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The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the
Let's fetch him off, or make remain3 alike. [They fight, and all enter the City.
mouth of a certain Calvus, who might have lived at any Had Shakspeare known that Cato was not contemporary with Coriolanus, (for there is nothing in the foregoing passage to make him even suspect that was the case,) and in consequence made this alteration, he would have attended in this particular instance to a point, of which almost every page of his works shows that he was totally negligent; a supposition which is so improbable, that I have no doubt the correction that has been adopted by the modern editors, is right. In the first Act of this play, we have Lucius and Marcius printed instead of Lartius, in the original and only authentick ancient copy. The substitution of Calues, instead of Cato's, is easily accounted for. Shakspeare wrote, according to the mode of his time, Catoes wish; (So, in Beaumont's Masque, 1613:
"And what will Junoes Iris do for her?")
omitting to draw a line across the t, and writing the o inaccurately, the transcriber or printer gave us Calues. See a subsequent passage in Act II. sc. ult. in which our author has been led by another passage in Plutarch into a similar anachronism.
-make remain-] is an old manner of speaking, which
means no more than remain. HANMER.
Within the Town. A Street.
Enter certain Romans, with Spoils.
1 Roм. This will I carry to Rome.
2 ROM. And I this.
3 ROM. A murrain on't! I took this for silver. [Alarum continues still afar off.
Enter MARCIUS, and TITUS LARTIUS, with a Trumpet.
MAR. See here these movers, that do prize their hours+
At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons, Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would Bury with those that wore them,5 these base slaves,
- prize their hours-] Mr. Pope arbitrarily changed the word hours to honours, and Dr. Johnson, too hastily I think, approves of the alteration. Every page of Mr. Pope's edition abounds with similar innovations. MALONE.
A modern editor, who had made such an improvement, would have spent half a page in ostentation of his sagacity. JOHNSON.
Coriolanus blames the Roman soldiers only for wasting their time in packing up trifles of such small value. So, in Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch: "Martius was marvellous angry with them, and cried out on them, that it was no time now to looke after spoyle, and to ronne straggling here and there to enrich themselves, whilst the other consul and their fellow citizens peradventure were fighting with their enemies."
-doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them,] Instead of taking them as their lawful perquisite. See Vol. VI. p. 349, n. 8. MALONE.
Ere yet the fight be done, pack up :-Down with
And hark, what noise the general makes!-To him:
There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius, Piercing our Romans: Then, valiant Titus, take Convenient numbers to make good the city; Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste To help Cominius.
Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
Thy exercise hath been too violent for
Sir, praise me not:
My work hath yet not warm'd me: Fare you well. The blood I drop is rather physical
Than dangerous to me: To Aufidius thus
I will appear, and fight.
Now the fair goddess, Fortune, Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman, Prosperity be thy page!
Thy friend no less
Than those she placeth highest! So, farewell.
LART. Thou worthiest Marcius!—
[Exit MARCIUS. Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place; Call thither all the officers of the town, Where they shall know our mind: Away.
⚫ Than dangerous to me: To Aufidius thus I will appear, and fight.
Lart. Now the fair goddess, Fortune,] The metre being here violated, I think we might safely read with Sir T. Hanmer (omitting the words to me :)
Than dangerous: To Aufidius thus will I
Appear, and fight.
Now the fair goddess, Fortune. STEEVENS.
Near the Camp of Cominius.
Enter COMINIUS and Forces, retreating.
COM. Breathe you, my friends; well fought: we
Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Enter a Messenger.
May give you thankful sacrifice!-Thy news?
And then I came away.
Though thou speak'st truth, Methinks, thou speak'st not well. How long is't
MESS. Above an hour, my lord.
COм. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
The Roman gods,
Lead their successes as we wish our own;] i. e. May the Roman gods, &c. MALONE.
How could'st thou in a mile confound an hour, And bring thy news so late?
MESS. Spies of the Volces Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel Three or four miles about; else had I, sir, Half an hour since brought my report.
That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods!
Come I too late?
COM. The shepherd knows not thunder from a
More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue From every meaner man's."
• ——— confound an hour,] Confound is here used not in its common acceptation, but in the sense of-to expend. Conterere tempus. MALone.
So, in King Henry IV. P. I. Act I. sc. iii:
"He did confound the best part of an hour," &c.
9 From every meaner man's.] [Old copy-meaner man.] That is, from that of every meaner man. This kind of phraseology is found in many places in these plays; and as the peculiarities of our author, or rather the language of his age, ought to be scrupulously attended to, Hanmer and the subsequent editors who read here-every meaner man's, ought not in my apprehension to be followed, though we should now write so.
When I am certified that this, and many corresponding offences against grammar, were common to the writers of our author's age, I shall not persevere in correcting them. But while I suspect (as in the present instance) that such irregularities were the gibberish of a theatre, or the blunders of a transcriber, I shall