Sunday, May 1, 2011

Promus - 5 All places yield to him ere he sits down

Parallels between Shake-Speare and Bacon's Promus

(d) a fourth explanatory parallel

from Shake-Speare's Coriolanus 4.7.27-8
[Coriolanus is leading Volscians against the Romans]

Lieutenant:   [to Aufidius] Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry Rome?
Aufidius:      All places yield to him ere he sits down.                                 [Line 28]

from Bacon's Promus (entry 562):

"Romanus sedendo vincit"
["The Roman conquers by sitting down"; from Erasmus's Adagia 329].

Comment: The Arden editor comments on line 28: "i.e. they yield before he lays siege to them". But the Promus dictum (of which the editor seems unaware) is not specifically related to laying siege; it has a wider meaning, namely that a Roman conquers, not by rash exploits, but by patience and perseverance. Shake-Speare's source, North's translation of Plutarch's Lives, says that Coriolanus did lay siege to Roman cities (see the Arden edition p. 352 - "Then Martius [Coriolanus] did besiege their cities"). The true meaning of Line 28 is not that all places yielded to him without being besieged, but rather that he swept all before him without the need even to show patience and perseverance.

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