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Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground 9,

I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing1:



I must have leave to pass.

1 G. 'Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf, as you have uttered words in your own, you should not pass here: no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chastly. Therefore, go back.

MEN. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always factionary on the party of your general.

berland, and quoted by Dr. Percy in The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. i. p. 279, 3d edit.:

"In hys scheld did schyne a mone veryfying her light." STEEVENS. The meaning (to give a somewhat more expanded comment) is: "I have ever spoken the truth of my friends, and in speaking of them have gone as far as I could go consistently with truth: I have not only told the truth, but the whole truth, and with the most favourable colouring that I could give to their actions, without transgressing the bounds of truth." MALONE.

9 - upon a SUBTLE ground,] Subtle means smooth, level. So, Ben Jonson, in one of his Masques : "Tityus's breast is counted the subtlest bowling ground in all Tartarus."

Subtle, however, may mean artificially unlevel, as many bowling-greens are. STEEVENS.

May it not have its more ordinary acceptation, deceitful?



—and in his praise

Have, almost, STAMP'D the LEASING :] i. e. given the sanction of truth to my very exaggerations. This appears to be the sense of the passage, from what is afterwards said by the 2 Guard :

"Howsoever you have been his liar, as you say you have―." Leasing occurs in our translation of the Bible. See Psalm iv. 2. HENLEY.

"Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing." I have almost given the lie such a sanction as to render it current. MALONE.

2 G. Howsoever you have been his liar, (as you say, you have,) I am one that, telling true under him, must say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go


MEN. Has he dined, can'st thou tell? for I would not speak with him till after dinner.

1 G. You are a Roman, are you? MEN. I am as thy general is.

1 G. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have pushed out your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front his revenges with the easy groans' of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters3, or with the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant1 as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution you are condemned, our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.

MEN. Sirrah, If thy captain knew I were here, he would use me with estimation.

2 G. Come, my captain knows you not. MEN. I mean, thy general.


EASY groans] i. e. slight, inconsiderable. So, in King Henry VI. Part II. :


these faults are easy, quickly answer'd."


3- the virginal PALMS of your daughters,] The adjective virginal is used in Woman is a Weathercock, 1612:

"Lav'd in a bath of contrite virginal tears." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. c. ix. :

"She to them made with mildness virginal." STEEvens. Again, in King Henry VI. Part II. :

--tears virginal


"Shall be to me even as the dew to fire." 4a decayed DOTANT] Thus the old copy. Modern editors have read-dotard. STEEVENS.


1 G. My general cares not for you. Back, I say; go, lest I let forth your half pint of blood ;-back, that's the utmost of your having:-back. MEN. Nay, but fellow, fellow,--———

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COR. What's the matter?



MEN. Now, you companion 5, I'll say an errand for you; you shall know now that I am in estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment with him, if thou stand'st not i' the state of hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee.-The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father Menenius does! O, my son! my son! thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to thee; but being assured, none but myself could move thee, I have been blown out of your gates with sighs; and conjure thee to par. don Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. The

5 -companion,] See p. 162, n. 9. STEEVENS.

6 a JACK GUARDANT] This term is equivalent to one still in use-a Jack in office; i. e. one who is as proud of his petty consequence, as an excise-man. STEEVENS.

7 guess but BY my entertainment with him,] [Old copy but.] I read: Guess by my entertainment with him, if thou standest not i' the state of hanging. JOHNSON.

Mr. Edwards had proposed the same emendation in his MS. notes already mentioned. STEEVENS.

The same correction had also been made by Sir T. Hanmer. These editors, however, changed but to by. It is much more probable that by should have been omitted at the press, than confounded with but. MALONE.

The glorious gods sit in hourly synod, &c.] So, in Pericles:


'The senate house of planets all did sit," &c. STEEvens.


good gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here; this, who, like a block, hath denied my access to thee.

COR. Away!

MEN. How! away?

COR. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs

Are servanted to others: Though I owe
My revenge properly, my remission lies
In Volcian breasts. That we have been familiar,
Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather
Than pity note how much.-Therefore, be gone.
Mine ears against your suits are stronger, than
Your gates against my force. Yet, for I lov'd


Take this along; I writ it for thy sake,

[Gives a Letter. And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius, I will not hear thee speak.-This man, Aufidius, Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st AUF. You keep a constant temper. [Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFID. 1 G. Now, sir, is your name Menenius.

9 G. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: You know the way home again.

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1 G. Do you hear how we are shent 2 for keeping your greatness back?

9 Though I owe

My revenge properly,] Though I have a peculiar right in revenge, in the power of forgiveness the Volcians are conjoined. JOHNSON.


FOR Ilov'd thee,] i. e. because. So, in Othello:
Haply, for I am black." STEEVENS.
how we are SHENT] Shent is brought to destruction.

Stand & Wal


Shent does not mean brought to destruction, but shamed, disgraced, made ashamed of himself. See the old ballad of The Heir of Linne, in the second volume of Reliques of Ancient English Poetry:

2 G. What cause, do you think, I have to


MEN. I neither care for the world, nor your general for such things as you, I can scarce think there's any, you are so slight. He that hath a will to die by himself3, fears it not from another. Let your general do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was said to, Away!


1 G. A noble fellow, I warrant him.

2 G. The worthy fellow is our general: He is the rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken.




Enter CORIOLAnus, Aufidius, and Others.

COR. We will before the walls of Rome to-mor


Set down our host.-My partner in this action,
You must report to the Volcian lords, how plainly
I have borne this business *.

Only their ends
You have respected; stopp'd your ears against

"Sorely shent with this rebuke


Sorely shent was the heir of Linne;

"His heart, I wis, was near-to-brast

"With guilt and sorrow, shame and sinne." PERCY. Rebuked, reprimanded. Cole, in his Latin Dict. 1679, renders to shend, increpo. It is so used by many of our old writers.



- by himself,] i. e. by his own hands. MALOne.
how plainly

I have borne this business.] That is, how openly, how remotely from artifice or concealment. JOHNSON.

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