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2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?
1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for 't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even tó the altitude of his virtue.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: You must in no way say, he is covetous.
1 Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o' the city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol.
Cit. Come, come.
1 Cit. Soft; who comes here?
Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA.
2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
i Cit. He 's one honest enough; 'Would, all the rest were so!
Men. What work 's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you
With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
1 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we 'll show 'em in deeds. They say, poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall know, we have strong arms too.
5 Cit. Against him first; &c.] This speech is in the old play, as here, given to a body of the Citizens speaking at once. I be lieve, it ought to be assigned to the first Citizen. Malone.
to the altitude] So, in King Henry VIII: "He's traitor to the height." Steevens.
7 Our business &c.] This and all the subsequent plebeian speeches in this scene are given in the old copy to the second Citizen. But the dialogue at the opening of the play shows that it must have been a mistake, and that they ought to be attribu ted to the first Citizen. The second is rather friendly to CorioJanus. Malone.
Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
Thither where more attends you; and you slander
1 Cit. Care for us!-True, indeed!-They ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers: repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars cat us not up, they will; and there 's all the love they bear us.. Men. Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
To scale 't a little more.9
1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to
cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder, than can ever
Appear in your impediment:] So, in Othello:
"I have made my way through more impediments
"Than twenty times your stop." Malone.
I will venture
To scale 't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The word is still used in the North. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.
A measure of wine spilt, is called-" a scal'd pottle of wine" n Decker's comedy of The Honest Whore, 1604. Sơ, in The
fob off our disgrace with a tale :1 but, an 't please you, deliver.
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:That only like a gulf it did remain
I' the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments?
Hystorie of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. a play published in 1599:
"The hugie heapes of cares that lodged in my minde, "Are skaled from their nestling-place, and pleasures pas sage find."
Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, already quoted:
Cut off his beard..
"Fye, fye; idle, idle; he 's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scal'd hair." In the North they say scale the corn, i. e. scatter it: scale the muck well, i. e. spread the dung well. The two foregoing instances are taken from Mr. Lambe's notes on the old metrical history of Floddon Field.
Again, Holinshed, Vol. II, p. 499, speaking of the retreat of the Welshmen during the absence of Richard II, says: "- they would no longer abide, but scaled and departed away." So again, p. 530:"-whereupon their troops scaled, and fled their waies." In the learned Ruddiman's Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scupigliare, crines passos, seu sparsos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus escheveler, schevel, skail; but of a more general signification. Steevens.
Theobald reads-stale it. Malone.
1 disgrace with a tale:] Disgraces are hardships, inju ries. Johnson.
where the other instruments —] Where for whereas.
We meet with the same expression in The Winter's Tale, Vol. VI, p. 205, n. 7:
"As you feel, doing thus; and see withal
· participate,] Here means participant, or participating.
Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
They are not such as you."
Your belly's answer: What!
In this our fabrick, if that they
'Fore me, this fellow speaks!-what then? what then? 1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink o' the body,
Well, what then? 1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?
Note me this, good friend; Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd.
4 Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt. Johnson.
I may make the belly smile,] "And so the belly, all this notwithstanding, laughed at their folly, and sayed," &c. North's translation of Plutarch, p. 240, edit. 1579. Malone. 6 even so most fitly-] i. e. exactly. Warburton.
7 They are not such as you.] I suppose we should read-They are not as you. So, in St. Luke, xviii, 11: " God, I thank thee, I am not as this publican." The pronoun-such, only disorders the measure. Steevens.
8 The counsellor heart,] The heart was anciently esteemed the seat of prudence. Homo cordatus is a prudent man. Johnson. The heart was considered by Shakspeare as the seat of the understanding. See the next note. Malone.
That I receive the general food at first,
Even to the court, the heart,-to the seat o' the brain ;9
9 to the seat o' the brain;] seems to me a very languid expression. I believe we should read, with the omission of a particle:
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat, the brain.
He uses seat for throne, the royal seat, which the first editors probably not apprehending, corrupted the passage. It is thus used in Richard II, Act III, sc. iv:
"Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
It should be observed too, that one of the Citizens had just before characterized these principal parts of the human fabrick by similar metaphors:
"The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
I have too great respect for even the conjectures of my respectable and very judicious friend, to suppress his note, though it appears to me erroneous. In the present instance I have not the smallest doubt, being clearly of opinion that the text is right. Brain is here used for reason or understanding. Shakspeare seems to have had Camden as well as Plutarch before him; the former of whom has told a similar story in his Remains, 1605, and has likewise made the heart the seat of the brain, or understanding: Hereupon they all agreed to pine away their lasie and publike enemy. One day passed over, the second followed very tedious, but the third day was so grievous to them, that they called a common counsel. The eyes waxed dimme, the feete could not support the body, the armes waxed lazie, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter. Therefore they all with one accord desired the advice of the heart. There REASON laid open before them," &c. Remains, p. 109.
I agree, however, entirely with Mr. Tyrwhitt, in thinking that seat means here the royal seat, the throne. The seat of the brain, is put in opposition with the heart, and is descriptive of it. "I send it, (says the belly) through the blood, even to the royal residence, the heart, in which the kingly-crowned understanding sits enthroned.
So, in King Henry VI, P. II:
"The rightful heir to England's royal seat."
In like manner in Twelfth Night, our author has erected the throne of love in the heart:
"It gives a very echo to the seat
Again, in Othello: