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That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is,
To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
Him vile, that was your garland. What 's the matter,
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another?What 's their seeking?6 Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say, The city is well stor❜d.
Hang 'em! They say?
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
What 's done i' the Capitol: who 's like to rise,
4 That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you,
The other makes you proud.] Coriolanus does not use these two sentences consequentially, but first reproaches them with unsteadiness, then with their other occasional vices. Johnson. Your virtue is,
To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it.] i. e. Your virtue is to speak well of him whom his own offences have subjected to justice; and to rail at those laws by which he whom you praise was punished. Steevens.
6 What's their seeking?] Seeking is here used substantively, -The answer is, "There seeking, or suit (to use the language of the time) is for corn." Malone.
7 who's like to rise,
Who thrives, and who declines:] The words-who thrives, which destroy the metre, appear to be an evident and tasteless interpolation. They are omitted by Sir T. Hanmer. Steevens.
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
Below their cobbled shoes. They say, there's grain enough?
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
8 their ruth,] i. e. their pity, compassion. Fairfax and Spenser often use the word. Hence the adjective-ruthless, which is still current. Steevens.
I'd make a quarry
With_thousands —] Why a quarry? I suppose, not because he would pile them square, but because he would give them for carrion to the birds of prey. Johnson.
So, in The Miracles of Moses, by Drayton:
"And like a quarry cast them on the land."
See Vol. VII, p. 204, n. 8. Steevens.
The word quarry occurs in Macbeth, where Ross says to Macduff:
to state the manner,
"Were on the quarry of these murder'd deer
"To add the death of you."
In a note on this last passage, Steevens asserts, that quarry means game pursued or killed, and supports that opinion by a passage in Massinger's Guardian: and from thence I suppose the word was used to express a heap of slaughtered persons.
In the concluding scene of Hamlet, where Fortinbras sees so many lying dead, he says:
"This quarry cries, on havock!"
and in the last scene of A Wife for a Month, Valerio, in describing his own fictitious battle with the Turks, says:
"I saw the child of honour, for he was young,
Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, says that "a quarry among hunters signifieth the reward given to hounds after they have hunted, or the venison which is taken by hunting." This sufficiently explains the word of Coriolanus. Malone.
1pick my lance.] And so the word [pitch] is still pronounced in Staffordshire, where they say-picke me such a thing, that is, pitch or throw any thing that the demander wants. Tollet.
Thus, in Froissart's Chronicle, cap. C, lxiii, fo. lxxxii, b: "—and as he stouped downe to take up his swerde, the Frenche squyer dyd pycke his swerde at hym, and by hap strake hym through bothe the thyes." Steevens.
Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded, For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
They vented their complainings; which being answer'd, And a petition granted them, a strange one, (To break the heart of generosity,2
And make bold power look pale,) they threw their caps As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon,3 Shouting their emulation.4
What is granted them? Mar. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms, Of their own choice: One 's Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not-'Sdeath!
So, in An Account of auntient Customes and Games, &c. MSS. Harl. 2057, fol. 10, b:
"To wrestle, play at strole-ball, [stool-ball] or to runne, "To picke the barre, or to shoot off a gun."
The word is again used in King Henry VIII, with only a slight variation in the spelling: "I'll peck you o'er the pales else." See Vol. XI, p. 352, n. 3. Malone.
the heart of generosity.] To give the final blow to the nobles. Generosity is high birth. Johnson.
So, in Measure for Measure:
"The generous and gravest citizens
3 hang them on the horns o' the moon,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
"Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' the moon." Steevens. 4. Shouting their emulation.] Each of them striving to shout louder than the rest. Malone.
Emulation, in the present instance, I believe, signifies faction. Shouting their emulation, may mean, expressing the triumph of their faction by shouts.
Emulation, in our author, is sometimes used in an unfavourable sense, and not to imply an honest contest for superior excellence. Thus, in King Henry VI, P. I:
cc the trust of England's honour
"Keep off aloof with worthless emulation."
Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
"While emulation in the army crept."
1. e. faction. Steevens.
The rabble should have first unroof'd the city,5
Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes
This is strange.
Mar. Go, get you home, you fragments!
Enter a Messenger.
Here: What 's the matter?
Mess. Where 's Caius Marcius?
Mess. The news is, sir, the Volces are in arms.
Mar. I am glad on 't; then we shall have means to
Our musty superfluity:-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 Volces are in arms.7
I sin in envying his nobility:
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.
You have fought together.
Mar. Were half to half the world by the 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.
5 unroof'd the city,] Old copy-unroost. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
• For insurrection's arguing.] For insurgents to debate upon.
-'Tis true, that you have lately told us;
The Volces are in arms.] Coriolanus had been just told himself that the Volces were in arms. The meaning is, The intelligence which you gave us some little time ago of the designs of the Volces is now verified; they are in arms. Johnson.
8 constant.] i. e. immoveable in my resolution. So, in Julius Cæsar:
"But I am constant as the northern star." Steevens.
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face:
I'll lean upon one crutch, and
No, Caius Marcius; fight with the other,
O, true bred!
1 Sen. Your company to the Capitol; where, I know, Our greatest friends attend us.
Follow, Cominius; we must follow you;
Right worthy you priority.
Lead you on:
1 Sen. Hence! To your homes, be gone. [To the Citizens. Mar. Nay, let them follow: The Volces have much corn; take these rats thither, To gnaw their garners:-Worshipful mutineers, Your valour puts well forth:2 pray, follow.
[Exeunt Senators, COM. MAR. TIT. and MENEN. 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 peos
Nay, but his taunts. Bru. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird3 the gods.
Right worthy you priority.] You being right worthy your pre
Mr. M. Mason would read-your priority. Steevens.
1 Noble Lartius!] Old copy-Martius. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. I am not sure that the emendation is necessary. Perhaps Lartius in the latter part of the preceding speech ad
dresses Marcius. Malone.
2 Your valour puts well forth:] That is, You have in this mutiny shown fair blossoms of valour. Johnson.
So, in King Henry VIII:
To-day he puts forth
"The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms," &c.
to gird-] To sneer, to gibe. So Falstaff uses the noun, when he says, every man has a gird at me. Johnson. Again, in The Taming of the Shrew:
"I thank thee for that gird, good Tranio." Many instances of the use of this word, might be added.