Page images

With bats and clubs? the inatter

speak, I

pray you. Cit. Our business is not unknown to the Senate; they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll shew 'em in deeds : they say, poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall know we have strong arms too. Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine how

nest neighbours, Will you undo yourselves?

2 Cit. We cannot, Sir, we are undone already.

Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your sufferings in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman State; whose course will on The

way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong links asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment. For the dearthi, The gods, not the patricians, make it; and Your knées to them (not arms) must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity Thither, where more attends you; and you slander The helms o'th'state, who care for you, like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.

2 Cit. Care for us !-true, indeed !--they ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to familh, and their store-houses crammed with grain : make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily 10 chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us. Men. Either you

muit Confess yourselves wondrous malicious, Or be accused of fully. I shall tell you

A pretty tale, it may be you have heard it; But since it serves my purpose, I will venture (1) To stale't a little more.

2 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, Sir-yet you must not think To fob off our disgraces with a tale:

(1) To feale't a little more.] Thus all the editions, but without any manner of fense, that I can find out. The Poet must have wrote, as I have corrected the text : and ihen the meaning will be plainly this.

" Perhaps you may have heard my tale already, but for all that, l'il

venture to make it more stale and familiar to you, by " telling it over again.” And nothing is more common than the verb in this fenfe, with our three capital dramatic poets. To begin with our own Author. Ant. and Cleopa

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety. Jul. Cref.

Were I a common laugher, or did ufe

To stale with ordinary oaths iny love, beg
And again,

--and imitations,
Which out of use, and staled by other men,

Begin his fashion..
So B. Johnson, in his Every Man in his Humour :

-and not content
To fiale himself in all societies,

He makes my house here common as a mart. Cynthia's Revels :

I'll go tell all the argument of his play aforehand, and so liale his invention to the auditory before it come forth, And so Beaumont and Fletcher, in their Beggar's Bush :

But I should lose myself to speak him further,
And sale, in my relation, the much good
You may be witnefs of.

-I'll not stole 'em,
By giving up their characters; but leave you

To make your own discoveries.
Wit at several Weapons :

You Mhall not be seen yet, we'll siale your friend first,
So please but him to stand for th’anti malk,

Queen of Corinib:

But, and't please you, deliver. [members

Men. There was a time when all the body's
Rebelled against the belly; thus accused it; --
That only, like a gulf, it did remain
I'th' midit o' th’ body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest ; where th' other instru.

Did fee, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite, and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered

2. Cit. Well, Sir, what answer made the belly?
Men. (2) Sir, I shall tell you.—With a kind of

Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus-
(For look you, I may make the belly smile,
As well as speak) it tauntingly replied
To th' discontented members, th’ mutinous parts,
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly,
As you malign our senators, for that
They are not such as you

2 Cit. Your belly's answer---what!
The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our foldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter ;
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabric, if that they

Nien. What then :---'Fore me, this fellow speaks What then? what then?

2 Git. Should by the cormorant belly be restrained, Who is the funk o'th' body,--

(2) Sir, I fall tell you with a kind of f*:le,

Which neer came from the lurgs] Thus all the editors, most stupidly, hitherto; as if Menenius were to smile in telling his story, though the lines, which immcdiately follow, make it evident that the belly was meant to smile.

Men. Well, -- what tlren?

2 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?

Men. I will tell you,
If you'll bestow a small (of what you

have little) Patience a while; you'll hear the belly's answer.

2 Git. Y' are long about it.

Men. Note me this, good friend ; Your most grave belly was deliberate, Not rath, like his accufers; and thus answered; True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he, That I receive the general food at first, Which you do live upon; and fit it is, Because I am the store-house, and the shop Of the whole body. But, if you do remember, I send it through the rivers of your blood, Even to the court, the heart; to th seat o'th' brain; And, through the cranks and offices of man, The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins, From me receive that natural competency, Whereby they live. And though that all at once, You, my good friends, (this says the belly) mark me-

Cit. Ay, Sir, well, well.

Men. 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 flower, of all, And leave me but the bran. What fay you to't?

2 Cit. It was an answer;--how apply you this? Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly,

the mutinous members : for examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly Touching the weal o'th' 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 allembly!

And you

2 Cit. I the great toe! why, the great toe? Men. For that, being one o' th’ loweit, baseft,

poorest, Of this most wife rebellion, thou goeft foremost: Thou rascal, that are worft in blood to run, Leadest first, to win some vantage.--But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs, Rome and her rats are at the point of battle : (3) The one fide must have bale.

(3) The one fide must have bail.] It must be the vanquished fide, sure, that could want it; and who were likely to be their bail? but it is endless to question with negligence and Kupidity. The Poet undoubtedly wrote, as I have restored;

The one fide must have hale. i. e. Sorrow, misfortune; must have the worst of it, be discomfited. I have restored this word in fome other passages of our Author; and we meet with it in a play attributed to him, called Locrine :

-Yea, with these eyes thou hast seen lier, and therefore pull them out, for they will work thy bale.

Mr Rowe, indeed, in his editions of our Poet, has erroneously printed bail too in this passage; but in the old Quarto which I have of Locrint, printed in 1595, we find the word Spelt as it ought. And it was a term familiar both with authors prior in time, and contemporaries with Shakespeare.

-and eke her fingirs long and finale
She wrong full oft, and bade God on her rue,
And with the death to doe bote on her bale, &č.

Chaucer's Troil. and Crefeide. Book IV. ver. 738.
And the black holme, that loves the watery vale,
And the sweet cypress, ligo of deadly bale.

spenser's Translation of l'irgil's Gnat. And again,

Said he, what have I wretch deserved, that thus
Into this bitter bale I am outcast.

Idem ibid.
Thus greateft bliss is prone to greatest bale.

First Chorus of Hercules Oetæus from Seneca ; printed in 1981. And lost my foe, false Promos here,

Do interrupt my tale ;
Grant, gracious King, that uncontrouled,
I may report my bale.

Promes and Cafandra, (a play,) printed in 1578.

« PreviousContinue »