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[Scene IV.]


Many an heyre Malone: I once thought that ‘heir’ might mean here possessor (so Shakespeare uses inherit in the sense of to possess), but ‘heir’ I now think is used in its ordinary signification, for presumptive successor. So in V, vi, 62: ‘And patient fools,
Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear,
With giving him glory.’

The words of Aufidius in the same scene may support either interpretation: ‘Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,’ [l. 185].


fore my Warres Whitelaw: That is, many a one who before my wars was heir.—Schmidt (Coriolanus): Probably the expression is to be understood in a sense similar to ‘before’ in V, iv, 19, wherewith other Shakespearian references agree: ‘the king before the Douglas' rage
Stoop'd his anointed head,’ etc, 2 Henry IV: Ind. 31.—

W. A. Wright: ‘'Fore my wars’ is connected with ‘groan and drop.’ Compare Twelfth Night, III, i, 140, ‘how much the better to fall before the lion than the wolf!’ [This interpretation is generally accepted by modern editors.—Ed.]

18. Oh World, thy slippery turnes, etc.] Warburton: This fine picture of common friendship is an artful introduction to the sudden league which the poet made him enter into with Aufidius, and no less artful an apology for his commencing enemy to Rome.—Verity (Student's Sh.): Coriolanus's reflections on the mutability of friendship and enmity are designed to diminish the shock and unnaturalness of his own defection.—Beeching (Henry Irving Sh.): Notice in this speech how characteristically Coriolanus treats his alliance with Aufidius as nothing but a private concern. He has left old friends for new, that is all. The state is but his birth-place.


Friends now . . . in Loue Malone: Part of this description naturally reminds us of the following lines in Mid. N. Dream: ‘Is all the counsel that we two have shar'd,
The sister-vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us, O! is it all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our neelds created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart,’ &c., [III, ii, 198].—

W. S. Walker (Crit., iii, 211) also compares the foregoing passage with this one; and also As You Like It, II, iii, 75: ‘—we still have slept together
Rose at an instant, learn'd, play'd, eat together,
And wheresoe'er we went, like Juno's swans
Still we went coupled and inseparable.’

Also Two Noble Kinsmen, I, iii, 69-92.—C. Collins (p. 64): In this speech we have at once an expression and illustration of the remarks of Ajax, ll. 678-684: [‘And now shall we not know moderation? Since, for my part, I am even now aware that our enemy is so far to be hated by us as though he may yet again be our friend; and to my friend I will be willing thus far to be aiding of my service as if he were not always to remain so.’—Oxford Translation, p. 261.—Ed.]


seemes W. A. Wright: The First Folio has ‘seemes,’ a printer's error, and not an instance of the survival of a plural in s.


Houres Collier (ed. ii.): The corrected folio, 1632, has house for ‘houres’ of the old copies, and we may be sufficiently satisfied that it was the word of the poet; the error may have arisen either from mishearing or misprinting. Coriolanus is clearly not referring to time.—Singer (Sh. Vindicated, p. 222): The substitution of house for ‘hours’ is most probably right.—Dyce: No one, with the context full before him, need attempt to defend the Folio text by the passage in Mid. N. Dream, III, ii, 199, ‘—the hours that we have spent When we have chid the hasty-footed time For parting us.’ Here the error of the Folio was an easy one, but perhaps it may be partly attributed to the occurrence of the word ‘hour’ at the end of l. 22.— R. G. White opines that ‘there appears to be no ground of doubt as to the correctness of Collier's MS. correction.’—C. & M. Cowden Clarke (Shakespeare): We think that were there no other ground for retaining the Folio word than the one afforded by the passage describing mutual friendship in Two Gentlemen, II, iv, 62, ‘From our infancy We have conversed and spent our hours together,’ it would suffice to indicate that ‘hours’ was the word here intended by the author. That ‘hour’ occurs again in the next line but one, far from offering an objection to the retention of ‘hours’ previously, lends support to our belief that the Folio word is the author's word, because it is in accordance with Shakespeare's style thus to repeat a word where it lends force and point to his meaning. His meaning is: ‘Strange that friends, whose hours have been spent perpetually together, should within an hour break out to bitterest enmity.’—W. A. Wright: Dyce follows Collier's MS. correction. But ‘hours’ is used for time generally. See I, v, 7,

and compare with this whole passage Helena's speech in Mid. N. Dream, III, ii, 199, &c., ‘The sister's vows, the hours that we have spent.’ [We may, I think, almost see the grim smile on Dr Wright's lips as he thus deliberately accepts Dyce's grandiloquent challenge.—Ed.]—Schmidt (Coriolanus): Many of the modern editors here read house, but quite wrongly, since ‘hours’ gives the general idea under which fall the special ideas that follow. [As I have before had occasion to note, Schmidt seems systematically to ignore the source of the readings due to Collier's MS. Corrector. It is somewhat the more remarkable in the present case, as none of those editors who have adopted the correction has failed to give the source of his text.—Ed.]—Rolfe: The Folio reading has been defended by comparing Two Gentlemen, II, iv, 62, and the similar passage in Mid. N. Dream, III, ii, 199, but the context here is very different and seems to demand house.— Case (Arden Sh.): Compare a closely parallel passage in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 1575 (The Fifty-ninth Nouell), ed. Jacobs, ii, 104: ‘Besides the countrie of Perche, there were two Gentlemen, which from the tyme of theyr youth lyued in sutche great and perfect amitie, as there was betweene them but one harte, one bed, one house, one table, and one purse.’ Aubrey says that Beaumont and Fletcher shared not only house and bed, but even clothes, and in The Chances, II, ii, written long after Beaumont's death, this passage occurs: ‘He's of a noble strain, my Kinsman, Lady,
My countryman and fellow-traveller.
One bed contains us ever, one purse feeds us,
And one faith free between us,’ etc.


who Twin Malone: Our author has again used this verb in Othello: ‘And he that is approved in this offence
Though he had twinned with me,’ etc. [II, iii, 211].


dissention of a Doit W. A. Wright: That is, a dispute about the merest trifle. Or ‘of’ may here denote the price or worth of the quarrel, as in I, v, 9, ‘Irons of a doit.’ [The value of a doit was half a farthing. See note on I, v, 9.—Ed.]


So fellest Foes . . . their yssues John Croft (p. 18): ‘A variance arose betwixt Sir Richard Cholmeley and his lady, they parted beds and did not cohabit as man and wife for divers years, till coming to a gentleman's house, they were straitened for lodging, or did not notice they were fitted with one chamber for themselves, where coming together, it pleased God that the lady conceived, which proved a son, and after they lived kindly together.’—Vide, Memoirs of Sir Hugh Cholmeley.


Some tricke not worth an Egge Whitelaw: Some freak of fortune, some

accident, worthless in itself.—Schmidt (Coriolanus): Not ‘some freak of fortune,’ but rather, some toy, some trifle, since ‘trick’ had also this meaning in old English. ‘A knack, a toy, a trick, a baby's cap,’ in Tam. of Shrew, IV, iii, 68. The egg appears elsewhere as the symbol of a worthless article, ‘Will you take eggs for money?’ Winter's Tale, I, ii, 161.


inter-ioyne their yssues W. A. Wright: That is, allow their children to intermarry. [Rolfe also thus interprets this.]—E. K. Chambers (Warwick Sh.): That is, unite their designs, as Coriolanus proposes he and Aufidius shall do.— Gordon: Interjoin their destinies, throw in their lot with each other, join fortunes. —Case (Arden Sh.): And make their children intermarry. For ‘issues’ compare Henry VIII: III, ii, 191, ‘our issues Who, if he live, will scarce be gentlemen.’ This illustrates, probably, the commonest sense of ‘issue,’ but besides the obvious one of consequence, and the like, the word is used for ‘An action, a deed (in relation to the doer)’; see N. E. D., which cites Jul. Cæs., III, i, 294, ‘there shall I try . . . how the people take The cruel issue of these bloody men,’ and Cymb., II, i, 51.

So with me . . . if he slay me Johnson, in reference to Rowe's modification of the reading of F4, says: ‘He who reads this would think he was reading the lines of Shakespeare, except that Coriolanus, being already in the town, says he will enter it. The intermediate line [between ll. 28 and 29] seems to be lost, in which, conformably to his former observation, he says that he has lost his birthplace and his loves upon a petty dispute, and is trying his chance in this enemy town; he then cries, turning to the house of Aufidius, I'll enter if he slay me. I have preserved the common reading because it is, though faulty, yet intelligible, and the original passage, for want of copies, cannot be restored.’


My Birth-place haue I Capell, with no further comment than calling attention to his change of text, reads, ‘hate I’; Steevens calmly appropriates this reading, and is unduly credited with it by Malone and all subsequent editors except Staunton, until it was restored to its rightful author by the Cambridge Edd. Collier, whose MS. Corrector also thus reads, remarks (ed. ii.): ‘Precisely the same blunder occurs in Rom. & Jul., III, v, 146, where, in the Folio 1623, “hate” is misprinted haue; in the 4tos. it is, correctly, “hate.” In the comedy of Patient Grissil, 1603, V, ii, Sir Owen is made to say, “And all that have scolds, as Sir Owen does,” &c.; but he ought to say, “And all that hate scolds,” &c. The error is in the original edition, but is repeated in the imprint by the Shakespeare Society, 1841, p. 90.’—Verity (Student's Sh.): There may be a line lost, but it looks as if the original substitution of ‘have’ for hate had caused the introduction of left [in F4].

my loues vpon Schmidt (Coriolanus): For this use of ‘upon’ with ‘love’ compare such phrases as to dote on; also, ‘Can thy right hand seize love upon thy left,’ Ven. & Ad., l. 158; and, ‘You know the goodness I intend upon you,’ V, i, 7.


This Enemie Towne Steevens: Here, as in other places, our author is indebted to North's Plutarch, ‘For he disguised himselfe in suche arraye and attire, as he thought no man could euer haue knowen him, . . . and as Homer sayed of Vlysses, “So dyd he enter into the enemies towne.”’ Perhaps, therefore, instead of ‘enemy' we should read enemy's or enemies.’ [See Text. Notes.—Ed.]— W. A. Wright: Compare King Lear, v, 3, 220: ‘Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Follow'd his enemy king.’

Similarly ‘neighbour’ is used as an adjective. See As You Like It, IV, iii, 79, ‘West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom.’ And Love's Labour's, V, ii, 94, ‘I stole into a neighbour thicket by.’

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