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I CORIOLAN U S.
SCENE, A Street in Rome.
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens with staves, clubs,
and other weapons.
CIT I Z E N.
All. Speak, speak.
i Cit. You are all resoly'd rather to die,
than to familh ? All. Resolv'd, resolv'd.
i Cit. First, you know, Caius Marcius is the chief enemy to the people.
Al. We know't, we know't.
i Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have Corn at our own price. Is't a Verdićt ?
Ali. No more talking on't, let't be done ; away, away.
2 Cit. One word, good Citizens.
i Cit. We are accounted poor Citizens; the Patricians, good: what Authority surfeits on, would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while ic
were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely: but they think, we are too dear; the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our Pikes, ere we become Rakes: for the Gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius ?
All. Against him first: he's a very dog to the Commonalty.
2 Cit. Consider you, what services he has done for his Country?
i Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report fort; but that he pays himself with being proud.
All. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
i Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end; though soft-conscienc'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 say, he is covetous.
I Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are those? the other fide o'ch' City is rifen; why stay we prating here? To the Capitol
All. Come, come. i ! Cit. Soft who comes here?
Enter Menenius Agrippa. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa ; one that hath always lov'd the People.
i Cit. He's one honest enough; 'would, all the rest were so! Men. What Work's, my Countrymen, in hand ?
where go you
With bats and clubs ? the matter
- Speak, I pray you. 2 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the Senate ; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll shew 'em in deeds : they say, poor Suiters have strong breaths; they shall know, we have strong arms too. Men. Why, Masters, my good Friends, mine honest
thers, When you curse them as Enemies.
2 Cit. Care for us! true, indeed! — they ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their Storehouses cramm’d. with Grain : make Edicts for Ulury, to support Usurers ; repeal daily any wholesome A established against the Rich, and provide more piercing Statutes daily to chain up and reftrain the Poor. If the Wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
your felves wond'rous malicious,
(1) To stale't a little more.
2 Cit. Well,
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members
(1) To scale't a little more.] Thus all the Editions, but without any Manner of Sense, that I can find out.
The Poet must have wrote, as £ have corrected the Text: and then the Meaning will be plainly this,
Perhaps, you may have heard my Tale already, but for all That, I'II. venture to make it more fiale and familiar to You, by telling it over again.” And nothing is more common than the Verb in this Sense, with our three Capital Dramatic Poets. To begin, with our own Author. Anth. and Cleop.
Age cannot wither her, nor Custom stale
Her infinite Variety,
a common Laugher, or did use
Begin his Fashion.
and not content
He makes my House here common as a Mart. Cynthia's Revels.
I'll go tell all the Argument of his Play aforehand, and se ftale his Invention to the Auditory, before it come forth. And fo Beaumont and Fletcher, in their Beggar's Buffa.
But I should lose my self to speak him further,
You may be witness of.
I'll not stale 'em,
To make your own Discov’ries.
You shall not be seen yet, we'll stale your Friend first;
Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
2 Cit. Well, Sir, what answer made the belly ?
With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus (For, look
may make the belly smile,
2 Cit. Your belly's answer — what!
Men. What then? - Fore me, this fellow speaks. What then? what then?
2 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain’d, Who is the Sink o'ch' body,
Men. Well, what then?
Men. I will tell you,
2 Cit. Y'are long about it.
Men. Note me this, good Friend;
(2) Sir, I hall tell you with a kind of Smile,
Which ne'er came from the Lungs.] Thus all the Editors, most itupidly, hitherto; as if Menenius were to smile in telling his Story, tho? the Lines, which immediately follow, make it evident that the Belly was meant to smile.