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Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
No; I'll not meddle.
What should I do?
.: Well, and say that Marcius Return me, as Cominius is return'd, Unheard; what then? But as a discontented friend, grief-shot With his unkindness ? Say't be so? Sic.
Yet your good will Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure As you intended well. Men.
I'll undertake it: I think, he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip, And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me. He was not taken well; he had not din'd:3 The veins unfill’d, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the morning, are unapt To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd These pipes and these conveyances of our blood With wine and feeding, we have súppler souls Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch
him Till he be dieted to my request, And then I'll set upon him.
Bru. You know the very road into his kindness, And cannot lose your way. i Men.
Good faith, I'll prove him, Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
' He was not taken well; he had not din'd: &c.] This observation is not only from nature, and finely expressed, but admirably befits the mouth of one, who in the beginning of the play had told us, that he loved convivial doings, :
Of my success.
[Exit. - Com.
He'll never hear him. • Sic.
Not? Com. I tell you, he does sit in gold,“ his eye Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury The gaoler to his pity. I kneeld before him; 'Twas very faintly he said, Rise; dismiss'd me i Thus, with his speechless hand: What he would do, He sent in writing after me; what he would not, Bound with an oath, to yield to his conditions; So, that all hope is vain, Unless his noble mother, and his wife; si Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence, And with our fair entreaties haste thein on.
SCENE II. An advanced Post of the Volscian Camp before Rome.
The Guard at their Stations.
Enter to them, MENENIUS.
Stand, and go back. -
'4 I tell you, he does sit in gold,] He is enthroned in all the pomp and pride of imperial splendour.
5 Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions :] What he would do, i, e. the conditions on which he offered to return, he sent in writing after Cominius, intending that he should have carried them to Menenius. Ilhat he would not; i. e. his resolution of neither dismissing his soldiers, nor càpitulating with Rome's mechanicks, in case the terms he prescribed should be refused, he bound himself by an oath to maintain. If these conditions were admitted, the oath of course, being grounded on that proviso, must yield to themi, and be cancelled.
I am an officer of state, and come.
From Rome, I G. You may not pass, you must return: our
. general Will no more hear from thence. 2 G, You'll see your Rome embrac'd with fire,
before You'll speak with Coriolanus. Men,
. Good my friends, If you have heard your general talk of Rome, And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks, My name hath touch'd your ears: it is Menenius.
1 G. Be it so; go back: the virtue of your naine Is not here passable. Men.
I tell thee, fellow, Thy general is my lover: I have been The book of his good acts, whence men have read His fame unparalleld, haply, amplified; For I have ever verified my friends, (Of whom he's chief, with all the size that verity? Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground, · I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise
Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing: Therefore, fellow,
6 lots to blanks,] A lot here is a prize. .
7 For I have ever verified my friends, - on with all the size that verity, fc.] To verify, is to establish by testimony. One may say with propriety, he brought false witnesses to verify his title. Shakspeare considered the word with his usual laxity, as importing rather testimony than truth, and only meant to say, Į bore witness to my friends with all the size that verity would suffer. S u pon a subtle ground,] Subtle means smooth, level, perhaps, deceitful. :9 and in his praise · Hare, almost, stamp'd the leasing:] i, e. given the sanction of truth to my very exaggerations.
I must have leave to pass.
1 G. 'Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf, as you have uttered words in your own, you should not pass here: no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chastly. Therefore, go back. • Men. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always factionary on the party of your general.
2 G. Howsoever you have been his liar, (as you say, you have,) I am one that, telling true under him, must say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back.
Men. Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would not speak with him till after dinner.
i G. You are a Roman, are you?
Men. I am as thy general is. · 1 G. Then you should hate Rome, as he does, Can you, when you have pushed out your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front his revenges with the easy groans? of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant” as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution: you are condemned, our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.
Men. Sirrah, If thy captain knew I were here, he would use me with estimation.
2 G. Come, my captain knows you not. · Men. I mean, thy general." · 1 G. My general cares not for you. Back, I say,
I o easy groans -] i. e. slight, inconscderable.
2 a decayed dotant-] Thus the old opy, Modern editors have read dotard.
go, lest I let forth your half pint of blood;-back, --that's the utmost of your having:back.
Men. Nay, but fellow, fellow,
Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. Cor. What's the matter?' • Men. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you; you shall know now that I am in 'estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment with him, if thou stand'st not i the state of hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee.-The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father Menenius does! O, my son! my son! thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to thee; but being assured, none but myself could move thee, I have been blown out of your gates with sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here; this, who, like a block, hath denied my access to thee.
Men. How! away? · Cor. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs Are servanted to others: Though I owe My revenge properly, my remission lies
I n a Jack guardant-] This term is equivalent to one still in usema Jack in office; i. e. one who is as proud of his petty consequence, as an excise-man.
Though I owe ' My revenge properly,] Though I have a peculiar right in revenge, in the power of forgiveness the Volscians are conjoined. :