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Were to us all, that do 't, and suffer it,
A brand to the end o' the world.


This is clean kam.7

Bru. Merely awry: When he did love his country, It honour'd him.


The service of the foot

Being once gangren'd, is not then respected
For what before it was?9


We 'll hear no more:

Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence;
Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
Spread further.

This is clean kam.] i. e. Awry. So Cotgrave interprets, Tout a à contrepoil. All goes clean kam. Hence a cambrel for a crooked stick, or the bend in a horse's hinder leg. Warburton.

The Welsh word for crooked is kam; and in Lyly's Endymion, 1591, is the following passage: "But timely, madam, crooks that tree that will be a camock, and young it pricks that will be a thorn.” Again, in Sappho and Phao, 1591:


Camocks must be bowed with sleight, not strength." Vulgar pronunciation has corrupted clean kam into kim kam, and this corruption is preserved in that great repository of ancient vulgarisms, Stanyhurst's translation of Virgil, 1582:

"Scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus."

'The wavering commons in kym kam sectes are haled.”


In the old translation of Gusman de Alfarache the words kim, ham, occur several times. Amongst others, take the following instance: "All goes topsie turvy; all kim, kam; all is tricks and devices: all riddles and unknown mysteries." P. 100.


8 Merely awry: i. e. absolutely. See Vol. II, p. 12, n. 2. Steevens. 9 Being once gangren'd, is not then respected

For what before it was?] Nothing can be more evident, than that this could never be said by Coriolanus's apologist, and that it was said by one of the tribunes; I have therefore given it to Sicinius. Warburton.

I have restored it to Menenius, placing an interrogation point at the conclusion of the speech. Mr. Malone, considering it as an imperfect sentence, gives it thus:

For what before it was;


You alledge, says Menenius, that being diseased, he must be cut away. According then to your argument, the foot, being once gangrened, is not to be respected for what it was before it was gangrened.—“ Is this just ?" Menenius would have added, if the tribune had not interrupted him: and indeed, without any such addition, from his state of the argument these words are understood. Malone.


One word more, one word.

This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find

The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will, too late,
Tie leaden pounds to his heels. Proceed by process;
Lest parties (as he is belov'd) break out,

And sack great Rome with Romans.


Sic. What do ye talk?

If it were so,

Have we not had a taste of his obedience?

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Our Ediles smote? ourselves resisted?-Come:
Men. Consider this;-He has been bred i' the wars
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school'd
In boulted language; meal and bran together
He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
I'll go to him, and undertake to bring him1
Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,
(In peace) to his utmost peril.

1 Sen.
Noble tribunes,
It is the humane way: the other course
Will prove too bloody; and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.2


Noble Menenius,

Be you then as the people's officer:-
Masters, lay down your weapons.


Go not home.

Sic. Meet on the market-place:We 'll attend you


Where, if you bring not Marcius, we 'll proceed
In our first way.


I'll bring him to you:

Let me desire your company. [To the Senators.] He

must come,

Or what is worst will follow.

1 Sen.

Pray you, let's to him.


1 to bring him-] In the old copy the words in peace are found at the end of this line. They probably were in the MS. placed at the beginning of the next line, and caught by the transcriber's eye glancing on the line below. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. Malone.


the end of it

Unknown to the beginning.] So, in The Tempest, Act II, sc. i: "The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning."



A Room in Coriolanus's House.

Enter CORIOLANUS, and Patricians.

Cor. Let them pull all about mine ears; present me Death on the wheel, or at wild horses' heels ;3 Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock, That the precipitation might down stretch Below the beam of sight, yet will I still Be thus to them.

3 Death on the wheel, or at wild horses' heels;] Neither of these punishments was known at Rome. Shakspeare had probably read or heard in his youth that Balthazar de Gerrard, who assassinated William Prince of Orange in 1584, was torn to pieces by wild horses; as Nicholas de Salvedo had been not long before, for conspiring to take away the life of that gallant prince.

When I wrote this note, the punishment which Tullus Hostilius inflicted on Metius Suffetius for deserting the Roman standard, had escaped my memory:

"Haud procul inde cita Metium in diversa quadrigæ
"Distulerant, (at tu dictis, Albane, maneres,)
"Raptabatque viri mendacis viscera Tullus

"Per sylvam; et sparsi rorabant sanguine vepres." Æn. VIII, 642. However, as Shakspeare has coupled this species of punishment with another that certainly was unknown to ancient Rome, it is highly probable that he was not apprized of the story of Metius Suffetius, and that in this, as in various other instances, the practice of his own time was in his thoughts: (for in 1594 John Chastel had been thus executed in France for attempting to assassinate Henry the Fourth :) more especially as we know from the testimony of Livy that this cruel capital punishment was never inflicted from the beginning to the end of the Republick, except in this single instance:

Exinde, duabus admotis quadrigis, in currus earum distentum illigat Metium. Deinde in diversum iter equi concitati, lacerum in utroque curru corpus quâ inhæserant vinculis membra, portantes. Avertêre omnes a tantâ fœditate spectaculi oculos. Primum ultimumque illud supplicium apud Romanos exempli parum memoris legum humanarum fuit: in aliis, gloriari licet nulli gentium mitiores placuisse pœnas." Liv. Lib. I, xxviii.


Shakspeare might have found mention of this punishment in our ancient romances. Thus, in The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 55: Thou venemouse serpente

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"With wilde horses thou shalt be drawe to morowe
"And on this hille be brente." Steevens.

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Does not approve me further, who was wont
To call them woollen vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats; to show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still, and wonder,
When one but of my ordinances stood up
To speak of peace, or war. I talk of you;
[To VOL.
Why did you wish me milder? Would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say, I play

The man I am.6


O, sir, sir, sir,

I would have had you put your power well on,
Before you had worn it out.


Let go."

Vol. You might have been enough the man you are, With striving less to be so: Lesser had been The thwartings of your dispositions, if

You had not show'd them how you were dispos'd

Ere they lack'd power to cross you.


Vol. Ay, and burn too.

Let them hang.

I muse,] That is, I wonder, I am at a loss. Johnson. So, in Macbeth:


"Do not muse at me, my most noble friends -." Steevens.

my ordinance ] My rank. Johnson.

• The man I am.] Sir Thomas Hanmer supplies the defect in this line, very judiciously in my opinion, by reading:

Truly the man I am.

Truly is properly opposed to False in the preceding line.


Let go.] Here again, Sir Thomas Hanmer, with sufficient propriety, reads-Why, let it go.-Mr. Ritson would complete the measure with a similar expression, which occurs in Othello: -"Let it go all-Too many of the short replies in this and other plays of Shakspeare, are apparently mutilated. Steevens. 3 The thwartings of your dispositions,] The old copies exhibit it: "The things of your dispositions."

A few letters replaced, that by some carelessness dropped out, restore us the poet's genuine reading:

The thwartings of your dispositions. Theobald.
Mr. Theobald only improved on Mr. Rowe's correction;
The things that thwart your dispositions. Malone.

Enter MENENIUS, and Senators.

Men. Come, come, you have been too rough, something too rough;

You must return, and mend it.

1 Sen.

There's no remedy;

Pray, be counsel'd:

Unless, by not so doing, our good city
Cleave in the midst, and perish.


I have a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain, that leads my use of anger,

To better vantage.


Well said, noble woman:

Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that
The violent fit o' the time craves it as physick
For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
Which I can scarcely bear.

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Repent what you have spoke.

Cor. For them?-I cannot do it to the gods; Must I then do 't to them?


You are too absolute;

Though therein you can never be too noble,
But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,
Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends,

9 Before he should thus stoop to the herd,] [Old copy-stoop to the heart.] But how did Coriolanus stoop to his heart? He rather, as we vulgarly express it, made his proud heart stoop to the necessity of the times. I am persuaded, my emendation gives the true reading. So before in this play:

"Are these your herd?"

So, in Julius Caesar: ".

when he perceived, the common herd was glad he refus'd the crown," &c. Theobald.

Mr. Theobald's conjecture is confirmed by a passage, in which Coriolanus thus describes the people:

"You shames of Rome! you herd of

Herd was anciently spelt heard. Hence heart crept into the old copy. Malone.

1 You are too absolute;

Though therein you can never be too noble,

But when extremities speak.] Except in cases of urgent necessity, when your resolute and noble spirit, however commen. dable at other times, ought to yield to the occasion. Malone.

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