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Those centuries3 to our aid; the rest will serve
We cannot keep the town.
Fear not our care, sir.
LART. Hence, and shut your gates upon us.― Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us. [Exeunt.
A Field of Battle between the Roman and the
Alarum. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS.
MAR. I'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee
Worse than a promise-breaker.
We hate alike;
Not Africk owns a serpent, I abhor
More than thy fame and envy:* Fix thy foot. MAR. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
Those centuries-] i. e. companies consisting each of a hun, dred men. Our author sometimes uses this word to express simply-a hundred; as in Cymbeline: “And on it said a century of prayers." STEEVENS.
thy fame and envy:] Envy here, as in many other places, means, malice. See Vol. XV. p. 64, n. 2. 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 envy, in ancient language, signifies to hate. Or the construction may be-Not Africk owns a serpent I more abhor and envy, than thy fame. STEEVENS.
And the gods doom him after !5
Halloo me like a hare.
If I fly, Marcius,
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
And made what work I pleas'd; 'Tis not my blood, Wherein thou seest me mask'd; for thy revenge, Wrench up thy power to the highest.
AUF. Wert thou the Hector, That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny," Thou should'st not scape me here.—
[They fight, and certain Volces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS.
'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!"
• Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,] If the name of Tullus, and the word walls, be omitted, the metre will become regular. STEEVENS.
7 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. JOHNSON.
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.
Officious, and not valiant-you have sham'd me In your condemned seconds."
[Exeunt fighting, driven in by MARCIUS.
The Roman Camp.
A Retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter at one side, CoMINIUS, and Romans; at the other side, MARCIUS, with his Arm in a Scarf, and other Romans.
COм. If I should tell thee' o'er this thy day's work,
you have sham'd me
In your condemned seconds.] For condemned, we may read contemned. You have, to my shame, sent me help which I despise. JOHNSON.
Why may we not as well be contented with the old reading, and explain it, You have, to my shame, sent me help, which I must condemn as intrusive, instead of applauding it as necessary? Mr. M. Mason proposes to read second instead of seconds; but the latter is right. So, King Lear: "No seconds? all myself?” STEEVENS,
We have had the same phrase in the fourth scene of this play: "Now prove good seconds!" MALONE.
9 If I should tell thee &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "There the consul Cominius going up to his chayer of state, in the presence of the whole armie, gaue thankes to the goddes for so great, glorious, and prosperous a victorie: then he spake to Martius, whose valliantnes he commended beyond the moone, both for that he him selfe sawe him doe with his eyes, as also for that Martius had reported vnto him. So in the ende he willed Martius, he should choose out of all the horses they had taken of their enemies, and of all the goodes they had wonne (whereof there was great store) tenne of euery sorte which he likest best, before any distribution should be made to other. Be