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Act IV, Scene 7

A camp, at a small distance from Rome.


[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