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Men. Why, Mafters, my good Friends, mine honeft Neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
2 Čit. We cannot, Sir, we are undone already. Men. I tell you, Friends, moft charitable care Have the Patricians of you: For your wants, Your fufferings in this Dearth, you may as well Strike at the Heaven with your ftaves, as lift them Against the Roman State; whofe Course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand Curbs Of more ftrong Links asunder, than can ever Appear in your Impediment. For the Dearth, The Gods, not the Patricians, make it; and Your Knees to them (not Arms) muft help. Alack, You are tranfported by Calamity
Thither where more attends you; and you flander. The Helms o' th' State, who care for you like Fathers, When you curse them as Enemies.
2 Cit. Care for us!true, indeed! they ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their Store-houfes cramm'd with grain: make Edicts for Ufury, to fupport Ufurers; repeal daily any wholefome Act established against the Rich, and provide more piercing Statutes daily to chain up and reftrain the Poor. If the Wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
Confefs yourselves wond'rous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I fhall tell you
2 Cit. Well,
To fcale't a little more] Thus all the Editions as Mr. Theobald confeffes, who alters it to ftate't. And for a good Reason, because he can find no Senfe (he fays) in the common Reading. For as good a Reason, I who can, have reftor'd the old one to its Place. To fcale't fignifying to weigh, examine and apply it. A 4
I'll hear it, Sir-yet you must not think
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it;
I' th' midft o' th' body, idle and unactive,
Like labour with the reft; where th 'other inftru
Did fee, and hear, devife, inftruct, walk, feel,
2 Cit. Well, Sir, what anfwer made the belly ? Men. Sir, I fhall tell you.-With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus(For look you, I may make the belly fmile, As well as fpeak) it tauntingly reply'd
To th' difcontented Members, th' mutinous Parts,
2 Cit. Your belly's anfwer-what!
Men. What then?-'Fore me, this fellow fpeaks. What then? what then?
2 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be reftrain'd, Who is the fink o' th' body,
Men. Well,- -what then?
2 Cit. The former Agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?
Men. I will tell you,
If you'll beftow a small (of what you have little) Patience, a while; you'll hear the belly's answer. 2 Cit. Y'are long about it.
Men. Note me this, good Friend;
Your moft grave belly was deliberate,
Not rafh, like his accufers; and thus answer'd;
2 Cit. Ay, Sir, well, well.
Men. Though all at once cannot
flow'r of all,
What fay you to't? -how apply you this?
2 Cit. It was an answer ;-
But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you,
2 Cit. I the great toe! why, the great toe?
Of this moft wife Rebellion, thou goeft foremoft:
Thou rafcal, that art worft in blood to run,
But make you ready your ftiff bats and clubs,
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
2 Cit. We have ever your good word.
Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, ye Curs,
Or hailstone in the Sun. Your virtue is,
To make him worthy, whofe offence fubdues him, And curfe that justice, did it. Who deferves Greatnefs,
Deferves your Hate; and your affections are
With every minute you do change a mind,
You cry against the noble Senate, who
(Under the Gods) keep you in awe, which else B 6
Would feed on one another? what's their feeking? Men. For corn at their own rates, whereof they fay, The city is well flor'd.
Mar. Hang 'em: they fay!
They'll fit by th' fire, and perfume to know
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my fword, I'd make a quarry With thousands of thefe quarter'd Slaves, as high As I could pitch my lance.
Men. Nay, thefe are almoft thoroughly perfuaded: For though abundantly they lack difcretion, Yet are they paffing cowardly. But, I beseech you, What fays the other troop?
Mar. They are diffolv'd; hang 'em,
They faid they were an hungry, figh'd forth Proverbs; That hunger broke ftone walls—that dogs must eat,— That meat was made for mouths—that the Gods fent not Corn for the rich men only-With these shreds
They vented their complainings: which being anfwer'd,
And a Petition granted them, a ftrange one,
And make bold Power look pale; they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o'th' Moon, Shouting their emulation.
Men. What is granted them?
Mar. Five Tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms, Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not
The rabble fhould have firft unroof'd the City,