Coriolanus - Act 3, scene 3
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 3, scene 3
When the tribunes call Coriolanus a traitor, he angrily insults them, and they first impose a death sentence and then commute that to banishment.Enter Sicinius and Brutus.
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!