Coriolanus - Act 4, scene 6
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 4, scene 6
The tribunes’ delight in Coriolanus’s banishment is interrupted by news that an army led by him and Aufidius has invaded Rome’s territories.Enter the two Tribunes. Sicinius and Brutus.
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.