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SCENE W. Before the Walls of Athens.

Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBLADEs, and Forces.

Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town

Our terrible approach. [A parley sounded.

Enter Senators on the walls.

Till now you have gone on, and filled the time
With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of justice; till now, myself, and such
As slept within the shadow of your power,
Have wandered with our traversed arms," and breathed
Our sufferance vainly. Now the time is flush,”
When crouching marrow,” in the bearer strong,
Cries of itself, No more : now breathless wrong
Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease,
And pursy insolence shall break his wind,
With fear and horrid flight.

1 Sen. Noble and young,
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit,
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear,
We sent to thee; to give thy rages balm,
To wipe out our ingratitude with loves
Above their quantity.”

2 Sen. So did we woo
Transformed Timon to our city's love,
By humbled message, and by promised means:
We were not all unkind, nor all deserve
The common stroke of war.

1 Sen. These walls of ours Were not erected by their hands, from whom

1 Traversed arms are arms crossed.

* Flush is mature, ripe, or come to full perfection.

3 Crouching marrow. The marrow was supposed to be the original of strength. The image is from a camel kneeling to take up his load, who rises when he finds he has as much laid on him as he can bear.

4 Their refers to griefs. “To give thy rages balm,” must be considered as parenthetical.

You have received your griefs; nor are they such, That these great towers, trophies, and schools should fall

For private faults in them.

2 Sen. Nor are they living,
Who were the motives that you first went out;"
Shame, that they wanted cunning,” in excess
Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,
Into our city with thy banners spread.
By decimation, and a tithed death,
(If thy revenges hunger for that food,
Which nature loathes,) take thou the destined tenth;
And by the hazard of the spotted die,
Let die the spotted.

1 Sen. All have not offended ;
For those that were, it is not square,” to take,
On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands,
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage.
Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin,
Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall
With those that have offended: like a shepherd,
Approach the fold, and cull the infected forth,
But kill not all together.

2 Sen. What thou wilt, Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile, Than hew to't with thy sword.

1 Sen. Set but thy foot
Against our rampired gates, and they shall ope;
So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,
To say thou’lt enter friendly.

2 Sen. Throw thy glove

Or any token of thine honor else,

l i. e. those who made the motion for your exile.

2 Cunning is used in its old sense of skill or wisdom: extremity of shame that they wanted wisdom in procuring your banishment hath broke their hearts. Theobald had nearly thus interpreted the passage; and Johnson thought he could improve it by reading—

“Shame that they wanted, coming in excess
Hath broke their hearts.”

3 i. e. not regular.

That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,
And not as our confusion, all thy powers
Shall make their harbor in our town, till we
Have sealed thy full desire.

Alcib. Then there's my glove;
Descend, and open your uncharged ports."
Those enemies of Timon’s and mine own,
Whom you yourself shall set out for reproof,
Fall, and no more; and—to atone” your fears
With my more noble meaning—not a man
Shall pass his quarter, or offend the stream
Of regular justice in your city’s bounds,
But shall be remedied, to your public laws,
At heaviest answer.”

Both. 'Tis most nobly spoken.

Alcib. Descend, and keep your words.

The Senators descend, and open the gates.
Enter a Soldier.

Sol. My noble general, Timon is dead;
Entombed upon the very hem o' the sea:
And on his gravestone, this insculpture; which
With wax I brought away, whose soft impression

Interprets for my poor ignorance.

Alcib. [Reads.] Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft ; Seek not my name. A plague consume you wicked

caitiffs left / Here lie I, Timon ; who, alive, all living men did hate. Pass by, and curse thy fill; but pass, and stay not here thy gait."

l i. e. whattacked gates. According to Johnson, unguarded.

2 i. e. to reconcile them to it.

3 All attempts to extract a meaning from this passage, as it stands, must be vain. We should, perhaps, read:—

“But shall be remitted to your public laws
At heaviest answer.”

It is evident that the context requires a word of this import: remunded
might serve. The comma at remedied is not in the old copy. Johnson's
explanation will then serve, “Not a soldier shall quit his station, or com-
mit any violence, but he shall answer it regularly to the law.”
4 This epitaph is formed out of two distinct epitaphs in North's Plu-

These well express in thee thy latter spirits.
Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs,
Scorn’dst our brains' flow," and those our droplets which
From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit
Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye
On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead
Is noble Timon ; of whose memory
Hereafter more.—Bring me into your city,
And I will use the olive with my sword.
Make war breed peace; make peace stint” war; make
each
Prescribe to other, as each other’s leech.
Let our drums strike. [Exeunt.

tarch. The first couplet is there said to have been composed by Timon himself; the second by the poet Callimachus. The epithet caitiffs was probably suggested by another epitaph, to be found in Kendal's Flowers of Epigrammes, 1577, and in the Palace of Pleasure, vol. i. Nov. 28. ! So in Drayton's Miracles of Moses:— “But he from rocks that fountains can command Cannot yet stay the fountains of his brain.” 2 Stop.

THE play of Timon is a domestic tragedy, and therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there is not much art, but the incidents are natural, and the characters various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warning against that ostentatious liberality, which scatters bounty, but confers no benefits; and buys flattery, but not friendship.

In this tragedy are many passages perplexed, obscure, and probably corrupt, which I have endeavored to rectify or explain with due diligence; but, having only one copy, cannot promise myself that my endeavors shall be much applauded. Johnson

C O R. I O L A N U S .

PR. E LIM IN A R Y R. E M A. R. K. S.

IN this play, the narration of Plutarch, in the Life of Coriolanus, is very

exactly followed; and it has been observed that the Poet shows consummate skill in knowing how to seize the true poetical point of view of the historical circumstances, without changing them in the least degree. His noble Roman is indeed worthy of the name, and his mob such as a Roman mob doubtless were ; such as every great city has possessed, from the time of the polished Athenians to that of modern Paris, where such scenes have been exhibited by a people collectively considered the politest on earth, as shows that “the many-headed multitude" have the same turbulent spirit, when there is an exciting cause, in all ages.

Shakspeare has extracted amusement from this popular humor, and, with the aid of the pleasant satirical vein of Menenius, has relieved the serious part of the play with some mirthful scenes, in which it is certain the people's folly is not spared.

The character of Coriolanus, as drawn by Plutarch, was happily suited to the drama, and in the hands of Shakspeare could not fail of exciting the highest interest and sympathy in the spectator. He is made of that stern, unbending stuff, which usually enters into the composition of a hero. Accustomed to conquest and triumph, his inflexible spirit could not stoop to solicit, by flattering condescension, what it felt that its worthy services ought to command:—

66 —— he was

A noble servant to them; but he could not
Carry his honors even;
commanding peace
Even with the same austerity and garb
As he controlled the war.”

He hated flattery; and his sovereign contempt for the people arose from having witnessed their pusillanimity: though he loved “the bubble reputation,” and would have grappled with fate for honor, he hated the breath of vulgar applause as “the reek o’ the rotten fens.”

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