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I would they would forget me, like the virtues
You'll mar all;
[Exit, Enter Two Citizens. Cor.
Bid them wash their faces, And keep their teeth clean.-So, here comes a brace. You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
I Cit. We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to 't. Cor. Mine own desert. 2 Cit.
Your own desert ? Cor.
Ay, not Mine own desire.5 1 Cit.
How! not your own desire?
1 Cit. You must think, if we give you any thing, We hope to gain by you.
Cor. Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship? 1 Cit. The price is, sir,o to ask it kindly.
3 I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by them.] i. e. I wish they would forget me as they do those virtuous precepts, which the divines preach up to them, and lose by them, as it were, by their nego lecting the practice. Theobald.
4 In wholesome manner.] So, in Hamlet : “If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer.” Steevens.
Mine own desire.) The old copy—but mine own desire. If bus be the true reading, it must signify, as in the North—without.
Steevens. But is only the reading of the first folio: Not is the true reading. Ritson.
The answer of the Citizen fully supports the correction, which was made by the editor of the third folio. But and not are often confounded in these plays. See Vol. V, p. 33, n. 1.
In a passage in Love's Labour 's Lost, Vol. IV. p. 80, n. 6, from the reluctance which I always feel to depart from the original copy, I have suffered not to remain, and have endeavoured to explain the words as they stand; but I am now convinced that I ought to have printed
By earth, she is but corporal; there you lie. Malone. 6 The price is, sir, &c.] The word-sir, has been supplied by one of the modern editors to complete the verse. Steevens.
You shall have it, worthy sir.
But this is something odd. 2 Cit. An 'twere to give again,-But ’tis no matter.
[Exeunt Two Citizens. Enter Two other Citizens. Cor. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices, that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
3 Cit. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.
Cor. Your enigma?
3 Cit. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod to her friends; you have not, indeed, loved the common people.
Cor. You should account me the more virtuous, that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise the insinuating nod, and be off to them most counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man, and give it bountifully to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may be consul.
4 Cit. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.
3 Čit. You have received many wounds for your country.
Cor. I will not seal your knowledge with showing
7 But this is something odd.) As this hemistich is too bulky to join with its predecessor, we may suppose our author to have written only
This is something odd; and that the compositor's eye had caught-But, from the suc. ceeding line. Steevens.
* I will not seal your knowledge -]. I will not strengthen or com
them. I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
Both Cit. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily![Exeunt.
Cor. Most sweet voices!
plete your knowledge. The seal is that which gives authenticity to a writing. Fohnson.
the hire -] The old copy has higher, and this is one of the many proofs that several parts of the original folio edition of these plays were dictated by one and written down by another.
Malone. this woolvish gown -] Signifies this rough hirsute gown.
Fohnson. The first folio reads--this wolvish tongue. Gown is the reading of the second folio, and, I believe, the true one.
Let us try, however, to extract some meaning from the word exhibited in the elder copy.
The white robe worn by a candidate was made, I think, of white lamb-skins. How comes it then to be called wooluish, unless in allusion to the fable of the wolf in sheep's clothing? Perhaps the poet meant only, Why do I stand with a tongue deceitful as that of the wolf, and seem to flatter those whom I would wish to treat with my usual ferocity? We might perhaps more distinctly read:
- with this woolvish tongue, unless tongue be used for tone or accent. Tongue might, indeed, be only a typographical mistake, the word designed be toge, which is lised in Othello. Yet, it is as probable, if Shakspeare originally wrote-toge, that he afterwards exchanged it for-gown, a word more intelligible to his audience. Our author, however, does not appear to have known what the toga hirsuta was, because he has just before called it the napless gown of humility. Since the foregoing note was written, I met
with the following passage in “ A Merye Jest of a Man called Howleglas,” bl. 1. no date. Howleglas hired himself to a tailor, who “ caste unto him a husbande mans gown, and bad him take a wolfe, and make it up.—Then cut Howleglas the husbandmans gowne and made thereof a woulfe with the head and feete, &c. Then says the maister, I ment that you should have made up the russet gown, for a husbandman's gowne is here called a wolfe.” By a wolvish gown, therefore, Shakspeare might have meant Coriolanus to compare the dress of a Roman candidate to the coarse frock of a ploughman, who exposed himself to solicit the votes of his fellow rusticks. Steedens. Mr. Steevens has in his note on this passage cited the ro
Their needless vouches ?2 Custom calls me to 't:-
mance of Howleglas to show that a husbandman's gown was call. ed a wolf; but quære if it be called so in this country? it must be remembered that Howleglas is literally translated from the French where the word "loup" certainly occurs, but I believe it has not the same signification in that language. The French copy also may be literally rendered from the German. Douce.
Mr. Steevens, however, is clearly right, in supposing the allusion to be to the “ wolf in sheep's clothing;” not indeed that Coriolanus means to call himself a wolf; but mercly to say, “ Why should I stand here playing the hypocrite, and simulating the bumility which is not in my nature ?” Ritson.
Why in this woolvish gown should I stand here,) I suppose the meaning is, Why should I stand in this gown of humility, which is little expressive of my feelings towards the people; as far from being an emblem of my real character, as the sheep's clothing on a wolf is expressive of his disposition. I believe woolvish was used by our author for false or deceitful, and that the phrase was suggested to him, as Mr. Steevens seems to think, by the common expression,—"a wolf in sheep's clothing.” Mr. Mason says, that this is a ludicrous idea, and ought to be treated as such." I have paid due i ttention to many of the ingenious commentator's remarks in the present edition, and therefore I am sure he will pardon me when I observe that specul:'ve criticism on these plays will ever be liable to error, unless we add to it an intimate acquaintance with the language and writings of the predecessors and contemporaries of Shakspeare. If Mr. Mason had read the following line in Churchyard's Legend of Cardinal Wolsey, Mirror for Magistrates, 1587, instead of considering this as a ludicrous interpretation, he would probably have ad. mitted it to be a natural and just explication of the epith before us:
“O fye on wolves, that march in masking clothes." The woolqish [gown or] toge is a gown of humility, in which Coriclanus thinks he shall appear in masquerade ; and not in his real and natural character.
Woolvish cannot mean rough, hirsute, as Dr. Johnson interprets it, because the gown Coriolanus wore has already been described as napless.
T}e old copy has tongue; which was a very natural error for the compositor at the press to fall into, who almost always substitutes a familiar English word for one derived from the Latin, which he does not understand. The very same mistake has happered in Othello, where we find" tongued consuls,” for toged consuls—The particle in shows that tongue cannot be right. The editor of the second folio solved the difficulty as usual, by substiuuting gown, without any regard to the word in the original copy.
Malone. ? To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
Their needless vouches.?] Why stand I here,--to beg of Hob
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
Enter Three other Citizens.
any honest man's voice.
6 Cit. Therefore let him be consul: The gods give him joy, and make him good friend to the people!
AU. Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul! [Exeunt Citizens. Cor.
Worthy voices! Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS, and SICINIUS.
Men. You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes Endue you with the people's voice: Remains, That, in the official marks invested, you Anon do meet the senate. Cor.
Is this done?
and Dick, and such others as make their appearance here, their unnecessary voices ? Fohnson.
By strange inattention our poet has here given the names (as in many other places he has attributed the customs) of England, to ancient Rome. It appears from Minsheu's DictioNARY, 1617, in v. QUINTAINE, that these were some of the most common names among the people in Shakspeare's time: “A QuinTAINE or QUINTELLE, a game in request at marriages, where Jac and Tom, Dic, Hob, and Will, strive for the gay garland.”
Malone. Again, in an old equivocal English prophecy:
“ The country gnuffs, Hob, Dick, and Hick,
in earnest, to petition for the consulate: perhaps we may better read :
- battles thrice six