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The Gates of Corioli.

TITUS LARTIUS, having set a Guard upon Corioli, going with a Drum and Trumpet toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with a lieutenant, a Party of Soldiers, and a Scout.

Lart. So, let the ports3 be guarded: keep your duties, As I have set them down. If I do send, despatch Those centuries4 to our aid; the rest will serve For a short holding: If we lose the field,

We cannot keep the town.


Fear not our care, sir.

Lart. Hence, and shut your gates upon us.Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us. [Exeunt.


A Field of Battle between the Roman and the Volcian


Alarum. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS.

Mar. I'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee Worse than a promise-breaker.

that he himself may escape the charge of partiality. If this be the drift of Shakspeare, he has expressed it with uncommon obscurity. The old translation of Plutarch only says: "Wherefore, with those that willingly offered themselves to followe him, he went out of the cittie." Steevens.

Coriolanus means only to say, that he would appoint four persons to select for his particular command or party, those who were best inclined; and in order to save time, he proposes to have this choice made, while the army is marching forward. They all march towards the enemy, and on the way he chooses those who are to go on that particular service. M. Mason.



the ports] i. e. the gates. So, in Timon of Athens: Descend, and open your uncharged ports." Steevens. 4 Those centuries-] i. e. companies consisting each of a hundred men. Our author sometimes uses this word to express simply-a hundred; as in Cymbeline:

"And on it said a century of prayers." Steevens.


We hate alike;

Not Africk owns a serpent, I abhor
More than thy fame and envy:5 Fix thy foot.

Mar. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
And the gods doom him after!6


Halloo me like a hare.


If I fly, Marcius,

Within these three hours, Tullus,

Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,"

And made what work I pleas'd: 'Tis not my blood,
Wherein thou seest me mask'd; for thy revenge,
Wrench up thy power to the highest.

Wert thou the Hector,
That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,8

5 thy fame and envy:] Envy here, as in many other places, means, malice. See Vol. XI, p. 240, n. 7. Malone.

The phrase-death and honour, being allowed, in our author's language, to signify no more than-honourable death, so fame and envy, may only mean-detested or odious fame. The verb-to envy, in ancient language, signifies to hate. Or the construction may be-Not Africk owns a serpent I more abhor and envy, than thy fame. Steevens.

6 Let the first budger die the other's slave,

And the gods doom him after!] So, in Macbeth:

"And damn'd be him who first cries, Hold, Enough!"

7 Within these three hours, Tullus,


Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,] If the name of Tullus be omitted, the metre will become regular. Steevens.

8 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 whip-hand, for he has the advantage. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson considers this as a very unusual construction, but it appears to me only such as every page of these plays furnishes; and the foregoing interpretation is in my opinion undoubtedly the true one. An anonymous correspondent justly observes, that the words mean, "the whip that your bragg'd progeny was possessed of" Malone.

Whip might anciently be used, as crack is now, to denote any thing peculiarly boasted of; as-the crack house in the countythe crack boy of a school, &c. Modern phraseology, perhaps, has only passed from the whip, to the crack of it. Steevens.

Thou should'st not scape me here.-[They fight, and certain Volces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS.

Officious, and not valiant--you have sham'd me


your condemned seconds.9

[Exeunt fighting, driven in by MARCIUS.


The Roman Camp.

Alarum. A Retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter at one side, COMINIUS, and Romans; at the other side, MARCIUS, with his arm in a Scarf, and other Romans.

Com. If I should tell thee1 o'er this thy day's work, Thou 'It not believe thy deeds: but I'll report it, Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles; Where great patricians shall attend, and shrug, I' the end, admire; where ladies shall be frighted,

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In your condemned seconds.] For condemned, we may read contemned. You have, to my shame, sent me help which I despise. Johnson.

Why may we not as well be contented with the old reading, and explain it, You have, to my shame, sent me help, which I must condemn as intrusive, instead of applauding it as necessary? Mr. M. Mason proposes to read second instead of seconds; but the latter is right. So, King Lear: "No seconds? all myself?" Steevens. We have had the same phrase in the fourth scene of this play: "Now prove good seconds!" Malone.

1 If I should tell thee &c.] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: "There the consul Cominius going up to his chayer of state, in the presence of the whole armie, gaue thankes to the goddes for so great, glorious, and prosperous a victorie: then he spake to Martius, whose valliantnes he commended beyond the moone, both for that he him selfe sawe him doe with his eyes, as also for that Martius had reported vnto him. So in the ende he willed Martius, he should choose out of all the horses they had taken of their enemies, and of all the goodes they had wonne (whereof there was great store) tenne of cuery sorte which he likest best, before any distribution should be made to other. Besides this great honorable offer he had made him, he gaue him in testimonie that he had wonne that daye the price of prowes above all other, a goodly horse with a capparison, and all furniture to him: which the whole armie beholding, dyd marvelously praise and commend. But Martius stepping forth, told the consul, he most thanckefully accepted the gifte of his horse, and VOL. XIII.


And, gladly quak'd,2 hear more; where the dull Tribunes,
That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,

Shall say, against their hearts,-We thank the gods,
Our Rome hath such a soldier!—

Yet cam'st thou to a morsel of this feast,

Having fully dined before.

Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his Power, from the pursuit.


Here is the steed, we the caparison:3

Hadst thou beheld


O general,

Pray now, no more: my mother,

Who has a charter to extol her blood,

When she does praise me, grieves me. I have done, As you have done; that 's what I can; induc'd


you have been; that 's for my country:5 He, that has but effected his good will,

Hath overta'en mine act.6


You shall not be

The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
The value of her own: 'twere a concealment

was a glad man besides, that his seruice had deserued his generalls commendation: and as for his other offer, which was ra ther, a mercenary reward, than an honourable recompence, he would none of it; but was contented to haue his equall parte with other souldiers." Steevens.

2 And, gladly quak'd,] i. e. thrown into grateful trepidation. To quake is likewise used as a verb active by T. Heywood, in his Silver Age, 1613:

"We'll quake them at that bar

"Where all souls wait for sentence." Steevens.

3 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. Johnson.



a charter to extol-] A privilege to praise her own son. Johnson.

that's for my country:] The latter word is used here, as in other places, as a trisyllable. See Vol. II, p. 160, n. 3.


6 He, that hath but effected his good will, Hath overta'en mine act.] That is, has done as much as I have done, inasmuch as my ardour to serve the state is such that I have never been able to effect all that I wish'd.

So, in Macbeth:

"The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,

Unless the deed goes with it." Malone.

Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
To hide your doings; and to silence that,

Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch'd,
Would seem but modest: Therefore, I beseech you,
(In sign of what you are, not to reward

What you have done,7) before our army hear me.

Mar. I have some wounds upon me, and they smart To hear themselves remembered.


Should they not,8

Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude,

And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses,
(Whereof we have ta'en good, and good store,) of all
The treasure, in this field achiev'd, and city,

We render you the tenth; to be ta'en forth,
Before the common distribution, at

Your only choice.


I thank you, general;

But cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe, to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
And stand upon my common part with those
That have beheld the doing.

[A long Flourish. They all cry, Marcius! Marcius!
cast up their Caps and Lances: COMINIUS and
LARTIUS, stand bare.

Mar. May these same instruments, which you profane, Never sound more! When drums and trumpets shall9

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What you have done,)] So, in Macbeth:

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To herald thee into his sight, not pay thee.” Steevens. 8 Should they not,] That is, not be remembered. Johnson. When drums and trumpets shall &c.] In the old copy: when drums and trumpets shall


"I' the field, prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
"Made all of false-fac'd soothing.

"When steel grows soft as the parasite's silk,

"Let him be made an overture for the wars:"

All here is miserably corrupt and disjointed. We should read the whole thus:

when drums and trumpets shall

I' th' field prove flatterers, let camps, as cities,
Be made of false-fac'd soothing! When steel grows
Soft as the parasite's silk, let hymns be made

An overture for the wars!

The thought is this, If one thing changes its usual nature to a thing most opposite, there is no reason but that all the rest which

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