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He had rather venture all his limbs for honour,
Com. I shall lack voice : the deeds of Coriolanus
(17) And in the brunt of sev'nteen battles fince.] I cannot help making a remark upon this circumstance of our author's conduct, whether casual or designedly. It is said, and the fact is true, that he has follow'd Plutarch very closely in his story; but he deviates from him in one point, by which he seems to decline a strange absurdity in the calculation of time. Shakespeare tells us, that, at. fixteen years old, Coriolanus began his foldiership, when Tarquin made head to regain his kingdom ; and that in seventeen battles he diftinguifnd himself with exemplary bravery and success. Plutarcb likewisc says, that our hero set out in arms a youth, that his first expedition was when Tarquin made this push, and that he signaliz'd him. self in war for seventeen years succesively. Now it happens a little unluckily for Plutarcb's account that this attempt of Tarquin was made Anno V. C. 258, and Coriolanus was banish'd, nay and kill’d within the period of eight years after his first campaign, Anno U. C. 266. There is something again lies cross on the other fide, that if Coriolanus was so young when he commenced foldier, and if the interval was so short betwixt that and his banilament, he was too young to have been admitted a candidate for the confulthip. The compliment of that office fo early to any man was a proftitution of Dignity, that, I think, was never made 'till the times of
He lurcht all swords o'th' garland. For this laft,
Turn terror into sport. As waves before
Men. Worthy man !
i Sen. He cannot but with measure fit the honours, Which we devise him.
Com. Our spoils he kick'd at,
the Emperors, when servitude had debased the very spirits of the Roc
'Tis certain, there is some mistake in the computation of this great man's years. I should conjecture (were there any proofs to second it) that he started into notice as a soldier, when Tarquin was expelld Rome, Anno U. C. 245 ; and allowing him only to be eighteen years of age then, at the time of his own banishment (U, C. 264) we shall find him 37 years old ; a period of life, at which the city could scarcely have refus'd one of his extraordinary merit the consulship. ---But this is no more than an attempt to reconcile improbabilities by guess.
Men. He's right noble,
Sen. Call Coriolanus.
Cor. I do owe them ftill
Men. It then remains
Cor. I do beseech you,
Sic. Sir, the people must have their voices,
Men. Put them not to't; pray, fit you to the custom,
Cor. It is a part
Bru. Mark you that?
Cor. To brag unto them, thus I did, -and thus, Shew them th' unaking scars, which I would hide, As if I had receiv'd them for the hire Of their breath only
Men. Do not stand upon't : We recommend t'ye, tribunes of the people, Our purpose to them, and to our noble Consul With we all joy and honour. Sen. (18) To Coriolanus come all joy and honour !
(Flourish Cornets. Then Exeunt. (18) Sic. To Coriolanus come all joy and honour !! How Mr. Pope came to put this kindly with in the mouth of the tribune, I can't say. We will suppose it to be cbance-medley. I have refor’d it to the body of the Senate, with all the preceding editions,
Manent Sicinius and Brutus.
Sis. May they perceive's intent! he will require them,
Bru. (19) Come, we'll inform them
SCENE, changes to the Forum.
Enter seven or eight Citizens. ) NCE, if he do require our voices, we
ought not to deny him. 2 Cit. We may, Sir, if we will.
3 Cit. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do ; for if he few us his wounds, and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds, and speak for them : (19) Come, we'll inform tbem
Of our proceedings bere on th' market place,
I know they do attend us.] But the Tribunes were not now on the market place, but in the Capitol. The pointing only wants to be rectified, and we shall know what this magistrate would say; viz. Come, I know, the people attend us in the forum ; we'll go and inform them what proceedings have been here in the senate.
(20) Oons! if be do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.) What more anachronisms, and more than ever the poet either design'd or Nipt into! but this, like the boild pig and colliflower in the farce, is of 'Squire somebody's own bespeaking; and 'twill be but kind to let him have the dish to himseif. Mr. Pope, I presume, hardly thinks that blood and wounds ever came into an oath, 'till after the crucifixion of our Saviour. But, to set that question apart, our citizens here are no such blustering blades. They say honestly, in all the other editions, no more than this :
-ooce, if he do require our voices, &c. i. e. Ia a word, once for all, I've said it once and I'll stand to it. So in Much Ado about Norbing.
'Tis once, thou lov'fta So in Antbony and Cleopatra.
Men. Wilt thou be Lord of all the world?
Men. Wilt thou be Lord of all the world! that's twice,
so, if he tells us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monAtrous ; and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude ; of the which, we being members, should bring ourselves to be monstrous members.
i Cit. And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve : for once when we stood up about the corn, he himself ttuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.
3 Cit. We have been callid fo of many ; not that our heads are some brown, fome black, some auburn, some bald ; but that our wits are so divertly colour’d; and truly, I think, if all our wits were to issue out of one fcull, they would fly east, west, north, fouth ; and their consent of one direct way would be at once to all points o'th' compass.
2 Cit. Think you so? which way, do you judge, my wit would fly?
3 Cit. Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's will, 'tis strongly wedg'd up in a blockhead: but if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, fouthward.
2 Cit. Why that way?
3 Cit. To lose itself in a fog ; where being three parts melted
away with rotten dews, the fourth would return for conscience fake, to help to get thee a wife.
2 Cit. You are never without your tricks -you may, you may
3 Cit. Are you all resolv'd 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 in a gown, with 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 one's, by two's, and by three's. He's to make his requeits 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.