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ACT II. SCENE I.
ROME. A PUBLICK PLACE.
Enter Menenius, Sicinius, and Brutus. Men. The augurer tells me, we shall have news to-night.
Bru. Good, or bad?
Men. Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love not Marcius.
Sic. Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
Men. Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the noble Marcius.
Bru. He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.
Men. He's a bear, indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two are old men; tell me one thing that I shall ask you.
Both Trib. Well, sir.
Men. In what enormity is Marcius poor, that you two have not in abundance?
Bru. He's poor in no one fault, but stor’d with all.
Sic. Especially, in pride.
Men. This is strange now: Do you two know how you are censured here in the city, I mean of us o'the right-hand file? Do you?
Both Trib. Why, how are we censured?
Men. Because you talk of pride now,—Will you not be angry?
Both Trib. Well, well, sir, well.
Men. Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience: give your disposition the reins, and be angry at your pleasures; at the least, if you take it as a pleasure to you, in being so. You blame Marcius for being proud?
Bru. We do it not alone, sir.
Men. I know, you can do very little alone; for your helps are many; or else your actions would grow wondrous single: your abilities are too infant-like, for doing much alone. You talk of pride: O, that you could turn your eyes towards the napes of your necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves! O, that you could !
Bru. What then, sir?
Men. Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud, violent, testy magistrates, (alias, fools,) as any in Rome.
Sic. Menenius, you are known well enough too.
Men. I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect, in favouring the first complaint; hasty, and tinder-like, upon too trivial motion: one that converses more with the buttock of the night, than with the forehead of the morning. What I think, I utter; and spend my malice in my breath: Meeting two such weals-men as you are, (I cannot call you Lycurguses). if the drink you give me, touch my palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I cannot say, your worships have deliver'd the matter well, when I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables: and though I must be content to bear with those that say you are reverend grave men; yet they lie deadly, that tell, you have good faces. If you see this in the map of my microcosin, follows it, that I am known well enough too? What harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be known well enough too?
Bru. Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
Men. You know neither me, yourselves, nor any thing. You are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs; you wear out a good wholesome forenoon, in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and a fosset-seller; and then rejourn the controversy of three-pence to a second day of audience. — When you are hearing a matter between party and party, if you chance to be pinch'd with the cholick, you make faces like mummers; set up the bloody flag against all patience; and, in roaring for a chamberpot, dismiss the controversy bleeding, the more entangled by your hearing: all the peace you make in their cause, is, calling both the parties knaves: You are a pair of strange ones.
Bru. Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber for the table, than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.
· Men. Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When you speak best unto the purpose, it is
not worth the wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not so honourable a grave, as to stuff a botchers cushion, or to be entomb'd in an ass's pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud; who, in a cheap estimation, is worth all your predecessors, since Deucalion; though, peradventure, some of the best of them were hereditary hangmen. Good e'en to your worships; more of your conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.
[Brutus and Sicinius retire.
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria, &c. How now, my as fair as noble ladies, (and the moon, were she earthly, no nobler,) whither do you follow your eyes so fast?
Vol. Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the love of Juno, let's go.
Men. Ha! Marcius coming home?
Vol. Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous approbation,
Men. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee:Hoo! Marcius coming home!
Two Ladies. Nay, 'tis true.
Vol. Look, here's a letter from him; the state hath another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one at home for you.
Men. I will make my very house reel to night: -A letter for me?
Vir. Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw it. Men. A letter for me? It gives me an estate of seven years' health; in which time, I will make a lip at the physician: the most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutick, and, to this preservative, of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he not wounded ? he was wont to come home wounded.
Vir. O, no, no, no.
Men. So do I too, if it be not too much:Brings 'a victory in his pocket?—The wounds become him.
Vol. On's brows, Menenius: he comes the third time home with the oaken garland.
Men. Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?
Vol. Titus Lartius writes,—they fought together, but Aufidius got. off.
Men. And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that: an he had staid by him, I would not have been so fidius'd for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold that's in them. Is the senate possess’d of this?
Vol. Good ladies, let's go:-Yes, yes, yes: the senate has letters from the general, wherein he gives my son the whole name of the war: he hath in this action outdone his former deeds doubly. Val. In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of
him. Men. Wondrous? ay, I warrant you, and not without his true purchasing.
Vir. The gods grant them true!