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Coriolanus - Act 4, scene 7
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 4, scene 7
Aufidius, offended by the Volscian soldiers’ preference for Coriolanus, begins plotting against him.Enter Aufidius with his Lieutenant.
AUFIDIUS 3137 Do they still fly to th’ Roman?
3138 I do not know what witchcraft’s in him, but
3139 Your soldiers use him as the grace ’fore meat,
3140 Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
3141 5 And you are dark’ned in this action, sir,
3142 Even by your own.
AUFIDIUS 3143 I cannot help it now,
3144 Unless by using means I lame the foot
3145 Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
3146 10 Even to my person, than I thought he would
3147 When first I did embrace him. Yet his nature
3148 In that’s no changeling, and I must excuse
3149 What cannot be amended.
LIEUTENANT 3150 Yet I wish, sir—
3151 15 I mean for your particular—you had not
3152 Joined in commission with him, but either
3153 Have borne the action of yourself or else
3154 To him had left it solely.
3155 I understand thee well, and be thou sure,
3156 20 When he shall come to his account, he knows not
3157 What I can urge against him, although it seems,
3158 And so he thinks and is no less apparent
3159 To th’ vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly,
3160 And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
p. 2293161 25 Fights dragonlike, and does achieve as soon
3162 As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
3163 That which shall break his neck or hazard mine
3164 Whene’er we come to our account.
3165 Sir, I beseech you, think you he’ll carry Rome?
3166 30 All places yields to him ere he sits down,
3167 And the nobility of Rome are his;
3168 The Senators and Patricians love him too.
3169 The Tribunes are no soldiers, and their people
3170 Will be as rash in the repeal as hasty
3171 35 To expel him thence. I think he’ll be to Rome
3172 As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
3173 By sovereignty of nature. First, he was
3174 A noble servant to them, but he could not
3175 Carry his honors even. Whether ⌜’twas⌝ pride,
3176 40 Which out of daily fortune ever taints
3177 The happy man; whether ⌜defect⌝ of judgment,
3178 To fail in the disposing of those chances
3179 Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
3180 Not to be other than one thing, not moving
3181 45 From th’ casque to th’ cushion, but commanding
3183 Even with the same austerity and garb
3184 As he controlled the war; but one of these—
3185 As he hath spices of them all—not all,
3186 50 For I dare so far free him—made him feared,
3187 So hated, and so banished. But he has a merit
3188 To choke it in the utt’rance. So our ⌜virtues⌝
3189 Lie in th’ interpretation of the time,
3190 And power, unto itself most commendable,
3191 55 Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
3192 T’ extol what it hath done.
3193 One fire drives out one fire, one nail one nail;
p. 2313194 Rights by rights ⌜falter⌝; strengths by strengths do
3196 60 Come, let’s away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
3197 Thou art poor’st of all; then shortly art thou mine.