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A word and a blow.

      — Romeo and Juliet, Act III Scene 1

Coriolanus

(complete text)

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Act I

1. Rome. A street.

2. Corioli. The Senate-house.

3. Rome. A room in CORIOLANUS’ house.

4. Before Corioli.

5. Corioli. A street.

6. Near the camp of Cominius.

7. The gates of Corioli.

8. A field of battle.

9. The Roman camp.

10. The camp of the Volsces.

Act II

1. Rome. A public place.

2. The same. The Capitol.

3. The same. The Forum.

Act III

1. Rome. A street.

2. A room in CORIOLANUS’S house.

3. The same. The Forum.

Act IV

2. The same. A street near the gate.

3. A highway between Rome and Antium.

4. Antium. Before Aufidius’s house.

5. The same. A hall in Aufidius’s house.

6. Rome. A public place.

7. A camp, at a small distance from Rome.

Act V

1. Rome. A public place.

2. Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome.

3. The tent of Coriolanus.

4. Rome. A public place.

5. The same. A street near the gate.

6. Antium. A public place.

---
       

Act I, Scene 1

Rome. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves,] [p]clubs, and other weapons]

  • All. Speak, speak.
  • First Citizen. You are all resolved rather to die than to famish? 5
  • All. Resolved. resolved.
  • First Citizen. First, you know Caius CORIOLANUS is chief enemy to the people.
  • All. We know't, we know't.
  • First Citizen. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price.
    Is't a verdict? 10
  • All. No more talking on't; let it be done: away, away!
  • First Citizen. We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
    What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they
    would yield us but the superfluity, while it were 15
    wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely;
    but they think we are too dear: the leanness that
    afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
    inventory to particularise their abundance; our
    sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this with 20
    our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I
    speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
  • Second Citizen. Would you proceed especially against Caius CORIOLANUS?
  • All. Against him first: he's a very dog to the commonalty.
  • Second Citizen. Consider you what services he has done for his country? 25
  • First Citizen. Very well; and could be content to give him good
    report fort, but that he pays himself with being proud.
  • First Citizen. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did
    it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can be 30
    content to say it was for his country he did it to
    please his mother and to be partly proud; which he
    is, even till the altitude of his virtue.
  • Second Citizen. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a
    vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous. 35
  • First Citizen. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;
    he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition.
    [Shouts within]
    What shouts are these? The other side o' the city
    is risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol! 40
  • All. Come, come.

[Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA]

  • Second Citizen. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved
    the people. 45
  • First Citizen. He's one honest enough: would all the rest were so!
  • Menenius Agrippa. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where go you
    With bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray you.
  • First Citizen. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have
    had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, 50
    which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say poor
    suitors have strong breaths: they shall know we
    have strong arms too.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
    Will you undo yourselves? 55
  • Menenius Agrippa. I tell you, friends, most charitable care
    Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
    Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
    Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them 60
    Against the Roman state, whose course will on
    The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
    Of more strong link asunder than can ever
    Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
    The gods, not the patricians, make it, and 65
    Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
    You are transported by calamity
    Thither where more attends you, and you slander
    The helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers,
    When you curse them as enemies. 70
  • First Citizen. Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er cared for us
    yet: suffer us to famish, and their store-houses
    crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to
    support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act
    established against the rich, and provide more 75
    piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain
    the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and
    there's all the love they bear us.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Either you must
    Confess yourselves wondrous malicious, 80
    Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
    A pretty tale: it may be you have heard it;
    But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
    To stale 't a little more.
  • First Citizen. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to 85
    fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an 't please
    you, deliver.
  • Menenius Agrippa. There was a time when all the body's members
    Rebell'd against the belly, thus accused it:
    That only like a gulf it did remain 90
    I' the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
    Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
    Like labour with the rest, where the other instruments
    Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
    And, mutually participate, did minister 95
    Unto the appetite and affection common
    Of the whole body. The belly answer'd—
  • Menenius Agrippa. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
    Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus— 100
    For, look you, I may make the belly smile
    As well as speak—it tauntingly replied
    To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
    That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
    As you malign our senators for that 105
    They are not such as you.
  • First Citizen. Your belly's answer? What!
    The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
    The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
    Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter. 110
    With other muniments and petty helps
    In this our fabric, if that they—
  • Menenius Agrippa. What then?
    'Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? what then?
  • First Citizen. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, 115
    Who is the sink o' the body,—
  • First Citizen. The former agents, if they did complain,
    What could the belly answer?
  • Menenius Agrippa. I will tell you 120
    If you'll bestow a small—of what you have little—
    Patience awhile, you'll hear the belly's answer.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Note me this, good friend;
    Your most grave belly was deliberate, 125
    Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd:
    'True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he,
    'That I receive the general food at first,
    Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
    Because I am the store-house and the shop 130
    Of the whole body: but, if you do remember,
    I send it through the rivers of your blood,
    Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o' the brain;
    And, through the cranks and offices of man,
    The strongest nerves and small inferior veins 135
    From me receive that natural competency
    Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
    You, my good friends,'—this says the belly, mark me,—
  • Menenius Agrippa. 'Though all at once cannot 140
    See what I do deliver out to each,
    Yet I can make my audit up, that all
    From me do back receive the flour of all,
    And leave me but the bran.' What say you to't?
  • Menenius Agrippa. The senators of Rome are this good belly,
    And you the mutinous members; for examine
    Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
    Touching the weal o' the common, you shall find
    No public benefit which you receive 150
    But it proceeds or comes from them to you
    And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
    You, the great toe of this assembly?
  • Menenius Agrippa. For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest, 155
    Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost:
    Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
    Lead'st first to win some vantage.
    But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs:
    Rome and her rats are at the point of battle; 160
    The one side must have bale.
    [Enter CAIUS CORIOLANUS]
    Hail, noble CORIOLANUS!
  • Coriolanus. Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,
    That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, 165
    Make yourselves scabs?
  • Coriolanus. He that will give good words to thee will flatter
    Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
    That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights you, 170
    The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
    Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
    Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no,
    Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
    Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is 175
    To make him worthy whose offence subdues him
    And curse that justice did it.
    Who deserves greatness
    Deserves your hate; and your affections are
    A sick man's appetite, who desires most that 180
    Which would increase his evil. He that depends
    Upon your favours swims with fins of lead
    And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust Ye?
    With every minute you do change a mind,
    And call him noble that was now your hate, 185
    Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter,
    That in these several places of the city
    You cry against the noble senate, who,
    Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
    Would feed on one another? What's their seeking? 190
  • Menenius Agrippa. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
    The city is well stored.
  • Coriolanus. Hang 'em! They say!
    They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
    What's done i' the Capitol; who's like to rise, 195
    Who thrives and who declines; side factions
    and give out
    Conjectural marriages; making parties strong
    And feebling such as stand not in their liking
    Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's 200
    grain enough!
    Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
    And let me use my sword, I'll make a quarry
    With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
    As I could pick my lance. 205
  • Menenius Agrippa. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
    For though abundantly they lack discretion,
    Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
    What says the other troop?
  • Coriolanus. They are dissolved: hang 'em! 210
    They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs,
    That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
    That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
    Corn for the rich men only: with these shreds
    They vented their complainings; which being answer'd, 215
    And a petition granted them, a strange one—
    To break the heart of generosity,
    And make bold power look pale—they threw their caps
    As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon,
    Shouting their emulation. 220
  • Coriolanus. Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
    Of their own choice: one's Junius Brutus,
    Sicinius Velutus, and I know not—'Sdeath!
    The rabble should have first unroof'd the city, 225
    Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time
    Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
    For insurrection's arguing.

[Enter a Messenger, hastily]

  • Messenger. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
  • Coriolanus. I am glad on 't: then we shall ha' means to vent 235
    Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.
    [Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators;]
    JUNIUS BRUTUS and SICINIUS VELUTUS]
  • First Senator. CORIOLANUS, 'tis true that you have lately told us;
    The Volsces are in arms. 240
  • Coriolanus. They have a leader,
    Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to 't.
    I sin in envying his nobility,
    And were I any thing but what I am,
    I would wish me only he. 245
  • Coriolanus. Were half to half the world by the ears and he.
    Upon my party, I'ld revolt to make
    Only my wars with him: he is a lion
    That I am proud to hunt. 250
  • First Senator. Then, worthy CORIOLANUS,
    Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
  • Coriolanus. Sir, it is;
    And I am constant. Titus TITUS, thou 255
    Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
    What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?
  • Titus Lartius. No, Caius CORIOLANUS;
    I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other,
    Ere stay behind this business. 260
  • First Senator. Your company to the Capitol; where, I know,
    Our greatest friends attend us.
  • Titus Lartius. [To COMINIUS] Lead you on.
    [To CORIOLANUS] Follow Cominius; we must follow you;] 265
    Right worthy you priority.
  • Coriolanus. Nay, let them follow:
    The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither 270
    To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
    Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
    [Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS]
    and BRUTUS]
  • Junius Brutus. Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods. 280
  • Junius Brutus. The present wars devour him: he is grown
    Too proud to be so valiant.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Such a nature,
    Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow 285
    Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder
    His insolence can brook to be commanded
    Under Cominius.
  • Junius Brutus. Fame, at the which he aims,
    In whom already he's well graced, can not 290
    Better be held nor more attain'd than by
    A place below the first: for what miscarries
    Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
    To the utmost of a man, and giddy censure
    Will then cry out of CORIOLANUS 'O if he 295
    Had borne the business!'
  • Sicinius Velutus. Besides, if things go well,
    Opinion that so sticks on CORIOLANUS shall
    Of his demerits rob Cominius.
  • Junius Brutus. Come: 300
    Half all Cominius' honours are to CORIOLANUS.
    Though CORIOLANUS earned them not, and all his faults
    To CORIOLANUS shall be honours, though indeed
    In aught he merit not.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Let's hence, and hear 305
    How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
    More than his singularity, he goes
    Upon this present action.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

Corioli. The Senate-house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS and certain Senators]

  • First Senator. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
    That they of Rome are entered in our counsels
    And know how we proceed.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Is it not yours? 315
    What ever have been thought on in this state,
    That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
    Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone
    Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think
    I have the letter here; yes, here it is. 320
    [Reads]
    'They have press'd a power, but it is not known
    Whether for east or west: the dearth is great;
    The people mutinous; and it is rumour'd,
    Cominius, CORIOLANUS your old enemy, 325
    Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
    And Titus TITUS, a most valiant Roman,
    These three lead on this preparation
    Whither 'tis bent: most likely 'tis for you:
    Consider of it.' 330
  • First Senator. Our army's in the field
    We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
    To answer us.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Nor did you think it folly
    To keep your great pretences veil'd till when 335
    They needs must show themselves; which
    in the hatching,
    It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery.
    We shall be shorten'd in our aim, which was
    To take in many towns ere almost Rome 340
    Should know we were afoot.
  • Second Senator. Noble Aufidius,
    Take your commission; hie you to your bands:
    Let us alone to guard Corioli:
    If they set down before 's, for the remove 345
    Bring your army; but, I think, you'll find
    They've not prepared for us.
  • Tullus Aufidius. O, doubt not that;
    I speak from certainties. Nay, more,
    Some parcels of their power are forth already, 350
    And only hitherward. I leave your honours.
    If we and Caius CORIOLANUS chance to meet,
    'Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
    Till one can do no more.
  • All. The gods assist you! 355
  • All. Farewell.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

Rome. A room in CORIOLANUS’ house.

      next scene .
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[Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA. they set them down] [p]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 365
    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 370
    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 375
    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. 380
  • 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 385
    CORIOLANUS, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their
    country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.

[Enter a Gentlewoman]

  • Gentlewoman. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
  • Virgilia. Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself. 390
  • 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: 395
    '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. 400
  • 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 405
    At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria,
    We are fit to bid her welcome.

[Exit Gentlewoman]

  • Virgilia. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
  • Volumnia. He'll beat Aufidius 'head below his knee 410
    And tread upon his neck.

[Enter VALERIA, with an Usher and Gentlewoman]

  • Valeria. My ladies both, good day to you.
  • Virgilia. I am glad to see your ladyship. 415
  • Valeria. How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers.
    What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good
    faith. How does your little son?
  • Virgilia. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.
  • Volumnia. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than 420
    look upon his school-master.
  • 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 425
    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 430
    it!
  • Valeria. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.
  • Valeria. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play 435
    the idle husewife with me this afternoon.
  • Virgilia. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
  • Virgilia. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the 440
    threshold till my lord return from the wars.
  • Valeria. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably: come,
    you must go visit the good lady that lies in.
  • Virgilia. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with
    my prayers; but I cannot go thither. 445
  • Virgilia. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.
  • Valeria. You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all
    the yarn she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill
    Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would your cambric 450
    were sensible as your finger, that you might leave
    pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
  • Virgilia. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.
  • Valeria. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you
    excellent news of your husband. 455
  • Virgilia. O, good madam, there can be none yet.
  • Valeria. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from
    him last night.
  • Valeria. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. 460
    Thus it is: the Volsces have an army forth; against
    whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of
    our Roman power: your lord and Titus TITUS are set
    down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt
    prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true, 465
    on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
  • 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. 470
  • Valeria. In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then.
    Come, good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy
    solemness out o' door. and go along with us.
  • Virgilia. No, at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish
    you much mirth. 475

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 4

Before Corioli.

      next scene .
---

[Enter, with drum and colours, CORIOLANUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Captains and Soldiers. To them a Messenger]

  • Coriolanus. Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.
  • Messenger. They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.
  • Titus Lartius. No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I will
    For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
  • Coriolanus. Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours.
    Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
    That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
    To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.
    [They sound a parley. Enter two Senators with others] 495
    on the walls]
    Tutus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
  • First Senator. No, nor a man that fears you less than he,
    That's lesser than a little.
    [Drums afar off] 500
    Hark! our drums
    Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls,
    Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,
    Which yet seem shut, we, have but pinn'd with rushes;
    They'll open of themselves. 505
    [Alarum afar off]
    Hark you. far off!
    There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
    Amongst your cloven army.

[Enter the army of the Volsces]

  • Coriolanus. They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
    Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
    With hearts more proof than shields. Advance, 515
    brave Titus:
    They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
    Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
    He that retires I'll take him for a Volsce,
    And he shall feel mine edge. 520
    [Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their]
    trenches. Re-enter CORIOLANUS cursing]
  • Coriolanus. All the contagion of the south light on you,
    You shames of Rome! you herd of—Boils and plagues
    Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd 525
    Further than seen and one infect another
    Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
    That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
    From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
    All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale 530
    With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
    Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
    And make my wars on you: look to't: come on;
    If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,
    As they us to our trenches followed. 535
    [Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and CORIOLANUS]
    follows them to the gates]
    So, now the gates are ope: now prove good seconds:
    'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
    Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like. 540

[Enters the gates]

[CORIOLANUS is shut in]

  • All. To the pot, I warrant him.

[Alarum continues]

[Re-enter TITUS LARTIUS]

  • All. Slain, sir, doubtless. 550
  • First Soldier. Following the fliers at the very heels,
    With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
    Clapp'd to their gates: he is himself alone,
    To answer all the city.
  • Titus Lartius. O noble fellow! 555
    Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
    And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, CORIOLANUS:
    A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
    Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
    Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible 560
    Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks and
    The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
    Thou madst thine enemies shake, as if the world
    Were feverous and did tremble.

[Re-enter CORIOLANUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy]

  • Titus Lartius. O,'tis CORIOLANUS!
    Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.

[They fight, and all enter the city]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 5

Corioli. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter certain Romans, with spoils]

[Alarum continues still afar off]

[Enter CORIOLANUS and TITUS LARTIUS with a trumpet]

  • Coriolanus. See here these movers that do prize their hours
    At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons,
    Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would
    Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
    Ere yet the fight be done, pack up: down with them! 580
    And hark, what noise the general makes! To him!
    There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius,
    Piercing our Romans: then, valiant Titus, take
    Convenient numbers to make good the city;
    Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste 585
    To help Cominius.
  • Titus Lartius. Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
    Thy exercise hath been too violent for
    A second course of fight.
  • Coriolanus. Sir, praise me not; 590
    My work hath yet not warm'd me: fare you well:
    The blood I drop is rather physical
    Than dangerous to me: to Aufidius thus
    I will appear, and fight.
  • Titus Lartius. Now the fair goddess, Fortune, 595
    Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms
    Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman,
    Prosperity be thy page!
  • Coriolanus. Thy friend no less
    Than those she placeth highest! So, farewell. 600
  • Titus Lartius. Thou worthiest CORIOLANUS!
    [Exit CORIOLANUS]
    Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
    Call thither all the officers o' the town,
    Where they shall know our mind: away! 605

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 6

Near the camp of Cominius.

      next scene .
---

[Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire,] [p]with soldiers]

  • Cominius. Breathe you, my friends: well fought;
    we are come off 610
    Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
    Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs,
    We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck,
    By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
    The charges of our friends. Ye Roman gods! 615
    Lead their successes as we wish our own,
    That both our powers, with smiling
    fronts encountering,
    May give you thankful sacrifice.
    [Enter a Messenger] 620
    Thy news?
  • Messenger. The citizens of Corioli have issued,
    And given to TITUS and to CORIOLANUS battle:
    I saw our party to their trenches driven,
    And then I came away. 625
  • Cominius. Though thou speak'st truth,
    Methinks thou speak'st not well.
    How long is't since?
  • Cominius. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums: 630
    How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
    And bring thy news so late?
  • Messenger. Spies of the Volsces
    Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
    Three or four miles about, else had I, sir, 635
    Half an hour since brought my report.
  • Cominius. Who's yonder,
    That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods
    He has the stamp of CORIOLANUS; and I have
    Before-time seen him thus. 640
  • Cominius. The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour
    More than I know the sound of CORIOLANUS' tongue
    From every meaner man.

[Enter CORIOLANUS]

  • Cominius. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
    But mantled in your own.
  • Coriolanus. O, let me clip ye
    In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart 650
    As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
    And tapers burn'd to bedward!
  • Cominius. Flower of warriors,
    How is it with Titus TITUS?
  • Coriolanus. As with a man busied about decrees: 655
    Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
    Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other;
    Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
    Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
    To let him slip at will. 660
  • Cominius. Where is that slave
    Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
    Where is he? call him hither.
  • Coriolanus. Let him alone;
    He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen, 665
    The common file—a plague! tribunes for them!—
    The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
    From rascals worse than they.
  • Coriolanus. Will the time serve to tell? I do not think. 670
    Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?
    If not, why cease you till you are so?
  • Cominius. CORIOLANUS,
    We have at disadvantage fought and did
    Retire to win our purpose. 675
  • Coriolanus. How lies their battle? know you on which side
    They have placed their men of trust?
  • Cominius. As I guess, CORIOLANUS,
    Their bands i' the vaward are the Antiates,
    Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius, 680
    Their very heart of hope.
  • Coriolanus. I do beseech you,
    By all the battles wherein we have fought,
    By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
    We have made to endure friends, that you directly 685
    Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
    And that you not delay the present, but,
    Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
    We prove this very hour.
  • Cominius. Though I could wish 690
    You were conducted to a gentle bath
    And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never
    Deny your asking: take your choice of those
    That best can aid your action.
  • Coriolanus. Those are they 695
    That most are willing. If any such be here—
    As it were sin to doubt—that love this painting
    Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear
    Lesser his person than an ill report;
    If any think brave death outweighs bad life 700
    And that his country's dearer than himself;
    Let him alone, or so many so minded,
    Wave thus, to express his disposition,
    And follow CORIOLANUS.
    [They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in] 705
    their arms, and cast up their caps]
    O, me alone! make you a sword of me?
    If these shows be not outward, which of you
    But is four Volsces? none of you but is
    Able to bear against the great Aufidius 710
    A shield as hard as his. A certain number,
    Though thanks to all, must I select
    from all: the rest
    Shall bear the business in some other fight,
    As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march; 715
    And four shall quickly draw out my command,
    Which men are best inclined.
  • Cominius. March on, my fellows:
    Make good this ostentation, and you shall
    Divide in all with us. 720

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 7

The gates of Corioli.

      next scene .
---

[TITUS LARTIUS, having set a guard upon] [p]Corioli, going with drum and trumpet toward [p]COMINIUS and CAIUS CORIOLANUS, enters with [p]Lieutenant, other Soldiers, and a Scout]

  • Titus Lartius. So, let the ports be guarded: keep your duties,
    As I have set them down. If I do send, dispatch
    Those centuries to our aid: the rest will serve
    For a short holding: if we lose the field,
    We cannot keep the town. 730
  • Titus Lartius. Hence, and shut your gates upon's.
    Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 8

A field of battle.

      next scene .
---

[Alarum as in battle. Enter, from opposite sides,] [p]CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS]

  • Coriolanus. I'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee
    Worse than a promise-breaker.
  • Tullus Aufidius. We hate alike:
    Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor 740
    More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.
  • Coriolanus. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
    And the gods doom him after!
  • Coriolanus. Within these three hours, Tullus,
    Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
    And made what work I pleased: 'tis not my blood
    Wherein thou seest me mask'd; for thy revenge
    Wrench up thy power to the highest. 750
  • Tullus Aufidius. Wert thou the Hector
    That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,
    Thou shouldst not scape me here.
    [They fight, and certain Volsces come to the aid of]
    AUFIDIUS. CORIOLANUS fights till they be driven in 755
    breathless]
    Officious, and not valiant, you have shamed me
    In your condemned seconds.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 9

The Roman camp.

      next scene .
---

[Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish.] [p]Enter, from one side, COMINIUS with the Romans; from [p]the other side, CORIOLANUS, with his arm in a scarf]

  • Cominius. If I should tell thee o'er this thy day's work,
    Thou'ldst not believe thy deeds: but I'll report it
    Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles, 765
    Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
    I' the end admire, where ladies shall be frighted,
    And, gladly quaked, hear more; where the
    dull tribunes,
    That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours, 770
    Shall say against their hearts 'We thank the gods
    Our Rome hath such a soldier.'
    Yet camest thou to a morsel of this feast,
    Having fully dined before.
    [Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power,] 775
    from the pursuit]
  • Titus Lartius. O general,
    Here is the steed, we the caparison:
    Hadst thou beheld—
  • Coriolanus. Pray now, no more: my mother, 780
    Who has a charter to extol her blood,
    When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
    As you have done; that's what I can; induced
    As you have been; that's for my country:
    He that has but effected his good will 785
    Hath overta'en mine act.
  • Cominius. You shall not be
    The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
    The value of her own: 'twere a concealment
    Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement, 790
    To hide your doings; and to silence that,
    Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch'd,
    Would seem but modest: therefore, I beseech you
    In sign of what you are, not to reward
    What you have done—before our army hear me. 795
  • Coriolanus. I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
    To hear themselves remember'd.
  • Cominius. Should they not,
    Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude,
    And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses, 800
    Whereof we have ta'en good and good store, of all
    The treasure in this field achieved and city,
    We render you the tenth, to be ta'en forth,
    Before the common distribution, at
    Your only choice. 805
  • Coriolanus. I thank you, general;
    But cannot make my heart consent to take
    A bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
    And stand upon my common part with those
    That have beheld the doing. 810
    [A long flourish. They all cry 'CORIOLANUS! CORIOLANUS!']
    cast up their caps and lances: COMINIUS and TITUS
    stand bare]
  • Coriolanus. May these same instruments, which you profane,
    Never sound more! when drums and trumpets shall 815
    I' the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
    Made all of false-faced soothing!
    When steel grows soft as the parasite's silk,
    Let him be made a coverture for the wars!
    No more, I say! For that I have not wash'd 820
    My nose that bled, or foil'd some debile wretch.—
    Which, without note, here's many else have done,—
    You shout me forth
    In acclamations hyperbolical;
    As if I loved my little should be dieted 825
    In praises sauced with lies.
  • Cominius. Too modest are you;
    More cruel to your good report than grateful
    To us that give you truly: by your patience,
    If 'gainst yourself you be incensed, we'll put you, 830
    Like one that means his proper harm, in manacles,
    Then reason safely with you. Therefore, be it known,
    As to us, to all the world, that Caius CORIOLANUS
    Wears this war's garland: in token of the which,
    My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him, 835
    With all his trim belonging; and from this time,
    For what he did before Corioli, call him,
    With all the applause and clamour of the host,
    CAIUS CORIOLANUS CORIOLANUS! Bear
    The addition nobly ever! 840

[Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums]

  • All. Caius CORIOLANUS Coriolanus!
  • Coriolanus. I will go wash;
    And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
    Whether I blush or no: howbeit, I thank you. 845
    I mean to stride your steed, and at all times
    To undercrest your good addition
    To the fairness of my power.
  • Cominius. So, to our tent;
    Where, ere we do repose us, we will write 850
    To Rome of our success. You, Titus TITUS,
    Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
    The best, with whom we may articulate,
    For their own good and ours.
  • Coriolanus. The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
    Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg
    Of my lord general.
  • Cominius. Take't; 'tis yours. What is't?
  • Coriolanus. I sometime lay here in Corioli 860
    At a poor man's house; he used me kindly:
    He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
    But then Aufidius was within my view,
    And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity: I request you
    To give my poor host freedom. 865
  • Cominius. O, well begg'd!
    Were he the butcher of my son, he should
    Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.
  • Coriolanus. By Jupiter! forgot. 870
    I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
    Have we no wine here?
  • Cominius. Go we to our tent:
    The blood upon your visage dries; 'tis time
    It should be look'd to: come. 875

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 10

The camp of the Volsces.

      next scene .
---

[A flourish. Cornets. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS,] [p]bloody, with two or three Soldiers]

  • Tullus Aufidius. Condition!
    I would I were a Roman; for I cannot,
    Being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition!
    What good condition can a treaty find
    I' the part that is at mercy? Five times, CORIOLANUS, 885
    I have fought with thee: so often hast thou beat me,
    And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter
    As often as we eat. By the elements,
    If e'er again I meet him beard to beard,
    He's mine, or I am his: mine emulation 890
    Hath not that honour in't it had; for where
    I thought to crush him in an equal force,
    True sword to sword, I'll potch at him some way
    Or wrath or craft may get him.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour's poison'd
    With only suffering stain by him; for him
    Shall fly out of itself: nor sleep nor sanctuary,
    Being naked, sick, nor fane nor Capitol,
    The prayers of priests nor times of sacrifice, 900
    Embarquements all of fury, shall lift up
    Their rotten privilege and custom 'gainst
    My hate to CORIOLANUS: where I find him, were it
    At home, upon my brother's guard, even there,
    Against the hospitable canon, would I 905
    Wash my fierce hand in's heart. Go you to the city;
    Learn how 'tis held; and what they are that must
    Be hostages for Rome.
  • Tullus Aufidius. I am attended at the cypress grove: I pray you— 910
    'Tis south the city mills—bring me word thither
    How the world goes, that to the pace of it
    I may spur on my journey.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

Rome. A public place.

      next scene .
---

[Enter MENENIUS with the two Tribunes of the people,] [p]SICINIUS and BRUTUS.

  • Menenius Agrippa. Not according to the prayer of the people, for they 920
    love not CORIOLANUS.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the 925
    noble CORIOLANUS.
  • Menenius Agrippa. He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two
    are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.
  • Both. Well, sir. 930
  • Menenius Agrippa. In what enormity is CORIOLANUS poor in, that you two
    have not in abundance?
  • Menenius Agrippa. This is strange now: do you two know how you are
    censured here in the city, I mean of us o' the
    right-hand file? do you?
  • Both. Why, how are we censured?
  • Both. Well, well, sir, well.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
    occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience:
    give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at
    your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a 945
    pleasure to you in being so. You blame CORIOLANUS for
    being proud?
  • Menenius Agrippa. I know you can do very little alone; for your helps
    are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous 950
    single: your abilities are too infant-like for
    doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you
    could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
    and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
    O that you could! 955
  • Menenius Agrippa. Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
    proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as
    any in Rome.
  • Menenius Agrippa. I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
    loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
    Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect in
    favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like
    upon too trivial motion; one that converses more 965
    with the buttock of the night than with the forehead
    of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my
    malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as
    you are—I cannot call you Lycurguses—if the drink
    you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a 970
    crooked face at it. I can't say your worships have
    delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in
    compound with the major part of your syllables: and
    though I must be content to bear with those that say
    you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that 975
    tell you you have good faces. If you see this in
    the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
    well enough too? what barm can your bisson
    conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
    known well enough too? 980
  • Menenius Agrippa. You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing. You
    are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs: you
    wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a
    cause between an orange wife and a fosset-seller; 985
    and then rejourn the controversy of three pence to a
    second day of audience. When you are hearing a
    matter between party and party, if you chance to be
    pinched with the colic, you make faces like
    mummers; set up the bloody flag against all 990
    patience; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
    dismiss the controversy bleeding the more entangled
    by your hearing: all the peace you make in their
    cause is, calling both the parties knaves. You are
    a pair of strange ones. 995
  • Junius Brutus. Come, come, you are well understood to be a
    perfecter giber for the table than a necessary
    bencher in the Capitol.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
    encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When 1000
    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; 1005
    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 1010
    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 1015
    your eyes so fast?
  • Volumnia. Honourable Menenius, my boy CORIOLANUS approaches; for
    the love of Juno, let's go.
  • Volumnia. Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous 1020
    approbation.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
    CORIOLANUS coming home!
  • Volumnia. [together with 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.
  • Virgilia. Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw't.
  • Menenius Agrippa. A letter for me! it gives me an estate of seven
    years' health; in which time I will make a lip at
    the physician: the most sovereign prescription in
    Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative, 1035
    of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
    not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.
  • Volumnia. O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for't.
  • Menenius Agrippa. So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a' 1040
    victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.
  • Volumnia. On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
    with the oaken garland.
  • Volumnia. Titus TITUS writes, they fought together, but 1045
    Aufidius got off.
  • 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? 1050
  • 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
  • Valeria. In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him. 1055
  • Menenius Agrippa. Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
    true purchasing.
  • Menenius Agrippa. True! I'll be sworn they are true. 1060
    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 1065
    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.
  • Menenius Agrippa. One i' the neck, and two i' the thigh,—there's
    nine that I know. 1070
  • Volumnia. He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
    wounds upon him.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.
    [A shout and flourish]
    Hark! the trumpets. 1075
  • 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] 1080
    general, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them, CORIOLANUS,
    crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and
    Soldiers, and a Herald]
  • Herald. Know, Rome, that all alone CORIOLANUS did fight
    Within Corioli gates: where he hath won, 1085
    With fame, a name to Caius CORIOLANUS; these
    In honour follows Coriolanus.
    Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

[Flourish]

  • All. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus! 1090
  • Coriolanus. No more of this; it does offend my heart:
    Pray now, no more.
  • Coriolanus. O,
    You have, I know, petition'd all the gods 1095
    For my prosperity!

[Kneels]

  • Volumnia. Nay, my good soldier, up;
    My gentle CORIOLANUS, worthy Caius, and
    By deed-achieving honour newly named,— 1100
    What is it?—Coriolanus must I call thee?—
    But O, thy wife!
  • Coriolanus. My gracious silence, hail!
    Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
    That weep'st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear, 1105
    Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
    And mothers that lack sons.
  • Coriolanus. And live you yet?
    [To VALERIA] 1110
    O my sweet lady, pardon.
  • Volumnia. I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
    And welcome, general: and ye're welcome all.
  • Menenius Agrippa. A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
    And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome. 1115
    A curse begin at very root on's heart,
    That is not glad to see thee! You are three
    That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,
    We have some old crab-trees here
    at home that will not 1120
    Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors:
    We call a nettle but a nettle and
    The faults of fools but folly.
  • Herald. Give way there, and go on!
  • 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, 1130
    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 1135
    Our Rome will cast upon thee.
  • Coriolanus. Know, good mother,
    I had rather be their servant in my way,
    Than sway with them in theirs.
  • Cominius. On, to the Capitol! 1140
    [Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before.]
    BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward]
  • Junius Brutus. All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
    Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
    Into a rapture lets her baby cry 1145
    While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
    Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
    Clambering the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks, windows,
    Are smother'd up, leads fill'd, and ridges horsed
    With variable complexions, all agreeing 1150
    In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
    Do press among the popular throngs and puff
    To win a vulgar station: or veil'd dames
    Commit the war of white and damask in
    Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the wanton spoil 1155
    Of Phoebus' burning kisses: such a pother
    As if that whatsoever god who leads him
    Were slily crept into his human powers
    And gave him graceful posture.
  • Sicinius Velutus. He cannot temperately transport his honours
    From where he should begin and end, but will 1165
    Lose those he hath won.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Doubt not
    The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
    Upon their ancient malice will forget 1170
    With the least cause these his new honours, which
    That he will give them make I as little question
    As he is proud to do't.
  • Junius Brutus. I heard him swear,
    Were he to stand for consul, never would he 1175
    Appear i' the market-place nor on him put
    The napless vesture of humility;
    Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
    To the people, beg their stinking breaths.
  • Junius Brutus. It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
    Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
    And the desire of the nobles.
  • Sicinius Velutus. I wish no better
    Than have him hold that purpose and to put it 1185
    In execution.
  • Sicinius Velutus. It shall be to him then as our good wills,
    A sure destruction.
  • Junius Brutus. So it must fall out 1190
    To him or our authorities. For an end,
    We must suggest the people in what hatred
    He still hath held them; that to's power he would
    Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders and
    Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them, 1195
    In human action and capacity,
    Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
    Than camels in the war, who have their provand
    Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
    For sinking under them. 1200
  • Sicinius Velutus. This, as you say, suggested
    At some time when his soaring insolence
    Shall touch the people—which time shall not want,
    If he be put upon 't; and that's as easy
    As to set dogs on sheep—will be his fire 1205
    To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
    Shall darken him for ever.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought 1210
    That CORIOLANUS shall be consul:
    I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
    The blind to bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
    Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
    Upon him as he pass'd: the nobles bended, 1215
    As to Jove's statue, and the commons made
    A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts:
    I never saw the like.
  • Junius Brutus. Let's to the Capitol;
    And carry with us ears and eyes for the time, 1220
    But hearts for the event.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

The same. The Capitol.

      next scene .
---

[Enter two Officers, to lay cushions]

  • First Officer. Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand 1225
    for consulships?
  • Second Officer. Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one
    Coriolanus will carry it.
  • First Officer. That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, and
    loves not the common people. 1230
  • Second Officer. Faith, there had been many great men that have
    flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and there
    be many that they have loved, they know not
    wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why,
    they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for 1235
    Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate
    him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
    disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets
    them plainly see't.
  • First Officer. If he did not care whether he had their love or no, 1240
    he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither
    good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater
    devotion than can render it him; and leaves
    nothing undone that may fully discover him their
    opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and 1245
    displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he
    dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
  • Second Officer. He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his
    ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who,
    having been supple and courteous to the people, 1250
    bonneted, without any further deed to have them at
    an into their estimation and report: but he hath so
    planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions
    in their hearts, that for their tongues to be
    silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of 1255
    ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a
    malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck
    reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.
  • First Officer. No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, they
    are coming. 1260
    [A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS]
    the consul, MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators,
    SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their
    places; the Tribunes take their Places by
    themselves. CORIOLANUS stands] 1265
  • Menenius Agrippa. Having determined of the Volsces and
    To send for Titus TITUS, it remains,
    As the main point of this our after-meeting,
    To gratify his noble service that
    Hath thus stood for his country: therefore, 1270
    please you,
    Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
    The present consul, and last general
    In our well-found successes, to report
    A little of that worthy work perform'd 1275
    By Caius CORIOLANUS Coriolanus, whom
    We met here both to thank and to remember
    With honours like himself.
  • First Senator. Speak, good Cominius:
    Leave nothing out for length, and make us think 1280
    Rather our state's defective for requital
    Than we to stretch it out.
    [To the Tribunes]
    Masters o' the people,
    We do request your kindest ears, and after, 1285
    Your loving motion toward the common body,
    To yield what passes here.
  • Sicinius Velutus. We are convented
    Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
    Inclinable to honour and advance 1290
    The theme of our assembly.
  • Junius Brutus. Which the rather
    We shall be blest to do, if he remember
    A kinder value of the people than
    He hath hereto prized them at. 1295
  • Menenius Agrippa. That's off, that's off;
    I would you rather had been silent. Please you
    To hear Cominius speak?
  • Junius Brutus. Most willingly;
    But yet my caution was more pertinent 1300
    Than the rebuke you give it.
  • Menenius Agrippa. He loves your people
    But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
    Worthy Cominius, speak.
    [CORIOLANUS offers to go away] 1305
    Nay, keep your place.
  • First Senator. Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
    What you have nobly done.
  • Coriolanus. Your horror's pardon:
    I had rather have my wounds to heal again 1310
    Than hear say how I got them.
  • Coriolanus. No, sir: yet oft,
    When blows have made me stay, I fled from words. 1315
    You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but
    your people,
    I love them as they weigh.
  • Coriolanus. I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun 1320
    When the alarum were struck than idly sit
    To hear my nothings monster'd.

[Exit]

  • Menenius Agrippa. Masters of the people,
    Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter— 1325
    That's thousand to one good one—when you now see
    He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
    Than one on's ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.
  • Cominius. I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
    Should not be utter'd feebly. It is held 1330
    That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
    Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
    The man I speak of cannot in the world
    Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
    When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought 1335
    Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator,
    Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
    When with his Amazonian chin he drove
    The bristled lips before him: be bestrid
    An o'er-press'd Roman and i' the consul's view 1340
    Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met,
    And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats,
    When he might act the woman in the scene,
    He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed
    Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age 1345
    Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea,
    And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
    He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last,
    Before and in Corioli, let me say,
    I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers; 1350
    And by his rare example made the coward
    Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
    A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
    And fell below his stem: his sword, death's stamp,
    Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot 1355
    He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
    Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd
    The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
    With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
    And with a sudden reinforcement struck 1360
    Corioli like a planet: now all's his:
    When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce
    His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
    Re-quicken'd what in flesh was fatigate,
    And to the battle came he; where he did 1365
    Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
    'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd
    Both field and city ours, he never stood
    To ease his breast with panting.
  • First Senator. He cannot but with measure fit the honours
    Which we devise him.
  • Cominius. Our spoils he kick'd at,
    And look'd upon things precious as they were
    The common muck of the world: he covets less 1375
    Than misery itself would give; rewards
    His deeds with doing them, and is content
    To spend the time to end it.

[Re-enter CORIOLANUS]

  • Menenius Agrippa. The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
    To make thee consul. 1385
  • Coriolanus. I do owe them still
    My life and services.
  • Coriolanus. I do beseech you, 1390
    Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
    Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,
    For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you
    That I may pass this doing.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Sir, the people 1395
    Must have their voices; neither will they bate
    One jot of ceremony.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Put them not to't:
    Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
    Take to you, as your predecessors have, 1400
    Your honour with your form.
  • Coriolanus. It is apart
    That I shall blush in acting, and might well
    Be taken from the people.
  • Coriolanus. To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
    Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
    As if I had received them for the hire
    Of their breath only!
  • Menenius Agrippa. Do not stand upon't. 1410
    We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
    Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul
    Wish we all joy and honour.Senators. To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
    [Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS]
    and BRUTUS] 1415
  • Sicinius Velutus. May they perceive's intent! He will require them,
    As if he did contemn what he requested
    Should be in them to give.
  • Junius Brutus. Come, we'll inform them 1420
    Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
    I know, they do attend us.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

The same. The Forum.

      next scene .
---

[Enter seven or eight Citizens]

  • First Citizen. Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him. 1425
  • Third Citizen. We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
    power that we have no power to do; for if he show us
    his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
    tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if 1430
    he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
    our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
    monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful,
    were to make a monster of the multitude: of the
    which we being members, should bring ourselves to be 1435
    monstrous members.
  • First Citizen. And to make us no better thought of, a little help
    will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he
    himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.
  • Third Citizen. We have been called so of many; not that our heads 1440
    are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald,
    but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and
    truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of
    one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south,
    and their consent of one direct way should be at 1445
    once to all the points o' the compass.
  • Second Citizen. Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would
    fly?
  • Third Citizen. Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
    will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but 1450
    if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.
  • Third Citizen. To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts
    melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return
    for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife. 1455
  • Third Citizen. Are you all resolved to give your voices? But
    that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I
    say, if he would incline to the people, there was
    never a worthier man. 1460
    [Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility,]
    with MENENIUS]
    Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
    behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
    come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and 1465
    by threes. He's to make his requests by
    particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
    honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
    tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
    you shall go by him. 1470
  • All. Content, content.

[Exeunt Citizens]

  • Menenius Agrippa. O sir, you are not right: have you not known
    The worthiest men have done't?
  • Coriolanus. What must I say? 1475
    'I Pray, sir'—Plague upon't! I cannot bring
    My tongue to such a pace:—'Look, sir, my wounds!
    I got them in my country's service, when
    Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran
    From the noise of our own drums.' 1480
  • Menenius Agrippa. O me, the gods!
    You must not speak of that: you must desire them
    To think upon you.
  • Coriolanus. Think upon me! hang 'em!
    I would they would forget me, like the virtues 1485
    Which our divines lose by 'em.
  • Menenius Agrippa. You'll mar all:
    I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
    In wholesome manner.

[Exit]

  • Coriolanus. Bid them wash their faces
    And keep their teeth clean.
    [Re-enter two of the Citizens]
    So, here comes a brace.
    [Re-enter a third Citizen] 1495
    You know the cause, air, of my standing here.
  • Coriolanus. No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble the
    poor with begging.
  • Third Citizen. You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
    gain by you. 1505
  • Coriolanus. Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?
  • Coriolanus. Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to
    show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
    good voice, sir; what say you? 1510
  • Coriolanus. A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices
    begged. I have your alms: adieu.

[Exeunt the three Citizens]

[Re-enter two other Citizens]

  • Coriolanus. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
    voices that I may be consul, I have here the
    customary gown. 1520
  • Fourth Citizen. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
    have not deserved nobly.
  • Fourth Citizen. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
    been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved 1525
    the common people.
  • Coriolanus. You should account me the more virtuous that I have
    not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
    sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
    estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account 1530
    gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
    rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
    the insinuating nod and be off to them most
    counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
    bewitchment of some popular man and give it 1535
    bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
    I may be consul.
  • Fifth Citizen. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
    you our voices heartily.
  • Coriolanus. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
    will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

[Exeunt]

  • Coriolanus. Most sweet voices! 1545
    Better it is to die, better to starve,
    Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
    Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
    To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
    Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't: 1550
    What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
    The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
    And mountainous error be too highly heapt
    For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
    Let the high office and the honour go 1555
    To one that would do thus. I am half through;
    The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.
    [Re-enter three Citizens more]
    Here come more voices.
    Your voices: for your voices I have fought; 1560
    Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices bear
    Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
    I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
    Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
    Indeed I would be consul. 1565
  • Sixth Citizen. He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
    man's voice.
  • Seventh Citizen. Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,
    and make him good friend to the people!

[Exeunt]

[Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS]

  • Menenius Agrippa. You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
    Endue you with the people's voice: remains 1575
    That, in the official marks invested, you
    Anon do meet the senate.
  • Sicinius Velutus. The custom of request you have discharged:
    The people do admit you, and are summon'd 1580
    To meet anon, upon your approbation.
  • Coriolanus. That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
    Repair to the senate-house.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Fare you well. 1590
    [Exeunt CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS]
    He has it now, and by his looks methink
    'Tis warm at 's heart.
  • Junius Brutus. With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
    will you dismiss the people? 1595

[Re-enter Citizens]

  • Second Citizen. Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice, 1600
    He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.
  • Second Citizen. Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says 1605
    He used us scornfully: he should have show'd us
    His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.
  • Third Citizen. He said he had wounds, which he could show 1610
    in private;
    And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
    'I would be consul,' says he: 'aged custom,
    But by your voices, will not so permit me;
    Your voices therefore.' When we granted that, 1615
    Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank you:
    Your most sweet voices: now you have left
    your voices,
    I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?
  • Sicinius Velutus. Why either were you ignorant to see't, 1620
    Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
    To yield your voices?
  • Junius Brutus. Could you not have told him
    As you were lesson'd, when he had no power,
    But was a petty servant to the state, 1625
    He was your enemy, ever spake against
    Your liberties and the charters that you bear
    I' the body of the weal; and now, arriving
    A place of potency and sway o' the state,
    If he should still malignantly remain 1630
    Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
    Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
    That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
    Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
    Would think upon you for your voices and 1635
    Translate his malice towards you into love,
    Standing your friendly lord.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Thus to have said,
    As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
    And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd 1640
    Either his gracious promise, which you might,
    As cause had call'd you up, have held him to
    Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
    Which easily endures not article
    Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage, 1645
    You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
    And pass'd him unelected.
  • Junius Brutus. Did you perceive
    He did solicit you in free contempt
    When he did need your loves, and do you think 1650
    That his contempt shall not be bruising to you,
    When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
    No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
    Against the rectorship of judgment?
  • Sicinius Velutus. Have you 1655
    Ere now denied the asker? and now again
    Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow
    Your sued-for tongues?
  • Second Citizen. And will deny him: 1660
    I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
  • First Citizen. I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.
  • Junius Brutus. Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
    They have chose a consul that will from them take
    Their liberties; make them of no more voice 1665
    Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
    As therefore kept to do so.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Let them assemble,
    And on a safer judgment all revoke
    Your ignorant election; enforce his pride, 1670
    And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
    With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
    How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves,
    Thinking upon his services, took from you
    The apprehension of his present portance, 1675
    Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
    After the inveterate hate he bears you.
  • Junius Brutus. Lay
    A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
    No impediment between, but that you must 1680
    Cast your election on him.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Say, you chose him
    More after our commandment than as guided
    By your own true affections, and that your minds,
    Preoccupied with what you rather must do 1685
    Than what you should, made you against the grain
    To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.
  • Junius Brutus. Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
    How youngly he began to serve his country,
    How long continued, and what stock he springs of, 1690
    The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence came
    That Ancus CORIOLANUS, Numa's daughter's son,
    Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
    Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
    That our beat water brought by conduits hither; 1695
    And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
    Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
    Was his great ancestor.
  • Sicinius Velutus. One thus descended,
    That hath beside well in his person wrought 1700
    To be set high in place, we did commend
    To your remembrances: but you have found,
    Scaling his present bearing with his past,
    That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
    Your sudden approbation. 1705
  • Junius Brutus. Say, you ne'er had done't—
    Harp on that still—but by our putting on;
    And presently, when you have drawn your number,
    Repair to the Capitol.
  • All. We will so: almost all 1710
    Repent in their election.

[Exeunt Citizens]

  • Junius Brutus. Let them go on;
    This mutiny were better put in hazard,
    Than stay, past doubt, for greater: 1715
    If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
    With their refusal, both observe and answer
    The vantage of his anger.
  • Sicinius Velutus. To the Capitol, come:
    We will be there before the stream o' the people; 1720
    And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
    Which we have goaded onward.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 1

Rome. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Cornets. Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, all the] [p]Gentry, COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators]

  • Coriolanus. Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?
  • Titus Lartius. He had, my lord; and that it was which caused
    Our swifter composition.
  • Coriolanus. So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
    Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road. 1730
    Upon's again.
  • Cominius. They are worn, lord consul, so,
    That we shall hardly in our ages see
    Their banners wave again.
  • Titus Lartius. On safe-guard he came to me; and did curse
    Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
    Yielded the town: he is retired to Antium.
  • Titus Lartius. How often he had met you, sword to sword;
    That of all things upon the earth he hated
    Your person most, that he would pawn his fortunes
    To hopeless restitution, so he might 1745
    Be call'd your vanquisher.
  • Coriolanus. I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
    To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home. 1750
    [Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS]
    Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,
    The tongues o' the common mouth: I do despise them;
    For they do prank them in authority,
    Against all noble sufferance. 1755
  • Cominius. Hath he not pass'd the noble and the common?
  • First Senator. Tribunes, give way; he shall to the market-place.
  • Coriolanus. Are these your herd?
    Must these have voices, that can yield them now
    And straight disclaim their tongues? What are 1770
    your offices?
    You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
    Have you not set them on?
  • Coriolanus. It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot, 1775
    To curb the will of the nobility:
    Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
    Nor ever will be ruled.
  • Junius Brutus. Call't not a plot:
    The people cry you mock'd them, and of late, 1780
    When corn was given them gratis, you repined;
    Scandal'd the suppliants for the people, call'd them
    Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
  • Coriolanus. Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
    Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
    Your fellow tribune.
  • Sicinius Velutus. You show too much of that
    For which the people stir: if you will pass 1795
    To where you are bound, you must inquire your way,
    Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
    Or never be so noble as a consul,
    Nor yoke with him for tribune.
  • Cominius. The people are abused; set on. This paltering
    Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
    Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
    I' the plain way of his merit.
  • Coriolanus. Tell me of corn! 1805
    This was my speech, and I will speak't again—
  • Coriolanus. Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,
    I crave their pardons: 1810
    For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them
    Regard me as I do not flatter, and
    Therein behold themselves: I say again,
    In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate
    The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition, 1815
    Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd,
    and scatter'd,
    By mingling them with us, the honour'd number,
    Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
    Which they have given to beggars. 1820
  • Coriolanus. How! no more!
    As for my country I have shed my blood,
    Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs 1825
    Coin words till their decay against those measles,
    Which we disdain should tatter us, yet sought
    The very way to catch them.
  • Junius Brutus. You speak o' the people,
    As if you were a god to punish, not 1830
    A man of their infirmity.
  • Coriolanus. Choler! 1835
    Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
    By Jove, 'twould be my mind!
  • Sicinius Velutus. It is a mind
    That shall remain a poison where it is,
    Not poison any further. 1840
  • Coriolanus. Shall remain!
    Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you
    His absolute 'shall'?
  • Coriolanus. 'Shall'! 1845
    O good but most unwise patricians! why,
    You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
    Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
    That with his peremptory 'shall,' being but
    The horn and noise o' the monster's, wants not spirit 1850
    To say he'll turn your current in a ditch,
    And make your channel his? If he have power
    Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
    Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn'd,
    Be not as common fools; if you are not, 1855
    Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
    If they be senators: and they are no less,
    When, both your voices blended, the great'st taste
    Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,
    And such a one as he, who puts his 'shall,' 1860
    His popular 'shall' against a graver bench
    Than ever frown in Greece. By Jove himself!
    It makes the consuls base: and my soul aches
    To know, when two authorities are up,
    Neither supreme, how soon confusion 1865
    May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
    The one by the other.
  • Cominius. Well, on to the market-place.
  • Coriolanus. Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
    The corn o' the storehouse gratis, as 'twas used 1870
    Sometime in Greece,—
  • Coriolanus. Though there the people had more absolute power,
    I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
    The ruin of the state. 1875
  • Junius Brutus. Why, shall the people give
    One that speaks thus their voice?
  • Coriolanus. I'll give my reasons,
    More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
    Was not our recompense, resting well assured 1880
    That ne'er did service for't: being press'd to the war,
    Even when the navel of the state was touch'd,
    They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
    Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i' the war
    Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show'd 1885
    Most valour, spoke not for them: the accusation
    Which they have often made against the senate,
    All cause unborn, could never be the motive
    Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
    How shall this bisson multitude digest 1890
    The senate's courtesy? Let deeds express
    What's like to be their words: 'we did request it;
    We are the greater poll, and in true fear
    They gave us our demands.' Thus we debase
    The nature of our seats and make the rabble 1895
    Call our cares fears; which will in time
    Break ope the locks o' the senate and bring in
    The crows to peck the eagles.
  • Coriolanus. No, take more:
    What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
    Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
    Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
    Insult without all reason, where gentry, title, wisdom, 1905
    Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
    Of general ignorance,—it must omit
    Real necessities, and give way the while
    To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd,
    it follows, 1910
    Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you,—
    You that will be less fearful than discreet,
    That love the fundamental part of state
    More than you doubt the change on't, that prefer
    A noble life before a long, and wish 1915
    To jump a body with a dangerous physic
    That's sure of death without it, at once pluck out
    The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
    The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
    Mangles true judgment and bereaves the state 1920
    Of that integrity which should become't,
    Not having the power to do the good it would,
    For the in which doth control't.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer 1925
    As traitors do.
  • Coriolanus. Thou wretch, despite o'erwhelm thee!
    What should the people do with these bald tribunes?
    On whom depending, their obedience fails
    To the greater bench: in a rebellion, 1930
    When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
    Then were they chosen: in a better hour,
    Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
    And throw their power i' the dust.
  • Junius Brutus. The aediles, ho!
    [Enter an AEdile]
    Let him be apprehended.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Go, call the people: 1940
    [Exit AEdile]
    in whose name myself
    Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
    A foe to the public weal: obey, I charge thee,
    And follow to thine answer. 1945
  • Coriolanus. Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
    Out of thy garments. 1950
  • Sicinius Velutus. Help, ye citizens!
    [Enter a rabble of Citizens (Plebeians), with]
    the AEdiles]
  • Citizens. Down with him! down with him!
    [They all bustle about CORIOLANUS, crying]
    'Tribunes!' 'Patricians!' 'Citizens!' 'What, ho!'
    'Sicinius!' 'Brutus!' 'Coriolanus!' 'Citizens!' 1960
    'Peace, peace, peace!' 'Stay, hold, peace!'
  • Menenius Agrippa. What is about to be? I am out of breath;
    Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You, tribunes
    To the people! Coriolanus, patience! 1965
    Speak, good Sicinius.
  • Citizens. Let's hear our tribune: peace Speak, speak, speak.
  • Sicinius Velutus. You are at point to lose your liberties:
    CORIOLANUS would have all from you; CORIOLANUS, 1970
    Whom late you have named for consul.
  • Citizens. True,
    The people are the city.
  • Junius Brutus. By the consent of all, we were establish'd
    The people's magistrates.
  • Cominius. That is the way to lay the city flat;
    To bring the roof to the foundation,
    And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
    In heaps and piles of ruin. 1985
  • Junius Brutus. Or let us stand to our authority,
    Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
    Upon the part o' the people, in whose power
    We were elected theirs, CORIOLANUS is worthy 1990
    Of present death.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Therefore lay hold of him;
    Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
    Into destruction cast him.
  • Menenius Agrippa. [To BRUTUS] Be that you seem, truly your 2000
    country's friend,
    And temperately proceed to what you would
    Thus violently redress.
  • Junius Brutus. Sir, those cold ways,
    That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous 2005
    Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him,
    And bear him to the rock.
  • Coriolanus. No, I'll die here.
    [Drawing his sword]
    There's some among you have beheld me fighting: 2010
    Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
  • Cominius. Help CORIOLANUS, help,
    You that be noble; help him, young and old! 2015
  • Citizens. Down with him, down with him!
    [In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the AEdiles, and the]
    People, are beat in]
  • Menenius Agrippa. Go, get you to your house; be gone, away!
    All will be naught else. 2020
  • Cominius. Stand fast;
    We have as many friends as enemies.
  • First Senator. The gods forbid! 2025
    I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
    Leave us to cure this cause.
  • Menenius Agrippa. For 'tis a sore upon us,
    You cannot tent yourself: be gone, beseech you.
  • Cominius. Come, sir, along with us. 2030
  • Coriolanus. I would they were barbarians—as they are,
    Though in Rome litter'd—not Romans—as they are not,
    Though calved i' the porch o' the Capitol—
  • Menenius Agrippa. Be gone;
    Put not your worthy rage into your tongue; 2035
    One time will owe another.
  • Coriolanus. On fair ground
    I could beat forty of them.
  • Cominius. I could myself
    Take up a brace o' the best of them; yea, the 2040
    two tribunes:
    But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic;
    And manhood is call'd foolery, when it stands
    Against a falling fabric. Will you hence,
    Before the tag return? whose rage doth rend 2045
    Like interrupted waters and o'erbear
    What they are used to bear.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Pray you, be gone:
    I'll try whether my old wit be in request
    With those that have but little: this must be patch'd 2050
    With cloth of any colour.

[Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, and others]

  • Menenius Agrippa. His nature is too noble for the world: 2055
    He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
    Or Jove for's power to thunder. His heart's his mouth:
    What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
    And, being angry, does forget that ever
    He heard the name of death. 2060
    [A noise within]
    Here's goodly work!
  • Menenius Agrippa. I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance!
    Could he not speak 'em fair? 2065

[Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, with the rabble]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Where is this viper
    That would depopulate the city and
    Be every man himself?
  • Sicinius Velutus. He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
    With rigorous hands: he hath resisted law,
    And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
    Than the severity of the public power
    Which he so sets at nought. 2075
  • First Citizen. He shall well know
    The noble tribunes are the people's mouths,
    And we their hands.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
    With modest warrant.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Hear me speak:
    As I do know the consul's worthiness,
    So can I name his faults,—
  • Menenius Agrippa. If, by the tribunes' leave, and yours, good people,
    I may be heard, I would crave a word or two;
    The which shall turn you to no further harm 2095
    Than so much loss of time.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Speak briefly then;
    For we are peremptory to dispatch
    This viperous traitor: to eject him hence
    Were but one danger, and to keep him here 2100
    Our certain death: therefore it is decreed
    He dies to-night.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Now the good gods forbid
    That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
    Towards her deserved children is enroll'd 2105
    In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam
    Should now eat up her own!
  • Menenius Agrippa. O, he's a limb that has but a disease;
    Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy. 2110
    What has he done to Rome that's worthy death?
    Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost—
    Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath,
    By many an ounce—he dropp'd it for his country;
    And what is left, to lose it by his country, 2115
    Were to us all, that do't and suffer it,
    A brand to the end o' the world.
  • Junius Brutus. Merely awry: when he did love his country,
    It honour'd him. 2120
  • Menenius Agrippa. The service of the foot
    Being once gangrened, is not then respected
    For what before it was.
  • Junius Brutus. We'll hear no more.
    Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence: 2125
    Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
    Spread further.
  • Menenius Agrippa. One word more, one word.
    This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
    The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will too late 2130
    Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process;
    Lest parties, as he is beloved, break out,
    And sack great Rome with Romans.
  • Sicinius Velutus. What do ye talk? 2135
    Have we not had a taste of his obedience?
    Our aediles smote? ourselves resisted? Come.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Consider this: he has been bred i' the wars
    Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school'd
    In bolted language; meal and bran together 2140
    He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
    I'll go to him, and undertake to bring him
    Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,
    In peace, to his utmost peril.
  • First Senator. Noble tribunes, 2145
    It is the humane way: the other course
    Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
    Unknown to the beginning.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Noble Menenius,
    Be you then as the people's officer. 2150
    Masters, lay down your weapons.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there:
    Where, if you bring not CORIOLANUS, we'll proceed
    In our first way. 2155
  • Menenius Agrippa. I'll bring him to you.
    [To the Senators]
    Let me desire your company: he must come,
    Or what is worst will follow.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

A room in CORIOLANUS’S house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CORIOLANUS with Patricians]

  • Coriolanus. Let them puff all about mine ears, present me
    Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,
    Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock, 2165
    That the precipitation might down stretch
    Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
    Be thus to them.
  • Coriolanus. I muse my mother 2170
    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 2175
    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 2180
    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.
  • 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. 2190

[Enter MENENIUS and Senators]

  • Menenius Agrippa. Come, come, you have been too rough, something
    too rough; 2195
    You must return and mend it.
  • 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: 2200
    I have a heart as little apt as yours,
    But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
    To better vantage.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Well said, noble woman?
    Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that 2205
    The violent fit o' the time craves it as physic
    For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
    Which I can scarcely bear.
  • Coriolanus. For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
    Must I then do't to them?
  • Volumnia. You are too absolute; 2215
    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, 2220
    That they combine not there.
  • Volumnia. If it be honour in your wars to seem
    The same you are not, which, for your best ends, 2225
    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?
  • 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 2235
    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. 2240
    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 2245
    How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,
    For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
    Of what that want might ruin.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Noble lady!
    Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so, 2250
    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— 2255
    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 2260
    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 2265
    Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
    As thou hast power and person.
  • Menenius Agrippa. This but done,
    Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
    For they have pardons, being ask'd, as free 2270
    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. 2275

[Enter COMINIUS]

  • Cominius. I have been i' the market-place; and, sir,'tis fit
    You make strong party, or defend yourself
    By calmness or by absence: all's in anger.
  • 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.
  • Coriolanus. Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce? 2285
    Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
    A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't:
    Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
    This mould of CORIOLANUS, they to dust should grind it
    And throw't against the wind. To the market-place! 2290
    You have put me now to such a part which never
    I shall discharge to the life.
  • 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, 2295
    To have my praise for this, perform a part
    Thou hast not done before.
  • Coriolanus. Well, I must do't:
    Away, my disposition, and possess me
    Some harlot's spirit! my throat of war be turn'd, 2300
    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 2305
    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 2310
    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 2315
    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.
  • Coriolanus. Pray, be content: 2320
    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; 2325
    Or never trust to what my tongue can do
    I' the way of flattery further.

[Exit]

  • Cominius. Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself 2330
    To answer mildly; for they are prepared
    With accusations, as I hear, more strong
    Than are upon you yet.
  • Coriolanus. The word is 'mildly.' Pray you, let us go:
    Let them accuse me by invention, I 2335
    Will answer in mine honour.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

The same. The Forum.

      next scene .
---

[Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS]

  • Junius Brutus. In this point charge him home, that he affects
    Tyrannical power: if he evade us there,
    Enforce him with his envy to the people,
    And that the spoil got on the Antiates
    Was ne'er distributed. 2345
    [Enter an AEdile]
    What, will he come?
  • Aedile. With old Menenius, and those senators 2350
    That always favour'd him.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Have you a catalogue
    Of all the voices that we have procured
    Set down by the poll?
  • Aedile. I have; 'tis ready. 2355
  • Sicinius Velutus. Assemble presently the people hither;
    And when they bear me say 'It shall be so
    I' the right and strength o' the commons,' be it either 2360
    For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
    If I say fine, cry 'Fine;' if death, cry 'Death.'
    Insisting on the old prerogative
    And power i' the truth o' the cause.
  • Aedile. I shall inform them. 2365
  • Junius Brutus. And when such time they have begun to cry,
    Let them not cease, but with a din confused
    Enforce the present execution
    Of what we chance to sentence.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Make them be strong and ready for this hint,
    When we shall hap to give 't them.
  • Junius Brutus. Go about it.
    [Exit AEdile]
    Put him to choler straight: he hath been used 2375
    Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
    Of contradiction: being once chafed, he cannot
    Be rein'd again to temperance; then he speaks
    What's in his heart; and that is there which looks
    With us to break his neck. 2380
  • Sicinius Velutus. Well, here he comes.
    [Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, and COMINIUS,]
    with Senators and Patricians]
  • Coriolanus. Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece 2385
    Will bear the knave by the volume. The honour'd gods
    Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of justice
    Supplied with worthy men! plant love among 's!
    Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,
    And not our streets with war! 2390

[Re-enter AEdile, with Citizens]

  • Aedile. List to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I say! 2395
  • Coriolanus. Shall I be charged no further than this present?
    Must all determine here?
  • Sicinius Velutus. I do demand, 2400
    If you submit you to the people's voices,
    Allow their officers and are content
    To suffer lawful censure for such faults
    As shall be proved upon you?
  • Menenius Agrippa. Lo, citizens, he says he is content:
    The warlike service he has done, consider; think
    Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
    Like graves i' the holy churchyard.
  • Coriolanus. Scratches with briers, 2410
    Scars to move laughter only.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Consider further,
    That when he speaks not like a citizen,
    You find him like a soldier: do not take
    His rougher accents for malicious sounds, 2415
    But, as I say, such as become a soldier,
    Rather than envy you.
  • Coriolanus. What is the matter
    That being pass'd for consul with full voice, 2420
    I am so dishonour'd that the very hour
    You take it off again?
  • Sicinius Velutus. We charge you, that you have contrived to take 2425
    From Rome all season'd office and to wind
    Yourself into a power tyrannical;
    For which you are a traitor to the people.
  • Coriolanus. The fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the people!
    Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
    Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
    In thy hand clutch'd as many millions, in
    Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say 2435
    'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
    As I do pray the gods.
  • Citizens. To the rock, to the rock with him!
  • Sicinius Velutus. Peace! 2440
    We need not put new matter to his charge:
    What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
    Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
    Opposing laws with strokes and here defying
    Those whose great power must try him; even this, 2445
    So criminal and in such capital kind,
    Deserves the extremest death.
  • Coriolanus. I know no further: 2455
    Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
    Vagabond exile, raying, pent to linger
    But with a grain a day, I would not buy
    Their mercy at the price of one fair word;
    Nor cheque my courage for what they can give, 2460
    To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'
  • Sicinius Velutus. For that he has,
    As much as in him lies, from time to time
    Envied against the people, seeking means
    To pluck away their power, as now at last 2465
    Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
    Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
    That do distribute it; in the name o' the people
    And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
    Even from this instant, banish him our city, 2470
    In peril of precipitation
    From off the rock Tarpeian never more
    To enter our Rome gates: i' the people's name,
    I say it shall be so.
  • Citizens. It shall be so, it shall be so; let him away: 2475
    He's banish'd, and it shall be so.
  • Cominius. Hear me, my masters, and my common friends,—
  • Cominius. Let me speak:
    I have been consul, and can show for Rome 2480
    Her enemies' marks upon me. I do love
    My country's good with a respect more tender,
    More holy and profound, than mine own life,
    My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase,
    And treasure of my loins; then if I would 2485
    Speak that,—
  • Junius Brutus. There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
    As enemy to the people and his country:
    It shall be so. 2490
  • Citizens. It shall be so, it shall be so.
  • Coriolanus. You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
    As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
    As the dead carcasses of unburied men
    That do corrupt my air, I banish you; 2495
    And here remain with your uncertainty!
    Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
    Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
    Fan you into despair! Have the power still
    To banish your defenders; till at length 2500
    Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
    Making not reservation of yourselves,
    Still your own foes, deliver you as most
    Abated captives to some nation
    That won you without blows! Despising, 2505
    For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
    There is a world elsewhere.
    [Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENENIUS, Senators,]
    and Patricians]
  • Aedile. The people's enemy is gone, is gone! 2510
  • Citizens. Our enemy is banish'd! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!

[Shouting, and throwing up their caps]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Go, see him out at gates, and follow him,
    As he hath followed you, with all despite;
    Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard 2515
    Attend us through the city.
  • Citizens. Come, come; let's see him out at gates; come.
    The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

The same. A street near the gate.

      next scene .
---

[Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an AEdile]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no further.
    The nobility are vex'd, whom we see have sided
    In his behalf. 2590
  • Junius Brutus. Now we have shown our power,
    Let us seem humbler after it is done
    Than when it was a-doing.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Bid them home:
    Say their great enemy is gone, and they 2595
    Stand in their ancient strength.
  • Junius Brutus. Dismiss them home.
    [Exit AEdile]
    Here comes his mother.

[Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and MENENIUS]

  • Volumnia. O, ye're well met: the hoarded plague o' the gods 2605
    Requite your love!
  • Volumnia. If that I could for weeping, you should hear,—
    Nay, and you shall hear some.
    [To BRUTUS] 2610
    Will you be gone?
  • Virgilia. [To SICINIUS] You shall stay too: I would I had the power
    To say so to my husband.
  • Volumnia. Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this fool. 2615
    Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
    To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
    Than thou hast spoken words?
  • Volumnia. More noble blows than ever thou wise words; 2620
    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.
  • 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!
  • Sicinius Velutus. I would he had continued to his country
    As he began, and not unknit himself
    The noble knot he made.
  • Volumnia. 'I would he had'! 'Twas you incensed the rabble: 2635
    Cats, that can judge as fitly of his worth
    As I can of those mysteries which heaven
    Will not have earth to know.
  • Volumnia. Now, pray, sir, get you gone: 2640
    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. 2645
  • Volumnia. Take my prayers with you.
    [Exeunt Tribunes] 2650
    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.
  • Menenius Agrippa. You have told them home; 2655
    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. 2660

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

A highway between Rome and Antium.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, MENENIUS,] [p]COMINIUS, with the young Nobility of Rome]

  • Coriolanus. Come, leave your tears: a brief farewell: the beast
    With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
    Where is your ancient courage? you were used
    To say extremity was the trier of spirits; 2525
    That common chances common men could bear;
    That when the sea was calm all boats alike
    Show'd mastership in floating; fortune's blows,
    When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves
    A noble cunning: you were used to load me 2530
    With precepts that would make invincible
    The heart that conn'd them.
  • Volumnia. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome, 2535
    And occupations perish!
  • 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, 2540
    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, 2545
    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 2550
    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 2555
    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 2560
    That starts i' the way before thee.
  • Cominius. I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee
    Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
    And we of thee: so if the time thrust forth 2565
    A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
    O'er the vast world to seek a single man,
    And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
    I' the absence of the needer.
  • Coriolanus. Fare ye well: 2570
    Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
    Of the wars' surfeits, to go rove with one
    That's yet unbruised: bring me but out at gate.
    Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
    My friends of noble touch, when I am forth, 2575
    Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
    While I remain above the ground, you shall
    Hear from me still, and never of me aught
    But what is like me formerly.
  • Menenius Agrippa. That's worthily 2580
    As any ear can hear. Come, let's not weep.
    If I could shake off but one seven years
    From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
    I'ld with thee every foot.

[Exeunt]

[Enter a Roman and a Volsce, meeting]

  • Roman. I know you well, sir, and you know
    me: your name, I think, is Adrian. 2665
  • Volsce. It is so, sir: truly, I have forgot you.
  • Roman. I am a Roman; and my services are,
    as you are, against 'em: know you me yet?
  • Roman. The same, sir. 2670
  • Volsce. You had more beard when I last saw you; but your
    favour is well approved by your tongue. What's the
    news in Rome? I have a note from the Volscian state,
    to find you out there: you have well saved me a
    day's journey. 2675
  • Roman. There hath been in Rome strange insurrections; the
    people against the senators, patricians, and nobles.
  • Volsce. Hath been! is it ended, then? Our state thinks not
    so: they are in a most warlike preparation, and
    hope to come upon them in the heat of their division. 2680
  • Roman. The main blaze of it is past, but a small thing
    would make it flame again: for the nobles receive
    so to heart the banishment of that worthy
    Coriolanus, that they are in a ripe aptness to take
    all power from the people and to pluck from them 2685
    their tribunes for ever. This lies glowing, I can
    tell you, and is almost mature for the violent
    breaking out.
  • Roman. Banished, sir. 2690
  • Volsce. You will be welcome with this intelligence, Nicanor.
  • Roman. The day serves well for them now. I have heard it
    said, the fittest time to corrupt a man's wife is
    when she's fallen out with her husband. Your noble
    Tullus Aufidius will appear well in these wars, his 2695
    great opposer, Coriolanus, being now in no request
    of his country.
  • Volsce. He cannot choose. I am most fortunate, thus
    accidentally to encounter you: you have ended my
    business, and I will merrily accompany you home. 2700
  • Roman. I shall, between this and supper, tell you most
    strange things from Rome; all tending to the good of
    their adversaries. Have you an army ready, say you?
  • Volsce. A most royal one; the centurions and their charges,
    distinctly billeted, already in the entertainment, 2705
    and to be on foot at an hour's warning.
  • Roman. I am joyful to hear of their readiness, and am the
    man, I think, that shall set them in present action.
    So, sir, heartily well met, and most glad of your company.
  • Volsce. You take my part from me, sir; I have the most cause 2710
    to be glad of yours.
  • Roman. Well, let us go together.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

Antium. Before Aufidius’s house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CORIOLANUS in mean apparel, disguised] [p]and muffled]

  • Coriolanus. A goodly city is this Antium. City,
    'Tis I that made thy widows: many an heir
    Of these fair edifices 'fore my wars
    Have I heard groan and drop: then know me not,
    Lest that thy wives with spits and boys with stones 2720
    In puny battle slay me.
    [Enter a Citizen]
    Save you, sir.
  • Coriolanus. Direct me, if it be your will, 2725
    Where great Aufidius lies: is he in Antium?
  • Citizen. He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
    At his house this night.
  • Citizen. This, here before you. 2730
  • Coriolanus. Thank you, sir: farewell.
    [Exit Citizen]
    O world, thy slippery turns! Friends now fast sworn,
    Whose double bosoms seem to wear one heart,
    Whose house, whose bed, whose meal, and exercise, 2735
    Are still together, who twin, as 'twere, in love
    Unseparable, shall within this hour,
    On a dissension of a doit, break out
    To bitterest enmity: so, fellest foes,
    Whose passions and whose plots have broke their sleep, 2740
    To take the one the other, by some chance,
    Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends
    And interjoin their issues. So with me:
    My birth-place hate I, and my love's upon
    This enemy town. I'll enter: if he slay me, 2745
    He does fair justice; if he give me way,
    I'll do his country service.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 5

The same. A hall in Aufidius’s house.

      next scene .
---

[Music within. Enter a Servingman]

  • First Servingman. Wine, wine, wine! What service 2750
    is here! I think our fellows are asleep.

[Exit]

[Enter a second Servingman]

[Exit]

[Enter CORIOLANUS]

  • Coriolanus. A goodly house: the feast smells well; but I
    Appear not like a guest.

[Re-enter the first Servingman]

  • First Servingman. What would you have, friend? whence are you?
    Here's no place for you: pray, go to the door.

[Exit]

  • Coriolanus. I have deserved no better entertainment,
    In being Coriolanus. 2765

[Re-enter second Servingman]

  • Second Servingman. Whence are you, sir? Has the porter his eyes in his
    head; that he gives entrance to such companions?
    Pray, get you out.

[Enter a third Servingman. The first meets him]

  • First Servingman. A strange one as ever I looked on: I cannot get him
    out of the house: prithee, call my master to him.

[Retires]

  • Third Servingman. What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you, avoid
    the house. 2780
  • Coriolanus. Let me but stand; I will not hurt your hearth.
  • Third Servingman. Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some other
    station; here's no place for you; pray you, avoid: come.
  • Coriolanus. Follow your function, go, and batten on cold bits.

[Pushes him away]

  • Third Servingman. What, you will not? Prithee, tell my master what a 2790
    strange guest he has here.

[Exit]

  • Third Servingman. I' the city of kites and crows! What an ass it is! 2800
    Then thou dwellest with daws too?
  • Coriolanus. Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy
    mistress. Thou pratest, and pratest; serve with thy 2805
    trencher, hence!

[Beats him away. Exit third Servingman]

[Enter AUFIDIUS with the second Servingman]

  • Second Servingman. Here, sir: I'ld have beaten him like a dog, but for 2810
    disturbing the lords within.

[Retires]

  • Tullus Aufidius. Whence comest thou? what wouldst thou? thy name?
    Why speak'st not? speak, man: what's thy name?
  • Coriolanus. If, Tullus, 2815
    [Unmuffling]
    Not yet thou knowest me, and, seeing me, dost not
    Think me for the man I am, necessity
    Commands me name myself.
  • Coriolanus. A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
    And harsh in sound to thine.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Say, what's thy name?
    Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face
    Bears a command in't; though thy tackle's torn. 2825
    Thou show'st a noble vessel: what's thy name?
  • Coriolanus. Prepare thy brow to frown: know'st
    thou me yet?
  • Coriolanus. My name is Caius CORIOLANUS, who hath done 2830
    To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
    Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
    My surname, Coriolanus: the painful service,
    The extreme dangers and the drops of blood
    Shed for my thankless country are requited 2835
    But with that surname; a good memory,
    And witness of the malice and displeasure
    Which thou shouldst bear me: only that name remains;
    The cruelty and envy of the people,
    Permitted by our dastard nobles, who 2840
    Have all forsook me, hath devour'd the rest;
    And suffer'd me by the voice of slaves to be
    Whoop'd out of Rome. Now this extremity
    Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope—
    Mistake me not—to save my life, for if 2845
    I had fear'd death, of all the men i' the world
    I would have 'voided thee, but in mere spite,
    To be full quit of those my banishers,
    Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
    A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge 2850
    Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
    Of shame seen through thy country, speed
    thee straight,
    And make my misery serve thy turn: so use it
    That my revengeful services may prove 2855
    As benefits to thee, for I will fight
    Against my canker'd country with the spleen
    Of all the under fiends. But if so be
    Thou darest not this and that to prove more fortunes
    Thou'rt tired, then, in a word, I also am 2860
    Longer to live most weary, and present
    My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;
    Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
    Since I have ever follow'd thee with hate,
    Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast, 2865
    And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
    It be to do thee service.
  • Tullus Aufidius. O CORIOLANUS, CORIOLANUS!
    Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
    A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter 2870
    Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
    And say 'Tis true,' I'ld not believe them more
    Than thee, all noble CORIOLANUS. Let me twine
    Mine arms about that body, where against
    My grained ash an hundred times hath broke 2875
    And scarr'd the moon with splinters: here I clip
    The anvil of my sword, and do contest
    As hotly and as nobly with thy love
    As ever in ambitious strength I did
    Contend against thy valour. Know thou first, 2880
    I loved the maid I married; never man
    Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here,
    Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt heart
    Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
    Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars! I tell thee, 2885
    We have a power on foot; and I had purpose
    Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
    Or lose mine arm fort: thou hast beat me out
    Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
    Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me; 2890
    We have been down together in my sleep,
    Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat,
    And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy CORIOLANUS,
    Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that
    Thou art thence banish'd, we would muster all 2895
    From twelve to seventy, and pouring war
    Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
    Like a bold flood o'er-bear. O, come, go in,
    And take our friendly senators by the hands;
    Who now are here, taking their leaves of me, 2900
    Who am prepared against your territories,
    Though not for Rome itself.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
    The leading of thine own revenges, take 2905
    The one half of my commission; and set down—
    As best thou art experienced, since thou know'st
    Thy country's strength and weakness,—thine own ways;
    Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
    Or rudely visit them in parts remote, 2910
    To fright them, ere destroy. But come in:
    Let me commend thee first to those that shall
    Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
    And more a friend than e'er an enemy;
    Yet, CORIOLANUS, that was much. Your hand: most welcome! 2915
    [Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. The two]
    Servingmen come forward]
  • Second Servingman. By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with
    a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made a 2920
    false report of him.
  • First Servingman. What an arm he has! he turned me about with his
    finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
  • Second Servingman. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in
    him: he had, sir, a kind of face, methought,—I 2925
    cannot tell how to term it.
  • First Servingman. He had so; looking as it were—would I were hanged,
    but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
  • Second Servingman. So did I, I'll be sworn: he is simply the rarest
    man i' the world. 2930
  • First Servingman. Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be the 2935
    greater soldier.
  • Second Servingman. Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that:
    for the defence of a town, our general is excellent.

[Re-enter third Servingman]

  • Third Servingman. I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as
    lieve be a condemned man. 2945
  • Third Servingman. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,
    Caius CORIOLANUS.
  • Third Servingman. I do not say 'thwack our general;' but he was always
    good enough for him.
  • Second Servingman. Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever too
    hard for him; I have heard him say so himself.
  • First Servingman. He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth 2955
    on't: before Corioli he scotched him and notched
    him like a carbon ado.
  • Second Servingman. An he had been cannibally given, he might have
    broiled and eaten him too.
  • Third Servingman. Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son
    and heir to Mars; set at upper end o' the table; no
    question asked him by any of the senators, but they
    stand bald before him: our general himself makes a
    mistress of him: sanctifies himself with's hand and 2965
    turns up the white o' the eye to his discourse. But
    the bottom of the news is that our general is cut i'
    the middle and but one half of what he was
    yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty
    and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says, 2970
    and sowl the porter of Rome gates by the ears: he
    will mow all down before him, and leave his passage polled.
  • Third Servingman. Do't! he will do't; for, look you, sir, he has as
    many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it 2975
    were, durst not, look you, sir, show themselves, as
    we term it, his friends whilst he's in directitude.
  • Third Servingman. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again,
    and the man in blood, they will out of their 2980
    burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with
    him.
  • Third Servingman. To-morrow; to-day; presently; you shall have the
    drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were, a 2985
    parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they
    wipe their lips.
  • Second Servingman. Why, then we shall have a stirring world again.
    This peace is nothing, but to rust iron, increase
    tailors, and breed ballad-makers. 2990
  • First Servingman. Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as
    day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and
    full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy;
    mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more
    bastard children than war's a destroyer of men. 2995
  • Second Servingman. 'Tis so: and as war, in some sort, may be said to
    be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is a
    great maker of cuckolds.
  • Third Servingman. Reason; because they then less need one another. 3000
    The wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheap
    as Volscians. They are rising, they are rising.
  • All. In, in, in, in!

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 6

Rome. A public place.

      next scene .
---

[Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS]

  • Sicinius Velutus. We hear not of him, neither need we fear him;
    His remedies are tame i' the present peace
    And quietness of the people, which before
    Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
    Blush that the world goes well, who rather had, 3010
    Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold
    Dissentious numbers pestering streets than see
    Our tradesmen with in their shops and going
    About their functions friendly.
  • Junius Brutus. We stood to't in good time. 3015
    [Enter MENENIUS]
    Is this Menenius?
  • Sicinius Velutus. Your Coriolanus
    Is not much miss'd, but with his friends:
    The commonwealth doth stand, and so would do,
    Were he more angry at it.
  • Menenius Agrippa. All's well; and might have been much better, if 3025
    He could have temporized.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his wife
    Hear nothing from him.

[Enter three or four Citizens]

  • First Citizen. Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,
    Are bound to pray for you both. 3035
  • Junius Brutus. Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish'd Coriolanus
    Had loved you as we did.

[Exeunt Citizens]

  • Sicinius Velutus. This is a happier and more comely time
    Than when these fellows ran about the streets,
    Crying confusion.
  • Junius Brutus. Caius CORIOLANUS was 3045
    A worthy officer i' the war; but insolent,
    O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
    Self-loving,—
  • Sicinius Velutus. We should by this, to all our lamentation,
    If he had gone forth consul, found it so.
  • Junius Brutus. The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
    Sits safe and still without him. 3055

[Enter an AEdile]

  • Aedile. Worthy tribunes,
    There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
    Reports, the Volsces with two several powers
    Are enter'd in the Roman territories, 3060
    And with the deepest malice of the war
    Destroy what lies before 'em.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 'Tis Aufidius,
    Who, hearing of our CORIOLANUS' banishment,
    Thrusts forth his horns again into the world; 3065
    Which were inshell'd when CORIOLANUS stood for Rome,
    And durst not once peep out.
  • Junius Brutus. Go see this rumourer whipp'd. It cannot be 3070
    The Volsces dare break with us.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Cannot be!
    We have record that very well it can,
    And three examples of the like have been
    Within my age. But reason with the fellow, 3075
    Before you punish him, where he heard this,
    Lest you shall chance to whip your information
    And beat the messenger who bids beware
    Of what is to be dreaded.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. The nobles in great earnestness are going
    All to the senate-house: some news is come 3085
    That turns their countenances.
  • Sicinius Velutus. 'Tis this slave;—
    Go whip him, 'fore the people's eyes:—his raising;
    Nothing but his report.
  • Messenger. Yes, worthy sir, 3090
    The slave's report is seconded; and more,
    More fearful, is deliver'd.
  • Messenger. It is spoke freely out of many mouths—
    How probable I do not know—that CORIOLANUS, 3095
    Join'd with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
    And vows revenge as spacious as between
    The young'st and oldest thing.
  • Junius Brutus. Raised only, that the weaker sort may wish 3100
    Good CORIOLANUS home again.
  • Menenius Agrippa. This is unlikely:
    He and Aufidius can no more atone
    Than violentest contrariety. 3105

[Enter a second Messenger]

  • Second Messenger. You are sent for to the senate:
    A fearful army, led by Caius CORIOLANUS
    Associated with Aufidius, rages
    Upon our territories; and have already 3110
    O'erborne their way, consumed with fire, and took
    What lay before them.

[Enter COMINIUS]

  • Cominius. You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
    To melt the city leads upon your pates,
    To see your wives dishonour'd to your noses,—
  • Cominius. Your temples burned in their cement, and 3120
    Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
    Into an auger's bore.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Pray now, your news?
    You have made fair work, I fear me.—Pray, your news?—
    If CORIOLANUS should be join'd with Volscians,— 3125
  • Cominius. If!
    He is their god: he leads them like a thing
    Made by some other deity than nature,
    That shapes man better; and they follow him,
    Against us brats, with no less confidence 3130
    Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
    Or butchers killing flies.
  • Menenius Agrippa. You have made good work,
    You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much
    on the voice of occupation and 3135
    The breath of garlic-eaters!
  • Cominius. He will shake
    Your Rome about your ears.
  • Menenius Agrippa. As Hercules
    Did shake down mellow fruit. 3140
    You have made fair work!
  • Cominius. Ay; and you'll look pale
    Before you find it other. All the regions
    Do smilingly revolt; and who resist 3145
    Are mock'd for valiant ignorance,
    And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
    Your enemies and his find something in him.
  • Cominius. Who shall ask it?
    The tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
    Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
    Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
    Should say 'Be good to Rome,' they charged him even 3155
    As those should do that had deserved his hate,
    And therein show'd like enemies.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 'Tis true:
    If he were putting to my house the brand
    That should consume it, I have not the face 3160
    To say 'Beseech you, cease.' You have made fair hands,
    You and your crafts! you have crafted fair!
  • Cominius. You have brought
    A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
    So incapable of help. 3165
  • Menenius Agrippa. How! Was it we? we loved him but, like beasts
    And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
    Who did hoot him out o' the city.
  • Cominius. But I fear 3170
    They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
    The second name of men, obeys his points
    As if he were his officer: desperation
    Is all the policy, strength and defence,
    That Rome can make against them. 3175

[Enter a troop of Citizens]

  • Menenius Agrippa. Here come the clusters.
    And is Aufidius with him? You are they
    That made the air unwholesome, when you cast
    Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at 3180
    Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming;
    And not a hair upon a soldier's head
    Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs
    As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
    And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter; 3185
    if he could burn us all into one coal,
    We have deserved it.
  • First Citizen. For mine own part,
    When I said, banish him, I said 'twas pity. 3190
  • Third Citizen. And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very
    many of us: that we did, we did for the best; and
    though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet
    it was against our will. 3195
  • Cominius. Ye re goodly things, you voices!
  • Menenius Agrippa. You have made
    Good work, you and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?

[Exeunt COMINIUS and MENENIUS]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Go, masters, get you home; be not dismay'd:
    These are a side that would be glad to have
    This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
    And show no sign of fear.
  • First Citizen. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. 3205
    I ever said we were i' the wrong when we banished
    him.

[Exeunt Citizens]

  • Junius Brutus. Let's to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
    Would buy this for a lie!

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 7

A camp, at a small distance from Rome.

      next scene .
---

[Enter AUFIDIUS and his Lieutenant]

  • Lieutenant. I do not know what witchcraft's in him, but
    Your soldiers use him as the grace 'fore meat,
    Their talk at table, and their thanks at end; 3220
    And you are darken'd in this action, sir,
    Even by your own.
  • Tullus Aufidius. I cannot help it now,
    Unless, by using means, I lame the foot
    Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier, 3225
    Even to my person, than I thought he would
    When first I did embrace him: yet his nature
    In that's no changeling; and I must excuse
    What cannot be amended.
  • Lieutenant. Yet I wish, sir,— 3230
    I mean for your particular,—you had not
    Join'd in commission with him; but either
    Had borne the action of yourself, or else
    To him had left it solely.
  • Tullus Aufidius. I understand thee well; and be thou sure, 3235
    when he shall come to his account, he knows not
    What I can urge against him. Although it seems,
    And so he thinks, and is no less apparent
    To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly.
    And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state, 3240
    Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon
    As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
    That which shall break his neck or hazard mine,
    Whene'er we come to our account.
  • Lieutenant. Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry Rome? 3245
  • Tullus Aufidius. All places yield to him ere he sits down;
    And the nobility of Rome are his:
    The senators and patricians love him too:
    The tribunes are no soldiers; and their people
    Will be as rash in the repeal, as hasty 3250
    To expel him thence. I think he'll be to Rome
    As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
    By sovereignty of nature. First he was
    A noble servant to them; but he could not
    Carry his honours even: whether 'twas pride, 3255
    Which out of daily fortune ever taints
    The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
    To fail in the disposing of those chances
    Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
    Not to be other than one thing, not moving 3260
    From the casque to the cushion, but commanding peace
    Even with the same austerity and garb
    As he controll'd the war; but one of these—
    As he hath spices of them all, not all,
    For I dare so far free him—made him fear'd, 3265
    So hated, and so banish'd: but he has a merit,
    To choke it in the utterance. So our virtues
    Lie in the interpretation of the time:
    And power, unto itself most commendable,
    Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair 3270
    To extol what it hath done.
    One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
    Rights by rights falter, strengths by strengths do fail.
    Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
    Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine. 3275

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 1

Rome. A public place.

      next scene .
---

[Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS, BRUTUS,] [p]and others]

  • Menenius Agrippa. No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said
    Which was sometime his general; who loved him 3280
    In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
    But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him;
    A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
    The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
    To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home. 3285
  • Cominius. He would not seem to know me.
  • Cominius. Yet one time he did call me by my name:
    I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
    That we have bled together. Coriolanus 3290
    He would not answer to: forbad all names;
    He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
    Till he had forged himself a name o' the fire
    Of burning Rome.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Why, so: you have made good work! 3295
    A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
    To make coals cheap,—a noble memory!
  • Cominius. I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
    When it was less expected: he replied,
    It was a bare petition of a state 3300
    To one whom they had punish'd.
  • Cominius. I offer'd to awaken his regard
    For's private friends: his answer to me was, 3305
    He could not stay to pick them in a pile
    Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
    For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
    And still to nose the offence.
  • Menenius Agrippa. For one poor grain or two! 3310
    I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
    And this brave fellow too, we are the grains:
    You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
    Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your aid 3315
    In this so never-needed help, yet do not
    Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you
    Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
    More than the instant army we can make,
    Might stop our countryman. 3320
  • Junius Brutus. Only make trial what your love can do
    For Rome, towards CORIOLANUS. 3325
  • Menenius Agrippa. Well, and say that CORIOLANUS
    Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
    Unheard; what then?
    But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
    With his unkindness? say't be so? 3330
  • Sicinius Velutus. Yet your good will
    must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
    As you intended well.
  • Menenius Agrippa. I'll undertake 't:
    I think he'll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip 3335
    And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me.
    He was not taken well; he had not dined:
    The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
    We pout upon the morning, are unapt
    To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd 3340
    These and these conveyances of our blood
    With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
    Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him
    Till he be dieted to my request,
    And then I'll set upon him. 3345
  • Junius Brutus. You know the very road into his kindness,
    And cannot lose your way.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Good faith, I'll prove him,
    Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
    Of my success. 3350

[Exit]

  • Cominius. I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
    Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury 3355
    The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
    'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise;' dismiss'd me
    Thus, with his speechless hand: what he would do,
    He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
    Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions: 3360
    So that all hope is vain.
    Unless his noble mother, and his wife;
    Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
    For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,
    And with our fair entreaties haste them on. 3365

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome.

      next scene .
---

Two Sentinels on guard.

[Enter to them, MENENIUS]

  • Menenius Agrippa. You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your leave,
    I am an officer of state, and come
    To speak with Coriolanus.
  • First Senator. You may not pass, you must return: our general
    Will no more hear from thence.
  • Second Senator. You'll see your Rome embraced with fire before
    You'll speak with Coriolanus.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Good my friends, 3380
    If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
    And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks,
    My name hath touch'd your ears it is Menenius.
  • First Senator. Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name
    Is not here passable. 3385
  • Menenius Agrippa. I tell thee, fellow,
    The general is my lover: I have been
    The book of his good acts, whence men have read
    His name unparallel'd, haply amplified;
    For I have ever verified my friends, 3390
    Of whom he's chief, with all the size that verity
    Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes,
    Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground,
    I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise
    Have almost stamp'd the leasing: therefore, fellow, 3395
    I must have leave to pass.
  • First Senator. Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his
    behalf as you have uttered words in your own, you
    should not pass here; no, though it were as virtuous
    to lie as to live chastely. Therefore, go back. 3400
  • Menenius Agrippa. Prithee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius,
    always factionary on the party of your general.
  • Second Senator. Howsoever you have been his liar, as you say you
    have, I am one that, telling true under him, must
    say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back. 3405
  • Menenius Agrippa. Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would not
    speak with him till after dinner.
  • First Senator. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, 3410
    when you have pushed out your gates the very
    defender of them, and, in a violent popular
    ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to
    front his revenges with the easy groans of old
    women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with 3415
    the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant as
    you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the
    intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with
    such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived;
    therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your 3420
    execution: you are condemned, our general has sworn
    you out of reprieve and pardon.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would
    use me with estimation.
  • First Senator. My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go; lest
    I let forth your half-pint of blood; back,—that's
    the utmost of your having: back.

[Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS]

  • Menenius Agrippa. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you:
    You shall know now that I am in estimation; you shall
    perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from 3435
    my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment
    with him, if thou standest not i' the state of
    hanging, or of some death more long in
    spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now
    presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee. 3440
    [To CORIOLANUS]
    The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy
    particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than
    thy old father Menenius does! O my son, my son!
    thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's 3445
    water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to
    thee; but being assured none but myself could move
    thee, I have been blown out of your gates with
    sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy
    petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage thy 3450
    wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet
    here,—this, who, like a block, hath denied my
    access to thee.
  • Coriolanus. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
    Are servanted to others: though I owe
    My revenge properly, my remission lies
    In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
    Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather 3460
    Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone.
    Mine ears against your suits are stronger than
    Your gates against my force. Yet, for I loved thee,
    Take this along; I writ it for thy sake
    [Gives a letter] 3465
    And would have rent it. Another word, Menenius,
    I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius,
    Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st!

[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS]

  • Second Senator. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know the
    way home again.
  • First Senator. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your
    greatness back? 3475
  • Menenius Agrippa. I neither care for the world nor your general: for
    such things as you, I can scarce think there's any,
    ye're so slight. He that hath a will to die by
    himself fears it not from another: let your general 3480
    do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and
    your misery increase with your age! I say to you,
    as I was said to, Away!

[Exit]

  • Second Senator. The worthy fellow is our general: he's the rock, the
    oak not to be wind-shaken.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

The tent of Coriolanus.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others]

  • Coriolanus. We will before the walls of Rome tomorrow 3490
    Set down our host. My partner in this action,
    You must report to the Volscian lords, how plainly
    I have borne this business.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Only their ends
    You have respected; stopp'd your ears against 3495
    The general suit of Rome; never admitted
    A private whisper, no, not with such friends
    That thought them sure of you.
  • Coriolanus. This last old man,
    Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome, 3500
    Loved me above the measure of a father;
    Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge
    Was to send him; for whose old love I have,
    Though I show'd sourly to him, once more offer'd
    The first conditions, which they did refuse 3505
    And cannot now accept; to grace him only
    That thought he could do more, a very little
    I have yielded to: fresh embassies and suits,
    Nor from the state nor private friends, hereafter
    Will I lend ear to. Ha! what shout is this? 3510
    [Shout within]
    Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
    In the same time 'tis made? I will not.
    [Enter in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA,]
    leading young CORIOLANUS, VALERIA, and Attendants] 3515
    My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mould
    Wherein this trunk was framed, and in her hand
    The grandchild to her blood. But, out, affection!
    All bond and privilege of nature, break!
    Let it be virtuous to be obstinate. 3520
    What is that curt'sy worth? or those doves' eyes,
    Which can make gods forsworn? I melt, and am not
    Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows;
    As if Olympus to a molehill should
    In supplication nod: and my young boy 3525
    Hath an aspect of intercession, which
    Great nature cries 'Deny not.' let the Volsces
    Plough Rome and harrow Italy: I'll never
    Be such a gosling to obey instinct, but stand,
    As if a man were author of himself 3530
    And knew no other kin.
  • Coriolanus. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
  • Virgilia. The sorrow that delivers us thus changed
    Makes you think so. 3535
  • 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 3540
    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 3545
    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! 3550
    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.

[Kneels]

  • 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; 3560
    Murdering impossibility, to make
    What cannot be, slight work.
  • Volumnia. Thou art my warrior;
    I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
  • Coriolanus. The noble sister of Publicola, 3565
    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 3570
    May show like all yourself.
  • 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 3575
    Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
    And saving those that eye thee!
  • Volumnia. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself, 3580
    Are suitors to you.
  • 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 3585
    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. 3590
  • 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 3595
    May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us.
  • 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 3600
    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 3605
    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 3610
    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, 3615
    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 3620
    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, 3625
    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— 3630
    Trust to't, thou shalt not—on thy mother's womb,
    That brought thee to this world.
  • Virgilia. Ay, and mine,
    That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name
    Living to time. 3635
  • Young Coriolanus. A' shall not tread on me;
    I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
  • Coriolanus. Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
    Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
    I have sat too long. 3640

[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, 3645
    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 3650
    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; 3655
    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, 3660
    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 3665
    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 3670
    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, 3675
    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. 3680
    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 3685
    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 3690
    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.

[He holds her by the hand, silent]

  • Coriolanus. O mother, mother! 3695
    What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
    The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
    They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
    You have won a happy victory to Rome;
    But, for your son,—believe it, O, believe it, 3700
    Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
    If not most mortal to him. But, let it come.
    Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
    I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
    Were you in my stead, would you have heard 3705
    A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?
  • Coriolanus. I dare be sworn you were:
    And, sir, it is no little thing to make
    Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir, 3710
    What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part,
    I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you,
    Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife!
  • Tullus Aufidius. [Aside] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and
    thy honour 3715
    At difference in thee: out of that I'll work
    Myself a former fortune.

[The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS]

  • Coriolanus. Ay, by and by;
    [To VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, &c] 3720
    But we will drink together; and you shall bear
    A better witness back than words, which we,
    On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd.
    Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
    To have a temple built you: all the swords 3725
    In Italy, and her confederate arms,
    Could not have made this peace.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

Rome. A public place.

      next scene .
---

[Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS]

  • Menenius Agrippa. If it be possible for you to displace it with your
    little finger, there is some hope the ladies of
    Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him. 3735
    But I say there is no hope in't: our throats are
    sentenced and stay upon execution.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Is't possible that so short a time can alter the
    condition of a man!
  • Menenius Agrippa. There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; 3740
    yet your butterfly was a grub. This CORIOLANUS is grown
    from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a
    creeping thing.
  • Menenius Agrippa. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother 3745
    now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness
    of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he
    moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before
    his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with
    his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a 3750
    battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for
    Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with
    his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity
    and a heaven to throne in.
  • Menenius Agrippa. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his
    mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy
    in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that
    shall our poor city find: and all this is long of
    you. 3760
  • Menenius Agrippa. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto
    us. When we banished him, we respected not them;
    and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Sir, if you'ld save your life, fly to your house:
    The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune
    And hale him up and down, all swearing, if
    The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
    They'll give him death by inches. 3770

[Enter a second Messenger]

  • Second Messenger. Good news, good news; the ladies have prevail'd,
    The Volscians are dislodged, and CORIOLANUS gone:
    A merrier day did never yet greet Rome, 3775
    No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.
  • Second Messenger. As certain as I know the sun is fire:
    Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it? 3780
    Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,
    As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you!
    [Trumpets; hautboys; drums beat; all together]
    The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes,
    Tabours and cymbals and the shouting Romans, 3785
    Make the sun dance. Hark you!

[A shout within]

  • Menenius Agrippa. This is good news:
    I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
    Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians, 3790
    A city full; of tribunes, such as you,
    A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
    This morning for ten thousand of your throats
    I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!

[Music still, with shouts]

  • Sicinius Velutus. First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
    Accept my thankfulness.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 5

The same. A street near the gate.

      next scene .
---

[Enter two Senators with VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA,] [p]VALERIA, &c. passing over the stage, [p]followed by Patricians and others]

  • First Senator. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!
    Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
    And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them: 3810
    Unshout the noise that banish'd CORIOLANUS,
    Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
    Cry 'Welcome, ladies, welcome!'
  • All. Welcome, ladies, Welcome!

[A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 6

Antium. A public place.

       
---

[Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants]

  • Tullus Aufidius. Go tell the lords o' the city I am here:
    Deliver them this paper: having read it,
    Bid them repair to the market place; where I,
    Even in theirs and in the commons' ears, 3820
    Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
    The city ports by this hath enter'd and
    Intends to appear before the people, hoping
    To purge herself with words: dispatch.
    [Exeunt Attendants] 3825
    [Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' faction]
    Most welcome!
  • Tullus Aufidius. Even so
    As with a man by his own alms empoison'd, 3830
    And with his charity slain.
  • Second Conspirator. Most noble sir,
    If you do hold the same intent wherein
    You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
    Of your great danger. 3835
  • Tullus Aufidius. Sir, I cannot tell:
    We must proceed as we do find the people.
  • Third Conspirator. The people will remain uncertain whilst
    'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
    Makes the survivor heir of all. 3840
  • Tullus Aufidius. I know it;
    And my pretext to strike at him admits
    A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd
    Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,
    He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery, 3845
    Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,
    He bow'd his nature, never known before
    But to be rough, unswayable and free.
  • Third Conspirator. Sir, his stoutness
    When he did stand for consul, which he lost 3850
    By lack of stooping,—
  • Tullus Aufidius. That I would have spoke of:
    Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
    Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
    Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way 3855
    In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
    Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
    My best and freshest men; served his designments
    In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
    Which he did end all his; and took some pride 3860
    To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
    I seem'd his follower, not partner, and
    He waged me with his countenance, as if
    I had been mercenary.
  • First Conspirator. So he did, my lord: 3865
    The army marvell'd at it, and, in the last,
    When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
    For no less spoil than glory,—
  • Tullus Aufidius. There was it:
    For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him. 3870
    At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
    As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
    Of our great action: therefore shall he die,
    And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
    [Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of] 3875
    the People]
  • First Conspirator. Your native town you enter'd like a post,
    And had no welcomes home: but he returns,
    Splitting the air with noise.
  • Second Conspirator. And patient fools, 3880
    Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
    With giving him glory.
  • Third Conspirator. Therefore, at your vantage,
    Ere he express himself, or move the people
    With what he would say, let him feel your sword, 3885
    Which we will second. When he lies along,
    After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
    His reasons with his body.

[Enter the Lords of the city]

  • Tullus Aufidius. I have not deserved it.
    But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
    What I have written to you? 3895
  • First Lord. And grieve to hear't.
    What faults he made before the last, I think
    Might have found easy fines: but there to end
    Where he was to begin and give away 3900
    The benefit of our levies, answering us
    With our own charge, making a treaty where
    There was a yielding,—this admits no excuse.
  • Tullus Aufidius. He approaches: you shall hear him.
    [Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and] 3905
    colours; commoners being with him]
  • Coriolanus. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
    No more infected with my country's love
    Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
    Under your great command. You are to know 3910
    That prosperously I have attempted and
    With bloody passage led your wars even to
    The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home
    Do more than counterpoise a full third part
    The charges of the action. We have made peace 3915
    With no less honour to the Antiates
    Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,
    Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,
    Together with the seal o' the senate, what
    We have compounded on. 3920
  • Tullus Aufidius. Read it not, noble lords;
    But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
    He hath abused your powers.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Ay, CORIOLANUS, Caius CORIOLANUS: dost thou think
    I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
    Coriolanus in Corioli?
    You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously 3930
    He has betray'd your business, and given up,
    For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,
    I say 'your city,' to his wife and mother;
    Breaking his oath and resolution like
    A twist of rotten silk, never admitting 3935
    Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears
    He whined and roar'd away your victory,
    That pages blush'd at him and men of heart
    Look'd wondering each at other.
  • Coriolanus. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
    Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave! 3945
    Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
    I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
    Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion—
    Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that
    Must bear my beating to his grave—shall join 3950
    To thrust the lie unto him.
  • Coriolanus. Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
    Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!
    If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there, 3955
    That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
    Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
    Alone I did it. Boy!
  • Tullus Aufidius. Why, noble lords,
    Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune, 3960
    Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
    'Fore your own eyes and ears?
  • All The People. 'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do it presently.' 'He kill'd
    my son.' 'My daughter.' 'He killed my cousin 3965
    Marcus.' 'He killed my father.'
  • Second Lord. Peace, ho! no outrage: peace!
    The man is noble and his fame folds-in
    This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
    Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius, 3970
    And trouble not the peace.
  • Coriolanus. O that I had him,
    With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
    To use my lawful sword!
  • All Conspirators. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
    [The Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS:]
    AUFIDIUS stands on his body]
  • Second Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
  • Third Lord. Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
    Put up your swords.
  • Tullus Aufidius. My lords, when you shall know—as in this rage, 3985
    Provoked by him, you cannot—the great danger
    Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
    That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
    To call me to your senate, I'll deliver
    Myself your loyal servant, or endure 3990
    Your heaviest censure.
  • First Lord. Bear from hence his body;
    And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
    As the most noble corse that ever herald
    Did follow to his urn. 3995
  • Second Lord. His own impatience
    Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
    Let's make the best of it.
  • Tullus Aufidius. My rage is gone;
    And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up. 4000
    Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
    Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:
    Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
    Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
    Which to this hour bewail the injury, 4005
    Yet he shall have a noble memory. Assist.

[Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead march sounded]

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