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Coriolanus - Act 5, scene 1
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCoriolanus - Act 5, scene 1
Act 5, scene 1
After Cominius fails to persuade Coriolanus not to destroy Rome, Menenius agrees to try.Enter Menenius, Cominius, Sicinius, Brutus (the two
Tribunes), with others.
3198 No, I’ll not go. You hear what he hath said
3199 Which was sometime his general, who loved him
3200 In a most dear particular. He called me father,
3201 But what o’ that? Go you that banished him;
3202 5 A mile before his tent, fall down, and knee
3203 The way into his mercy. Nay, if he coyed
3204 To hear Cominius speak, I’ll keep at home.
3205 He would not seem to know me.
MENENIUS 3206 Do you hear?
3207 10 Yet one time he did call me by my name.
3208 I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
3209 That we have bled together. “Coriolanus”
3210 He would not answer to, forbade all names.
3211 He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
3212 15 Till he had forged himself a name o’ th’ fire
3213 Of burning Rome.
MENENIUS, ⌜to the Tribunes⌝
3214 Why, so; you have made good work!
3215 A pair of tribunes that have wracked Rome
3216 To make coals cheap! A noble memory!
3217 20 I minded him how royal ’twas to pardon
3218 When it was less expected. He replied
3219 It was a bare petition of a state
3220 To one whom they had punished.
MENENIUS 3221 Very well.
3222 25 Could he say less?
3223 I offered to awaken his regard
3224 For ’s private friends. His answer to me was
3225 He could not stay to pick them in a pile
3226 Of noisome musty chaff. He said ’twas folly
3227 30 For one poor grain or two to leave unburnt
3228 And still to nose th’ offense.
MENENIUS 3229 For one poor grain or two!
3230 I am one of those! His mother, wife, his child,
3231 And this brave fellow too, we are the grains;
3232 35 You are the musty chaff, and you are smelt
3233 Above the moon. We must be burnt for you.
3234 Nay, pray, be patient. If you refuse your aid
3235 In this so-never-needed help, yet do not
3236 Upbraid ’s with our distress. But sure, if you
3237 40 Would be your country’s pleader, your good tongue,
3238 More than the instant army we can make,
3239 Might stop our countryman.
MENENIUS 3240 No, I’ll not meddle.
SICINIUS 3241 Pray you, go to him.
MENENIUS 3242 45What should I do?
3243 Only make trial what your love can do
3244 For Rome, towards Martius.
MENENIUS 3245 Well, and say that
3247 50 Return me, as Cominius is returned, unheard,
p. 2393248 What then? But as a discontented friend,
3249 Grief-shot with his unkindness? Say ’t be so?
SICINIUS 3250 Yet your good will
3251 Must have that thanks from Rome after the measure
3252 55 As you intended well.
MENENIUS 3253 I’ll undertake ’t.
3254 I think he’ll hear me. Yet to bite his lip
3255 And hum at good Cominius much unhearts me.
3256 He was not taken well; he had not dined.
3257 60 The veins unfilled, our blood is cold, and then
3258 We pout upon the morning, are unapt
3259 To give or to forgive; but when we have stuffed
3260 These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
3261 With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
3262 65 Than in our priestlike fasts. Therefore I’ll watch him
3263 Till he be dieted to my request,
3264 And then I’ll set upon him.
3265 You know the very road into his kindness
3266 And cannot lose your way.
MENENIUS 3267 70 Good faith, I’ll prove him,
3268 Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
3269 Of my success.He exits.
COMINIUS 3270 He’ll never hear him.
SICINIUS 3271 Not?
3272 75 I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
3273 Red as ’twould burn Rome; and his injury
3274 The jailor to his pity. I kneeled before him;
3275 ’Twas very faintly he said “Rise”; dismissed me
3276 Thus with his speechless hand. What he would do
3277 80 He sent in writing after me; what he
3278 Would not, bound with an oath to yield to his
3279 Conditions. So that all hope is vain
3280 Unless his noble mother and his wife,
3281 Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
p. 2413282 85 For mercy to his country. Therefore let’s hence
3283 And with our fair entreaties haste them on.