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Coriolanus - Act 5, scene 6
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workCoriolanus - Act 5, scene 6
Act 5, scene 6
Aufidius and his fellow conspirators, on their return to Corioles, publicly assassinate Coriolanus.Enter Tullus Aufidius, with Attendants.
3711 Go tell the lords o’ th’ city I am here.
3712 Deliver them this paper.⌜(He gives them a paper.)⌝
3713 Having read it,
3714 Bid them repair to th’ marketplace, where I,
3715 5 Even in theirs and in the commons’ ears,
3716 Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
3717 The city ports by this hath entered and
3718 Intends t’ appear before the people, hoping
3719 To purge himself with words. Dispatch.
⌜The Attendants exit.⌝
Enter three or four Conspirators of Aufidius’s faction.
3720 10 Most welcome!
3721 How is it with our general?
AUFIDIUS 3722 Even so
3723 As with a man by his own alms empoisoned
3724 And with his charity slain.
SECOND CONSPIRATOR 3725 15 Most noble sir,
3726 If you do hold the same intent wherein
3727 You wished us parties, we’ll deliver you
3728 Of your great danger.
AUFIDIUS 3729 Sir, I cannot tell.
3730 20 We must proceed as we do find the people.
3731 The people will remain uncertain whilst
3732 ’Twixt you there’s difference, but the fall of either
3733 Makes the survivor heir of all.
AUFIDIUS 3734 I know it,
3735 25 And my pretext to strike at him admits
3736 A good construction. I raised him, and I pawned
3737 Mine honor for his truth, who, being so heightened,
p. 2713738 He watered his new plants with dews of flattery,
3739 Seducing so my friends; and to this end,
3740 30 He bowed his nature, never known before
3741 But to be rough, unswayable, and free.
THIRD CONSPIRATOR 3742 Sir, his stoutness
3743 When he did stand for consul, which he lost
3744 By lack of stooping—
AUFIDIUS 3745 35 That I would have spoke of.
3746 Being banished for ’t, he came unto my hearth,
3747 Presented to my knife his throat. I took him,
3748 Made him joint servant with me, gave him way
3749 In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
3750 40 Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
3751 My best and freshest men; served his designments
3752 In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
3753 Which he did end all his; and took some pride
3754 To do myself this wrong; till at the last
3755 45 I seemed his follower, not partner; and
3756 He waged me with his countenance as if
3757 I had been mercenary.
FIRST CONSPIRATOR 3758 So he did, my lord.
3759 The army marvelled at it, and, in the last,
3760 50 When he had carried Rome and that we looked
3761 For no less spoil than glory—
AUFIDIUS 3762 There was it
3763 For which my sinews shall be stretched upon him.
3764 At a few drops of women’s rheum, which are
3765 55 As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labor
3766 Of our great action. Therefore shall he die,
3767 And I’ll renew me in his fall. But hark!
Drums and trumpets sounds, with great shouts
of the people.
3768 Your native town you entered like a post
p. 2733769 And had no welcomes home, but he returns
3770 60 Splitting the air with noise.
SECOND CONSPIRATOR 3771 And patient fools,
3772 Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
3773 With giving him glory.
THIRD CONSPIRATOR 3774 Therefore at your vantage,
3775 65 Ere he express himself or move the people
3776 With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
3777 Which we will second. When he lies along,
3778 After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
3779 His reasons with his body.
AUFIDIUS 3780 70 Say no more.
Enter the Lords of the city.
3781 Here come the lords.
3782 You are most welcome home.
AUFIDIUS 3783 I have not deserved it.
3784 But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
3785 75 What I have written to you?
ALL ⌜LORDS⌝ 3786 We have.
FIRST LORD 3787 And grieve to hear ’t.
3788 What faults he made before the last, I think
3789 Might have found easy fines, but there to end
3790 80 Where he was to begin and give away
3791 The benefit of our levies, answering us
3792 With our own charge, making a treaty where
3793 There was a yielding—this admits no excuse.
Enter Coriolanus marching with Drum and Colors, the
Commoners being with him.
AUFIDIUS 3794 He approaches. You shall hear him.
3795 85 Hail, lords! I am returned your soldier,
3796 No more infected with my country’s love
p. 2753797 Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
3798 Under your great command. You are to know
3799 That prosperously I have attempted, and
3800 90 With bloody passage led your wars even to
3801 The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought
3803 Doth more than counterpoise a full third part
3804 The charges of the action. We have made peace
3805 95 With no less honor to the Antiates
3806 Than shame to th’ Romans, and we here deliver,
3807 Subscribed by’ th’ Consuls and patricians,
3808 Together with the seal o’ th’ Senate, what
3809 We have compounded on.
⌜He offers the lords a paper.⌝
AUFIDIUS 3810 100Read it not, noble lords,
3811 But tell the traitor in the highest degree
3812 He hath abused your powers.
CORIOLANUS 3813 “Traitor”? How now?
AUFIDIUS 3814 Ay, traitor, Martius.
CORIOLANUS 3815 105Martius?
3816 Ay, Martius, Caius Martius. Dost thou think
3817 I’ll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol’n name
3818 Coriolanus, in Corioles?
3819 You lords and heads o’ th’ state, perfidiously
3820 110 He has betrayed your business and given up
3821 For certain drops of salt your city Rome—
3822 I say your city—to his wife and mother,
3823 Breaking his oath and resolution like
3824 A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
3825 115 Counsel o’ th’ war, but at his nurse’s tears
3826 He whined and roared away your victory,
3827 That pages blushed at him and men of heart
3828 Looked wond’ring each at ⌜other.⌝
CORIOLANUS 3829 Hear’st thou, Mars?
p. 277AUFIDIUS 3830 120Name not the god, thou boy of tears.
CORIOLANUS 3831 Ha?
AUFIDIUS 3832 No more.
3833 Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
3834 Too great for what contains it. “Boy”? O slave!—
3835 125 Pardon me, lords, ’tis the first time that ever
3836 I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave
3838 Must give this cur the lie; and his own notion—
3839 Who wears my stripes impressed upon him, that
3840 130 Must bear my beating to his grave—shall join
3841 To thrust the lie unto him.
FIRST LORD 3842 Peace, both, and hear me speak.
3843 Cut me to pieces, Volsces. Men and lads,
3844 Stain all your edges on me. “Boy”? False hound!
3845 135 If you have writ your annals true, ’tis there
3846 That like an eagle in a dovecote, I
3847 ⌜Fluttered⌝ your Volscians in Corioles,
3848 Alone I did it. “Boy”!
AUFIDIUS 3849 Why, noble lords,
3850 140 Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
3851 Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
3852 ’Fore your own eyes and ears?
ALL CONSPIRATORS 3853 Let him die for ’t.
ALL PEOPLE 3854 Tear him to pieces! Do it presently! He
3855 145 killed my son! My daughter! He killed my cousin
3856 Marcus! He killed my father!
SECOND LORD 3857 Peace, ho! No outrage! Peace!
3858 The man is noble, and his fame folds in
3859 This orb o’ th’ Earth. His last offenses to us
3860 150 Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
3861 And trouble not the peace.
p. 279CORIOLANUS, ⌜drawing his sword⌝ 3862 O, that I had him,
3863 With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
3864 To use my lawful sword.
AUFIDIUS 3865 155 Insolent villain!
ALL CONSPIRATORS 3866 Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
Draw the Conspirators, and kills Martius, who falls.
Aufidius stands on him.
LORDS 3867 Hold, hold, hold, hold!
3868 My noble masters, hear me speak.
FIRST LORD 3869 O Tullus!
3870 160 Thou hast done a deed whereat valor will weep.
3871 Tread not upon him.—Masters, all be quiet.—
3872 Put up your swords.
3873 My lords, when you shall know—as in this rage,
3874 Provoked by him, you cannot—the great danger
3875 165 Which this man’s life did owe you, you’ll rejoice
3876 That he is thus cut off. Please it your Honors
3877 To call me to your senate, I’ll deliver
3878 Myself your loyal servant or endure
3879 Your heaviest censure.
FIRST LORD 3880 170 Bear from hence his body,
3881 And mourn you for him. Let him be regarded
3882 As the most noble corse that ever herald
3883 Did follow to his urn.
SECOND LORD 3884 His own impatience
3885 175 Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
3886 Let’s make the best of it.
AUFIDIUS 3887 My rage is gone,
3888 And I am struck with sorrow.—Take him up.
3889 Help, three o’ th’ chiefest soldiers; I’ll be one.—
3890 180 Beat thou the drum that it speak mournfully.—
p. 2813891 Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
3892 Hath widowed and unchilded many a one,
3893 Which to this hour bewail the injury,
3894 Yet he shall have a noble memory.
3895 185 Assist.
They exit bearing the body of Martius.
A dead march sounded.