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Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.
Men.

Let's be calm.
Com. The people are abus’d:-Set on. This

palt'ring
Becomes not Rome; nor has Coriolanus
Deserv'd this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely 6
I'the plain way of his merit.
Cor.

Tell me of corn!
This was my speech, and I will speak’t again ;

Men. Not now, not now. 1 Sen.

Not in this heat, sir, now. Cor. Now, as I live, I will.--My nobler friends, I crave their pardons : For the mutable, rank-scented many 7, let them Regard me as I do not flatter, and Therein behold themselves: I say again, In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate The cockle 8 of rebellion, insolence, sedition, Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd and

scatter'd, By mingling them with us, the honour'd number; Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that Which they have given to beggars. Men.

Well, no more. 1 Sen. No more words, we beseech you. Cor.

How ! no more? As for my country I have shed my blood,

5 Paltering is shuffling. 6 i. e. treacherously. The metaphor is from a rub at bowls.

7 i. e. the populace. The Greeks used or nollor exactly in the same sense.

8 Cockle is a weed which grows up with and chokes the corn. The thought is from North's Plutarch : Moreover, he said, that they nourished against themselves the naughty seed and cockle of insolency and sedition, which had been sowed and scattered abroad among the people,' &c.

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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.

T'were well,
We let the people know't.
Men.

What, what? his choler?
Cor. Choler!
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my mind.
Sic.

It is a mind,
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.
Cor.

Shall remain !
Hear

you

this Triton of the minnows 10? mark you. His absolute shall ? Com.

'Twas from the canon. Cor.

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 noise 13 o'the monsters, wants not spirit

he'll turn your current in a ditch, And make your channel his ?

If he have power,

12

To say,

9 Meazel, or mesell, is the old term for a leper, from the Fr. meselle.

10 So in Love's Labour's Lost:- That base minnow of thy mirth.'

11 The old copy has. O God, but,' &c. The emendation was made by Theobald.

12 Careless.

13 • The horn and noise,' alluding to his having called him Triton of the minnows before.

Then vail your ignorancel*: if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,
When, both your voices blended, the greatest taste
Most palates theirs 15. They choose their magistrate;
And such a one as he, who puts his shall,
His popular shall, against a graver bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece! By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base: and my soul akes,
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take
The one by the other 10.
Com.

Well-on to the market-place.
Cor. Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
The corn o'the storehouse gratis, as 'twas us’d
Sometime in Greece,
Men.

Well, well, no more of that. Cor. (Though there the people had more absolute

power)
I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.
Bru.

Why, shall the people give
One, that speaks thus, their voice?
Cor.

I'll give my reasons, More worthier than their voices. They know, the Was not our recompense; resting well assur'd

14 • If this man has power, let the ignorance that gave it him vail or bow down before him.'

15 • The plebeians are no less than senators, when, the voices of the senate and the people being blended, the predominant taste of the compound smacks more of the populace than the senate.'

16 • The mischief and absurdity of what is called imperium in imperio is here finely expressed,' says Warburton.

corn

They ne'er did service for’t: Being press'd to the war,
Even when the navel of the state was touch’d,
That would not thread 17 the gates: this kind of ser-

vice
Did not deserve corn gratis : being i’the war,
Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show'd
Most valour, spoke not for them: The accusation
Which they have often made against the senate,
All cause unborn, could never be the native 18
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bosom multiplied 19 digest
The senate's courtesy ? Let deeds express
What's like to be their words: We did request it ;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
They gave us our demands:- Thus we debase
The nature of our seats, and make the rabble
Call our cares, fears: which will in time break ope
The locks o’the senate, and bring in the crows
To peck the eagles.
Men.

Come, enough.
Bru. Enough, with overmeasure.
Cor.

No, take more: What may be sworn by, both divine and human, Seal what I end withal 20!—This double worship, Where one part does disdain with cause, the other Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wisdom

17 To thread the gates is to pass through them. So in King Lear :- Threading dark-ey'd night.'

18 Native, if it be not a corruption of the text, must be put for native cause, the producer, or bringer forth. Mason's proposed emendation of motive would be very plausible, were it not that the poet seems to have intended a kind of antithesis between cause unborn and native cause.

19 • This bosom multiplied,' is this multitudinous bosom, the bosom of that many-beaded monster the people.

20 • No, let ine add this further, and may every thing divine and human that can give force to an oatb, bear witness to the truth of what I shall conclude with.'

Cannot conclude, but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance,- it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness: purpose so barr’d, it follows,
Nothing is done to purpose: Therefore, beseech

you,
You that will be less fearful than discreet;
That love the fundamental part of state,
More than you doubt the change of't; that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish
To jumpa a body with a dangerous physick
That's sure of death without it, -at once pluck out.
The multitudinous tongue, let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become it 23 ;
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For the ill which doth control it.
Bru.

He has said enough. Sic. He has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer As traitors do.

Cor. Thou wretch! despite o’erwhelm thee!What should the people do with these bald tribunes? On whom depending, their obedience fails

21. To doubt is to fear.

22 To jump a body is apparently' to risk or hazard a body.' So in Holland's Pliny, b. xxv. ch. v. p. 219:— If we looke for good successe in our cure by ministring hellebore, &c. for certainly it putteth the patient to a jumpe or greate hazard.' So in Mac

beth:-

23

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• We'd jump the life to come.'
And in Antony and Cleopatra, Act iii. Sc. viii:

our fortune lies
Upon this jump.'
Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state

Of that integrity which should become it.' Judgment is the faculty by which right is distinguished from wrong. Integrity is in this place soundness, uniformity, consistency.

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