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SCENE I. Rome. A street,
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves,
clubs, and other weapons.
1 Citizen. BEFORE we proceed any further, hear me speak.
Cit. Speak, speak. [Several speaking at once.
1 Cit. You are all resolved rather to die, thap to famislı ?
Cit. Resolved, resolved.
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 patri. cians, good* : What authority surfeits on, would
reliere us; If they would yield us but the superfuity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leanness that afficts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularise their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.- Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes* : for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
1 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius ?
Cit. Against him first; he's a very dog to the commonally.
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 bath dove famous. ly, he did it 10 that end : though soft-conscienc'd men can be conteut to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in hìm: 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 oʻthe city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol.
Cit. Come, come.
* Thin as rakes.
Enter Menenius Agrippa. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
1 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. Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine ho.
nest neighbours, Will you undo yourselves?
1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman state; whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment: For the dearth, The gods, vot the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity Thither where more attends you; and you slander The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.
1 Cit. Care for us !— True, indeed !-They ne'er cared 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 eat us not up, they will ;
and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgracet with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver. Men. There was a time, when all the body's mem
1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus (For, look you, I may make the belly smile, As well as speak), it tauntingly replied To the discontented members, the toutinous parts That envied his receipt; even so most ftlys As you malign our senators, for that They are not such as you. 1 Cit.
Your belly's answer: What! The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye, The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier, Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
What then? 'Fore me, this fellow speaks !-what then? what
then ? 1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink utne body, Men.
Well, what then ? 1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, Wiat could the belly answer? Men.
I will tell you ; If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little), Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's answer.
1 Cit. You are long about it. Men.
Note me this, good friend;
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Though all at once cannot
1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this?