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Were to us all, that do 't, and suffer it,
This is clean kam.)
The service of the foot
We 'll hear no more:
7 This is clean kam.] i. e. Awry. So Cotgrave interprets, Tout va à contrepoil. All goes clean kam. Hence a cambrel for a crooked stick, or the bend in a horse's hinder leg. Warburton.
The Welsh word for crooked is kam; and in Lyly's Endymion, 1591, is the following passage: “But timely, madam, crooks that tree that will be a camock, and youngit pricks that will be a thorn.” Again, in Sappho and Phao, 1591 :
Camocks must be bowed with sleight, not strength." Vulgar pronunciation has corrupted clean kam into kim kam, and this corruption is preserved in that great repository of ancient vulgarisms, Stanyhurst's translation of Virgil, 1582 :
“ Scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus."
Steevens. In the old translation of Gusman de Alfarache the words kim, kam, occur several times. Amongst others, take the following instance : “ All goes topsie turvy; all kim, kam; all tricks and devices: all riddles and unknown mysteries.” P. 100. Reed.
Merely awry:]i.e. absolutely. See Vol. II, p. 12, n. 2. Steevens. 9 Being once gangren’d, is not then respected
For what before it was?] Nothing can be more evident, than that this could never be said by Coriolanus's apologist, and that it was said by one of the tribunes; I have therefore given it to Sicinius. Warburton.
I have restored it to Menenius, placing an interrogation point at the conclusion of the speech. Mr. Malone, considering it as an imperfect sentence, gives it thus:
For what before it was ; Steevens, You alledge, says Menenius, that being diseased, he must be cut away. According then to your argument, the foot, being once gangrened, is not to be respected for what it was before it was gangrened." Is this just ?" Menenius would have added, if the tribune had not interrupted him: and indeed, without any such addition, from his state of the argument these words are understood. Malone.
Men. One word more, one word.
If it were so,
talk? Have we not had a taste of his obedience? Our Ædiles smote? ourselves resisted?--Come:
Men. Consider this;—He has been bred i’ the wars
Go not home.
I 'll bring him to you:
must come, Or what is worst will follow. I Sen.
Pray you, let 's to him.
to bring him-] In the old copy the words in peace are found at the end of this line. They probably were in the MS. placed at the beginning of the next line, and caught by the transcriber's eye glancing on the line below. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.
the end of it Unknown to the beginning.] So, in The Tempest, Act II, sc. i: “ The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning.”
A Room in Coriolanus's House.
Enter CORIOLANUS, and Patricians. Cor. Let them pull all about mine ears; present me Death on the wheel, or at wild horses' heels ;3 Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock, That the precipitation might down stretch Below the beam of sight, yet will I still Be thus to them.
3 Death on the wheel, or at wild horses' heels;] Neither of these punishments was known at Rome. Shakspeare had probably read or heard in his youth that Balthazar de Gerrard, who assassinated William Prince of Orange in 1584, was torn to pieces by wild horses; as Nicholas de Salvedo had been not long before, for conspiring to take away the life of that gallant prince.
When I wrote this note, the punishment which Tullus Hosti. lius inflicted on Metius Suffetius for deserting the Roman standard, had escaped my memory:
“ Haud procul inde citæ Metium in diversa quadrigæ
Æn. VIII, 642. However, as Shakspeare has coupled this species of punishment with another that certainly was unknown to ancient Rome, it is highly probable that he was not apprized of the story of Metius Suffetius, and that in this, as in various other instances, the practice of his own time was in his thoughts: (for in 1594 John Chastel had been thus executed in France for attempting to assassinate Henry the Fourth :) more especially as we know from the testimony of Livy that this cruel capital punishment was never inflicted from the beginning to the end of the Republick, except in this single instance:
Exinde, duabus admotis quadrigis, in currus earum distentum illigat Metium. Deinde in diversum iter equi concitati, lacerum in utroque curru corpus quâ inhæserant vinculis membra, portantes. Avertêre omnes a tantâ fæditate spectaculi oculos. Primum ultimumque illud supplicium apud Romanos exempli parum memoris legum humanarum fuit: in aliis, gloriari licet nulli gentium mitiores placuisse pænas.” Liv. Lib. I, xxviii.
Malone. Shakspeare might have found mention of this punishment in our ancient romances. Thus, in The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 55:
Thou venemouse serpente
Enter VOLUMNIA. i Pat.
You do the nobler.
O, sir, sir, sir,
had worn it out. Cor.
Let go. Vol. You might have been enough the man you are, With striving less to be so: Lesser had been The thwartings of your dispositions, if You had not show'd them how you were dispos'd Ere they lack'd power to cross you. Cor.
Let them hang. Vol. Ay, and burn too.
* I muse,] That is, I wonder, I am at a loss. Johnson. So, in Macbeth:
“ Do not muse at me, my most noble friends." Steevena.
my ordinance - ] My rank. Johnson. 6 The man I am.] Sir Thomas Hanmer supplies the defect in this line, very judiciously in my opinion, by reading:
Truly the man I am.
Steevens. 7 Let go.] Here again, Sir Thomas Hanmer, with sufficient propriety, reads--Why, let it go.--Mr. Ritson would complete the measure with a similar expression, which occurs in Othello: -“Let it go all.- Too many of the short replies in this and other plays of Shakspeare, are apparently mutilated. Steevens. 8 The thwartings of your dispositions,] The old copies exhibitit:
“ The things of your dispositions." A few letters replaced, that by some carelessness dropped out, restore us the poet's genuine reading :
The thwartings of your dispositions. Theobald.
The things that thwart your dispositions. Malonc.
Enter MENENIUS, and Senators. Men. Come, come, you have been too rough, some
thing too rough; You must return, and mend it. 1 Sen.
There's no remedy;
Pray, be counsel'd:
Well said, noble woman:
Cor. What must I do?
Return to the tribunes.
Well, What then? what then? Men.
Repent what you have spoke.
You are too absolute;
9 Before he should thus stoop to the herd,] [Old copy-stoop to the heart.] But how did Coriolanus stop to his heart? He rather, as we vulgarly express it, made his proud heart stoop to the necessity of the times. I am persuaded, my emendation gives the true reading. So before in this play:
“ Are these your herd?” So, in Julius Cesar : when he perceived, the common herd was glad he refus'd the crown,” &c. Theobald.
Mr. Theobald's conjecture is confirmed by a passage, in which Coriolanus thus describes the people :
“ You shames of Rome! you herd of Herd was anciently spelt heard. Hence heart crept into the old
But when extremities speak.] Except in cases of urgent necessity, when your resolute and noble spirit, however commen. dable at other times, ought to yield to the occasion. Malofie.