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Act III, Scene 3

The same. The Forum.



  • 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.
    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.
    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.