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purge himself with words: Despatch.
Enter Three or Four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' Faction.
1 CON. How is it with our general?
As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
Most noble sir,
3 CoN. The people will remain uncertain, whilst "Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either Makes the survivor heir of all.
I know it; And my pretext to strike at him admits A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd Mine honour for his truth: Who being so height
He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
3 CON. Sir, his stoutness,
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
That I would have spoke of: Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth; Presented to my knife his throat: I took him; Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
He wag'd me with his countenance*, as if
The army marvell'd at it.
So he did, my lord:
3 Which he did END all his ;] In Johnson's edition it was: "Which he did make all his ;" which seems the more natural expression, though the other be intelligible. M. MASON.
End is the reading of the old copy, and was chang'd into make by Mr. Rowe. STEEVENS.
4 He WAG'D me with his countenance,] This is obscure. The meaning, I think, is, he prescribed to me with an air of authority, and gave me his countenance for my wages; thought me sufficiently rewarded with good looks.' JOHNSON.
The verb, to wage, is used in this sense in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, by Heywood, 1638:
I receive thee gladly to my house, "And wage thy stay. Again, in Green's Mamillia, 1593: “ by custom common to all that could wage her honesty with the appointed price." To wage a task was, anciently, to undertake a task for wages. So, in George Withers's Verses prefixed to Drayton's Polyolbion : "Good speed befall thee who has wag'd a task, "That better censures, and rewards doth ask." Again in Spenser's Fairy Queen, book ii. c. vii. :
"Thy works for wealth, and life for gold engage." Again, in Holinshed's Reign of King John, p. 168: summe of 28 thousand markes to levie and wage thirtie thousand
"Therefore Gy of Burgoyn
Myne owen nevewe so trewe,
"Take a thousande pound of ffranks fyne
"To wage wyth the pepul newe." STEEVENS.
Again, in the ancient MS. romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 15:
There was it ;
For which my sinews shall be stretch'd' upon him.
[Drums and Trumpets sound, with great Shouts of the People.
1 CoN. Your native town you enter'd like a post, And had no welcomes home; but he returns, Splitting the air with noise.
2 CON. And patient fools, Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear,
With giving him glory.
3 CON. Therefore, at your vantage, Ere he express himself, or move the people With what he would say, let him feel your sword, When he lies along, pronounc'd shall bury
Which we will second.
Say no more;
Here come the lords.
Enter the Lords of the City.
LORDS. You are most welcome home.
I have not deserv'd it. But, worthy lords, have you with heed perus'd What I have written to you?
5 For which my sinews shall be stretch'd-] This is the point on which I will attack him with my utmost abilities.
6 What I have written To You?] If the unnecessary wordsto you, are omitted (for I believe them to be an interpolation) the metre will become sufficiently regular :
"What I have written?
And grieve to hear it."
1 LORD. And grieve to hear it. What faults he made before the last, I think, Might have found easy fines: but there to end, Where he was to begin; and give away The benefit of our levies, answering us
With our own charge; making a treaty, where
Enter CORIOLANUS, with Drums and Colours; a
COR. Hail, lords! I am returned your soldier; No more infected with my country's love, Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting Under your great command. You are to know, That prosperously I have attempted, and With bloody passage, led your wars, even to The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought
Do more than counterpoise, a full third part,
Together with the seal o' the senate, what
Read it not, noble lords; But tell the traitor, in the highest degree He hath abus'd your powers.
COR. Traitor!-How now ?
Ay, traitor, Marcius!
7 - answering us
With our own charge;] That is rewarding us with our own expences: making the cost of war its recompence.'
AUF. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius; Dost thou think
I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name Coriolanus in Corioli ?
You lords and heads of the state, perfidiously
say, your city,) to his wife and mother:
Hear'st thou, Mars? AUF. Name not the god, thou boy of tears,COR.
AUF. No more 9.
COR. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave !— Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever I was forc'd to scold. Your judgments, my grave
My beating to his grave;) shall join to thrust
Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion (Who wears my stripes impress'd on him; that must bear
Peace, both, and hear me speak.
8 For certain drops of salt,] For certain tears. So, in King Lear:
Why this would make a man, a man of salt." MALone. 9 Auf. No more.] This should rather be given to the first Lord. It was not the business of Aufidius to put a stop to the altercation. TYRWHITT.
It appears to me that by these words Aufidius does not mean to put a stop to the altercation; but to tell Coriolanus that he was no more than a "boy of tears." M. MASON.