« PreviousContinue »
Line 813. Should they not,] That is, not be remembered.
-862. To undercrest your good addition,] A phrase from heraldry, signifying, that he would endeavour to support his good opinion of him. WARBURTON. . Line 863. To the fairness of my power.] When two engage on equal terms, we say it is fair; fairness may therefore be equality; in proportion equal to my power. JOHNSON. The best-] The chief men of Corioli. JOHNSON. —with whom we may articulate,] i. e. enter into STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE X.
Line 896. Being a Volce, &c.] It may be just observed, that Shakspeare calls the Volci, Volces, which the modern editors have changed to the modern termination (Volcian). I mention it here, because here the change has spoiled the measure.
Being a Volce, be that I am. Condition! JOHNSON. Line 913. for him
Shall fly out of itself:] To mischief him, my valour should deviate from its own native generosity. JOHNSON. Line 917. Embarquements all of fury, &c.] Embarquements, Cotgrave says, meant not only an embarkation, but an embargoing. The rotten privilege and custom, mentioned, seems to favour this explanation. STEEVENS.
Line 920. At home, upon my brother's guard,] In my own house, with my brother posted to protect him. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 7. Pray you, &c.] When the tribune, in reply to Menenius's remark, on the people's hate of Coriolanus, had observed that even beasts know their friends, Menenius asks, whom does the wolf love? implying that there are beasts which love nobody, and that among those beasts are the people. JOHNSON.
Line 40. towards the napes of your necks,] With allusion to the fable, which says, that every man has a bag hanging before him, in which he puts his neighbour's faults, and another behind him, in which he stows his own,
Line 52. down than an early riser, Line 66.
-one that converses more, &c.] Rather a late lier JOHNSON. -bisson conspectuities,] Bisson, blind, in the old copies, is beesome, restored by Mr. Theobald. JOHNSON. Line 71. —for poor knaves' caps and legs:] That is, for their obeisance showed by bowing to you. MALONE. Line 72. -you wear out a good, &c.] It appears from this whole speech that Shakspeare mistook the office of præfectus urbis for the tribune's office. WARBURTON,
Line 78. set up the bloody flag against all patience;] That is, declare war against patience. There is not wit enough in this satire to recompense its grossness. JOHNSON. Line 99. herdsmen of plebeians.] As kings are called ποίμενες λάων. JOHNSON.
Line 109. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee:] Dr. Warburton reads, take my cup.
Shakspeare so often mentions throwing up caps in this play, that Menenius may be well enough supposed to throw up his cap in thanks to Jupiter. JOHNSON. Line 121.
empiricutick,] From empiric, a quack.
168. Which being advanc'd, declines ;] Volumnia, in her boasting strain, says, that her son to kill his enemy, has nothing to do but to lift his hand up and let it fall. JOHNSON.
Line 188. My gracious silence, hail!] By my gracious silence, I believe, the poet meant," thou whose silent tears are more eloquent and grateful to me; than the clamorous applause of the rest." STEEVENS.
Line 232. Into a rapture-] Rapture, a common term at that time used for a fit, simply. So, to be rap'd, signified, to be in a fit. WARBURTON.
Line 233. the kitchen malkin-] A malkin, or maulkin, is a sort of mop, made of clouts, used for the sweeping of ovens. Line 234. Her richest lockram, &c.] Lockram was some kind of linen.
Thus in the Spanish Curate of Beaumont and Fletcher, Diego
"I give per annum two hundred ells of 'ockram,
"That there be no strait dealings in their linnens." STEEV.
her reechy neck,] Reechy means tanned. 239. -seld-shown flamens- i. e. priests who seldom exhibit themselves to public view. Steevens.
Line 242. Commit the war of white and damask, in
Their nicely gawded cheeks,] Has the commentator never heard of roses contending with lilies for the empire of a lady's cheek? The opposition of colours, though not the commixture, may be called a war.
Dr. Warburton absurdly reads for war, ware.
Line 245. As if that whatsoever god,] That is, as if that god who leads him, whatsoever god he be. JOHNSON.
-their provand-] i. e. their provender.
-carry with us ears and eyes, &c.] That is, let us observe what passes, but keep our hearts fixed on our design of crushing Coriolanus. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 332. he wav'd indifferently &c.] That is, he would wave indifferently. JOHNSON. Line 336.
-their opposite.] i. e. their adversary.
·371. Your loving motion toward the common body,] Your kind interposition with the common people. JOHNSON. That's off, that's off;] That is, that is nothing to
Line 381. the purpose. JOHNSON. Line 399. You soothed not, therefore hurt not:] You did not flatter me, and therefore did not offend me. MALONE.
Line 408. how can he flatter,] The reasoning of Menenius is this: how can he be expected to practise flattery to others, who abhors it so much, that he cannot hear it even when offered to himself. JOHNSON.
Line 420. When Tarquin made a head for Rome,] When Tarquin, who had been expelled, raised a power to recover Rome.
Line 428. When he might act the woman in the scene,] It has been more than once mentioned, that the parts of women were, in Shakspeare's time, represented by the most smooth-faced young men to be found among the players.. STEEVENS.
Line 433. He lurch'd all swords o' the garland.] i. e. he gained from all other warriors the wreath of victory with ease, and incontestible superiority. MALONE. Line 442.
Line 444. The mortal gatescene of death.
Was tim'd with dying cries:] The cries of the slaughter'd regularly followed his motions, as music and a dancer accompany each other. JOHNSON. -] The gate that was made the JOHNSON. Line 462. Than misery itself would give;] Misery for avarice; because a Miser signifies an Avaricious. WARBURTON.
Line 473. It then remains,
That you do speak to the people.] Coriolanus was banished U. C. 262. But till the time of Manlius Torquatus, U. C. 393, the senate chose both the consuls: and then the people, assisted by the seditious temper of the tribunes, got the choice of one. But if he makes Rome a democracy, which at this time was a perfect aristocracy, he sets the balance even in his Timon, and turns Athens, which was a perfect democracy, into an aristocracy. But it would be unjust to attribute this entirely to his ignorance; it sometimes proceeded from the too powerful blaze of his imagination, which when once lighted up made all acquired knowledge fade and disappear before it. For sometimes again we find him, when occasion serves, not only writing up to the truth of history, but fitting his sentiments to the nicest manners of his peculiar subject, as well to the dignity of his characters, or the dictates of nature in general.
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 510. Once,] Once here means the same as when we say, once for all. WARBURTON,
Line 513. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do:] Power first signifies natural power or force, and then moral power or right. Davies has used the same word with great variety of meaning.
Use all thy powers that heavenly power to praise,
Line 530. -if all our wits were to issue out of one scull, &c.] Meaning, though our having but one interest was most apparent, yet our wishes and projects would be infinitely discordant.
WARBURTON. Line 637. I will not seal your knowledge-] I will not strengthen or complete your knowledge. The scal is that which gives authenticity to a writing. JOHNSON. Line 644. this woolvish gown-] Signifies this rough hirsute gown.
Line 720. -ignorant to see't?] Were you ignorant to see JOHNSON. it, is, did you want knowledge to discern it. -free contempt,] That is, with contempt open JOHNSON.
Line 749. and unrestrained. Line 773. Enforce his pride,] Object his pride, and enforce the objection. JOHNSON.
-obserce and answer
The vantage of his anger.] Mark, catch, and improve the opportunity, which his hasty anger will afford us.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 32. prank them in authority,] Plume, deck, dignify JOHNSON.
Line 53. why rule you not their teeth?] The metaphor is from men's setting a bull-dog or mastiff upon any one. WARB. Line 71. -Not unlike,
Each way, to better yours.] i. e. likely to provide better for the security of the commonwealth than you (whose business it is) will do. To which the reply is pertinent,
Why then should I be consul?
Becomes not Rome;] That is, this trick of dissimulation, this shuffling. JOHNSON.
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves:] Let them look in the mirror which I hold up to them, a mirror which does not flatter, and see themselves.
Line 100. The cockle of rebellion,] Cockle is a weed which