« AnteriorContinuar »
best and though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our will.
COM. You are goodly things, you voices!
You have made Good work, you and your cry 2!-Shall us to the Capitol ?
COм. O, ay; what else?
[Exeunt Coм. and MEN SIC. Go, masters, get you home, be not dismay'd; These are a side, that would be glad to have This true, which they so seem to fear. Go home, And show no sign of fear.
1 CIT. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. I ever said, we were i' the wrong, when we banished him.
2 CIT. So did we all.
BRU. I do not like this news.
SIC. Nor I.
BRU. Let's to the Capitol:-'Would, half my
Would buy this for a lie!
But come, let's home.
A Camp; at a small distance from Rome.
Enter AUFIDIUS, and his Lieutenant.
AUF. Do they still fly to the Roman ?
LIEU. I do not know what witchcraft's in him;
you and your CRY!] Alluding to a pack of hounds. So, in Hamlet, a company of players are contemptuously called a cry of players. See p. 147, n. 1.
This phrase was not antiquated in the time of Milton, who has it in his Paradise Lost, book ii. :
"A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark'd." STEEVENS.
Your soldiers use him as the grace 'fore meat,
Yet I wish, sir, (I mean, for your particular,) you had not Join'd in commission with him: but either Had borne the action of yourself, or else To him had left it solely.
AUF. I understand thee well; and be thou sure, When he shall come to his account, he knows not What I can urge against him. Although it seems, And so he thinks, and is no less apparent To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly, And shows good husbandry for the Volcian state; Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon As draw his sword: yet he hath left undone That, which shall break his neck, or hazard mine, Whene'er we come to our account.
―more PROUDLIER-] We have already had in this play -more worthier, as in Timon of Athens, Act IV. Sc. I. we have more kinder; yet the modern editors read here-more proudly. MALONE. 3 HAD borne-] The old copy reads-have borne; which cannot be right. For the emendation now made I am answerable. MALONE. I suppose the word-had, or have, to be alike superfluous, and that the passage should be thus regulated :
but either borne
"The action of yourself, or else to him
LIEU. Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry
AUF. All places yield to him ere he sits down; And the nobility of Rome are his :
The senators, and patricians, love him too:
To expel him thence. I think, he'll be to Rome,
A noble servant to them; but he could not
4 As is the OSPREY-] Osprey, a kind of eagle, ossifraga.
We find in Michael Drayton's Polyolbion, Song XXV. a full account of the osprey, which shows the justness aud beauty of the simile :
"The osprey, oft here seen, though seldom here it breeds,
Turning their bellies up, as though their death they saw, "They at his pleasure lie to stuff his gluttonous maw."
So, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594:
"I will provide thee with a princely osprey,
"The fish shall turn their glitt'ring bellies up,
Such is the fabulous history of the osprey. I learn, however, from Mr. Lambe's notes to the ancient metrical legend of The Battle of Floddon, that the osprey is a rare, large, blackish hawk, with a long neck, and blue legs. Its prey is fish, and it is sometimes seen hovering over the Tweed." STEEVENS.
The osprey is a different bird from the sea eagle, to which the above quotations allude, but its prey is the same. British Zoology, 46, Linn. Syst. Nat. 129. HARRIS.
5 whether 'twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether, &c.] Aufidius assigns three probable reasons of the miscarriage of Coriolanus; pride, which easily follows an uninterrupted train of success; unskilfulness to
To fail in the disposing of those chances
Even with the same austerity and garb
As he controll'd the war; but, one of these,
(As he hath spices of them all, not all,
regulate the consequences of his own victories; a stubborn uniformity of nature, which could not make the proper transition from the casque or helmet to the cushion or chair of civil authority; but acted with the same despotism in peace as in war. JOHNSON, As he hath spices of them all, not all,] i. e. not all complete, not all in their full extent. MALONE. So, in The Winter's Tale :
"Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it." STEEVENS. he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance.] He has a merit for no other purpose than to destroy it by boasting it. JOHNSON.
I rather understand it: "But such is his merit as ought to
choke the utterance of his faults." BOSWELL.
8 And power, unto itself most commendable, Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
To extol what it hath done.] This is a common thought, but miserably ill expressed. The sense is, the virtue which de lights to commend itself, will find the surest tomb in that chair wherein it holds forth its own commendations :
66. - unto itself most commendable."
i. e. which hath a very high opinion of itself. WARBURTON.
If our author meant to place Coriolanus in this chair, he must have forgot his character, for, as Mr. M. Mason has justly observed, he has already been described as one who was so far from being a boaster, that he could not endure to hear "his nothings monster'd." But I rather believe, "in the utterance" alludes not to Coriolanus himself, but to the high encomiums pronounced
One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail; Rights by rights founder, strengths by strengths do fail.
on him by his friends; and then the lines of Horace, quoted in p. 182, may serve as a comment on the passage before us.
A passage in Troilus and Cressida, however, may be urged in support of Dr. Warburton's interpretation :
The worthiness of praise disdains his worth,
"If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth." Yet I still think that our poet did not mean to represent Coriolanus as his own eulogist. MALONE.
The pride of Coriolanus is his strongest characteristic. We may, perhaps, apply to him what is said of Julius Cæsar:
"But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
"He says he does, being then most flattered." BOSWELL. A sentiment of a similar nature is expressed by Adam, in the second scene of the second Act of As You Like It, where he says to Orlando :
"Your praise is come too swiftly home before you, "Know you not, master, to some kind of men "Their graces serve them but as enemies? "No more do yours; your virtues, gentle master, "Are sanctified and holy traitors to you." M. MASON. The passage before us, and the comments upon it are, to me at least, equally unintelligible. STEevens.
9 One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights FOUNDER, strengths by strengths do fail.] In the only authentick ancient copy these lines are thus exhibited:
"One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights fouler; strengths by strengths do fail." There can, I think, be no doubt that these words relate to the rivalship subsisting between Coriolanus and Aufidius, and not to the preceding observations concerning the ill effects of extravagant encomiums. It is manifest, that Aufidius would never represent his own cause or rights as fouler, or less worthy than the rights of Coriolanus, and that what he means here to say, is," As one fire cures another fire, and one nail by strength drives out another, so the rights of Coriolanus shall yield to be overpowered by my rights, and his strength be subdued by mine: and this meaning is furnished by the word founder, which I am confident was intended by the author, and is now placed in the text, instead of fouler, the original corrupted reading.
Though a strenuous advocate for adhering to the ancient copies, except in cases of manifest errors of the press, I have not hesitated