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And, through the cranks and offices of man,
1 Cit. Ay, sir; well, well.
Though all at once cannot See what I do deliver out to each; Yet I can make my audit up, that all From me do back receive the flour of all, And leave me but the bran. What say you to 't?
i Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this?
Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly, And you the mutinous members: For examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly, Touching the weal o' the common; you shall find, No public benefit, which you receive, But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you, And no way from yourselves.-What do you think? You, the great toe of this assembly?
1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
Men. For that being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest, Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost: Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run Lead'st first, to win some vantage.
“ Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne." See also a passage in King Henry V, where seat is used in the same sense as here; Vol. IX, p. 227, n. 4. Malone.
the cranks and offices of man,] Cranks are the meandrous ducts of the human body. Steevens. Cranks are windings. So, in Venus and Adonis: “ He cranks and crosses, with a thousand doubles."
Malone. 2 Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run.
Lead'st first, to win some vantage.] I think, we may better read, by an easy change :
Thou rascal that art worst in blood, to ruin
Lead'st first, to win &c. Thou that art the meanest by birth, art the foremost to lead thy fellows to ruin, in hope of some advantage. The meaning, however, is perhaps only this, Thou that art a hound, or running dog of the lowest breed, lead'st the pack, when any thing is to be gotten. Johnson.
Worst in blood may be the true reading. In King Henry VI, P.I:
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs;
Enter CAIUS MARCIUS.
rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs? 1 Cit.
We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thec, will flatter Beneath abhorring:- What would you have, you curs,
“ If we be English deer, be then in blood.” i. e. high spirits, in vigour.
Again, in this play of Coriolanus, Act IV, sc. v: “But when they shall see his crest up again, and the man in blood,” &c.
Mr. M. Mason judiciously observes that blood, in all these passages, is applied to deer, for a lean deer is called a rascal; and that worst in blood,” is least in vigour. Steevens.
Both rascal and in blood are terms of the forest. Rascal meant a lean deer, and is here used equivocally. The phrase in blood has been proved in a former note to be a phrase of the forest. See Vol. X, p. 86, n.7.
Our author seldom is careful that his comparisons should answer on both sides. He seems to mean here, thou, worthless scoundrel, though, like a deer not in blood, thou art in the worst condition for running of all the herd of plebeians, takest the lead in this tumult, in order to obtain some private advantage to yourself. What advantage the foremost of a herd of deer could obtain, is not easy to point out, nor did Shakspeare, I believe, consider. Perhaps indeed he only uses rascal in its ordinary sense. So afterwards
“ From rascals worse than they." Dr. Johnson's interpretation appears to me inadmissible; as the term, though it is applicable both in its original and metaphorical sense to a man, cannot, I think, be applied to a dog; nor have I found any instance of the term in blood being applied to the canine species. Malone.
3 The one side must have bale.] Bale is an old Saxon word, for misery or calamity: “ For light she hated as the deadly bale."
Spenser's Fairy Queen. Mr. M. Mason observes that “bale, as well as bane, signified poison in Shakspeare's days. So, in Romeo and Juliet: “ With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers."
Steevens This word was antiquated in Shakspeare's time, being marked as obsolete by Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616. Malone..
That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you,
Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
Hang 'em! They say? They 'll sit by the fire, and presume to know What 's done i' the Capitol: who's like to rise, Who thrives, and who declines :7 side factions, and give
4 That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you,
The other makes you proud.] Coriolanus does not use these two sentences consequentially, but first reproaches them with unsteadiness, then with their other occasional vices. Johnson.
Your virtue is,
And curse that justice did it.] i. e. Your virtue is to speak well of him whom his own offences have subjected to justice; and to rail at those laws by which he whom you praise was punished. Steevens.
6 What's their seeking?] Seeking is here used substantively, -The answer is, “There seeking, or suit (to use the language of the time) is for corn.” Malone.
7 who's like to rise,
Who thrives, and who declines:] The words—who thrives, which destroy the metre, appear to be an evident and tasteless interpolation. They are omitted by Sir T, Hanmer. Steevens.
Conjectural marriages; making parties strongs
their ruth,] i. e. their pity, compassion. Fairfax and Spenser often use the word. Hence the adjective-ruthless, which is still current. Steevens.
I'd make a quarry With thousands -] Why a quarry? I suppose, not because he would pile them square, but because he would give them for carrion to the birds of prey. Johnson. So, in The Miracles of Moses, by Drayton:
“And like a quarry cast them on the land.”
to state the manner,
“ To add the death of you.” In a note on this last passage, Steevens asserts, that quarry means game pursued or killed, and supports that opinion by a passage in Massinger's Guardian: and from thence I suppose the word was used to express a heap of slaughtered persons.
In the concluding scene of Hamlet, where Fortinbras sees so many lying dead, lie says: ** This
quarry cries, on havock !” and in the last scene of A Wife for a Month, Valerio, in describing his own fictitious battle with the Turks, says:
" I saw the child of honour, for he was young,
M. Mason. Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, says that “a quarry among hunters signifietl the reward given to hounds after they have hunted, or the venison which is taken by hunting:” This sufficiently explains the word of Coriolanus. Malone.
pick my lance.] And so the word [pitch] is still pronounced in Staffordshire, where they sy-picke me such a thing, that is, pitch or throw any thing that ini'd mander wants. Tollet.
Thus, in Froissart's Chronicle, cap. c, lxii, fo. lxxxii, b: “ — and as he stouped downe to take up his swerde, the Frenche squyer dyd pycke his swerde at hymn, and by hap strake bym through bothe the thyes?" Steevens. VOL. XIII.
Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded; For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you, What says the other troop? Mar.
They are dissolv’d: Hang 'em! They said, they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs;That, hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must eat; That, meat was made for mouths; that, the gods sent not Corn for the rich men only:— With these shreds They vented their complainings; which being answer'd, And a petition granted them, a strange one, (To break the heart of generosity,2 And make bold power look pale,) they threw their caps As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon,3 Shouting their emulation. Men.
What is granted them? Mar. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms, Of their own choice: One 's Junius Brutus, Sicinius Velutus, and I know not~'Sdeath!
So, in An Account of auntient Customes and Games, &c. MSS. Harl. 2057, fol. 10, b:
“To wrestle, play at strole-ball, [stool-ball] or to runne,
“To picke the barre, or to shoot off' a gun.” The word is again used in King Henry VIII, with only a slight variation in the spelling: “I'll peck you o'er the pales else.” See Vol. XI, p. 352, n. 3. Malone.
the heart of generosity.) To give the final blow to the nobles. Generosity is high birth. Fohnson. So, in Measure for Measure:
“The generous and gravest citizens —.” Steevens.
hang them on the horns o’the moon,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' the moon.” Steevens. 4 Shouting their emulation.] Each of them striving to shout louder than the rest. Malone.
Emulation, in the present instance, I believe, signifies faction. Shouting their emulation, may mean, expressing the triumph of their faction by shouts.
Emulation, in our author, is sometimes used in an unfavourable sense, and not to imply an honest contest for superior excellence. Thus, in King Henry VI, P. I:
the trust of England's honour “Keep off aloof with worthless emulation.". Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ While emulation in the army crept.” i e, faction. Steevens.