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Sic. Be-mock the modest moon.
Bru. The present wars devour him: he is grown
Such a nature,
To gird, as an anonymous correspondent observes to me, "in some parts of England means to push vehemently. So, when a ram pushes at any thing with his head, they say he girds at it." To gird likewise signified, to pluck or twinge. Hence probably it was metaphorically used in the sense of to taunt, or annoy by a stroke of sarcasm. Cotgrave makes giri, nip, and twinge, synonymous. Malone. 4 The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.] Mr. Theobald says, This is obscurely expressed, but that the poet's meaning must certainly be, that Marcius is so conscious of, and so elate upon the notion of his own valour, that he is eaten up with pride, &c. According to this critick then, we must conclude, that when Shakspeare had a mind to say, A man was eaten up with pride, he was so great a blunderer in expression, as to say, He was eaten up with war. But our poet wrote at another rate, and the blunder is his critrick's. The present wars devour him, is an imprecation, and should be so pointed. As much as to say, May he fall in those wars! The reason of the curse is subjoined, for (says the speaker) having so much pride with so much valour, his life, with increase of honours, is dangerous to the republic.
Warburton. I am by no means convinced that Dr. Warburton's punctuation, or explanation, is right. The sense may be, that the present wars annihilate his gentler qualities. To eat ap, and consequently to devour, has this meaning. So, in The Second Part of King Henry IV, Act IV, sc. iv: “But thou (the crown] most fine, most honour'd, most
renown’d, “ Hast eat thy bearer up.". To be eat up with pride, is still a phrase in common and vul. gar use.
He is grown too proud to be so valiant, may signify, his pride is such as not to deserve the accompanyment of so much valour.
Steevens: I concur with Mr. Steevens.“ The present wars,” Shakspeare uses to express the pride of Coriolanus grounded on his military prowess; which kind of pride Brutus says devours him. So, in Troilus and Cressida, Act II, sc. iii:
He that 's proud, eats up himself.” Perhaps the meaning of the latter member of the sentence is, he is grown too proud of being so valiant, to be endured.”
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Fame, at the which he aims-
Besides, if things go well,
Let 's hence, and hear
Let 's along [Exeunt.
5 of his demerits rob Corninius.] Merits and Demerits had an. ciently the same meaning. So, in Othello:
and my demerits “May speak,” &c. Again, in Stowe's Chronicle, Cardinal Wolsey says to his servants: “- I have not promoted, preferred, and advanced you all according to your demerits.” Again, in P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Epistle to T. Vespasian, 1600: “. - his demerit had been the greater to have continued his story.” Steevens.
Again, in Hall's Chronicle, Henry VI, fol. 69: “ — this noble prince, for his demerits called the good duke of Gloucester, -.”
Malone. 6 More than his singularity, &c.] We will learn what he is to do, besides going himself; what are his powers, and what is his appointment. Fohnson.
Perhaps the word singularity implies a sarcasm on Coriolanus, and the speaker means to say—after what fashion, beside that in which his own singularity of disposition invests him, he goes into the field. So, in Twelfth Night: “Put thyself into the trick of singularity.” Steevens.
Corioli. The Senate House.
Is it not yours?
[Reads. They have press'd a power, 9 but it is not known Whether for east, or west: The dearth is great; The people mutinous: and it is rumour'd, Cominius, Marcius your old enemy, (Who is of Rome worse hated than of you) And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman, These three lead on this preparation Whither 'tis bent: most likely, 'iis for you: Consider of it. 1 Sen.
Our army 's in the field:
Auf. Nor did you think it folly,
hath been thought on -] Old copy-have. Corrected by the second folio. Steevens.
-'Tis not four days gone,] i. e. four days past. Steevens. They have press'd a power,] Thus the modern editors. The old
copy reads--They have prest a power; which may signify, have a power ready; from pret. Fr. So, in The Merchant of Venice:
“And I am prest unto it." See note on this passage, Act I, sc. i. Steevers.
The spelling of the old copy proves nothing, for participles were generally so spelt in Shakspeare's time: so distrest, blest, &c. I believe press'd in its usual sense is right. It appears to bave been used in Shakspeare's time in the sense of impress’d. So, in Plutarch's Life of Coriolanus, translated by Sir T. North, 1579: “ — the common people-would not appeare when the consuls called their names by a bill, to press them for the warres.” Again, in King Henry VI, P. III: “From London by the king was I press’d forth."
To keep your great pretences veil'd, till when
O, doubt not that;
The gods assist you!
Farewel. 2 Sen.
Farewel. All. Farewel.
1 To take in many towns,] To take in is bere, as in many other places, to subdue. So, in The Execration of Vulcan, by Ben Jonson:
- The Globe, the glory of the Bank, “I saw with two poor chambers taken in,
“ And raz'd.” Malone.
“_ cut the Ionian sea,
- for the remove Bring up your army;] Says the Senator to Aufidius, Go to your troops, we will garrison Corioli. If the Romans besiege us, bring up your army to remove them. If any change should be made, I would read:
- for their remove. Johnson. The remove and their remove are so near in sound, that the transcriber's ear might easily have deceived him. But it is always dangerous to let conjecture loose where there is no difficulty.
Maione. 3 I speak from certainties. Nay, more,] Sir Thomas Hanmer completes this line by reading:
I speak from very certainties. &c. Steeders.
Rome. An Apartment in Marcius' House. Enter VOLUMNIA, and VIRGILIA: They sit down on two
low Stools, and sew. Vol. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a more comfortable sort: If my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour, than in the embracements of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way;t when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I.--considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown made it not stir, -was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak.5 I tell thee, daughter,--I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.
Vir. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?
Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely :--Had I a dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Enter a Gentlewoman. Gent. Madam, the lady Valeria is come to visit you. Vir. 'Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.. Vol. Indeed, you shall not.
when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way;]i.e. attracted the attention of every one towards him. Douce.
brows bound with oak.] The crown given by the Romans to him that saved the life of a Citizen, which was accounted more honourable than any other. Fohnson.
to retire myself.] This verb active (signifying to with. draw) has already occurred in The Tempest:
I will thence “ Retire me to my Milan --" Again, in Timon of Athens: