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Line 791. My dear wife's estimate,] I love my country beyond the rate at which I value my dear wife.
troop or pack. Line 808.
You common cry of curs!] Cry here signifies a
-Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till, at length,
Your ignorance, (which finds not, till it feels,) &c.] Still retain the power of banishing your defenders, till your undiscerning folly, which can foresee no consequences, leave none in the city but yourselves, who are always labouring your own destruction.
It is remarkable, that, among the political maxims of the speculative Harrington, there is one which he might have borrowed from this speech: "The people," says he, "cannot see, but "they can feel." It is not much to the honour of the people, that they have the same character of stupidity from their enemy and their friend. Such was the power of our author's mind, that he looked through life in all its relations private and civil. JOHNSON.
When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves A noble cunning:] The sense is, When Fortune strikes her hardest blows, to be wounded, and yet continue calm, requires a generous policy. He calls this calmness cunning, because it is the effect of reflection and philosophy. Perhaps the first emotions of nature are nearly uniform, and one man differs from another in the power of endurance, as he is better regulated by precept and instruction.
They bore as heroes, but they felt as men. Line 33. 'Tis fond] i. e. 'tis foolish.
42. cautelous baits and practice.] By artful and false
tricks, and treason.
Line 43. My first son,] First, i. e. noblest, most eminent of WARBURTON.
Line 61. My friends of noble touch,] i. e. of true metal unallay'd. Metaphor taken from trying gold on the touchstone. WARB.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 100. Sic. Are you mankind?
Vol. Ay, fool; Is that a shame?—Note but this, foolWas not a man my father?] The word mankind is used maliciously by the first speaker, and taken perversely by the second. A mankind woman is a woman with the roughness of a man, and in an aggravated sense, a woman ferocious, violent, and eager to shed blood. In this sense Sicinius asks Volumnia, if she be mankind. She takes mankind for a human creature, and accordingly cries out,
Note but this, fool.
Was not a man my father?
Line 103. Hadst thou foxship-] Hadst thou, fool as thou art, mean cunning enough to banish Coriolanus ?
ACT IV..SCENE III.
already in the entertainment,] That is, though
not actually encamped, yet already in pay. To entertain an army is to take them into pay.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 222. O, world, thy slippery turns! &c.] This fine picture of common friendships, is an artful introduction to the sudden league, which the poet makes him enter into with Aufidius and no less artful an apology for his commencing enemy to Rome. WARBURTON.
ACT IV. SCENE V.
Line 333. A heart of wreak in thee,] A heart of resentment.
The anvil of my sword;] To clip means to embrace. sanctifies himself with's hand,] Alluding, im
properly, to the act of crossing upon any strange event. JOHNS.
Line 462. He'll—sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears :] That is, I suppose, drag him down by the ears into the dirt. Souiller, Fr.
-his passage poll'd.] That is bared, cleared.
— full of vent.] Full of rumour, full of mate-:
rials for discourse.
ACT IV. SCENE VI.
-affecting one sole throne,
Without assistance.] That is, without assessors;
without any other suffrage.
Line 600.- -can no more atone,] To atone in the active sense, is to reconcile, and is so used by our author. To atone here, is, in the neutral sense, to come to reconciliation. To atone is to unite. JOHNSON.
Line 632. The breath of garlick-eaters !] To smell of garlick was once such a brand of vulgarity, that garlick was a food forbidden to an ancient order of Spanish knights, mentioned by. Guevara. JOHNSON.
Line 635. As Hercules &c.] An allusion to the apples of the Hesperides. STEEVENS. Line 652. they charg'd him &c.] Their charge or injunction would shew them insensible of his wrongs, and make them shew like enemies. JOHNSON.
Line 671. They'll roar him in again.] As they hooted at his departure, they will roar at his return; as he went out with scoffs, he will come back with lamentations. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE VII.
Line 751. As is the osprey-] Osprey, a kind of eagle, ossifraga.
-whether 'twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether] Aufidius assigns three probable reasons of the miscarriage of Coriolanus; pride, which easily follows an uninterrupted train of success; unskilfulness
to regulate the consequences of his own victories; a stubborn uniformity of nature, which could not make the proper transition from the casque or helmet to the cushion or chair of civil authority; but acted with the same despotism in peace as in war. JOHNSON.
Line 766. he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance.] He has a merit, for no other purpose than to destroy it by boasting it.
ACT V. SCENE I.
that have rack'd for Rome,] To rack means to harass by exactions, and in this sense the poet uses it in other places.
Line 80. I tell you, he does sit in gold,] He is inthroned in all the pomp and pride of imperial splendour.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 109. lots to blanks,] A lot here is a prize.
114. Thy general is my lover :] This was the language of Shakspeare's time. MALONE. Line 120. upon a subtle ground,] i. e. deceitful. MALONE. 122. Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing:] I have almost given the lie such a sanction as to render it current. MALONE. Line 187. Though I owe
My revenge properly,] Though I have a peculiar right in revenge, in the power of forgiveness the Volcians are conjoined.
. Line 202.
-how we are shent-] Shent is brought to destruc
Shent means rebuked, reprimanded.
ACT V. SCENE III.
I have borne this business.] That is, how openly, how
remotely from artifice or concealment.
Line 259. The sorrow, that delivers us thus chang'd,
Makes you think so.] Virgilia makes a voluntary misinterpretation of her husband's words. He says, These eyes are not the same, meaning, that he saw things with other eyes, or other dispositions. She lays hold on the word eyes, to turn his attention on their present appearance. JOHNSON.
Line 267. Now by the jealous queen of heaven,] That is, by Juno, the guardian of marriage, and consequently the avenger of con nubial perfidy. JOHNSON.
Line 288. The noble sister of Publicola,] Valeria, methinks, should not have been brought only to fill up the procession without speaking. Line 292.
-epitome of yours,] I read:
An epitome of you, which, enlarged by the commentaries of time, may equal you in magnitude,
Line 296. With the consent of supreme Jove,] This is inserted with great decorum. Jupiter was the tutelary god of Rome. WARBURTON.
Line 300. -every flaw,] That is, every gust, every storm.
332. Constrains them weep, and shake-] That is, con
strain the eye to weep, and the heart to shake. Line 386. -the fine strains-] The niceties, the refinements. JOHNSON.
Line 389. And yet to charge thy sulphur-] The meaning of the passage is, To threaten much, and yet be merciful. WARBURTON.
Line 398. Like one i' the stocks.] Keep me in a state of ig Dominy talking to no purpose.
Line 414. Does reason our petition- -] Does argue for us and our petition.
Line 442. I'll work
Myself a former fortune.] I will take advantage of this concession to restore myself to my former credit and power.