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Coriolanus - Act 3, scene 2
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCoriolanus - Act 3, scene 2
Act 3, scene 2
The patricians and Volumnia persuade Coriolanus to pretend to tolerate the plebeians and their tribunes.Enter Coriolanus with Nobles.
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
p. 1552112 When one but of my ordinance stood up
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
p. 1572142 For the whole state—I would put mine armor on,
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.
p. 1592173 Now, this no more dishonors you at all
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.
p. 161VOLUMNIA 2209 110 Prithee now,
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,
p. 1632239 140 Which choirèd with my drum, into a pipe
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.