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BRU. He's poor in no one fault, but stored with
SIC. Especially, in pride.
BRU. And topping all others in boasting.
MEN. This is strange now: Do you two know how you are censured here in the city, I mean of us o'the right-hand file? Do you?
BOTH TRIB. Why, how are we censured?
MEN. Because you talk of pride now,-Will you not be angry?
BOTH TRIB. Well, well, sir, well.
MEN. Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience: give your disposition the reins, and be angry at your pleasures; at the least, if you take it as a pleasure to you, in being so. You blame Marcius
for being proud?
BRU. We do it not alone, sir.
MEN. I know, you can do very little alone; for your helps are many; or else your actions would grow wondrous single: your abilities are too infantlike, for doing much alone. You talk of pride: O, that you could turn your eyes towards the napes
him to retain; having dismissed the redundant in at the end of part of the sentence. MALONE.
I shall continue to dismiss it, till such peculiarities can, by authority, be discriminated from the corruptions of the stage, the transcriber, or the printer.
It is scarce credible, that, in the expression of a common idea, prose, our modest Shakspeare should have advanced a phraseology of his own, in equal defiance of customary language, and established grammar.
As, on the present occasion, the word—in might have stood with propriety at either end of the question, it has been casually, or ignorantly, inserted at both. STEEVENS.
of your necks,' and make but an interior survey of your good selves! O, that you could!
BRU. What then, sir? MEN. Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud, violent, testy magistrates, (alias, fools,) as any in Rome.2
SIC. Menenius, you are known well enough too. MEN. I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tyber in't;3 said to be something imperfect, in favouring the first complaint: hasty, and tinder-like, upon too trivial motion: one that converses more with the buttock of the night, than
towards the napes of your necks,] With allusion to the fable, which says, that every man has a bag hanging before him, in which he puts his neighbour's faults, and another behind him, in which he stows his own. JOHNSON.
a brace of unmeriting,-magistrates,-as any in Rome.] This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age, of which I have met with many instances in the books of that time. Mr. Pope, as usual, reduced the passage to the modern standard, by reading —a brace of as unmeriting, &c. as any in Rome: and all the subsequent editors have adopted his emendation. MALONE.
3-with not a drop of allaying Tyber in't;] Lovelace, in his Verses to Althea from Prison, has borrowed this expression: "When flowing cups run swiftly round "With no allaying Thames," &c.
See Dr. Percy's Reliques &c. Vol. II. p. 324, 3d edit. STEEVENS.
one that converses more &c.] Rather a late lier down
than an early riser. JOHNSON.
So, in Love's Labour's Lost: "It is the king's most sweet pleasure and affection, to congratulate the princess at her pavilion, in the posteriors of this day; which the rude multitude call, the afternoon." Again, in King Henry IV. P. II:
66 Thou art a summer bird,
"Which ever in the haunch of winter sings
with the forehead of the morning. What I think, I utter; and spend my malice in my breath: Meeting two such weals-men as you are, (I cannot call you Lycurguses) if the drink you gave me, touch my palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I cannot say, your worships have delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables: and though I must be content to bear with those that say you are reverend grave men; yet they lie deadly, that tell, you have good faces. If you see this in the map of my microcosm,6 follows it, that I am known well enough too? What harm can your bisson conspectuities' glean out of this character, if I be known well enough too?
BRU. Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
MEN. You know neither me, yourselves, nor any thing. You are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs; you wear out a good wholesome forenoon, in hearing a cause between an orange-wife
I cannot say,] Not, which appears to have been omitted in the old copy, by negligence, was inserted by Mr. Theobald.
my microcosm,] So, in King Lear : "Strives, in his little world of men-:
Microcosmos is the title of a poem by John Davies, of Hereford, 4to. 1605. STEEVENS.
bisson conspectuities-] Bisson, blind, in the old copies,
is beesome, restored by Mr. Theobald. JOHNSON.
So, in Hamlet:
"Ran barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames, "With bisson rheum." MALONE.
・for poor knaves' caps and legs;] That is, for their obeisance showed by bowing to you. See Vol. XI. p. 302, n. 5.
you wear out a good &c.] It appears from this whole
and a fosset-seller; and then rejourn the controversy of three-pence to a second day of audience.
When you are hearing a matter between party and party, if you chance to be pinched with the cholick, you make faces like mummers; set up the bloody flag against all patience;1 and, in roaring for a chamber-pot, dismiss the controversy bleeding, the more entangled by your hearing: all the peace you make in their cause, is, calling both the parties knaves: You are a pair of strange ones.
BRU. Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber for the table, than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.
MEN. Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not so honourable a grave, as to stuff a botcher's cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud; who, in a cheap estimation, is worth all your predecessors, since Deucalion; though, peradventure, some of the best of them were hereditary hangmen. Good e'en to your worships; more of your conversation would infect my brain, being the
speech that Shakspeare mistook the office of præfectus urbis for the tribune's office. WARBURTON.
set up the bloody flag against all patience;] That is, declare war against patience. There is not wit enough in this satire to recompense its grossness. JOHNSON.
2 Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are.] So, in Much Ado about Nothing: "Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence." STEEVENS.
herdsmen of the beastly plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.
[BRUTUS and SICINIUS retire to the back of the Scene.
Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and VALERIA, &c.
How now, my as fair as noble ladies, (and the moon, were she earthly, no nobler,) whither do you follow your eyes so fast?
VOL. Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the love of Juno, let's go.
MEN. Ha! Marcius coming home?
VOL. Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous approbation.
MEN. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee:* -Hoo! Marcius coming home!
Two LADIES. Nay, 'tis true.
VOL. Look, here's a letter from him; the state hath another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one at home for
MEN. I will make my very house reel to-night : -A letter for me?
VIR. Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw it.
MEN. A letter for me? It gives me an estate of
herdsmen of plebeians:] As kings are called ToiμeveS Adwv. JOHNSON.
4 Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee:] Dr. Warburton proposed to read-Take my cup, Jupiter,-. REED.
Shakspeare so often mentions throwing up caps in this play, that Menenius may be well enough supposed to throw up his cap in thanks to Jupiter. JOHNSON.