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Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.21

Men.

This is strange.

Mar. Go, get you home, you fragments! 22

Enter a Messenger, hastily.

Mess. Where's Caius Marcius?

Mar.

Here: what's the matter?

Mess. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

Mar. I'm glad on't;

Our musty superfluity.

then we shall ha' means to vent
See, our best elders!

Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators; JUNIUS BRUTUS and SICINIUS VELUTUS.

1 Sen. Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us; The Volsces are in arms.

Mar.

They have a leader,

Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.

I sin in envying his nobility;

And, were I any thing but what I am,

I'd wish me only he.

Com.

You've fought together.

Mar. Were half to half the world by th' ears, and he

Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make

Only my wars with him: he is a lion

That I am proud to hunt.

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21 That is, matter for insurrection to lay hold of, or work upon. So in King Henry V., iii. 1: "And sheath'd their swords for lack of argument." 22 Fragments is odds and ends, or, as we say, tag-rag.

Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?

Tit.

No, Caius Marcius;

I'll lean upon one crutch, and fight with t'other,

Ere stay behind this business.

Men.

O, true-bred!

1 Sen. Your company to th' Capitol; where, I know, Our greatest friends attend us.

Tit. [To COM.]

Lead you on.

[To MAR.] Follow Cominius: we must follow you ; Right worthy you priority.23

Com.

Noble Marcius!

1 Sen. [To the Citizens.] Hence to your homes; be

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The Volsces have much corn: take these rats thither

To gnaw their garners. - Worshipful mutineers,

Your valour puts well forth; pray, follow.

[Exeunt all but BRUTUS and SICINIUS.

The

Citizens steal away.

Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
Bru. He has no equal.

Sic. When we were chosen tribunes for the people, -
Bru. Mark'd you his lip and eyes?

Sic.

Nay, but his taunts.

Bru. Being moved, he will not spare to gird 24 the gods.

Sic. Be-mock the modest Moon.

Bru. The present war devour him! He is grown

Too proud to be so valiant.25

23 You being right worthy of priority or precedence.

24 A gird is a cut, a sarcasm, or stroke of satire.

25 The first part of this speech is imprecative: May the present war devour him!" that is, make an end of him. -The latter part is an instance of the infinitive used gerundively: "He is grown too proud of being so

valiant."

Sic.

Tickled with good success,

Such a nature,

26 disdains the shadow

Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Under Cominius.

Bru.

Fame, at the which he aims, -
In whom already he's well graced, — cannot
Better be held, nor more attain'd, than by
A place below the first for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To th' utmost of a man; and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius, O, if he
Had borne the business!

Sic.

Besides, if things go well,

Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits 27 rob Cominius.

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Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,

Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though, indeed,

In aught he merit not.

Sic.

Let's hence, and hear

How the dispatch is made; and in what fashion,
More than his singularity, 28 he goes

Upon this present action.

Bru.

Let's along.

[Exeunt.

26 Success means, literally, that which follows something else. Hence was formerly just as proper to say bad success as good success. Sequel ani sequent are now used in much the same way.

27 Demerits and merits had the same meaning. So in Cavendish's L of Wolsey: "I have not promoted you to condign preferments according to your demerits." See vol. xvii. page 171, note 8.

28 That is, in what style or character other than his usual assumption, of putting on airs, of superiority. Spoken sarcastically.

SCENE II. Corioli. The Senate-House.

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Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS and certain Senators.

1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,

That they of Rome are enter'd in1 our counsels,
And know how we proceed.

Auf.

Is it not yours?

What ever hath been thought on in this State,
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention ?2 'Tis not four days gone
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think
I have the letter here; yes, here it is:

[Reads.] They've press'd3 a power, but it is not known
Whether for east or west: the dearth is great;
The people mutinous; and it is rumour'd,
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,

Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither 'tis bent; most likely 'tis for you:
Consider of it.

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We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready

To answer us.

Auf.

Nor did you think it folly

1 In for into; the two being often used indiscriminately.

2 That is, underhand intelligence, or knowledge got by circumvention. 3 The use of press'd in this place is well explained by a passage in North's Plutarch: "The common people, being set on a broile and bravery with these words, would not appeare when the Consuls called their names by a bill, to presse them for the warres. Martius then, who was now growne to great credit, and a stout man besides, rose up and openly spake against these flattering Tribunes: but to the warres the people by no means would be brought or constrained."

To keep your great pretences 4 veil'd till when
They needs must show themselves; which in the hatching,

It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery
We shall be shorten'd in our aim; which was,

To take-in many towns, ere, almost, Rome
Should know we were afoot.

2 Sen.

Noble Aufidius,

Take your commission; hie you to your bands:
Let us alone to guard Corioli.

If they set down before's, for their remove

Bring up your army; but, I think, you'll find
They've not prepar'd for us.

Auf.
O, doubt not that;
I speak from certainties. Nay, more;
Some parcels of their power are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your Honours.
If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,
'Tis sworn between us, we shall ever strike
Till one can do no more.7

All.

The gods assist you! Auf. And keep your Honours safe!

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4 Pretences is intentions or purposes. See vol. xvii. page 53, note 51. 5 To take-in was used for to subdue, to conquer. See page 99, note 16. If the Romans besiege us, bring up your army to remove them."

6"

7 Keep on striking till one hath struck his last.

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