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-Since we are turn'd cracks, let's study to be like cracks, "act freely, carelesly, and capriciously."
ACT I. SCene iv.
Line 590. Who sensible, out-dares-] The thought seems to have been taken from Sidney's Arcadia, p. 293.
“ —their flesh abode the wounds constantly, as tho' it were ❝less sensible of smart than the senseless armour, which by piece"meal fell away from them, by the blows it received." STEEV. Line 594. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish: not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes, &c.] Plutarch, in the Life of Coriolanus, relates this as the opinion of Cato the elder, that a great soldier should carry terrour in his looks and tone of voice; and the poet, hereby following the historian, is fallen into a great chronological impropriety. THEOBALD.
Line 602. —make remain—] Is an old manner of speaking, which means no more than remain.
ACT I. SCENE V.
Line 606. - prize their hours-] Coriolanus blames the Roman plunderers only for wasting their time in packing up trifles of such small value.
Line 609.doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them,] Instead of
taking them as their lawful perquisite.
Lead their successes as we wish our own;] i. e. May
the Roman gods, &c.
slip." Line 718. swords advanc'd,] That is, swords lifted high.
-Please you to march;
And four shall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are best inclin'd.] I cannot but suspect this passage of corruption. Why should they march, that four might select those that were best inclin'd? How would their inclinations be known? Who were the four that should select them? Perhaps, we may read,
-Please you to march,
And fear shall quickly draw out of my command,
It is easy to conceive that, by a little negligence, fear might be changed to four, and least to best. Let us march, and that fear which incites desertion will free my army from cowards. JOHNS.
ACT I. SCENE VIII.
thy fame and envy:] Envy here, as in many MALONE!
other places, means malice.
Line 773. 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 whiphand, for he has the advantage. JOHNSON.
In your condemned seconds.] For condemned, we may read contemned. You have, to my shame, sent me help which I despise.
ACT I. SCENE IX.
Line 784. And, gladly quak'd,] i. e. thrown into grateful trepidation. STEEVENS.
Line 792. Here is the steed, we the caparison:] This is an odd encomium. The meaning is, "this man performed the action, and we only filled up the show."
-a charter to extol-] A privilege to praise her
Line 813. Should they not,] That is, not be remembered.
862. To undercrest your good addition,] A phrase from heraldry, signifying, that he would endeavour to support his good opinion of him. WARBURTON.
Line 863. To the fairness of my power.] When two engage on equal terms, we say it is fair; fairness may therefore be equality; in proportion equal to my power. JOHNSON.
Line 868. The best-] The chief men of Corioli. JOHNSON. -with whom we may articulate,] i. e, enter into STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE X.
Line 896. Being a Volce, &c.] It may be just observed, that Shakspeare calls the Volci, Volces, which the modern editors have changed to the modern termination (Volcian). I mention it here, because here the change has spoiled the measure.
> Line 913.
Being a Volce, be that I am. Condition! JOHNSON. -for him
Shall fly out of itself:] To mischief him, my valour
should deviate from its own native generosity.
Line 917. Embarquements all of fury, &c.] Embarquements, Cotgrave says, meant not only an embarkation, but an embargoing. The rotten privilege and custom, mentioned, seems to favour this explanation. STEEVENS.
Line 920. At home, upon my brother's guard,] In my own house, with my brother posted to protect him.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 7. Pray you, &c.] When the tribune, in reply to Menenius's remark, on the people's hate of Coriolanus, had observed that even beasts know their friends, Menenius asks, whom does the wolf love? implying that there are beasts which love nobody, and that among those beasts are the people. JOHNSON.
: Line 40.
-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,
-one that converses more, &c.] Rather a late lier
down than an early riser,
Line 66. bisson conspectuities,] Bisson, blind, in the old
copies, is beesome, restored by Mr. Theobald.
Line 71. —for poor knaves' caps and legs:] obeisance showed by bowing to you.
JOHNSON. That is, for their MALONE.
-you wear out a good, &c.] It appears from this
whole speech that Shakspeare mistook the office of præfectus urbis for the tribune's office.
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.
herdsmen of―plebeians.] As kings are called JOHNSON.
Line 109. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee:] Dr. Warburton reads, take my cup.
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.
Line 121. empiricutick,] From empiric, a quack.
168. Which being advanc'd, declines ;] Volumnia, in her boasting strain, says, that her son to kill his enemy, has nothing to do but to lift his hand up and let it fall. JOHNSON.
Line 188. My gracious silence, hail!] By my gracious silence, I believe, the poet meant, "thou whose silent tears are more eloquent and grateful to me; than the clamorous applause of the rest." STEEVENS.
Line 232. Into a rapture-] Rapture, a common term at that time used for a fit, simply. So, to be rap'd, signified, to be in a fit. WARBURTON.
Line 233. the kitchen malkin-] A malkin, or maulkın, is a sort of mop, made of clouts, used for the sweeping of ovens. Line 234. Her richest lockram, &c.] Lockram was some kind of linen.
Thus in the Spanish Curate of Beaumont and Fletcher, Diego says,
"I give per annum two hundred ells of 'ockram,
"That there be no strait dealings in their linnens." STeev.
Line 234. -her reechy neck,] Reechy means tanned. seld-shown flamens-] i. e. priests who seldom
-239. exhibit themselves to public view.
Line 242. Commit the war of white and damask, in
Their nicely gawded cheeks,] Has the commentator
never heard of roses contending with lilies for the empire of a lady's cheek? The opposition of colours, though not the commixture, may be called a war.
Dr. Warburton absurdly reads for war, ware.
Line 245. As if that whatsoever god,] That is, as if that god who leads him, whatsoever god he be.
their provand-] i. e. their provender.
us observe what passes, but keep our hearts fixed on our design of crushing Coriolanus.
ACT II. SCENE II.
wave indifferently. Line 336.
-he wav'd indifferently &c.] That is, he would
-their opposite.] i. e. their adversary.
·371. Your loving motion toward the common body,] Your
kind interposition with the common people.
Line 381. That's off, that's off;] That is, that is nothing to the purpose. Line 399. You soothed not, therefore hurt not:] You did not flatter me, and therefore did not offend me.
Line 408. how can he flatter,] The reasoning of Menenius is this: how can he be expected to practise flattery to others, who abhors it so much, that he cannot hear it even when offered to himself. JOHNSON. Line 420. When Tarquin made a head for Rome,] When Tarquin, who had been expelled, raised a power to recover Rome. JOHNSON.
Line 428. When he might act the woman in the scene,] It has been more than once mentioned, that the parts of women were, in Shakspeare's time, represented by the most smooth-faced young men to be found among the players.. STEEVENS.