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Some trick, not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends,
And interjoin their issues.
SCENE IV. Martial Friend, hip.
(9) Let me twine
Mine (9) Let me, &c.] Nothing can be imagined more noble. than this generosity of Aufidius, and we may well say, Shakespear hath given him words equal to the greatness of his soul : Thomson owes much to Shakespear, in this character more particularly ; one speech or two will be sufficient to fhew. not only that, but how dangerous it is to attempt the flights of this daring British eagle. In the first act of Thomson's tragedy, before Coriolaruus puts himself under the protection of Tullus, the Volscian tells his friend :
My soul, my friend, my soul is all on fire !
Thirst of revenge consumes me : the revenge
Of generous emulation, not of hatred.
This happy, Ron:an, this proud Martius haunts me!
Each troubled night, when Naves and captives Neep
Forgetful of their chains, I, in my dreams
Anew am vanquish’d: and beneath the sword
With horror sinking, feel a ten-fold death,
The death of honour: but I will redeem
Yes, Martius, I will yet redeem my fame ;
To face thee once again is the great purpose
For which alone. I live, And in the 4th scene following, he says to Coriolanus, now dissover'd to him;
0, Caius Martius, in this one. Thort moment
That we have friendly talk'd, my ravish'd heart
Hath undergone a great, a wond'rous change.
I ever held thee in my best esteem :
But this heroic confidence has won me,
Stampt me at once thy friend. I were, indeed,
A wretch as mean, as this thy trust is noble,
Cou'd I refuse thee thy demand.-Yes, Martius,,
Thou haft thy wish, take half of my command,
If that he not enough, then take the whole.
We have, my friend, a gallant force on foot,
An army, Martius, fii to follow thee.
Go, lead them on; and take thy full revenge :
All should unite to punish the ungrateful.;
Ingratitude is treason to mankind, &c.
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained afh an hundred times hath broke,
And scarr'd the moon with splinters; here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest,
As hotly and as nobly with thy love,
As ever, in ambitious strength, I did
Contend again thy valour. (10) Know thou, first,
I lov'd the inaid I married'; never man
Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing, inore dances my wrapt heart,
Than when I firit my wedded mistress saw
Beitride my threshold. Why, thou Mars! I tell thee,
We have a power on foot; and I had purpote
Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
Or lose my arm for't: thou hart beat me out
Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me;
We have been down together in my sleep,
Unbuckling helms, fifting each others thout,
And wak'd half dead with nothing,
The Season of Solicitation.
He was not taken well, he had not din'd.
(11) The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
pout upon the morning, are unapt
To give or to forgive; but when we've stuff'd
(10) Know thou, &c.] In the firft Act and gth Scene of this play Coriolanus says,
Oh ! let me clip'ye,
In arms as found, as when I wou'd; in heart
As merry, as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burnt to bed-ward. (11) The veins, &c.] This observation of Shakesprar is by ge. neral practice verified, and by many copied from him : Mr. Theobald tells us, lord Bacon somewhere in his essays makes this very remark.
These pipes, and these conveyances of blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
Than in our priest-like fast; therefore I'll watch him
Till he be dieted to my request.
SCENE III. Obstinate Resolution.
My wife comes foremost, then the honour'd mould
Wherein this trunk was fram’d, and in her hand
The grand-child to her blood. But out, affection!
All bond and privilege of nature break!
(12) Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.
What is that curt’sie worth; or those dove's eyes,
Which can make gods forsworn ? I melt, and am not
Of Itronger earth than others: my mother bows,
As if Olympus to a mole-hill should
In fupplication nod; and my young boy
Hath an aspect of intercession, which
(12) Let it, &c.] Thomson, well describing the obstinate and revengeful temper of Coriolanus, makes him speak thus;
What saidst thou, what against the power of vengeance?
The gods gave honest anger, just revenge,
To be the awful guardians of the rights
And native dignity of human kind.
0, were it not for them, the faucy world
Wou'd grow a noisome nest of little tyrants!
Each carrion-crow, on eagle-merit perch’d,
Wou'd peck his eyes out ; and the mongrel cur
At pleasure bait the lion. --No, Galelus,
I wou'd not rafhly nor on light occasion,
Receive the deep impression in my breait :
But when the base, the brutal, and unjust,
Or, worse than all, th' ungrateful stamp it there ;'
0, I will then with luxury supreme,
Enjoy the pleasure of offended gods,
A righteous, just revenge.
Act 2. Sc. 5.
I have been pretty large in my quotations from this fine and moving scene, but would by all means refer the reader to the original, as well as to that part of Mr. Thomson's play, where, in my opinion at least, he most excels.
Great nature cries, -Deny not.-Let the Volscians
Plow Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never
Be such a gosling to obey instinct; but stand
As if a man were author of himself,
And knew no other kin.
Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part, and I am out
Even to full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, forgive our Romans.-0, a kiss,
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge !
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er fince-Ye gods! I prate ;
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unfaluted: fink, my knee, i'th' earth,
Of thy deep duty more impression shew
Than that of common fons.
(13) The noble fister of Poplicola, The moon of Rome ; chaste as the isicle,
(13) The noble, &c.] Emilia, in the last act of the Two Nobk Kinsmen, thus addresses Diana, the patroness of chastity ;
Oh, sacred, shadowy, cold, and constant queen,
Abandoner of revels, mute, contemplative,
Sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure
As wind-fann'd snow, who to thy female knights
Allow'st no more blood than will make a blush,
Which is their order's robe : &c.
In Milton's Comus, the brother speaking of his fifter, says,
'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity :
She, that has that, is clad in compleat steel,
And, like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen,
May trace huge forests and unharbour'd heaths,
That's curdled by the frost from pureft snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple.
Coriolanus's Prayer for his Son.
(14) -The god of foldiers, With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Infamous hills, and fandy, perilous wilds,
Where through the sacred rays of chastity,
No lavage, fierce, banditti, or mountaineer,
Will dare to foil her virgin purity:
Yea, there, where every defolation dwells,
By grots and caverns, diagg'd with horrid shaders,
She may pass on with unblemish'd majesty ;-
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorifh feil,
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magic chains at curfue time,
No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine,
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity. He then speaks of Diana, the patroness of chastity, and of Mine nerva ;
So dear to Heaven is faintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely fo,
A thousand liveried angels lacky her,
Driving far off each thing of fin and guilt,
And in clear dream, and folemn vision,
Tell her of things that no grofs ear can hear :
Till oft converse with theavenly 'habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the foul's el.ence,
Till all be made immortal, c.
See the whole paffage.
(14) The god, &c.] See the first page of the first volume, and the note. There is something peculiarly great and exalted in this prayer of Coriolanus: the expressions are perfectly suited to the sublimity of the petitions. "The word flow, in the laft line but one, means
a sudden and impetuous gust of wind,' tho'.it hath a different sense in the 2d part of Hon. IV. see Act 4. Sc. 8.