« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Alarum. A Retreat is founded. Flourish. Enter at one fide, COMINIUS, and Romans; at the other fide, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf, and other Romans.
COM. If I fhould tell thee o'er this thy day's
Thou'lt not believe thy deeds: but I'll report it,
4 If I fhould tell thee &c.] So, in the cld tranflation of Plutarch: "There the conful Cominius going up to his chayer of ftate, in the prefence of the whole armie, gaue thankes to the goddes for fo great, glorious, and profperous a vi&orie: then he spake to Martius, whofe valliantnes he commended beyond the moone, both for that he himselfe fawe him doe with his eyes, as also for that Martius had reported vnto bim. So in the ende he willed Martius, he should choose out of all the horses they had taken of their enemies, and of all the goodes they had wonne (whereof there was great flore) tenne of euery forte which he liked beft, before any diftribution should be made to other. Befides this great honorable offer he had made him, he gaue him in teftimonie that he had wonue that daye the price of prowes above all other, a goodly horfe with a capparison, and all furniture to him: which the whole armie beholding, dyd marvelously praife and commend. But Martius ftepping forth, told the conful, he moft thanckefully accepted the gifte of his horfe, and was a glad man befides, that his feruice had deferued his generalls commendation: and as for his other offer, which was rather a mercenary reward, than an honourable recompence, he would none of it, but was contented to baue his equall parte with other fouldiers." STEEVENS.
And, gladly quak'd, hear more; where the dull
That, with the fufty plebeians, hate thine honours,
Yet cam'ft thou to a morfel of this feast,
Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power, from the
Here is the fteed, we the caparifon : 6
Hadft thou beheld
Pray now, no more: my mother,
Who has a charter to extol' her blood,
When he does praife me, grieves me. I have done,
5 And, gladly quak'd,] i. e. thrown into grateful trepidation.
"We'll quake them at that bar
"Where all fouls wait for fentence." STEEVENS. Here is the feed, we the caparifon:
This is an odd encomium,
The meaning is, this man performed the ection, and we only filled up the show. JOHNSON,
a charter to extol-] A privilege to praife her own fon. JOHNSON. that's for my country:] The latter word is ufed here, as in other places, as a trifyllable. See Vol. IV. p. 190, n. 7.
9 He, that hath but effected his good will, Hath overta'en mine a&.] That is, has done as much as I have done, inasmuch as my ardour to ferve the flate is fuch that I have never been able to effe& all that I wish'd.
You fhall not be
COM. The grave of your deferving; Rome must know The value of her own: 'twere a concealment Worfe than a theft, no less than a traducement, To hide your doings; and to filence that, Which, to the fpire and top of praises-vouch'd, Would feem but modeft: Therefore, I befeech you, (In fign of what you are, not to reward
What you have done, 9) before our army hear me. MAR. I have fome wounds upon me, and they
To hear them felves remember'd.
Should they not, Well might they fefter 'gainst ingratitude,
And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses, (Whereof we have ta'en good, and good store,) of
The treasure, in this field achiev'd, and city,
Your only choice.
I thank you, general;
[A long flourish. They all cry, Marcius! Marcius! caft up their caps and lances; COMINIUS and LARTIUS, and bare.
2 Should they not,] That is, not be remembered. JOHNSON.
MAR. May these fame inftruments, which
Never found more! When drums and trumpets
When drums and trumpets fhall &c.] In the old copy:
I' the field, prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
When feel grows foft as the parafite's filk,
Let him be made an overture for the wars:-
All here is miferably corrupt and disjointed. We should read the whole thus:
when drums and trumpets fhall
1' th' field prove flatterers, let camps, as cities,
An overture for the wars!
The thought is this, If one thing changes its ufual nature to a thing moft oppofite, there is no reafon but that all the reft which depend on it fhould do fo too. [If drums and trumpets prove flatterers, let the camp bear the falfe face of the city.]And if another changes its ufual nature, that its oppofite fhould do fo too. [When feel foftens to the condition of the parafite's filk, the peaceful hymns of devotion fhould be employed to excite to the charge. Now, in the firft inftance, the thought, in the common reading, was entirely loft by putting in courts for camps; and the latter miferably involved in nonfenfe, by blundering hymns into him. WARBURTON.
The first part of the paffage has been altered, in my opinion, unneceffarily by Dr. Warburton; and the latter not fo happily, I think, as he often conje&ures. In the latter part, which only I mean to confider, inftead of, him, (an evident corruption) he subfitutes hymns; which perhaps may palliate, but certainly has not cured, the wounds of the fentence. I would propofe an alteration of two words:
when feel grows
"Soft as the parafite's filk, let this [i. e. Gilk] be made
The fenfe will then be apt and complete. When feel grows foft as Gilk, let armour be made of filk inflead of Reel. TYRWHITT.
It should be remembered, that the perfonal him, is not unfrequently ufed by our author, and other writers of his age, instead of
I' the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
An overture for the wars! No more, I fay;
Here's many elfe have done,-you fhout me forth In acclamations hyperbolical;
As if I lov'd my little fhould be dieted
In praises fauc'd with lies.
COM. Too modeft are you; More cruel to your good report, than grateful To us that give you truly: by your patience, If 'gainst yourself you be incens'd, we'll put you (Like one that means his proper harm,) in mana
it, the neuter; and that overture, in its mufical fenfe, is not fo ancient as the age of Shakspeare. What Martial has said of Mutius Scævola, may however be applied to Dr. Warburton's propofed emendation: :--
Si non erraffet, fecerat ille minus. STEEVENS.
Bullokar in his English Expofitor, 8vo. 1616, interprets the word Overture thus: "An overturning; a fudden change." The latter fenfe fuits the prefent paffage fufficiently well, underftanding the word him to mean it, as Mr. Steevens has very properly explained it. When fteel grows foft as filk, let filk be fuddenly converted to the ufe of war.
We have many expreffions equally licentious in these plays. By feel Marcius means a coat of mail. So, in King Henry VI. P. III: "Shall we go throw away our coats of feel,
"And wrap our bodies in black mouruing gowns?" Shakspeare has introduced a fimilar image in Romeo and Juliet: Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,
"And in my temper foften'd valour's feel."
Overture, i have obferved unce this note was written, was used by the writers of Shakspeare's time in the fenfe of prelude or preparation. It is fo used by Sir John Davies and Philemon Holland.