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He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
his sword, &c.] Old copy:
This passage should be pointed thus:
His sword, death's stamp,
"Where it did mark, it took from face to foot.
His sword (death's stamp)
"Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
I have followed the punctuation recommended. STEEVENS.
"Was tim'd with dying cries." The cries of the slaughter'd regularly followed his motion, as musick and a dancer accompany each other. JOHNSON.
3 The mortal gate-] The gate that was made the scene of death. JOHNSON.
4 With shunless DESTINY;] The second folio reads, whether by accident or choice:
"With shunless defamy."
Defamie is an old French word signifying infamy. Tyrwhitt, It occurs often in John Bale's English Votaries, 1550.
Corioli, like a PLANET :] So, in Timon of Athens:
"Will o'er some high vic'd city hang his poison
1 SEN. He cannot but with measure fit the ho
Which we devise him.
He's right noble ;
Let him be call'd for.
Call Coriolanus 9.
MEN. The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd
To make thee consul.
I do owe them still
It then remains,
My life, and services.
6 He cannot but with measure fit the honours-] That is, no honour will be too great for him; he will show a mind equal to any elevation. JOHNSON.
7 Than MISERY itself would give ;] Misery for avarice; because a miser signifies avaricious. WARBURTON.
8 - and is content
To spend the time, to end it.] I know not whether my conceit will be approved, but I cannot forbear to think that our author wrote thus:
"His deeds with doing them, and is content
To do great acts, for the sake of doing them; to spend his life, for the sake of spending it. JOHNSON.
I think the words afford this meaning without any alteration.
9 Call FOR Coriolanus.] I have supplied the preposition-for, to complete the measure. STEEVENS.
It then remains,
That you do speak to the people.] Coriolanus was banished
I do beseech you,
Let me o'erleap that custom; for I cannot
That I may pass this doing.
Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
Put them not to't :Pray you, go fit you to the custom : and Take to you, as your predecessors have, Your honour with your form 2.
It is a part That I shall blush in acting, and might well Be taken from the people.
U. C. 262. But till the time of Manlius Torquatus, U. C. 393, the senate chose both the consuls: And then the people, assisted by the seditious temper of the tribunes, got the choice of one. But if Shakspeare makes Rome a democracy, which at this time was a perfect aristocracy; he sets the balance even in his Timon, and turns Athens, which was a perfect democracy, into an aristocracy. But it would be unjust to attribute this entirely to his ignorance; it sometimes proceeded from the two powerful blaze of his imagination, which, when once lighted up, made all acquired knowledge fade and disappear before it. For sometimes again we find him, when occasion serves, not only writing up to the truth of history, but fitting his sentiments to the nicest manners of his peculiar subject, as well to the dignity of his characters, or the dictates of nature in general. WARBURTON.
The inaccuracy is to be attributed, not to our author, but to Plutarch, who expressly says, in his Life of Coriolanus, that "it was the custome of Rome at that time, that such as dyd sue for any office, should for certen dayes before be in the marketplace, only with a poor gowne on their backes, and without any coate underneath, to praye the people to remember them at the day of election." North's translation, p. 244. MALONE.
2 Your honour with YOUR form.] I believe we should read"Your honour with the form."-That is the usual form.
M. MASON. Your form may mean the form which custom prescribes to you. STEEVENS,
Mark you that?
COR. To brag unto them,-Thus I did, and
Of their breath only :-
SEN. To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
Come, we'll inform them
3 We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
Our purpose to them;] We entreat you, tribunes of the people, to recommend and enforce to the plebeians, what we propose to them for their approbation; namely the appointment of Coriolanus to the consulship. MALOne.
This passage is rendered almost unintelligible by the false punctuation. It should evidently be pointed thus, and then the sense will be clear:
"We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
To them, means to the people, whom Menenius artfully joins to the consul, in the good wishes of the senate. M. MASON.
The Same. The Forum.
Enter several Citizens.
1 CIT. Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.
2 CIT. We may, sir, if we will.
3 CIT. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do 5: for if he show us his wounds, and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds, and speak for them; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous: and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude; of the which, we being members, should bring ourselves to be monstrous members.
1 CIT. And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve: for once we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck not to call us the manyheaded multitude".
4 Once,] Once here means the same as when we say, once for WARBURTON.
This use of the word once is found in The Supposes, by Gascoigne :
Once, twenty-four ducattes he cost me." FARMer. Again, in The Comedy of Errors:
"Once this, your long experience of her wisdom-." STEEVENS.
5 We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do: Power first signifies natural power or force, and then moral power, or right. Davies has used the same word with great variety of meaning:
"Use all thy powers that heavenly power to praise,
ONCE We stood up about the corn,] That is, as soon as ever we stood up. This word is still used in nearly the same sense, in familiar or rather vulgar language, such as Shakspeare