« VorigeDoorgaan »
Than to take in a town" with gentle words,
I would dissemble with my nature, where
I pr'ythee now, my son,
Than to take in a town-] To subdue or destroy. See p. 27, n. 9. MALone.
I am in this,
Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
And you &c.] Volumnia is persuading Coriolanus that he ought to flatter the people, as the general fortune was at stake; and says, that in this advice, she speaks as his wife, as his son ; as the senate and body of the patricians; who were in some measure link'd to his conduct. WARBURTON.
I rather think the meaning is, I am in their condition, I am at stake, together with your wife, your son.
am in this, means, I am in this predicament. M. MASON.
I think the meaning is, In this advice, in exhorting you to act thus, I speak not only as your mother, but as your wife, your son, &c. all of whom are at stake. MALONE.
7 our general lowts] Our common clowns.
that want-] The want of their loves. JOHNSON. Not what In this place not seems to signify not only. JOHNSON.
Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;'
with this bonnet in thy hand;] Surely our author wrote with thy bonnet in thy hand; for I cannot suppose that he intended that Volumnia should either touch or take off the bonnet which he has given to Coriolanus. MALOne.
When Volumnia says "this bonnet," she may be supposed to point at it, without any attempt to touch it, or take it off. STEEVENS.
waving thy head,
Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,] But do any of the ancient or modern masters of elocution prescribe the waving the head, when they treat of action? Or how does the waving the head correct the stoutness of the heart, or evidence humility? Or, lastly, where is the sense or grammar of these words, Which often, thus, &c.? These questions are sufficient to show that the lines are corrupt. I would read therefore:
waving thy hand,
Which soften thus, correcting thy stout heart.
This is a very proper precept of action, suiting the occasion; Wave thy hand, says she, and soften the action of it thus,-then strike upon thy breast, and by that action show the people thou hast corrected thy stout heart. All here is fine and proper.
The correction is ingenious, yet I think it not right. Head or hand is indifferent. The hand is waved to gain attention; the head is shaken in token of sorrow. The word wave suits better to the hand, but in considering the author's language, too much stress must not be laid on propriety, against the copies. I would read thus:
waving thy head,
With often, thus, correcting thy stout heart.
That is, shaking thy head, and striking thy breast. The alteration is slight, and the gesture recommended not improper.
Shakspeare uses the same expression in Hamlet:
I have sometimes thought that this passage might originally have stood thus:
Now humble, as the ripest mulberry,
That will not hold the handling: Or, say to them,
waving thy head,
(Which humble thus ;) correcting thy stout heart,
Now soften'd as the ripest mulberry. TYRWHITT.
As there is no verb in this passage as it stands, some amendment must be made, to make it intelligible; and that which I now propose, is to read bow instead of now, which is clearly the right reading. M. MASON.
I am persuaded these lines are printed exactly as the author wrote them, a similar kind of phraseology being found in his other plays. Which, &c. is the absolute case, and is to be understood as if he had written-It often, &c. So, in The Winter's Tale : This your son-in-law,
"And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing,)
Again, in King John:
66 he that wins of all,
"Of kings, and beggars, old men, young men, maids,"Who having no external thing to lose,
"But the word maid,-cheats the poor maid of that." In the former of these passages, "whom heavens directing," is to be understood as if Shakspeare had written, him heavens directing; (illum deo ducente;) and in the latter, "who having” has the import of They having. Nihil quod amittere possint, præter nomen virginis, possidentibus. See Vol. X. p. 407, n. 7.
This mode of speech, though not such as we should now use, having been used by Shakspeare, any emendation of this contested passage becomes unnecessary. Nor is this kind of phraseology peculiar to our author; for in R. Raignold's Lives of all the Emperours, 1571, fol. 5, b. I find the same construction: -as Pompey was passing in a small boate toward the shoare, to fynde the kynge Ptolemey, he was by his commaundement slayne, before he came to land, of Septimius and Achilla, who hoping by killing of him to purchase the friendship of Cæsar.Who now being come unto the shoare, and entering Alexandria, had sodainly presented unto him the head of Pompey the Great,"
Again, in the Continuation of Hardyng's Chronicle, 1543, Signat. M m. ij: "And now was the kyng within twoo daies journey of Salisbury, when the duke attempted to mete him, whiche duke beyng accompaignied with great strength of Welshemen, whom he had enforced thereunto, and coherted more by lordly commaundment than by liberal wages and hire: whiche
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils, Hast not the soft way, which, thou dost confess, Were fit for thee to use, as they to claim,
In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
thyng was in deede the cause that thei fell from hym and forsoke him. Wherefore he," &c. See also Vol. IX. p. 420, n. 5.
Mr. M. Mason says, that there is no verb in the sentence, and therefore it must be corrupt. The verb is go, and the sentence, not more abrupt than many others in these plays. Go to the people, says Volumnia, and appear before them in a supplicating attitude, with thy bonnet in thy hand, thy knees on the ground, (for in such cases action is eloquence, &c.) waving thy head; it, by its frequent bendings, (such as those that I now make,) subduing thy stout heart, which now should be as humble as the ripest mulberry: or, if these silent gestures of supplication do not move them, add words, and say to them, &c.
Whoever has seen a player supplicating to be heard by the audience, when a tumult, for whatever cause, has arisen in a theatre, will perfectly feel the force of the words" waving thy head."
No emendation whatever appears to me to be necessary in these lines. MALONE.
All I shall observe respecting the validity of the instances adduced by Mr. Malone in support of his position, is, that as ancient press-work seldom received any correction, the errors of one printer may frequently serve to countenance those of another, without affording any legitimate decision in matters of phraseology. STEEVens.
3 humble, as the ripest mulberry,] This fruit, when thoroughly ripe, drops from the tree. STEEVENS.
Eschylus (as appears from a fragment of his PTTEΣ EKTOPOE ATTPA, preserved by Athenæus, Lib. II.) says of Hector that he was softer than mulberries:
̓Ανὴρ δ ̓ ἐκεῖνος ἦν πεπαίτερος μόρων.” MUSGRAVE.
and being bred in broils,
Hast not the soft way,] So, in Othello (folio 1623):
Rude am I in my speech,
"And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace;
"More than pertains to feats of broils and battles."
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
This but done,
Even as she speaks, why, all their hearts were
For they have pardons, being ask’d, as free
Go, and be rul'd: although, I know, thou had'st
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf,"
Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius.
COM. I have been i' the market-place: and, sir, 'tis fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
I think, 'twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.
Even as she speaks, why, all their hearts were yours:] The word all was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer to remedy the apparent defect in this line. I am not sure, however, that we might not better read, as Mr. Ritson proposes:
Even as she speaks it, why their hearts were yours.
in a fiery gulf,] i. e. into. So, in King Richard III : "But first, I'll turn yon fellow in his grave.'
7 Than flatter him in a bower.] A bower is the ancient term for a chamber. So Spenser, Prothalam. st. 8. speaking of The Temple:
"Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers." See also Chaucer &c. passim. STEEVENS.