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Coriolanus - Act 1, scene 6
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 1, scene 6
Martius joins Cominius and inspires the Roman troops to further combat.Enter Cominius as it were in retire, with Soldiers.
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
p. 510625 Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
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,
p. 530654 55 The common file—a plague! Tribunes for them!—
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—
p. 550686 As it were sin to doubt—that love this painting
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.