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CIT. Our enemy's banish'd! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!

[The People shout, and throw up their caps. SIC. Go, see him out at gates, and follow him, As he hath follow'd you, with all despite ; Give him deserv'd vexation. Let a guard Attend us through the city.

CIT. Come, come, let us see him out at gates;


The gods preserve our noble tribunes!-Come.



The Same. Before a Gate of the City.

NIUS, COMINIUS, and several young Patricians.
COR. Come, leave your tears; a brief farewell:-
the beast

With many heads' butts me away.-Nay, mother,
Where is your ancient courage? you were us'd
To say, extremities was the trier of spirits;
That common chances common men could bear;
That, when the sea was calm, all boats alike
Show'd mastership in floating": fortune's blows,

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With many heads-] Thus also, Horace, speaking of the Roman mob:

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Bellua multorum est capitum. STEEVENS. you were us'd

To say, extremity was the trier of spirits;

That common chances common men could bear;
That, when the sea was calm; all boats alike

Show'd mastership in floating;] Thus the second folio. The first reads:

When most struck home, being gentle wounded,


A noble cunning: you were us'd to load me
With precepts, that would make invincible
The heart that conn'd them.

VIR. O heavens! O heavens !


Nay, I pr'ythee, woman,

"To say, extreamities was the trier of spirits."

Extremity, in the singular number, is used by our author in The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Comedy of Errors, Troilus and Cressida, &c.

The general thought of this passage has already occurred in Troilus and Cressida. See vol. viii. p. 253 :


In the reproof of chance

"Lies the true proof of men: The sea being smooth,
"How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
"Upon her patient breast, making their way

"With those of nobler bulk?" STEEVENS.

However often Shakspeare has used extremes in other places, we find that he has employed the plural here; what ground therefore have we for changing a word that affords perfect good sense, and is found in the only ancient authentick copy. It is decisively confirmed and supported, not only by that copy, but by another place in this very play, where we meet with exact the same phraseology, Act III. Sc. II. :


You are too absolute,

"Tho' there you can never be too noble,

"But when extremities speak. I have heard you say
"Honour and policy," &c.

9 fortune's blows,


When most struck home, being gentle wounded craves

A noble cunning] This is the ancient and authentick reading. The modern editors have, for gentle wounded, silently substituted gently warded, and Dr. Warburton has explained gently by nobly. It is good to be sure of our author's words before we go to explain their meaning.

The sense is," When Fortune strikes her hardest blows, to be wounded, and yet continue calm, requires a generous policy.' He calls this calmness, cunning, because it is the effect of reflection and philosophy. Perhaps the first emotions of nature are nearly uniform, and one man differs from another in the power of endurance, as he is better regulated by precept and instruction.


They bore as heroes, but they felt as men." JOHNSON.

VOL. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in


And occupations perish!


What, what, what!

Nay, mother,

I shall be lov'd, when I am lack'd.

Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say, you had been the wife of Hercules,


Six of his labours you'd have done, and sav'd
Your husband so much sweat.-Cominius,

Droop not, adieu :-Farewell, my wife! my mother!

I'll do well yet.-Thou old and true Menenius,
Thy tears are salter than a younger man's,

And venomous to thine eyes.-My sometime general

I have seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld Heart-hard'ning spectacles; tell these sad women, 'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,


As 'tis to laugh at them.-My mother, you wot


My hazards still have been your solace: and
Believe not lightly, (though I go alone,

Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen

Makes fear'd, and talk'd of more than seen,) your


Will, or exceed the common, or be caught
With cautelous baits and practice 2.



My first son 3,

'Tis fond-] i. e. 'tis foolish. See our author, passim.


cautelous baits and practice.] By artful and false tricks, and treason. JOHNSON.

Cautelous, in the present instance, signifies-insidious. In the sense of cautious it occurs in Julius Cæsar:


Swear priests and cowards, and men cautelous."


3 My FIRST Son,] First, i. e. noblest, and most eminent of

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Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee a while: Determine on some course,
More than a wild exposture to each chance

That starts i' the way before thee *.


O the gods! COM. I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee Where thou shalt rest, that thou may'st hear of us, And we of thee: so, if the time thrust forth A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send O'er the vast world, to seek a single man ; And lose advantage, which doth ever cool I' the absence of the needer.


Fare ye well:

Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
Of the wars' surfeits, to go rove with one
That's yet unbruis'd: bring me but out at gate.-
Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
My friends of noble touch, when I am forth,
Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
While I remain above the ground, you shall
Hear from me still; and never of me aught
But what is like me formerly.

Mr. Heath would read:


My fierce son." STEEVENS.

4 More than a wild EXPOSTURE to each chance

That starts i' the way before thee.] I know not whether the word exposture be found in any other author. If not, I should incline to read exposure. We have, however, other words of a similar formation in these plays. So, in Timon of Athens:


The earth's a thief

"That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
"From general excrement." MALONE.

We should certainly read-exposure. So, in Macbeth :
"And when we have our naked frailties hid
"That suffer in exposure,-

Again, in Troilus and Cressida :


To weaken and discredit our exposure-."

Exposture is, I believe, no more than a typographical error.



5 My friends of noble touch,] i. e. of true metal unallayed.

Metaphor from trying gold on the touchstone.


That's worthily

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As any ear can hear.-Come, let's not weep.-
If I could shake off but one seven years
From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
I'd with thee every foot.

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Enter SICINIUs, Brutus, and an Ædile.

SIC. Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no further.

The nobility are vex'd, who, we see, have sided

In his behalf.


Now we have shown our power,

Let us seem humbler after it is done,

Than when it was a doing.


Bid them home:

Say, their great enemy is gone, and they
Stand in their ancient strength.

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SIC. They say, she's mad.

BRU. They have ta'en note of us: keep on your


VOL. O, you're well met: The hoarded plague o' the gods

Requite your love!


Peace, peace; be not so loud.

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