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Had we no other quarrel else to Rome, but that
You bless me, Gods! AUF. Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
The leading of thine own revenges, take
The one half of my commission; and set down,— As best thou art experienc'd, since thou know'st Thy country's strength and weakness,-thine own
Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
To fright them, ere destroy. But come in:
Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand! Most welcome!
[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and Aufidius. 1 SERV. [Advancing.] Here's a strange alteration!
2 SERV. By my hand, I had thought to have
6 Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that-] The old copy, redundantly, and unnecessarily :
"Had we no other quarrel else," &c. STEEVENS.
7 Like a bold flood o'er-BEAT.] Though this is intelligible, and the reading of the old copy, perhaps our author wrote-o'erbear. So, in Othello:
"Is of such flood-gate and o'er-bearing nature-."
strucken him with a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me, his clothes made a false report of him.
1 SERV. What an arm he has! He turned me about with his finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
2 SERV. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in him: He had, sir, a kind of face, methought, I cannot tell how to term it.
1 SERV. He had so; looking as it were,―― 'Would I were hanged, but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
2 SERV. So did I, I'll be sworn: He is simply the rarest man i' the world.
1 SERV. I think, he is: but a greater soldier than he, you wot one.
2 SERV. Who? my master?
1 SERV. Nay, it's no matter for that.
2 SERV. Worth six of him.
1 SERV. Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be the greater soldier.
2 SERV. 'Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that for the defence of a town, our general is excellent.
1 SERV. Ay, and for an assault too.
Re-enter third Servant.
3 SERV. O, slaves, I can tell you news; news, you rascals.
1. 2. SERV. What, what, what? let's partake.
3 SERV. I would not be a Roman, of all nations;
I had as lieve be a condemned man.
1. 2. SERV. Wherefore? wherefore?
3 SERV. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,—Caius Marcius.
1 SERV. Why do you say thwack our general? 3 SERV. I do not say, thwack our general; but he was always good enough for him.
2 SERV. Come, we are fellows, and friends: he was ever too hard for him; I have heard him so himself.
1 SERV. He was too hard for him directly, to say the truth on't: before Corioli, he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado.
2 SERV. An he had been cannibally given, he might have broiled and eaten him too 9.
1 SERV. But, more of thy news?
3 SERV. Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son and heir to Mars: set at upper end o' the table: no question asked him by any of the senators, but they stand bald before him: Our general himself makes a mistress of him; sanctifies himself with's hand, and turns up the white o' the eye to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' the middle, and but one half of what he was yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says, and sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears: He will mow down all before him, and leave his passage polled 2.
he might have BROILED and eaten him too.] The old copy reads-boiled. The change was made by Mr. Pope.
sanctifies himself with's hand,] Alluding, improperly, to the act of crossing upon any strange event. JOHNSON.
I rather imagine the meaning is, 'considers the touch of his hand as holy; clasps it with the same reverence as a lover would clasp the hand of his mistress.' If there be any religious allusion, I should rather suppose it to be the imposition of the hand in confirmation. MALONE.
Perhaps the allusion is (however out of place) to the degree of sanctity anciently supposed to be derived from touching the corporal relick of a saint or a martyr. STEEVENS.
1 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.
Dr. Johnson's supposition, though not his derivation, is just. Skinner says the word is derived from " sow," i. e. ' to take hold
2 SERV. And he's as like to do't, as any man I can imagine.
3 SERV. Do't? he will do't: For, look you, sir, he has as many friends as enemies: which friends, sir, (as it were,) durst not (look you, sir,) show themselves (as we term it,) his friends, whilst he's in directitude 3.
of a person by the ears, as a dog seizes one of these animals.' So, Heywood, in a comedy called Love's Mistress, 1636:
"Venus will sowle me by the ears for this."
Perhaps Shakspeare's allusion is to Hercules dragging out Cerberus. STEEVENS.
Whatever the etymology of sowle may be, it appears to have been a familiar word in the last century. Lord Strafford's correspondent, Mr. Garrard, uses it as Shakspeare does. Straff. Lett. vol. ii. p. 149: "A lieutenant soled him well by the ears, and drew him by the hair about the room." Lord Strafford himself uses it in another sense, vol. ii. p. 138: "It is ever a hopeful throw, where the caster soles his bowl well." In this passage to sole seems to signify what, I believe, is usually called to ground a bowl. TYR WHITT.
Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders it, aurem summa vi vellere. MALONE.
To sowle is still in use for pulling, dragging, and lugging, in the West of England. S. W.
his passage POLLED.] That is, bared, cleared. JOHNSON. To poll a person anciently meant to cut off his hair. So, in Damætas' Madrigall in Praise of his Daphnis, by J. Wooton, published in England's Helicon, quarto, 1600:
"Like Nisus golden hair that Scilla pol'd."
It likewise signified to cut off the head. So, in the ancient metrical history of the battle of Floddon Field:
"But now we will withstand his grace,
"Or thousand heads shall there be polled." STEEVEens. So, in Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, by Thomas Nashe, 1594: "the winning love of neighbours round about, if haply their houses should be environed, or any in them prove untruly, being pilled and poul'd too unconscionably."-Poul'd is the spelling of the old copy of Coriolanus also. MALONE.
whil'st he's in DIRECTITUDE.] I suspect the author wrote: -whilst he's in discreditude; a made word instead of discredit. He intended, I suppose, to put an uncommon word into the mouth of this servant, which had some resemblance to sense: but could hardly have meant that he should talk absolute nonsense.
1 SERV. Directitude! what's that?
3 SERV. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again, and the man in blood*, they will out of their burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with him.
1 SERV. But when goes this forward? 3 SERV. To-morrow; to-day; presently. You shall have the drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were, a parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they wipe their lips.
2 SERV. Why, then we shall have a stirring world again. This peace is nothing, but to rust iron, increase tailors, and breed ballad-makers 5.
1 SERV. Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace, as far as day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled', deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more bastard children, than wars a destroyer of men R.
4- in blood,] See p. 14, n. 1. MALONE. 5 This peace is nothing, but to rust, &c.] I believe a word or two have been lost. Shakspeare probably wrote: "This peace is good for nothing but," &c.
Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-is worth nothing, &c. STEEVENS.
6 full of VENT.] Full of rumour, full of materials for dis
7 mulled,] i. e. softened and dispirited, as wine is when burnt and sweetened. Lat. Mollitus. HANMER.
than WARS a destroyer of men.] i. e. than wars are a destroyer of men. Our author almost every where uses wars in the plural. See the next speech. Mr. Pope, not attending to this reads-than war's, &c. which all the subsequent editors have adopted. Walking, the reading of the old copy in this speech, was rightly corrected by him. MALONE.
I should have persisted in adherence to the reading of Mr. Pope, had not a similar irregularity in speech occurred in All's Well That Ends Well, Act II. Sc. I. where the second Lord says-“ 0, 'tis brave wars!" as we have here-" wars may be said to be a ravisher."
Perhaps, however, in all these instances, the old blundering transcribers or printers, may have given us wars instead of war.