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The general suit of Rome; never admitted
COR. This last old man, Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome, Loved me above the measure of a father; Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge Was to send him: for whose old love 3, I have (Though I show'd sourly to him,) once more offer'd The first conditions, which they did refuse, And cannot now accept, to grace him only, That thought he could do more; a very little I have yielded too: Fresh embassies, and suits, Nor from the state, nor private friends, hereafter Will I lend ear to.-Ha! what shout is this? [Shout within.
Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
Enter, in mourning Habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, leading young MARCIUS, VALERIA, and Attend
My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mould
5 for whose old love,] We have a corresponding expression in King Lear:
those doves' eyes.] So, in the Canticles, v. 12: “ - his eyes are as the eyes of doves." Again, in the Interpretacion of the Names of Goddes and Goddesses, &c. Printed by Wynkyn de Worde: He speaks of Venus:
"Cryspe was her skyn, her eyen columbyne." STEEVENS.
Which can make gods forsworn ?-I melt, and am
Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows ;
And knew no other kin.
My lord and husband! COR. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
VIR. The sorrow, that delivers us thus chang'd, Makes you think so.
7 OLYMPUS to a MOLEHILL] This idea might have been caught from a line in the first book of Sidney's Arcadia:
"What judge you doth a hillocke shew, by the lofty Olympus?" STEEVENS.
8 The sorrow, that delivers us thus chang'd,
Makes you think so.] Virgilia makes a voluntary misinterpretation of her husband's words. He says, 66 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.
9 Cor. Like A DULL ACTor now,
I have FORGOT MY PART, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace.] So, in our author's 23d Sonnet :
"As an unperfect actor on the stage,
"Who with his fear is put beside his part
Now by the jealous queen of heaven', that kiss
Of thy deep duty more impression show
O, stand up bless'd!
I Now by the jealous queen of heaven,] That is, by Juno, the guardian of marriage, and consequently the avenger of connubial perfidy. JOHNSON.
2 I PRATE,] The old copy-I pray. The merit of the alteration is Mr. Theobald's. So, in Othello: "I prattle out of fashion." STEEVENS. 3 on the HUNGRY beach -] The beach hungry, or eager, for shipwrecks. Such, I think, is the meaning. So, in TwelfthNight:
mine is all as hungry as the sea." MALONE. I once idly conjectured that our author wrote-the angry beach. MALONE.
The hungry beach is the sterile unprolifick beach. Every writer on husbandry speaks of hungry soil, and hungry gravel; and what is more barren than the sands on the sea shore? If it be necessary to seek for a more recondite meaning,—the shore, on which vessels are stranded, is as hungry for shipwrecks, as the waves that cast them on the shore. Littus avarum. Shakspeare, on this occasion, meant to represent the beach as a mean, and not as a magnificent object. STEEVENS.
Thou art my warrior;
I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady? COR. The noble sister of Publicola",
The moon of Rome; chaste as the icicle7,
4 I HOLP to frame thee.] Old copy-hope. Corrected by Mr. Pope. This is one of many instances, in which corruptions have arisen from the transcriber's ear deceiving him. MALONE.
5 The noble sister of Publicola,] Valeria, methinks, should not have been brought only to fill up the procession without speaking. JOHNSON.
It is not improbable, but that the poet designed the following words of Volumnia for Valeria. Names are not unfrequently confounded by the player-editors; and the lines that compose this speech might be given to the sister of Publicola without impropriety. It may be added, that though the scheme to solicit Coriolanus was originally proposed by Valeria, yet Plutarch has allotted her no address when she appears with his wife and mother on this occasion. STEEVENS.
6 The MOON of Rome;] Menenius uses the same complimentary language to the ladies, p. 62: "How now, my fair as noble ladies, and (the moon, were she earthly, no nobler,)—" BoswELL. chaste as the ICICLE, &c.] I cannot forbear to cite the following beautiful passage from Shirley's Gentleman of Venice, in which the praise of a lady's chastity is likewise attempted:
thou art chaste
"As the white down of heaven, whose feathers play
Upon the wings of a cold winter's gale,
Trembling with fear to touch th' impurer earth."” Some Roman lady of the name of Valeria, was one of the great examples of chastity held out by writers of the middle age. in The Dialoges of Creatures moralysed, bl. 1. no date : counde was called Valeria: and when inquysicion was made of her for what Cawse she toke notte the secounde husbonde, she sayde," &c. Hence perhaps Shakspeare's extravagant praise of her namesake's chastity. STEEVENS.
Mr. Pope and all the subsequent editors read-curdled; but curdied is the reading of the old copy, and was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time. So, in All's Well That Ends Well: "I am now, sir, muddied in fortune's mood." We should now write mudded, to express begrimed, polluted with mud.
Again, in Cymbeline:
"That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-craftied him.” MALONE. I believe, both curdied, muddied, &c. are mere false spellings of
That's curdied by the frost from purest snow,
The god of soldiers, With the consent of supreme Jove, inform Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou may'st
To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Your knee, sirrah.
COR. That's my brave boy. VOL. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself, Are suitors to you.
COR. I beseech you, peace: Or, if you'd ask, remember this before; The things, I have forsworn to grant, may never Be held by you denials. Do not bid me Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate Again with Rome's mechanicks:-Tell me not
curded, mudded, &c. Mudded is spelt, as at present, in The Tempest, first folio, p. 13, col. 2, three lines from the bottom; and so is crafted, in Coriolanus, first fol. p. 24, col. 2.
epitome of YOURS,] I read:
-epitome of you."
An epitome of you, which, enlarged by the commentaries of time, may equal you in magnitude. JOHNSON.
Though Dr. Johnson's reading is more elegant, I have not the least suspicion here of any corruption. MALONE.
9 With the consent of supreme Jove,] This is inserted with great decorum. Jupiter was the tutelary God of Rome.
1 Like a great sea-mark, standing every FLAW,] That is, every gust, every storm. JOHNSON.
So, in our author's 116th Sonnet:
"O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
"That looks on tempests, and is never shaken." MALone.