Scene IV. Verity (Student's Sh.): This and the remaining scenes of this Act in which he appears show us Coriolanus at his greatest, i. e., as a great soldier. The picture is necessary to the peculiar pity and pitifulness of his end. And we must know him fully in the field before we can grasp the causes of his failure in the Forum. He is as detached from the average citizen in the one place as in the other. In the very virtues which make him so splendid ‘Before Corioli,’ but so unlike others, lie the tragic possibilities that work his downfall.
Enter Martius . . . a Messenger Miss C. Porter (First Folio Sh.): The Folio stage-directions indicate the arrangement for this scene. Martius and Lartius with Drumme Colours, with Captaines and Souldiers, enter from the side on the fore-stage outside the rear-stage, and talk of the horses, from which the audience are to be quick to assume they have just dismounted as from a journey. The scene then is no longer to be imagined as Rome. And their talk is long enough to permit that arrangement of the rear-stage which all the siege-scenes in the plays indicate, namely, bare walls, denuded of curtains, presenting the appearance of gates on a level with the audience and high city walls. On the top of these, that is, on the upper-stage, the two Senators of the besieged city with others on the Walles of Corialus appear, according to the Folio stage-directions, when, after their brief dialogue, Martius and his force turn to the rear-stage, as before the City Corialus, and blow their blast, sounding a Parley. The First Senator refers to the rear-stage folding-doors below them when he says ‘our Gates Which yet seeme shut.’ The call of Lartius for ‘Ladders hoa’ adds to this effect. As in Henry V. and other plays depicting a siege scaling ladders to set against the walls and climb upon added to the effectiveness of the stage action. In this case much play with these ladders was not indulged in, for, as Martius rejoins, the Volscians did not ‘feare’ them. They issued forth through the gates, which, as the Senator promised, opened ‘of themselves,’ beating the Romans forward on to the forestage, until Marcius alone, not having been beaten forward with the rest, enters as from these gates, charging his men to come on, and then, following the returning Volscians, is with them shut in, while the Roman soldiers near him turn back at l. 66, Enter the Gati [Gates]. After the stage-direction at l. 91, all enter the City, that is, the rear-stage, many of them, of course, making their exeunt under this cover. But at what is now marked scene v. three of the soldiers re-enter, appearing with booty they evidently lug from behind the scenes into the rear-stage.—[Prolss (pp. 9-13) discusses at length the probable arrangement and acting of this and the following scenes on the Elizabethan stage. His description calls for dividing curtains and the use of the fore- and middle-stages, but the whole account is so involved that it soon becomes quite incomprehensible, and could only be clearly visualised by the aid of a detailed diagram numbered and lettered, which, unfortunately, Prolss does not provide. Miss Porter's foregoing remarks on this point are, I think, all sufficient.—Ed.]—Oechelhaüser (Einführungen, etc., i, 301) compresses the remaining scenes of this Act into one long scene, beginning, however, with the Folio's second scene, between Aufidius and his lieutenant; for this he advises a very deep stage and gives the following description of the scenic arrangement: ‘In the background the walls and fortifications of Corioli; diagonally left, the gate of the stronghold. The border-space remains quite open for the entrance of troops and the conference of the commanders. The middle-stage rises gradually towards Corioli; from the level of the border-space the road winds up to the gate of Corioli. This middle space is cut off by set pieces (Rocks, mounds, etc.), back of which the actions, skirmishes, and fights take place, partly concealed to the audience. Corioli is raised to such a height that the figures of Coriolanus and the soldiers may be easily seen as they struggle before the gates.’
fielded Steevens: That is, our friends who are in the field of battle. [For many other examples of this formation of an apparent passive participle from nouns and adjectives, see, if needful, Abbott, § 294.]
a man . . . lesse then he Johnson: The sense requires it to be read, ‘nor a man that fears you more than he’; or, more probably, ‘nor a man but fears you less than he.’—Malone: The text, I am confident, is right, our author almost always entangling himself when he uses less and more. ‘Lesser’ in the next line shows that ‘less’ in that preceding was the author's word, and it is extremely improbable that he should have written ‘but fears you less,’ &c.—Capell (vol. I, pt i, p. 83): This ‘less than he’ must be an error; more is the word requir'd by the sense and which the poet intended, but was betray'd into a use of the other for the sake of contrasting it with ‘lesser,’ which occurs in the next sentence. —Douce (ap. Steevens, 1793): Dr Johnson's note appears to me unnecessary, nor do I think with Mr Malone that Shakespeare has here entangled himself, but, on the contrary, that he could not have expressed himself better. The sense is: ‘however little Tullus Aufidius fears, there is not a man within the walls that fears you less.’—Whitelaw: ‘He is not within our walls, and of all men living he fears you least.’ [Dr Johnson's alteration] is better sense, and perhaps ‘less’ is due to a confusion not unlike that in Lear, II, iv, 142: ‘You less know how to value her desert Than she to scant her duty.’—C. & M. Cowden Clarke (Shakespeare): The sentence, we think, means: ‘No, he is not within the walls, nor is there there a man that fears you less than he, who fears you less than next to nothing.’ No man can fear less than one who fears less than a little; and this is one of those simple verities which Shakespeare often gives under the form of an apparent antithesis.—T. Page: We are inclined to accept Clarke's interpretation here. Probably, however, ‘That's lesser than a little’ is equivalent to ‘which is indeed nothing at all.’—Schmidt (Coriolanus) objects to Whitelaw's interpretation on the ground that even were it grammatically possible it would furnish not a commendation of the absent Aufidius, but an arrogant boast on the part of his advocate. ‘It is much better,’ Schmidt adds, ‘to consider this one of those instances, quite frequent in Shakespeare, where by the use of negatives the negation is doubled, apparently illogically, but not contrary to the character of vivid speech. Thus in Richard III, ‘You may deny that you were not the cause.’ In Winter's Tale, ‘wanted less impudence’ = had less impudence. If any alteration is permissible we might write, ‘nor a man that fears you—less than he,’ etc., and thus interpret: ‘Nor a man that fears you—even less than he (are we frightened); with a natural ellipse for which parallels may easily be found.’—W. A. Wright: ‘That fears you less than he’ is probably what Shakespeare wrote, though, as Johnson pointed out, he ought to have said ‘more than he.’ But there is a similar mistake in Tro. & Cress., I, i, 28: ‘Patience herself, what goddess e'er she be, Doth lesser blench at sufferance than I do.’—Beeching (Falcon Sh.): A confusion of ‘nor a man that fears you more than he’ with ‘and no man fears you less than he.’ Confusion in the use of the comparatives is not uncommon in the best writers. See, e. g., Paradise Lost, i, 257, ‘And what I should be, all but less than he’ (a confusion of less with all but equal).—Chambers (Warwick Sh.): Johnson would read ‘more than he’; but it is Aufidius's contempt for Coriolanus on which stress is being laid, not that of the other Volsces.—Verity (Student's Sh.): Two ideas struggle for expression because the speaker is thinking simultaneously but differently of the citizens inside Corioli and of Aufidius—thus: (1) There is no man in the city who fears you more than Aufidius does, i. e., the besieged are not afraid of you at all; (2) ‘Aufidius is not here, and (if he were) there is no man who fears you less than he does.’ Neither less (the Folio's reading) nor the suggested alteration more can cover both ideas. ‘Less’ is undoubtedly right; cf. lesser in the next line. Moreover, ‘less’ agrees with that tendency to intensify a negative idea which we get so often in Shakespeare; compare the frequent use of the double negative. The tendency to repeat a negative is a general principle of language and may be illustrated not from Shakespeare alone. 26. lesser then a little:] P. Simpson (Shakespearian Punctuation, p. 70) quotes this as an example of the use of the colon to mark an emphatic pause; comparing also, ‘He will come straight: Looke you lay home to him,’ etc., Hamlet, III, iv, 1, 2.
Drum a farre off Cowling (p. 38): In this stage-direction the drums were supposed to be within Corioli rousing the Volscians, and they beat during the Roman attack. The whole back-stage represented Corioli. The balcony was ‘the walls’ upon which the Volscians came to parley with the Romans. A sidedoor represented ‘the gates.’ Through it the Volscians made a sortie and drove back the Romans. Through it again Marcius drives them back and is shut in with them.
Wee'l breake our Walles Case (Arden Sh.): There is a possible but not very probable alternative to the ordinary sense here. ‘Break’ may be used in the sense of break cover, escape from, issue out of, which, perhaps, also occurs in Timon, IV, iii, 354: ‘How has the ass broke the wall, that thou art out of the city?’ The N. E. D. gives an instance of ‘break’ in the sense of to break cover, from The Returne from Pernassus, II, 5, ‘the Buck broke gallantly.’ See also the examples of to break prison or jail, e. g., 1674, J. [Brian], Harv. Home, viii, 52: ‘Who is himself; and breaks the jayl must die.’
Their . . . our instruction Case (Arden Sh.): Schmidt (Lex.) explains ‘instruction’ here as information, citing Ant. & Cleo., V, i, 54, but Lartius's words signify, Let the sound of their activity teach us to play our own part without delay. Nor is the usual sense of instruction necessarily absent from the passage adduced from Ant. & Cleo., ‘The queen . . . Of thy intents desires instruction, That she preparedly may frame herself To the way she's forced to.’
forth their Citie For other examples of ‘forth’ thus used as a preposition = from, see Abbott, § 156.
You Shames . . . you Heard of Theobald (Shakespeare Restored, p. 151), referring especially to Pope's strange pointing of this line, ‘You shames of Rome; you herds; of boils and plagues,’ etc., says: ‘Here the old copies are defective in the pointing, by which the sense is so maim'd that this too must be a passage which either was not revised by Mr Pope, or in which he would not indulge his private sense to make it intelligible. Mr Dennis, who has alter'd this Play, was obliged, by a different disposition of the Fable, to leave out this passage, otherwise, I am persuaded, there would have been no room for my making a correction upon it. The meanest judges of English must be aware that no member of any sentence can begin with a genitive case, and a preceding nominative be wanting to govern that and the verb. Where, therefore, is the nominative to of boils and plagues plaster you o'er? Or what sense or syntax is there in the passage as it now stands? Restore it without the least doubt, ‘You shames of Rome, you! Herds of boils and plagues,’ etc. It is not infrequent with Shakespeare to redouble his pronouns, as in this place. So, ‘I am no baby, I; that with base pray'rs I should repent the evil I have done,’ Titus And., [V, iii, 185]. So, Rom. & Jul., ‘I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I,’ [III, i, 58].—Malone: This passage, like almost every other abrupt sentence in these plays, was rendered unintelligible in the old copy by inaccurate punctuation. ‘You herd of cowards!’ Marcius would say, but his rage prevents him. In a former passage he is equally impetuous and abrupt: ‘—one's Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not—'death,
The rabble should have first,’ &c.
Speaking of the people in a subsequent scene he uses the same expression: ‘Are these your herd? Must these have voices,’ &c. Again: ‘More of your conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians.’ —[Malone in his edition, 1790, thus regulates this line: ‘You shames of Rome! you herd of—Boils and plagues,’ etc., remarking in his note that for this regulation he is answerable. Johnson had, however, thus given the line in his text twentyfive years before Malone's appeared; an unfortunate betrayal of the fact that Malone had not examined the texts of all his predecessors, since he ascribes to them, without exception, the punctuation suggested by Theobald in his Shakespeare Restored, see Text. Notes.—Ed.]—Collier (Notes & Emendations, p. 348): This mode of spelling ‘Heard’ leads us to the corruption which was detected (possibly by mere conjecture, but more probably with the aid of some extraneous authority) by the MS. Corrector; and when pointed out it must, we apprehend, be admitted without an instant's controversy: ‘You shames of Rome! Unheard of boils and plagues Plaster you o'er,’ &c. The whole difficulty seems to have been produced by a strange lapse on the part of the old printer.—[The challenge conveyed in the whole tone of this presentation of the emendation by his MS. Corrector is unfortunately characteristic of Collier's Notes on these corrections. A challenge which Collier's opponents, Singer and Dyce, accepted at once, armed with rancor and bitterness. Singer (Sh. Vindicated, p. 210) thus replies: ‘I do not hesitate to prefer the reading universally adopted to the very improbable reading proposed, “Unheard of boils and plagues”; why unheard of? Heard is the way in which herd is spelt in other places. Marcius is in a vehement passion, and the interruption in his invective marks his impatient anger. He thus breaks off from hasty indignation elsewhere; and every one must see the superior effect this would have in representation to what it is now proposed to substitute. The corrector of my second folio has, however, substituted A for “You” and reads, “A herd of byles and plagues,” etc.’—Dyce hits both Singer and Collier. Damning with faint praise the MS. correction with the remark that he does not think it ‘very improbable,’ and turning on Singer with the remark that ‘the “boils” might be termed “unheard of” if those on whom they fell were consequently to “be abhorr'd Further than seen.”’ See Appendix, extract from Collier's Trilogy, for his opinion of his opponents.—Ed.]—Hudson (ed. i.): Both changes [that of Collier's MS. Corrector and Singer's], it seems to us, are far from improvements. As the text stands Marcius is characteristically seized with a transport of passion, and the break in his speech finely marks his sudden explosion of rage. [Hudson is here, of course, referring to Johnson's regulation of the line. In his ed. ii. he modifies his opinion of Collier's MS. Corrector's change, saying that he is ‘by no means sure that it ought not to be preferred,’ though he does not go so far as to adopt it in his text.—Ed.]—R. G. White: Collier's MS. correction is a very acceptable reading both for its fitness and its conformity to the original text. —Ingleby (Sh. Hermeneutics, p. 22): From Johnson to Collier every editor understands by ‘Heard,’ armentum, save the latter, who reads ‘unheard-of’; a conjecture which, like so many other candidates for admission into the text, is good per se as a probable misprint, but bad in this place as a substitute for the suspected words. The reason is this: Passion takes concrete forms and avoids generalities. Martius would, in the hands of a master, have been made to denounce a specific malady on the Romans rather than have weakened the force of his substantives by the prefix ‘unheard-of.’ But there is yet another reason. We cannot part with ‘heard’ in the sense of Armentum. Twice in this play the people are so designated, and once in Jul. Cæs.; in all with the same contemptuous usage as in the passage under consideration. We adduce this passage not because the difficulty admits of removal, but because it does not. It is just one of those which we must be content to take and leave as we find it. A score of suppositions may be made to account for the presence of the preposition ‘of.’ We might treat that preposition as governing ‘boils and plagues,’ with the sense of with; or as governed by ‘you herd,’ followed by an aposeopesis; or we might treat ‘of’ as an adverb, equivalent to ‘off!’ and so forth; all these expedients being equally unsatisfactory, and there are still other possibilities to consider. But in such a case it is not decision that is required, but faith. We must stand by the text and wait. The passage resembles one in Timon: ‘Of man and beast the infinite malady Crust you quite o'er.’—III, vi, 108.—Schmidt (Coriolanus) is unwilling to accept unreservedly the regulation of this line as printed by Johnson, since it would be more in character for Coriolanus to apply to the retreating soldiers the worst epithet he could utter. Schmidt therefore gives the line as in the Folio, placing an exclamation point after ‘Plagues’ and taking the verb ‘plaster’ as reflexive. —W. A. Wright in reference to this interpretation says: ‘Although Shakespeare's vocabulary of terms of abuse was most copious, I do not think he would employ so violent a figure as to designate by the names of diseases those who were the subjects of them. It is true that in I, i, 171 ‘scab’ is a term of contempt, but this is rather the result of disease than the disease itself. And similarly, when Stephano says in The Temp., V, i, 286, “O touch me not; I am not Stephano, but a cramp,” he uses the word of the contortions and soreness which are the result of cramp. Hence I cannot regard “boils and plagues” in the present passage as descriptive of the cowardly soldiers, and therefore connected with the preceding “herd of,” but rather as the subject of “plaster” and the beginning of Coriolanus's curse. “Byle” or “Bile” is the old spelling of boil in the early copies of Shakespeare as well as in the Authorised Version, and represents the pronunciation of the word.’—[F. A. Leo (Jahrbuch, xv, p. 48) in a review of Schmidt's edition objects to the editor's elucidation and his regulation of this passage on grounds almost similar to those set forth by Wright, but at greater length. It is, I think, sufficient to record this without entering more fully into Leo's arguments, which are comments on Schmidt rather than on Shakespeare's Coriolanus.—Ed.]—R. M. Spence (N. & Q., Dec. 1, 1877, p. 423): I cannot believe that Coriolanus would have stopped short at ‘You herd of—.’ He would have had no difficulty in completing the invective with ‘hinds’ or some such word. Like the grand old lady, his mother, from whom he had inherited at once the nobility of his nature and the impetuosity of his temper, he was never at a loss for words, and least of all when his passion was roused. I venture to suggest a reading which involves the change only of a single letter in the passage as it stands in the Folio, where ‘herd’ is found in its old form ‘Heard.’ ‘You shames of Rome, you! Hoard of boils and plagues,’ etc. The contemptuous repetition of ‘you’ is quite in Shakespeare's manner. The play upon words in ‘hoard’ and ‘abhorred’ is also quite in his manner. And, lastly, we find the word ‘hoard’ in a similar invective in this very play: ‘O ye're well met: the hoarded plague of the gods Requite your love!’—IV, ii, 17.—[As recorded in the Text. Notes Malone (Supplementary Obs., i, 218) proposed a nearly similar change, viz., hoards, but as it was not repeated in any subsequent edition it may be considered withdrawn.—Perring (p. 292) also made the same suggestion. The similarity between e and o in the handwriting of the period is strongly in favor of this emendation. —Ed.]—Verity (Student's Sh.), following Johnson's regulation, says: ‘The break well suggests Coriolanus's overmastering passion and contempt, as if no word of abuse were sufficient to express his angry scorn. Compare his abruptness in I, i, 226; I, vi, 54. That herds is the word Shakespeare wrote may be inferred from III, i, 44; cf. also III, ii, 43.’ [The reading herds is, however, an emendation by Rowe; and in the line III, ii, 43 herd is Warburton's reading, generally accepted, for ‘heart’ of the Folio.—Ed.]—Miss C. Porter (First Folio Sh.): The attempt to make Martius in his wrath and Shakespeare in his Elizabethan freedom entirely bookish and coherent after the manner of the eighteenth century still remains evident in the change of punctuation here. A characteristic reflexive use of the verb, as pointed out by Schmidt, is thus effaced. The sense is, You heard of Byles and Plagues (may Byles and Plagues) Plaister you o're, etc. The same economy of diction, swiftly re-applying, without repetition, the words just used, as subject, also, for what follows, appears later in the same battle-speech (l. 64), which in sense runs thus: 'Tis for the followers (of) Fortune (that Fortune) widens them.
you soules of Geese Kreyssig (ed. ii, i, 490): This whole passage seems exactly like an ancient Shakespearean paraphrase of the outburst with which Frederick rallied his faltering soldiers before Turgan: ‘Ihr Kerle, wollt ihr denn ewig leben!’
Ile leaue . . . on you Boas (Sh. & His Predecessors, p. 489): Here, in the extremity of his rage, Marcius threatens that desertion to the enemy which he afterwards carries out, and this is not the only hint that patriotism is far from being the main incentive to his unparalleled feats of arms.—[I hold no brief for Coriolanus; I can, in fact, admire him up to a certain point only—his intense virility; but I feel called upon to defend him in this present instance, at least. Is it not almost an exaggerated patriotism that causes his rage at those who hold back from the defense of their country? On the other hand, he considers his own defection not as treachery, but as an action justified by the ingratitude of his own countrymen.—Ed.]
As they . . . Trenches followes Collier (ed. ii.): The Folio has ‘follows,’ a typographical error, perhaps, for Follow us! The ordinary reading is in the past tense, but it should most likely be in the present—an invitation from the hero to his soldiers.—Walker (Crit., iii, 207): The structure of the verse shows that something is wrong, the lines must have run somewhat on this wise, ‘—we'll beat them to their wives, as they Us to our trenches follow'd.’ As to the rest of the arrangement, non liquet. [Lettsom, Walker's editor, in a foot-note on this, remarks: ‘I cannot agree with Walker here. The received reading (followed) is a sophistication by the editor of the Second Folio. The first gives “followes,” which I suspect to be a mere misprint for follow me. I would, therefore, read and point, “As they us to our trenches: follow me.” For the accentuation compare Rom. & Jul., IV, iii, 23: “No, nó! thís shall forbíd it.” The old stagedirection [ll. 61, 62] probably caused the error. The four words, “and is shut in,” belong to the next direction, l. 66, Enter the Gati. What a cluster of blunders in the authentic edition! Since writing the above I have found that Collier proposes, “Follows us,” but the singular is requisite; see the context.’]—W. A. Wright: The word ‘followes’ is superfluous and has probably crept into the text from the stage-direction, ‘Martius followes them to the gates.’ I have therefore omitted it.—Anon. (Times Literary Supplement, 27 July, 1922, p. 482): It is important to note that this stage-direction [ll. 61, 62] is altered in the modern editions [see Text. Notes, Malone]. Whether the new direction is better is of no moment; the point is that it is different. The real question at issue is whether Shakespeare wrote ‘As they us to our trenches followes.’ The rhythm is appalling in itself, and doubly appalling as a desperate appeal in battle. Nor is it improved, save in a purely mechanical sense, by reading ‘followèd.’ The dramatic force is frittered away by the rhythmical debility. The same incident is referred to a little further on by a Messenger (‘I saw our party to their trenches driven’) and by Cominius (‘Where is that slave which told me they had beat you to your trenches?’). Nothing so weak as ‘followes’ there. Is it conceivable that the prime actor in the heat of the battle should have used the flabby word? At all events, no one will deny that ‘We'll beat them to their wives, As they us to our trenches’ is better poetry, better Shakespeare, and better drama. Have we the right to improve the Folio? If we take the Folio stage-direction, we find the suspect word in it. If we count spaces as letters the distance from ‘As’ to ‘followes’ in the text is twenty-seven letters; while the distance from ‘Another’ to ‘followes’ in the stage-direction is also twenty-seven letters. Surely the conclusion is that in the copy from which the play was set up ‘followes’ came immediately after ‘trenches,’ but in the line below. The change of the stage-direction has concealed the process of the corruption. [Reference to the Cambridge Ed. Textual Notes would have shown the writer that he was anticipated in this omission. For its explanation also see preceding note by Wright.—Ed.]—Verity (Student's Sh.): [The 2nd Folio reading] seems a certain correction, only a single letter being changed; presumably the termination of ‘trenches’ was still in the printer's thoughts. The suggestions ‘As they us to our trenches follow’ and ‘As they us to our trenches. Follow!’ (or Follow me!) involve a needlessly drastic alteration.
Another Alarum . . . shut in R. C. Rhodes (Stagery of Sh., p. 47): This double direction to enter the gate [l. 66]—one (at the time of action) theatrical and imperative, and one (as a preparative summary) literary and descriptive—is the sign of an edited text as distinct from an unaltered prompt-book.— [In his later work, Shakespeare's First Folio, Rhodes discusses this same passage at greater length. In reviewing the changes proposed in l. 60 it is, however, to be regretted that Rhodes has not made better use of the Text. Notes in the Cambridge Ed. He attributes to modern editors the reading followed of F2 and to Dyce the omission of the word ‘followes,’ which is the reading of the Clarendon editor, Wright. Rhodes acknowledges the correctness of this omission, but says (p. 133) a plainer explanation than that offered by its proposer is: ‘that the book first contained two curt instructions for Martius Coriolanus, “Followes” and “Enter the Gate,” neither of which was deleted when the comprehensive direction [ll. 61, 62] was inserted by some reviser. It is not till the surviving direction that, after a skirmish, he “enters the gate.” A reviser making a text clear for readers would not have restricted his work to making additions without deletions. . . . “Enter the Gate” and “Followe” may easily have been written in the player's part, which conjecture justifies the assertion that Coriolanus was an assembled text. The notes like “Alarum,” however, indicate that the reviser was converting his text into a prompt-book, and not merely revising it for printing, “Alarum” being an instruction for trumpets and drums.’—In a letter to the Editor of The Times Literary Supplement for August 31, 1922 Rhodes gives in slightly different form this theory regarding the confusion occasioned by these different stagedirections. This is doubtless the first draught of the passage, as quoted above, from the later work.—Ed.]
the gates are ope Abbott (§ 343): ‘Ope’ in this passage seems to be the adjective open without the n, and not a verb. [Compare, III, i, 164: ‘Breake ope the Lockes a' th' Senate,’ etc.—Ed.]
To th'pot I warrant him Collier (Notes and Emend., etc., p. 349): This is an expression that nobody has attempted to elucidate; it is explained at once by the MS. Corrector: ‘Sold. See, they have shut him in. All. To the port, I warrant him.’ They finish the sentence the soldier has begun. The enemy had shut Marcius into the port or gate; and very shortly Lartius directs: ‘Let the ports be guarded.’—Singer (ed. ii.): As doubts have been thrown upon this reading of the old copy, it may be as well to observe that the phrase is put into the mouth of characters of a much higher grade by Shakespeare's contemporaries; Whetstone in his poem to the memory of Sir Nicholas Bacon, does not disdain to use it: ‘When death doth come all pleasures goe to pot.’—Ibid. (Sh. Vindicated, p. 210): What possible meaning ‘to the port’ could have I am at a loss to imagine, notwithstanding Mr Collier's attempt to reconcile it to sense as the continuation of an interrupted sentence. I therefore hold this to be another perfectly unnecessary interference with the text.—Staunton: ‘To the pot,’ as Mr Collier better than anyone else ought to know, was one of the most familiar expressions in our early dramatists. Take the following examples from plays which that gentleman must be familiar with: ‘Thou mightest sweare, if I could, I would bring them to the pot,’ New Custome, II, iii; ‘For goes this wretch, this traitor, to the pot,’ Peele, Edward I., ed. Dyce, i, 115; ‘They go to the pot for't,’ Webster, White Devil, ed. Dyce, i, 117.—Mommsen (Der Perkins-Shakespeare, p. 246): If reference be not made to the fact that the common phrase to go to pot is used without the verb and with the article we must accept the excellent reading to the port. Since the soldiers who have seen it speak to the others running past: ‘Inside the gate, only think of that!’ pointing to the gate. That is very life-like and natural.— Dyce (Strictures, etc., p. 155): It is lamentable that Mr Collier should cover himself with ridicule by thus labouring to defend the worst vagaries of the MS. Corrector. A quotation from a drama which Mr Collier himself formerly edited (in Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. xi.) is alone sufficient to show the atrocity of the alteration, ‘To the port.’ [Dyce then quotes the line from Peele's Edward I. which Staunton has already given in illustration ante; Dyce acknowledges, in parentheses, that since writing the foregoing he has read Staunton's note ad loc., wherein not only this line from Edward I. is given, but other passages in illus tration.—Ed.]—W. A. Wright, after quoting Staunton's illustrative passages from Peele and Webster, adds, ‘The phrase is taken from the melting-pot.’—Skeat (Notes on English Etym., s. v. Pot, p. 226): I have (hitherto) adopted Wright's note to Coriolanus, I, iv, to the effect that ‘the figure is taken from the melting-pot.’ I now believe that the figure was taken from the much more common cooking-pot. Whoever looks at the word pot in Littré will see how many French phrases refer to the cooking-pot, and Dr Schmidt, in his Shakespeare-Lexicon, seems to take the same view, for he quotes the German parallel phrase which Flügel gives as ‘in die Pfanne hauen, to put to the sword,’ lit. to hew into the pan. The reference is here to the shredding of vegetables before they are thrown into the pot to be cooked. I venture to think this expression is far more graphic when we thus refer it in the natural way to the ordinary cooking-pot. Without arguing the point further I add an unmistakable example from King's Art of Cookery, first printed in 1708: ‘In days of old, our father's went to war,
Expecting sundry blows, and hardy fare;
Their beef they often in their murrions stew'd,
And in their basket-hilts their beverage brew'd.
Some officer perhaps might give consent
To a large cover'd pipkin in his tent,
Where everything that every soldier got,
Fowl, bacon, cabbage, mutton, and what not,
Was all thrown into bank, and went to pot.’
With this graphic and simple explanation I can rest satisfied. Hence, when the soldiers remark that Coriolanus has gone ‘to the pot,’ they mean that he will be cut in pieces. ‘The weaker goeth to the pot’ occurs in Heywood's Proverbs (1562). And still more clearly, in Udall's translation of the Apophthegmes of Erasmus (1564), bk i, Diogenes, § 108: ‘by the said tyranne Dionisius, the ryche and welthy of his subiectes went daily to the potte and were chopped vp.’—[Case (Arden Sh.) gives several other examples of the use of this phrase, all tending, as he says, to confirm Skeat's deduction that reference is to the cooking pot. The N. E. D. follows Wright's interpretation.—Ed.]
Who sensibly out-dares Malone: ‘Sensible’ is here, having sensation. So before: ‘I would your cambrick were sensible as your finger.’ Though Corio lanus has the feeling of pain like other men, he is more hardy in daring exploits than his senseless sword, for after it is bent he yet stands firm in the field.— Steevens: The thought seems to have been adopted from Sidney's Arcadia: ‘Their very armour by piece-meale fell away from them: and yet their flesh abode the wounds constantly, as though it were less sensible of smart than the senselesse armour,’ &c., ed. 1633, p. 293; [ed. 1593, p. 317.—Ed.]—Heath (p. 411): I think the common reading, ‘out-dares,’ that is, feels less fear, has less apprehension of danger, though it be an hyperbolical expression, hath greater propriety than Dr Thirlby's emendation [see Text. Notes]. It is the sense, and not the deed, which is the point of the present comparison. For where would be the wonder, that a sensible agent should do more than a senseless instrument, which is incapable of doing anything, further than it is employed by that, or some other, agent? —W. A. Wright: Johnson unnecessarily changed this [adverb to the adjective]. But this use of the adverb is of frequent occurrence in Shakespeare. Compare, for instance, Jul. Cæs., III, iii, 2, where modern editors substitute the adjective: ‘And things unluckily charge my fantasy.’ Similarly Temp., III, iii, 2; As You Like It, I, ii, 162; and Sonnet xi, 3: ‘And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestowest,’ etc. [Schmidt (Coriolanus) likewise follows and defends the Folio reading.—Ed.]
Thou art left Martius Collier: Possibly we ought to read lost for ‘left,’ a very easy misprint, when in MS. both the s and the f were carried below the line. ‘Thou art left,’ however, affords a very clear sense.—[Singer in his ed. ii. adopted Collier's conjecture in his text, with a short note to the effect that s and f were easily confounded, but without any acknowledgement as to the source of this new reading. Collier had been more than human had he let this pass without remark. Accordingly in his ed. ii. he likewise adopts his former conjecture, commending Singer for so doing, and adding that he might at least have mentioned whence this reading was derived, since ‘it would not have materially lengthened his note; and his unwillingness to give credit to others may do him some wrong by leading to the supposition that he has a much smaller claim to credit for himself than he really possesses.’—R. G. White also adopts Collier's reading, but, equally as blameworthy as Singer, does not give Collier the credit, merely remarking that in the handwriting of the time s and f and also e and o were frequently confounded; adding in conclusion: ‘“Thou art left,” although it is not nonsense, yet has not a sense suited to the context.’ Hudson and Dyce (in his ed. ii.) accept the reading lost, the former without any mention of his authority, which omission he rectifies in his ed. ii, but the latter ascribes it to White.—Ed.]—Badham (Criticism, etc., p. 12): It does not appear from the context that Lartius has given up all hope of Coriolanus's escape from Corioli; at all events ‘Thou art left Marcius’ is a very strange expression. It would not be very far from Shakespeare's own text if we read ‘Thou priceless Marcius!’—Schmidt (Coriolanus, p. 62) arrives quite independently at the same conclusion as Badham, for which he states his reasons as follows: ‘Even if the words thou art left in the sense thou art forsaken, abandoned were accordant with grammar, they do not harmonize with the situation, and further do not agree with the succeeding words of Lartius, which imply that Coriolanus is dead. For this reason the emendation thou art lost was substituted. The structure of the verse indicates that an adjective stood in place of “art left,” either aweless or peerless.’ [Schmidt, thus in doubt of the right word, prints in place of ‘art left’ the symbol † † †, with an exclamation point after ‘Martius.’— Ed.]—Keightley (Expositor, p. 360): A line at least has, I think, been left out after ‘Marcius’; or there may be an aposiopesis.
A Carbuncle intire . . . a Iewell Malone: So in Othello: ‘If heaven had made me such another woman Of one entire and perfect chrysolite, I'd not have ta'en it for her.’—[V, ii, 145. As Case (Arden Sh.) points out, Malone is here apparently quoting from memory. Wright gives the passage correctly: ‘If heaven would make me such another world Of one entire and perfect chrysolite I'ld not have sold her for it.’ On ‘carbuncle’ in the present passage Wright says: ‘The carbuncle here must be the ruby; for the garnet, to which the term is now most commonly applied, is a stone of no great value. The carbunculus of Pliny was a generic name for “every kind of red transparent, fiery stone: the Pyrope, the Almandine, and the Red Jacinth, equally with our Ruby”’ (King, Natural History of Precious Stones, p. 225).—Ed.]
Euen to Calues wish Theobald: T. Lartius is here summing up his friend's character, as a warrior that was terrible in his strokes, in the tone of his voice, and the grimness of his countenance. But who was this Calvus, that wish'd these three characteristics in a soldier? I'm afraid Greek and Roman History will be at a loss to account for such a man and such circumstances join'd to signalize him. I formerly amended the passage and prov'd that the poet must have wrote, ‘Even to Cato's wish.’ The error probably arose from the similitude in the manuscript of to to lv, and so this unknown wight, Calvus, sprung up. I come now to the authorities for my emendation. Plutarch in the Life of Coriolanus, speaking of this hero, says: ‘He was a man (that which Cato requir'd in a warrior) not only dreadful to meet with in the field, by reason of his hand and stroke, but insupportable to an enemy, for the very tone and accent of his voice, and the sole terror of his aspect.’ This again is confirm'd by the Historian in the Life of Marcus Cato, the Censor: ‘In engagements’ (says he) ‘he would use to strike lustily, with a fierce countenance stare upon his enemies, and with a harsh threatening voice accost them. Nor was he out in his opinion whilst he taught that such rugged kind of behaviour sometimes does strike the enemy more than the sword itself.’ Mr Pope owns I have clearly prov'd this point, but he seems inclin'd to think the blunder should rather have continued than I should have discover'd the Author guilty of such a terrible anachronism. But is Mr Pope conscious of no other anachronism committed by our Poet in this play? Menenius in one passage talks of Alexander the Great, tho that Prince was not born till 130 years after Coriolanus's death; nay, in another he mentions Galen, whose birth was above 420 years later than that of Alexander.—[In the foregoing note there are two statements which it may be interesting to elucidate. The first is where Theobald says that he had ‘formerly amended’ the passage as it stands in his text; this refers, not to his Shakespeare Restored which appeared in 1726, but to a letter written by him to Mr Matthew Concanen that was subsequently communicated to Mist's Journal, March 16, 1727, and there printed without Theobald's permission. The second point is Theobald's reference to Pope. Pope's ed. ii. appeared in 1728, and in vol. viii. he added as an Appendix an article entitled: Various Readings or Conjectures on Passages of Shakespeare. This is, in reality, a venomous attack on Theobald's Shakespeare Restored. Pope, nettled by this demonstration of the many faults in his first edition, belittles and discounts the value of certain corrections. The reading Cato's for ‘Calvus’ is, however, the only one from the present play to which Pope refers, and in almost the very words Theobald quotes; Pope evidently is referring to the communication in Mist's Journal of the preceding year, which corresponds almost word for word with the note as it later appears in Theobald's own edition. (See Nichol's Illustrations, etc., vol. ii, p. 200.) It is to this passage in the Appendix of Pope's volume that Theobald refers when he says that Pope accepts his emendation.—Ed.] —M. Mason (Comments, etc., p. 247): Theobald's alteration has been adopted by all the subsequent editors, who silently admit the charge preferred by Theobald against our author, of great chronological impropriety, in quoting a saying of Cato's in the days of Coriolanus; but the impropriety is to be imputed to the editors themselves and not to Shakespeare, who though he may have been guilty, upon other occasions, of crimes as great as that which he is now accused of, is certainly innocent of this, and has with some degree of art avoided the impropriety with which he is charged. He liked this saying of Cato's, and wished to apply it to Coriolanus, but in order to avoid the anachronism in question, he puts it into the mouth of a certain Calvus, who might have lived at any time. This is, I believe, the first time that an editor ever amended an author merely to make him commit a blunder.—Malone, in answer to the foregoing remark of Mason, says: ‘Had Shakespeare known that Cato was not born till the year of Rome 519, that is, 253 years after the death of Coriolanus (for there is nothing in the foregoing passage to make him even suspect that was the case), and in consequence made this alteration, he would have attended in this particular instance to a point of which almost every page of his works shows that he was totally negligent; a supposition which is so improbable that I have no doubt the correction that has been adopted by the modern editors is right. In the first Act of this play we have Lucius and Marcius printed instead of Lartius in the original copy.’ Malone concludes his note with an explanation of the misprint ‘Calves’ for Catoes which, as it is substantially identical with that by Theobald (to whom he does not refer), need not be repeated. He mentions that usually the possessive case of nouns ending in a vowel was formed by adding es. It is, however, somewhat curious that in the three other passages wherein the name ‘Cato’ appears in the possessive in the Folio it is uniformly spelt Cato's.—Ed.—Knight: We quite agree with Malone that the manuscript was Catoes; easily mistaken and rendered by the printer ‘Calves.’ But we do not agree with him that Shakspere committed the anachronism in ignorance. Shakspere puts nearly the same words [as in North's Plutarch] in the mouth of Lartius; feeling that Lartius, in thus conveying the sentiment of Plutarch, was to the audience as a sort of chorus. He had no vision of a critic before him, book in hand, calling out that Cato was not born until two hundred and fifty years after the death of Coriolanus. Now Malone, with his exact chronology of the death of Coriolanus, commits in the eyes of modern learning as great a blunder as Shakspere commits in his eyes.—Miss C. Porter (First Folio Sh.): Since Niebuhr and other modern historians question the historicalness of Coriolanus himself, whose story is based only on Plutarch, who died circa A. D. 120, and Livy, who was born only fifty-eight years before Christ, neither historian being regarded, by modern scrutiny, as unimpugnable authority for what occurred in the third century after the founding of Rome, the modern reader may be justified in caring even less than the Poet that Cato, the Censor, followed Martius Coriolanus and his associates by a mere century and a half. —Gervinus (p. 768): Shakespeare must have known the time when Cato lived from Plutarch's Cæsar. But it is possible that as he found several republican Brutuses, so he must have concluded there were several severe Catos. It is certain that he was not so early schooled in Eutropius as we are, nor had he any chronological dictionary to refer to in order to set himself right in his dates. Nevertheless we ought to consider how valuable to the poet was the brevity and suggestiveness of such an intimation as he puts in the mouth of Titus Lartius; it is doubtful whether, if the mistake had been pointed out to him, he would have corrected it, seeing it was so serviceable; nay, it is doubtful whether it was a mistake at all, and not rather a license like Goethe's when he made Faust mention Luther. There is a passage in Lear which ought to make us cautious—a passage where the observance of chronology constitutes a much greater license than the neglect of it— a passage which looks like a capital stroke of satire addressed to all self-opinionated and pedantic censors (a set of people not lacking even at the poet's time); the passage where the poet says: ‘This prophecy Merlin shall make; for I live before his time,’ [III, ii, 95].—W. A. Wright: The readers of Westward Ho will remember the famous Sir Richard Grenville and his terrible lion voice.
as if the World Were Feauorous Steevens: So in Macbeth: ‘Some say, the earth Was feverous and did shake,’ [II, iii, 66].
Enter Martius . . . the Enemy Delius: The entrance of Martius bleeding must be imagined as within the town and therefore does not correspond with the stage-direction, Before Corioli, which editors place at the beginning of this scene. —Ulrici (Zusätze und Berichtigungen, p. 175): The stage-direction of the Folio evidently does not mean that Coriolanus comes out of the Gate on to the stage, since then there would be no need of Lartius and the Romans to enter the town in order to assist him. It seems to me that, according to Shakespeare's intention, Coriolanus, assaulted by the Volscians, in order to defend his back, fights his way to the walls, and that the top of these was accessible. From here he is visible to the Romans. With this view I have modified the old stage-direction (Marcius appears upon the walls, bleeding, attacked by the enemy).