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Navigate this workCoriolanus
As Coriolanus begins, two Roman patricians, Menenius and Martius, calm a revolt by the city’s famished plebians. Martius, who despises the plebians, announces that their petition to be represented by tribunes has been granted. When Volscian invaders attack Roman territories, Martius helps lead the Roman forces, and almost single-handedly conquers the Volscian city of Corioles, winning the name “Coriolanus.” The Volscian leader, Aufidius, swears revenge.
Victorious in battle, Coriolanus expects to be made a consul, but by custom he must ask for votes from the plebians. He does this so contemptuously that he is rejected as a consul. The tribunes later charge Coriolanus with treason and banish him from Rome. He seeks his former enemy, Aufidius.
Coriolanus and Aufidius join forces to conquer Rome. On the brink of success, Coriolanus is persuaded by his mother, Volumnia, to spare the city, though he knows it may cost him his life. Aufidius and his fellow conspirators plot Coriolanus’s death. Coriolanus returns to Corioles, where he is assassinated. Rome honors Volumnia for saving the city.
clubs, and other weapons.
FIRST CITIZEN 0001 Before we proceed any further, hear me
ALL 0003 Speak, speak!
FIRST CITIZEN 0004 You are all resolved rather to die than to
0005 5 famish?
ALL 0006 Resolved, resolved!
FIRST CITIZEN 0007 First, you know Caius Martius is chief
0008 enemy to the people.
ALL 0009 We know ’t, we know ’t!
FIRST CITIZEN 0010 10Let us kill him, and we’ll have corn at
0011 our own price. Is ’t a verdict?
ALL 0012 No more talking on ’t; let it be done. Away, away!
SECOND CITIZEN 0013 One word, good citizens.
FIRST CITIZEN 0014 We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians
0015 15 good. What authority surfeits on would
0016 relieve us. If they would yield us but the superfluity
0017 while it were wholesome, we might guess they
0018 relieved us humanely. But they think we are too
0019 dear. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our
0020 20 misery, is as an inventory to particularize their
0021 abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let
0022 us revenge this with our pikes ere we become
0024 bread, not in thirst for revenge.
SECOND CITIZEN 0025 25Would you proceed especially against
0026 Caius Martius?
ALL 0027 Against him first. He’s a very dog to the
SECOND CITIZEN 0029 Consider you what services he has
0030 30 done for his country?
FIRST CITIZEN 0031 Very well, and could be content to give
0032 him good report for ’t, but that he pays himself
0033 with being proud.
⌜SECOND CITIZEN⌝ 0034 Nay, but speak not maliciously.
FIRST CITIZEN 0035 35I say unto you, what he hath done
0036 famously he did it to that end. Though soft-conscienced
0037 men can be content to say it was for
0038 his country, he did it to please his mother and to be
0039 partly proud, which he is, even to the altitude of
0040 40 his virtue.
SECOND CITIZEN 0041 What he cannot help in his nature you
0042 account a vice in him. You must in no way say he
0043 is covetous.
FIRST CITIZEN 0044 If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations.
0045 45 He hath faults, with surplus, to tire in
0046 repetition. (Shouts within.) What shouts are these?
0047 The other side o’ th’ city is risen. Why stay we prating
0048 here? To th’ Capitol!
ALL 0049 Come, come!
Enter Menenius Agrippa.
FIRST CITIZEN 0050 50Soft, who comes here?
SECOND CITIZEN 0051 Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that
0052 hath always loved the people.
FIRST CITIZEN 0053 He’s one honest enough. Would all the
0054 rest were so!
0055 55 What work ’s, my countrymen, in hand? Where go
0057 With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
SECOND CITIZEN 0058 Our business is not unknown to th’
0059 Senate. They have had inkling this fortnight what
0060 60 we intend to do, which now we’ll show ’em in
0061 deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths;
0062 they shall know we have strong arms too.
0063 Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest
0065 65 Will you undo yourselves?
0066 We cannot, sir; we are undone already.
0067 I tell you, friends, most charitable care
0068 Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
0069 Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
0070 70 Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
0071 Against the Roman state, whose course will on
0072 The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
0073 Of more strong link asunder than can ever
0074 Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
0075 75 The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
0076 Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
0077 You are transported by calamity
0078 Thither where more attends you, and you slander
0079 The helms o’ th’ state, who care for you like fathers,
0080 80 When you curse them as enemies.
SECOND CITIZEN 0081 Care for us? True, indeed! They ne’er
0082 cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their
0083 storehouses crammed with grain; make edicts for
0084 usury to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome
0085 85 act established against the rich, and provide
0086 more piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain
0088 and there’s all the love they bear us.
0089 Either you must confess yourselves wondrous
0090 90 malicious
0091 Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
0092 A pretty tale. It may be you have heard it,
0093 But since it serves my purpose, I will venture
0094 To ⌜stale⌝ ’t a little more.
SECOND CITIZEN 0095 95Well, I’ll hear it, sir; yet you must not
0096 think to fob off our disgrace with a tale. But, an ’t
0097 please you, deliver.
0098 There was a time when all the body’s members
0099 Rebelled against the belly, thus accused it:
0100 100 That only like a gulf it did remain
0101 I’ th’ midst o’ th’ body, idle and unactive,
0102 Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
0103 Like labor with the rest, where th’ other instruments
0104 Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
0105 105 And, mutually participate, did minister
0106 Unto the appetite and affection common
0107 Of the whole body. The belly answered—
SECOND CITIZEN 0108 Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
0109 Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
0110 110 Which ne’er came from the lungs, but even thus—
0111 For, look you, I may make the belly smile
0112 As well as speak—it ⌜tauntingly⌝ replied
0113 To th’ discontented members, the mutinous parts
0114 That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
0115 115 As you malign our senators for that
0116 They are not such as you.
SECOND CITIZEN 0117 Your belly’s answer—what?
0118 The kingly crownèd head, the vigilant eye,
0119 The counselor heart, the arm our soldier,
0121 With other muniments and petty helps
0122 In this our fabric, if that they—
MENENIUS 0123 What then?
0124 ’Fore me, this fellow speaks. What then? What then?
0125 125 Should by the cormorant belly be restrained,
0126 Who is the sink o’ th’ body—
MENENIUS 0127 Well, what then?
0128 The former agents, if they did complain,
0129 What could the belly answer?
MENENIUS 0130 130 I will tell you,
0131 If you’ll bestow a small—of what you have little—
0132 Patience awhile, you’st hear the belly’s answer.
0133 You’re long about it.
MENENIUS 0134 Note me this, good friend;
0135 135 Your most grave belly was deliberate,
0136 Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered:
0137 “True is it, my incorporate friends,” quoth he,
0138 “That I receive the general food at first
0139 Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
0140 140 Because I am the storehouse and the shop
0141 Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,
0142 I send it through the rivers of your blood
0143 Even to the court, the heart, to th’ seat o’ th’ brain;
0144 And, through the cranks and offices of man,
0145 145 The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
0146 From me receive that natural competency
0147 Whereby they live. And though that all at once,
0148 You, my good friends”—this says the belly, mark
0150 150 Ay, sir, well, well.
0152 See what I do deliver out to each,
0153 Yet I can make my audit up, that all
0154 From me do back receive the flour of all,
0155 155 And leave me but the bran.” What say you to ’t?
0156 It was an answer. How apply you this?
0157 The senators of Rome are this good belly,
0158 And you the mutinous members. For examine
0159 Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
0160 160 Touching the weal o’ th’ common, you shall find
0161 No public benefit which you receive
0162 But it proceeds or comes from them to you
0163 And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
0164 You, the great toe of this assembly?
SECOND CITIZEN 0165 165I the great toe? Why the great toe?
0166 For that, being one o’ th’ lowest, basest, poorest,
0167 Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost.
0168 Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
0169 Lead’st first to win some vantage.
0170 170 But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs.
0171 Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
0172 The one side must have bale.
Enter Caius Martius.
0173 Hail, noble Martius.
0174 Thanks.—What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues,
0175 175 That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
0176 Make yourselves scabs?
SECOND CITIZEN 0177 We have ever your good word.
0178 He that will give good words to thee will flatter
0179 Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
0181 The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
0182 Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
0183 Where foxes, geese. You are no surer, no,
0184 Than is the coal of fire upon the ice
0185 185 Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
0186 To make him worthy whose offense subdues him,
0187 And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
0188 Deserves your hate; and your affections are
0189 A sick man’s appetite, who desires most that
0190 190 Which would increase his evil. He that depends
0191 Upon your favors swims with fins of lead,
0192 And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang you! Trust
0194 With every minute you do change a mind
0195 195 And call him noble that was now your hate,
0196 Him vile that was your garland. What’s the matter,
0197 That in these several places of the city
0198 You cry against the noble senate, who,
0199 Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
0200 200 Would feed on one another?—What’s their seeking?
0201 For corn at their own rates, whereof they say
0202 The city is well stored.
MARTIUS 0203 Hang ’em! They say?
0204 They’ll sit by th’ fire and presume to know
0205 205 What’s done i’ th’ Capitol, who’s like to rise,
0206 Who thrives, and who declines; side factions and
0207 give out
0208 Conjectural marriages, making parties strong
0209 And feebling such as stand not in their liking
0210 210 Below their cobbled shoes. They say there’s grain
0212 Would the nobility lay aside their ruth
0213 And let me use my sword, I’d make a quarry
0215 215 As I could pick my lance.
0216 Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
0217 For though abundantly they lack discretion,
0218 Yet are they passing cowardly. But I beseech you,
0219 What says the other troop?
MARTIUS 0220 220 They are dissolved. Hang
0222 They said they were an-hungry, sighed forth
0224 That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
0225 225 That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent
0227 Corn for the rich men only. With these shreds
0228 They vented their complainings, which being
0230 230 And a petition granted them—a strange one,
0231 To break the heart of generosity
0232 And make bold power look pale—they threw their
0234 As they would hang them on the horns o’ th’ moon,
0235 235 Shouting their emulation.
MENENIUS 0236 What is granted them?
0237 Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
0238 Of their own choice. One’s Junius Brutus,
0239 Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. ’Sdeath!
0240 240 The rabble should have first ⌜unroofed⌝ the city
0241 Ere so prevailed with me. It will in time
0242 Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
0243 For insurrection’s arguing.
MENENIUS 0244 This is strange.
MARTIUS 0245 245Go get you home, you fragments.
Enter a Messenger hastily.
0246 Where’s Caius Martius?
MARTIUS 0247 Here. What’s the matter?
0248 The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
0249 I am glad on ’t. Then we shall ha’ means to vent
0250 250 Our musty superfluity.
Enter Sicinius Velutus, Junius Brutus, ⌜(two Tribunes);⌝
Cominius, Titus Lartius, with other Senators.
0251 See our best elders.
0252 Martius, ’tis true that you have lately told us:
0253 The Volsces are in arms.
MARTIUS 0254 They have a leader,
0255 255 Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to ’t.
0256 I sin in envying his nobility,
0257 And, were I anything but what I am,
0258 I would wish me only he.
COMINIUS 0259 You have fought together?
0260 260 Were half to half the world by th’ ears and he
0261 Upon my party, I’d revolt, to make
0262 Only my wars with him. He is a lion
0263 That I am proud to hunt.
FIRST SENATOR 0264 Then, worthy Martius,
0265 265 Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
0266 It is your former promise.
MARTIUS 0267 Sir, it is,
0268 And I am constant.—Titus ⌜Lartius,⌝ thou
0269 Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus’ face.
0270 270 What, art thou stiff? Stand’st out?
0272 I’ll lean upon one crutch and fight with t’ other
0273 Ere stay behind this business.
MENENIUS 0274 O, true bred!
0275 275 Your company to th’ Capitol, where I know
0276 Our greatest friends attend us.
LARTIUS, ⌜to Cominius⌝ 0277 Lead you on.—
0278 ⌜To Martius.⌝ Follow Cominius. We must follow you;
0279 Right worthy you priority.
COMINIUS 0280 280 Noble Martius.
⌜FIRST⌝ SENATOR, ⌜to the Citizens⌝
0281 Hence to your homes, begone.
MARTIUS 0282 Nay, let them follow.
0283 The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither
0284 To gnaw their garners.
Citizens steal away.
0285 285 Worshipful mutineers,
0286 Your valor puts well forth.—Pray follow.
They exit. Sicinius and Brutus remain.
0287 Was ever man so proud as is this Martius?
BRUTUS 0288 He has no equal.
0289 When we were chosen tribunes for the people—
0290 290 Marked you his lip and eyes?
SICINIUS 0291 Nay, but his taunts.
0292 Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods—
SICINIUS 0293 Bemock the modest moon.
0294 The present wars devour him! He is grown
0295 295 Too proud to be so valiant.
0297 Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
0298 Which he treads on at noon. But I do wonder
0299 His insolence can brook to be commanded
0300 300 Under Cominius.
BRUTUS 0301 Fame, at the which he aims,
0302 In whom already he’s well graced, cannot
0303 Better be held nor more attained than by
0304 A place below the first; for what miscarries
0305 305 Shall be the General’s fault, though he perform
0306 To th’ utmost of a man, and giddy censure
0307 Will then cry out of Martius “O, if he
0308 Had borne the business!”
SICINIUS 0309 Besides, if things go well,
0310 310 Opinion that so sticks on Martius shall
0311 Of his demerits rob Cominius.
BRUTUS 0312 Come.
0313 Half all Cominius’ honors are to Martius,
0314 Though Martius earned them not, and all his faults
0315 315 To Martius shall be honors, though indeed
0316 In aught he merit not.
SICINIUS 0317 Let’s hence and hear
0318 How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
0319 More than his singularity, he goes
0320 320 Upon this present action.
BRUTUS 0321 Let’s along.
0322 So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
0323 That they of Rome are entered in our counsels
0324 And know how we proceed.
0326 5 Whatever have been thought on in this state
0327 That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
0328 Had circumvention? ’Tis not four days gone
0329 Since I heard thence. These are the words—I think
0330 I have the letter here. Yes, here it is.
0331 10 ⌜(He reads.)⌝ They have pressed a power, but it is not
0333 Whether for east or west. The dearth is great.
0334 The people mutinous; and, it is rumored,
0335 Cominius, Martius your old enemy,
0336 15 Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
0337 And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
0338 These three lead on this preparation
0339 Whither ’tis bent. Most likely ’tis for you.
0340 Consider of it.
FIRST SENATOR 0341 20Our army’s in the field.
0342 We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
0343 To answer us.
AUFIDIUS 0344 Nor did you think it folly
0345 To keep your great pretenses veiled till when
0346 25 They needs must show themselves, which, in the
0348 It seemed, appeared to Rome. By the discovery
0349 We shall be shortened in our aim, which was
0350 To take in many towns ere almost Rome
0351 30 Should know we were afoot.
SECOND SENATOR 0352 Noble Aufidius,
0353 Take your commission; hie you to your bands.
0354 Let us alone to guard Corioles.
0355 If they set down before ’s, for the remove
0356 35 Bring up your army. But I think you’ll find
0357 They’ve not prepared for us.
AUFIDIUS 0358 O, doubt not that;
0359 I speak from certainties. Nay, more,
0361 40 And only hitherward. I leave your Honors.
0362 If we and Caius Martius chance to meet,
0363 ’Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
0364 Till one can do no more.
ALL 0365 The gods assist you!
AUFIDIUS 0366 45And keep your Honors safe!
FIRST SENATOR 0367 Farewell.
SECOND SENATOR 0368 Farewell.
ALL 0369 Farewell.
to Martius. They set them down on two low stools
VOLUMNIA 0370 I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself
0371 in a more comfortable sort. If my son were my
0372 husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence
0373 wherein he won honor than in the embracements
0374 5 of his bed where he would show most love. When
0375 yet he was but tender-bodied and the only son of
0376 my womb, when youth with comeliness plucked
0377 all gaze his way, when for a day of kings’ entreaties
0378 a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding,
0379 10 I, considering how honor would become
0380 such a person—that it was no better than picture-like
0381 to hang by th’ wall, if renown made it not
0382 stir—was pleased to let him seek danger where he
0383 was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him,
0384 15 from whence he returned, his brows bound with
0385 oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy
0386 at first hearing he was a man-child than now in
0387 first seeing he had proved himself a man.
0389 20 then?
VOLUMNIA 0390 Then his good report should have been my
0391 son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me
0392 profess sincerely: had I a dozen sons, each in my
0393 love alike and none less dear than thine and my
0394 25 good Martius, I had rather had eleven die nobly
0395 for their country than one voluptuously surfeit out
0396 of action.
Enter a Gentlewoman.
GENTLEWOMAN 0397 Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to
0398 visit you.
0399 30 Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.
VOLUMNIA 0400 Indeed you shall not.
0401 Methinks I hear hither your husband’s drum,
0402 See him pluck Aufidius down by th’ hair;
0403 As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.
0404 35 Methinks I see him stamp thus and call thus:
0405 “Come on, you cowards! You were got in fear,
0406 Though you were born in Rome.” His bloody brow
0407 With his mailed hand then wiping, forth he goes
0408 Like to a harvestman ⌜that’s⌝ tasked to mow
0409 40 Or all or lose his hire.
0410 His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!
0411 Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
0412 Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
0413 When she did suckle Hector, looked not lovelier
0414 45 Than Hector’s forehead when it spit forth blood
0415 At Grecian sword, contemning.—Tell Valeria
0416 We are fit to bid her welcome.Gentlewoman exits.
0417 Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
0418 He’ll beat Aufidius’ head below his knee
0419 50 And tread upon his neck.
Enter Valeria with an Usher and a Gentlewoman.
VALERIA 0420 My ladies both, good day to you.
VOLUMNIA 0421 Sweet madam.
VIRGILIA 0422 I am glad to see your Ladyship.
VALERIA 0423 How do you both? You are manifest housekeepers.
0424 55 What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in
0425 good faith. How does your little son?
VIRGILIA 0426 I thank your Ladyship; well, good madam.
VOLUMNIA 0427 He had rather see the swords and hear a
0428 drum than look upon his schoolmaster.
VALERIA 0429 60O’ my word, the father’s son! I’ll swear ’tis a
0430 very pretty boy. O’ my troth, I looked upon him o’
0431 Wednesday half an hour together. H’as such a confirmed
0432 countenance. I saw him run after a gilded
0433 butterfly, and when he caught it, he let it go again,
0434 65 and after it again, and over and over he comes,
0435 and up again, catched it again. Or whether his fall
0436 enraged him or how ’twas, he did so set his teeth
0437 and tear it. O, I warrant how he mammocked it!
VOLUMNIA 0438 One on ’s father’s moods.
VALERIA 0439 70Indeed, la, ’tis a noble child.
VIRGILIA 0440 A crack, madam.
VALERIA 0441 Come, lay aside your stitchery. I must have
0442 you play the idle huswife with me this afternoon.
VIRGILIA 0443 No, good madam, I will not out of doors.
VALERIA 0444 75Not out of doors?
VOLUMNIA 0445 She shall, she shall.
VIRGILIA 0446 Indeed, no, by your patience. I’ll not over the
0447 threshold till my lord return from the wars.
0449 80 Come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.
VIRGILIA 0450 I will wish her speedy strength and visit her
0451 with my prayers, but I cannot go thither.
VOLUMNIA 0452 Why, I pray you?
⌜VIRGILIA⌝ 0453 ’Tis not to save labor, nor that I want love.
VALERIA 0454 85You would be another Penelope. Yet they say
0455 all the yarn she spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fill
0456 Ithaca full of moths. Come, I would your cambric
0457 were sensible as your finger, that you might leave
0458 pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
VIRGILIA 0459 90No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will
0460 not forth.
VALERIA 0461 In truth, la, go with me, and I’ll tell you excellent
0462 news of your husband.
VIRGILIA 0463 O, good madam, there can be none yet.
VALERIA 0464 95Verily, I do not jest with you. There came
0465 news from him last night.
VIRGILIA 0466 Indeed, madam!
VALERIA 0467 In earnest, it’s true. I heard a senator speak it.
0468 Thus it is: the Volsces have an army forth, against
0469 100 whom Cominius the General is gone with one
0470 part of our Roman power. Your lord and Titus Lartius
0471 are set down before their city Corioles. They
0472 nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief
0473 wars. This is true, on mine honor, and so, I pray, go
0474 105 with us.
VIRGILIA 0475 Give me excuse, good madam. I will obey you
0476 in everything hereafter.
VOLUMNIA 0477 Let her alone, lady. As she is now, she will
0478 but disease our better mirth.
VALERIA 0479 110In troth, I think she would.—Fare you well,
0480 then.—Come, good sweet lady.—Prithee, Virgilia,
0481 turn thy solemness out o’ door, and go along with
0484 115 wish you much mirth.
VALERIA 0485 Well, then, farewell.
and Colors, with Captains and Soldiers, as before
the city ⌜of⌝ Corioles. To them a Messenger.
0486 Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.
0487 My horse to yours, no.
MARTIUS 0488 ’Tis done.
LARTIUS 0489 Agreed.
MARTIUS, ⌜to Messenger⌝
0490 5 Say, has our general met the enemy?
0491 They lie in view but have not spoke as yet.
0492 So the good horse is mine.
MARTIUS 0493 I’ll buy him of you.
0494 No, I’ll nor sell nor give him. Lend you him I will
0495 10 For half a hundred years.—Summon the town.
MARTIUS 0496 How far off lie these armies?
MESSENGER 0497 Within this mile and half.
0498 Then shall we hear their ’larum and they ours.
0499 Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
0500 15 That we with smoking swords may march from
0502 To help our fielded friends!—Come, blow thy blast.
They sound a parley.
0503 Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
0504 No, nor a man that fears you less than he:
0505 20 That’s lesser than a little.Drum afar off.
0506 Hark, our drums
0507 Are bringing forth our youth. We’ll break our walls
0508 Rather than they shall pound us up. Our gates,
0509 Which yet seem shut, we have but pinned with
0510 25 rushes.
0511 They’ll open of themselves.Alarum far off.
0512 Hark you, far off!
0513 There is Aufidius. List what work he makes
0514 Amongst your cloven army.
⌜They exit from the walls.⌝
MARTIUS 0515 30 O, they are at it!
0516 Their noise be our instruction.—Ladders, ho!
Enter the Army of the Volsces ⌜as through the city gates.⌝
0517 They fear us not but issue forth their city.—
0518 Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
0519 With hearts more proof than shields.—Advance,
0520 35 brave Titus.
0521 They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
0522 Which makes me sweat with wrath.—Come on, my
0524 He that retires, I’ll take him for a Volsce,
0525 40 And he shall feel mine edge.
Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches.
⌜They exit, with the Volsces following.⌝
Enter Martius cursing, ⌜with Roman soldiers.⌝
0526 All the contagion of the south light on you,
0527 You shames of Rome! You herd of—Boils and
0529 Plaster you o’er, that you may be abhorred
0530 45 Farther than seen, and one infect another
0531 Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
0532 That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
0533 From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
0534 All hurt behind. Backs red, and faces pale
0535 50 With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge home,
0536 Or, by the fires of heaven, I’ll leave the foe
0537 And make my wars on you. Look to ’t. Come on!
0538 If you’ll stand fast, we’ll beat them to their wives,
0539 As they us to our trenches. Follow ’s!
Another alarum. ⌜The Volsces re-enter and are driven
back to the gates of Corioles, which open to admit
0540 55 So, now the gates are ope. Now prove good
0542 ’Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
0543 Not for the fliers. Mark me, and do the like.
Martius follows ⌜the fleeing Volsces through⌝
the gates, and is shut in.
FIRST SOLDIER 0544 Foolhardiness, not I.
SECOND SOLDIER 0545 60Nor I.
FIRST SOLDIER 0546 See they have shut him in.
ALL 0547 To th’ pot, I warrant him.
Enter Titus Lartius.
0548 What is become of Martius?
ALL 0549 Slain, sir, doubtless.
0550 65 Following the fliers at the very heels,
0551 With them he enters, who upon the sudden
0552 Clapped to their gates. He is himself alone,
0553 To answer all the city.
LARTIUS 0554 O, noble fellow,
0555 70 Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
0556 And when it bows, stand’st up! Thou art left,
0558 A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
0559 Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
0560 75 Even to ⌜Cato’s⌝ wish, not fierce and terrible
0561 Only in strokes, but with thy grim looks and
0562 The thunderlike percussion of thy sounds
0563 Thou mad’st thine enemies shake, as if the world
0564 Were feverous and did tremble.
Enter Martius, bleeding, ⌜as if from Corioles,⌝ assaulted
by the enemy.
FIRST SOLDIER 0565 80Look, sir.
LARTIUS 0566 O, ’tis Martius!
0567 Let’s fetch him off or make remain alike.
They fight, and all enter the city, ⌜exiting the stage.⌝
FIRST ROMAN 0568 This will I carry to Rome.
SECOND ROMAN 0569 And I this.
THIRD ROMAN 0570 A murrain on ’t! I took this for silver.
Enter Martius, and Titus ⌜Lartius⌝ with a Trumpet.
0571 See here these movers that do prize their hours
0572 5 At a cracked drachma. Cushions, leaden spoons,
0574 Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
0575 Ere yet the fight be done, pack up. Down with them!
⌜The Romans with spoils⌝ exit.
Alarum continues still afar off.
0576 And hark, what noise the General makes! To him!
0577 10 There is the man of my soul’s hate, Aufidius,
0578 Piercing our Romans. Then, valiant Titus, take
0579 Convenient numbers to make good the city,
0580 Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
0581 To help Cominius.
LARTIUS 0582 15 Worthy sir, thou bleed’st.
0583 Thy exercise hath been too violent
0584 For a second course of fight.
MARTIUS 0585 Sir, praise me not.
0586 My work hath yet not warmed me. Fare you well.
0587 20 The blood I drop is rather physical
0588 Than dangerous to me. To Aufidius thus
0589 I will appear and fight.
LARTIUS 0590 Now the fair goddess Fortune
0591 Fall deep in love with thee, and her great charms
0592 25 Misguide thy opposers’ swords! Bold gentleman,
0593 Prosperity be thy page!
MARTIUS 0594 Thy friend no less
0595 Than those she placeth highest! So farewell.
LARTIUS 0596 Thou worthiest Martius!⌜Martius exits.⌝
0597 30 Go sound thy trumpet in the marketplace.
0598 Call thither all the officers o’ th’ town,
0599 Where they shall know our mind. Away!
0600 Breathe you, my friends. Well fought! We are come
0602 Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands
0603 Nor cowardly in retire. Believe me, sirs,
0604 5 We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck,
0605 By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
0606 The charges of our friends. The Roman gods
0607 Lead their successes as we wish our own,
0608 That both our powers, with smiling fronts
0609 10 encount’ring,
0610 May give you thankful sacrifice!
Enter a Messenger.
0611 Thy news?
0612 The citizens of Corioles have issued
0613 And given to Lartius and to Martius battle.
0614 15 I saw our party to their trenches driven,
0615 And then I came away.
COMINIUS 0616 Though thou speakest truth,
0617 Methinks thou speak’st not well. How long is ’t
MESSENGER 0619 20Above an hour, my lord.
0620 ’Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums.
0621 How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour
0622 And bring thy news so late?
MESSENGER 0623 Spies of the Volsces
0624 25 Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
0626 Half an hour since brought my report.⌜He exits.⌝
Enter Martius, ⌜bloody.⌝
COMINIUS 0627 Who’s yonder,
0628 That does appear as he were flayed? O gods,
0629 30 He has the stamp of Martius, and I have
0630 Before-time seen him thus.
MARTIUS 0631 Come I too late?
0632 The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabor
0633 More than I know the sound of Martius’ tongue
0634 35 From every meaner man.
MARTIUS 0635 Come I too late?
0636 Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
0637 But mantled in your own.
MARTIUS 0638 O, let me clip you
0639 40 In arms as sound as when I wooed, in heart
0640 As merry as when our nuptial day was done
0641 And tapers burnt to bedward!⌜They embrace.⌝
0642 Flower of warriors, how is ’t with Titus Lartius?
0643 As with a man busied about decrees,
0644 45 Condemning some to death and some to exile;
0645 Ransoming him or pitying, threat’ning th’ other;
0646 Holding Corioles in the name of Rome
0647 Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
0648 To let him slip at will.
COMINIUS 0649 50 Where is that slave
0650 Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
0651 Where is he? Call him hither.
MARTIUS 0652 Let him alone.
0653 He did inform the truth. But for our gentlemen,
0655 The mouse ne’er shunned the cat as they did budge
0656 From rascals worse than they.
COMINIUS 0657 But how prevailed you?
0658 Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
0659 60 Where is the enemy? Are you lords o’ th’ field?
0660 If not, why cease you till you are so?
0661 Martius, we have at disadvantage fought
0662 And did retire to win our purpose.
0663 How lies their battle? Know you on which side
0664 65 They have placed their men of trust?
COMINIUS 0665 As I guess,
0667 Their bands i’ th’ vaward are the ⌜Antiates,⌝
0668 Of their best trust; o’er them Aufidius,
0669 70 Their very heart of hope.
MARTIUS 0670 I do beseech you,
0671 By all the battles wherein we have fought,
0672 By th’ blood we have shed together, by th’ vows we
0673 have made
0674 75 To endure friends, that you directly set me
0675 Against Aufidius and his Antiates,
0676 And that you not delay the present, but,
0677 Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
0678 We prove this very hour.
COMINIUS 0679 80 Though I could wish
0680 You were conducted to a gentle bath
0681 And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
0682 Deny your asking. Take your choice of those
0683 That best can aid your action.
MARTIUS 0684 85 Those are they
0685 That most are willing. If any such be here—
0687 Wherein you see me smeared; if any fear
0688 ⌜Lesser⌝ his person than an ill report;
0689 90 If any think brave death outweighs bad life,
0690 And that his country’s dearer than himself;
0691 Let him alone, or so many so minded,
0692 Wave thus to express his disposition
0693 And follow Martius.⌜He waves his sword.⌝
They all shout and wave their swords,
take him up in their arms, and cast up their caps.
0694 95 O, me alone! Make you a sword of me?
0695 If these shows be not outward, which of you
0696 But is four Volsces? None of you but is
0697 Able to bear against the great Aufidius
0698 A shield as hard as his. A certain number,
0699 100 Though thanks to all, must I select from all.
0700 The rest shall bear the business in some other fight,
0701 As cause will be obeyed. Please you to march,
0702 And ⌜I⌝ shall quickly draw out my command,
0703 Which men are best inclined.
COMINIUS 0704 105 March on, my fellows.
0705 Make good this ostentation, and you shall
0706 Divide in all with us.
with Drum and Trumpet toward Cominius and Caius
Martius, enters with a Lieutenant, other Soldiers,
and a Scout.
0707 So, let the ports be guarded. Keep your duties
0708 As I have set them down. If I do send, dispatch
0709 Those centuries to our aid; the rest will serve
0711 5 We cannot keep the town.
LIEUTENANT 0712 Fear not our care, sir.
LARTIUS 0713 Hence, and shut your gates upon ’s.
0714 ⌜(To the Scout.)⌝ Our guider, come. To th’ Roman
0715 camp conduct us.
⌜They⌝ exit, ⌜the Lieutenant one way, Lartius another.⌝
Enter Martius and Aufidius at several doors.
0716 I’ll fight with none but thee, for I do hate thee
0717 Worse than a promise-breaker.
AUFIDIUS 0718 We hate alike.
0719 Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor
0720 5 More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.
0721 Let the first budger die the other’s slave,
0722 And the gods doom him after!
AUFIDIUS 0723 If I fly, Martius,
0724 Hollo me like a hare.
MARTIUS 0725 10 Within these three hours,
0727 Alone I fought in your Corioles’ walls
0728 And made what work I pleased. ’Tis not my blood
0729 Wherein thou seest me masked. For thy revenge,
0730 15 Wrench up thy power to th’ highest.
AUFIDIUS 0731 Wert thou the
0733 That was the whip of your bragged progeny,
0734 Thou shouldst not scape me here.
Here they fight, and certain Volsces come in
the aid of Aufidius.
0736 shamed me
0737 In your condemnèd seconds.
Martius fights till they be driven in breathless.
⌜Aufidius and Martius exit, separately.⌝
door, Cominius with the Romans; at another door
Martius, with his arm in a scarf.
COMINIUS, ⌜to Martius⌝
0738 If I should tell thee o’er this thy day’s work,
0739 Thou ’t not believe thy deeds. But I’ll report it
0740 Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles;
0741 Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
0742 5 I’ th’ end admire; where ladies shall be frighted
0743 And, gladly quaked, hear more; where the dull
0745 That with the fusty plebeians hate thine honors,
0746 Shall say against their hearts “We thank the gods
0747 10 Our Rome hath such a soldier.”
0748 Yet cam’st thou to a morsel of this feast,
0749 Having fully dined before.
Enter Titus ⌜Lartius⌝ with his power, from the pursuit.
LARTIUS 0750 O general,
0751 Here is the steed, we the caparison.
0752 15 Hadst thou beheld—
MARTIUS 0753 Pray now, no more. My mother,
0754 Who has a charter to extol her blood,
0755 When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
0756 As you have done—that’s what I can;
0757 20 Induced as you have been—that’s for my country.
0758 He that has but effected his good will
0759 Hath overta’en mine act.
0761 The grave of your deserving. Rome must know
0762 25 The value of her own. ’Twere a concealment
0763 Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
0764 To hide your doings and to silence that
0765 Which, to the spire and top of praises vouched,
0766 Would seem but modest. Therefore, I beseech you—
0767 30 In sign of what you are, not to reward
0768 What you have done—before our army hear me.
0769 I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
0770 To hear themselves remembered.
COMINIUS 0771 Should they not,
0772 35 Well might they fester ’gainst ingratitude
0773 And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses—
0774 Whereof we have ta’en good and good store—of all
0775 The treasure in this field achieved and city,
0776 We render you the tenth, to be ta’en forth
0777 40 Before the common distribution
0778 At your only choice.
MARTIUS 0779 I thank you, general,
0780 But cannot make my heart consent to take
0781 A bribe to pay my sword. I do refuse it
0782 45 And stand upon my common part with those
0783 That have beheld the doing.
A long flourish. They all cry “Martius, Martius!”
⌜and⌝ cast up their caps and lances.
Cominius and Lartius stand bare.
0784 May these same instruments, which you profane,
0785 Never sound more! When drums and trumpets shall
0786 I’ th’ field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
0787 50 Made all of false-faced soothing! When steel grows
0788 Soft as the parasite’s silk, let him be made
0789 An ⌜ovator⌝ for th’ wars! No more, I say.
0790 For that I have not washed my nose that bled,
0791 Or foiled some debile wretch—which, without note,
0793 In acclamations hyperbolical,
0794 As if I loved my little should be dieted
0795 In praises sauced with lies.
COMINIUS 0796 Too modest are you,
0797 60 More cruel to your good report than grateful
0798 To us that give you truly. By your patience,
0799 If ’gainst yourself you be incensed, we’ll put you,
0800 Like one that means his proper harm, in manacles,
0801 Then reason safely with you. Therefore be it known,
0802 65 As to us to all the world, that Caius Martius
0803 Wears this war’s garland, in token of the which
0804 My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
0805 With all his trim belonging. And from this time,
0806 For what he did before Corioles, call him,
0807 70 With all th’ applause and clamor of the host,
0808 Martius Caius Coriolanus! Bear
0809 Th’ addition nobly ever!
Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums.
0810 Martius Caius Coriolanus!
CORIOLANUS 0811 I will go wash;
0812 75 And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
0813 Whether I blush or no. Howbeit, I thank you.
0814 I mean to stride your steed and at all times
0815 To undercrest your good addition
0816 To th’ fairness of my power.
COMINIUS 0817 80 So, to our tent,
0818 Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
0819 To Rome of our success.—You, Titus Lartius,
0820 Must to Corioles back. Send us to Rome
0821 The best, with whom we may articulate
0822 85 For their own good and ours.
LARTIUS 0823 I shall, my lord.
0824 The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
0825 Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg
0826 Of my lord general.
COMINIUS 0827 90 Take ’t, ’tis yours. What is ’t?
0828 I sometime lay here in Corioles
0829 At a poor man’s house; he used me kindly.
0830 He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
0831 But then Aufidius was within my view,
0832 95 And wrath o’erwhelmed my pity. I request you
0833 To give my poor host freedom.
COMINIUS 0834 O, well begged!
0835 Were he the butcher of my son, he should
0836 Be free as is the wind.—Deliver him, Titus.
0837 100 Martius, his name?
CORIOLANUS 0838 By Jupiter, forgot!
0839 I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
0840 Have we no wine here?
COMINIUS 0841 Go we to our tent.
0842 105 The blood upon your visage dries; ’tis time
0843 It should be looked to. Come.
A flourish ⌜of⌝ cornets. They exit.
AUFIDIUS 0844 The town is ta’en.
0845 ’Twill be delivered back on good condition.
AUFIDIUS 0846 Condition?
0847 I would I were a Roman, for I cannot,
0848 5 Being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition?
0849 What good condition can a treaty find
0851 I have fought with thee; so often hast thou beat me
0852 And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter
0853 10 As often as we eat. By th’ elements,
0854 If e’er again I meet him beard to beard,
0855 He’s mine, or I am his. Mine emulation
0856 Hath not that honor in ’t it had; for where
0857 I thought to crush him in an equal force,
0858 15 True sword to sword, I’ll potch at him some way
0859 Or wrath or craft may get him.
SOLDIER 0860 He’s the devil.
0861 Bolder, though not so subtle. My valor’s poisoned
0862 With only suff’ring stain by him; for him
0863 20 Shall fly out of itself. Nor sleep nor sanctuary,
0864 Being naked, sick, nor fane nor Capitol,
0865 The prayers of priests nor times of sacrifice,
0866 Embarquements all of fury, shall lift up
0867 Their rotten privilege and custom ’gainst
0868 25 My hate to Martius. Where I find him, were it
0869 At home, upon my brother’s guard, even there,
0870 Against the hospitable canon, would I
0871 Wash my fierce hand in ’s heart. Go you to th’ city;
0872 Learn how ’tis held and what they are that must
0873 30 Be hostages for Rome.
SOLDIER 0874 Will not you go?
0875 I am attended at the cypress grove. I pray you—
0876 ’Tis south the city mills—bring me word thither
0877 How the world goes, that to the pace of it
0878 35 I may spur on my journey.
SOLDIER 0879 I shall, sir.
⌜They exit, Aufidius through one door,
Soldiers through another.⌝
Sicinius and Brutus.
MENENIUS 0880 The augurer tells me we shall have news
BRUTUS 0882 Good or bad?
MENENIUS 0883 Not according to the prayer of the people,
0884 5 for they love not Martius.
SICINIUS 0885 Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
MENENIUS 0886 Pray you, who does the wolf love?
SICINIUS 0887 The lamb.
MENENIUS 0888 Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians
0889 10 would the noble Martius.
BRUTUS 0890 He’s a lamb indeed, that baas like a bear.
MENENIUS 0891 He’s a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb.
0892 You two are old men; tell me one thing that I shall
0893 ask you.
BOTH 0894 15Well, sir.
MENENIUS 0895 In what enormity is Martius poor in, that
0896 you two have not in abundance?
BRUTUS 0897 He’s poor in no one fault, but stored with all.
SICINIUS 0898 Especially in pride.
BRUTUS 0899 20And topping all others in boasting.
MENENIUS 0900 This is strange now. Do you two know how
0901 you are censured here in the city, I mean of us o’
0902 th’ right-hand file, do you?
MENENIUS 0904 25Because you talk of pride now, will you not
0905 be angry?
BOTH 0906 Well, well, sir, well?
MENENIUS 0907 Why, ’tis no great matter; for a very little
0908 thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience.
0909 30 Give your dispositions the reins, and be
0910 angry at your pleasures, at the least, if you take it
0911 as a pleasure to you in being so. You blame Martius
0912 for being proud.
BRUTUS 0913 We do it not alone, sir.
MENENIUS 0914 35I know you can do very little alone, for
0915 your helps are many, or else your actions would
0916 grow wondrous single. Your abilities are too infantlike
0917 for doing much alone. You talk of pride. O,
0918 that you could turn your eyes toward the napes
0919 40 of your necks and make but an interior survey of
0920 your good selves! O, that you could!
BOTH 0921 What then, sir?
MENENIUS 0922 Why, then you should discover a brace of
0923 unmeriting, proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias
0924 45 fools, as any in Rome.
SICINIUS 0925 Menenius, you are known well enough, too.
MENENIUS 0926 I am known to be a humorous patrician and
0927 one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of
0928 allaying Tiber in ’t; said to be something imperfect
0929 50 in favoring the first complaint, hasty and tinder-like
0930 upon too trivial motion; one that converses
0931 more with the buttock of the night than with the
0932 forehead of the morning. What I think I utter,
0933 and spend my malice in my breath. Meeting two
0934 55 such wealsmen as you are—I cannot call you
0935 Lycurguses—if the drink you give me touch my
0936 palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I ⌜cannot⌝
0937 say your Worships have delivered the matter
0938 well when I find the ass in compound with the
0940 be content to bear with those that say you are reverend
0941 grave men, yet they lie deadly that tell you
0942 have good faces. If you see this in the map of my
0943 microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough
0944 65 too? What harm can your bisson conspectuities
0945 glean out of this character, if I be known well
0946 enough, too?
BRUTUS 0947 Come, sir, come; we know you well enough.
MENENIUS 0948 You know neither me, yourselves, nor anything.
0949 70 You are ambitious for poor knaves’ caps
0950 and legs. You wear out a good wholesome forenoon
0951 in hearing a cause between an orange-wife
0952 and a faucet-seller, and then rejourn the controversy
0953 of threepence to a second day of audience.
0954 75 When you are hearing a matter between party and
0955 party, if you chance to be pinched with the colic,
0956 you make faces like mummers, set up the bloody
0957 flag against all patience, and, in roaring for a
0958 chamber pot, dismiss the controversy bleeding,
0959 80 the more entangled by your hearing. All the peace
0960 you make in their cause is calling both the parties
0961 knaves. You are a pair of strange ones.
BRUTUS 0962 Come, come. You are well understood to be a
0963 perfecter giber for the table than a necessary
0964 85 bencher in the Capitol.
MENENIUS 0965 Our very priests must become mockers if
0966 they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as
0967 you are. When you speak best unto the purpose, it
0968 is not worth the wagging of your beards, and your
0969 90 beards deserve not so honorable a grave as to
0970 stuff a botcher’s cushion or to be entombed in an
0971 ass’s packsaddle. Yet you must be saying Martius is
0972 proud, who, in a cheap estimation, is worth all
0973 your predecessors since Deucalion, though peradventure
0974 95 some of the best of ’em were hereditary
0976 your conversation would infect my brain, being
0977 the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians. I will be
0978 bold to take my leave of you.
⌜He begins to exit.⌝ Brutus and Sicinius ⌜stand⌝ aside.
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria.
0979 100 How now, my as fair as noble ladies—and the
0980 moon, were she earthly, no nobler—whither do
0981 you follow your eyes so fast?
VOLUMNIA 0982 Honorable Menenius, my boy Martius approaches.
0983 For the love of Juno, let’s go!
MENENIUS 0984 105Ha? Martius coming home?
VOLUMNIA 0985 Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous
MENENIUS 0987 Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee! ⌜(He
throws his cap in the air.)⌝ 0988 Hoo! Martius coming
0989 110 home?
⌜VALERIA, VIRGILIA⌝ 0990 Nay, ’tis true.
VOLUMNIA 0991 Look, here’s a letter from him. ⌜She produces
a paper.⌝ 0992 The state hath another, his wife another,
0993 and I think there’s one at home for you.
MENENIUS 0994 115I will make my very house reel tonight. A
0995 letter for me?
VIRGILIA 0996 Yes, certain, there’s a letter for you; I saw ’t.
MENENIUS 0997 A letter for me? It gives me an estate of
0998 seven years’ health, in which time I will make a lip
0999 120 at the physician. The most sovereign prescription
1000 in Galen is but empiricutic and, to this preservative,
1001 of no better report than a horse drench. Is he not
1002 wounded? He was wont to come home wounded.
VIRGILIA 1003 O no, no, no!
VOLUMNIA 1004 125O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for ’t.
MENENIUS 1005 So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings he
1006 victory in his pocket, the wounds become him.
1008 time home with the oaken garland.
MENENIUS 1009 130Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?
VOLUMNIA 1010 Titus Lartius writes they fought together,
1011 but Aufidius got off.
MENENIUS 1012 And ’twas time for him too, I’ll warrant him
1013 that. An he had stayed by him, I would not have
1014 135 been so ’fidiused for all the chests in Corioles and
1015 the gold that’s in them. Is the Senate possessed of
VOLUMNIA 1017 Good ladies, let’s go.—Yes, yes, yes. The
1018 Senate has letters from the General, wherein he
1019 140 gives my son the whole name of the war. He hath
1020 in this action outdone his former deeds doubly.
VALERIA 1021 In troth, there’s wondrous things spoke of
MENENIUS 1023 Wondrous? Ay, I warrant you, and not without
1024 145 his true purchasing.
VIRGILIA 1025 The gods grant them true.
VOLUMNIA 1026 True? Pow waw!
MENENIUS 1027 True? I’ll be sworn they are true. Where is
1028 he wounded? ⌜(To the Tribunes.)⌝ God save your
1029 150 good Worships! Martius is coming home; he has
1030 more cause to be proud.—Where is he wounded?
VOLUMNIA 1031 I’ th’ shoulder and i’ th’ left arm. There will
1032 be large cicatrices to show the people when he
1033 shall stand for his place. He received in the repulse
1034 155 of Tarquin seven hurts i’ th’ body.
MENENIUS 1035 One i’ th’ neck and two i’ th’ thigh—there’s
1036 nine that I know.
VOLUMNIA 1037 He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
1038 wounds upon him.
MENENIUS 1039 160Now it’s twenty-seven. Every gash was an
1040 enemy’s grave. (A shout and flourish.) Hark, the
1043 he carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears.
1044 165 Death, that dark spirit, in ’s nervy arm doth lie,
1045 Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.
Enter Cominius the General and Titus Lartius, between
them Coriolanus crowned with an oaken garland, with
Captains and Soldiers and a Herald. Trumpets sound.
1046 Know, Rome, that all alone Martius did fight
1047 Within Corioles’ gates, where he hath won,
1048 With fame, a name to Martius Caius; these
1049 170 In honor follows “Coriolanus.”
1050 Welcome to Rome, renownèd Coriolanus.
1051 Welcome to Rome, renownèd Coriolanus!
1052 No more of this. It does offend my heart.
1053 Pray now, no more.
COMINIUS 1054 175 Look, sir, your mother.
CORIOLANUS 1055 O,
1056 You have, I know, petitioned all the gods
1057 For my prosperity.Kneels.
VOLUMNIA 1058 Nay, my good soldier, up.
1059 180 My gentle Martius, worthy Caius, and
1060 By deed-achieving honor newly named—
1061 What is it? Coriolanus must I call thee?
1062 But, O, thy wife—
CORIOLANUS 1063 My gracious silence, hail.
1064 185 Wouldst thou have laughed had I come coffined
1066 That weep’st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
1068 And mothers that lack sons.
MENENIUS 1069 190 Now the gods crown
1071 And live you yet? ⌜(To Valeria.)⌝ O, my sweet lady,
1073 I know not where to turn. O, welcome home!—
1074 195 And, welcome, general.—And you’re welcome all.
1075 A hundred thousand welcomes! I could weep,
1076 And I could laugh; I am light and heavy. Welcome.
1077 A curse begin at very root on ’s heart
1078 That is not glad to see thee! ⌜You⌝ are three
1079 200 That Rome should dote on; yet, by the faith of men,
1080 We have some old crab trees here at home that will
1082 Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors!
1083 We call a nettle but a nettle, and
1084 205 The faults of fools but folly.
COMINIUS 1085 Ever right.
CORIOLANUS 1086 Menenius ever, ever.
1087 Give way there, and go on!
CORIOLANUS, ⌜to Volumnia and Virgilia⌝ 1088 Your hand
1089 210 and yours.
1090 Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
1091 The good patricians must be visited,
1092 From whom I have received not only greetings,
1093 But with them change of honors.
VOLUMNIA 1094 215 I have lived
1095 To see inherited my very wishes
1096 And the buildings of my fancy. Only
1097 There’s one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
1098 Our Rome will cast upon thee.
1100 I had rather be their servant in my way
1101 Than sway with them in theirs.
COMINIUS 1102 On, to the Capitol.
Flourish ⌜of⌝ cornets. They exit in state, as before.
Brutus and Sicinius ⌜come forward.⌝
1103 All tongues speak of him, and the blearèd sights
1104 225 Are spectacled to see him. Your prattling nurse
1105 Into a rapture lets her baby cry
1106 While she chats him. The kitchen malkin pins
1107 Her richest lockram ’bout her reechy neck,
1108 Clamb’ring the walls to eye him. Stalls, bulks,
1109 230 windows
1110 Are smothered up, leads filled, and ridges horsed
1111 With variable complexions, all agreeing
1112 In earnestness to see him. Seld-shown flamens
1113 Do press among the popular throngs and puff
1114 235 To win a vulgar station. Our veiled dames
1115 Commit the war of white and damask in
1116 Their nicely-gauded cheeks to th’ wanton spoil
1117 Of Phoebus’ burning kisses. Such a pother,
1118 As if that whatsoever god who leads him
1119 240 Were slyly crept into his human powers
1120 And gave him graceful posture.
SICINIUS 1121 On the sudden
1122 I warrant him consul.
BRUTUS 1123 Then our office may,
1124 245 During his power, go sleep.
1125 He cannot temp’rately transport his honors
1126 From where he should begin and end, but will
1127 Lose those he hath won.
BRUTUS 1128 In that there’s comfort.
1131 The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
1132 Upon their ancient malice will forget
1133 With the least cause these his new honors—which
1134 255 That he will give them make I as little question
1135 As he is proud to do ’t.
BRUTUS 1136 I heard him swear,
1137 Were he to stand for consul, never would he
1138 Appear i’ th’ marketplace nor on him put
1139 260 The napless vesture of humility,
1140 Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
1141 To th’ people, beg their stinking breaths.
SICINIUS 1142 ’Tis right.
1143 It was his word. O, he would miss it rather
1144 265 Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him
1145 And the desire of the nobles.
SICINIUS 1146 I wish no better
1147 Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
1148 In execution.
BRUTUS 1149 270 ’Tis most like he will.
1150 It shall be to him then as our good wills,
1151 A sure destruction.
BRUTUS 1152 So it must fall out
1153 To him, or our authority’s for an end.
1154 275 We must suggest the people in what hatred
1155 He still hath held them; that to ’s power he would
1156 Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders, and
1157 Dispropertied their freedoms; holding them
1158 In human action and capacity
1159 280 Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
1160 Than camels in their war, who have their provand
1161 Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
1162 For sinking under them.
1164 285 At some time when his soaring insolence
1165 Shall ⌜touch⌝ the people—which time shall not want
1166 If he be put upon ’t, and that’s as easy
1167 As to set dogs on sheep—will be his fire
1168 To kindle their dry stubble, and their blaze
1169 290 Shall darken him forever.
Enter a Messenger.
BRUTUS 1170 What’s the matter?
1171 You are sent for to the Capitol. ’Tis thought
1172 That Martius shall be consul. I have seen
1173 The dumb men throng to see him, and the blind
1174 295 To hear him speak; matrons flung gloves,
1175 Ladies and maids their scarves and handkerchiefs,
1176 Upon him as he passed; the nobles bended
1177 As to Jove’s statue, and the Commons made
1178 A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts.
1179 300 I never saw the like.
BRUTUS 1180 Let’s to the Capitol,
1181 And carry with us ears and eyes for th’ time,
1182 But hearts for the event.
SICINIUS 1183 Have with you.
in the Capitol.
FIRST OFFICER 1184 Come, come. They are almost here. How
1185 many stand for consulships?
SECOND OFFICER 1186 Three, they say; but ’tis thought of
1187 everyone Coriolanus will carry it.
1189 proud and loves not the common people.
SECOND OFFICER 1190 ’Faith, there hath been many great
1191 men that have flattered the people who ne’er loved
1192 them; and there be many that they have loved they
1193 10 know not wherefore; so that, if they love they
1194 know not why, they hate upon no better a ground.
1195 Therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether
1196 they love or hate him manifests the true knowledge
1197 he has in their disposition and, out of his noble
1198 15 carelessness, lets them plainly see ’t.
FIRST OFFICER 1199 If he did not care whether he had their
1200 love or no, he waved indifferently ’twixt doing them
1201 neither good nor harm; but he seeks their hate with
1202 greater devotion than they can render it him and
1203 20 leaves nothing undone that may fully discover him
1204 their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice
1205 and displeasure of the people is as bad as that
1206 which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
SECOND OFFICER 1207 He hath deserved worthily of his
1208 25 country, and his ascent is not by such easy degrees
1209 as those who, having been supple and courteous to
1210 the people, bonneted, without any further deed to
1211 have them at all into their estimation and report;
1212 but he hath so planted his honors in their eyes and
1213 30 his actions in their hearts that for their tongues to
1214 be silent and not confess so much were a kind of
1215 ingrateful injury. To report otherwise were a malice
1216 that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof
1217 and rebuke from every ear that heard it.
FIRST OFFICER 1218 35No more of him; he’s a worthy man.
1219 Make way. They are coming.
A sennet. Enter the Patricians and the Tribunes of the
people, Lictors before them; Coriolanus, Menenius,
Cominius the consul. ⌜The Patricians sit.⌝ Sicinius
1220 Having determined of the Volsces and
1221 To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
1222 As the main point of this our after-meeting,
1223 40 To gratify his noble service that
1224 Hath thus stood for his country. Therefore please
1226 Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
1227 The present consul and last general
1228 45 In our well-found successes to report
1229 A little of that worthy work performed
1230 By Martius Caius Coriolanus, whom
1231 We met here both to thank and to remember
1232 With honors like himself.⌜Coriolanus sits.⌝
FIRST SENATOR 1233 50 Speak, good Cominius.
1234 Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
1235 Rather our state’s defective for requital,
1236 Than we to stretch it out. ⌜(To the Tribunes.)⌝
1237 Masters o’ th’ people,
1238 55 We do request your kindest ears and, after,
1239 Your loving motion toward the common body
1240 To yield what passes here.
SICINIUS 1241 We are convented
1242 Upon a pleasing treaty and have hearts
1243 60 Inclinable to honor and advance
1244 The theme of our assembly.
BRUTUS 1245 Which the rather
1246 We shall be blest to do if he remember
1247 A kinder value of the people than
1248 65 He hath hereto prized them at.
MENENIUS 1249 That’s off, that’s off!
1250 I would you rather had been silent. Please you
1251 To hear Cominius speak?
1253 70 But yet my caution was more pertinent
1254 Than the rebuke you give it.
MENENIUS 1255 He loves your people,
1256 But tie him not to be their bedfellow.—
1257 Worthy Cominius, speak.
Coriolanus rises and offers to go away.
1258 75 Nay, keep your place.
1259 Sit, Coriolanus. Never shame to hear
1260 What you have nobly done.
CORIOLANUS 1261 Your Honors, pardon.
1262 I had rather have my wounds to heal again
1263 80 Than hear say how I got them.
BRUTUS 1264 Sir, I hope
1265 My words disbenched you not?
CORIOLANUS 1266 No, sir. Yet oft,
1267 When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
1268 85 You soothed not, therefore hurt not; but your
1270 I love them as they weigh.
MENENIUS 1271 Pray now, sit down.
1272 I had rather have one scratch my head i’ th’ sun
1273 90 When the alarum were struck than idly sit
1274 To hear my nothings monstered.Coriolanus exits.
MENENIUS 1275 Masters of the people,
1276 Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter—
1277 That’s thousand to one good one—when you now
1278 95 see
1279 He had rather venture all his limbs for honor
1280 Than one on ’s ears to hear it.—Proceed, Cominius.
1281 I shall lack voice. The deeds of Coriolanus
1282 Should not be uttered feebly. It is held
1283 100 That valor is the chiefest virtue and
1285 The man I speak of cannot in the world
1286 Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
1287 When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
1288 105 Beyond the mark of others. Our then dictator,
1289 Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight
1290 When with his Amazonian chin he drove
1291 The bristled lips before him. He bestrid
1292 An o’erpressed Roman and i’ th’ Consul’s view
1293 110 Slew three opposers. Tarquin’s self he met
1294 And struck him on his knee. In that day’s feats,
1295 When he might act the woman in the scene,
1296 He proved best man i’ th’ field and for his meed
1297 Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
1298 115 Man-entered thus, he waxèd like a sea,
1299 And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
1300 He lurched all swords of the garland. For this last,
1301 Before and in Corioles, let me say,
1302 I cannot speak him home. He stopped the flyers
1303 120 And by his rare example made the coward
1304 Turn terror into sport. As weeds before
1305 A vessel under sail, so men obeyed
1306 And fell below his stem. His sword, Death’s stamp,
1307 Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
1308 125 He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
1309 Was timed with dying cries. Alone he entered
1310 The mortal gate o’ th’ city, which he painted
1311 With shunless destiny; aidless came off
1312 And with a sudden reinforcement struck
1313 130 Corioles like a planet. Now all’s his,
1314 When by and by the din of war gan pierce
1315 His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
1316 Requickened what in flesh was fatigate,
1317 And to the battle came he, where he did
1318 135 Run reeking o’er the lives of men as if
1319 ’Twere a perpetual spoil; and till we called
1321 To ease his breast with panting.
MENENIUS 1322 Worthy man!
1323 140 He cannot but with measure fit the honors
1324 Which we devise him.
COMINIUS 1325 Our spoils he kicked at
1326 And looked upon things precious as they were
1327 The common muck of the world. He covets less
1328 145 Than misery itself would give, rewards
1329 His deeds with doing them, and is content
1330 To spend the time to end it.
MENENIUS 1331 He’s right noble.
1332 Let him be called for.
⌜FIRST⌝ SENATOR 1333 150Call Coriolanus.
OFFICER 1334 He doth appear.
1335 The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
1336 To make thee consul.
CORIOLANUS 1337 I do owe them still
1338 155 My life and services.
MENENIUS 1339 It then remains
1340 That you do speak to the people.
CORIOLANUS 1341 I do beseech you,
1342 Let me o’erleap that custom, for I cannot
1343 160 Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them
1344 For my wounds’ sake to give their suffrage. Please
1346 That I may pass this doing.
SICINIUS 1347 Sir, the people
1348 165 Must have their voices; neither will they bate
1349 One jot of ceremony.
MENENIUS, ⌜to Coriolanus⌝ 1350 Put them not to ’t.
1351 Pray you, go fit you to the custom, and
1353 170 Your honor with your form.
CORIOLANUS 1354 It is a part
1355 That I shall blush in acting, and might well
1356 Be taken from the people.
BRUTUS, ⌜to Sicinius⌝ 1357 Mark you that?
1358 175 To brag unto them “Thus I did, and thus!”
1359 Show them th’ unaching scars, which I should hide,
1360 As if I had received them for the hire
1361 Of their breath only!
MENENIUS 1362 Do not stand upon ’t.—
1363 180 We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
1364 Our purpose to them, and to our noble consul
1365 Wish we all joy and honor.
1366 To Coriolanus come all joy and honor!
Flourish cornets. Then they exit. Sicinius and
1367 You see how he intends to use the people.
1368 185 May they perceive ’s intent! He will require them
1369 As if he did contemn what he requested
1370 Should be in them to give.
BRUTUS 1371 Come, we’ll inform them
1372 Of our proceedings here. On th’ marketplace
1373 190 I know they do attend us.
FIRST CITIZEN 1374 Once, if he do require our voices, we
1375 ought not to deny him.
THIRD CITIZEN 1377 We have power in ourselves to do it, but
1378 5 it is a power that we have no power to do; for, if
1379 he show us his wounds and tell us his deeds, we
1380 are to put our tongues into those wounds and
1381 speak for them. So, if he tell us his noble deeds, we
1382 must also tell him our noble acceptance of them.
1383 10 Ingratitude is monstrous, and for the multitude to
1384 be ingrateful were to make a monster of the multitude,
1385 of the which, we being members, should
1386 bring ourselves to be monstrous members.
FIRST CITIZEN 1387 And to make us no better thought of, a
1388 15 little help will serve; for once we stood up about
1389 the corn, he himself stuck not to call us the many-headed
THIRD CITIZEN 1391 We have been called so of many; not that
1392 our heads are some brown, some black, some
1393 20 abram, some bald, but that our wits are so diversely
1394 colored; and truly I think if all our wits were to
1395 issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west,
1396 north, south, and their consent of one direct way
1397 should be at once to all the points o’ th’ compass.
SECOND CITIZEN 1398 25Think you so? Which way do you
1399 judge my wit would fly?
THIRD CITIZEN 1400 Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another
1401 man’s will; ’tis strongly wedged up in a blockhead.
1402 But if it were at liberty, ’twould sure
1403 30 southward.
SECOND CITIZEN 1404 Why that way?
THIRD CITIZEN 1405 To lose itself in a fog, where, being three
1406 parts melted away with rotten dews, the fourth
1407 would return for conscience’ sake, to help to get
1408 35 thee a wife.
SECOND CITIZEN 1409 You are never without your tricks. You
1410 may, you may.
1412 But that’s no matter; the greater part carries it. I
1413 40 say, if he would incline to the people, there was
1414 never a worthier man.
Enter Coriolanus in a gown of humility, with Menenius.
1415 Here he comes, and in the gown of humility. Mark
1416 his behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
1417 come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos,
1418 45 and by threes. He’s to make his requests by particulars,
1419 wherein every one of us has a single honor
1420 in giving him our own voices with our own tongues.
1421 Therefore follow me, and I’ll direct you how you
1422 shall go by him.
ALL 1423 50Content, content.⌜Citizens exit.⌝
1424 O sir, you are not right. Have you not known
1425 The worthiest men have done ’t?
CORIOLANUS 1426 What must I say?
1427 “I pray, sir?”—plague upon ’t! I cannot bring
1428 55 My tongue to such a pace. “Look, sir, my wounds!
1429 I got them in my country’s service when
1430 Some certain of your brethren roared and ran
1431 From th’ noise of our own drums.”
MENENIUS 1432 O me, the gods!
1433 60 You must not speak of that. You must desire them
1434 To think upon you.
CORIOLANUS 1435 Think upon me? Hang ’em!
1436 I would they would forget me, like the virtues
1437 Which our divines lose by ’em.
MENENIUS 1438 65 You’ll mar all.
1439 I’ll leave you. Pray you, speak to ’em, I pray you,
1440 In wholesome manner.He exits.
CORIOLANUS 1441 Bid them wash their faces
1442 And keep their teeth clean.
1443 70 So, here comes a brace.—
1444 You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
1445 We do, sir. Tell us what hath brought you to ’t.
CORIOLANUS 1446 Mine own desert.
SECOND CITIZEN 1447 Your own desert?
CORIOLANUS 1448 75Ay, but ⌜not⌝ mine own desire.
THIRD CITIZEN 1449 How, not your own desire?
CORIOLANUS 1450 No, sir, ’twas never my desire yet to trouble
1451 the poor with begging.
THIRD CITIZEN 1452 You must think if we give you anything,
1453 80 we hope to gain by you.
CORIOLANUS 1454 Well then, I pray, your price o’ th’
FIRST CITIZEN 1456 The price is to ask it kindly.
CORIOLANUS 1457 Kindly, sir, I pray, let me ha ’t. I have
1458 85 wounds to show you, which shall be yours in
1459 private.—Your good voice, sir. What say you?
SECOND CITIZEN 1460 You shall ha ’t, worthy sir.
CORIOLANUS 1461 A match, sir. There’s in all two worthy
1462 voices begged. I have your alms. Adieu.
THIRD CITIZEN, ⌜to the other Citizens⌝ 1463 90But this is something
SECOND CITIZEN 1465 An ’twere to give again—but ’tis no
1466 matter.⌜These citizens⌝ exit.
Enter two other Citizens.
CORIOLANUS 1467 Pray you now, if it may stand with the
1468 95 tune of your voices that I may be consul, I have
1469 here the customary gown.
⌜FOURTH CITIZEN⌝ 1470 You have deserved nobly of your
1471 country, and you have not deserved nobly.
CORIOLANUS 1472 Your enigma?
1474 you have been a rod to her friends. You have
1475 not indeed loved the common people.
CORIOLANUS 1476 You should account me the more virtuous
1477 that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir,
1478 105 flatter my sworn brother, the people, to earn a
1479 dearer estimation of them; ’tis a condition they account
1480 gentle. And since the wisdom of their choice
1481 is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practice
1482 the insinuating nod and be off to them most
1483 110 counterfeitly. That is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment
1484 of some popular man and give it bountiful
1485 to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may
1486 be consul.
⌜FIFTH CITIZEN⌝ 1487 We hope to find you our friend, and
1488 115 therefore give you our voices heartily.
⌜FOURTH CITIZEN⌝ 1489 You have received many wounds for
1490 your country.
CORIOLANUS 1491 I will not seal your knowledge with showing
1492 them. I will make much of your voices and so
1493 120 trouble you no farther.
BOTH 1494 The gods give you joy, sir, heartily.
CORIOLANUS 1495 Most sweet voices!
1496 Better it is to die, better to starve,
1497 Than crave the ⌜hire⌝ which first we do deserve.
1498 125 Why in this woolvish ⌜toge⌝ should I stand here
1499 To beg of Hob and Dick that does appear
1500 Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to ’t.
1501 What custom wills, in all things should we do ’t?
1502 The dust on antique time would lie unswept
1503 130 And mountainous error be too highly heaped
1504 For truth to o’erpeer. Rather than fool it so,
1505 Let the high office and the honor go
1506 To one that would do thus. I am half through;
1507 The one part suffered, the other will I do.
1508 135 Here come more voices.—
1509 Your voices! For your voices I have fought;
1510 Watched for your voices; for your voices bear
1511 Of wounds two dozen odd. Battles thrice six
1512 I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
1513 140 Done many things, some less, some more. Your
1515 Indeed, I would be consul.
⌜SIXTH⌝ CITIZEN 1516 He has done nobly, and cannot go
1517 without any honest man’s voice.
⌜SEVENTH⌝ CITIZEN 1518 145Therefore let him be consul. The
1519 gods give him joy, and make him good friend to
1520 the people!
ALL 1521 Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul.
CORIOLANUS 1522 Worthy voices!
Enter Menenius, with Brutus and Sicinius.
1523 150 You have stood your limitation, and the Tribunes
1524 Endue you with the people’s voice. Remains
1525 That in th’ official marks invested, you
1526 Anon do meet the Senate.
CORIOLANUS 1527 Is this done?
1528 155 The custom of request you have discharged.
1529 The people do admit you, and are summoned
1530 To meet anon upon your approbation.
1531 Where? At the Senate House?
SICINIUS 1532 There, Coriolanus.
1533 160 May I change these garments?
SICINIUS 1534 You may, sir.
1535 That I’ll straight do and, knowing myself again,
1536 Repair to th’ Senate House.
1537 I’ll keep you company.—Will you along?
1538 165 We stay here for the people.
SICINIUS 1539 Fare you well.
Coriolanus and Menenius exit.
1540 He has it now; and by his looks, methinks,
1541 ’Tis warm at ’s heart.
BRUTUS 1542 With a proud heart he wore
1543 170 His humble weeds. Will you dismiss the people?
Enter the Plebeians.
1544 How now, my masters, have you chose this man?
FIRST CITIZEN 1545 He has our voices, sir.
1546 We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.
1547 Amen, sir. To my poor unworthy notice,
1548 175 He mocked us when he begged our voices.
1549 Certainly, he flouted us downright.
1550 No, ’tis his kind of speech. He did not mock us.
1551 Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
1552 He used us scornfully. He should have showed us
1553 180 His marks of merit, wounds received for ’s country.
SICINIUS 1554 Why, so he did, I am sure.
ALL 1555 No, no. No man saw ’em.
1556 He said he had wounds, which he could show in
1559 “I would be consul,” says he. “Agèd custom,
1560 But by your voices, will not so permit me;
1561 Your voices therefore.” When we granted that,
1562 Here was “I thank you for your voices. Thank you.
1563 190 Your most sweet voices! Now you have left your
1565 I have no further with you.” Was not this mockery?
1566 Why either were you ignorant to see ’t
1567 Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
1568 195 To yield your voices?
BRUTUS 1569 Could you not have told him
1570 As you were lessoned? When he had no power,
1571 But was a petty servant to the state,
1572 He was your enemy, ever spake against
1573 200 Your liberties and the charters that you bear
1574 I’ th’ body of the weal; and, now arriving
1575 A place of potency and sway o’ th’ state,
1576 If he should still malignantly remain
1577 Fast foe to th’ plebeii, your voices might
1578 205 Be curses to yourselves. You should have said
1579 That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
1580 Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
1581 Would think upon you for your voices, and
1582 Translate his malice towards you into love,
1583 210 Standing your friendly lord.
SICINIUS 1584 Thus to have said,
1585 As you were fore-advised, had touched his spirit
1586 And tried his inclination; from him plucked
1587 Either his gracious promise, which you might,
1588 215 As cause had called you up, have held him to;
1589 Or else it would have galled his surly nature,
1590 Which easily endures not article
1591 Tying him to aught. So putting him to rage,
1593 220 And passed him unelected.
BRUTUS 1594 Did you perceive
1595 He did solicit you in free contempt
1596 When he did need your loves, and do you think
1597 That his contempt shall not be bruising to you
1598 225 When he hath power to crush? Why, had your
1600 No heart among you? Or had you tongues to cry
1601 Against the rectorship of judgment?
1602 Have you ere now denied the asker? And now
1603 230 Again, of him that did not ask but mock,
1604 Bestow your sued-for tongues?
THIRD CITIZEN 1605 He’s not confirmed.
1606 We may deny him yet.
SECOND CITIZEN 1607 And will deny him.
1608 235 I’ll have five hundred voices of that sound.
1609 I twice five hundred, and their friends to piece ’em.
1610 Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends
1611 They have chose a consul that will from them take
1612 Their liberties, make them of no more voice
1613 240 Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
1614 As therefor kept to do so.
SICINIUS 1615 Let them assemble
1616 And, on a safer judgment, all revoke
1617 Your ignorant election. Enforce his pride
1618 245 And his old hate unto you. Besides, forget not
1619 With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
1620 How in his suit he scorned you; but your loves,
1621 Thinking upon his services, took from you
1622 Th’ apprehension of his present portance,
1623 250 Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
1624 After the inveterate hate he bears you.
1626 A fault on us, your tribunes, that we labored,
1627 No impediment between, but that you must
1628 255 Cast your election on him.
SICINIUS 1629 Say you chose him
1630 More after our commandment than as guided
1631 By your own true affections, and that your minds,
1632 Preoccupied with what you rather must do
1633 260 Than what you should, made you against the grain
1634 To voice him consul. Lay the fault on us.
1635 Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you,
1636 How youngly he began to serve his country,
1637 How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
1638 265 The noble house o’ th’ Martians, from whence came
1639 That Ancus Martius, Numa’s daughter’s son,
1640 Who after great Hostilius here was king,
1641 Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
1642 That our best water brought by conduits hither;
1643 270 ⌜And Censorinus, that was so surnamed,⌝
1644 And nobly namèd so, twice being censor,
1645 Was his great ancestor.
SICINIUS 1646 One thus descended,
1647 That hath besides well in his person wrought
1648 275 To be set high in place, we did commend
1649 To your remembrances; but you have found,
1650 Scaling his present bearing with his past,
1651 That he’s your fixèd enemy, and revoke
1652 Your sudden approbation.
BRUTUS 1653 280 Say you ne’er had done ’t—
1654 Harp on that still—but by our putting on.
1655 And presently, when you have drawn your number,
1656 Repair to th’ Capitol.
ALL 1657 We will so. Almost all
1658 285 Repent in their election.Plebeians exit.
BRUTUS 1659 Let them go on.
1661 Than stay, past doubt, for greater.
1662 If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
1663 290 With their refusal, both observe and answer
1664 The vantage of his anger.
SICINIUS 1665 To th’ Capitol, come.
1666 We will be there before the stream o’ th’ people,
1667 And this shall seem, as partly ’tis, their own,
1668 295 Which we have goaded onward.
Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators.
1669 Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?
1670 He had, my lord, and that it was which caused
1671 Our swifter composition.
1672 So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
1673 5 Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road
1674 Upon ’s again.
COMINIUS 1675 They are worn, lord consul, so,
1676 That we shall hardly in our ages see
1677 Their banners wave again.
CORIOLANUS 1678 10 Saw you Aufidius?
1679 On safeguard he came to me, and did curse
1680 Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
1681 Yielded the town. He is retired to Antium.
1682 Spoke he of me?
LARTIUS 1683 15 He did, my lord.
CORIOLANUS 1684 How? What?
1685 How often he had met you sword to sword;
1687 Your person most; that he would pawn his fortunes
1688 20 To hopeless restitution, so he might
1689 Be called your vanquisher.
CORIOLANUS 1690 At Antium lives he?
LARTIUS 1691 At Antium.
1692 I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
1693 25 To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
Enter Sicinius and Brutus.
1694 Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,
1695 The tongues o’ th’ common mouth. I do despise
1697 For they do prank them in authority
1698 30 Against all noble sufferance.
SICINIUS 1699 Pass no further.
CORIOLANUS 1700 Ha? What is that?
1701 It will be dangerous to go on. No further.
CORIOLANUS 1702 What makes this change?
MENENIUS 1703 35The matter?
1704 Hath he not passed the noble and the common?
1705 Cominius, no.
CORIOLANUS 1706 Have I had children’s voices?
1707 Tribunes, give way. He shall to th’ marketplace.
1708 40 The people are incensed against him.
SICINIUS 1709 Stop,
1710 Or all will fall in broil.
CORIOLANUS 1711 Are these your herd?
1712 Must these have voices, that can yield them now
1715 You being their mouths, why rule you not their
1717 Have you not set them on?
MENENIUS 1718 50 Be calm, be calm.
1719 It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,
1720 To curb the will of the nobility.
1721 Suffer ’t, and live with such as cannot rule
1722 Nor ever will be ruled.
BRUTUS 1723 55 Call ’t not a plot.
1724 The people cry you mocked them; and, of late,
1725 When corn was given them gratis, you repined,
1726 Scandaled the suppliants for the people, called them
1727 Timepleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
1728 60 Why, this was known before.
BRUTUS 1729 Not to them all.
1730 Have you informed them sithence?
BRUTUS 1731 How? I inform
COMINIUS 1733 65You are like to do such business.
1734 Not unlike, each way, to better yours.
1735 Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
1736 Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
1737 Your fellow tribune.
SICINIUS 1738 70 You show too much of that
1739 For which the people stir. If you will pass
1740 To where you are bound, you must inquire your
1743 75 Or never be so noble as a consul,
1744 Nor yoke with him for tribune.
MENENIUS 1745 Let’s be calm.
1746 The people are abused, set on. This palt’ring
1747 Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
1748 80 Deserved this so dishonored rub, laid falsely
1749 I’ th’ plain way of his merit.
CORIOLANUS 1750 Tell me of corn?
1751 This was my speech, and I will speak ’t again.
1752 Not now, not now.
⌜FIRST⌝ SENATOR 1753 85 Not in this heat, sir, now.
CORIOLANUS 1754 Now, as I live, I will.
1755 My nobler friends, I crave their pardons. For
1756 The mutable, rank-scented meiny, let them
1757 Regard me, as I do not flatter, and
1758 90 Therein behold themselves. I say again,
1759 In soothing them, we nourish ’gainst our senate
1760 The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
1761 Which we ourselves have plowed for, sowed, and
1763 95 By mingling them with us, the honored number,
1764 Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
1765 Which they have given to beggars.
MENENIUS 1766 Well, no more.
1767 No more words, we beseech you.
CORIOLANUS 1768 100 How? No more?
1769 As for my country I have shed my blood,
1770 Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
1771 Coin words till their decay against those measles
1772 Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
1773 105 The very way to catch them.
1775 As if you were a god to punish, not
1776 A man of their infirmity.
SICINIUS 1777 ’Twere well
1778 110 We let the people know ’t.
MENENIUS 1779 What, what? His choler?
CORIOLANUS 1780 Choler?
1781 Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
1782 By Jove, ’twould be my mind.
SICINIUS 1783 115 It is a mind
1784 That shall remain a poison where it is,
1785 Not poison any further.
CORIOLANUS 1786 “Shall remain”?
1787 Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you
1788 120 His absolute “shall”?
COMINIUS 1789 ’Twas from the canon.
CORIOLANUS 1790 “Shall”?
1791 O ⌜good⌝ but most unwise patricians, why,
1792 You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
1793 125 Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
1794 That with his peremptory “shall,” being but
1795 The horn and noise o’ th’ monster’s, wants not spirit
1796 To say he’ll turn your current in a ditch
1797 And make your channel his? If he have power,
1798 130 Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
1799 Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
1800 Be not as common fools; if you are not,
1801 Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
1802 If they be senators; and they are no less
1803 135 When, both your voices blended, the great’st taste
1804 Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,
1805 And such a one as he, who puts his “shall,”
1806 His popular “shall,” against a graver bench
1807 Than ever frowned in Greece. By Jove himself,
1808 140 It makes the consuls base! And my soul aches
1809 To know, when two authorities are up,
1811 May enter ’twixt the gap of both and take
1812 The one by th’ other.
COMINIUS 1813 145 Well, on to th’ marketplace.
1814 Whoever gave that counsel to give forth
1815 The corn o’ th’ storehouse gratis, as ’twas used
1816 Sometime in Greece—
MENENIUS 1817 Well, well, no more of that.
1818 150 Though there the people had more absolute power,
1819 I say they nourished disobedience, fed
1820 The ruin of the state.
BRUTUS 1821 Why shall the people give
1822 One that speaks thus their voice?
CORIOLANUS 1823 155 I’ll give my reasons,
1824 More worthier than their voices. They know the
1826 Was not our recompense, resting well assured
1827 They ne’er did service for ’t. Being pressed to th’ war,
1828 160 Even when the navel of the state was touched,
1829 They would not thread the gates. This kind of
1831 Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i’ th’ war,
1832 Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they showed
1833 165 Most valor, spoke not for them. Th’ accusation
1834 Which they have often made against the Senate,
1835 All cause unborn, could never be the native
1836 Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
1837 How shall this bosom multiplied digest
1838 170 The Senate’s courtesy? Let deeds express
1839 What’s like to be their words: “We did request it;
1840 We are the greater poll, and in true fear
1841 They gave us our demands.” Thus we debase
1842 The nature of our seats and make the rabble
1843 175 Call our cares fears, which will in time
1845 The crows to peck the eagles.
MENENIUS 1846 Come, enough.
1847 Enough, with over-measure.
CORIOLANUS 1848 180 No, take more!
1849 What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
1850 Seal what I end withal! This double worship—
1851 ⌜Where one⌝ part does disdain with cause, the other
1852 Insult without all reason, where gentry, title,
1853 185 wisdom
1854 Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
1855 Of general ignorance—it must omit
1856 Real necessities and give way the while
1857 To unstable slightness. Purpose so barred, it follows
1858 190 Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech
1860 You that will be less fearful than discreet,
1861 That love the fundamental part of state
1862 More than you doubt the change on ’t, that prefer
1863 195 A noble life before a long, and wish
1864 To jump a body with a dangerous physic
1865 That’s sure of death without it—at once pluck out
1866 The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
1867 The sweet which is their poison. Your dishonor
1868 200 Mangles true judgment and bereaves the state
1869 Of that integrity which should become ’t,
1870 Not having the power to do the good it would
1871 For th’ ill which doth control ’t.
BRUTUS 1872 ’Has said enough.
1873 205 ’Has spoken like a traitor and shall answer
1874 As traitors do.
CORIOLANUS 1875 Thou wretch, despite o’erwhelm thee!
1876 What should the people do with these bald tribunes,
1877 On whom depending, their obedience fails
1879 When what’s not meet but what must be was law,
1880 Then were they chosen. In a better hour,
1881 Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
1882 And throw their power i’ th’ dust.
BRUTUS 1883 215Manifest treason.
SICINIUS 1884 This a consul? No.
BRUTUS 1885 The aediles, ho! Let him be apprehended.
Enter an Aedile.
1886 Go, call the people; ⌜Aedile exits.⌝ in whose name
1888 220 Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
1889 A foe to th’ public weal. Obey, I charge thee,
1890 And follow to thine answer.
CORIOLANUS 1891 Hence, old goat.
1892 We’ll surety him.
COMINIUS, ⌜to Sicinius⌝ 1893 225 Agèd sir, hands off.
CORIOLANUS, ⌜to Sicinius⌝
1894 Hence, rotten thing, or I shall shake thy bones
1895 Out of thy garments.
SICINIUS 1896 Help, you citizens!
Enter a rabble of Plebeians with the Aediles.
MENENIUS 1897 On both sides more respect!
1898 230 Here’s he that would take from you all your power.
BRUTUS 1899 Seize him, aediles.
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 1900 Down with him, down with him!
SECOND SENATOR 1901 Weapons, weapons, weapons!
They all bustle about Coriolanus.
1902 Tribunes, patricians, citizens, what ho!
1903 235 Sicinius, Brutus, Coriolanus, citizens!
1905 What is about to be? I am out of breath.
1906 Confusion’s near. I cannot speak. You, tribunes
1907 To th’ people!—Coriolanus, patience!—
1908 240 Speak, good Sicinius.
SICINIUS 1909 Hear me, people! Peace!
1910 Let’s hear our tribune. Peace! Speak, speak, speak.
1911 You are at point to lose your liberties.
1912 Martius would have all from you, Martius,
1913 245 Whom late you have named for consul.
MENENIUS 1914 Fie, fie, fie!
1915 This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
1916 To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.
1917 What is the city but the people?
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 1918 250 True,
1919 The people are the city.
1920 By the consent of all, we were established
1921 The people’s magistrates.
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 1922 You so remain.
MENENIUS 1923 255And so are like to do.
1924 That is the way to lay the city flat,
1925 To bring the roof to the foundation
1926 And bury all which yet distinctly ranges
1927 In heaps and piles of ruin.
SICINIUS 1928 260 This deserves death.
1929 Or let us stand to our authority
1930 Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
1931 Upon the part o’ th’ people, in whose power
1933 265 Of present death.
SICINIUS 1934 Therefore lay hold of him,
1935 Bear him to th’ rock Tarpeian, and from thence
1936 Into destruction cast him.
BRUTUS 1937 Aediles, seize him!
1938 270 Yield, Martius, yield!
MENENIUS 1939 Hear me one word.
1940 Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.
AEDILES 1941 Peace, peace!
1942 Be that you seem, truly your country’s friend,
1943 275 And temp’rately proceed to what you would
1944 Thus violently redress.
BRUTUS 1945 Sir, those cold ways,
1946 That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
1947 Where the disease is violent.—Lay hands upon him,
1948 280 And bear him to the rock.
Coriolanus draws his sword.
CORIOLANUS 1949 No, I’ll die here.
1950 There’s some among you have beheld me fighting.
1951 Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
1952 Down with that sword!—Tribunes, withdraw awhile.
1953 285 Lay hands upon him!
MENENIUS 1954 Help Martius, help!
1955 You that be noble, help him, young and old!
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 1956 Down with him, down with him!
In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the Aediles, and the People
are beat in.
MENENIUS, ⌜to Coriolanus⌝
1957 Go, get you to ⌜your⌝ house. Begone, away.
1958 290 All will be naught else.
⌜CORIOLANUS⌝ 1960 Stand fast!
1961 We have as many friends as enemies.
1962 Shall it be put to that?
⌜FIRST⌝ SENATOR 1963 295 The gods forbid!—
1964 I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
1965 Leave us to cure this cause.
MENENIUS 1966 For ’tis a sore upon us
1967 You cannot tent yourself. Begone, beseech you.
⌜COMINIUS⌝ 1968 300Come, sir, along with us.
1969 I would they were barbarians, as they are,
1970 Though in Rome littered; not Romans, as they are
1972 Though calved i’ th’ porch o’ th’ Capitol.
MENENIUS 1973 305 Begone!
1974 Put not your worthy rage into your tongue.
1975 One time will owe another.
CORIOLANUS 1976 On fair ground
1977 I could beat forty of them.
MENENIUS 1978 310 I could myself
1979 Take up a brace o’ th’ best of them, yea, the two
1981 But now ’tis odds beyond arithmetic,
1982 And manhood is called foolery when it stands
1983 315 Against a falling fabric. ⌜To Coriolanus.⌝ Will you
1985 Before the tag return, whose rage doth rend
1986 Like interrupted waters and o’erbear
1987 What they are used to bear?
MENENIUS, ⌜to Coriolanus⌝ 1988 320 Pray you, begone.
1989 I’ll try whether my old wit be in request
1990 With those that have but little. This must be patched
1991 With cloth of any color.
Coriolanus and Cominius exit.
PATRICIAN 1993 325This man has marred his fortune.
1994 His nature is too noble for the world.
1995 He would not flatter Neptune for his trident
1996 Or Jove for ’s power to thunder. His heart’s his
1998 330 What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent,
1999 And, being angry, does forget that ever
2000 He heard the name of death.A noise within.
2001 Here’s goodly work.
PATRICIAN 2002 I would they were abed!
2003 335 I would they were in Tiber. What the vengeance,
2004 Could he not speak ’em fair?
Enter Brutus and Sicinius with the rabble again.
SICINIUS 2005 Where is this viper
2006 That would depopulate the city and
2007 Be every man himself?
MENENIUS 2008 340 You worthy tribunes—
2009 He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
2010 With rigorous hands. He hath resisted law,
2011 And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
2012 Than the severity of the public power
2013 345 Which he so sets at naught.
FIRST CITIZEN 2014 He shall well know
2015 The noble tribunes are the people’s mouths
2016 And we their hands.
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 2017 He shall, sure on ’t.
MENENIUS 2018 350Sir, sir—
SICINIUS 2019 Peace!
2020 Do not cry havoc where you should but hunt
2021 With modest warrant.
SICINIUS 2022 Sir, how comes ’t that you
2023 355 Have holp to make this rescue?
MENENIUS 2024 Hear me speak.
2025 As I do know the Consul’s worthiness,
2026 So can I name his faults.
SICINIUS 2027 Consul? What consul?
MENENIUS 2028 360The consul Coriolanus.
BRUTUS 2029 He consul?
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 2030 No, no, no, no, no!
2031 If, by the Tribunes’ leave, and yours, good people,
2032 I may be heard, I would crave a word or two,
2033 365 The which shall turn you to no further harm
2034 Than so much loss of time.
SICINIUS 2035 Speak briefly then,
2036 For we are peremptory to dispatch
2037 This viperous traitor. To eject him hence
2038 370 Were but one danger, and to keep him here
2039 Our certain death. Therefore it is decreed
2040 He dies tonight.
MENENIUS 2041 Now the good gods forbid
2042 That our renownèd Rome, whose gratitude
2043 375 Towards her deservèd children is enrolled
2044 In Jove’s own book, like an unnatural dam
2045 Should now eat up her own.
2046 He’s a disease that must be cut away.
2047 O, he’s a limb that has but a disease—
2048 380 Mortal to cut it off; to cure it easy.
2049 What has he done to Rome that’s worthy death?
2050 Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost—
2051 Which I dare vouch is more than that he hath
2053 385 And what is left, to lose it by his country
2054 Were to us all that do ’t and suffer it
2055 A brand to th’ end o’ th’ world.
SICINIUS 2056 This is clean cam.
2057 Merely awry. When he did love his country,
2058 390 It honored him.
⌜SICINIUS⌝ 2059 The service of the foot,
2060 Being once gangrened, is not then respected
2061 For what before it was.
BRUTUS 2062 We’ll hear no more.
2063 395 Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence,
2064 Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
2065 Spread further.
MENENIUS 2066 One word more, one word!
2067 This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
2068 400 The harm of unscanned swiftness, will too late
2069 Tie leaden pounds to ’s heels. Proceed by process,
2070 Lest parties—as he is beloved—break out
2071 And sack great Rome with Romans.
BRUTUS 2072 If it were so—
SICINIUS 2073 405What do you talk?
2074 Have we not had a taste of his obedience?
2075 Our aediles smote! Ourselves resisted! Come.
2076 Consider this: he has been bred i’ th’ wars
2077 Since he could draw a sword, and is ill schooled
2078 410 In bolted language; meal and bran together
2079 He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
2080 I’ll go to him and undertake to bring him
2081 Where he shall answer by a lawful form,
2082 In peace, to his utmost peril.
FIRST SENATOR 2083 415 Noble tribunes,
2084 It is the humane way: the other course
2086 Unknown to the beginning.
SICINIUS 2087 Noble Menenius,
2088 420 Be you then as the people’s officer.—
2089 Masters, lay down your weapons.
BRUTUS 2090 Go not home.
2091 Meet on the marketplace. ⌜To Menenius.⌝ We’ll
2092 attend you there,
2093 425 Where if you bring not Martius, we’ll proceed
2094 In our first way.
MENENIUS 2095 I’ll bring him to you.
2096 ⌜To Senators.⌝ Let me desire your company. He must
2098 430 Or what is worst will follow.
⌜FIRST⌝ SENATOR 2099 Pray you, let’s to him.
2100 Let them pull all about mine ears, present me
2101 Death on the wheel or at wild horses’ heels,
2102 Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,
2103 That the precipitation might down stretch
2104 5 Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
2105 Be thus to them.
NOBLE 2106 You do the nobler.
CORIOLANUS 2107 I muse my mother
2108 Does not approve me further, who was wont
2109 10 To call them woolen vassals, things created
2110 To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads
2111 In congregations, to yawn, be still, and wonder
2113 To speak of peace or war.
2114 15 I talk of you.
2115 Why did you wish me milder? Would you have me
2116 False to my nature? Rather say I play
2117 The man I am.
VOLUMNIA 2118 O sir, sir, sir,
2119 20 I would have had you put your power well on
2120 Before you had worn it out.
CORIOLANUS 2121 Let go.
2122 You might have been enough the man you are
2123 With striving less to be so. Lesser had been
2124 25 The ⌜thwartings⌝ of your dispositions if
2125 You had not showed them how you were disposed
2126 Ere they lacked power to cross you.
CORIOLANUS 2127 Let them hang!
VOLUMNIA 2128 Ay, and burn too.
Enter Menenius with the Senators.
MENENIUS, ⌜to Coriolanus⌝
2129 30 Come, come, you have been too rough, something
2130 too rough.
2131 You must return and mend it.
⌜FIRST⌝ SENATOR 2132 There’s no remedy,
2133 Unless, by not so doing, our good city
2134 35 Cleave in the midst and perish.
VOLUMNIA 2135 Pray be counseled.
2136 I have a heart as little apt as yours,
2137 But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
2138 To better vantage.
MENENIUS 2139 40 Well said, noble woman.
2140 Before he should thus stoop to th’ ⌜herd⌝—but that
2141 The violent fit o’ th’ time craves it as physic
2143 Which I can scarcely bear.
CORIOLANUS 2144 45 What must I do?
2145 Return to th’ Tribunes.
CORIOLANUS 2146 Well, what then? What then?
MENENIUS 2147 Repent what you have spoke.
2148 For them? I cannot do it to the gods.
2149 50 Must I then do ’t to them?
VOLUMNIA 2150 You are too absolute,
2151 Though therein you can never be too noble
2152 But when extremities speak. I have heard you say
2153 Honor and policy, like unsevered friends,
2154 55 I’ th’ war do grow together. Grant that, and tell me
2155 In peace what each of them by th’ other lose
2156 That they combine not there?
CORIOLANUS 2157 Tush, tush!
MENENIUS 2158 A good
2159 60 demand.
2160 If it be honor in your wars to seem
2161 The same you are not, which for your best ends
2162 You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse
2163 That it shall hold companionship in peace
2164 65 With honor as in war, since that to both
2165 It stands in like request?
CORIOLANUS 2166 Why force you this?
2167 Because that now it lies you on to speak
2168 To th’ people, not by your own instruction,
2169 70 Nor by th’ matter which your heart prompts you,
2170 But with such words that are but roted in
2171 Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
2172 Of no allowance to your bosom’s truth.
2174 75 Than to take in a town with gentle words,
2175 Which else would put you to your fortune and
2176 The hazard of much blood.
2177 I would dissemble with my nature where
2178 My fortunes and my friends at stake required
2179 80 I should do so in honor. I am in this
2180 Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
2181 And you will rather show our general louts
2182 How you can frown than spend a fawn upon ’em
2183 For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
2184 85 Of what that want might ruin.
MENENIUS 2185 Noble lady!—
2186 Come, go with us; speak fair. You may salve so,
2187 Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
2188 Of what is past.
VOLUMNIA 2189 90 I prithee now, my son,
2190 Go to them with this bonnet in thy hand,
2191 And thus far having stretched it—here be with
2193 Thy knee bussing the stones—for in such business
2194 95 Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th’ ignorant
2195 More learnèd than the ears—waving thy head,
2196 Which often thus correcting thy stout heart,
2197 Now humble as the ripest mulberry
2198 That will not hold the handling. Or say to them
2199 100 Thou art their soldier and, being bred in broils,
2200 Hast not the soft way, which thou dost confess
2201 Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
2202 In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
2203 Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
2204 105 As thou hast power and person.
MENENIUS 2205 This but done
2206 Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
2207 For they have pardons, being asked, as free
2208 As words to little purpose.
2210 Go, and be ruled; although I know thou hadst rather
2211 Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
2212 Than flatter him in a bower.
2213 Here is Cominius.
2214 115 I have been i’ th’ marketplace; and, sir, ’tis fit
2215 You make strong party or defend yourself
2216 By calmness or by absence. All’s in anger.
2217 Only fair speech.
COMINIUS 2218 I think ’twill serve, if he
2219 120 Can thereto frame his spirit.
VOLUMNIA 2220 He must, and will.—
2221 Prithee, now, say you will, and go about it.
2222 Must I go show them my unbarbèd sconce? Must I
2223 With my base tongue give to my noble heart
2224 125 A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do ’t.
2225 Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
2226 This mold of Martius, they to dust should grind it
2227 And throw ’t against the wind. To th’ marketplace!
2228 You have put me now to such a part which never
2229 130 I shall discharge to th’ life.
COMINIUS 2230 Come, come, we’ll prompt
2232 I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
2233 My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
2234 135 To have my praise for this, perform a part
2235 Thou hast not done before.
CORIOLANUS 2236 Well, I must do ’t.
2237 Away, my disposition, and possess me
2238 Some harlot’s spirit! My throat of war be turned,
2240 Small as an eunuch or the virgin voice
2241 That babies lull asleep! The smiles of knaves
2242 Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys’ tears take up
2243 The glasses of my sight! A beggar’s tongue
2244 145 Make motion through my lips, and my armed knees,
2245 Who bowed but in my stirrup, bend like his
2246 That hath received an alms. I will not do ’t,
2247 Lest I surcease to honor mine own truth
2248 And, by my body’s action, teach my mind
2249 150 A most inherent baseness.
VOLUMNIA 2250 At thy choice, then.
2251 To beg of thee, it is my more dishonor
2252 Than thou of them. Come all to ruin. Let
2253 Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
2254 155 Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
2255 With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list.
2256 Thy valiantness was mine; thou suck’st it from me,
2257 But owe thy pride thyself.
CORIOLANUS 2258 Pray be content.
2259 160 Mother, I am going to the marketplace.
2260 Chide me no more. I’ll mountebank their loves,
2261 Cog their hearts from them, and come home
2263 Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going.
2264 165 Commend me to my wife. I’ll return consul,
2265 Or never trust to what my tongue can do
2266 I’ th’ way of flattery further.
VOLUMNIA 2267 Do your will.
2268 Away! The Tribunes do attend you. Arm yourself
2269 170 To answer mildly, for they are prepared
2270 With accusations, as I hear, more strong
2271 Than are upon you yet.
2272 The word is “mildly.” Pray you, let us go.
2273 Let them accuse me by invention, I
2274 175 Will answer in mine honor.
MENENIUS 2275 Ay, but mildly.
CORIOLANUS 2276 Well, mildly be it, then. Mildly.
2277 In this point charge him home, that he affects
2278 Tyrannical power. If he evade us there,
2279 Enforce him with his envy to the people,
2280 And that the spoil got on the Antiates
2281 5 Was ne’er distributed.
Enter an Aedile.
2282 What, will he come?
AEDILE 2283 He’s coming.
BRUTUS 2284 How accompanied?
2285 With old Menenius, and those senators
2286 10 That always favored him.
SICINIUS 2287 Have you a catalogue
2288 Of all the voices that we have procured,
2289 Set down by th’ poll?
AEDILE 2290 I have. ’Tis ready.
2291 15 Have you collected them by tribes?
AEDILE 2292 I have.
2293 Assemble presently the people hither;
2294 And when they hear me say “It shall be so
2296 20 For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
2297 If I say “Fine,” cry “Fine,” if “Death,” cry “Death,”
2298 Insisting on the old prerogative
2299 And power i’ th’ truth o’ th’ cause.
AEDILE 2300 I shall inform them.
2301 25 And when such time they have begun to cry,
2302 Let them not cease, but with a din confused
2303 Enforce the present execution
2304 Of what we chance to sentence.
AEDILE 2305 Very well.
2306 30 Make them be strong and ready for this hint
2307 When we shall hap to give ’t them.
BRUTUS 2308 Go about it.
2309 Put him to choler straight. He hath been used
2310 Ever to conquer and to have his worth
2311 35 Of contradiction. Being once chafed, he cannot
2312 Be reined again to temperance; then he speaks
2313 What’s in his heart, and that is there which looks
2314 With us to break his neck.
Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, and Cominius, with
SICINIUS 2315 Well, here he comes.
MENENIUS, ⌜aside to Coriolanus⌝ 2316 40Calmly, I do beseech
CORIOLANUS, ⌜aside to Menenius⌝
2318 Ay, as an hostler that ⌜for th’⌝ poorest piece
2319 Will bear the knave by th’ volume.—Th’ honored
2321 45 Keep Rome in safety and the chairs of justice
2322 Supplied with worthy men! Plant love among ’s!
2324 And not our streets with war!
FIRST SENATOR 2325 Amen, amen.
MENENIUS 2326 50A noble wish.
Enter the Aedile with the Plebeians.
SICINIUS 2327 Draw near, you people.
2328 List to your tribunes. Audience! Peace, I say!
CORIOLANUS 2329 First, hear me speak.
BOTH TRIBUNES 2330 Well, say.—Peace, ho!
2331 55 Shall I be charged no further than this present?
2332 Must all determine here?
SICINIUS 2333 I do demand
2334 If you submit you to the people’s voices,
2335 Allow their officers, and are content
2336 60 To suffer lawful censure for such faults
2337 As shall be proved upon you.
CORIOLANUS 2338 I am content.
2339 Lo, citizens, he says he is content.
2340 The warlike service he has done, consider. Think
2341 65 Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
2342 Like graves i’ th’ holy churchyard.
CORIOLANUS 2343 Scratches with
2345 Scars to move laughter only.
MENENIUS 2346 70 Consider further,
2347 That when he speaks not like a citizen,
2348 You find him like a soldier. Do not take
2349 His rougher ⌜accents⌝ for malicious sounds,
2350 But, as I say, such as become a soldier
2351 75 Rather than envy you.
COMINIUS 2352 Well, well, no more.
2354 That, being passed for consul with full voice,
2355 I am so dishonored that the very hour
2356 80 You take it off again?
SICINIUS 2357 Answer to us.
CORIOLANUS 2358 Say then. ’Tis true, I ought so.
2359 We charge you that you have contrived to take
2360 From Rome all seasoned office and to wind
2361 85 Yourself into a power tyrannical,
2362 For which you are a traitor to the people.
2363 How? Traitor?
MENENIUS 2364 Nay, temperately! Your promise.
2365 The fires i’ th’ lowest hell fold in the people!
2366 90 Call me their traitor? Thou injurious tribune!
2367 Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
2368 In thy hands clutched as many millions, in
2369 Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
2370 “Thou liest” unto thee with a voice as free
2371 95 As I do pray the gods.
SICINIUS 2372 Mark you this, people?
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 2373 To th’ rock, to th’ rock with him!
SICINIUS 2374 Peace!
2375 We need not put new matter to his charge.
2376 100 What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
2377 Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
2378 Opposing laws with strokes, and here defying
2379 Those whose great power must try him—even this,
2380 So criminal and in such capital kind,
2381 105 Deserves th’ extremest death.
BRUTUS 2382 But since he hath
2383 Served well for Rome—
CORIOLANUS 2384 What do you prate of service?
BRUTUS 2385 I talk of that that know it.
2387 Is this the promise that you made your mother?
COMINIUS 2388 Know, I pray you—
CORIOLANUS 2389 I’ll know no further.
2390 Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
2391 115 Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger
2392 But with a grain a day, I would not buy
2393 Their mercy at the price of one fair word,
2394 Nor check my courage for what they can give,
2395 To have ’t with saying “Good morrow.”
SICINIUS 2396 120 For that he has,
2397 As much as in him lies, from time to time
2398 Envied against the people, seeking means
2399 To pluck away their power, as now at last
2400 Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
2401 125 Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
2402 That doth distribute it, in the name o’ th’ people
2403 And in the power of us the Tribunes, we,
2404 Even from this instant, banish him our city
2405 In peril of precipitation
2406 130 From off the rock Tarpeian, never more
2407 To enter our Rome gates. I’ th’ people’s name,
2408 I say it shall be so.
2409 It shall be so, it shall be so! Let him away!
2410 He’s banished, and it shall be so.
2411 135 Hear me, my masters and my common friends—
2412 He’s sentenced. No more hearing.
COMINIUS 2413 Let me speak.
2414 I have been consul and can show ⌜for⌝ Rome
2415 Her enemies’ marks upon me. I do love
2416 140 My country’s good with a respect more tender,
2417 More holy and profound, than mine own life,
2419 And treasure of my loins. Then if I would
2420 Speak that—
SICINIUS 2421 145 We know your drift. Speak what?
2422 There’s no more to be said, but he is banished
2423 As enemy to the people and his country.
2424 It shall be so.
ALL ⌜PLEBEIANS⌝ 2425 It shall be so, it shall be so!
2426 150 You common cry of curs, whose breath I hate
2427 As reek o’ th’ rotten fens, whose loves I prize
2428 As the dead carcasses of unburied men
2429 That do corrupt my air, I banish you!
2430 And here remain with your uncertainty;
2431 155 Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts;
2432 Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
2433 Fan you into despair! Have the power still
2434 To banish your defenders, till at length
2435 Your ignorance—which finds not till it feels,
2436 160 Making but reservation of yourselves,
2437 Still your own foes—deliver you
2438 As most abated captives to some nation
2439 That won you without blows! Despising
2440 For you the city, thus I turn my back.
2441 165 There is a world elsewhere.
Coriolanus, Cominius, with others ⌜(Senators)⌝ exit.
2442 The people’s enemy is gone, is gone.
2443 Our enemy is banished; he is gone. Hoo, hoo!
They all shout and throw up their caps.
2444 Go see him out at gates, and follow him,
2445 As he hath followed you, with all despite.
2447 Attend us through the city.
2448 Come, come, let’s see him out at gates! Come!
2449 The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come!
Cominius, with the young nobility of Rome.
2450 Come, leave your tears. A brief farewell. The beast
2451 With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
2452 Where is your ancient courage? You were used
2453 To say extremities was the trier of spirits;
2454 5 That common chances common men could bear;
2455 That when the sea was calm, all boats alike
2456 Showed mastership in floating; fortune’s blows
2457 When most struck home, being gentle wounded
2459 10 A noble cunning. You were used to load me
2460 With precepts that would make invincible
2461 The heart that conned them.
2462 O heavens! O heavens!
CORIOLANUS 2463 Nay, I prithee,
2464 15 woman—
2465 Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
2466 And occupations perish!
CORIOLANUS 2467 What, what, what!
2468 I shall be loved when I am lacked. Nay, mother,
2469 20 Resume that spirit when you were wont to say
2470 If you had been the wife of Hercules,
2472 Your husband so much sweat.—Cominius,
2473 Droop not. Adieu.—Farewell, my wife, my mother.
2474 25 I’ll do well yet.—Thou old and true Menenius,
2475 Thy tears are salter than a younger man’s
2476 And venomous to thine eyes.—My sometime
2478 I have seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld
2479 30 Heart-hard’ning spectacles. Tell these sad women
2480 ’Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes
2481 As ’tis to laugh at ’em.—My mother, you wot well
2482 My hazards still have been your solace, and—
2483 Believe ’t not lightly—though I go alone,
2484 35 Like to a lonely dragon that his fen
2485 Makes feared and talked of more than seen, your
2487 Will or exceed the common or be caught
2488 With cautelous baits and practice.
VOLUMNIA 2489 40 My first son,
2490 Whither ⌜wilt⌝ thou go? Take good Cominius
2491 With thee awhile. Determine on some course
2492 More than a wild exposure to each chance
2493 That starts i’ th’ way before thee.
⌜VIRGILIA⌝ 2494 45 O the gods!
2495 I’ll follow thee a month, devise with thee
2496 Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
2497 And we of thee; so if the time thrust forth
2498 A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
2499 50 O’er the vast world to seek a single man
2500 And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
2501 I’ th’ absence of the needer.
CORIOLANUS 2502 Fare you well.
2503 Thou hast years upon thee, and thou art too full
2504 55 Of the wars’ surfeits to go rove with one
2505 That’s yet unbruised. Bring me but out at gate.—
2507 My friends of noble touch. When I am forth,
2508 Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
2509 60 While I remain above the ground, you shall
2510 Hear from me still, and never of me aught
2511 But what is like me formerly.
MENENIUS 2512 That’s worthily
2513 As any ear can hear. Come, let’s not weep.
2514 65 If I could shake off but one seven years
2515 From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
2516 I’d with thee every foot.
CORIOLANUS 2517 Give me thy hand.
with the Aedile.
2519 Bid them all home. He’s gone, and we’ll no further.
2520 The nobility are vexed, whom we see have sided
2521 In his behalf.
BRUTUS 2522 Now we have shown our power,
2523 5 Let us seem humbler after it is done
2524 Than when it was a-doing.
SICINIUS 2525 Bid them home.
2526 Say their great enemy is gone, and they
2527 Stand in their ancient strength.
BRUTUS 2528 10 Dismiss them home.
2529 Here comes his mother.
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Menenius.
SICINIUS 2530 Let’s not meet her.
BRUTUS 2531 Why?
2533 15 They have ta’en note of us. Keep on your way.
2534 O, you’re well met. The hoarded plague o’ th’ gods
2535 Requite your love!
MENENIUS 2536 Peace, peace! Be not so loud.
VOLUMNIA, ⌜to the Tribunes⌝
2537 If that I could for weeping, you should hear—
2538 20 Nay, and you shall hear some. ⌜(To Sicinius.)⌝ Will
2539 you be gone?
VIRGILIA, ⌜to Brutus⌝
2540 You shall stay too. I would I had the power
2541 To say so to my husband.
SICINIUS, ⌜to Volumnia⌝ 2542 Are you mankind?
2543 25 Ay, fool, is that a shame? Note but this, fool.
2544 Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
2545 To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
2546 Than thou hast spoken words?
SICINIUS 2547 O blessèd heavens!
2548 30 More noble blows than ever thou wise words,
2549 And for Rome’s good. I’ll tell thee what—yet go.
2550 Nay, but thou shalt stay too. I would my son
2551 Were in Arabia and thy tribe before him,
2552 His good sword in his hand.
SICINIUS 2553 35 What then?
VIRGILIA 2554 What then?
2555 He’d make an end of thy posterity.
VOLUMNIA 2556 Bastards and all.
2557 Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
MENENIUS 2558 40Come, come, peace.
2559 I would he had continued to his country
2561 The noble knot he made.
BRUTUS 2562 I would he had.
2563 45 “I would he had”? ’Twas you incensed the rabble.
2564 Cats, that can judge as fitly of his worth
2565 As I can of those mysteries which heaven
2566 Will not have Earth to know.
BRUTUS, ⌜to Sicinius⌝ 2567 Pray, let’s go.
VOLUMNIA 2568 50Now, pray, sir, get you gone.
2569 You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:
2570 As far as doth the Capitol exceed
2571 The meanest house in Rome, so far my son—
2572 This lady’s husband here, this, do you see?—
2573 55 Whom you have banished, does exceed you all.
2574 Well, well, we’ll leave you.
SICINIUS 2575 Why stay we to be baited
2576 With one that wants her wits?Tribunes exit.
VOLUMNIA 2577 Take my prayers with
2578 60 you.
2579 I would the gods had nothing else to do
2580 But to confirm my curses. Could I meet ’em
2581 But once a day, it would unclog my heart
2582 Of what lies heavy to ’t.
MENENIUS 2583 65 You have told them home,
2584 And, by my troth, you have cause. You’ll sup with
2586 Anger’s my meat. I sup upon myself
2587 And so shall starve with feeding.
2588 70 ⌜(To Virgilia.)⌝ Come, let’s go.
2589 Leave this faint puling, and lament as I do,
2590 In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.They exit.
MENENIUS 2591 Fie, fie, fie!
ROMAN 2592 I know you well, sir, and you know me. Your
2593 name I think is Adrian.
VOLSCE 2594 It is so, sir. Truly, I have forgot you.
ROMAN 2595 I am a Roman, and my services are, as you are,
2596 5 against ’em. Know you me yet?
VOLSCE 2597 Nicanor, no?
ROMAN 2598 The same, sir.
VOLSCE 2599 You had more beard when I last saw you, but
2600 your favor is well ⌜approved⌝ by your tongue.
2601 10 What’s the news in Rome? I have a note from the
2602 Volscian state to find you out there. You have well
2603 saved me a day’s journey.
ROMAN 2604 There hath been in Rome strange insurrections,
2605 the people against the senators, patricians,
2606 15 and nobles.
VOLSCE 2607 Hath been? Is it ended, then? Our state thinks
2608 not so. They are in a most warlike preparation and
2609 hope to come upon them in the heat of their
ROMAN 2611 20The main blaze of it is past, but a small thing
2612 would make it flame again; for the nobles receive
2613 so to heart the banishment of that worthy Coriolanus
2614 that they are in a ripe aptness to take all power
2615 from the people and to pluck from them their tribunes
2616 25 forever. This lies glowing, I can tell you, and
2617 is almost mature for the violent breaking out.
VOLSCE 2618 Coriolanus banished?
ROMAN 2619 Banished, sir.
VOLSCE 2620 You will be welcome with this intelligence,
2621 30 Nicanor.
ROMAN 2622 The day serves well for them now. I have heard
2624 when she’s fall’n out with her husband. Your noble
2625 Tullus Aufidius ⌜will⌝ appear well in these wars, his
2626 35 great opposer Coriolanus being now in no request
2627 of his country.
VOLSCE 2628 He cannot choose. I am most fortunate thus
2629 accidentally to encounter you. You have ended my
2630 business, and I will merrily accompany you home.
ROMAN 2631 40I shall between this and supper tell you most
2632 strange things from Rome, all tending to the good
2633 of their adversaries. Have you an army ready, say
VOLSCE 2635 A most royal one. The centurions and their
2636 45 charges, distinctly billeted, already in th’ entertainment,
2637 and to be on foot at an hour’s warning.
ROMAN 2638 I am joyful to hear of their readiness and am
2639 the man, I think, that shall set them in present action.
2640 So, sir, heartily well met, and most glad of
2641 50 your company.
VOLSCE 2642 You take my part from me, sir. I have the most
2643 cause to be glad of yours.
ROMAN 2644 Well, let us go together.
2645 A goodly city is this Antium. City,
2646 ’Tis I that made thy widows. Many an heir
2647 Of these fair edifices ’fore my wars
2648 Have I heard groan and drop. Then, know me not,
2650 In puny battle slay me.
Enter a Citizen.
2651 Save you, sir.
2652 And you.
CORIOLANUS 2653 Direct me, if it be your will,
2654 10 Where great Aufidius lies. Is he in Antium?
2655 He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
2656 At his house this night.
CORIOLANUS 2657 Which is his house, beseech
2659 15 This here before you.
CORIOLANUS 2660 Thank you, sir. Farewell.
2661 O world, thy slippery turns! Friends now fast sworn,
2662 Whose double bosoms seems to wear one heart,
2663 Whose hours, whose bed, whose meal and exercise
2664 20 Are still together, who twin, as ’twere, in love
2665 Unseparable, shall within this hour,
2666 On a dissension of a doit, break out
2667 To bitterest enmity; so fellest foes,
2668 Whose passions and whose plots have broke their
2669 25 sleep
2670 To take the one the other, by some chance,
2671 Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends
2672 And interjoin their issues. So with me:
2673 My birthplace ⌜hate⌝ I, and my love’s upon
2674 30 This enemy town. I’ll enter. If he slay me,
2675 He does fair justice; if he give me way,
2676 I’ll do his country service.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2677 Wine, wine, wine! What service is
2678 here? I think our fellows are asleep.⌜He exits.⌝
Enter another Servingman.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2679 Where’s Cotus? My master calls
2680 for him. Cotus!He exits.
2681 5 A goodly house. The feast smells well, but I
2682 Appear not like a guest.
Enter the First Servingman.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2683 What would you have, friend?
2684 Whence are you? Here’s no place for you. Pray, go
2685 to the door.He exits.
2686 10 I have deserved no better entertainment
2687 In being Coriolanus.
Enter Second ⌜Servingman.⌝
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2688 Whence are you, sir?—Has the
2689 porter his eyes in his head, that he gives entrance
2690 to such companions?—Pray, get you out.
CORIOLANUS 2691 15Away!
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2692 Away? Get you away.
CORIOLANUS 2693 Now th’ art troublesome.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2694 Are you so brave? I’ll have you
2695 talked with anon.
Enter Third Servingman; the First, ⌜entering,⌝
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2696 20What fellow’s this?
2698 cannot get him out o’ th’ house. Prithee, call my
2699 master to him.⌜He steps aside.⌝
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2700 What have you to do here, fellow?
2701 25 Pray you, avoid the house.
CORIOLANUS 2702 Let me but stand. I will not hurt your
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2704 What are you?
CORIOLANUS 2705 A gentleman.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2706 30A marv’llous poor one.
CORIOLANUS 2707 True, so I am.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2708 Pray you, poor gentleman, take up
2709 some other station. Here’s no place for you. Pray
2710 you, avoid. Come.
CORIOLANUS 2711 35Follow your function, go, and batten on
2712 cold bits.Pushes him away from him.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2713 What, you will not?—Prithee, tell
2714 my master what a strange guest he has here.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2715 And I shall.
Second Servingman exits.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2716 40Where dwell’st thou?
CORIOLANUS 2717 Under the canopy.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2718 Under the canopy?
CORIOLANUS 2719 Ay.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2720 Where’s that?
CORIOLANUS 2721 45I’ th’ city of kites and crows.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2722 I’ th’ city of kites and crows? What
2723 an ass it is! Then thou dwell’st with daws too?
CORIOLANUS 2724 No, I serve not thy master.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2725 How, sir? Do you meddle with my
2726 50 master?
CORIOLANUS 2727 Ay, ’tis an honester service than to meddle
2728 with thy mistress. Thou prat’st and prat’st. Serve
2729 with thy trencher. Hence!Beats him away.
⌜Third Servingman exits.⌝
AUFIDIUS 2730 Where is this fellow?
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2731 55Here, sir. I’d have beaten him like
2732 a dog, but for disturbing the lords within.
⌜He steps aside.⌝
AUFIDIUS 2733 Whence com’st thou? What wouldst thou?
2734 Thy name? Why speak’st not? Speak, man. What’s
2735 thy name?
CORIOLANUS, ⌜removing his muffler⌝ 2736 60If, Tullus,
2737 Not yet thou know’st me, and seeing me, dost not
2738 Think me for the man I am, necessity
2739 Commands me name myself.
AUFIDIUS 2740 What is thy name?
2741 65 A name unmusical to the Volscians’ ears
2742 And harsh in sound to thine.
AUFIDIUS 2743 Say, what’s thy name?
2744 Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face
2745 Bears a command in ’t. Though thy tackle’s torn,
2746 70 Thou show’st a noble vessel. What’s thy name?
2747 Prepare thy brow to frown. Know’st thou me yet?
AUFIDIUS 2748 I know thee not. Thy name?
2749 My name is Caius Martius, who hath done
2750 To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
2751 75 Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
2752 My surname Coriolanus. The painful service,
2753 The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood
2754 Shed for my thankless country are requited
2755 But with that surname, a good memory
2756 80 And witness of the malice and displeasure
2757 Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name
2759 The cruelty and envy of the people,
2761 85 Have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest,
2762 And suffered me by th’ voice of slaves to be
2763 ⌜Whooped⌝ out of Rome. Now this extremity
2764 Hath brought me to thy hearth, not out of hope—
2765 Mistake me not—to save my life; for if
2766 90 I had feared death, of all the men i’ th’ world
2767 I would have ’voided thee, but in mere spite,
2768 To be full quit of those my banishers,
2769 Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
2770 A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
2771 95 Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
2772 Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee
2774 And make my misery serve thy turn. So use it
2775 That my revengeful services may prove
2776 100 As benefits to thee, for I will fight
2777 Against my cankered country with the spleen
2778 Of all the under fiends. But if so be
2779 Thou dar’st not this, and that to prove more fortunes
2780 Thou ’rt tired, then, in a word, I also am
2781 105 Longer to live most weary, and present
2782 My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice,
2783 Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
2784 Since I have ever followed thee with hate,
2785 Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country’s breast,
2786 110 And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
2787 It be to do thee service.
AUFIDIUS 2788 O Martius, Martius,
2789 Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my
2791 115 A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
2792 Should from yond cloud speak divine things
2793 And say ’tis true, I’d not believe them more
2794 Than thee, all-noble Martius. Let me twine
2796 120 My grainèd ash an hundred times hath broke
2797 And scarred the moon with splinters.
2798 Here I clip
2799 The anvil of my sword and do contest
2800 As hotly and as nobly with thy love
2801 125 As ever in ambitious strength I did
2802 Contend against thy valor. Know thou first,
2803 I loved the maid I married; never man
2804 Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here,
2805 Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
2806 130 Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
2807 Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars, I tell thee
2808 We have a power on foot, and I had purpose
2809 Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn
2810 Or lose mine arm for ’t. Thou hast beat me out
2811 135 Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
2812 Dreamt of encounters ’twixt thyself and me;
2813 We have been down together in my sleep,
2814 Unbuckling helms, fisting each other’s throat,
2815 And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Martius,
2816 140 Had we no other quarrel else to Rome but that
2817 Thou art thence banished, we would muster all
2818 From twelve to seventy and, pouring war
2819 Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
2820 Like a bold flood ⌜o’erbear ’t.⌝ O, come, go in,
2821 145 And take our friendly senators by th’ hands,
2822 Who now are here, taking their leaves of me,
2823 Who am prepared against your territories,
2824 Though not for Rome itself.
CORIOLANUS 2825 You bless me, gods!
2826 150 Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
2827 The leading of thine own revenges, take
2829 As best thou art experienced, since thou know’st
2830 Thy country’s strength and weakness—thine own
2831 155 ways,
2832 Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
2833 Or rudely visit them in parts remote
2834 To fright them ere destroy. But come in.
2835 Let me commend thee first to those that shall
2836 160 Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
2837 And more a friend than ere an enemy—
2838 Yet, Martius, that was much. Your hand. Most
2839 welcome!⌜Coriolanus and Aufidius⌝ exit.
Two of the Servingmen ⌜come forward.⌝
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2840 Here’s a strange alteration!
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2841 165By my hand, I had thought to
2842 have strucken him with a cudgel, and yet my mind
2843 gave me his clothes made a false report of him.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2844 What an arm he has! He turned me
2845 about with his finger and his thumb as one would
2846 170 set up a top.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2847 Nay, I knew by his face that there
2848 was something in him. He had, sir, a kind of face,
2849 methought—I cannot tell how to term it.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2850 He had so, looking as it were—
2851 175 Would I were hanged but I thought there was
2852 more in him than I could think.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2853 So did I, I’ll be sworn. He is simply
2854 the rarest man i’ th’ world.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2855 I think he is. But a greater soldier
2856 180 than he you wot one.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2857 Who, my master?
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2858 Nay, it’s no matter for that.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2859 Worth six on him.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2860 Nay, not so neither. But I take him
2861 185 to be the greater soldier.
2863 how to say that. For the defense of a town our general
2864 is excellent.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2865 Ay, and for an assault too.
Enter the Third Servingman.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2866 190O slaves, I can tell you news, news,
2867 you rascals!
BOTH 2868 What, what, what? Let’s partake!
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2869 I would not be a Roman, of all nations;
2870 I had as lief be a condemned man.
BOTH 2871 195Wherefore? Wherefore?
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2872 Why, here’s he that was wont to
2873 thwack our general, Caius Martius.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2874 Why do you say “thwack our
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2876 200I do not say “thwack our general,”
2877 but he was always good enough for him.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2878 Come, we are fellows and friends.
2879 He was ever too hard for him; I have heard him
2880 say so himself.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2881 205He was too hard for him directly, to
2882 say the truth on ’t, before Corioles; he scotched
2883 him and notched him like a carbonado.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2884 An he had been cannibally given,
2885 he might have boiled and eaten him too.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2886 210But, more of thy news.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2887 Why, he is so made on here within
2888 as if he were son and heir to Mars; set at upper end
2889 o’ th’ table; no question asked him by any of the
2890 senators but they stand bald before him. Our general
2891 215 himself makes a mistress of him, sanctifies
2892 himself with ’s hand, and turns up the white o’ th’
2893 eye to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is,
2894 our general is cut i’ th’ middle and but one half of
2896 220 the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He’ll go,
2897 he says, and sowl the porter of Rome gates by th’
2898 ears. He will mow all down before him and leave
2899 his passage polled.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2900 And he’s as like to do ’t as any
2901 225 man I can imagine.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2902 Do ’t? He will do ’t! For, look you,
2903 sir, he has as many friends as enemies, which
2904 friends, sir, as it were, durst not, look you, sir, show
2905 themselves, as we term it, his friends whilest he’s
2906 230 in directitude.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2907 Directitude? What’s that?
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2908 But when they shall see, sir, his
2909 crest up again, and the man in blood, they will out
2910 of their burrows like coneys after rain, and revel
2911 235 all with him.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2912 But when goes this forward?
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2913 Tomorrow, today, presently. You
2914 shall have the drum struck up this afternoon. ’Tis,
2915 as it were, a parcel of their feast, and to be executed
2916 240 ere they wipe their lips.
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2917 Why then, we shall have a stirring
2918 world again. This peace is nothing but to rust iron,
2919 increase tailors, and breed ballad-makers.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 2920 Let me have war, say I. It exceeds
2921 245 peace as far as day does night. It’s sprightly walking,
2922 audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy,
2923 lethargy; mulled, deaf, ⌜sleepy,⌝ insensible; a getter
2924 of more bastard children than war’s a destroyer of
SECOND SERVINGMAN 2926 250’Tis so, and as wars in some sort
2927 may be said to be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied
2928 but peace is a great maker of cuckolds.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 2931 255Reason: because they then less
2932 need one another. The wars for my money! I hope
2933 to see Romans as cheap as Volscians. ⌜(Noise
within.)⌝ 2934 They are rising; they are rising.
⌜FIRST AND SECOND SERVINGMEN⌝ 2935 In, in, in, in!
2936 We hear not of him, neither need we fear him.
2937 His remedies are tame—the present peace,
2938 And quietness of the people, which before
2939 Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
2940 5 Blush that the world goes well, who rather had,
2941 Though they themselves did suffer by ’t, behold
2942 Dissentious numbers pest’ring streets than see
2943 Our tradesmen singing in their shops and going
2944 About their functions friendly.
2945 10 We stood to ’t in good time.
2946 Is this Menenius?
2947 ’Tis he, ’tis he. O, he is grown most kind
2948 Of late.—Hail, sir.
MENENIUS 2949 Hail to you both.
2950 15 Your Coriolanus is not much missed
2951 But with his friends. The commonwealth doth stand,
2952 And so would do were he more angry at it.
2953 All’s well, and might have been much better if
2954 He could have temporized.
SICINIUS 2955 20Where is he, hear you?
MENENIUS 2956 Nay, I hear nothing;
2957 His mother and his wife hear nothing from him.
Enter three or four Citizens.
ALL ⌜CITIZENS, to the Tribunes⌝
2958 The gods preserve
2959 you both!
SICINIUS 2960 25 Good e’en, our neighbors.
2961 Good e’en to you all, good e’en to you all.
2962 Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees
2963 Are bound to pray for you both.
SICINIUS 2964 Live, and thrive!
2965 30 Farewell, kind neighbors. We wished Coriolanus
2966 Had loved you as we did.
ALL ⌜CITIZENS⌝ 2967 Now the gods keep you!
BOTH TRIBUNES 2968 Farewell, farewell.Citizens exit.
2969 This is a happier and more comely time
2970 35 Than when these fellows ran about the streets
2971 Crying confusion.
BRUTUS 2972 Caius Martius was
2973 A worthy officer i’ th’ war, but insolent,
2974 O’ercome with pride, ambitious, past all thinking
2975 40 Self-loving.
2976 And affecting one sole throne, without assistance.
MENENIUS 2977 I think not so.
2978 We should by this, to all our lamentation,
2979 If he had gone forth consul, found it so.
2980 45 The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
2981 Sits safe and still without him.
Enter an Aedile.
AEDILE 2982 Worthy tribunes,
2983 There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
2984 Reports the Volsces with two several powers
2985 50 Are entered in the Roman territories,
2986 And with the deepest malice of the war
2987 Destroy what lies before ’em.
MENENIUS 2988 ’Tis Aufidius,
2989 Who, hearing of our Martius’ banishment,
2990 55 Thrusts forth his horns again into the world,
2991 Which were inshelled when Martius stood for Rome,
2992 And durst not once peep out.
SICINIUS 2993 Come, what talk you of Martius?
2994 Go see this rumorer whipped. It cannot be
2995 60 The Volsces dare break with us.
MENENIUS 2996 Cannot be?
2997 We have record that very well it can,
2998 And three examples of the like hath been
2999 Within my age. But reason with the fellow
3000 65 Before you punish him, where he heard this,
3001 Lest you shall chance to whip your information
3002 And beat the messenger who bids beware
3003 Of what is to be dreaded.
SICINIUS 3004 Tell not me.
3005 70 I know this cannot be.
BRUTUS 3006 Not possible.
Enter a Messenger.
3007 The nobles in great earnestness are going
3009 That turns their countenances.
SICINIUS 3010 75 ’Tis this slave—
3011 Go whip him ’fore the people’s eyes—his raising,
3012 Nothing but his report.
MESSENGER 3013 Yes, worthy sir,
3014 The slave’s report is seconded, and more,
3015 80 More fearful, is delivered.
SICINIUS 3016 What more fearful?
3017 It is spoke freely out of many mouths—
3018 How probable I do not know—that Martius,
3019 Joined with Aufidius, leads a power ’gainst Rome
3020 85 And vows revenge as spacious as between
3021 The young’st and oldest thing.
SICINIUS 3022 This is most likely!
3023 Raised only that the weaker sort may wish
3024 Good Martius home again.
SICINIUS 3025 90The very trick on ’t.
MENENIUS 3026 This is unlikely;
3027 He and Aufidius can no more atone
3028 Than violent’st contrariety.
Enter ⌜a Second⌝ Messenger.
⌜SECOND⌝ MESSENGER 3029 You are sent for to the Senate.
3030 95 A fearful army, led by Caius Martius
3031 Associated with Aufidius, rages
3032 Upon our territories, and have already
3033 O’erborne their way, consumed with fire and took
3034 What lay before them.
COMINIUS, ⌜to the Tribunes⌝ 3035 100 O, you have made good
MENENIUS 3037 What news? What news?
3038 You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
3039 To melt the city leads upon your pates,
3040 105 To see your wives dishonored to your noses—
MENENIUS 3041 What’s the news? What’s the news?
COMINIUS, ⌜to the Tribunes⌝
3042 Your temples burnèd in their cement, and
3043 Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
3044 Into an auger’s bore.
MENENIUS 3045 110 Pray now, your news?—
3046 You have made fair work, I fear me.—Pray, your
3048 If Martius should be joined with Volscians—
COMINIUS 3049 If?
3050 115 He is their god; he leads them like a thing
3051 Made by some other deity than Nature,
3052 That shapes man better; and they follow him
3053 Against us brats with no less confidence
3054 Than boys pursuing summer butterflies
3055 120 Or butchers killing flies.
MENENIUS, ⌜to the Tribunes⌝ 3056 You have made good work,
3057 You and your apron-men, you that stood so much
3058 Upon the voice of occupation and
3059 The breath of garlic eaters!
3060 125 He’ll shake your Rome about your ears.
3061 As Hercules did shake down mellow fruit.
3062 You have made fair work.
BRUTUS 3063 But is this true, sir?
COMINIUS 3064 Ay, and you’ll look pale
3065 130 Before you find it other. All the regions
3066 Do smilingly revolt, and who resists
3067 Are mocked for valiant ignorance
3068 And perish constant fools. Who is ’t can blame him?
3069 Your enemies and his find something in him.
3071 The noble man have mercy.
COMINIUS 3072 Who shall ask it?
3073 The Tribunes cannot do ’t for shame; the people
3074 Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
3075 140 Does of the shepherds. For his best friends, if they
3076 Should say “Be good to Rome,” they charged him
3078 As those should do that had deserved his hate
3079 And therein showed like enemies.
MENENIUS 3080 145 ’Tis true.
3081 If he were putting to my house the brand
3082 That should consume it, I have not the face
3083 To say “Beseech you, cease.”—You have made fair
3085 150 You and your crafts! You have crafted fair!
COMINIUS 3086 You have
3088 A trembling upon Rome such as was never
3089 S’ incapable of help.
TRIBUNES 3090 155 Say not we brought it.
3091 How? Was ’t we? We loved him, but like beasts
3092 And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
3093 Who did hoot him out o’ th’ city.
COMINIUS 3094 But I fear
3095 160 They’ll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
3096 The second name of men, obeys his points
3097 As if he were his officer. Desperation
3098 Is all the policy, strength, and defense
3099 That Rome can make against them.
Enter a troop of Citizens.
MENENIUS 3100 165 Here come the
3102 And is Aufidius with him? You are they
3104 Your stinking, greasy caps in hooting at
3105 170 Coriolanus’ exile. Now he’s coming,
3106 And not a hair upon a soldier’s head
3107 Which will not prove a whip. As many coxcombs
3108 As you threw caps up will he tumble down
3109 And pay you for your voices. ’Tis no matter.
3110 175 If he could burn us all into one coal,
3111 We have deserved it.
ALL ⌜CITIZENS⌝ 3112 Faith, we hear fearful news.
FIRST CITIZEN 3113 For mine own part,
3114 When I said banish him, I said ’twas pity.
SECOND CITIZEN 3115 180And so did I.
THIRD CITIZEN 3116 And so did I. And, to say the truth, so
3117 did very many of us. That we did we did for the
3118 best; and though we willingly consented to his
3119 banishment, yet it was against our will.
COMINIUS 3120 185You’re goodly things, you voices!
3121 You have made good work, you and your cry!—
3122 Shall ’s to the Capitol?
COMINIUS 3123 O, ay, what else?Both exit.
3124 Go, masters, get you home. Be not dismayed.
3125 190 These are a side that would be glad to have
3126 This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
3127 And show no sign of fear.
FIRST CITIZEN 3128 The gods be good to us! Come, masters,
3129 let’s home. I ever said we were i’ th’ wrong when
3130 195 we banished him.
SECOND CITIZEN 3131 So did we all. But, come, let’s home.
BRUTUS 3132 I do not like this news.
SICINIUS 3133 Nor I.
3134 Let’s to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
3135 200 Would buy this for a lie.
SICINIUS 3136 Pray, let’s go.
AUFIDIUS 3137 Do they still fly to th’ Roman?
3138 I do not know what witchcraft’s in him, but
3139 Your soldiers use him as the grace ’fore meat,
3140 Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
3141 5 And you are dark’ned in this action, sir,
3142 Even by your own.
AUFIDIUS 3143 I cannot help it now,
3144 Unless by using means I lame the foot
3145 Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
3146 10 Even to my person, than I thought he would
3147 When first I did embrace him. Yet his nature
3148 In that’s no changeling, and I must excuse
3149 What cannot be amended.
LIEUTENANT 3150 Yet I wish, sir—
3151 15 I mean for your particular—you had not
3152 Joined in commission with him, but either
3153 Have borne the action of yourself or else
3154 To him had left it solely.
3155 I understand thee well, and be thou sure,
3156 20 When he shall come to his account, he knows not
3157 What I can urge against him, although it seems,
3158 And so he thinks and is no less apparent
3159 To th’ vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly,
3160 And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
3162 As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
3163 That which shall break his neck or hazard mine
3164 Whene’er we come to our account.
3165 Sir, I beseech you, think you he’ll carry Rome?
3166 30 All places yields to him ere he sits down,
3167 And the nobility of Rome are his;
3168 The Senators and Patricians love him too.
3169 The Tribunes are no soldiers, and their people
3170 Will be as rash in the repeal as hasty
3171 35 To expel him thence. I think he’ll be to Rome
3172 As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
3173 By sovereignty of nature. First, he was
3174 A noble servant to them, but he could not
3175 Carry his honors even. Whether ⌜’twas⌝ pride,
3176 40 Which out of daily fortune ever taints
3177 The happy man; whether ⌜defect⌝ of judgment,
3178 To fail in the disposing of those chances
3179 Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
3180 Not to be other than one thing, not moving
3181 45 From th’ casque to th’ cushion, but commanding
3183 Even with the same austerity and garb
3184 As he controlled the war; but one of these—
3185 As he hath spices of them all—not all,
3186 50 For I dare so far free him—made him feared,
3187 So hated, and so banished. But he has a merit
3188 To choke it in the utt’rance. So our ⌜virtues⌝
3189 Lie in th’ interpretation of the time,
3190 And power, unto itself most commendable,
3191 55 Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
3192 T’ extol what it hath done.
3193 One fire drives out one fire, one nail one nail;
3196 60 Come, let’s away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
3197 Thou art poor’st of all; then shortly art thou mine.
Tribunes), with others.
3198 No, I’ll not go. You hear what he hath said
3199 Which was sometime his general, who loved him
3200 In a most dear particular. He called me father,
3201 But what o’ that? Go you that banished him;
3202 5 A mile before his tent, fall down, and knee
3203 The way into his mercy. Nay, if he coyed
3204 To hear Cominius speak, I’ll keep at home.
3205 He would not seem to know me.
MENENIUS 3206 Do you hear?
3207 10 Yet one time he did call me by my name.
3208 I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
3209 That we have bled together. “Coriolanus”
3210 He would not answer to, forbade all names.
3211 He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
3212 15 Till he had forged himself a name o’ th’ fire
3213 Of burning Rome.
MENENIUS, ⌜to the Tribunes⌝
3214 Why, so; you have made good work!
3215 A pair of tribunes that have wracked Rome
3216 To make coals cheap! A noble memory!
3217 20 I minded him how royal ’twas to pardon
3218 When it was less expected. He replied
3219 It was a bare petition of a state
3220 To one whom they had punished.
MENENIUS 3221 Very well.
3222 25 Could he say less?
3223 I offered to awaken his regard
3224 For ’s private friends. His answer to me was
3225 He could not stay to pick them in a pile
3226 Of noisome musty chaff. He said ’twas folly
3227 30 For one poor grain or two to leave unburnt
3228 And still to nose th’ offense.
MENENIUS 3229 For one poor grain or two!
3230 I am one of those! His mother, wife, his child,
3231 And this brave fellow too, we are the grains;
3232 35 You are the musty chaff, and you are smelt
3233 Above the moon. We must be burnt for you.
3234 Nay, pray, be patient. If you refuse your aid
3235 In this so-never-needed help, yet do not
3236 Upbraid ’s with our distress. But sure, if you
3237 40 Would be your country’s pleader, your good tongue,
3238 More than the instant army we can make,
3239 Might stop our countryman.
MENENIUS 3240 No, I’ll not meddle.
SICINIUS 3241 Pray you, go to him.
MENENIUS 3242 45What should I do?
3243 Only make trial what your love can do
3244 For Rome, towards Martius.
MENENIUS 3245 Well, and say that
3247 50 Return me, as Cominius is returned, unheard,
3249 Grief-shot with his unkindness? Say ’t be so?
SICINIUS 3250 Yet your good will
3251 Must have that thanks from Rome after the measure
3252 55 As you intended well.
MENENIUS 3253 I’ll undertake ’t.
3254 I think he’ll hear me. Yet to bite his lip
3255 And hum at good Cominius much unhearts me.
3256 He was not taken well; he had not dined.
3257 60 The veins unfilled, our blood is cold, and then
3258 We pout upon the morning, are unapt
3259 To give or to forgive; but when we have stuffed
3260 These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
3261 With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
3262 65 Than in our priestlike fasts. Therefore I’ll watch him
3263 Till he be dieted to my request,
3264 And then I’ll set upon him.
3265 You know the very road into his kindness
3266 And cannot lose your way.
MENENIUS 3267 70 Good faith, I’ll prove him,
3268 Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
3269 Of my success.He exits.
COMINIUS 3270 He’ll never hear him.
SICINIUS 3271 Not?
3272 75 I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
3273 Red as ’twould burn Rome; and his injury
3274 The jailor to his pity. I kneeled before him;
3275 ’Twas very faintly he said “Rise”; dismissed me
3276 Thus with his speechless hand. What he would do
3277 80 He sent in writing after me; what he
3278 Would not, bound with an oath to yield to his
3279 Conditions. So that all hope is vain
3280 Unless his noble mother and his wife,
3281 Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
3283 And with our fair entreaties haste them on.
FIRST WATCH 3284 Stay! Whence are you?
SECOND WATCH 3285 Stand, and go back.
3286 You guard like men; ’tis well. But by your leave,
3287 I am an officer of state and come
3288 5 To speak with Coriolanus.
FIRST WATCH 3289 From whence?
MENENIUS 3290 From Rome.
3291 You may not pass; you must return. Our general
3292 Will no more hear from thence.
3293 10 You’ll see your Rome embraced with fire before
3294 You’ll speak with Coriolanus.
MENENIUS 3295 Good my friends,
3296 If you have heard your general talk of Rome
3297 And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks
3298 15 My name hath touched your ears. It is Menenius.
3299 Be it so; go back. The virtue of your name
3300 Is not here passable.
MENENIUS 3301 I tell thee, fellow,
3302 Thy general is my lover. I have been
3303 20 The book of his good acts, whence men have read
3304 His fame unparalleled happily amplified;
3305 For I have ever verified my friends—
3306 Of whom he’s chief—with all the size that verity
3307 Would without lapsing suffer. Nay, sometimes,
3309 I have tumbled past the throw, and in his praise
3310 Have almost stamped the leasing. Therefore, fellow,
3311 I must have leave to pass.
FIRST WATCH 3312 Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in
3313 30 his behalf as you have uttered words in your own,
3314 you should not pass here, no, though it were as virtuous
3315 to lie as to live chastely. Therefore, go back.
MENENIUS 3316 Prithee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius,
3317 always factionary on the party of your
3318 35 general.
SECOND WATCH 3319 Howsoever you have been his liar, as
3320 you say you have, I am one that, telling true under
3321 him, must say you cannot pass. Therefore, go back.
MENENIUS 3322 Has he dined, can’st thou tell? For I would
3323 40 not speak with him till after dinner.
FIRST WATCH 3324 You are a Roman, are you?
MENENIUS 3325 I am, as thy general is.
FIRST WATCH 3326 Then you should hate Rome as he does.
3327 Can you, when you have pushed out your gates the
3328 45 very defender of them, and, in a violent popular
3329 ignorance given your enemy your shield, think to
3330 front his revenges with the easy groans of old
3331 women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or
3332 with the palsied intercession of such a decayed