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Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.

Val. In truth la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.

Vir. O, good madam, there can be none yet.

Val. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him last night.

Vir. Indeed, madam?

Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is:-The Volces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power: your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; pray, go with us.

and so,

Vir. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every thing hereafter.

Vol. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our better mirth.

Val. In troth, I think, she would:-Fare you well then. -Come, good sweet lady.-Pr'ythee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o' door, and go along with us.

Vir. No: at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish you much mirth.

Val. Well, then farewel.



Before Corioli.

Enter, with Drum and Colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LAR-
TIUS, Officers, and Soldiers. To them a Messenger.
Mar. Yonder comes news:-.
—A wager, they have met.
Lart. My horse to yours, no.



'Tis done.


Mar. Say, has our general met the enemy?

Mess. They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.

Lart. So, the good horse is mine.


I'll buy him of you.

Lart. No, I'll nor sell, nor give him: lend you him, I


For half a hundred years,-Summon the town.

Mar. How far off lie these armies?


Within this mile and half.

Tar. Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours. v, Mars, I pr'ythee, make us quick in work;

at we with smoking swords may march from hence, help our fielded friends!^—Come, biow thy blast.

ey sound a Parley. Enter, on the Walls, some Senators, and Others.

llus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he, hat's lesser than a little." Hark, our drums

[Alarums afar of re bringing forth our youth: We 'll break our walls, ather than they shall pound us up: our gates, Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes; They 'll open of themselves. Hark you, far off;

[Other Alarums.

There is Aufidius: list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.


O, they are at it! Lart. Their noise be our instruction.-Ladders, ho

The Volces enter and pass over the Stage.

Mar. They fear us not, but issue forth their city. Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight With hearts more proof than shields.—Advance, brave


♦Within this mile and half.] The two last words, which disturb the measure, should be omitted; as we are told in p. 31, that-""Tis not a mile" between the two armies. Steevens.

5 ·fielded friends!] i. e. our friends who are in the field of battle. Steevens.


nor a man that fears you less than he,

That's lesser than a little.] The sense requires it to be read: nor a man that fears you more than he;

O, more probably:

nor a man but fears you less than he, &c. Johnson. The text, I am confident, is right, our author almost always entangling himself when he uses less and more. See Vol. VI, p. 226, n. 7. Lesser in the next line shows that less in that preceding was the author's word, and it is extremely improbable that he should have written-but fears you less, &c. Malone.

Dr. Johnson's note appears to me unnecessary, nor do I think with Mr. Malone that Shakspeare has here entangled himself; but on the contrary that he could not have expressed himsel better. The sense is "however little Tullus Aufidius fears you there is not a man within the walls that fears you less." Douce

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They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,

Which makes me sweat with wrath.-Come, on my


He that retires, I'll take him for a Volce,

And he shall feel mine edge.


Alarum, and exeunt Romans and Volces, fighting. The Romans are beaten back to their Trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS.7

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Mar. All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome!you herd of - Boils and plaguess
Plaster you o'er; that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale

With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe,
And make my wars on you; look to 't: Come on;
If you'll stand fast, we 'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.

7 Re-enter Marcius.] The old copy reads-Enter Marcius cursing. Steevens.

You shames of Rome! you herd of — Boils and plagues &c.] This passage, like almost every other abrupt sentence in these plays, was rendered unintelligible in the old copy by inaccurate punctuation. See Vol. II, p. 324, n. 4; Vol. IV, p. 30, n. 3; and p 340, n. 2. For the present regulation I am answerable. "You herd of cowards!" Marcius would say, but his rage prevents him.

In a former passage (p. 14 and 15,) he is equally impetuous and abrupt:

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One 's Junius Brutus,

"Sicinius Velutus, and I know not-'Sdeath!
"The rabble should have first" &c.

Speaking of the people in a subsequent scene, he uses the same expression:

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"Again: "More of your conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians."

In Mr. Rowe's edition herds was printed instead of herd, the reading of the old copy; and the passage has been exhibited thus in the modern editions:

"You shames of Rome, you! Herds of boils and plagues "Plaster you o'er!" Malone.

Unheard of boils ms. 1632

Another Alarum. The Volces and Romans re-enter, and the Fight is renewed. The Volces retire into Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the Gates.

So, now the gates are ope:-Now prove good seconds: 'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,

Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.

[He enters the Gates, and is shut in.

1 Sol. Fool-hardiness; not I.

2 Sol.

3 Sol.

Nor I.

See, they [Alarum continues.

Have shut him in.


To the pot, I warrant him. port

Lart. What is become of Marcius?

Slain, sir, doubtless.

1 Sol. Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters: who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd-to their gates; he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.


O noble fellow!

Who, sensible, outdares 9 his senseless sword,

And, when it bows, stands up! Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle entire,1 as big as thou art,

Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish: not fierce and terrible

9 Who, sensible, outdares —] The old editions read: Who sensibly out-dares

Thirlby reads:

Who, sensible, outdoes his senseless sword.

He is followed by the later editors, but I have taken only his correction. Johnson.

Sensible is here, having sensation. So before: “I would, your cambrick were sensible as your finger." Though Coriolanus has the feeling of pain like other men, he is more hardy in daring exploits than his senseless sword, for after it is bent, he yet stands firm in the field. Malone.

The thought seems to have been adopted from Sidney's Arcadia, edit. 1633, p. 293:

"Their very armour by piece-meale fell away from them: and yet their flesh abode the wounds constantly, as though it were lesse sensible of smart than the senselesse armour," &c. Steevens. 1 A carbuncle entire, &c.] So, in Othello:

"If heaven had made me such another woman,
"Of one entire and perfect chrysolite,

"I'd not have ta'en it for her Malone.

Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks, and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous, and did tremble.3

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Even to Cato's wish: not fierce and terrible

Only in strokes; &c.] In the old editions it was:

Calvus' wish:·

Plutarch, in The Life of Coriolanus, relates this as the opinion of Cato the Elder, that a great soldier should carry terrour in his looks and tone of voice; and the poet hereby following the historian, is fallen into a great chronological impropriety. Theobald.

The old copy reads-Calues wish. The correction made by Theobald is fully justified by the passage in Plutarch, which Shakspeare had in view: "Martius, being there [before Corioli] at that time, ronning out of the campe with a fewe men with him, he slue the first enemies he met withal, and made the rest of them staye upon a sodaine; crying out to the Romaines that had turned their backes, and calling them againe to fight with a lowde voyce. For he was even such another as Cato would have a souldier and a captaine to be; not only terrible and fierce to lay about him, but to make the enemies afeard with the sounde of his voyce and grimnes of his countenance." North's translation of Plutarch, 1579, p. 240.

Mr. M. Mason supposes that Shakspeare, to avoid the chrono logical impropriety, put this saying of the elder Cato "into the mouth of a certain Calvus, who might have lived at any time." Had Shakspeare known that Cato was not contemporary with Coriolanus, (for there is nothing in the foregoing passage to make him even suspect that was the case) and in consequence made this alteration, he would have attended in this particular instance to a point, of which almost every page of his works shows that he was totally negligent; a supposition which is so improbable, that I have no doubt the correction that has been adopted by the modern editors, is right. In the first Act of this play, we have Lucius and Marcius printed instead of Lartius, in the original and only authentick ancient copy. The substitution of Calues, instead of Cato's, is easily accounted for. Shakspeare wrote, according to the mode of his time, Catoes wish; (So, in Beaumont's Masque, 1613:

"And what will Junoes Iris do for her?")

omitting to draw a line across the t, and writing the o inaccurately, the transcriber or printer gave us Calues. See a subsequent passage in Act II, sc. ult. in which our author has been led by another passage in Plutarch into a similar anachronism.


as if the world

Were feverous, and did tremble.] So, in Macbeth:


—some say, the earth

"Was feverous, and did shake." Steevents.


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