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Have I had children's voices?
Are these your herd ?--
Be calm, be calm.
Call 't not a plot:
Cor. Why, this was known before.
Not to them all.
How! I inform them!
Cor. Why then should I be consul? By yon clouds, Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me Your fellow tribune. Sic.
You show too much of that,
the nobles bended “ As to Jove's statue :--"
the commons made “A shower and thunder,” &c. Steevens. -why rule you not their teeth?] The metaphor is from men's setting a bull-dog or mastiff upon any one. Warburton.
since?] The old copy-sithence. Steevens.
Not unlike, Each way, to better yours. &c.] i. e. likely to provide better for the security of the commonwealth than you (whose business it is) will do. To which the reply is pertinent:
Why then should I be consul ?” Warburton. > Sic. You show too much of that, &c.] This speech is given in
For which the people stir: If you will pass
Let's be calm.
Tell me of corn! This was my speech, and I will speak 't again ;
Men. Not now, not now.
Not in this heat, sir, now.
the old copy to Cominius. It was rightly attributed to Sicinius by Mr. Theobald. Malone.
This palt'ring Becomes not Rome ;] That is, this trick of dissimulation; this shuffling:
“ And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
Fohnson. Becomes not Rome ;] I would read:
Becomes not Romans ; Coriolanus being accented on the first, and not the second syllable, in former instances. Steevens.
-rub, laid falsely, &c.] Falsely for treacherously. Johnson. The metaphor is from the bowling-green. Malone.
many,] i. e, the populace. The Greeks used . tonnou exactly in the same sense. H. White.
Therein behold themselves :] Let them look in the mirror which I hold up to them, a mirror which does not flatter, and see themselves. Johnson.
? The cockle of rebellion, ] Cockle is a weed which grows up with the corn. The thought is from Sir Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch, where it is given as follows: “Moreover, he said, that they nourished against themselves the naughty seed
Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd and scat
Well, no more.
How.! no more? As for my country I have shed my blood, Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs Coin words till their decay, against those meazels, Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought The very way to catch them. Bru.
You speak o' the people, As if you were a god to punish, not A man of their infirmity. Sic.
What, what? his choler?
It is a mind,
Shall remain !
this Triton of the minnows?9 mark you His absolute shall? Com.
'Twas from the canon.i
and cockle of insolence and sedition, which had been sowed and scattered abroad among the people,” &c. Steevens.
The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,] Here are three syllables too many. We might read, as in North’s Plutarch:
“The cockle of insolency and sedition.” Ritson.
meazels,] Mesell is used in Pierce Plowman's Vision, for a leper. The same word frequently occurs in The London Prodig al, 1605. Steevens.
minnows?] i. e. small fry. Warburton. A minnow is one of the smallest river fish, called in some counties a pink. Johnson.
So, in Love's Labour's Lost: “. that base minnow of thy mirth,” Steevens.
1. Twas from the canon,] Was contrary to the established rule; it was a form of speech to which he has no right. Fohnson.
Shall ! O good, but most unwise patricians, why, You grave, but reckless senators, have you thus Given Hydra here to choose an officer, That with his peremptory shall, being but The horn and noise3 o' the monsters, wants not spirit To say, he 'll turn your current in a ditch, And make your channel his? If he have power, Then vail your ignorance:4 if none, awake
These words appear to me to imply the very reverse. Cominius means to say,
so that what Sicinius had said, was according to the rule," alluding to the absolute veto of the Tribunes, the power of putting a stop to every proceeding:-and, accordingly, Coriolanus, instead of disputing this power of the Tribunes, proceeds to 'gue against the power itself, and to inveigh against the Patricians for having granted it. M. Mason.
2 O good, but most unwise patricians, &c.] The old copy hasO God, but &c. Mr. Theobald made the correction. Mr. Stee. vens asks, "when the only authentick ancient copy makes sense, why should we depart from it?"-No one can be more thoroughly convinced of the general propriety of adhering to the old copy than I am; and I trust I have given abundant proofs of my attention to it, by restoring and establishing many ancient readings in every one of these plays, which had been displaced for modern innovations : and if in the passage before us the ancient copy had afforded sense, I should have been very unwilling to disturb it. But it does not; for it reads, not “O Gods,” as Mr. Steevens supposed, but O God, an adjuration surely not proper in the mouth of a heathen. Add to this, that the word but is exhibited with a small initial letter, in the only authentic copy; and the words “good but unwise" here appear to be the counterpart of grave and reckless in the subsequent line. On a reconsideration of this passage therefore, I am confident that even my learned predecessor will approve of the emendation now adopted. Malone.
I have not displaced Mr. Malone's reading, though it may be observed, that an improper mention of the Supreme Being of the Christians will not appear decisive on this occasion to the reader who recollects that in Troilus and Cressida the Trojan Pandarus swears, " by Go:ls lid,” the Greek Thersites exclaims—"Goda-mercy;" and that, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, our author has put “God shield us !” into the mouth of Bottom, an Athenian weaver.--I lately met with a still more glaring instance of the same impropriety in another play of Shakspeare, but cannot, at this moment, ascertain it. Steevens.
3 The horn and noise -] Alluding to his having called him Triton before. Warburton.
4 Then vail your ignorance:] If this man has power, let the ignorance that gave it him vail or bow down before him. Johnson.
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn’d,
Well-on to the market-place.
So, in The Taming of a Shrew :
“Then vail your stomachs -" Again, in Measure for Measure:
vail your regard
You are plebeians,
Most palates theirs.] These lines may, I think, be made more intelligible by a very slight correction:
they no less than senators]
Must palate theirs. When the taste of the great, the patricians, must palate, must please (or must try] that of the plebeians. Johnson.
The plain meaning is, that senators and plebeians are equal, when the highest taste is best pleased with that which pleases the lowest. Steevens.
I think the meaning is, the plebeians are no less than senators, when, the voices of the senate and the people being blended to. gether, the predominant taste of the compound smacks more of the populace than the senate. Malone.
and my soul akes,] The mischief and absurdity of what is called Imperium in imperio, is here finely expressed. Warburton.
? Whoever gave that counsel, &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch : “Therefore, sayed he, they that gaue counsell, and persuaded that the Corne should be giuen out to the common people gratis, as they vsed to doe in cities of Græce, where the people had more absolute power, dyd but only nourishe their disobedience, which would breake out in the ende, to the vtter ruine and ouerthrow of the whole state. For they will not thincke.