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called the chiefest of the council of the Volces to hear what she would say. Then she spake in this sort : "If we held

our peace, my son, and determined not to speak, the • state of our poor bodies, and present sight of our rai' ment, would easily betray to thee what life we have led

at home, since thy exile and abode abroad; but think now with thyself, how much more unfortunate than all the women living, we are come hither, considering that the sight which should be most pleasant to all others to behold, spiteful fortune had made most fearful to us :

making myself to see my son, and my daughter here her • husband, besieging the walls of his native country : so as * that which is the only comfort to all others in their ad(versity and misery, to pray unto the Gods, and to call to

them for aid, is the only thing which plungeth us into ' most deep perplexity. For we cannot, alas, together • pray, both for victory to our country, and for safety of

thy life also : but a world of grievous curses, yea more " than any mortal enemy can heap upon us, are forcibly - wrapped up in our prayers. For the bitter sop of most hard • choice is offered thy wife and children, to forego one of « the two: either to lose the person of thyself, or the ' nurse of their native country. For myself, my son, I am

determined not to tarry till fortune in my lifetime do • make an end of this war. For if I cannot persuade thee * rather to do good unto both parties, than to overthrow

and destroy the one, preferring love and nature before " the malice and calamity of wars, thou shalt see, my son, • and trust unto it, thou shalt no sooner march forward to

assault thy country, but thy foot shall tread upon thy * mother's womb, that brought thee first into this world. • And I may not defer to see the day, either that my son • be led prisoner in triumph by his natural countrymen, or

that he himself do triumph of them, and of his natural ! save thy country, in destroying the Volces, I must con

fess, thou wouldest hardly and doubtfully resolve on that. * For as to destroy thy natural country, it is altogether un' meet and unlawful, so were it not just and less honour • able to betray those that put their trust in thee. But • my only demand consisteth, to make a goal delivery of ' all evils, which delivereth equal benefit and safety, both

to the one and the other, but most honourable for the

Volces. For it shall appear, that having victory in their • hands, they have of special favour granted us singular

graces, peace and amity, albeit themselves have no less

part of both than we. Of which good, if so it came to • pass, thyself is the only author, and so hast thou the only

honour. But if it fail, and fall out contrary, thyself alone

deservedly shalt carry the shameful reproach and burthen • of either party. So, though the end of war be uncertain, • yet this notwithstanding is most certain, that if it be thy ' chance to conquer, this benefit shalt thou reap of thy

goodly conquest, to be chronicled the plague and de

stroyer of thy country. And if fortune overthrow thee, ' then the world will say, that through desire to revenge • thy private injuries, thou hast for ever undone thy good ' friends, who did most lovingly and courteously receive

thee.' Martius gave good ear unto his mother's words, without interrupting her speech at all, and after she had said what she would, he held his peace a pretty while, and answered not a word. Hereupon she began again to speak unto him, and said: “My son, why dost thou not answer 'me? Dost thou think it good altogether to give place ' unto thy choler and desire of revenge, and thinkest thou - it not honesty for thee to grant thy mother's request in

so weighty a cause? Dost thou take it honourable for a ' nobleman to remember the wrongs and injuries done him, " and dost not in like case think it an honest nobleman's

part to be thankful for the goodness that parents do shew

they ought to bear unto them? No man living is more

bound to shew himself thankful in all parts and respects • than thyself; who so universally shewest all ingratitude. • Moreover, my son, thou hast sorely taken of thy country,

exacting grievous payments upon them, in revenge of the injuries offered thee ; besides, thou hast not hitherto

shewed thy poor mother any courtesy. And therefore, it ' is not only honest but due unto me, that without compul*sion I should obtain my so just and reasonable request of

thee. But since by reason I cannot persuade thee to it, to

what purpose do I defer my last hope.' And with these words, herself, his wife and children, fell down upon their knees before him: Martius seeing that, could refrain no longer, but went straight and lifted her up, crying out, ‘Oh • mother, what have you done to me?' And holding her hard by the hand, · Oh mother,' said he, you have won a happy victory for your country, but mortal and unhappy

for your son: for I see myself vanquished by you alone.' These words being spoken openly, he spake a little apart with his mother and wife, and then let them return again to Rome, for so they did request him; and so remaining in the camp that night, the next morning he dislodged, and marched homeward unto the Volces' country again.”

Shakespear has, in giving a dramatic form to this passage, adhered very closely and properly to the text. He did not think it necessary to improve upon the truth of nature. Several of the scenes in Julius Cæsar, particularly Portia's appeal to the confidence of her husband by shewing him the wound she had given herself, and the appearance of the ghost of Cæsar to Brutus, are


This is one of the most loose and desultory of our author's plays: it 'rambles on just as it happens, but it overtakes, together with some indifferent matter, a prodigious number of fine things in its way. Troilus himself is no character: he is merely a common lover: but Cressida and her uncle Pandarus are hit off with proverbial truth. By the speeches given to the leaders of the Grecian host, Nestor, Ulysses, Agamemnon, Achilles, Shakespear seems to have known them as well as if he had been a spy sent by the Trojans into the enemy's camp -to say nothing of their affording very lofty examples of didactic eloquence. The following is a very stately and spirited declamation :

Ulysses. Troy, yet upon her basis, had been down,

But for these instances.
The specialty of rule hath been neglected.
* * * * * * * * * *
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order :
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,
In noble eminence, enthron'd and spher'd
Amidst the other, whose med’cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans check, to good and bad. But, when the planets,
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues, and what portents ? what mutinies ?
What raging of the sea ? shaking of the earth ?
Commotion in the winds ? frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and marred calm of states
Quite from their fixture! 0, when degree is shaken,
(Which is the ladder to all high designs)
The enterprize is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
(But by degree) stand in authentic place ?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And hark what discord follows ! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy. The bounded waters
Would lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe :
Strength would be the lord of imbecility,
And the rude son would strike his father dead :

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