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The Volces whom you serve, you might condemn us,
the fine strains -] The niceties, the refinements.
Johnson. The old copy has five. The correction was made by Dr. Johnson. I should not have mentioned such a manifest error of the press, but that it justifies a correction that I have made in Romeo and Fuliet, Act I, another in Timon of Athens ; and a third that has been made in A Midsummer Night's Dream. See Vol. II, p. 341, n. 7. Malone.
8 And yet to charge thy sulphur -] The old copy has change. The correction is Dr. Warburton's. In The Tamiug of the Shrew, Act iii, sc. i, charge is printed instead of change. Malone.
The meaning of the passage is, To threaten much, and yet be merciful. Warburton.
9 Like one i' the stocks.] Keep me in a state of ignominy talking to no purpose. Johnson.
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home,
O mother, mother!2
[Holding Vol. by the Hands, silent. What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope, The gods look down, and this unnatural scene They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O! You have won a happy victory to Rome: But, for your son-believe it, 0, believe it, Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd, If not most mortal to him. But, let it come: Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars, I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius, Were you in my stead, say, would you have heard3
1 Does reason our petition -] Does argue for us and our peti. tion. Fohnson..
2 O mother, mother!] So, in the old translation of Plutarch: “Oh mother, what have you done to me? And holding her harde by the right hande, oh mother, sayed he, you have wonne a bappy victorie for your countrie, but mortall and unhappy for your sonne: for I see myself vanquished by you alone.” Steevens.
3 heard -] is here used as a dissyllable. The modern editors read--say, would you have heard - Malone.
As my ears are wholly unreconciled to the dissyllabifications e-arl, he-ard, &c. I continue to read with the modern editors. Say, in other passages of our author, is prefatory to a question. So, in Macbeth :
A mother less ? or granted less, Aufidius?
Auf. I was mov'd withal.
I dare be sworn, you were:
Auf. I am glad, thou hast set thymercy and thy honour At difference in thee: out of that I 'll work Myself a former fortune.4
[Aside. [The Ladies make signs to Cor. Cor.
Ay, by and by; [T. VOL. VIR. &C. But we will drink together;5 and you shall bear A better witness back than words, which we, On like conditions, will have counter-seal’d. Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve To have a temple built you:h all the swords In Italy, and her confederate arms, Could not have made this peace.
Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS. Men. See you yond' coign o'the Capitol; yond' cornerstone?
Sic. Why, what of that?
“ Say, if thou hadst rather hear it from our mouths,
- I'll work Myself a former fortune. ] I will take advantage of this con-, cession to restore myself to my former credit and power. Johnson.
s_ drink together; 7 Perhaps we should read-think. Farmer.
Our author, in King Henry IV, P. II, having introduced drinking as a mark of confederation :
“Let's drink together friendly, and embrace —;": the text may be allowed to stand; though at the expence of female delicacy, which, in the present instance, has not been sufficiently consulted. Steevens.
6 To have a temple built you:] Plutarch informs us, that a temple dedicated to the Fortune of the Ladies, was built on this occasion by order of the senate. Steevens.
Men. If it be possible for you to displace it with your little finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him. But, I say, there is no hope in 't; our throats are sentenced, and stay upon execution.
Sic. Is 't possible, that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?
Men. There is differency between a grub, and a butterfly ; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a creeping thing.
Sic. He loved his mother dearly. Men. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother now, than an eight year old horse.8 The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes. When he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before his treading. He is able to pierce a corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done, is finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity, and a heaven to throne in.
Sic. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly. Men. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall bring from him: There is no more mercy in him, than there is milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find : and all this is ’long of you.
Sic. The gods be good unto us!
Men. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us. When we banished him, we respected not them: and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.
Enter a Messenger. Mess. Sir, if you 'd save your life, fly to your house: The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune, And hale him up and down; all swearing, if
7- stay upon execution.]i. e. stay but for it. So, in Macbeth:
“ Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.” Steevens. 8 than an eight year old horse.] Subintelligitur remembers his dam. Warburton.
9 He sits in his state, &c.] In a foregoing note he was said to sit in gold. The phrase, as a thing made for Alexander, means, as one made to resemble Alexander. Johnson.
His state means his chair of state. See the passage quoted from Plutarch, in p. 157, n. 1; and Vol. VII, p. 144, n. 9. Malone.
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
Enter another Messenger.
What 's the news?
Mess. As certain, as I know the sun is fire: Where have you lurk'd that you make doubt of it? Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide, : As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you;
[Trumpets and Hautboys sounded, and Drums
beaten, all together. Shouting also within. The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes, Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans, Make the sun dance. Hark you!. [Shouting again. Men.
This is good news: I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians, A city full ; of tribunes, such as you, A sea and land full: You have pray'd well to-day; This morning, for ten thousand of your throats
i Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,
As the recomforted through the gates.] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece :
“ As through an arch the violent roaring tide
« Out-runs the eye that doth behold his haste." Blown in the text is swell’d. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ here on her breast
“ There is a vent of blood, and something blown.” The effect of a high or spring tide, as it is called, is so much greater than that which wind commonly produces, that I am not convinced by the following note that my interpretation is erroneous. Water that is subject to tides, even when it is not accelerated by a spring tide, appear's swoln, and to move with more than ordinary rapidity, when passing through the narrow strait of an arch. Malone.
The blown tide is the tide blown, and consequently accelerated by the wind. So, in another of our author's plays :
“ My boat sails swiftly both with quind and tide.” Steedens