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Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
To hide your doings; and to silence that,

Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch'd,
Would seem but modest: Therefore, I beseech you,
(In sign of what you are, not to reward

What you have done,7) before our army hear me.

Mar. I have some wounds upon me, and they smart To hear themselves remembered.

Com.

Should they not,

Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude,

And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses,
(Whereof we have ta'en good, and good store,) of all
The treasure, in this field achiev'd, and city,

We render you the tenth; to be ta'en forth,
Before the common distribution, at

Your only choice.

Mar.

I thank you, general;

But cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe, to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
And stand upon my common part with those
That have beheld the doing.

[A long Flourish. They all cry, Marcius! Marcius!
cast up their Caps and Lances: COMINIUS and
LARTIUS, stand bare.

Mar. May these same instruments, which you profane, Never sound more! When drums and trumpets shall9

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you

have done,)] So, in Macbeth:

“To herald thee into his sight, not pay thee." Steevens. Should they not,] That is, not be remembered. Johnson.

9 When drums and trumpets shall &c.] In the old copy: when drums and trumpets shall

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"I' the field, prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
"Made all of false-fac'd soothing.

"When steel grows soft as the parasite's silk,

"Let him be made an overture for the wars:'

All here is miserably corrupt and disjointed. We should read the whole thus:

when drums and trumpets shall

I' th' field prove flatterers, let camps, as cities,
Be made of false-fac'd soothing! When steel grows
Soft as the parasite's silk, let hymns be made

An overture for the wars!

The thought is this, If one thing changes its usual nature to a thing most opposite, there is no reason but that all the rest which

I' the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
Made all of false-fac'd soothing! When steel grows
Soft as the parasite's silk, let him" be made it

depend on it should do so too. [If drums and trumpets prove flatterers, let the camp bear the false face of the city.] And if another changes its usual nature, that its opposite should do so too. [When steel softens to the condition of the parasite's silk, the peaceful hymns of devotion should be employed to excite to the charge.] Now, in the first instance, the thought, in the common reading, was entirely lost by putting in courts for camps; and the latter miserably involved in nonsense, by blundering hymns into him. Warburton.

The first part of the passage has been altered, in my opinion, unnecessarily by Dr. Warburton; and the latter not so happily, I think, as he often conjectures. In the latter part, which only I mean to consider, instead of, him, (an evident corruption) he substitutes hymns; which perhaps may palliate, but certainly has not cured, the wounds of the sentence. I would propose an alte ration of two words:

66

when steel grows

"Soft as the parasite's silk, let this [i. e. silk] be made "A coverture for the wars!"

The sense will then be apt and complete. When steel grows soft as silk, let armour be made of silk instead of steel. Tyrwhitt. It should be remembered, that the personal him, is not unfrequently used by our author, and other writers of his age, instead of it, the neuter; and that overture, in its musical sense, is not so ancient as the age of Shakspeare. What Martial has said of Mutius Scævola, may however be applied to Dr. Warburton's proposed emendation:

Si non errâsset, fecerat ille minus. Steevens.

Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, interprets the word Overture thus: "An overturning; a sudden change." The latter sense suits the present passage sufficiently well, understanding the word him to mean it, as Mr. Steevens has very properly explained it. When steel grows soft as silk, let silk be suddenly converted to the use of war.

We have many expressions equally licentious in these plays. By steel Martius means a coat of mail. So, in King Henry V1. P. III:

"Shall we go throw away our coats of steel,

"And wrap our bodies in black mourning gowns?” Shakspeare has introduced a similar image in Romeo and Ju

liet:

"Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,
"And in my temper soften'd valour's steel.”

Overture, I have observed since this note was written, was used by the writers of Shakspeare's time in the sense of prelude or preparation. It is so used by Sir John Davies and Philemon Holland. Malone.

A coverture

"An overture for the wars! No more, I say;

For that I have not wash'd my nose that bled,

Or foil'd some debile wretch,-which, without note,
Here's many else have done,-you shout me forth
In acclamations hyperbolical;

As if I loved my little should be dieted

In praises sauc'd with lies.

Com.

Too modest are you;

More cruel to your good report, than grateful

To us that give you truly: by your patience,

If 'gainst yourself you be incens'd, we 'll put you
(Like one that means his proper harm) in manacles,
Then reason safely with you.-Therefore, be it known,
As to us, to all the world, that Caius Marcius
Wears this war's garland: in token of the which
My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
With all his trim belonging; and, from this time,
For what he did before Corioli, call him,1
With all the applause and clamour of the host,
CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS. 2

Bear the addition nobly ever!

[Flourish. Trumpets sound, and Drums.

All. Caius Marcius Coriolanus!

Cor. I will go wash;

And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
Whether I blush, or no: Howbeit, I thank you:-
I mean to stride your steed; and, at all times,
To undercrest your good addition,

To the fairness of my power.3

1 For what he did, &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "After this showte and noyse of the assembly was somewhat appeased, the consul Cominius beganne to speake in this sorte. We cannot compell Martius to take these giftes we offer him, if he will not receaue them: but we will geue him suche a rewarde for the noble seruice he hath done, as he cannot refuse. Therefore we doe order and decree, that henceforth he be called Coriolanus, onles his valiant acts haue wonne him that name before our nomination." Steevens.

2 The folio-Marcus Caius Coriolanus. Steevens.

3 To undercrest your good addition,

To the fairness of my power.] A phrase from heraldry, signifying, that he would endeavour to support his good opinion of him. Warburton.

I understand the meaning to be, to illustrate this honourable distinction you have conferred on me by fresh deservings to the

Com.

So, to our tent:

Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
To Rome of our success.- -You, Titus Lartius,
Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
The best, with whom we may articulate,5
For their own good, and ours.

Lart.

I shall, my lord.

Cor. The gods begin to mock me. I that now
Refus'd most princely gifts, am bound to beg
Of my lord general.

Com.

Take it: 'tis yours.—What is 't?

Cor. I sometime lay, here in Corioli,

At a poor man's house; he us'd me kindly:
He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was within my view,

And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity: I request you
To give my poor host freedom.

Com.

O, well begg'd!
Were he the butcher of my son, he should
Be free, as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.

extent of my power. To undercrest, I should guess, signifies properly, to wear beneath the crest as a part of a coat of arms. The name or title now given seems to be considered as the crest; the promised future achievements as the future additions to that coat. Heath.

When two engage on equal terms, we say it is fair; fairness may therefore be equality; in proportion equal to my power.

"To the fairness of my power"-is, as fairly as I can.

5

The best,] The chief men of Corioli. Johnson.

Johnson.

M. Mason.

with whom we may articulate,] i. e. enter into articles. This word occurs again in King Henry IV, Act V, sc. i: "Indeed these things you have articulated.” i. e. set down article by article. So, in Holinshed's Chronicles of Ireland, p. 163: "The earl of Desmond's treasons articulated." Steevens.

At a poor man's house;] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "Only this grace (said he) I craue, and beseeche you to grant me. Among the Volces there is an old friende and hoste of mine, an honest wealthie man, and now a prisoner, who liuing before in great wealthe, in his owne countrie, liueth now a poore prisoner in the handes of his enemies: and yet notwithstanding all this his miserie and misfortune, it would doe me great pleasure if I could saue him from this one daunger: to Keepe him from being solde as a slaue." Steevens.

7 - free, as is the wind.] So, in As you Like its

Lart. Marcius, his name?

Cor.

I am weary; yea, my memory is tir'd.

Have we no wine here?

Com.

By Jupiter, forgot:

Go we to our tent:

The blood upon your visage dries: 'tis time
It should be look'd to: come.

SCENE X.

The Camp of the Volces.

[Exeunt.

A Flourish. Cornets. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, bloody, with Two or Three Soldiers.

Auf. The town is ta'en!

1 Sol. 'Twill be deliver'd back on good condition. Auf. Condition?—

I would, I were a Roman; for I cannot,

Being a Volce, be that I am.8-Condition!
What good condition can a treaty find

I' the part that is at mercy? Five times, Marcius,
I have fought with thee; so often hast thou beat me;
And would'st deso, I think, should we encounter
As often as we eat.-By the elements,

If e'er again I meet him beard to beard,
He is mine, or I am his: Mine emulation

Hath not that honour in 't, it had; for where1
I thought to crush him in an equal force,

(True sword to sword) I 'll potch at him some way;2

66 I must have liberty,

"Withal, as large a charter as the wind." Malone.

-8 Being a Volce, &c.] It may be just observed, that Shak speare calls the Volci, Volces, which the modern editors have changed to the modern termination [Volcian.] I mention it here, because here the change has spoiled the measure:

Being a Volce, be that I am.-Condition! Johnson. The Volci are called Volces in Sir Thomas North's Plutarch, and so I have printed the word throughout this tragedy. Steevens. meet him beard to beard,] So, in Macbeth:

9

"We might have met them dareful, beard to beard -"

Steevens.

1 for where-] Where is used here, as in many other places, for whereas. Malone.

2

I'll potch at him some way;] Mr. Heath reads poach; but potch, to which the objection is made as no English word, is used in the midland counties for a rough, violent push.

Steevens

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