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; Sic. May they perceive his intent! He will require
Come, we'll inform them
The same. The Forum.
Enter several Citizens. i Cit. Once,4* if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.
2 Cit. We may, sir, if we will.
3 Cit. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do:5 for if he show us
punctuation. It should evidently be pointed thus, and then the sense will be clear:
We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
Wish we all joy and honour. To them, means to the people, whom Menenius artfully joins to the consul, in the good wishes of the senate. M. Mason.
4 Once,] Once here means the same as when we say, once for all. Warburton.
This use of the word once is found in The Supposes, by Gascoigne :
“ Once, twenty-four ducattes he cost me." Farmer. I doubt whether once here signifies once for all. I believe, it means, “if he do but so much as require our voices;" as in the following passage in Holinshed's Chronicle:“- they left many of their servants and men of war behind them, and some of them would not once stay for their standards." Malone.
* The meaning may be this, if he do require our voices, once we ought not to deny him: his services entitle him to the office, and though we do not like him, yet gratitude requires we should elect him once; That debt discharged, obligation ceases; we are not bound to give him our voices a second time. Am. Ed.
5 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,
his wounds, and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds, and speak for them ; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous : and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude ; of the which, we being members, should bring ourselves to be monstrous members.
i Cit. And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve : for once, when we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.7
3 Cit. We have been called so of many; not that our heads are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald, but that our wits are so diversly coloured : and truly I think, if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south; and their consent of one direct way? should be at once to all the points o' the compass.
6 for once, when we stood up about the corn, ] [Old copyonce we stood up] That is, as soon as ever we stood up. This word is still used in nearly the same sense, in familiar or rather vulgar language, such as Shakspeare wished to allot to the Roman populace: “ Once the will of the monarch is the only law, the constitution is destroyed.” Mr. Rowe and all the subsequent editors read-for once, when we stood up, &c. Malone.
As no decisive evidence is brought to prove that the adverb once has at any time signified-as soon as ever, I have not rejected the word introduced by Mr. Rowe, which, in my judgment, is necessary to the speaker's meaning. Steevens.
7- many-headed multitude.] Hanmer reads, many-headed monster, but without necessity. To be many-headed includes monstrousness. Fohnson.
8_ some auburn, ] The folio reads, some Abram. I should unwillingly suppose this to be the true reading; but we have already heard of Cain and Abram-coloured beards. Steevens. The emendation was made in the fourth folio. Malone.
- if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, &c.] Meaning though our having but one interest was most apparent, yet our wishes and projects would be infinitely discordant. Warturton.
To suppose all their wits to issue from one skull, and that their common consent and agreement to go all one way, should end in their flying to every point of the compass, is a just description of the variety and inconsistency of the cinions, wishes, and actions of the multitude. M. Mason.
i and their consent of one direct way -] See Vol. VII. p. 80, n. 7; and Vol. X, p. 10, n. 4. Steevens. VOL. XIII.
2 Cit. Think you so? Which way, do you judge, my wit would fly?
3 Cit. Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's will, 'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head: but if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.
2 Cit. Why that way?
3 Cit. To lose itself in a fog; where being three parts melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.
2 Cit. You are never without your tricks :-You may, you may.2
3 Cit. Are you all resolved to give your voices ? But that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I say, if he would incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.
Enter CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS. Here he comes, and in the gown of humility; mark his behaviour. We are not to stay all together, but to come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and by threes. He's to make his requests by particulars; wherein every one of us has a single honour, in giving him our own voices with our own tongues: therefore follow me, and I 'll direct you how you shall go by him. All. Content, content.
[Exeunt. Men. O sir, you are not right: have you not known The worthiest men have done 't? Cor.
What must I say?-
O me, the gods!
Think upon me? Hang 'em!
2 You may, you may.) This colloquial phrase, which seems to signify-You may divert yourself, as you please, at my expense,-has occurr.d already in Troilus and Cressida:
“ Hel. By my troth, sweet lord, thou hast a fine forehead. “ Pan. Ay, you may, you may.” Steevens.
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
You 'll mar all;
[Exit. Enter Two Citizens. Cor.
Bid them wash their faces, And keep their teeth clean.-So, here comes a brace. You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
1 Cit. We do, sir; teil us what hath brought you to 't. Cor. Mine own desert. 2 Cit.
Your own desert? Cor.
Ay, not Mine own desire 5 . I Cit.
How! not your own desire ?
1 Cit. You must think, if we give you any thing, We hope to gain by you.
Cor. Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship? 1 Cit. The price is, sir, to ask it kindly.
3 I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by them.] i. e. I wish they would for, get me as they do those virtuous precepts, which the divines preach up to them, and lose by them, as it were, by their neglecting the practice. Theobald.
* In wholesome manner. ] So, in Hamlet : “If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer.” Steevens. 5
not Mine own desire.] The old copy-but mine own desire. If but be the true reading, it must signify, as in the North-without.
Steevens. But is only the reading of the first folio: Not is the true read. ing. Ritson.
The answer of the Citizen fully supports the correction, which was made by the editor of the third folio. But and not are often confounded in these plays. See Vol. V, p. 33, n. 1.
In a passage in Love's Labour's Lost, Vol. IV. p. 80, n. 6, from the reluctance which I always feel to depart from the ori. ginal copy, I have suffered not to remain, and have endeavoured to explain the words as they stand ; but I am now convinced that I ought to have printed
By earth, she is but corporal ; there you lie. Malone. 6 The price is, sir, 8c.] The word-sir, has been supplied by one of the modern editors to complete the verse. Steevene.
Kindly? Sir, I pray, let me ha 't: I have wounds to show you,. Which shall be yours in private.-Your good voice, sir; What say you ?
2 Cit. You shall have it, worthy sir.
Cor. A match, sir :-
But this is something odd. 2 Cit. An 'twere to give again,-But 'tis no matter.
[Exeunt 7'wo Citizens. Enter Two other Citizens. Cor. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices, that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
3 Cit. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.
Cor. Your enigma?
3 Cit. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod to her friends ; you have not, indeed, loved the common people.
Cor. You should account me the more virtuous, that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account gentle; and since the wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise the insinuating nod, and be off to them most counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man, and give it bountifully to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I' may be consul.
4 Cit. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.
3 Cit. You have received many wounds for your o country.
Cor. I will not seal your knowledges with showing
7 But this is something odd.] As this hemistich is too bulky to join with its predecessor, we may suppose our author to have written only
This is something odd; and that the compositor's eye had caught-But, from the succeeding line. Stecvens.
8 I will not seal your knowledge-] I will not strengthen or com