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Set me against Aufidius, and his Antiates: And that you not delay the prefent; but, Filling the air with swords advanc'd, and darts, We prove this very hour.
Though I could' wifh You were conducted to a gentle bath,
And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
That most are willing:
Thofe are they
If any fuch be here,
(As it were fin to doubt) that love this painting Wherein you see me fmear'd; if any fear
Leffer his perfon than an ill report;
If any think, brave death outweighs bad life,
And follow Marcius.
[They all fhout, and wave their fwords; take him up in their arms, and caft up their caps.
3 And that you not delay the prefent;] Delay, for let flip.
-fwords advanc'd,] That is, fwords lifted high. JOHNSON. if any fear Leffer his perfon than an ill report;] The old copy has leffen. If the prefent reading, which was introduced by Mr. Steevens, be right, his perfon muft mean his perfonal danger. If any one one lefs fears perfonal danger than an ill name, &c. If the fears of any man are lefs for his perfon, than they are from an apprehenfion of being efteemed a coward, &c. We have nearly the fame fen-timent in Troilus and Creda:
"If there be one among the fair'ft of Greece,
Again, in King Henry VI. P. III:
"But thou prefer'ft thy life before thine honour. " In this play we have already had leffer used for less. MALONE.
O me, alone! Make you a fword of me?
5 Though thanks to all, I muft fele: the reft Shall bear &c.] The old copy I must fele& from all. I have followed Sir Thomas Hanmer in the omiffion of words apparently needlefs and redundant. STEEVENS.
Pleafe you to march;
And four Jhall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are beft inclin'd.] I cannot but fufped this paffage of corruption. Why should they march, that four might fele& those that were beft inclin'd? How would their inclinations be known? Who were the four that should feled them? Perhaps, we may read:
Pleafe you to march;
And fear fhall quickly draw out of my command,
It is easy to conceive that, by a little negligence, fear might be changed to four, and leaft to beft. Let us march, and that fear which incites defertion will free my army from cowards.
Mr. Heath thinks the poet wrote:
"And So I fhall quickly draw out, Some fenfe, however, may be extorted from the ancient reading. Coriolanus may mean, that as all the foldiers have offered to attend him on this expedition, and he wants only a part of them, he will fubmit the feledion to four indifferent perfons, that he himself may escape the charge of partiality. If this be the drift of Shakfpeare, he has expreffed it with uncommon obfcurity. The old tranflation of Plutarch only fays, Wherefore, with thofe that willingly offered themfelves to followe him, he went out of the cittie. STEEVENS.
Coriolanus means only to fay, that he would appoint four perfons, to feled for his particular command or party, thofe who were beft inclined; aud in order to save time, he proposes to have this choice
March on, my fellows:
Make good this oftentation, and you fhall
The Gates of Corioli.
TITUS LARTIUS, having fet a guard upon Corioli, going with a drum and trumpet toward Cominius and Caius Marcius, enters with a lieutenant, a party of foldiers, and a Scout.
LART. So, let the ports' be guarded: keep your duties,
As I have fet them down. If I do fend, defpatch Thofe centuries to our aid; the reft will ferve For a fhort holding: If we lose the field,
We cannot keep the town.
Fear not our care, fir.
LART. Hence, and fhut your gates upon us.Our guider, come; to the Roman camp condu&t us. [Exeunt.
made, while the army is marching forward. They all march towards the enemy, and on the way he chooses those who are to go on that particular fervice.
the ports] i. e. the gates. So, in Timon of Athens: "Defcend, and open your uncharged ports." STEEVENS.
Thofe centuries] i. e. companies confifting each of a hun. dred men. Our author fometimes ufes this word to exprefs fimply --a hundred; as in Cymbeline:
"And on it faid a century of prayers." STEEVENS.
"A field of battle between the Roman and Volcian Camps.
Alarum. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS.
MAR. I'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee
Worfe than a promise-breaker.
We hate alike;'
Not Africk owns a ferpent, I abhor
More than thy fame and envy: Fix thy foot.
Halloo me like a hare.
If I fly, Marcius,
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,9
And made what work I pleas'd: 'Tis not my blood, Wherein thou feeft me mafk'd; for thy revenge, Wrench up thy power to the highest.
7 — thy fame and envy; ] Envy here as in many other places, means, malice. See Vol. XVI. p. 61, n. 9. MALONE.
The phrase-death and honour, being allowed, in our author's language, to fignify no more than honourable death, so fame and envy, may only mean-detefted or odious fame. The verb-to envy, in ancient language, fignifies to hate. Or the conftru&ion may be -Not Africk owns a ferpent I more abhor and envy, than thy fame.
And the gods doom" him after ! ] So, in Macbeth:
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,] omitted, the metre will become regular.
If the name of Tullus be
Wert thou the Hector,
That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,'
[They fight, and certain Volces come to the aid of Aufidius.
Officious, and not valiant--you have sham'd me In your condemned feconds. 3
[Exeunt fighting, driven in by Marcius.
Wert thou the Hedor,
That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,] The Romans boafted themselves defcended from the Trojans; how then was Hedor the whip of their progeny? It muft mean the whip with which the Trojans scourged the Greeks, which cannot be but by a very unusual conftruction, or the author must have forgotten the original of the Romans; unless whip has fome meaning which includes advantage or fuperiority, as we say, he has the whip-band, for he has the advantage. JOHNSON.
Dr. Johnfon confiders this as a very unusual conftru&ion, but it appears to me only such as every page of these plays furnishes; and the foregoing interpretation is in my opinion undoubtedly the true one. An anonymous correfpondent juftly obferves, that the words mean, the whip that your bragg'd progeny was poffefs'd of."
Whip might anciently be used, as crack is now, to denote any thing peculiarly boasted of; as—the crack house in the county,the crack boy of a school, &c. Modern phrafeology, perhaps, has only paffed from the whip, to the crack of it. STEEVENS.
In your condemned seconds.] For condemned, we may read contemned. You have, to my shame, fent me help which I defpife.
Why may we not as well be contented with the old reading, and explain it, You have, tỏ my fhame, fent me help, which I must con. demn as intrufive, instead of applauding it as neceffary? Mr. M. Mafon proposes to read fecond inftead of feconds; but the latter is right. So King Lear: “ No feconds? all myfelf?" STEEvens.
We have had the fame phrafe in the fourth fcene of this play: "Now prove good feconds!" MALONE.