Which we devise him.

Сом. Our spoils he kick'd at; And look'd upon things precious, as they were The common muck o'the world: he covets less Than misery itself would give; rewards His deeds with doing them; and is content To spend the time, to end it.3

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MEN. The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd To make thee consul.

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I do owe them still

He cannot but with measure fit the honours-]

That is, no honour will be too great for him; he will show a mind equal to any elevation. JOHNSON.

7 Than misery itself would give;] cause a miser signifies an avaricious.



and is content

Misery for avarice; beWARBurton.

know not whether my con

spend the time, to end it.] ceit will be approved, but I cannot forbear to think that our author wrote thus:

he rewards

His deeds with doing them, and is content

To spend his time, to spend it.

To do great acts, for the sake of doing them; to spend his life, for the sake of spending it. JOHNSON.

I think the words afford this meaning, without any alteration.


9 Call for Coriolanus.] I have supplied the preposition-for, to complete the measure. STEEVENS.


It then remains,

That you do speak to the people.'


I do beseech you,

Let me o'erleap that custom; for I cannot

Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them, For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you,

That I may pass this doing.


Sir, the people

Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.


Put them not to't:

Pray you, go fit you to the custom; and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,

It then remains,

That you do speak to the people.] Coriolanus was banished U. C. 262. But till the time of Manlius Torquatus, U. C. 393, the senate chose both the consuls: And then the people, assisted by the seditious temper of the tribunes, got the choice of one. But if Shakspeare makes Rome a democracy, which at this time was a perfect aristocracy; he sets the balance even in his Timon, and turns Athens, which was a perfect democracy, into an aristocracy. But it would be unjust to attribute this entirely to his ignorance; it sometimes proceeded from the too powerful blaze of his imagination, which, when once lighted up, made all acquired knowledge fade and disappear before it. For sometimes again we find him, when occasion serves, not only writing up to the truth of history, but fitting his sentiments to the nicest manners of his peculiar subject, as well to the dignity of his characters, or the dictates of nature in general. WARBURTON.

The inaccuracy is to be attributed, not to our author, but to Plutarch, who expressly says, in his Life of Coriolanus, that "it was the custome of Rome at that time, that such as dyd sue for any office, should for certen dayes before be in the market-place, only with a poor gowne on their backes, and without any coate underneath, to praye the people to remember them at the day of election." North's translation, p. 244. MALONE.

Your honour with your form.2


It is a part

That I shall blush in acting, and might well

Be taken from the people.


Mark you that?

COR. To brag unto them,-Thus I did, and


Show them the unaking scars which I should hide, As if I had receiv'd them for the hire

Of their breath only :-


Do not stand upon't.We recommend to you, tribunes of the people, Our purpose to them;-and to our noble consul Wish we all joy and honour.


SEN. To Coriolanus come all joy and honour! [Flourish. Then exeunt Senators. BRU. You see how he intends to use the people.

Your honour with your form.] I believe we should read— "Your honour with the form."That is, the usual form.

M. MASON, Your form, may mean the form which custom prescribes to




→ We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,

Our purpose to them;] We entreat you, tribunes of the people, to recommend and enforce to the plebeians, what we propose to them for their approbation; namely the appointment of Coriolanus to the consulship. MALONE.

This passage is rendered almost unintelligible by the false punctuation. It should evidently be pointed thus, and then the sense will be clear:

We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,

Our purpose; to them, and to our noble consul,

Wish we all joy and honour.

To them, means to the people, whom Menenius artfully joins to the consul, in the good wishes of the senate. M. MASON.

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SIC. May they perceive his intent! He that will require them,

As if he did contemn what he requested

Should be in them to give.


Come, we'll inform them


Of our proceedings here: on the market-place,
I know, they do attend us.


The same. The Forum.

Enter several Citizens.

1 CIT. Once, if he do require our voices, wę ought not to deny him.

2 CIT. We may, sir, if we will.

3 CIT. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do:5 for if

* Once,] Once here means the same as when we say, once for all. WARBURTON.

This use of the word once is found in The Supposes, by Gascoigne :

"Once, twenty-four ducattes he cost me." FARMER. Again, in The Comedy of Errors:

"Once this, your long experience of her wisdom-." STEEVENS.

I doubt whether once here signifies once for all. I believe, it means, "if he do but so much as require our voices;" as in the following passage in Holinshed's Chronicle: "they left many of their servants and men of war behind them, and some of them would not once stay for their standards." MALONE.

We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do:] Power first signifies natural power or

he show us his wounds, and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds, and speak for them; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude; of the which, we being members, should bring ourselves to be monstrous members.


1 CIT. And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve: for once, when we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude."


3 CIT. We have been called so of many; not that our heads are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald, but that our wits are so diversly


force, and then moral power or right. Davies has used the same word with great variety of meaning:

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"Use all thy powers that heavenly power to praise,
"That gave thee power to do.".


-for once, when we stood up about the corn,] [Old copy Once we stood up.] That is, as soon as ever we stood up. This word is still used in nearly the same sense, in familiar or rather vulgar language, such as Shakspeare wished to allot to the Roman populace: "Once the will of the monarch is the only law, the constitution is destroyed." Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent editors read for once, when we stood up, &c. MALONE.

As no decisive evidence is brought to prove that the adverb once has at any time signified-as soon as ever, I have not rejected the word introduced by Mr. Rowe, which, in my judg ment, is necessary to the speaker's meaning. STEEVENS.

7 many-headed multitude.] Hanmer reads, many-headed monster, but without necessity. To be many-headed includes monstrousness. JOHNSON.


some auburn,] The folio reads, some Abram. I should unwillingly suppose this to be the true reading; but we have already heard of Cain and Abram-coloured beards.

The emendation was made in the fourth folio.



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