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The anvil of my sword;' and do contest
Here I clip The anvil of my sword;] To clip is to embrace. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ Enter the city, clip your wives". Aufidius styles Coriolanus the anvil of his sword, because he had formerly laid as heavy blows on him, as a smith strikes on his anvil. So, in Hamlet :
“ And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
Sigh'd truer breath ;] The same expression is found in our author's Venus and Adonis:
“ I'll sigh celestial breath, whose gentle wind
Shall cool the heat of this descending sun.' Again, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Shakspeare and Fletcher, 1634 :
« Lover never yet made sigh
“ Truer than 1.” MALONE. • Bestride my threshold.] Shakspeare was unaware that a Roman bride, on her entry into her husband's house, was prohibited from bestriding his threshold ; and that, lest she should even touch it, she was always lifted over it. Thus, Lucan, L. II. 359:
Tralata vetuit contingere limina planta. STEEVENS.
Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
You bless me, Gods!
-- Thou hast beat me out
Twelve several times,] Out here means, I believe, full, complete. MALONE. So, in The Tempest :
" for then thou wast not
“ Out three years old.” STEEVENS. s And wak'd half dead-] Unless the two preceding lines be considered as parenthetical, here is another instance of our author's concluding a sentence, as if the former part had been constructed differently. “ We have been down,” must be considered as if he had written-I have been down with you, in my sleep, and wak’d, &c. See Vol. XV. p. 115, n. 6; and Vol. VIII. p. 208, n. 8, and p. 392, n. 7. MALONE.
Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that-] The old copy, redundantly, and unnecessarily:
“ Had we no other quarrel else” &c. Steevens.
Like a bold flood o'er-beat.] Though this is intelligible, and the reading of the old copy, perhaps our author wrote-o'er-bear. So, in Othello: “ Is of such flood-gate and o'er-bearing nature "
AUF. Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt
have The leading of thine own revenges, take The one half of my commission; and set down,As best thou art experienc'd, since thou know'st Thy country's strength and weakness,—thine own
ways : Whether to knock against the gates of Rome, Or rudely visit them in parts remote, To fright them, ere destroy. But come in: Let me commend thee first to those, that shall Say, yea, to thy desires. A thousand welcomes ! And more a friend than e'er an enemy; Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand! Most
[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. 1 Serv. [Advancing.] Here's a strange alteration!
2 SERV. By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with a cudgel; and yet my
mind me, his clothes made a false report of him.
1 SERV. What an arm he has ! He turned me about with his finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
2 SERV. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in him : He had, sir, a kind of face, methought, I cannot tell how to term it.
1 SERV. He had so; looking as it were, 'Would I were hanged, but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
2 SERV. So did I, I'll be sworn: He is simply the rarest man i' the world.
1 SERV. I think, he is : but a greater soldier than he, you wot one.
2 SERV. Who? my master ?
1 SERV. Nay, not so neither ; but I take him to be the greater soldier.
2 SERV. ’Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that: for the defence of a town, our general is excellent.
1 SERV. Ay, and for an assault too.
Re-enter third Servant. 3 SERV. O, slaves, I can tell you news; news, you rascals.
1. 2. SERV. What, what, what? let's partake.
3 SERV. I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as lieve be a condemned man.
1. 2. SERV. Wherefore? wherefore ?
3 SERV. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,Caius Marcius.
1 Serv. Why do you say, thwack our general ?
3 SERV. I do not say, thwack our general; but he was always good enough for him.
2 SERV. Come, we are fellows, and friends : he was ever too hard for him ; I have heard him say so himself.
1 SÉRv. He was too hard for him directly, to say the truth on't: before Corioli, he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado.
2 SERV. An he had been cannibally given, he might have broiled and eaten him too.8
8 he might have broiled and eaten him too.] The old copy reads-boiled. The change was made by Mr. Pope. MALONE.
1 SERV. But, more of thy news?
3 SERV. Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son and heir to Mars : set at upper end o'the table : no question asked him by any of the senators, but they stand bald before him: Our general himself makes a mistress of him; sanctifies himself with’s hand, and turns up the white o’the eye
to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' the middle, and but one half of what he was yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll
says, and sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears :' He will mow down all before him, and leave his passage polled.”
-sanctifies himself with’s hand,] Alluding, improperly, to the act of crossing upon any strange event. Johnson.
I rather imagine the meaning is, considers the touch of his hand as holy; clasps it with the same reverence as a lover would clasp the hand of his mistress. If there be any religious allusion, I should rather suppose it to be the imposition of the hand in confirmation. MALONE.
Perhaps the allusion is (however out of place) to the degree of sanctity anciently supposed to be derived from touching the corporal relick of a saint or a martyr. STEEVENS.
He'll ---Sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears: ] That is, I suppose, drag him down by the ears into the dirt. Souiller, Fr. JOHNSON.
Dr. Johnson's supposition, though not his derivation, is just. Skinner says the word is derived from sovu, i. e. to take hold of a person by the ears, as a dog seizes one of these animals. So, Heywood, in a comedy called Love's Mistress, 1636:
“ Venus will sowle me by the ears for this." Perhaps Shakspeare's allusion is to Hercules dragging out Cerberus. STEEVENS.
Whatever the etymology of sorole may be, it appears to have been a familiar word in the last century. Lord Strafford's correspondent, Mr. Garrard, uses it as Shakspeare does. Straff. Lett. Vol. II. p. 149: “ A lieutenant soled him well by the ears,