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Speeches (Lines) for Coriolanus
in "Coriolanus"

Total: 189

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Speech text



Menenius Agrippa. For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest,
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;
The one side must have bale.
Hail, noble CORIOLANUS!

Coriolanus. Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?



First Citizen. We have ever your good word.

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,
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
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
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,
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?



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,
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
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.



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!
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,
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.



Menenius Agrippa. What is granted them?

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,
Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.



Menenius Agrippa. This is strange.

Coriolanus. Go, get you home, you fragments!



Messenger. Where's Caius CORIOLANUS?

Coriolanus. Here: what's the matter?



Messenger. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

Coriolanus. I am glad on 't: then we shall ha' means to vent
Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.
[Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators;]



First Senator. CORIOLANUS, 'tis true that you have lately told us;
The Volsces are in arms.

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.



Cominius. You have fought together.

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.



Cominius. It is your former promise.

Coriolanus. Sir, it is;
And I am constant. Titus TITUS, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?



First Senator. [To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be gone!

Coriolanus. Nay, let them follow:
The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
[Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS]



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

Coriolanus. Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.



Titus Lartius. My horse to yours, no.

Coriolanus. 'Tis done.



Titus Lartius. Agreed.

Coriolanus. Say, has our general met the enemy?



Titus Lartius. So, the good horse is mine.

Coriolanus. I'll buy him of you.



Titus Lartius. No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I will
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.

Coriolanus. How far off lie these armies?



Messenger. Within this mile and half.

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]
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]
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.
[Alarum afar off]
Hark you. far off!
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.

Coriolanus. O, they are at it!



(stage directions). [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,
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.
[Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their]
trenches. Re-enter CORIOLANUS cursing]



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,
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.
[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
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
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.
[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.



(stage directions). [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!
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
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;
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,
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.



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.

Coriolanus. [Within] Come I too late?



(stage directions). [Enter CORIOLANUS]

Coriolanus. Come I too late?



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
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:
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.



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,
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.



Cominius. But how prevail'd you?

Coriolanus. Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?



We have at disadvantage fought and did
Retire to win our purpose.

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,
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
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
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
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
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]
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
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;
And four shall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are best inclined.



(stage directions). [Alarum as in battle. Enter, from opposite sides,]

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
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!



Tullus Aufidius. If I fly, CORIOLANUS,
Holloa me like a hare.

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.



Titus Lartius. O general,
Here is the steed, we the caparison:
Hadst thou beheld—

Coriolanus. Pray now, no more: my mother,
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
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,
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.

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,
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.

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.
[A long flourish. They all cry 'CORIOLANUS! CORIOLANUS!']
cast up their caps and lances: COMINIUS and TITUS
stand bare]



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.
[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
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
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
In praises sauced with lies.



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.
I mean to stride your steed, and at all times
To undercrest your good addition
To the fairness of my power.



Titus Lartius. I shall, my lord.

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
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.



Titus Lartius. CORIOLANUS, his name?

Coriolanus. By Jupiter! forgot.
I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
Have we no wine here?



All. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

Coriolanus. No more of this; it does offend my heart:
Pray now, no more.



Cominius. Look, sir, your mother!

Coriolanus. O,
You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
For my prosperity!



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

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,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
And mothers that lack sons.



Menenius Agrippa. Now, the gods crown thee!

Coriolanus. And live you yet?
O my sweet lady, pardon.



Cominius. Ever right.

Coriolanus. Menenius ever, ever.



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,
But with them change of honours.



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

Coriolanus. Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way,
Than sway with them in theirs.



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
Than hear say how I got them.



Junius Brutus. Sir, I hope
My words disbench'd you not.

Coriolanus. No, sir: yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but
your people,
I love them as they weigh.



Menenius Agrippa. Pray now, sit down.

Coriolanus. I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster'd.



Menenius Agrippa. The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.

Coriolanus. I do owe them still
My life and services.



Menenius Agrippa. It then remains
That you do speak to the people.

Coriolanus. I do beseech you,
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.



Menenius Agrippa. Put them not to't:
Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.

Coriolanus. It is apart
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.



Junius Brutus. Mark you that?

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. O sir, you are not right: have you not known
The worthiest men have done't?

Coriolanus. What must I say?
'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.'



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
Which our divines lose by 'em.



(stage directions). [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]
You know the cause, air, of my standing here.



Third Citizen. We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.

Coriolanus. Mine own desert.



Second Citizen. Your own desert!

Coriolanus. Ay, but not mine own desire.



Third Citizen. How not your own desire?

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.

Coriolanus. Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?



First Citizen. The price is to ask it kindly.

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?



Second Citizen. You shall ha' it, worthy sir.

Coriolanus. A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices
begged. I have your alms: adieu.



(stage directions). [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.



Fourth Citizen. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
have not deserved nobly.

Coriolanus. Your enigma?



Fourth Citizen. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
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
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
bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
I may be consul.



Fourth Citizen. You have received many wounds for your country.

Coriolanus. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.



(stage directions). [Exeunt]

Coriolanus. Most sweet voices!
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:
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
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;
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.



(stage directions). [Exeunt]

Coriolanus. Worthy voices!



Menenius Agrippa. You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice: remains
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

Coriolanus. Is this done?



Sicinius Velutus. The custom of request you have discharged:
The people do admit you, and are summon'd
To meet anon, upon your approbation.

Coriolanus. Where? at the senate-house?



Sicinius Velutus. There, Coriolanus.

Coriolanus. May I change these garments?



Sicinius Velutus. You may, sir.

Coriolanus. That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
Repair to the senate-house.



(stage directions). [Cornets. Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, all the]
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.
Upon's again.



Cominius. They are worn, lord consul, so,
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their banners wave again.

Coriolanus. Saw you Aufidius?



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.

Coriolanus. Spoke he of me?



Titus Lartius. He did, my lord.

Coriolanus. How? what?



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
Be call'd your vanquisher.

Coriolanus. At Antium lives he?



Titus Lartius. At Antium.

Coriolanus. I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
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.



Sicinius Velutus. Pass no further.

Coriolanus. Ha! what is that?



Junius Brutus. It will be dangerous to go on: no further.

Coriolanus. What makes this change?



Junius Brutus. Cominius, no.

Coriolanus. Have I had children's voices?



Sicinius Velutus. Stop,
Or all will fall in broil.

Coriolanus. Are these your herd?
Must these have voices, that can yield them now
And straight disclaim their tongues? What are
your offices?
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?



Menenius Agrippa. Be calm, be calm.

Coriolanus. It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,
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,
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, this was known before.



Junius Brutus. Not to them all.

Coriolanus. Have you inform'd them sithence?



Junius Brutus. How! I inform them!

Coriolanus. You are like to do such business.



Junius Brutus. Not unlike,
Each way, to better yours.

Coriolanus. Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow 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!
This was my speech, and I will speak't again—



First Senator. Not in this heat, sir, now.

Coriolanus. Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,
I crave their pardons:
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,
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.



First Senator. No more words, we beseech you.

Coriolanus. How! no more!
As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
Coin words till their decay against those measles,
Which we disdain should tatter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.



Menenius Agrippa. What, what? his choler?

Coriolanus. Choler!
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.

Coriolanus. Shall remain!
Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you
His absolute 'shall'?



Cominius. 'Twas from the canon.

Coriolanus. 'Shall'!
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
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,
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,'
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
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
Sometime in Greece,—



Menenius Agrippa. Well, well, no more of that.

Coriolanus. Though there the people had more absolute power,
I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.



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
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
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
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
Call our cares fears; which will in time
Break ope the locks o' the senate and bring in
The crows to peck the eagles.



Junius Brutus. Enough, with over-measure.

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,
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,
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
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
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
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,
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.



Sicinius Velutus. Go, call the people:
[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.

Coriolanus. Hence, old goat!



Cominius. Aged sir, hands off.

Coriolanus. Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy garments.



Junius Brutus. Sir, those cold ways,
That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
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:
Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.



Cominius. Come, sir, along with us.

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;
One time will owe another.

Coriolanus. On fair ground
I could beat forty of them.



(stage directions). [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,
That the precipitation might down stretch
Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
Be thus to them.



Patrician. You do the nobler.

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



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

Coriolanus. Let go.



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

Coriolanus. Let them hang.



Menenius Agrippa. Well said, noble woman?
Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that
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. What must I do?



Menenius Agrippa. Return to the tribunes.

Coriolanus. Well, what then? what then?



Menenius Agrippa. Repent what you have spoke.

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



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

Coriolanus. Tush, tush!



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

Coriolanus. Why force you this?



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

Coriolanus. Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce?
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!
You have put me now to such a part which never
I shall discharge to the life.



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

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



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

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



Cominius. Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself
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
Will answer in mine honour.



Menenius Agrippa. Ay, but mildly.

Coriolanus. Well, mildly be it then. Mildly!



Menenius Agrippa. Calmly, I do beseech you.

Coriolanus. Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece
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!



Aedile. List to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I say!

Coriolanus. First, hear me speak.



Both Tribunes. Well, say. Peace, ho!

Coriolanus. Shall I be charged no further than this present?
Must all determine here?



Sicinius Velutus. I do demand,
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?

Coriolanus. I am content.



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,
Scars to move laughter only.



Cominius. Well, well, no more.

Coriolanus. What is the matter
That being pass'd for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour'd that the very hour
You take it off again?



Sicinius Velutus. Answer to us.

Coriolanus. Say, then: 'tis true, I ought so.



Sicinius Velutus. We charge you, that you have contrived to take
From Rome all season'd office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which you are a traitor to the people.

Coriolanus. How! traitor!



Menenius Agrippa. Nay, temperately; your promise.

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
'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.



Junius Brutus. But since he hath
Served well for Rome,—

Coriolanus. What do you prate of service?



Junius Brutus. I talk of that, that know it.

Coriolanus. You?



Cominius. Know, I pray you,—

Coriolanus. I know no further:
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,
To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'



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;
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
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,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
and Patricians]



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;
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
With precepts that would make invincible
The heart that conn'd them.



Virgilia. O heavens! O heavens!

Coriolanus. Nay! prithee, woman,—



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



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

Coriolanus. O the gods!



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
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:
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,
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
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.

Coriolanus. Give me thy hand: Come.



(stage directions). [Enter CORIOLANUS in mean apparel, disguised]
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
In puny battle slay me.
[Enter a Citizen]
Save you, sir.



Citizen. And you.

Coriolanus. Direct me, if it be your will,
Where great Aufidius lies: is he in Antium?



Citizen. He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
At his house this night.

Coriolanus. Which is his house, beseech you?



Citizen. This, here before you.

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,
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,
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,
He does fair justice; if he give me way,
I'll do his country service.



(stage directions). [Enter CORIOLANUS]

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



(stage directions). [Exit]

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



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.

Coriolanus. Away!



Second Servingman. Away! get you away.

Coriolanus. Now thou'rt troublesome.



Third Servingman. What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you, avoid
the house.

Coriolanus. Let me but stand; I will not hurt your hearth.



Third Servingman. What are you?

Coriolanus. A gentleman.



Third Servingman. A marvellous poor one.

Coriolanus. True, so I am.



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.



Third Servingman. Where dwellest thou?

Coriolanus. Under the canopy.



Third Servingman. Under the canopy!

Coriolanus. Ay.



Third Servingman. Where's that?

Coriolanus. I' the city of kites and crows.



Third Servingman. I' the city of kites and crows! What an ass it is!
Then thou dwellest with daws too?

Coriolanus. No, I serve not thy master.



Third Servingman. How, sir! do you meddle with my master?

Coriolanus. Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy
mistress. Thou pratest, and pratest; serve with thy
trencher, hence!



Tullus Aufidius. Whence comest thou? what wouldst thou? thy name?
Why speak'st not? speak, man: what's thy name?

Coriolanus. If, Tullus,
Not yet thou knowest me, and, seeing me, dost not
Think me for the man I am, necessity
Commands me name myself.



Tullus Aufidius. What is thy name?

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.
Thou show'st a noble vessel: what's thy name?

Coriolanus. Prepare thy brow to frown: know'st
thou me yet?



Tullus Aufidius. I know thee not: thy name?

Coriolanus. My name is Caius CORIOLANUS, who hath done
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
It be to do thee service.



Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
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
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,
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,
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;
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
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,
Who am prepared against your territories,
Though not for Rome itself.

Coriolanus. You bless me, gods!



(stage directions). [Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS]

Coriolanus. What's the matter?



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
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.
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
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
wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet
here,—this, who, like a block, hath denied my
access to thee.

Coriolanus. Away!



Menenius Agrippa. How! away!

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
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]
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!



(stage directions). [Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others]

Coriolanus. We will before the walls of Rome tomorrow
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
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,
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
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?
[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]
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.
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
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
And knew no other kin.



Virgilia. My lord and husband!

Coriolanus. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.



Virgilia. The sorrow that delivers us thus changed
Makes you think so.

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



(stage directions). [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;
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,
The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
That's curdied by the frost from purest snow
And hangs on Dian's temple: dear Valeria!



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

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



Volumnia. Your knee, sirrah.

Coriolanus. That's my brave boy!



Volumnia. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
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
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics: tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural: desire not
To ally my rages and revenges with
Your colder reasons.



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

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



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.



(stage directions). [He holds her by the hand, silent]

Coriolanus. O mother, mother!
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,
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
A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?



Tullus Aufidius. I was moved withal.

Coriolanus. I dare be sworn you were:
And, sir, it is no little thing to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
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!



(stage directions). [The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS]

Coriolanus. Ay, by and by;
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
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace.



Tullus Aufidius. He approaches: you shall hear him.
[Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and]
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
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
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.



Tullus Aufidius. Read it not, noble lords;
But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
He hath abused your powers.

Coriolanus. Traitor! how now!



Tullus Aufidius. Ay, traitor, CORIOLANUS!

Coriolanus. CORIOLANUS!



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
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
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. Hear'st thou, Mars?



Tullus Aufidius. Name not the god, thou boy of tears!

Coriolanus. Ha!



Tullus Aufidius. No more.

Coriolanus. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave!
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
To thrust the lie unto him.



First Lord. Peace, both, and hear me speak.

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,
That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
Alone I did it. Boy!



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,
And trouble not the peace.

Coriolanus. O that I had him,
With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword!

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