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SIC. Menenius, you are known well enough too. MEN. I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tyber in't3; said to be something imperfect, in favouring the first complaint: hasty, and tinder-like, upon too trivial motion: one that converses more with the buttock of the night*, than with the forehead of the morning. What I think, I utter; and spend my malice in my breath: Meeting two such weals-men as you are, (I cannot call you Lycurguses) if the drink you gave me, touch my palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I cannot say3, your worships have delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables: and though I must be content to bear with those that say you are reverend grave men; yet they lie deadly, that tell, you have good faces. If you see this in the map of
This was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age, of which I have met with many instances in the books of that time. Mr. Pope, as usual, reduced the passage to the modern standard, by readinga brace of as unmeriting, &c. as any in Rome: and all the subsequent editors have adopted his emendation. MALONE.
with not a drop of ALLAYING TYBER in't;] Lovelace, in his Verses to Althea from Prison, has borrowed this expression:
"When flowing cups run swiftly round,
See Dr. Percy's Reliques, &c. vol. ii. p. 324, 3d edit.
4 - one that converses more, &c.] Rather a late lier down than an early riser. JOHNSON.
So, in Love's Labour's Lost: "It is the king's most sweet pleasure and affection, to congratulate the princess at her pavilion, in the posteriors of this day; which the rude multitude call, the afternoon." Again, in King Henry IV. Part II. :
Thou art a summer bird,
"Which ever in the haunch of winter sings
"The lifting up of day." MALone.
5 I CANNOT say,] Not, which appears to have been omitted in the old copy, by negligence, was inserted by Mr. Theobald.
my microcosm, follows it, that I am known well enough too? What harm can your bisson conspectuities' glean out of this character, if I be known well enough too?
BRU. Come, sir, come, we know you well enough. MEN. You know neither me, yourselves, nor any thing. You are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs; you wear out a good wholesome forenoon, in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and a fosset-seller; and then rejourn the controversy of three-pence to a second day of audience.When you are hearing a matter between party and party, if you chance to be pinched with the cholick, you make faces like mummers; set up the bloody flag against all patience '; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot, dismiss the controversy bleeding, the more entangled by your hearing: all the peace you make in their cause, is, calling both the parties knaves: You are a pair of strange ones.
BRU. Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber for the table, than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.
my microcosm,] So, in King Lear:
Strives, in his little world of men—.”
Microcosmos is the title of a poem by John Davies, of Hereford, 4to. 1605. STEEVENS.
7 -BISSON Conspectuities,] Bisson, blind, in the old copies, is beesome, restored by Mr. Theobald. JOHNSON.
So, in Hamlet :
"Ran barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames,
8 for poor knaves' caps and sance showed by bowing to you. of our author's time for a bow, and guage. MALone.
-you wear out a good, &c.] It appears from this whole speech that Shakspeare mistook the office of præfectus urbis for the tribune's office. WARBURTON.
-set up the bloody flag against all patience;] That is, declare war against patience. There is not wit enough in this satire to recompense its grossness.
legs :] That is, for their obeiTo make a leg was the phrase it is still used in ludicrous lan
MEN. Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are". When you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not so honourable a grave, as to stuff a botcher's cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud; who, in a cheap estimation, is worth all your predecessors, since Deucalion; though, peradventure, some of the best of them were hereditary hangmen. Good e'en to your worships; more of your conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians; I will be bold to take my leave of you.
[BRUTUS and SICINIUS retire to the back of the
Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and Valeria, &c. How now, my as fair as noble ladies, (and the moon, were she earthly, no nobler,) whither do you follow your eyes so fast?
VOL. Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the love of Juno, let's go.
MEN. Ha! Marcius coming home?
VOL. Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous approbation.
MEN. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee + :
Hoo! Marcius coming home!
2 Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are.] So, in Much Ado about Nothing: "Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence." STEEVENS.
3 herdsmen of plebeians :] As kings are called Toiμeves Nawy. JOHNSON.
4 Take my CAP, Jupiter, and I thank thee:] Dr. Warburton proposed to read-"Take my cup, Jupiter."- REED.
Shakspeare so often mentions throwing up caps in this play,
Two LADIES. Nay, 'tis true.
VOL. Look, here's a letter from him; the state hath another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one at home for you.
MEN. I will make my very house reel to-night: -A letter for me?
VIR. Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw
MEN. A letter for me? It gives me an estate of seven years' health; in which time I will make a lip at the physician: the most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutick, and, to this preservative, of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.
VIR. O, no, no, no.
VOL. O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for't. MEN. So do I too, if it be not too much :Brings 'a victory in his pocket ?-The wounds become him.
VOL. On's brows, Menenius': he comes the third time home with the oaken garland.
that Menenius may be well enough supposed to throw up his cap in thanks to Jupiter. JOHNSON.
5 - in Galen] An anachronism of near 650 years. Menenius flourished Anno U. C. 260, about 492 years before the birth of our Saviour.-Galen was born in the year of our Lord, 130, flourished about the year 155 or 160, and lived to the year 200. GREY.
6 — empiricutick,] The old copies-empirickqutique. The most sovereign prescription in Galen (says Menenius) is to this news but empiricutick:' an adjective evidently formed by the author from empirick (empirique, Fr.) a quack. RITSON.
7 On's brows, Menenius:] Mr. M. Mason proposes that there should be a comma placed after Menenius; On's brows, Menenius, he comes the third time home with the oaken garland," 'for,' says the commentator, it was the oaken garland, not the wounds, that Volumnia says he had on his brows.' In Julius Cæsar we find a dialogue exactly similar:
MEN. Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly? OL. Titus Lartius writes,-they fought together, but Aufidius got off.
MEN. And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that an he had staid by him, I would not have been so fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold that's in them. Is the senate possessed of this?
VOL. Good ladies, let's go :-Yes, yes, yes: the senate has letters from the general, wherein he gives my son the whole name of the war: he hath in this action outdone his former deeds doubly.
VAL. In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.
MEN. Wondrous? ay, I warrant you, and not without his true purchasing.
VIR. The gods grant them true!
"Cas. No, it is Casca; one incorporate
"To our attempts.-Am I not staid for, Cinna?
i. e. I am glad that Casca is incorporate, &c.
But he appears to me to have misapprehended the passage. Volumnia answers Menenius, without taking notice of his last words, "The wounds become him." Menenius had asked'Brings he victory in his pocket? He brings it, says Volumnia, on his brows, for he comes the third time home brow-bound with the oaken garland, the emblem of victory.' So, afterwards:
"He prov'd best man o' the field, and for his meed,
If these words did not admit of so clear an explanation, (in which the conceit is truly Shaksperian, the arrangement proposed by Mr. M. Mason might perhaps be admitted, though it is extremely harsh, and the inversion of the natural order of the words not much in our author's manner in his prose writings.
8 POSSESSED of this ?] Possessed, in our author's language, is fully informed. JOHNSON.
So, in The Merchant of Venice:
"I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose.”