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Rome. A Street.

Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens, with flaves, clubs, and other weapons.

1. CIT. Before we proceed any further, hear me


CIT. Speak, fpeak.

[feveral Jpeaking at once. 1. CIT. You are all refolv'd rather to die, than to famish?

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1. CIT. Firft, you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people..

CIT. We know't, we know't.

1. CIT. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict?

CIT. No more talking on't; let it be done: away,


2. CIT. One word, good citizens.

1. CIT. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good: What authority furfeits on,would

21. Cit. We axe accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good:]


relieve us; If they would yield us but the fuperfluity, while it were wholefome, we might guefs, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are top dear: the leannefs that afflicts us, the object of our mifery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our fufferance is a gain to them. -Let us revenge this with our pikes, 4 ere we become rakes for the gods know, I fpeak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

Good is here used in the mercantile fenfe. So, Touchstone in Eastward

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"Antonio's a good man." MALONE.


— but they think, we are too dear:] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth. JOHNSON.

4 Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes:] It was Shakspeare's design to make this fellow quibble all the way. But time, who has done greater things, has bere ftifled a miferable joke; which was then the fame as if it had been now wrote, Let us now revenge this with forks, ere we become rakes: for pikes then fignified the fame as forks do now. So Jewel in his own tranflation of his Apology, turns Chriftianos ad furcas condemnare, to-To condemn Chriftians to the pikes. But the Oxford editor, without knowing any thing of this, has with great fagacity found out the joke, and reads on his own authority, pitch-forks. WARBURTON.

It is plain that, in our author's time, we had the proverb, as lean as a rake. Of this proverb the original is obfcure. Rake now figaifies a diffolute man, a man worn out with difeafe and debauchery. But the fignification is, I think, much more modern than the proverb. Rakel, in I flandick, is faid to mean a cur-dog, and this was probably the firft use among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dog too worthlefs to be fed.


It may be fo: and yet I believe the proverb, as lean as a rake, owes its origin fimply to the thin taper form of the inftrument made ufe of by hay-makers. Chaucer has this fimile in his defcription of the clerk's horfe in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 288':

As lene was his hors as is a rake."

2. CIT. Would you proceed efpecially against Caius Marcius?

CIT. Against him firft; 5 he's a very dog to the commonalty.

2. CIT. Confider you what services he has done for his country?'

1. CIT. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.

2. CIT. Nay, but fpeak not maliciously.

1. CIT. I fay unto you, what he hath done famoufly, he did it to that end: though foft-confcienc'd men can be content to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.

2. CIT. What he cannot help in his nature, you' account a vice in him: You must in no way fay, he is covetous.

1. CIT. If I must not, I need not be barren of

Spenfer introduces it in the second book of his Faery Queen, Canto II:

"His body lean and meagre as a rake.”

As thin as a whipping-poft, is another proverb of the fame kind. Stanyhurft, in bis tranflation of the third book of Virgil, 1582, defcribing Achæmenides, fays:

"A meigre leane rake," &c.

This paffage, however, feems to countenance Dr. Johnson's fuppofition: as alfo docs the following from Churchyard's Tragicall Difcourfe of the hapleffe man's life, 1593:

"And though as leane as rake in every rib. '


Cit. Against him firft; &c.] This speech is in the old play, as here, given to a body of the citizens fpeaking at once. I believe, it ought to be affigned to the firft citizen. MALONE.

to the altitude -] So, in King Henry VIII:


"He's traitor to the height.


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accufations; he hath faults, with furplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within. ] What fhouts are these? The other fide o'the city is rifen: Why ftay we prating here? to the Capitol.

CIT. Come, come.

1. CIT. Soft; who comes here?


2. CIT. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.

1. CIT. He's one honeft enough; 'Would, all the reft were fo!

MEN. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you

With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray


1. CIT. Our business' is not unknown to the fenate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll fhow 'em in deeds. They fay, poor fuitors have strong breaths; they fhall know, we have ftrong arms too.

MEN. Why, mafiers, my good friends, mine honeft neighbours,

Will you undo yourselves?

1. CIT. We cannot, fir, we are undone already. MEN. I tell you, friends, moft charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your fuffering in this dearth, you may as well

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7 Our business &c.] This and all the fubfequent plebeian fpeeches in this fcene are given in the old copy to the fecond citizen. But the dialogue at the opening of the play fhews that it must have been a miflake, and that they ought to be attributed to the first citizen. The fecond is rather friendly to Coriolanus.


Strike at the heaven with your flaves, as lift them
Against the Roman ftate; whofe courfe will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more ftrong link afunder, than can ever
Appear in your impediment: For the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it; and
Your knees to them, not arms, muft help. Alack,
You are tranfported by calamity


Thither where more attends you; and you flander The helms o'the ftate, who care for you like fathers, When you cùrfe them as enemies.

1. CIT. Care for us! True, indeed!- They ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses cramm'd with grain; make edicts for ufury, to fupport ufurers: repeal daily any wholesome act cftablished againft the rich; and provide more piercing ftatutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us. MEN. Either you must

Confefs yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I fhall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, fince it ferves my purpofe, I will venture
To fcale 't a little more. 9


tracking ten thousand curbs

Of more trong link afunder, than can ever

Appear in your impediment: ] So, in Othello:

I have made my way through more impediments "Than twenty times your ftop." MALONE.

9 —— I will venture

To fcale 't a little more.] To Scale is to disperse. The word is fill used in the North. The fenfe of the old heading is, Though fome of you have heard the ftory, I will fpread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the reft.

A measure of wine fpilt, is called. "a fcal'd pottle of wine" in Decker's comedy of The Honeft Whore, 1604. So, in The

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