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Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine, Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine. [Exeunt.
to admit this emendation, the text being certainly corrupt; the change so slight as the substitution of two letters for one; and the word now adopted so little dissimilar from the corrupted reading, that they might have been easily confounded either by the eye or the ear. Thus one part of the line corresponds, and is in opposition with the other; and, instead of no sense, a clear and consistent meaning is obtained.
This verb is used precisely with the same metaphorical signification in a passage in King Henry VIII. which fully supports the present emendation in this point:
"All his tricks founder; and he brings his physick
The notions suggested in the text were extremely familiar to Shakspeare, and occur in various places in his works. Thus, in his Venus and Adonis :
Strong-temper'd steel his stronger strength obeys." Again, in King Henry V.:
Think we King Henry strong,
"And, princes, look you strongly arm to meet him." Again, in King John:
"Controlment for controlment; so answer France." Again, in Venus and Adonis :
"The iron bit he crusheth 'tween his teeth,
Controlling what he was controlled with." Again, in King Richard III.:
rights for rights
"Hath dimm'd his infant morn to aged night."
So much for the sentiments in the second of these lines: the images presented in the first occur no less frequently. Thus, in King John:
"Yet indirection thereby grows direct,
"And falsehood, falsehood cures, as fire cures fire "Within the scorched veins of one new burn'd." Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
"Even as one heat another heat expels,
"Or as one nail by strength drives out another." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
"As fire drives out fire, so pity, pity."
I have in general set my face against all innovation and changes of the text, merely for the sake of improvement in the metre or sense; but when the old copy is manifestly corrupt, and
ACT V. SCENE I.
Rome. A Publick Place.
Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS, BRUTus, and Others.
MEN. No, I'll not go: you hear, what he hath said,
a very slight change affords a clear meaning, in union with and supported by the context; such an emendation has surely an irresistible claim to admission. Such has been the proceeding of all the editors of these plays, by whom the corrections of this kind which have been made, and are now generally acknowledged to be just, do not amount to less than three hundred; why then should not we claim the same privilege as our predecessors, more especially if we use it with the utmost caution and diffidence?
That those who may still be satisfied with the corrupted word exhibited in the old copy, if after what has been stated, any such shall be found, may not have it in their power to allege that what little has been advanced in support of the original reading has been suppressed, I subjoin Mr. Steevens's note on this passage. MALONE.
"Rights by rights fouler." Thus the old copy. Modern editors, with less obscurity-Right's by right fouler, &c. i. e. What is already right, and is received as such, becomes less clear when supported by supernumerary proofs. Such appears to me to be the meaning of this passage, which may be applied with too much justice to many of my own comments on Shakspeare.
Dr. Warburton would read-fouled, from fouler, Fr. to trample under foot. There is undoubtedly such a word in Sidney's Arcadia, edit. 1633, p. 441; but it is not easily applicable to our present subject:
"Thy all-beholding eye foul'd with the sight."
The same word likewise occurs in the following proverb"York doth foul Sutton "-i. e. " exceeds it on comparison, and makes it appear mean and poor." STEEVENS.
Right's by right fouler," may well mean, "That one right or title, when produced, makes another less fair." All the short sentences in this speech of Aufidius are obscure, and some of them nonsensical. M. MASON.
I am of Dr. Warburton's opinion that this is nonsense; and
Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him
Do you hear? COм. Yet one time he did call me by my name: I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops That we have bled together. Coriolanus He would not answer to: forbad all names; He was a kind of nothing, titleless, Till he had forg'd himself a name i' the fire Of burning Rome.
MEN. Why, so; you have made good work: A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome", To make coals cheap: A noble memory3!
COM. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon When it was less expected: He replied, It was a bare petition of a state To one whom they had punish'd.
would read, with the slightest possible variation from the old copies : Rights by rights foul are, strengths," &c. RITSON.
I should not consider myself as dealing fairly by the reader, if I had not laid before him Mr. Malone's emendation and the reasons he has assigned for it; although I can by no means acquiesce in either the one or the other. Boswell.
- coy'd-] i. e. condescended unwillingly, with reserve, coldness. STEEVENS.
- that have RACK'D for Rome,] To rack means to harrass by exactions, and in this sense the poet uses it in other places : "The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bags "Are lank and lean with thy extortions."
I believe it here means in general, "You that have been such good stewards for the Roman people, as to get their houses burned over their heads, to save them the expence of coals. STEEVENS.
3 memory!] For memorial. See p. 166, n. 4. STEEVENS.
Could he say less?
COм. I offer'd to awaken his regard
MEN. For one poor grain or two? I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child, And this brave fellow too, we are the grains : You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt Above the moon: We must be burnt for you.
SIC. Nay, pray, be patient: If you refuse your aid In this so never-heeded help, yet do not
Upbraid us with our distress. But, sure, if you Would be your country's pleader, your good
More than the instant army we can make,
SIC. Pray you
No; I'll not meddle.
4 It was a BARE petition -] A bare petition, I believe, means only a mere petition. Coriolanus weighs the consequence of verbal supplication against that of actual punishment. See vol. iv. p. 80, n.7. EEVENS.
I have no doubt but we should read:
"It was a base petition," &c.
meaning that it was unworthy the dignity of a state, to petition a man whom they had banished. M. MASON.
In King Henry IV. Part I. and in Timon of Athens, the word bare is used in the sense of thin, easily seen through; having only a slight superficial covering. Yet, I confess, this interpretation will hardly apply here. In the former of the passages al
luded to, the editor of the first folio substituted base for bare, improperly. In the passage before us perhaps base was the author's word. MALOne.
5 I pray you, &c.] The pronoun personal-I, is wanting in the old copy. STEEVENS.
BRU. Only make trial what your love can do For Rome, towards Marcius.
Well, and say that Marcius Return me, as Cominius is return'd, Unheard; what then ?But as a discontented friend, grief-shot With his unkindness? Say't be so ?
Yet your good will Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure As you intended well.
I'll undertake it: I think, he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip, And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me. He was not taken well; he had not din'd": The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the morning, are unapt To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd These pipes and these conveyances of our blood With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch
Till he be dieted to my request,
BRU. You know the very road into his kindness, And cannot lose your way.
Good faith, I'll prove him,
6 He was not taken well; he had not din'd; &c.] This observation is not only from nature, and finely expressed, but admirably befits the mouth of one, who in the beginning of the play had told us, that he loved convivial doings. WARburton.
Mr. Pope seems to have borrowed this idea. See Epist. I. ver. 127:
'Perhaps was sick, in love, or had not din'd." STEEVENS. 7 Our PRIEST-LIKE FASTS:] I am afraid that when Shakspeare introduced this comparison, the religious abstinence of modern, not ancient Rome, was in his thoughts. STEEVENS.
Priests are forbid, by the discipline of the church of Rome, to break their fast before the celebration of mass, which must take place after sun-rise, and before mid-day.