No Fear Act 2 Scene 1
No Fear Act 2 Scene 1 Page 2

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BOTH

Why, how are we censured?

BOTH

How are we seen?

MENENIUS

Because you talk of pride now,—will you not be angry?

MENENIUS

Because you talk of pride now, won’t you get angry if I tell you?

BOTH

Well, well, sir, well.

BOTH

No, not at all, sir.

MENENIUS

25Why, ’tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience:
give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at
your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a
pleasure to you in being so. You blame Martius for
30being proud?

MENENIUS

Well, it doesn’t take much. Even the slightest incident will cause you to lose your patience and let your disposition take over. You become angry at what you should have enjoyed, and your only enjoyment comes from being angry. And yet you blame Martius for being proud?

BRUTUS

We do it not alone, sir.

BRUTUS

We’re not alone in our opinion, sir.

MENENIUS

I know you can do very little alone; for your helps
are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous
single: your abilities are too infant-like for
35doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you
could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
O that you could!

MENENIUS

I know you can do very little alone. Without all the help you get, your actions would be totally insignificant. Your abilities aren’t strong enough for you to do much on your own. You talk of pride. If only you could see yourselves as you really are! I wish you could!

BRUTUS

What then, sir?

BRUTUS

And what if we could, sir?

MENENIUS

40Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as
any in Rome.

MENENIUS

You’d see that you are equal to all the other unqualified, proud, violent, testy government officials—in other words, fools—in Rome.

SICINIUS

Menenius, you are known well enough too.

SICINIUS

Menenius, you have a bad reputation, too.

MENENIUS

I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
45loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
Tiber in’t; said to be something imperfect in
favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like
upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
with the buttock of the night than with the forehead
50of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my
malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as
you are—I cannot call you Lycurguses—if the drink
you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a
crooked face at it. I can’t say your worships have
55delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in
compound with the major part of your syllables: and
though I must be content to bear with those that say
you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that
tell you you have good faces. If you see this in
60the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
well enough too? what barm can your bisson
conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
known well enough too?

MENENIUS

I’m known as a moody aristocrat, and one that loves a cup of hot wine not diluted by even a drop of water from the Tiber River. I’m said to be somewhat flawed as a judge because I’m hastily swayed by the first argument I hear. I’m quick to anger at the slightest disturbance. I stay up late at night and don’t rise early in the morning. I say whatever I think and express my anger when I speak. Meeting two statesmen such as yourselves—I cannot call you lawmakers—if I don’t like the drink you give me, I make a crooked face at it. I don’t think you deserve the respectful titles of your profession, when I find most of what you say to be asinine. And though I can tolerate those that say you are respectable, serious men, the ones who say you are honest are deadly liars. If you see these same qualities in me, doesn’t it make sense that I’m known for my bad qualities? What harm can your misperceptions do to my character, if I already have a bad reputation?