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When waterdrops have worn the stones of Troy,
And mighty states characterless are grated
From false to false, among false maids in love,
Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son;
Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,
Honour travels in a strait so narrow,
Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path :
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Character of Troilus.
The youngest son of Priam, a true knight; Not yet mature, yet matchless; firm of word: Speaking in deeds, and deedless* in his tongue; Not soon provoked, nor, being provoked, soon calm'd: His heart and hand both open and both free; For what he has he gives, what thinks he shows: Yet gives he not till judgment guides his bounty, Nor dignifies an impair thought with breath : Manly as Hector, but more dangerous;
*Not given to boasting.
For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes*
They call him Troilus.
Hector in Battle.
I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft, Labouring for destiny, make cruel way
Through ranks of Greekish youth: and I have seen thee,
As hot as Perseus, spur thy Phrygian steed,
And seen thee scorning forfeits and subduements, When thou hast hung thy advanced sword i' the air, Not letting it decline on the declined,†
That I have said unto my standers by,
"Lo, Jupiter is yonder, dealing life!"
And I have seen thee pause, and take thy breath,
Achilles Surveying Hector.
Tell me, you heavens, in which part of his body Shall I destroy him? Whether there, there, or there? That I may give the local wound a name; And make distinct the very breach whereout Hector's great spirit flew answer me heavens !
Caius Marcius, a noble Roman, surnamed Coriolanus, from a great victory obtained by him over the Volscians in Corioli, is un
*Gives way to.
popular with the common people in Rome in consequence of his unbending austerity; he has, however, many firm friends, and is appointed Consul; the appointment, however, is revoked by the people, who are stirred up against Coriolanus by the tribunes Sicinius Velutus and Junius Brutus, who cause him to be banished from Rome. Indignant at the ingratitude of his countrymen, he joins the Volscians, and is received with open arms by their general, Tullus Aufidius, who divides his command with him. His countrymen, alarmed at the invasion of the Volscians, send to him to sue for peace, but he refuses to listen to them, till at length he is melted by the solicitations of his wife Virgilia and his mother Volumnia. Tullus Aufidius, jealous of the fame and influence which Coriolanus has obtained amongst the Volscians, conspires, with others against him, and he is assassinated by Aufidius and the conspirators. Dr. Johnson pronounces this to be "one of Shakspere's most amusing performances. The old man's bluntness," says he, "in Menenius; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia; the bridal modesty in Virgilia; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malignity and tribunitian haughtiness in Brutus aud Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety."
Description of a Mob.
WHAT Would you have, you curs,
That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights you,
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
Who deserves greatness. affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil.
He that depends
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Hear me profess sincerely :—had I a dozen sons,— each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius,-I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Aufidius's Hate of Coriolanus.
Nor sleep, nor sanctuary,
Being naked, sick; nor fane, nor Capitol,
Prowess of Coriolanus.
He carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears;
Cominius's Praise of Coriolanus to the Senators.
I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
And, in the brunt of seventeen battles since,
He lurch'd all swords o' the garland. For this last, Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers;
And by his rare example made the coward
Turn terror into sport; as waves before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
And fell below his stem: his sword (death's stamp) Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose
Struck him down on his knee.
|| Won easily
+ Beardless chin.
§ On account of his youth.