Scene X. Verity (Student's Sh.): The dominant idea of the scene is ‘dramatic irony.’ And there is, I think, a peculiar verbal deliberateness in the ‘irony.’ What Aufidius says in ll. 27-30 is the precise antithesis of what he afterwards does (IV, v.), though in the end (V, vi.) he swings back to his first purpose. We have seen (I, iv, 57, I, vi, 89) the ‘ironical’ method applied similarly to Aufidius's great rival, hence a parallelism of design and development in the story.
The . . . Condition? Walker (Crit., iii, 210): Perhaps we should arrange: ‘Aufid. The town is ta'en.
1 Sold. 'Twill be deliver'd back
On good condition.
We may suppose Aufidius to syllable the hated word. The Towne is ta'ne Bayfield (191): Is it within the remotest bounds of possibility that Shakespeare wrote ‘The town is tane!’? Modern editors may seek to beguile us by printing ‘ta'en,’ but that does not mend the matter; the sound of the syllables is unchanged. What should we think of a modern poet who wrote: ‘The Seine is seen,’ or ‘The lane is lone,’ or ‘The main doth moan,’ or ‘The sullen tarn awaked her teen’? Yet we are quite ready to assign to Shakespeare the most preposterous of the Folio's vagaries. It is hardly too much to say that, if the various phenomena we are considering were genuine, he must, as he wrote his plays, have been subject from moment to moment to recurrent fits of lunacy.
'Twill . . . mercy Case (Arden Sh.): Shakespeare plays upon ‘condition.’ The first (l. 4), favourable terms, when repeated by Aufidius, suggests state to him and accounts for his remark, ll. 5, 6; his second repetition suggests quality. The whole passage runs: It will be restored on good condition (favourable terms). Auf. Condition! A nice condition we are in! I would . . . for I cannot . . . be an unyielding enemy, a free spirit. Condition indeed! What good quality will treaty-granters discover that is at their mercy? For this last sense of ‘condition’ (manners, quality, disposition) see II, iii, 99, post. It is common.
Volce Capell (vol. I, pt i, p. 85): Volce and Volces or Volcies—the names us'd by Shakespeare, and which he had from his Plutarch—are vanish'd out of all modern copies except the first [see Text. Notes]; and so is Coriolus, a word as constantly us'd by him instead of Corioli; the present editor thought it right to dismiss the old readings as they have done, except in this place, where the measure is hurt by their Volcian. The speaker's sense is expressed with great force, being a puffy exalting of his own valour, and a debasing of that of his countrymen. He speaks again of this valour at l. 20 in the same confident terms that we have here, adding that his rage against Marcius should make it upon some future occasion ‘fly out of itself’; that is, exceed the bounds of true valour, and degenerate into fury and perfidy; preparing us by this declaration for the actual future commission of what is threatened in a part of this speech.—[Johnson, whose edition appeared almost contemporaneously with Capell's Notes, likewise calls attention to the change Volcian as destructive to metrical regularity, but has not the hardihood of Capell to depart from the example of his predecessors Pope and Theobald.—Ed.]
I'th'part . . . at mercy W. A. Wright: Compare Tro. & Cress., IV, iv, 116: ‘If e'er thou stand at mercy of my sword.’ In the old language of the law courts a person was said to be in misericordia, or à merci, when he had rendered himself liable to a penalty which was imposed at the mercy of the court. The phrase ‘in mercy’ in the same sense occurs in Lear, I, iv, 350: ‘He may enguard his dotage with their powers And hold our lives in mercy.’ In Cowel's Law Dictionary ‘Misericordia’ is defined as ‘an Arbitrary Amerciement imposed on any for an Offence; for where the Plaintiff or Defendant in any Action is amerced, the Entry is Ideo in Misericordia.’ fiue times Theobald (Letter to Warburton, Feb. 12, 1729, Nichols, ii, 480): Well; Marcius after this goes home; stands up for the Consulship; is banished; never meets any more with Aufidius till he seeks him in his own palace; and then Aufidius says: ‘Thou hast beat me out twelve several times,’ &c. Either Aufidius, or our poet, has a very treacherous memory, and I am afraid History will hardly help to reconcile the contradiction.
beard to beard Steevens: So in Macbeth, ‘We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,’ [V, v, 6].
Mine Emulation . . . may get him Malone (Supplemental Observations, i, 219): I am not so honourable an adversary as I was; for whereas I thought to have subdued him in equal combat, our swords being fairly opposed to each other; but now I am determined to destroy him in whatever way my resentment or cunning may devise. ‘Where’ is used here, as in many other places, for whereas. [For examples of ‘where’ in this sense, see Abbott, § 134.]—Coleridge, in his Notes on this play, commenting on this and the next speech of Aufidius, says: ‘I have such deep faith in Shakespeare's heart-lore that I take for granted that this is in nature, and not as a mere anomaly; although I cannot in myself discover any germ of possible feeling which could wax and unfold itself into such sentiment as this. However, I perceive that in this speech is meant to be contained a prevention of shock at the after-change in Aufidius's character.’—Verplanck: Such a criticism from Coleridge is worthy the reader's consideration, but I cannot myself perceive its justice. The varying feelings of Aufidius are such as may be often observed to arise in the contentions of able and ambitious men for honour or power, and are just such as would, under these circumstances, be natural in a mind like that of Aufidius—ambitious, proud, and bold, with many noble and generous qualities, yet not above the influence of selfish and vindictive emotions and desires. The mortification of defeat embitters his rivalry to hatred. When afterwards his banished rival appeals to his nobler nature, that hatred dies away and his generous feeling revives. Bitter jealousy and hatred again grow up as his glories are eclipsed by his former adversary; yet this dark passion too finally yields to a generous sorrow at his rival's death. I think that I have observed very similar alternations of such mixed motives and sentiments in eminent men in the collisions of political life.—Hudson (Sh's Life, Art, etc., ii, 487), after quoting in part the foregoing remark by Coleridge, says: ‘The speech is hard indeed; but I do not take it as a fair index of the speaker's real mind; it seems to me but one of those ebullitions of rage in which men's hearts are not so bad as their tongues; the impulsive extravagance of a very ambitious and inconstant nature writhing in an agony of disappointment. In such cases dark thoughts often bubble up from unseen depths in the mind, yet do not crystallize into character. Still it must be owned that Aufidius comes pretty near putting the thought of the speech into act at last.’—MacCallum (p. 586): It seems strange that Coleridge should say this, for it is proved by not a few examples that baffled emulation may issue in an envy which knows few restraints. Peril was the avowal rather than the temper which struck him as verging on the unnatural or abnormal. Those who deliberately adopt such an attitude do not usually admit it to themselves, still less to their victims, and least of all to a third party, which may admonish us that Aufidius's threats were not deliberate, but mere frantic outcries wrung from him in rage and mortification. Yet they spring from authentic impulses in his heart, and though they may for a time be hidden by his superficial chivalry, yet they will spread and thrive if the conditions favour their growth. When they have over-run his nature and choked the wholesome grain, he will not point to them so openly and will name them by other names. But they are the same and differ from what they were only as the thorny thicket differs from its parent seeds. They have always been there, and it is well that we should be aware of their presence from the first. . . . In short, it is not to be taken as his definite program from which he inconsistently deviates when the opportunity is offered at Antium for carrying it out, but as the involuntary presentment, which the revealing power of anguish awakens in his soul, of the crimes he is capable of committing for his master passion, a presentiment that in the end is realised almost to the letter.—T. Page: We do not feel Coleridge's difficulty here; we regard the words, awful as they are, as scarcely to be taken seriously; they represent simply a temporary furious outburst of anger couched in the wildest language Aufidius can discover on the spur of the moment.
potche Murray (N. E. D., s. v. Poach, v2. Forms: poche, potch, poach, 3b.): To make a stab or thrust at as in fencing. Also fig. Obs. rare. [The present line quoted.]
my valors . . . of it selfe Beeching (Henry Irving Sh.): My valour, poisoned simply by losing colour in comparison with his, shall, in order to do him hurt, leave its true nature altogether and become cowardly. Aufidius means he will turn assassin. To ‘stain’ or distain was originally not to dye, but to take colour out. Compare Ant. & Cleo., III, iv, 26, 27, ‘I'll raise the preparation of a war Shall stain your brother.’ [Beeching in his text reads with Pope ‘valour,’ placing a comma after that word and also after ‘him,’ l. 21.] valors poison'd, . . . him: Tyrwhitt: The construction of this passage would be clearer if it were written thus: ‘my valour poison'd With only suffering stain by him, for him,’ etc. [The Text. Notes will demonstrate that Tyrwhitt has not collated the texts of his predecessors.—Ed.]
sanctuary Walker (Vers., p. 163): ‘Sanctuary’ is very often a dissyllable. In old times the word, like the thing itself, was in frequent use, and, like other familiar terms, became shortened for convenience sake. In Sir Henry Ellis's Letter's Illustrative of English History, as quoted, Athenæum, No. 973, p. 625, col. 3, letter from Lawrence Stubbs to Cardinal Wolsey, the sanctuary men are called in three places Sentuary men, Ib. the Sentuary. Santry still exists as a family name; so, by the way, does Sanctuary. [Walker furnishes several examples, among them the present line, wherein, for the sake of the metre, ‘Sanctuary’ is to be pronounced sanct'ry.—Ed.]
Being naked, sicke Beeching (Falcon Sh.): That is, ‘Nor nakedness, nor sickness.’ Compare Matthew, xxv, 35, 36, ‘I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me,’ etc. [Beeching is possibly right, but at the same time it is to be remembered that Shakespeare, and other writers of his time, frequently use ‘naked’ in the sense of defenseless, unarmed. See Schmidt (Lex., s. v. 3) for examples. On the other hand, that ‘sick’ is here coupled with ‘naked’ is in favour of Beeching's comparison.—Ed.]
Embarquements Warburton: The dramatic art of this speech is great. For after Aufidius had so generously received Coriolanus in exile, nothing but the memory of this speech, which lets one so well into Aufidius's nature, could make his after perfidy and baseness at all probable. But this line [l. 25] is corrupt. For tho', indeed, he might call the assaulting Marcius at any of those sacred seasons and places an embarkment of fury; yet he could not call the seasons and places themselves, so. We may believe, therefore, that Shakespeare wrote: ‘Embarrments all of fury,’ &c., i. e., obstacles. Tho' those seasons and places are all obstacles to my fury, yet &c. The Oxford Editor [Hanmer] has, in his usual way, refined upon this emendation in order to make it his own; and so reads Embankments, not considering how ill this metaphor agrees with what is said just after of their lifting up ‘their rotten privilege’ which evidently refers to a wooden bar, not an earthen bank. These two generals are drawn equally covetous of glory: But the Volscian not scrupulous about the means. And his immediate repentence, after the assassinate [sic], well agrees with such a character.—Heath (p. 413): As Embarrments is a word quite new from Mr Warburton's own coinage, from whence he hath so plentifully besprinkled our poet's works with terms of base alloy, I am not much inclined to accept it for current. The reading of the former editions was embarkments. Why may not this word have the same meaning as embargo, derived from the Spanish, embargar, to arrest, stop, or stay; whence also in the same language, embaracion, an arresting or stopping? Or if the reader should think a new word should be coined for the occasion, why not as well embargments? Mr Warburton's cavil about the uniformity of the metaphor is mere trifling. For an embarrment made with a wooden bar, as he chooses to have it, unless the said bar be supposed to lift up itself, can no more lift up a privilege than an embarkment can.—Steevens: The word in the old copy is spelt ‘embarquements,’ and, as Cotgrave says, meant not only an embarkation, but an embargoing. The ‘rotten privilege and custom’ that follow seem to favor this explanation, and therefore the old reading may well enough stand, as an embargo is undoubtedly an impediment.—Malone: In Sherwood's English and French Dictionary, at the end of Cotgrave's, we find: ‘To imbark, to imbargue. Embarquer.’ ‘An imbarking, an imbarguing. Embarquement.’ Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, has ‘to imbarque, or lay an imbargo upon.’ There can be no doubt, therefore, that the old copy is right. If we derive the word from the Spanish, embargar, perhaps we ought to write embargement; but Shakespeare's word certainly came to us from the French, and therefore is more properly written embarquements or embarkments.—Walker (Vers., p. 163), without reference to Hanmer, says: ‘Embankments all of fury is the true reading.’—Wimshurst (N. & Q., 11 March, 1905, p. 184), without reference either to Hanmer or Walker, also says that Embankments seems to be the word needed.—Ed.
At home . . . Brothers Guard Johnson: In my own house, with my brother posted to protect him. Brothers Guard Keightley (Expositor, p. 361): With the fullest conviction I read for ‘brother's guard’ household hearth; for that was the very place where he did find him. ‘He got him up straight to the chimney hearth, and sate him down’ (North's Plutarch). Besides, we never hear that Aufidius had a brother; and it should be under, not ‘upon,’ the guard; a man is, or stands, on his own, not on another's guard. In Rich. II: IV, i,  we have ‘under his household roof’; and household hearth occurs in Campbell's Gertrude of Wyoming, iii, 17. [In both his editions, 1864 and 1865, Keightley records this reading, which later, in his Expositor (1867), became of ‘fullest conviction,’ merely as a conjectural reading. As to Keightley's objection that this should be under, not ‘upon’ guard, of which he says there are no examples, Wright, following Johnson's interpretation of the foregoing words, quotes in illustration: ‘The messenger Came on my guard,’ Ant. & Cleo., IV, vi, 23, i. e., while I was on guard. The quotation given by Steevens, ‘The lieutenant watches tonight on the court of guard,’ is not, I think, apposite; ‘the court of guard’ means the court where the guard is placed, as is shown by Othello's words in a later scene, ‘In night and on the court of guard and safety’ (II, iii, 216).—Ed.]
I am attended . . . I shall sir Bayfield (p. 194): So the Folio, which editors follow apparently without suspicion, although l. 34 is a purposeless Alexandrine. The abbreviation ‘'Tis’ is at the bottom of the mischief, and we should read and arrange thus: ‘I am attended at the cyprus grove
I pray,—it is south the city mills—
Bring me | word thither | how the | world goes, that | to
The | pace of it | I may | spur on my | journey.—I shall, sir.’
attended That is, waited for. Compare I, i, 74; I, i, 265.
'Tis South the City Mils Tyrwhitt: But where could Shakespeare have heard of these mills at Antium? I believe we ought to read, ‘'Tis south the city a mile.’—Steevens: Shakespeare is seldom careful about such little improprieties. Coriolanus speaks of our divines, and Menenius, of graves in the holy churchyard. It is said afterwards that Coriolanus talks like a knell; and drums, and Hob, and Dick are, with as little attention to time or place, introduced in this tragedy.— Malone: Shakespeare frequently introduces those minute local descriptions probably to give an air of truth to his pieces. So in Romeo & Juliet, ‘—underneath the grove of sycamore, That westward rooteth from the city's side,’ [I, i, 128]. Again, ‘Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree,’ [Ibid., III, v, 4]. Mr Tyrwhitt's question may be answered by another question: Where could Lydgate hear of the mills near Troy? ‘And as I ride upon this flode On eche syde many a mylle stode, When nede was their graine and corne to grinde,’ Auncient Historie, &c., 1555.—W. A. Wright: It is worth while observing, as an indication that in such cases of local colouring Shakespeare had probably London in his mind, that in the year 1588 the Mayor and Corporation of the City petitioned the Queen that they might build four corn mills on the river Thames near the Bridge, and the Masters of the Trinity House certified that the erection of these mills ‘on the south side of the Thames upon the Starlings above the bridge’ would breed no annoyance. The ‘city mills,’ therefore, in Shakespeare's time were close to the Globe Theatre.
I shall sir : For this use of ‘shall,’ see note by Abbott, I, ix, 93, ante.— Raleigh (p. 102): The whole First Act of Coriolanus is so full of alarums and excursions and hand-to-hand fighting, with hard blows given and taken, that it is tedious to Shakespeare's modern admirers, but it gave keen pleasure to the patrons of the Globe. The Comedy of Errors is noisy with beatings and the outcries of the victims. All these things, though it discolour the complexion of his greatness to acknowledge it, were imposed upon Shakespeare by the tastes and habits of his patrons and by the fashions of the primitive theatre. It was on this robust stock that his towering thought and his delicate fancy were grafted.