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MAR. Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they
Now, Mars, I pr'ythee, make us quick in work; That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded friends!Come, blow thy
They sound a Parley. Enter, on the Walls, some Senators, and Others.
Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
1 SEN. No, nor a man that fears you
That's lesser than a little.5 Hark, our drums [Alarums afar off.
turb the measure, should be omitted; as we are told in p. 43, that " "Tis not a mile" between the two armies. STEEVENS.
-fielded friends!] i. e. our friends who are in the field of battle. STEEVENS.
nor a man that fears you less than he,
That's lesser than a little.] The sense requires it to be read: -nor a man that fears you more than he ;
Or, more probably:
nor a man but fears you less than he,
That's lesser than a little.
The text, I am confident, is right, our author almost always entangling himself when he uses less and more. See Vol. IX. p. 293, n. 6. Lesser in the next line shows that less in that preceding was the author's word, and it is extremely improbable that he should have written-but fears you less, &c. MALONE.
Dr. Johnson's note appears to me unnecessary, nor do I think with Mr. Malone that Shakspeare has here entangled himself; but on the contrary that he could not have expressed himself better. The sense is," however little Tullus Aufidius fears you, there is not a man within the walls that fears you less."
Are bringing forth our youth: We'll break our
Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with
There is Aufidius; list, what
Hark you, far off;
work he makes
O, they are at it!
LART. Their noise be our instruction.-Ladders,
The Volces enter and pass over the Stage.
MAR. They fear us not, but issue forth their city. Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight With hearts more proof than shields.-Advance, brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts, Which makes me sweat with wrath.-Come on, my fellows;
He that retires, I'll take him for a Volce,
Alarum, and exeunt Romans and Volces, fighting. The Romans are beaten back to their Trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS."
MAR. All the contagion of the south light on
"Re-enter Marcius.] The old copy reads-Enter Marcius cursing. STEEVENS.
You shames of Rome! you herd of-Boils and
Plaster you o'er; that you may be abhorr'd
With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe,
You shames of Rome! you herd of-Boils and plagues &c.] This passage, like almost every other abrupt sentence in these plays, was rendered unintelligible in the old copy by inaccurate punctuation. See Vol. VI. p. 140, n. 8; Vol. ÎV. p. 425, n. 4; Vol. VII. p. 37, n. 3; and p. 272, n. 2. For the present regulation I am answerable. "You herd of cowards!" Marcius would but his rage prevents him.
In a former passage he is equally impetuous and abrupt: 66 -one's Junius Brutus,
"Sicinius Velutus, and I know not-'sdeath,
"The rabble should have first," &c.
Speaking of the people in a subsequent scene, he uses the same expression:
Are these your herd?
"Must these have voices," &c.
Again: "More of your conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians."
In Mr. Rowe's edition herds was printed instead of herd, the reading of the old copy; and the passage has been exhibited thus in the modern editions:
"You shames of Rome, you! Herds of boils and plagues "Plaster you o'er!" MALONE.
Another Alarum. The Volces and Romans re-enter, and the Fight is renewed. The Volces retire into Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the Gates.
So, now the gates are ope:-Now prove good seconds:
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them, Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.
[He enters the Gates, and is shut in.
1 SOL. Following the fliers at the very heels,
O noble fellow!
Who, sensible, outdares his senseless sword,
Who, sensible, outdares-] The old editions read:
"Who, sensible, outdoes his senseless sword.
He is followed by the later editors, but I have taken only his correction. JOHNSON.
Sensible is here, having sensation. So before: "I would, your cambrick were sensible as your finger." Though Coriolanus
And, when it bows, stands up! Thou art left, Mar
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier Even to Cato's wish: not fierce and terrible Only in strokes ; but, with thy grim looks, and
has the feeling of pain like other men, he is more hardy in daring exploits than his senseless sword, for after it is bent, he yet stands firm in the field. Malone.
The thought seems to have been adopted from Sidney's Arcadia, edit. 1633, p. 293:
"Their very armour by piece-meale fell away from them: and yet their flesh abode the wound sconstantly, as though it were lesse sensible of smart than the senselesse armour," &c. STEEVENS.
• A carbuncle entire, &c.] So, in Othello:
"If heaven had made me such another woman,
"I'd not have ta'en it for her." MALOne.
·Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish: not fierce and terrible
In the old editions it was:
Calvus' wish :
Plutarch, in The Life of Coriolanus, relates this as the opinion of Cato the Elder, that a great soldier should carry terrour in his looks and tone of voice; and the poet, hereby following the historian, is fallen into a great chronological impropriety.
The old copy reads-Calues wish. The correction made by Theobald is fully justified by the passage in Plutarch, which Shakspeare had in view: "Martius, being there [before Corioli] at that time, ronning out of the campe with a fewe men with him, he slue the first enemies he met withal, and made the rest of them staye upon a sodaine; crying out to the Romaines that had turned their backes, and calling them againe to fight with a lowde voyce. For he was even such another as Cato would have a souldier and a captaine to be; not only terrible and fierce to lay about him, but to make the enemie afeard with the sounde of his voyce and grimnes of his countenance." North's translation of Plutarch, 1579, p. 240.
Mr. M. Mason supposes that Shakspeare, to avoid the chronological impropriety, put this saying of the elder Cato" into the