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Speeches (Lines) for Virgilia
in "Coriolanus"

Total: 26

# Act, Scene, Line
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Speech text



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

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



Gentlewoman. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.

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



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

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



(stage directions). [Exit Gentlewoman]

Virgilia. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!



Volumnia. Sweet madam.

Virgilia. I am glad to see your ladyship.



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.



Valeria. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.

Virgilia. A crack, madam.



Valeria. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play
the idle husewife with me this afternoon.

Virgilia. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.



Volumnia. She shall, she shall.

Virgilia. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the
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.



Volumnia. Why, I pray you?

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
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.

Virgilia. O, good madam, there can be none yet.



Valeria. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from
him last night.

Virgilia. Indeed, madam?



Valeria. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it.
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,
on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.

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



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.



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

Virgilia. Nay, 'tis true.



Menenius Agrippa. I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for

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,
of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.

Virgilia. O, no, no, no.



Menenius Agrippa. Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
true purchasing.

Virgilia. The gods grant them true!



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!



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

Virgilia. [To SICINIUS] You shall stay too: I would I had the power
To say so to my husband.



Sicinius Velutus. What then?

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



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.



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

Virgilia. Ay, and mine,
That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name
Living to time.

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