables, there may be as much reason for supposing it the invention of Æsop as there is for making him the parent of many others. The first person who has introduced Menenius as reciting this fable is Dionysius of Halicarnassus, book 6. Then follow Livy, lib. 2; Plutarch, in the life of Coriolanus; Florus, lib. i. cap. 23; each of whom gives it in his own manner. During the middle ages there appeared a collection of Latin fables in hexameter verse, that has agitated the opinions of the learned to little purpose in their endeavours to ascertain the real name of the compiler or versifier. He has been called Romulus, Accius and Salo. Nor is the time when he lived at all known. These fables are sometimes called anonymous, and have been published in various forms. An excellent edition by Nilant appeared in 1709, 12mo. Many of them were translated into French verse in the eleventh century by a French lady who calls herself Marie de France, in which form they have been happily preserved with many others extremely curious composed by the same ingenious person, on whose life and writings a most valuable memoir has been communicated to the Society of Antiquaries, by the author's truly learned and amiable friend the Abbé Gervase de la Rue, professor of history in the university of Caen. William Herman of Gouda, in Holland, reduced them into Latin prose about the year 1500, omitting some, and adding others. The works of Romulus and Herman of Gouda, have been published in a great variety of forms and languages, and constitute the set of Æsopian fables which commences with that of the cock and the precious stone; in all which the apologue of the belly and the members is to be found, and sometimes with considerable variation. What Camden has given is from John of Salisbury, who wrote in the reign of Henry the Second, and professes to have received it from Pope Hadrian IV. See his Polycraticon, sive de
nugis curialium, 1. vi. c. 24. Camden has omitted the latter part; and the learned reader will do well to consult the original, where he will find some verses by Q. Serenus Sammonicus, a physician in the reign of Caracalla, that allude to the fable. John of Salisbury has himself composed two hundred Latin lines De membris conspirantibus, which are in the first edition of his Polycraticon printed at Brussels, without date, about 1470. These were reprinted by Andreas Rivinus at Leipsic, 1655, 8vo; and likewise at the end of the fourth volume of Fabricius's Bibliotheca mediæ et infimæ ætatis, Hamburg, 1735, 8vo. They are, most probably, the lines which are called in Sinner's catalogue of the MSS. at Berne, "Carmen Ovidii de altercatione ventris et artuum," vol. iii. p. 116. Nor was this fable unknown in the Easter world. Syntipas, a Persian fabulist, has placed it in his work, published, for the first time, from a MS. at Moscow, by Matthæus, Lips. 1781, 8vo. Lafontaine has related it in his own inimitable manner; and, lastly, the editor of Baskerville and Dodsley's Esop has given it in a style not inferior perhaps to that of any of his predecessors. DOUCE.