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AUF. I understand thee well; and be thou sure, When he shall come to his account, he knows not What I can urge against him. Although it seems, And so he thinks, and is no less apparent To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly, And shows good husbandry for the Volcian state; Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon As draw his sword: yet he hath left undone That, which shall break his neck, or hazard mine, Whene'er we come to our account. LIEU. Sir, I beseech you,
you Rome? AUF. All places yield to him ere he sits down ; And the nobility of Rome are his : The senators, and patricians, love him too: The tribunes are no soldiers ; and their people Will be as rash in the repeal, as hasty To expel him thence. I think, he'll be to Rome, As is the osprey 4 to the fish, who takes it
but either borne
Had left it solely. STEVENS.
Pope. We find in Michael Drayton's Polyolbion, Song XXV. a full account of the osprey, which shows the justness and beauty of the simile :
osprey, oft here seen, though seldom here it breeds, “ Which over them the fish no sooner doth espy, “ But, betwixt him and them by an antipathy,
Turning their bellies up, as though their death they saw, “ They at his pleasure lie, to stuff his gluttonous maw."
LANGTON. Şo, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594:
“ I will provide thee with a princely osprey,
“ And thou shalt take thy liberal choice of all.” Such is the fabulous history of the osprey. I learn, however, from Mr. Lambe's notes to the ancient metrical legend of The
By sovereignty of nature. First he was
peace Even with the same austerity and garb As he controll'd the war; but, one of these, (As he hath spices of them all, not all, For I dare so far free him,) made him fear'd, So hated, and so banish'd: But he has a merit, To choke it in the utterance. So our virtues
Battle of Floddon, that the osprey is a “rare, large, blackish hawk, with a long neck, and blue legs. Its prey is fish, and it is sometimes seen hovering over the Tweed." ŠTEEVENS.
The osprey is a different bird from the sea eagle, to which the above quotations allude, but its prey is the same. See Pennant's British Zoology, 46. Linn. Syst. Nat. 129. HARRIS. s whether 'twas pride, Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether &c.] Aufidius assigns three probable reasons of the miscarriage of Coriolanus; pride, which easily follows an uninterrupted train of success ; unskilfulness to regulate the consequences of his own victories; a stubborn uniformity of nature, which could not make the proper transition from the casque or helmet to the cushion or chair of civil authority; but acted with the same despotism in peace as in war.
Johnson. * As he hath spices of them all, not all,] i. e, not all complete, not all in their full extent. MALONE. So, in The Winter's Tale :
- for all
STEEVENS. ? he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance.] He has a merit, for no other purpose than to destroy it by boasting it. Johnson.
Lie in the interpretation of the time:
• And power, anto itself most commendable, Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair,
To extol what it hath done.] This is a common thought, but miserably ill expressed. The sense is, the virtue which delights to commend itself, will find the surest tomb in that chair wherein it holds forth its own commendations :
" unto itself most commendable.” i. e. which hath a very high opinion of itself. WARBURTON.
If our author meant to place Coriolanus in this chair, he must have forgot his character, for, as Mr. M. Mason has justly ob. served, he has already been described as one who was so far from being a boaster, that he could not endure to hear “his nothings monster'd.” But I rather believe, “ in the utterance" alludes not to Coriolanus himself, but to the high encomiums pronounced on him by his friends ; and then the lines of Horace, quoted in p. 201, may serve as a comment on the passage before us.
A passage in Troilus and Cressida, however, may be urged in support of Dr. Warburton's interpretation: :* “ The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
« If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth.” Yet I still think that our poet did not mean to represent Cor; riolanus as his own eulogist. MALONE.
A sentiment of a similar nature is expressed by Adam, in the second scene of the second Act of As you like it, where he says' to Orlando:
“ Your praise is come too swiftly home before you. .
66 Are sanctified and holy traitors to you.” M. Mason. The passage before us, and the comments upon it, are, to me, at least, equally unintelligible. STEEVENS.
° Rights by rights fouler,] Thus the old copy. Modern editors, with less obscurity-Right's by right fouler, &c. i.e. What
Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine, Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine.
is already right, and is received as such, becomes less clear when supported by supernumerary proofs. Such appears to me to be the meaning of this passage, which may be applied with too much justice to many of my own comments on Shakspeare.
Dr. Warburton would read fouled, from fouler, Fr. to trample under foot. There is undoubtedly such a word in Sidney's Arcadia, edit. 1633, p. 441; but it is not easily applicable to our present subject: : “ Thy all-beholding eye fould with the sight.”
The same word likewise occurs in the following proverb York doth foul Sutton--i. e. exceeds it on comparison, and makes it appear mean and poor. STEEVENS.
Right's by right fouler, may well mean, “ That one right or title, when produced, makes another less fair.” All the short sentences in this speech of Aufidius are obscure, and some of them nonsensical. M. Mason.
I am of Dr. Warburton's opinion that this is nonsense; and would read, with the slightest possible variation from the old copies :
Rights by rights foul are, strengths &c. Ritson. Rights by rights fouler, &c.] These words which are exhibited exactly as they appear in the old copy, relate, I apprehend, to the rivalship subsisting between Aufidius and Coriolanus, not to the preceding observation concerning the ill effect of extravagant encomiums. As one nail, says Aufidius, drives out another, sa the strength of Coriolanus shall be subdued by my strength, and. his pretensions yield to others, less fair perhaps, but more powerful. Aufidius has already declared that he will either break the neck of Coriolanus, or his own; and now adds, that jure vel injuria he will destroy him.
I suspect that the words, “ Come let's away," originally completed the preceding hemistich, “ To extol what it hath done:" and that Shakspeare in the course of composition, regardless of his original train of thought, afterwards moved the words-Come let's away, to their present situation, to complete the rhyming couplet with which the scene concludes. Were these words replaced in what perhaps was their original situation, the passage would at once exhibit the meaning already given. MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Romé. A publick Place. Enter MENENIUS, Comenius, Sicinius, BRUTUS,
Men. No, I'll not go: you hear, what he hath
Com. He would not seem to know me.
Do you hear?
MEN. Why, so; you have made good work : A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
coy'd-] i. e. condescended unwillingly, with reserve, Coldness. STEEVENS.
that have rack'd for Rome,] To rack means to harrass by exactions, and in this sense the poet uses it in other places :
“ The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bags “ Are lank and lean with thy extortions."