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Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea ;
And, in the brunt of seventeen battles since,
He lurch'd all swords o'the garland. For this

Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: He stopp'd the fliers ;
And, by his rare example, made the coward
Turn terror into sport: as waves before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd,
And fell below his stem:' his sword (death's stamp)

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* And, in the brunt of seventeen battles since,] The number seventeen, for which there is no authority, was suggested to Shakspeare by North's translation of Plutarch: “ Now Martius followed this custome, showed many woundes and cutts upon his bodie, which he had received in seventeene yeeres service at the warres, and in many sundry battels.” So also the original Greek; but it is undoubtedly erroneous; for from Coriolanus's first campaign to his death, was only a period of eight years.

MALONE. 9 He lurch'd all swords o'the garland.] Ben Jonson has the same expression in The Silent Woman:

have lurch'd your friends of the better half of the garland.Steevens.

To lurch is properly to purloin ; hence Shakspeare uses it in the sense of to deprive. So, in Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, by Thomas Nashe, 1594 : “ I see others of them sharing halfe with the bawdes, their hostesses, and laughing at the punies they had lurched.

I suspect, however, I have not rightly traced the origin of this phrase. To lurch, in Shakspeare's time, signified to win a maiden set at cards, &c. See Florio's Italian Dict. 1598: « Gioco marzo.

A maiden set, or lurch, at any game." See also Cole's Latin Dict. 1679 : “ A lurch, Duplex palma, facilis victoria."

“ To lurch all swords of the garland,” therefore, was, to gain from all other warriors the wreath of victory, with ease,

and incontestable superiority. MALONE.

as waves before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd,

And fell below his stem :] [First folio_weeds.] The editor of the second folio, for weeds substituted waves, and this capri


Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries :? alone he enter'd

cious alteration has been adopted in all the subsequent editions. In the same page of that copy, which has been the source of at least one half of the corruptions that have been introduced in our author's works, we find defamy for destiny, sir Coriolanus, for “ sit, Coriolanus," trim'd for tim'd, and painting for panting: but luckily none of the latter sophistications have found admission into

any of the modern editions, except Mr. Rowe's. Rushes falling below a vessel passing over them is an image as expressive of the prowess of Coriolanus as well can be conceived. A kindred image is found in Troilus and Cressida :

there the strawy Greeks, ripe for his edge, “ Fall down before him, like the mower's swath.”

MALONE. Waves, the reading of the second folio, I regard as no trivial evidence in favour of the copy from which it was printed. Weeds, instead of falling below a vessel under sail, cling fast about the stem of it. The justice of my remark every sailor or waterman will confirm.

But were not this the truth, by conflict with a mean adversary, valour would be depreciated. The submersion of weeds resembles a Frenchman's triumph over a soup aux herbes; but to rise above the threatening billow, or force a way through the watry bulwark, is a conquest worthy of a ship, and furnishes a comparison suitable to the exploits of Coriolanus. Thus, in Troilus and Cressida:

“ The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cuts, “ Bounding between the two moist elements,

“ Like Perseus' horse.” If Shakspeare originally wrote weeds, on finding such an image less apposite and dignified than that of waves, he might have introduced the correction which Mr. Malone has excluded from his text.

The stem is that end of the ship which leads. From stem to stern is an expression used by Dryden in his translation of Virgil:

“ Orontes' bark
“ From stem to stern by waves was overborne.”

STEEVENS. - his sword &c.] Old copy:

His sword, death’s stamp,
Where it did mark, it took from face to foot.
“ He was a thing of blood, whose every

“ Was tim'd with dying cries.”

The mortal gates o'the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny,4 aidless came off,
And with a sudden re-enforcement struck
Corioli, like a planet :5 Now all's his :
When by and by the din of war 'gan pierce
His ready sense: then straight his doubled spirit
Re-quicken’d what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he; where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'Twere a perpetual spoil: and, till we callid
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.

Worthy man! 1 SEN. He cannot but with measure fit the ho

nours 6

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This passage should be pointed thus :

His sword death's stamp)
Where it did mark, it took ; from face to foot

He was a thing of blood, &c. TYRWHITT. I have followed the punctuation recommended. STEEVENS. every

motion Was timd with dying cries.] The cries of the slaughter'd regularly followed his motion, as musick and a dancer accompany each other. JOHNSON.

3 The mortal gate-] The gate that was made the scene of death. Johnson.

* With shunless destiny,] The second folio reads, whether by accident or choice :

With shunless defamy.
Defamie is an old French word signifying infamy.

TYRWHITT. It occurs often in John Bale's English Votaries, 1550.

Corioli, like a planet :] So, in Timon of Athens :

“ Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
“ Will o'er some high-vic'd city hang his poison
• In the sick air." STEEVENS.


Which we devise him.

Our spoils he kick'd at;
And look'd upon things precious, as they were
The common muck o'the world: he covets less
Than misery itself would give;' rewards
His deeds with doing them; and is content
To spend the time, to end it.8

He's right noble; Let him be call'd for. 1 SEN.

Call for Coriolanus.' OFF. He doth appear.


Men. The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd To make thee consul. COR.

I do owe them still My life, and services.



He cannot but with measure fit the honoursą] That is, no honour will be too great for him; he will show a mind equal to any elevation. Johnson.

Than misery itself would give ;] Misery for avarice; because a miser signifies an avaricious. WARBURTON.

and is content To spend the time, to end it.] I know not whether my conceit will be approved, but I cannot forbear to think that our author wrote thus :

he rewards
His deeds with doing them, and is content

To spend his time, to spend it.
To do great acts, for the sake of doing them; to spend his
life, for the sake of spending it. JOHNSON.
I think the words afford this meaning, without any alteration.

MALONE. . Call for Coriolanus.] I have supplied the preposition--for, to complete the measure. ' STEEVENS.


It then remains,
That you do speak to the people.? '

I do beseech you,
Let me o'erleap that custom; for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them,
For my wounds’ sake, to give their suffrage:

please you, That I may pass this doing. Sic.

Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.

Put them not to't:-
Pray you, go fit you to the custom; and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,

1 It then remains, That

you do speak to the people.] Coriolanus was banished U. C. 262. But till the time of Manlius Torquatus, U.C. 393, the senate chose both the consuls : And then the people, assisted by the seditious temper of the tribunes, got the choice of one. But if Shakspeare makes Rome a democracy, which at this time was a perfect aristocracy; he sets the balance even in his Timon, and turns Athens, which was a perfect democracy, into an aristocracy. But it would be unjust to attribute this entirely to his ignorance; it sometimes proceeded from the too powerful blaze of his imagination, which, when once lighted up, made all acquired knowledge fade and disappear before it. For sometimes again we find him, when occasion serves, not only writing up to the truth of history, but fitting his sentiments to the nicest 'manners of his peculiar subject, as well to the dignity of his characters, or the dictates of nature in general. WARBURTON.

The inaccuracy is to be attributed, not to our author, but to Plutarch, who expressly says, in his Life of Coriolanus, that “ it was the custome of Rome at that time, that such as dyd

any office, should for certen dayes before be in the market-place, only with a poor gowne on their backes, and without any coate underneath, to praye the people to remember them at the day of election." North's translation, p. 244. MALONE.

sue for

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