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Come I too late?
O! let me clip you
Flower of warriors,
Mar. As with a man busied about decrees:
Where is that slave,
Let him alone,
But how prevail'd you?
Mar. How lies their battle? Know you on which side
- to bedward.] So, in Albumazar, 1615: “Sweats hourly for a ciry brown crust to bedward.” Steevens. Ransomning him, or pitying,] i. e. remitting his ransom.
Fohnson on which side &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: “ Martius asked him howe the order of the enemies battell was, and on which side they had placed their best fighting men. The consul made him aunswer that he thought the bandes which were in the vaward of their battell, were those of the Antiates, whom they esteemed to be the warlikest men, and which for valiant corage would geve no place to any of the hoste of their enemies. Then prayed Martius to be set directly against them. The consul graunted him, greatly praysing his corage.” Steenezis.
As I guess, Marcius,
I do beseech
Though I could wish
Those are they
Antiates,] The old copy reads--Antients, which might mean veterans; but a following line, as well as the previous quotation, seems to prove-Antiates to be the proper reading:
“Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates." Our author employs—Antiates as a trisyllable, as if it had been written-Antiats. Steevens. Mr. Pope made the correction. Malone.
very heart of hope. ] The same expression is found in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion:
thy desperate arm
Malone, In King Henry IV, P. I, we have:
“The very bottom and the soul of hope.” Steevens. 7 And that you not delay the present;] Delay, for let slip.
Warburton. - swords advancd.] That is, swords lifted high. Johnson.
if any fear Lesser his person than an ill report;] The old copy has lessen. If the present reading, which was introduced by Mr. Steevens, be right, his person must mean his personal danger. If any one less fears personal danger, than an ill name, &c. If the fears of any man are less for his person, than they are from an apprehension of being esteemed a coward, &c. We have nearly the same sentiment in Troilus and Cressida:
If any think, brave death outweighs bad life,
take him up in their arms, and cast up their Caps.
March on, my
“If there be one among the fair'st of Greece,
“That holds his honour higher than his ease, -." Again, in King Henry VI, P. III:
"But thou prefer’st thy life before thine honour.” In this play we have already had lesser used for less. Malone.
Though thanks to all, I must select: the rest
Shali bear &c.] The old copy-I must select from all. I have followed Sir Thomas Hanmer in the omission of words apparently needless and redundant. Steevens.
- Please you to march;
Which men are best inclin’d.] I cannot but suspect this passage of corruption. Why should they march, that four might se. lect those that were best inclin’d? How would their inclinations be known? Who were the four that should select them? Perhaps we may read:
Please you to march:
Which men are least inclin'd. It is easy to conceive that, by a little negligence, fear might be changed to four, and least to best. Let us march, and that fear which incites desertion will free my army from cowards.
Fohnson. Mr. Heath thinks the poet wrote:
“ And so I shall quickly draw out,” &c. Some sense, however, may be extorted from the ancient read. ing. Coriolanus may mean, that as all the soldiers have offered to attend him on this expedition, and he wants only a part of them, he will submit the selection to four indifferent persons,
Make good this ostentation, and you shall
The Gates of Corioli. Titus LARTIUS, having set a Guard upon Corioli, going
with a Drum and Trumpet toward COMINIUS and Caius MARCIUS, enters with a lieutenant, a Party of Soldiers, and a Scout.
Lart. So, let the ports3 be guarded: keep your duties,
Fear not our care, sir.
A Field of Battle between the Roman anıl the Volcian
Camps. Alarum. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS. Mar. I 'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee Worse than a promise-breaker.
that he himself may escape the charge of partiality. If this be the drift of Shakspeare, he has expressed it with uncommon obscurity. The old translation of Plutarch only says:
" Where. fore, with those that willingly offered themselves to followe him, he went out of the cittie.” Steevens.
Coriolanus means only to say, that he would appoint four persons to select for his particular command or party, those who were best inclined; and in order to save time, he proposes to have this choice made, while the army is marching forward. They all march towards the enemy, and on the way he chooses those who are to go on that particular service. M. Mason.
- the ports -] 1. e. the gates. So, in Timon of Athens:
“ Descend, and open your uncharged ports.” Steevens. 4 Those centuries -] i. e. companies consisting each of a hundred men. Our author sometimes uses this word to express sim. ply—a hundred; as in Cymbeline:
“ And on it said a century of prayers.” Steevens.
We hate alike;
Mar. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
If I fly, Marcius,
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Wert thou the Hector, That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,8
thy fame and envy:) Envy here, as in many other places, means, malice. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7. Malone.
The phrase-death and honour, being allowed, in our author's language, to signify no more than-honourable death, so fame and envy, may only mean-detested or odious fame. The verb- to enwy, in ancient language, signifies to hate. Or the construction may be-Not Africk owns a serpent I more abhor and eiro,
than thy fame. Steevens. 6 Let the first budger die the other's slave, And the gods doom him after!] So, in Macbeth: “ And damn'd be him who first cries, Hold, Enough!”
Steevens. 7 Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,] If the name of Tullus be omitted, the metre will become regular. Steevens. 8 Wert thou the Hector,
That was the whip of your bragg’d progeny,] The Romans boasted themselves descended from the Trojans; how then was Hector the whip of their progeny? It must mean the whip with which the Trojans scourged the Greeks, which cannot be but by a very unusual construction, or the author must have forgotten the original of the Romans; unless whip has some meaning which includes advantage or superiority, as we say, he has the whip-hand, for he has the advantage. Fohnson.
Dr. Johnson considers this as a very unusual construction, but it appears to me only such as every page of these plays furnishes; and the foregoing interpretation is in my opinion undoubtedly the true one. An anonymous correspondent justly observes, that the words mean, “the whip that your bragg’d progeny was possessed of.” Malone.
Whip might anciently be used, as crack is now, to denote any thing peculiarly boasted of; as—the crack house in the countythe crack boy of a school, &c. Modern phraseology, perhaps, has only passed from the whip, to the crack of it. Steevens.