Speeches (Lines) for Volumnia
in "Coriolanus"

Total: 57

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

I,3,363

(stage directions). [Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA. they set them down]
on two low stools, and sew]

Volumnia. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a
more comfortable sort: if my son were my husband, I
should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he
won honour than in the embracements of his bed where
he would show most love. When yet he was but
tender-bodied and the only son of my womb, when
youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when
for a day of kings' entreaties a mother should not
sell him an hour from her beholding, I, considering
how honour would become such a person. that it was
no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if
renown made it not stir, was pleased to let him seek
danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel
war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows
bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not
more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child
than now in first seeing he had proved himself a
man.


2

I,3,382

Virgilia. But had he died in the business, madam; how then?

Volumnia. Then his good report should have been my son; I
therein would have found issue. Hear me profess
sincerely: had I a dozen sons, each in my love
alike and none less dear than thine and my good
CORIOLANUS, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their
country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.


3

I,3,391

Virgilia. Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.

Volumnia. Indeed, you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum,
See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair,
As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him:
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
'Come on, you cowards! you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome:' his bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes,
Like to a harvest-man that's task'd to mow
Or all or lose his hire.


4

I,3,402

Virgilia. His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!

Volumnia. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man
Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.


5

I,3,410

Virgilia. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!

Volumnia. He'll beat Aufidius 'head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.


6

I,3,414

Valeria. My ladies both, good day to you.

Volumnia. Sweet madam.


7

I,3,420

Virgilia. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

Volumnia. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than
look upon his school-master.


8

I,3,432

Valeria. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear,'tis a
very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o'
Wednesday half an hour together: has such a
confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded
butterfly: and when he caught it, he let it go
again; and after it again; and over and over he
comes, and again; catched it again; or whether his
fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his
teeth and tear it; O, I warrant it, how he mammocked
it!

Volumnia. One on 's father's moods.


9

I,3,439

Valeria. Not out of doors!

Volumnia. She shall, she shall.


10

I,3,446

Virgilia. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with
my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

Volumnia. Why, I pray you?


11

I,3,469

Virgilia. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every
thing hereafter.

Volumnia. Let her alone, lady: as she is now, she will but
disease our better mirth.


12

II,1,1017

Menenius Agrippa. Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When
you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the
wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not
so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's
cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's pack-
saddle. Yet you must be saying, CORIOLANUS is proud;
who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors
since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the
best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to
your worships: more of your conversation would
infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly
plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.
[BRUTUS and SICINIUS go aside]
[Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and VALERIA]
How now, my as fair as noble ladies,—and the moon,
were she earthly, no nobler,—whither do you follow
your eyes so fast?

Volumnia. Honourable Menenius, my boy CORIOLANUS approaches; for
the love of Juno, let's go.


13

II,1,1020

Menenius Agrippa. Ha! CORIOLANUS coming home!

Volumnia. Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous
approbation.


14

II,1,1024

Menenius Agrippa. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
CORIOLANUS coming home!

Volumnia. [together with Virgilia] Nay, 'tis true.


15

II,1,1026

Virgilia. Nay, 'tis true.

Volumnia. Look, here's a letter from him: the state hath
another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one
at home for you.


16

II,1,1039

Virgilia. O, no, no, no.

Volumnia. O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for't.


17

II,1,1042

Menenius Agrippa. So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a'
victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.

Volumnia. On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
with the oaken garland.


18

II,1,1045

Menenius Agrippa. Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

Volumnia. Titus TITUS writes, they fought together, but
Aufidius got off.


19

II,1,1051

Menenius Agrippa. And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that:
an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so
fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold
that's in them. Is the senate possessed of this?

Volumnia. Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes; the senate
has letters from the general, wherein he gives my
son the whole name of the war: he hath in this
action outdone his former deeds doubly


20

II,1,1059

Virgilia. The gods grant them true!

Volumnia. True! pow, wow.


21

II,1,1065

Menenius Agrippa. True! I'll be sworn they are true.
Where is he wounded?
[To the Tribunes]
God save your good worships! CORIOLANUS is coming
home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?

Volumnia. I' the shoulder and i' the left arm there will be
large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall
stand for his place. He received in the repulse of
Tarquin seven hurts i' the body.


22

II,1,1071

Menenius Agrippa. One i' the neck, and two i' the thigh,—there's
nine that I know.

Volumnia. He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
wounds upon him.


23

II,1,1076

Menenius Agrippa. Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.
[A shout and flourish]
Hark! the trumpets.

Volumnia. These are the ushers of CORIOLANUS: before him he
carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
Death, that dark spirit, in 's nervy arm doth lie;
Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.
[A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the]
general, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them, CORIOLANUS,
crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and
Soldiers, and a Herald]


24

II,1,1098

(stage directions). [Kneels]

Volumnia. Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle CORIOLANUS, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly named,—
What is it?—Coriolanus must I call thee?—
But O, thy wife!


25

II,1,1112

Coriolanus. And live you yet?
[To VALERIA]
O my sweet lady, pardon.

Volumnia. I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
And welcome, general: and ye're welcome all.


26

II,1,1132

Coriolanus. [To VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA] Your hand, and yours:
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have received not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.

Volumnia. I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy: only
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.


27

III,2,2182

Coriolanus. I muse my mother
Does not approve me further, who was wont
To call them woollen vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood up
To speak of peace or war.
[Enter VOLUMNIA]
I talk of you:
Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am.

Volumnia. O, sir, sir, sir,
I would have had you put your power well on,
Before you had worn it out.


28

III,2,2186

Coriolanus. Let go.

Volumnia. You might have been enough the man you are,
With striving less to be so; lesser had been
The thwartings of your dispositions, if
You had not show'd them how ye were disposed
Ere they lack'd power to cross you.


29

III,2,2200

First Senator. There's no remedy;
Unless, by not so doing, our good city
Cleave in the midst, and perish.

Volumnia. Pray, be counsell'd:
I have a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
To better vantage.


30

III,2,2215

Coriolanus. For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
Must I then do't to them?

Volumnia. You are too absolute;
Though therein you can never be too noble,
But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,
Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends,
I' the war do grow together: grant that, and tell me,
In peace what each of them by the other lose,
That they combine not there.


31

III,2,2224

Menenius Agrippa. A good demand.

Volumnia. If it be honour in your wars to seem
The same you are not, which, for your best ends,
You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse,
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honour, as in war, since that to both
It stands in like request?


32

III,2,2231

Coriolanus. Why force you this?

Volumnia. Because that now it lies you on to speak
To the people; not by your own instruction,
Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but rooted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
Now, this no more dishonours you at all
Than to take in a town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so in honour: I am in this,
Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our general louts
How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,
For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
Of what that want might ruin.


33

III,2,2253

Menenius Agrippa. Noble lady!
Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
Of what is past.

Volumnia. I prithee now, my son,
Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having stretch'd it—here be with them—
Thy knee bussing the stones—for in such business
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant
More learned than the ears—waving thy head,
Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.


34

III,2,2272

Menenius Agrippa. This but done,
Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have pardons, being ask'd, as free
As words to little purpose.

Volumnia. Prithee now,
Go, and be ruled: although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius.


35

III,2,2283

Cominius. I think 'twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.

Volumnia. He must, and will
Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.


36

III,2,2294

Cominius. Come, come, we'll prompt you.

Volumnia. I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
To have my praise for this, perform a part
Thou hast not done before.


37

III,2,2312

Coriolanus. Well, I must do't:
Away, my disposition, and possess me
Some harlot's spirit! my throat of war be turn'd,
Which quired with my drum, into a pipe
Small as an eunuch, or the virgin voice
That babies lulls asleep! the smiles of knaves
Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up
The glasses of my sight! a beggar's tongue
Make motion through my lips, and my arm'd knees,
Who bow'd but in my stirrup, bend like his
That hath received an alms! I will not do't,
Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth
And by my body's action teach my mind
A most inherent baseness.

Volumnia. At thy choice, then:
To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
Than thou of them. Come all to ruin; let
Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list
Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me,
But owe thy pride thyself.


38

III,2,2328

Coriolanus. Pray, be content:
Mother, I am going to the market-place;
Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going:
Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul;
Or never trust to what my tongue can do
I' the way of flattery further.

Volumnia. Do your will.


39

IV,3,2535

Coriolanus. Nay! prithee, woman,—

Volumnia. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
And occupations perish!


40

IV,3,2557

Coriolanus. What, what, what!
I shall be loved when I am lack'd. Nay, mother.
Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
If you had been the wife of Hercules,
Six of his labours you'ld have done, and saved
Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,
Droop not; adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother:
I'll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,
Thy tears are salter than a younger man's,
And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime general,
I have seen thee stem, and thou hast oft beheld
Heart-hardening spectacles; tell these sad women
'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
As 'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
My hazards still have been your solace: and
Believe't not lightly—though I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen—your son
Will or exceed the common or be caught
With cautelous baits and practise.

Volumnia. My first son.
Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee awhile: determine on some course,
More than a wild exposture to each chance
That starts i' the way before thee.


41

IV,2,2605

(stage directions). [Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and MENENIUS]

Volumnia. O, ye're well met: the hoarded plague o' the gods
Requite your love!


42

IV,2,2608

Menenius Agrippa. Peace, peace; be not so loud.

Volumnia. If that I could for weeping, you should hear,—
Nay, and you shall hear some.
[To BRUTUS]
Will you be gone?


43

IV,2,2615

Sicinius Velutus. Are you mankind?

Volumnia. Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this fool.
Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
Than thou hast spoken words?


44

IV,2,2620

Sicinius Velutus. O blessed heavens!

Volumnia. More noble blows than ever thou wise words;
And for Rome's good. I'll tell thee what; yet go:
Nay, but thou shalt stay too: I would my son
Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
His good sword in his hand.


45

IV,2,2628

Virgilia. What then!
He'ld make an end of thy posterity.

Volumnia. Bastards and all.
Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!


46

IV,2,2635

Junius Brutus. I would he had.

Volumnia. 'I would he had'! 'Twas you incensed the rabble:
Cats, that can judge as fitly of his worth
As I can of those mysteries which heaven
Will not have earth to know.


47

IV,2,2640

Junius Brutus. Pray, let us go.

Volumnia. Now, pray, sir, get you gone:
You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:—
As far as doth the Capitol exceed
The meanest house in Rome, so far my son—
This lady's husband here, this, do you see—
Whom you have banish'd, does exceed you all.


48

IV,2,2649

Sicinius Velutus. Why stay we to be baited
With one that wants her wits?

Volumnia. Take my prayers with you.
[Exeunt Tribunes]
I would the gods had nothing else to do
But to confirm my curses! Could I meet 'em
But once a-day, it would unclog my heart
Of what lies heavy to't.


49

IV,2,2657

Menenius Agrippa. You have told them home;
And, by my troth, you have cause. You'll sup with me?

Volumnia. Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself,
And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let's go:
Leave this faint puling and lament as I do,
In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.


50

V,3,3550

Coriolanus. Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say
For that 'Forgive our Romans.' O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er since. You gods! I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i' the earth;
[Kneels]
Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.

Volumnia. O, stand up blest!
Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,
I kneel before thee; and unproperly
Show duty, as mistaken all this while
Between the child and parent.


51

V,3,3563

Coriolanus. What is this?
Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun;
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.

Volumnia. Thou art my warrior;
I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?


52

V,3,3569

Coriolanus. The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
That's curdied by the frost from purest snow
And hangs on Dian's temple: dear Valeria!

Volumnia. This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
May show like all yourself.


53

V,3,3578

Coriolanus. The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou mayst prove
To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye thee!

Volumnia. Your knee, sirrah.


54

V,3,3580

Coriolanus. That's my brave boy!

Volumnia. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.


55

V,3,3591

Coriolanus. I beseech you, peace:
Or, if you'ld ask, remember this before:
The thing I have forsworn to grant may never
Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics: tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural: desire not
To ally my rages and revenges with
Your colder reasons.

Volumnia. O, no more, no more!
You have said you will not grant us any thing;
For we have nothing else to ask, but that
Which you deny already: yet we will ask;
That, if you fail in our request, the blame
May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us.


56

V,3,3599

Coriolanus. Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for we'll
Hear nought from Rome in private. Your request?

Volumnia. Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment
And state of bodies would bewray what life
We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself
How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither: since that thy sight,
which should
Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance
with comforts,
Constrains them weep and shake with fear and sorrow;
Making the mother, wife and child to see
The son, the husband and the father tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we
Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy; for how can we,
Alas, how can we for our country pray.
Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound? alack, or we must lose
The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win: for either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led
With manacles thorough our streets, or else
triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
And bear the palm for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune till
These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to show a noble grace to both parts
Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country than to tread—
Trust to't, thou shalt not—on thy mother's womb,
That brought thee to this world.


57

V,3,3642

(stage directions). [Rising]

Volumnia. Nay, go not from us thus.
If it were so that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us,
As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit
Is that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
May say 'This mercy we have show'd;' the Romans,
'This we received;' and each in either side
Give the all-hail to thee and cry 'Be blest
For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great son,
The end of war's uncertain, but this certain,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name,
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses;
Whose chronicle thus writ: 'The man was noble,
But with his last attempt he wiped it out;
Destroy'd his country, and his name remains
To the ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me, son:
Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods;
To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you:
He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy:
Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons. There's no man in the world
More bound to 's mother; yet here he lets me prate
Like one i' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,
When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars and safely home,
Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust,
And spurn me back: but if it be not so,
Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,
That thou restrain'st from me the duty which
To a mother's part belongs. He turns away:
Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride
Than pity to our prayers. Down: an end;
This is the last: so we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold 's:
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have
But kneels and holds up bands for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny 't. Come, let us go:
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli and his child
Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch:
I am hush'd until our city be a-fire,
And then I'll speak a little.


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