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CORIOLANUS.] This play I conjecture to have been written in the year 1609. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II.

It comprehends a period of about four years, commencing with the feceffion to the Mons Sacer in the year of Rome 262, and ending with the death of Coriolanus, A. U. C. 266.


The whole hiftory is exactly followed, and many of the principal fpeeches exactly copied, from the Life of Coriolanus in Plutarch. POPE.


Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a noble Roman.

Titus Lartius,} Generals against the Volscians.


Menenius Agrippa, Friend to Coriolanus.
Sicinius Velutus,Tribunes of the People.
Junius Brutus,

Young Marcius, Son to Coriolanus.
A Roman Herald.

Tullus Aufidius, General of the Volfcians.
Lieutenant to Aufidius.
Confpirators with Aufidius.

A Citizen of Antium.
Two Volfcian Guards.

Volumnia, Mother to Coriolanus.
Virgilia, Wife to Coriolanus.

Valeria, Friend to Virgilia.

Gentlewoman, attending Virgilia.

Roman and Volfcian Senators, Patricians, Ediles, Lictors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attendants.

SCENE, partly in Rome; and partly in the Ter ritories of the Volfcians and Antiates.



Rome. A Street.

Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens, with Staves, Clubs, and other Weapons.

1 CIT. Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.

CIT. Speak, speak. [Several speaking at once. 1 CIT. You are all refolved rather to die, than to famish?

CIT. Refolved, refolved.

1 CIT. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.

CIT. We know't, we know't.

1 CIT. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict?

CIT. No more talking on't; let it be done : away, away.

2 CIT. One word, good citizens.

1 CIT. We are accounted poor citizens; the

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patricians, good: What authority furfeits on, would relieve us; If they would yield us but the fuperfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leannefs that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our fufferance is a gain to them. -Let us revenge this with our pikes,3 ere we be

I 1. Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good;] Good is here used in the mercantile fenfe. So, Touchstone in Eastward Hoe:

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known good men, well monied." FARMER. Again, in The Merchant of Venice:

"Antonio's a good man." MALONE.

but they think, we are too dear:] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth. JOHNSON. 3 Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes:] It was Shakspeare's defign to make this fellow quibble all the way. But time, who has done greater things, has here ftifled a miferable joke; which was then the fame as if it had been now wrote, Let us now revenge this with forks, ere we become rakes: for pikes then fignified the fame as forks do now. So, Jewel in his own tranflation of his Apology, turns Chriftianos ad furcas condemnare, to-To condemn chriftians to the pikes. But the Oxford editor, without knowing any thing of this, has with great fagacity found out the joke, and reads on his own authority, pitch-forks. WARBURTON.

It is plain that, in our author's time, we had the proverb, as lean as a rake. Of this proverb the original is obfcure. Rake now fignifies a diffolute man, a man worn out with disease and debauchery. But the fignification is, I think, much more modern than the proverb. Rakel, in Islandick, is faid to mean a cur-dog, and this was probably the firft ufe among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dog too worthlefs to be fed. JOHNSON.

It may be fo: and yet I believe the proverb, as lean as a rake, owes its origin fimply to the thin taper form of the inftrument made ufe of by hay-makers. Chaucer has this fimile in his defcription of the clerk's horfe in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 281:

As lene was his hors as is a rake."

come rakes: for the gods know, I fpeak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

2 CIT. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

CIT. Against him firft ;4 he's a very dog to the commonalty.

2. CIT. Confider you what fervices 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 fay unto you, what he hath done famoufly, he did it to that end: though foft confcienc'd men can be content to fay, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude 5 of his virtue.

2 CIT. What he cannot help in his nature, you

Spenfer introduces it in the fecond Book of his Fairy Queen, Canto II:

"His body lean and meagre as a rake." As thin as a whipping-poft, is another proverb of the fame kind. Stanyhurft, in his tranflation of the third Book of Virgil, 1582, defcribing Achæmenides, fays:

"A meigre leane rake," &c.

This paffage, however, feems to countenance Dr. Johnson's fuppofition; as alfo does the following from Churchyard's Tra gicall Difcourfe of the Hapleffe Man's Life, 1593 :

"And though as leane as rake in every rib."


4 Cit. Against him firft; &c.] This fpeech is in the old play, as here, given to a body of the Citizens fpeaking at once. I ber lieve, it ought to be affigned to the firft Citizen. MALONE,


to the altitude] So, in King Henry VIII: "He's traitor to the height." STEEVENS.

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