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reading. Here is a circulation of thievery described: The sun,

moon, and sea, all rob, and are robbed.

Line 659. What an alteration of honour has


Desperate want made !] An alteration of honour, is

an alteration of an honourable state to a state of disgrace. JOHNS. Line 665. Grant, I may ever love, and rather woo

Those that would mischief me, than those that do!] It is plain, that in this whole speech friends and enemies are taken only for those who profess friendship and profess enmity; for the friend is supposed not to be more kind, but more dangerous than the enemy. The sense is, Let me rather woo or caress those that would mischief, that profess to mean me mischief, than those that really do me mischief, under false professions of kindness. The Spaniards, I think, have this proverb: Defend me from my friends, and from my enemies I will defend myself. This proverb is a 'sufficient comment on the passage. JOHNSON.

knaves,] Knave is here in the compound

Line 678.

sense of a servant and a rascal.



Line 117.a made-up villain.] That is, a villain that adopts qualities and characters not properly belonging to him; a hypocrite.

Line 122. 126.

JOHNSON. -in a draught,] That is, in the jakes. JOHNS. but two in company:] This passage is obscure. I think the meaning is this: but two in company, that is, stand apart, let only two be together; for even when each stands single. there are two, he himself and a villain. JOHNSON.


Line 161.

-a caut'rizing -] To cauterize was a word of our author's time; being found in Bullokar's English Expositor, octavo, 1616, where it is explained, "To burn to a sore."


Line 180. Of its own fall,] The Athenians had sense, that is, felt the danger of their own fall, by the arms of Alcibiades.


Line 183. Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;] I take the meaning to be, We will give thee a recompence that our offences cannot outweigh, heaps of wealth down by the dram, or delivered according to the exactest measure. JOHNSON.

Line 196. Allow'd with absolute power,] Allowed is licensed, privileged, uncontrolled. So of a buffoon, in Love's Labour's Lost, it is said, that he is allowed, that is, at liberty to say what he will, a privileged scoffer. JOHNSON. Line 217. There's not a whittle in the unruly camp,] A whittle is a small clasp knife.

Line 224.

My long sickness-] The disease of life begins

to promise me a period.


Line 273. In our dear peril.] Dear, in Shakspeare's language, is dire, dreadful. So, in Hamlet :

"Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven." MALONE.

Line 318.


the time is flush,] A bird is flush when his feathers are grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature. JOHNS. Line 319. When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong,

Cries, of itself, No more:] The image may be said to be taken from a porter or coal-heaver, who when there is as much laid upon his shoulders as he can bear, will certainly cry,

no more.

MALONE. Line 352. -not square,] Not regular, not equitable. JOHNS. 375. uncharged ports: ] That is, unguarded gates.


-not a man



pass his quarter,] Not a soldier shall quit his station, or be let loose upon you; and, if any commits violence, he shall answer it regularly to the law.


Line 400. -our brain's flow,] Sir Thomas Hanmer and Dr. Warburton read,—brine's flow. Our brain's flow is our tears; but we may read, our brine's flow, our salt tears.. Either will JOHNSON.






LINE 19. but they think, we are too dear:] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth.


Line 23. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes:] It is plain that, in our author's time, we had the proverb As lean as a rake. Of this proverb the original is obscure. Rake now signifies a dissolute man, a man worn out with disease and debauchery. But the signification is, I think, much more modern than the proverb. Rakel, in Islandick, is said to mean a cur-dog, and this was probably the first use among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dog too worthless to be fed. JOHNSON.

Line 95. I will venture

To scale't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The

word is used in the North.

Line 98. injuries.


disgraces with a tale.] Disgraces are hardships,


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114. Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile

not indicating pleasure, but contempt.

JOHNSON. Line 123. The counsellor heart,] The heart was anciently esteemed the seat of prudence. Homo cordatus is a prudent man. JOHNSON.

Line 176. Thou rascal, thou art worst in blood, to run

Lead'st first, to win some 'vantage.] The meaning is perhaps only this, thou that art a hound, or running dog of the lowest breed, lead'st the pack, when any thing is to be gotten.


Line 180. The one side must have bale.] Bale is an old Saxon word, for misery or calamity.

"For light she hated as the deadly bale."

Spenser's Fairy Queen.


Line 191. That like nor peace, nor war? The one affrights you, The other makes you proud.] Coriolanus does not use the two sentences consequentially, but first reproaches them with unsteadiness, then with their other occasional vices. JOHNS. Line 196. -Your virtue is

To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,

And curse that justice did it.] i, e. Your virtue is to speak well of him whom his own offences have subjected to justice; and to rail at those laws by which he whom you praise was punished.

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With thousands-] Why a quarry? I suppose, not because he would pile them square, but because he would give them for carrion to the birds of prey.

Line 247.

JOHNSON. the heart of generosity,] To give the final

blow to the nobles. Generosity is high birth.

Line 269.


'Tis true, that you have lately told us;
The Volces are in arms.] Coriolanus had been but

just told himself that the Volces were in arms. The meaning

is, The intelligence which you gave us some little time ago of the designs of the Volces is now verified; they are in arms. JOHNSON. Line 305. Your valour puts well forth:] That is, you have in this mutiny shewn fair blossoms of valour. JOHNSON.

1 Line 312. -to gird―] To sneer, to gibe. So Falstaff uses the noun, when he says, every man has a gird at me. JOHNSON. Line 315. The present wars devour him: he is grown

Too proud to be so valiant.] I concur with Mr. Steevens. "The present wars," Shakspeare uses to express the pride of Coriolanus, grounded on his military prowess: which kind of pride Brutus says devours him. MALONE.

Line 332. Of his demerits rob Cominius.] Merits and demerits had anciently the same meaning. STEEVENS.

Line 341. More than his singularity, &c.] We will learn what he is to do, besides going himself; what are his powers, and what is his appointment. JOHNSON,


Line 371. To take in many towns,] To take in here means as in many other places, to subdue.

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Bring up your army:] Says the senator to Aufidius, Go to your troops, we will garrison Corioli. If the Romans besfege us, bring up your army to remove them. If any change should be made, I would read,

-for their remove.



Line 405.

-brows bound with oak.] The crown given by


the Romans to him that saved the life of a citizen, which was accounted more honourable than any other. . Line 435. Than gilt his trophy:] Gilt means a display of gold, a word now obsolete.

Line 460.

pieces, to tear.


-mammock'd it.] To mammock is to pull in STEEVENS.

Line 464. A crack, madam.] The following passage in the Cynthia's Revels of Ben Jonson, may best explain this term:

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