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3 CIT. We have been called so of many; not that our heads are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald, but that our wits are so diversly coloured and truly I think, if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south; and their consent of one direct way should be at once to all the points o' the compass.
2 CIT. Think you so? Which way, do you judge, my wit would fly?
3 Cır. Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's will, 'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head but if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.
2 CIT. Why that way?
3 CIT. To lose itself in a fog; where being three parts melted away with rotten dews, the fourth
wished to allot to the Roman populace: "Once the will of the monarch is the only law, the constitution is destroyed." Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent editors read-'for once, when we stood up, &c.' MALONE.
As no decisive evidence is brought to prove that the adverb once has at any time signified-as soon as ever, I have not rejected the word introduced by Mr. Rowe, which, in my judgment, is necessary to the speaker's meaning. STEEVENS.
MANY HEADED multitude.] Hanmer reads, many-headed monster, but without necessity. To be many-headed includes monstrousness. JOHNSON.
8 some AUBURN,] The folio reads, some Abram. I should unwillingly suppose this to be the true reading; but we have already heard of Cain and Abram-coloured beards. STEEVENS.
The emendation was made in the fourth folio.
- if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, &c.] Meaning though our having but one interest was most apparent, yet our wishes and projects would be infinitely discordant.
To suppose all their wits to issue from one scull, and that their common consent and agreement to go all one way, should end in their flying to every point of the compass, is a just description of the variety and inconsistency of the opinions, wishes, and actions of the multitude. M. MASON.
I-and their CONSENT of one direct way-] See vol. xi. p. 92, n. 3. STEEVENS.
would return for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.
2 Cır. You are never without your tricks :-You may, you may 2.
3 CIT. Are you all resolved to give your voices? But that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I say, if he would incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.
Enter CORIOLANUS and Menenius.
Here he comes, and in the gown of humility; mark his behaviour. We are not to stay all together, but to come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and by threes. He's to make his requests by particulars: wherein every one of us has a single honour, in giving him our own voices with our own tongues: therefore follow me, and I'll direct you how you shall go by him.
ALL. Content, content.
[Exeunt. MEN. O sir, you are not right: have you not known
The worthiest men have done it ?
What must I say?
I pray, sir,-Plague upon't! I cannot bring My tongue to such a pace :--Look, sir ;--my wounds ;
I got them in my country's service, when
Some certain of your brethren roar'd, and ran
MEN. O me, the gods! You must not speak of that; you must desire them To think upon you.
2 You may, you may.] This colloquial phrase, which seems to signify You may divert yourself, as you please, at my expence,' -has occurred already in Troilus and Cressida :
Hel. By my troth, sweet lord, thou hast a fine forehead. "Pan. Ay, you may, you may." STEEVENS.
Think upon me? Hang 'em! I would they would forget me, like the virtues Which our divines lose by them".
You'll mar all; I'll leave you: Pray you, speak to them, I pray you, In wholesome manner*. Exit.
Enter Two Citizens.
Bid them wash their faces, And keep their teeth clean.-So, here comes a brace,
You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
COR. Mine own desert.
Mine own desire 5.
Your own desert ?
3 I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by them.] i. e. I wish they would forget me as they do those virtuous precepts, which the divines preach up to them, and lose by them as it were, by their neglecting the practice. THEOBALD.
4 In WHOLESOME manner.] So, in Hamlet; "If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer." STEEvens.
Mine own desire.] The old copy-but mine own desire. If but be the true reading, it must signify, as in the North-with
But is only the reading of the first, folio: Not is the true reading. RITSON.
The answer of the Citizen fully supports the correction, which was made by the editor of the third folio. But and not are often confounded in these plays. See vol. vi. p. 379, n. 1.
In a passage in Love's Labour's Lost, vol. iv. p. 369, from the reluctance which I always feel to depart from the original copy, I had suffered not to remain, and had endeavoured to explain the words as they stand in the folio; but I am now convinced that I ought to have printed as I have now done:
"By earth, she is but corporal; there you lie." MALONE.
How! not your own desire?
COR. No, sir:
'Twas never my desire yet,
To trouble the poor with begging.
1 CIT. You must think, if we give you any thing,
We hope to gain by you.
COR. Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?
1 CIT. The price is, sir, to ask it kindly.
Kindly? Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to show
Which shall be yours in private.-Your good voice, sir;
What say you?
But this is something odd". 2 CIT. An 'twere to give again,-But 'tis no [Exeunt Two Citizens.
Enter Two other Citizens.
COR. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices, that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
3 CIT. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.
6 The price is, SIR, &c.] The word-sir, has been supplied by one of the modern editors to complete the verse. STEEVENS.
7 But this is something odd.] As this hemistich is too bulky to join with its predecessor, we may suppose our author to have written only
"This is something odd;"
and that the compositor's eye had caught-But, from the succeeding line. STEEVENS.
COR. Your enigma ?
3 CIT. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod to her friends; you have not, indeed, loved the common people.
COR. You should account me the more virtuous, that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account gentle and since the wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise the insinuating nod, and be off to them most counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man, and give it bountifully to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may be cousul.
4 CIT. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.
3 CIT. You have received many wounds for your country.
COR. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
BOTH CIT. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
COR. Most sweet voices !
Better it is to die, better to starve,
8 I will not SEAL your knowledge] I will not strengthen or complete your knowledge. The seal is that which gives authenticity to a writing. JOHNSON.
-the HIRE] The old copy has higher, and this is one, of the many proofs that several parts of the original folio edition of these plays were dictated by one and written down by another.
- this woolvish GOWN-] Signifies this rough hirsute