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" yielding to their humour ; fo that living in a fort of
" anarchy, they would no longer obey the confuls, or
" own any fuperiors, but the heads and leaders of their
" own faction ; and now, for us, fays he, to fit here and
" decree largeiles and diftributions for them, like the Gre-
" cians, where the populace is fupreme and abiblute;
" what would it be elfe but to cherifh and indulge their in-
" folence, to the ruin of us all ? For furely they will not
" pretend to thefe liberalities, as a reward of military fer-
" vice, which they have fo often deferted nor of that fe-
" ditious retreat by which they abandoned their coun-
" try; or of thofe flanders they have been always ready
u to promote againfh the fenate; but will rather conclude
" that this bounty mud be the effed of our fear and flatte-
*' ry , and fo they will expect flill further fubmiilions, and
" there will be no end of their difobedience, nor will
" they ever ceafe from their turbulent and feditious prac-
" tices. To do this therefore, would be direct madnefs
" in us. Nay, if we are wife, we mall immedately deftroy
" that tribunicial power of theirs, which is a plain fub-

" verfion

(8) Plutarch has omitted the fage in Coriolanus's charge againft
moft aggravating and terrible paf- the people, wherein he propofcs


Caius Marcius Coriolanus. 161

ct verfion of the Confulfhip, and has caufed fuch an oppo-
" fition of interefts in the city as leaves no hope of our ever
" being united as formerly, or ever ceafing to diftrefs and
" torment each other./" Marcius having iMd (8) a great
deal to this purpofe, iflfpired the young fenators with the
fame furious fentirnents, and had almoft all the rich on
his fide, who extolled him as the only man in the city
that was infuperable by force, and an enemy to flattery.
But fome of the elder fenators oppofed him, fufpecYmg
the bad confequence of fuch a proceeding, which proved
accordingly for the tribunes who were then prefent,
perceiving how the propofal of Marcius took, ran out
into the crowd exclaiming, and calling on the plebeians
to (land together, and come in to their afliftance. The
people therefore flocking together with great noife and
tumult were informed of Marcius's propofal, whereupon
they fell into fuch a rage, that they were ready to break
in upon the fenate. The tribunes then cited Marcius
to appear before them, and give an account of his be-
hav our ; and when he had repulfed thofe officers with
contempt that brought him the fummons, they came
prefently themfelves with the sediles, defigning to carry
him away by force, and accordingly attempted to feize
his perfon. But the nobility coming in to his refcue,
thruft off the tribunes, and beat the aediles, and then the
night approaching broke off the quarrel. But as foon
as it was day, the confuls obferving the people highly
exafperated, and that they ran from all quarters into the
Forum, were afraid for the whole city ; fo convening the
fenate again, they defired them to " confult how by kind
" words and mild determinations they might pacify and
" compofe the raging multitude : for if they prudently con-
" fidered the {late of their affairs, they muft find that it was
" not now a time to {land upon punctilio's of honour, and
" contend for reputation -, but tha^jTuch a dangerous and
critical conjuncture demanded gentle methods and good-
" natured counfels." The majority of the fenate coming in-
to thefe meafures, the confuls went out to fpeak to the peo-

that in order to tame them, they rate as when they were under the
ought to fell the corn at as high a greateft fcarcity.

VOL. If. L (9) Advice

162 Vbe LIFE of

pie, and endea voured to appeafe their refentment as much
as poffible, anfwering mildly to their complaints, and mix-
ing tender admonitions and reproaches in their difcourie
to them. And as to a fupply of the market with pro-
vifions, and at reafonable rates., they faid there mould
be no difference at all between them. When a great
part of the commonalty were grown cool, as appeared
by their orderly and quiet attention to the confuls, the
tribunes flood up and declared, that fmce the fenate
were at length pleafed to fubmit to reafon, the people in
their turn were ready to condefcend to all things that
were fair and equitable ; but at the fame, time they de-
manded Marcius to give his anfwer to thefe particulars:
firft " Whether he could deny that he had incited the fe-
" nate to fubvert the government, and deftroy the authority
" of the people?" and in the next place, "Whether when he
" was called to account for it, he did not difobey their fum-
" mons ? and lad of all, Whether by the blows and other
" publick affronts given to the aediles, he did not, as far
" as was in his power commence a civil war, and flir up
" the citizens to take arms one againfl another ?" Thefe
articles were brought on purpofe either to humble Marci-
us, and make it appear he was of a mean fpirit, if contrary
to his nature he mould now ftoop to and court the peo-
ple ; or if he Hill kept up to the height of his refolu-
tion (which they had greater hopes of, gueifmg rightly
at the man) to make him incur their difpleafure to fiich
a degree, that they mould be for ever irreconcilable.
Coriolanus therefore appearing as it were to juftify him-
felf from the impeachment, the people flood filent, and
were difpofed to give him a quiet hearing. But when,
inftead of the fubmiffive language which was expected,
he began not only to ufe an offenfive freedom, and
to make an accufation rather than an apology ; but
by his fierce tone of voice, as well as the item, intre-
pid air of his countenance, demonflrated a fecurity
little differing from . difdain and contempt, the whole
multitude was incenfed, and expreifed their difgufl and
indignation at his difcourfe. Hereupon Sicinius, the


Caius Marcius Coriolanus. 163

boldeft of all the tribunes, after a fhort conference with
the reft of his collegues, pronounced before them all "that
Marcius " was condemned to die by the tribunes of the
" people -," and commanded the aediles to drag him imme-
diately up to theTarpeian rock, and throw him headlong
from. the precipice. But when they went to feize him, the
action appeared horrible and infolent, even to many of
the plebeian party. But the patricians were fo much
.affected with it, that in a tranfport of paflion they cried
all for help, and furrounding Marcius, got him among
them, whilft fbme made ufe of their hands to keep off
the arreft, and others flretched out theirs in fupplica-
tion to the multitude. But in fo great a hurry and
tumult, there was no good to be done by words and
outcries, till the friends and acquaintance of the tri-
bunes perceiving it would be impoflible to carry off
Marcius to punimment without much bloodfhed and
ilaughter of the nobility, perfuaded them to drop theunu-
fual and odious part of it, and not to difpatch him violently,
; and without the due forms of juftice, but refer all to the
general fuffrage of the people. Then Sicinius defifling a
little, demanded of the patricians " what they meant by
" thus forcibly refcuing Marcius out of the hands of the
" people, when they were going to inflict due punimment
*' on him ? The fenate in reply demanded of him again,
" What he meant by thus hauling one of the worthieft men
<c in Rome to fuch a barbarous and illegal execution, with-
*' out a trial ? If that be all, faid Sicinius, it (hall ferve you
" no longer as a pretence for your quarrels and factious
*' differences with the people ; they grant what you re-
<c quire, that the man be judged according to courfe of
*' law. And as for you Marcius, we ailign you the third
" market day to make your appearance and defence, and
* e to try if you can fatisfy the citizens of your innocence,
*' who will then by vote determine your fate." The
patricians were content with a refpite for that time,
and returned home well fatisfied, having brought off
Marcius in fafety. In the mean time, before the third
market-day (for the Romans hold their markets every
ninth day, which from thence are called in Latin Nundinar)

L 2 () a

164 The LIFE of

(9) a war broke out with the Antiates, which becaufe it
was like to be of fome continuance, gave them hopes of
evading the judgment, prefuming that the people would
grow mild and traclable, and that their fury would leflen
by degrees, if not totally ceafe, while they were taken
up with that expedition. But the people of Antium hav-
ing made a peace with the Romans iboner than was ex-
pected, the army returned home, and the patricians were
again in great perplexity, and had frequent meetings
among thernfelves, to confult how things might be fp
managed that they fhould neither defert Marcius, nor
give occafion to the tribunes to throw the people into new
diforders. Appius Claudius, who was moft of all averfe
to the popular intereft, folemnly declared, " That the fe-
u nate would utterly deftroy itfelf, and betray the govcrn r
" ment, if they mould once fuffer the people to become
" their judges, and to aflfume the authority of pronouncing
" capital fentence upon any of the patricians." But theoldeft
and mail inclined to popularity, delivered it as their opi-
nion, " That the people would not be too hard and fevere
" upon them, but more kind and gentle by the conceflion
" of fuch a power : for," faid they, " they do not contemn the
" fenate, but are afraid of being contemned by it ; and the
" allowance of fuch a prerogative of judging will be ibgreat
" an honour and fatisfaction to them, that as foon as they
" obtain it, they will drop their animofhies." When Gorio-
lanus fawthe fenate in fufpence upon his account, divided


(9) Advice was brought on a (i) He knew at firft view the
fudden to Rome, that the Antiates abfurdity of fuch a charge, which
had feized on the fhips belonging it was impolfible for them to make
to Gelo's ambafTadors in their re- good againft hini, becaufe as he
turn to Sicily ; that they had con- himfelf fays in Dionyfius of
fifcated the fhips, and put the am- Ha!icarnaiTus,it was never known
baffadors in priion. Hereupon that any perfon, in order to be-
the Romans took up arms for the cornea tyrant, joined with the no-
deliverance of their friends and bi.'ity againft the people, but on
allies ; but the Antiates perceiving the contrary confpired with the
the ftorm was ready to fall upon people to deftroy the nobility,
them, fubmitted and afked par- Befides he did not doubt but the
don, at the fame time releafing whole courfe of his life would
the ambaffadors, and reftoring manifefllyjuftify him againft fuch
their effects. - an accufation.

(2) For

Caius Marcius Coriolanus. 165

between thekindnefs they had for him and their apprehen-
fions from the people, he defired to know of the tribunes
the crimes they intended to charge him with, and the heads
of the accufation which he was to anfwer before the peo-
ple ; and being told that he was to be accufed of a defign
to aflume a tyrannical power ; (i) " Let me go then," faid
he, " to clear myfelf of that imputation before them ;
" and I promife to refufe no fort of cognizance touching
*' this article, nor any punifhment whatever, if I be con-
" vicled of it; provided you keep to that alone, and do not
impofe upon the fenate. Which when they had pro-
mifed, upon thofe conditions he fubmitted to his trial.
The people being met, the firft thing the tribunes
did was to obtain by force that the fuffrages mould be
taken (2) by tribes, and not by centuries ; whereby the
moft indigent, factious and worthlefs of the people,
would be fure to carry it at the poll, againft the more
wealthy citizens as well as againft the military men,
and patricians. In the next place, whereas they had
engaged to profecute Marcius upon no Bother head but
that of tyranny (which could never be proved againft
him) they waved and relinquifhed this plea, and inftead
of it repeated fome things which he had formerly fpoken
in the fenate, when he diffuaded them from making
an abatement of the price of corn, and advifed them to
abolifhed the tribunitial power ; (3) adding further, as a
new impeachment, the distribution that was made by


(a) For the nobility, and the in Dlonyf. lib. vii.
more wealthy, had the ftrongeft (3) When Decius the tribune
intereft in the centuries, which perceived the tribes began to be
would have been in favour of Co- touched with Coriolanus's defence,
riolanus, for out of 183 centuries and were upon the point of ac-
he was fure of, at leaft, 98 ; that quitting him, he produced this
is, the whole firft clafs, confiding new article ; not that this diftri-
of the knights and the wealthieft bution of the fpoils was in iifclf
of the citizens; whereas the po- what they imputed to him ; but
pulace had the greateft intereft in the tribunes would have it infer-
the tribes ; therefore the tribunes red from thence that he did it in
were fure of carrying their point, order to corrupt the forces, that
though never fo unjuft, by that by their affiftance he might be
way of voting. The reader may able to enflave his country, and
find this matter handled at large fecure to himfelf the tyranny.

L 3 (4) L; vy

i66 22* LIFE Gf

him of the fpoil he had taken from the Antiates, when
he over-run their country, which he had divided among
his followers inftead of bringing it into the publick
treafury. This laft accufation they fay, more furprized
and difcompofed Marcius than all the reft, as not ex-
pe&ing he mould ever be queftioned upon that fubje6t,
and therefore being lefs provided to give a fatisfadory
anfwer to it on the fudden. But when, by way of ex-
cufe he began to magnify the merits of thofe who had
bsen partakers with him in the adtion,. fuch as ftaid at
home being more numerous than the other's, fo difturbed
him by the noife they made, that he could not proceed
upon that argument, At laft, when they came to vote,
he was condemned by a majority of three tribes ; and
the penalty to which they adjudged him, was perpetual'
banifhment. After declaration of the fentencc, the
people went away with greater joy and triumph than
they had ever mown for any victory over their enemies,
But the fenate was deeply grieved and dejected ; regret-
ting now that they had not done and fufFered any thing
rather than give way to the people's infolence, and let
them aflume fo great authority. There was no need
then to look upon their habit, or other marks of diftinc-
tion, to difcern a fenator from any vulgar citizen, for it
foon appeared that the ehearful and gay were all ple-
beians j and you might know a patrician by his forrow-
ful countenance. Marcius alone was not fhocked or
humbled in the leaft, appearing ftill in his gefture, mo-
tion and afpedl, the fame fteacly man, and among ail
others of his rank, that were fo deeply touched, alone
unaffected with his misfortune, But this infenfibility
was not owing to reafon, humanity, patience and mo-
deration ; but to the violence of his indignation and
refentment. And though the generality of mankind
are not fenfible of it, this is ever the ftate of a mind
funk in grief. That paffion, when at the height, turns
to a fort of madnefs, and baniihes out of the mind all
weaknefs and dejedtion. Hence likewife it is that an
angry man feems courageous, as one in a fever is hot,
the foul being as it were on the ftretch, and in a violent


Caius Marcius Coriolanus. 167

agitation. Such was Marcius's cafe, as he fhowed im-
mediately by his actions ; for upon liis return home, he
embraced his mother and wife, who were all in tears - 9
and taking his leave of them he exhorted them to bear
their afflictions patiently. This done, he haftened to one
of the city gates, whither all the nobility attended himj
and there, without receiving or afking any thing from
them, he left the city, accompanied with only three or
four of his clients. He continued foiitary for a few
days in fome of his villas near Rome, diffracted with
variety of thoughts, fuch as rage and indignation fug-
gefted ; in which he propofed not any honour or ad-
vantage to himfelf, but only confidered how he might fa-
tisfy his revenge againfl the Romans ; for which pur-
pofe, at laft, he refblved to raife a heavy war againft them.

In order to this, his bufinefs was in the firft place to
make trial of the Volfcians, whom he knew to be ft ill
vigorous and flouriihing enough both in men and trea-
fure ; and he imagined their force and power was not fo
much abated, as their hatred and animofity was in-
creafed by the late defeats they had received from the
Romans. There was a man of Antium, called Tullus
Amphidius (4), who, for his wealth and courage, and the
fplendor of his family, had the refpect and privilege of
a King among all the Volfcians, but one whom Marcius
knew to have a particular malice againft him above any
Roman whatfoever ; for frequent menaces and chal-
lenges having . palled between them as they met in the
field, by often defying each other through a competition
in valour (as fuch zeal and emulation is ufual among
young warriors), they had, befide the common quarrel
of their country, a perfbnal enmity and hatred to each
other. But sotwithftanding this, confidering the great
generofity of Tullus, and that none of the Volfcians did fo
much defire an occafion to return upon the Romans fome
part of the evils they had received from them, he ven-
tured at a thing which ftrongly confirms that faying of
the poet j


(4) Livy and Dionjfius call him Tullus Atcius.

L 4 (5) It

1 68 fbe L I F E of

(5) /?r rf#jr<rr rules with unrefifted fway ;
Though life's the forfeit, yet <we mujl obey.

For putting on fuch clothes and habiliments, by whicr*
he might appear moft unlike the perfon he was, to alt
that fnould fee him, as Homer fays of Ulyfles,

He Jlole into the boftile town.

Hs arrived at Antium about evening -, and though fe-
verai met him in the ftieets, yet he palled along without
being known to any, and went diredly on to the houfe
of Tullus ; where ftealing in undifcovered, he prefently
made up to the (6) fire place, a,,d feated himfelf there,
filent and motionlefs, and with his head covered. Thofe
of the family could not but worder at him, and yet
they were afraid to difturb him, for there was a certain
air of majefty about him, which mowed itfelf both in his
pofture and his filence. Therefore they related this extra-
ordinary adventure to Tullus, who was then at (upper -,
he immediately rofe from table, and comi ;g to Coriola-
nus, alked him, " Who he was, and for what bufmefs he
"came thither?" Whereupon Marcius unmuffling him-
felf, ardpauting a while, "If, (fays he,) thou canft not yet
*' call me to mind, Tullus, if after feeing me thcu canft
" doubt who I am, I muft of neceflity be my own accufer.
"Know therefore that I am Caius Marcius, the author of
" fo much mifchief to thee and to the Volfcians , which if
" I fhouid offer to deny, the furname of Coriolanus I now
" bear \ v ould be a fufficient evidence againft me : for I have
" no other recompence to boaft of for all the hardfhips and
" perils I have gone through during the wars between us,
" but a title that proclaims my enmity to your nation ; and
" this is the only thing which is ftill left me ; as for other
" advantages, 1 have been ftripped of them all at once by
" the envy and the outrage of the Roman people, and by
" the cowardice and treachery of the magiftrates, and thofe
"of my own order; fo that I am driven out as an exile,
" and become an humble fuppliant before thy houfhold
" Gods, not fo much for fofety and protection, (for what


(5) It is not known what poet (6) The fire-place was efteemed
was the author of thefe verfes. facred ; thither therefore all fup-


Cams Marcius Coriolanus.

" ftiould make me come hither, had I been afraid to die ?)
" as to feek and procure vengeance againft thofe who have
" expelled me from my country ; and methinks, I have
"already obtained it, by putting myfelf uto thy hands : if
" thou haft a mind to attack thy enemies, come on Tul-
" lus, reap the benefit of my miseries, and render my per-
" fonal calamities a national advantage to the Volfcians. I
" mall do fo much more fervice in fighting for, than againft
*' you, as they can manage a war better, who are privy to,
" than fuch as are unacquainted with the fecrets of the
" enemy. If thou art averfe to the war, it is neither fit for
*' me to live, or thee to preferve a perfbn who has been al-
" ways thy enemy, and now when he would be thy friend
" proves ufelefs and unferviceable." Tullus was highly
delighted at this difcourfe, and giving him his right hand,
" Rife, (fays he,) Marcius, and take courage. The prefent
" you thus make of yourfelf is ineftimable, and you may
" afliire yourfelf that the Volfcians will not be ungrateful."
When he had faid this he took him inftantly with him
to the table, where he entertained him with great kind-
nefs and hofpitality. The next and the following days
they deliberated concerning the beft method of condud-
ing the war.

While this defign was forming, there were great trou-
bles and commotions at Rome, from the animofity of the
fenators againft the people, which was confiderably height-
ened by the late condemnation of Marcius ; and their
foothfayers and priefts, and even private perfons, brought
in fearful accounts of figns and prodiges, that were very
much to be regarded. One of them I mall men-
tion here, which they report happened in this manner :
(7) Titus Latinus one of ordinary condition, but yet a
fober and virtuous man, free from all fuperftition on one
hand, and much more from vanity and boafting on the
other, dreamed that Jupiter appeared to him, and bid
him tell the fenate, " That at the games they had been
ic celebrating to his honour they had caufed the proceflion
"to be conducted by an ill-favoured leader, which


plicants reforted, as to an Afy- (7) Livy calls him Titus Atinius.

170 fbe L I F E of

had much dilhonoured him. At firfl he did not much
mind this viiion, but having feen and flighted it a
iecond and third time, his fon who was a very amiable
youth, died fuddenly, and he himfelf was ftruck with
fiich a weaknefs, as to be entirely deprived of the ufe
of his limbs. Thefe things he related, being brought
into the fenate on a couch. It is faid that he had no
fooner delivered his meilage, but he felt his ftrength
and vigour return, ib that he got upon his legs, and
went home without any affiflance. The fenators being
much furprized at it, made a frrict enquiry into the
matter ; which proved to be this. A certain perlbn had
given up a fervant of his to the reft of his fellows, with
charge firfl to whip him through the Forum, and then to
kill him. While they were executing this command,
and fcourging the fellow, who writhed and diflorted
his body in the mod mock i fig manner, through the
torture he was in, (8) a folemn proceffion in honour of
Jupiter chanced to follow. Several of the afliftants
were very much fcandalized feeing the horrible fuffer-
ings and the indecent poftures of the wretch, yet no
body would interpofe, or call the actors to account for
it ; they only uttered fome reproaches and curfes againft
the mailer, for punifhing his flave with fuch cruelty.
For the Romans treated their fervants with much huma-
nity in thofe days, becaufe they then worked and la-
boured themfelves and lived together among them,
which produced a great degree of kindnefs and familia-
rity ; and it was one of the greatefl penances for a fer-
vant, who had committed a fault to take up that piece
of wood upon his moulders wherewith they fupported
the thill of a waggon, and carry it round about through
the neighbourhood , and he that had once undergone
the fhame of this, and was feen by thofe of the houf-
hold, and other inhabitants of the place, carrying that
infamous burden, had no longer any truft or credit
among them, but was fly led Furcifer, by way of re-
proach j for what the Greeks call Hypoftates, i. e. a prop,


. (8) Dionyfius of Halicarnaflus, exprefs 'orders that the flave fhould
fays, that the matter had given ex- be puniihed at the head of the


Cains Mar cms Coriolanus. 171

or fupporter, is by the Latins termed Furca. When
therefore Latinus had informed them of this apparition^
and all were confidering who this ill-favoured leader
might be; fbme of them having been affected with the
flrangenefs of this puniihment, remembered the Have

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