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nobles and claimed a share in the management of the state which they had helped to create. At last their complaints were rendered so urgent and ominous by the pinch of famine that the nobles had to a certain extent to give way: officers, named tribunes, were created to watch over the interests of the common people, whose voice was also declared to be necessary before the consuls, the highest officers of state, could be duly elected. Of these changes Coriolanus is the bitter opponent; in him is concentrated the arrogant tradition of the aristrocracy. He hates the common people and ridicules their tribunes.

Shakspeare gives him full scope. Coriolanus calls the common people to their faces curs and geese, scabs and measles of the state ; they are “the mutable, rankscented many"; their tribunes are tritons among the minnows; when they are perishing of hunger, he dissents from the vote of the senate to give them free corn:

They say there's grain enough. Would the nobility lay aside their ruth And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry With thousands of these quartered slaves, as high As I could pick my lance.

He argues with intense conviction that there cannot be two masters in the state :

My soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take
The one by the other.

The people, being by far the more numerous of the parties in the state, will have the bigger poll; and, if wisdom cannot act without waiting on the yea or nay of ignorance, it must omit real necessities, and nothing will be done to purpose.

But Shakspeare introduces a far keener reasoner on the same side in Menenius Agrippa. Menenius is as thorough an aristocrat as Coriolanus, but has far more coolness and shrewdness. Unlike Coriolanus, he has no dislike to mingle with common men, though he has quite as little faith in their virtues. He does not, like Coriolanus, denounce the tribunes, but unmercifully chaffs them-taking the coats of office, so to speak, off their backs and showing what mechanic souls are hidden within them. Here is Shakspeare's rendering of his famous fable of the Stomach and the Members : Menenius is surrounded by an angry mob of mutinous citizens, whom he is endeavouring to quiet; and he says:

I shall tell you

A pretty tale; it may be you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To state it a little more.

A citizen interrupts: “Well, I'll hear it, sir; yet you
must not think to fob-off our disgrace with a tale;
but, an't please you, deliver”.
Menenius resumes :

There was a time when all the body's members
Rebelled against the belly: thus accused it:
That only like a gulf it did remain
I' the midst of the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where the other instru-

Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common

Of the whole body. The belly answered“Well, sir," interrupts a too eager listener, “what answer made the belly?”

Menenius resumes :

Sir, I shall tell you.

With a kind of smile,
Which never came from the lungs, but even thus-
For, look you, I may make the belly smile
As well as speak-it tauntingly replied
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators for that

They are not such as you.
Here a too impatient citizen interrupts:

Your belly's answer? What!
The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor beart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabric, if that they

Should by the cormorant belly be restrained,
Who is the sink of the body

they did complain What could the belly answer? Menenius replies:

I will tell you, If you'll bestow a small-of what you've littlePatience a while, you'll hear the belly's answer.

Ye're long about it," interjects a listener ; but Menenius proceeds :

Note me this, good friend, Your most grave belly was deliberate, Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered, True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he, That I receive the general food at first, Which you do live upon; and fit it is, Because I am the storehouse and the shop Of the whole body; but, if you do remember, I send it through the rivers of your blood, Even to the court, the heart-to the seat o' the brain And, through the cranks and offices of man,

The strongest nerves and small inferior veins From me receive that natural competency Whereby they live: and, though that all at once,

You, my good friends—this says the belly, mark me, "Ay, sir,” interrupts an interested auditor. “well, well?”

Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,

And leave me but the bran. What say you to't? " It was,” responds the citizen "an answer, how apply

you this "?

Menenius proceeds:

The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members; for, examine
Their counsels and their cares; digest things rightly
Touching the weal of the common, you shall find,
No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
And no way from yourselves. What do you think,

You, the great toe of this assembly(pointing to a loquacious citizen, who indignantly retorts :)

“I the great toe? why the great toe"? The orator replies:

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