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Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand
Where go you
nest neighbours, Will you undo yourselves ?
1 Cır. We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care
6 Our business, &c.] This and all the subsequent plebeian speeches in this scene are given in the old copy to the second Citizen. But the dialogue at the opening of the play shows that it must have been a mistake, and that they ought to be attributed to the first Citizen. The second is rather friendly to Coriolanus.
« I have made m way through more impediments
1 Cır. Care for us !—True, indeed !-They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers : repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor.
If the wars eat us not up, they will ; and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
8 I will venture
To scale 't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The word is still used in the North. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.
A measure of wine spilt, is called—“ a scald pottle of wine," in Decker's comedy of The Honest Whore, 1604. So, in The Hystorie of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. a play published in 1599: “The hugie heapes of cares that lodged in my
Cut off his beard." Fye, fye; idle, idle; he's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of little scald hair." In the North they say scale the corn, i. e. scatter it : scale the muck well, i. e. spread the dung well. The two foregoing instances are taken from Mr. Lambe's notes on the old metrical history of Floddon Field.
Again, Holinshed, vol. ii. p. 499, speaking of the retreat of the Welshmen during the absence of Richard II. says : they would no longer abide, but scaled and departed away." So again, p. 530 : « whereupon their troops scaled, and fled their waies.” In the learned Ruddiman's Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scapigliare, crines passos, seu sparsos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus escheveler, schevel, skail ; but of a more general signification. See vol. ix. p. 115, n. 5. Steevens.
1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir : yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale': but, an't please you, deliver. Men. There was a time, when all the body's
members Rebell’d against the belly; thus accus'd it :That only like a gulf it did remain l' the midst o' the body, idle and inactive, Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing Like labour with the rest; where the other instru
Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
1 Cır. Well, sir, what answer made the belly ? Men. Sir, I shall tell you.-With a kind of
smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even
thus, (For, look you, I may make the belly smile“,
Theobald reads-stale it. Malone.
To scale, means also to weigh, to consider. If we understand it in the sense of to separate, as when it is said to scale the. corn, it may have the same metaphorical signification as to discuss ; but Theobald's emendation is so slight, and affords so clear a meaning, that I should be inclined to adopt it. Boswell.
9 - DISGRACE with a tale :] Disgraces are hardships, injuries. JOHNSON. WHERE the other instruments -] Where for whereas.
Johnson. We meet with the same expression in the Winter's Tale :
“ As you feel, doing thus, and see withal
“ The instruments that feel.” MALONE. - participate,] Here means participant, or participating.
Malone. 3 Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt. Johnson.
4 - I may make the belly smile,] “ And so the belly, all this notwithstanding, laughed at their folly and sayed,” &c. North's translation of Plutarch, p. 240, edit. 1579. MALONE.
As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied
Your belly's answer : What !
What then ? Fore me, this fellow speaks !—what then? what
then ? 1 Crt. Should by the cormorant belly be re
strain'd, Who is the sink o' the body, Men.
Well, what then ? 1 Cor. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer ? Men.
I will tell you;
1 Cır. You are long about it.
Note me this, good friend ;
s — even so most pitLY -] i. e. exactly. WARBURTON. • They are not such as you.] I suppose we should read They are not as you.” So, in St. Luke, xviii. 11 : “ God, I thank thee, I am not as this publican." The pronoun-such, only disorders the measure. STEVENS.
7 The counsellor heart,] The heart was anciently esteemed the feat of prudence. Homo cordatus is a prudent man.
Johnson. The heart was considered by Shakspeare as the seat of the understanding. See the next note. MALONE.
That I receive the general food at first,
- to the seat o' the brain ;] Seems to me a very languid expression. I believe we should read, with the omission of a particle:
“ Even to the court, the heart, to the seat, the brain.” He uses seat for throne, the royal seat, which the first editors probably not apprehending, corrupted the passage. It is thus used in Richard II. Act III. Sc. IV.:
Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
“ Against thy seat." It should be observed too, that one of the Citizens had just before characterized these principal parts of the human fabrick by similar metaphors :
“ The kingly crowned head, the vigilant eye,
“ The counsellor heart—" TYRWHITT. I have too great respect for even the conjectures of my respectable and very judicious friend to suppress his note, though it appears to me erroneous. In the present instance I have not the smallest doubt, being clearly of opinion that the text is right. Brain is here used for reason or understanding. Shakspeare seems to have had Camden as well as Plutarch before him; the former of whom has told a similar story in his Remains, 1605, and has like our poet made the heart the seat of the brain, or understanding: Hereupon they all agreed to pine away their lasie and publike enemy One day passed over, the second followed very tedious, but the third day was so grievous to them that they called a common counsel. The eyes waxed dimme, the feete could not support the body, the armes waxed lazie, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter. Therefore they all with one accord desired the advice of the heart. There Reason laid open before them," &c. Remains, p. 109. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, vol. ii. Art. Coriolanus, in which a circumstance is noticed, that shows our author had read Camden as well as Plutarch.
I agree, however, entirely with Mr. Tyrwhitt, in thinking that seat means here the royal seat, the throne. The seat of the brain, is put in opposition with the heart, and is descriptive of it. “I send it, (says the belly,) through the blood, even to the royal re