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ON THE Fable AND Composition of
CORI O LA N U S.
he whole history is exactly followed, and many of the principal speeches exactly copied from the Life of Coriolanus in Plutarch.' POPE,
Of this play there is no edition before that of the players, in folio, in 1623. JOHNSON.
The tragedy of Coriolanus is one of the most amusing of our author's performances. The old man's merriment in Menenius ; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia ; the bridal modesty in Virgilia ; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malignity and tribúnitian insolence in Brutus and Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety : and the various revolutions of the hero's fore tune fill the mind with anxious curiosity. There is, perhaps, too much bustle in the first act, and too little in the last.
MENENIUS AGRIPPA, Friend to Coriolanus.
TULUS 105TIUS,} Generals against the Valscians.
WOMEN. VOLUMNIA, Mother to Coriolanus, VIRGILIA, Wife to Coriolanus. VALERIA, Friend to Virgilia.
Roman and Volscian Senators, Ædiles, Licors, Soldiers,
Common People, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attend.
The SCENE is partly in Rome ; and partly in the Territories
of the Volscians and Antiates.
CORIO LAN U S.
A Street in Rome. Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens,
with Staves, Clubs, and other Weapons.
i Citizen. Berore we proceed any further, hear me speak.
All. Speak, speak.
i Cit. You are resolv'd rather to die, than to fa. mish?
All. Resolu’d, resolv'd,
1 Cit. First, you know. Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.
All. We know't, we know't,
i Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict ?;
All. No more talking on’t; leţ, it bę done : away, away.
2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patri. cians, good : What authority surfeits on, would relieve us : If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely : but they think, we are too dear : the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.-Let us re. penge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
24 2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
All. Against him first; he's a very dog to the com. monalty
2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?
30 i Cit. Very well ; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
All. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
i Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end : though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say, it was not for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue. 39
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: You must in no way say, he is covetous.