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Coriolanus   


were reduced already to extreme indigence, and had nothing more to
be deprived of, these they led away in person and put their bodies
under constraint, notwithstanding the scars and wounds that they could
show in attestation of their public services in numerous campaigns;
the last of which had been against the Sabines, which they undertook
upon a promise made by their rich creditors that they would treat
them with more gentleness for the future, Marcus Valerius, the consul,
having, by order from the senate, engaged also for the performance
of it. But when, after they had fought courageously and beaten the
enemy, there was, nevertheless, no moderation or forbearance used,
and the senate also professed to remember nothing of that agreement,
and sat without testifying the least concern to see them dragged away
like slaves and their goods seized upon as formerly, there began now
to be open disorders and dangerous meetings in the city; and the enemy,
also, aware of the popular confusion, invaded and laid waste the country.
And when the consuls now gave notice, that all who were of an age
to bear arms should make their personal appearance, but found no one
regard the summons, the members of the government, then coming to
consult what course should be taken, were themselves again divided
in opinion; some thought it most advisable to comply a little in favour
of the poor, by relaxing their overstrained rights, and mitigating
the extreme rigour of the law, while others withstood this proposal;
Marcius in particular, with more vehemence than the rest, alleging
that the business of money on either side was not the main thing in
question, urged that this disorderly proceeding was but the first
insolent step towards open revolt against the laws, which it would
become the wisdom of the government to check at the earliest moment.
There had been frequent assemblies of the whole senate, within a small
compass of time, about this difficulty, but without any certain issue;
the poor commonalty, therefore, perceiving there was likely to be
no redress of their grievances, on a sudden collected in a body, and,
encouraging each other in their resolution, forsook the city, with
one accord, and seizing the hill which is now called the Holy Mount,
sat down by the river Anio, without committing any sort of violence
or seditious outrage, but merely exclaiming, as they went along, that
they had this long time past been, in fact, expelled and excluded
from the city by the cruelty of the rich; that Italy would everywhere
afford them the benefit of air and water and a place of burial, which
was all they could expect in the city, unless it were, perhaps, the
privilege of being wounded and killed in time of war for the defence
of their creditors. The senate, apprehending the consequences, sent
the most moderate and popular men of their own order to treat with
them.
Menenius Agrippa, their chief spokesman, after much entreaty to the
people, and much plain-speaking on behalf of the senate, concluded,
at length, with the celebrated fable. "It once happened," he said,
"that all the other members of a man mutinied against the stomach,
which they accused as the only idle, uncontributing part the whole
body, while the rest were put to hardships and the expense of much
labour to supply and minister to its appetites. The stomach, however,
merely ridiculed the silliness of the members, who appeared not to
be aware that the stomach certainly does receive the general nourishment,
but only to return it again, and redistribute it amongst the rest.
Such is the case," he said, "ye citizens, between you and the senate.
The counsels and plans that are there duly digested, convey and secure
to all of you your proper benefit and support."
A reconciliation ensued, the senate acceding to the request of the
people for the annual election of five protectors for those in need
of succour, the same that are now called the tribunes of the people;
and the first two they pitched upon were Junius Brutus and Sicinnius
Vellutus, their leaders in the secession.
The city being thus united, the commons stood presently to their arms,
and followed their commanders to the war with great alacrity. As for
Marcius, though he was not a little vexed himself to see the populace

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