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Coriolanus - Act 2, scene 2
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCoriolanus - Act 2, scene 2
Act 2, scene 2
The Senate meets to hear Cominius praise Coriolanus in a formal oration and then to choose Coriolanus as its nominee for consul.Enter two Officers, to lay cushions, as it were
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.
p. 91FIRST OFFICER 1188 5That’s a brave fellow, but he’s vengeance
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
p. 93and Brutus take their places by themselves.
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?
p. 95BRUTUS 1252 Most willingly,
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
p. 971284 Most dignifies the haver; if it be,
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
p. 991320 Both field and city ours, he never stood
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
p. 1011352 Take to you, as your predecessors have,
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.