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Coriolanus   


variously affected with what he had done; some of them complaining
of him and condemning his act, others, who were inclined to a peaceful
conclusion, unfavourable to neither. A third party, while much disliking
his proceedings, yet could not look upon Marcius as a treacherous
person, but thought it pardonable in him to be thus shaken and driven
to surrender at last, under such compulsion. None, however, opposed
his commands; they all obediently followed him, though rather from
admiration of his virtue, than any regard they now had to his authority.
The Roman people, meantime, more effectually manifested how much fear
and danger they had been in while the war lasted, by their deportment
after they were freed from it. Those that guarded the walls had no
sooner given notice that the Volscians were dislodged and drawn off,
but they set open all their temples in a moment, and began to crown
themselves with garlands and prepare for sacrifice, as they were wont
to do upon tidings brought of any signal victory. But the joy and
transport of the whole city was chiefly remarkable in the honours
and marks of affection paid to the women, as well by the senate as
the people in general; every one declaring that they were, beyond
all question, the instruments of the public safety. And the senate
having passed a decree that whatsoever they would ask in the way of
any favour or honour should be allowed and done for them by the magistrates,
they demanded simply that a temple might be erected to Female Fortune,
the expense of which they offered to defray out of their own contributions,
if the city would be at the cost of sacrifices, and other matters
pertaining to the due honour of the gods, out of the common treasury.
The senate, much commending their public spirit, caused the temple
to be built and a statue set up in it at the public charge; they,
however, made up a sum among themselves for a second image of Fortune,
which the Romans say uttered, as it was putting up, words to this
effect, "Blessed of the gods, O women, is your gift."
These words, they profess, were repeated a second time, expecting
our belief of what seems pretty nearly an impossibility. It may be
possible enough that statues may seem to sweat, and to run with tears,
and to stand with certain dewy drops of a sanguine colour; for timber
and stones are frequently known to contract a kind of scurf and rottenness,
productive of moisture; and various tints may form on the surfaces,
both from within and from the action of the air outside; and by these
signs it is not absurd to imagine that the deity may forewarn us.
It may happen, also, that images and statues may sometimes make a
noise not unlike that of a moan or groan, through a rupture or violent
internal separation of the parts; but that an articulate voice, and
such express words, and language so clear and exact and elaborate,
should proceed from inanimate things is, in my judgment, a thing utterly
out of possibility. For it was never known that either the soul of
man, or the deity himself, uttered vocal sounds and language, alone,
without an organized body and members fitted for speech. But where
history seems in a manner to force our assent by the concurrence of
numerous and credible witnesses, we are to conclude that an impression
distinct from sensation affects the imaginative part of our nature,
and then carries away the judgment, so as to believe it to be a sensation;
just as in sleep we fancy we see and hear, without really doing either.
Persons, however, whose strong feelings of reverence to the deity,
and tenderness for religion, will not allow them to deny or invalidate
anything of this kind, have certainly a strong argument for their
faith, in the wonderful and transcendent character of the divine power;
which admits no manner of comparison with ours, either in its nature
or its action, the modes or the strength of its operations. It is
no contradiction to reason that it should do things that we cannot
do, and effect what for us is impracticable: differing from us in
all respects, in its acts yet more than in other points we may well
believe it to be unlike us and remote from us. Knowledge of divine
things for the most part, as Heraclitus says, is lost to us by incredulity.
When Marcius came back to Antium, Tullus, who thoroughly hated and
greatly feared him, proceeded at once to contrive how he might immediately

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