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but they think, we are too dear:3 the leanness that afthu flicts us, the"object" of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize 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.

2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

Cit. Against him first;5 he 's a very dog to the commonalty.

3 but they think, we are too dear:] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth. Johnson.

4 Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes:] It was Shakspeare's design to make this fellow quibble all the way. But time, who has done greater things, has here stifled a miserable joke; which was then the same as if it had been now wrote, Let us now revenge this with forks, ere we become rakes: for pikes then signified the same as forks do now. So, Jewel in his own translation of his Apology, turns Christianos ad furcas condemnare, to-To condemn christians to the pikes. But the Oxford editor, without knowing any thing of this, has with great sagacity 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 obscure. Rake now signifies a dissolute man, a man worn out with disease and debauchery. But the signification is, I think, much more modern than the proverb. Řekel, in Islandick, is said to mean a cur-dog, and this was probably the first use among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dog too worthless to be fed. Johnson.

It may be so: and yet I believe the proverb, as lean as a rake, owes its origin simply to the thin taper form of the instrument made use of by hay-makers. Chaucer has this simile in his description of the clerk's horse in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 288:

"As lene was his hors as is a rake."

Spenser introduces it in the second Book of his Fairy Queen, Canto II:

"His body lean and meagre as a rake."

As thin as a whipping-post, is another proverb of the same kind. Stanyhurst, in his translation of the third Book of Virgil, 1582, describing Achæmenides, says:

"A meigre leane rake," &c.

This passage, however, seems to countenance Dr. Johnson's supposition; as also does the following from Churchyard's Tragicall Discourse of the Haplesse Man's Life, 1593:

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

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 hath done famously, did it to that end: though soft-conscienc'd men can be content 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 altitudes of his virtue.

2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: 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 the city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol.

Cit. Come, come.

1 Cit. Soft; who comes here?


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.

5 Cit. Against him first; &c.] This speech is in the old play, as here, given to a body of the Citizens speaking at once. I believe, it ought to be assigned to the first Citizen. Malone. 6 to the altitude -] So, in King Henry VIII:

"He's traitor to the height." Steevens.

7 Our business &c.] This and all the subsequent plebeian speeches in this scene are given in the old copy to the second Citizen. But the dialogue at the opening of the play shows that it must have been a mistake, and that they ought to be attributed to the first Citizen. The second is rather friendly to Coriolanus. Malone.

Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest 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, not the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity Thither where more attends 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 car'd 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

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,

Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you

A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;

But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture

To scale 't a little more.9

1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to

cracking ten thousand curbs

Of more strong link asunder, than can ever

Appear in your impediment:] So, in Othello:

"I have made my way through more impediments
"Than twenty times your stop." Malone.

I will venture

To scale 't a little more] To scale is to disperse. The word is still used in the North. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.

A measure of wine spilt, is called-" a scal'd pottle of wine" in Decker's comedy of The Honest Whore, 1604. So, in The

fob off our disgrace with a tale:1 but, an 't please you, deliver.

Men. There was a time, when all the body's members Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:That only like a gulf it did remain

I' the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,

Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing

Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments2
Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate,3 did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered, -

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1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?

Hystorie of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. a play published in 1599:

"The bugie heapes of cares that lodged in my minde, "Are skaled from their nestling-place, and pleasures passage find."

Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, already quoted:

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"Fye, fye; idle, idle; he 's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scal'd hair." In the North they say scale the corn, i. e. scatter it: scale the muck well, i. e. spread the dung well. The two foregoing instances are taken from Mr. Lambe's notes on the old metrical history of Floddon Field.

Again, Holinshed, Vol. II, p. 499, speaking of the retreat of the Welshmen during the absence of Richard II, says: "-they would no longer abide, but scaled and departed away." So again, p. 530: "- whereupon their troops scaled, and fled their waies." In the learned Ruddiman's Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scapigliare, crines passos, seu sparsos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus escheveler, schevel, skail; but of a more general signification. Steevens.

Theobald reads-stale it. Malone.

1 disgrace with a tale:] Disgraces are hardships, injuries. Johnson.


where the other instruments -] Where for whereas.


We meet with the same expression in The Winter's Tale, Vol. VI, p. 205, n. 7:


"As you feel, doing thus; and see withal
"The instruments that feel." Malone.

· participate,] Here means participant, or participating.


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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 reply'd

To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envy'd his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators, for that

They are not such as you.7

1 Cit.
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

Your belly's answer: What!

In this our fabrick, if that they


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 o' the body,


Well, what then?

1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?

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.

Note me this, good friend; Your most grave belly was deliberate,

Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd.
Trug is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,

* Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt. Johnson.


I may make the belly smile,]" And so the belly, all this notwithstanding, laughed at their folly, and sayed," &c. North's translation of Plutarch, p. 240, edit. 1579. Malone.

6 even so most fitly -] i. e. exactly. Warburton. "They are not such as you.] I suppose we should read-They are not as you. So, in St. Luke, xviii, 11: "God, I thank thee, I am not as this publican." The pronoun-such, only disorders the measure. Steevens.

8 The counsellor heart,] The heart was anciently esteemed the seat of prudence. Homo cordatus is a prudent man Johnson. The heart was considered by Shakspeare as the seat of the understanding. See the next note. Malone.

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