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Act I, Scene 9

The Roman camp.


[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,
    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.
  • Titus Lartius. I shall, my lord. 855
  • 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.
  • Titus Lartius. CORIOLANUS, his name?
  • 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