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COR. No, sir:
'Twas never my desire yet,
1 CIT. You must think, if we give you any thing,
We hope to gain by you.
COR. Well then, I pray, your price o'the consulship?
1 CIT. The price is, sir,6 to ask it kindly.
Kindly? Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to show you,
Which shall be yours in private.-Your good voice, sir;
What say you? 2 CIT.
You shall have it, worthy sir.
COR. A match, sir :-
I have your alms; adieu.
But this is something odd." 2 CIT. An 'twere to give again,-But 'tis no [Exeunt Two Citizens.
The price is, sir, &c.] The word-sir, has been supplied by one of the modern editors to complete the verse. STEEVENS.
7 But this is something odd.] As this hemistich is too bulky to join with its predecessor, we may suppose our author to have written only
This is something odd;
and that the compositor's eye had caught-But, from the suc ceeding line. STEEVENS.
Enter Two other Citizens.
COR. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune your voices, that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
3 CIT. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.
COR. Your enigma?
3 CIT. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod to her friends; you have not, indeed, loved the common people.
COR. You should account me the more virtuous, that I have not been common in my love, I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise the insinuating nod, and be off to them most counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man, and give it bountifully to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may be consul.
4 CIT. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.
3 CIT. You have received many wounds for your country.
COR. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
* I will not seal your knowledge-] I will not strengthen or complete your knowledge. The seal is that which gives authenticity to a writing, JOHNSON.
BOTH CIT. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
COR. Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve. Why in this woolvish gown' should I stand here,
-the hire-] The old copy has higher, and this is one of the many proofs that several parts of the original folio edition of these plays were dictated by one and written down by another. MALONE. 1-this woolvish gown-] Signifies this rough hirsute gown. JOHNSON.
The first folio reads this wolvish tongue. Gown is the reading of the second folio, and, I believe, the true one.
Let us try, however, to extract some meaning from the word exhibited in the elder copy.
The white robe worn by a candidate was made, I think, of white lamb-skins. How comes it then to be called woolvish, unless in allusion to the fable of the wolf in sheep's clothing? Perhaps the poet meant only, Why do I stand with a tongue deceitful as that of the wolf, and seem to flatter those whom I would wish to treat with my usual ferocity? We might perhaps more distinctly read:
-with this woolvish tongue. unless tongue be used for tone or accent. Tongue might, indeed, be only a typographical mistake, and the word designed be toge, which is used in Othello. Yet, it is as probable, if Shakspeare originally wrote toge, that he afterwards exchanged it forgown, a word more intelligible to his audience. Our author, however, does not appear to have known what the toga hirsuta was, because he has just before called it the napless gown of humility.
Since the foregoing note was written, I met with the following passage in "A Merye Jest of a Man called Howleglas," bl. 1. no date. Howleglas hired himself to a tailor, who "caste unto him a husbande mans gown, and bad him take a wolfe, and make it up. Then cut Howleglas the husbandmans gowne and made thereof a woulfe with the head and feete, &c. Then sayd the maister, I ment that you should have made up the russet gown, for a husbandman's gowne is here called a wolfe." By a wolvish gown, therefore, Shakspeare might have meant Coriolanus to compare the dress of a Roman candidate to the coarse frock of a