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Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.

      — Julius Caesar, Act II Scene 2


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Act IV

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Scene 2. The same. A street near the gate.

Scene 3. A highway between Rome and Antium.

Scene 4. Antium. Before Aufidius’s house.

Scene 5. The same. A hall in Aufidius’s house.

Scene 6. Rome. A public place.

Scene 7. A camp, at a small distance from Rome.


Act IV, Scene 2

The same. A street near the gate.

      next scene .

[Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an AEdile]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no further.
    The nobility are vex'd, whom we see have sided
    In his behalf. 2590
  • Junius Brutus. Now we have shown our power,
    Let us seem humbler after it is done
    Than when it was a-doing.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Bid them home:
    Say their great enemy is gone, and they 2595
    Stand in their ancient strength.
  • Junius Brutus. Dismiss them home.
    [Exit AEdile]
    Here comes his mother.


  • Volumnia. O, ye're well met: the hoarded plague o' the gods 2605
    Requite your love!
  • Volumnia. If that I could for weeping, you should hear,—
    Nay, and you shall hear some.
    [To BRUTUS] 2610
    Will you be gone?
  • Virgilia. [To SICINIUS] You shall stay too: I would I had the power
    To say so to my husband.
  • Volumnia. Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this fool. 2615
    Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
    To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
    Than thou hast spoken words?
  • Volumnia. More noble blows than ever thou wise words; 2620
    And for Rome's good. I'll tell thee what; yet go:
    Nay, but thou shalt stay too: I would my son
    Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
    His good sword in his hand.
  • Virgilia. What then!
    He'ld make an end of thy posterity.
  • Volumnia. Bastards and all.
    Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
  • Sicinius Velutus. I would he had continued to his country
    As he began, and not unknit himself
    The noble knot he made.
  • Volumnia. 'I would he had'! 'Twas you incensed the rabble: 2635
    Cats, that can judge as fitly of his worth
    As I can of those mysteries which heaven
    Will not have earth to know.
  • Volumnia. Now, pray, sir, get you gone: 2640
    You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:—
    As far as doth the Capitol exceed
    The meanest house in Rome, so far my son—
    This lady's husband here, this, do you see—
    Whom you have banish'd, does exceed you all. 2645
  • Volumnia. Take my prayers with you.
    [Exeunt Tribunes] 2650
    I would the gods had nothing else to do
    But to confirm my curses! Could I meet 'em
    But once a-day, it would unclog my heart
    Of what lies heavy to't.
  • Menenius Agrippa. You have told them home; 2655
    And, by my troth, you have cause. You'll sup with me?
  • Volumnia. Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself,
    And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let's go:
    Leave this faint puling and lament as I do,
    In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come. 2660


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

A highway between Rome and Antium.

      next scene .

[Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, MENENIUS,] [p]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; 2525
    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 2530
    With precepts that would make invincible
    The heart that conn'd them.
  • Volumnia. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome, 2535
    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, 2540
    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, 2545
    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 2550
    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 2555
    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 2560
    That starts i' the way before thee.
  • 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 2565
    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: 2570
    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, 2575
    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 2580
    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.


[Enter a Roman and a Volsce, meeting]

  • Roman. I know you well, sir, and you know
    me: your name, I think, is Adrian. 2665
  • Volsce. It is so, sir: truly, I have forgot you.
  • Roman. I am a Roman; and my services are,
    as you are, against 'em: know you me yet?
  • Roman. The same, sir. 2670
  • Volsce. You had more beard when I last saw you; but your
    favour is well approved by your tongue. What's the
    news in Rome? I have a note from the Volscian state,
    to find you out there: you have well saved me a
    day's journey. 2675
  • Roman. There hath been in Rome strange insurrections; the
    people against the senators, patricians, and nobles.
  • Volsce. Hath been! is it ended, then? Our state thinks not
    so: they are in a most warlike preparation, and
    hope to come upon them in the heat of their division. 2680
  • Roman. The main blaze of it is past, but a small thing
    would make it flame again: for the nobles receive
    so to heart the banishment of that worthy
    Coriolanus, that they are in a ripe aptness to take
    all power from the people and to pluck from them 2685
    their tribunes for ever. This lies glowing, I can
    tell you, and is almost mature for the violent
    breaking out.
  • Roman. Banished, sir. 2690
  • Volsce. You will be welcome with this intelligence, Nicanor.
  • Roman. The day serves well for them now. I have heard it
    said, the fittest time to corrupt a man's wife is
    when she's fallen out with her husband. Your noble
    Tullus Aufidius will appear well in these wars, his 2695
    great opposer, Coriolanus, being now in no request
    of his country.
  • Volsce. He cannot choose. I am most fortunate, thus
    accidentally to encounter you: you have ended my
    business, and I will merrily accompany you home. 2700
  • Roman. I shall, between this and supper, tell you most
    strange things from Rome; all tending to the good of
    their adversaries. Have you an army ready, say you?
  • Volsce. A most royal one; the centurions and their charges,
    distinctly billeted, already in the entertainment, 2705
    and to be on foot at an hour's warning.
  • Roman. I am joyful to hear of their readiness, and am the
    man, I think, that shall set them in present action.
    So, sir, heartily well met, and most glad of your company.
  • Volsce. You take my part from me, sir; I have the most cause 2710
    to be glad of yours.
  • Roman. Well, let us go together.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

Antium. Before Aufidius’s house.

      next scene .

[Enter CORIOLANUS in mean apparel, disguised] [p]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 2720
    In puny battle slay me.
    [Enter a Citizen]
    Save you, sir.
  • Coriolanus. Direct me, if it be your will, 2725
    Where great Aufidius lies: is he in Antium?
  • Citizen. He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
    At his house this night.
  • Citizen. This, here before you. 2730
  • 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, 2735
    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, 2740
    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, 2745
    He does fair justice; if he give me way,
    I'll do his country service.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 5

The same. A hall in Aufidius’s house.

      next scene .

[Music within. Enter a Servingman]

  • First Servingman. Wine, wine, wine! What service 2750
    is here! I think our fellows are asleep.


[Enter a second Servingman]



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

[Re-enter the first Servingman]

  • First Servingman. What would you have, friend? whence are you?
    Here's no place for you: pray, go to the door.


  • Coriolanus. I have deserved no better entertainment,
    In being Coriolanus. 2765

[Re-enter second Servingman]

  • 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.

[Enter a third Servingman. The first meets him]

  • First Servingman. A strange one as ever I looked on: I cannot get him
    out of the house: prithee, call my master to him.


  • Third Servingman. What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you, avoid
    the house. 2780
  • Coriolanus. Let me but stand; I will not hurt your hearth.
  • 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.

[Pushes him away]

  • Third Servingman. What, you will not? Prithee, tell my master what a 2790
    strange guest he has here.


  • Third Servingman. I' the city of kites and crows! What an ass it is! 2800
    Then thou dwellest with daws too?
  • Coriolanus. Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy
    mistress. Thou pratest, and pratest; serve with thy 2805
    trencher, hence!

[Beats him away. Exit third Servingman]

[Enter AUFIDIUS with the second Servingman]

  • Second Servingman. Here, sir: I'ld have beaten him like a dog, but for 2810
    disturbing the lords within.


  • Tullus Aufidius. Whence comest thou? what wouldst thou? thy name?
    Why speak'st not? speak, man: what's thy name?
  • Coriolanus. If, Tullus, 2815
    Not yet thou knowest me, and, seeing me, dost not
    Think me for the man I am, necessity
    Commands me name myself.
  • 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. 2825
    Thou show'st a noble vessel: what's thy name?
  • Coriolanus. Prepare thy brow to frown: know'st
    thou me yet?
  • Coriolanus. My name is Caius CORIOLANUS, who hath done 2830
    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 2835
    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 2840
    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 2845
    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 2850
    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 2855
    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 2860
    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, 2865
    And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
    It be to do thee service.
  • Tullus Aufidius. O CORIOLANUS, CORIOLANUS!
    Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
    A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter 2870
    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 2875
    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, 2880
    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, 2885
    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; 2890
    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 2895
    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, 2900
    Who am prepared against your territories,
    Though not for Rome itself.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
    The leading of thine own revenges, take 2905
    The one half of my commission; and set down—
    As best thou art experienced, since thou know'st
    Thy country's strength and weakness,—thine own ways;
    Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
    Or rudely visit them in parts remote, 2910
    To fright them, ere destroy. But come in:
    Let me commend thee first to those that shall
    Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
    And more a friend than e'er an enemy;
    Yet, CORIOLANUS, that was much. Your hand: most welcome! 2915
    [Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. The two]
    Servingmen come forward]
  • Second Servingman. By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with
    a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made a 2920
    false report of him.
  • First Servingman. What an arm he has! he turned me about with his
    finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
  • Second Servingman. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in
    him: he had, sir, a kind of face, methought,—I 2925
    cannot tell how to term it.
  • First Servingman. He had so; looking as it were—would I were hanged,
    but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
  • Second Servingman. So did I, I'll be sworn: he is simply the rarest
    man i' the world. 2930
  • First Servingman. Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be the 2935
    greater soldier.
  • Second Servingman. Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that:
    for the defence of a town, our general is excellent.

[Re-enter third Servingman]

  • Third Servingman. I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as
    lieve be a condemned man. 2945
  • Third Servingman. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,
  • Third Servingman. I do not say 'thwack our general;' but he was always
    good enough for him.
  • Second Servingman. Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever too
    hard for him; I have heard him say so himself.
  • First Servingman. He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth 2955
    on't: before Corioli he scotched him and notched
    him like a carbon ado.
  • Second Servingman. An he had been cannibally given, he might have
    broiled and eaten him too.
  • Third Servingman. Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son
    and heir to Mars; set at upper end o' the table; no
    question asked him by any of the senators, but they
    stand bald before him: our general himself makes a
    mistress of him: sanctifies himself with's hand and 2965
    turns up the white o' the eye to his discourse. But
    the bottom of the news is that our general is cut i'
    the middle and but one half of what he was
    yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty
    and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says, 2970
    and sowl the porter of Rome gates by the ears: he
    will mow all down before him, and leave his passage polled.
  • Third Servingman. Do't! he will do't; for, look you, sir, he has as
    many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it 2975
    were, durst not, look you, sir, show themselves, as
    we term it, his friends whilst he's in directitude.
  • Third Servingman. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again,
    and the man in blood, they will out of their 2980
    burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with
  • Third Servingman. To-morrow; to-day; presently; you shall have the
    drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were, a 2985
    parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they
    wipe their lips.
  • Second Servingman. Why, then we shall have a stirring world again.
    This peace is nothing, but to rust iron, increase
    tailors, and breed ballad-makers. 2990
  • First Servingman. Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as
    day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and
    full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy;
    mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more
    bastard children than war's a destroyer of men. 2995
  • Second Servingman. 'Tis so: and as war, in some sort, may be said to
    be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is a
    great maker of cuckolds.
  • Third Servingman. Reason; because they then less need one another. 3000
    The wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheap
    as Volscians. They are rising, they are rising.
  • All. In, in, in, in!


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 6

Rome. A public place.

      next scene .


  • Sicinius Velutus. We hear not of him, neither need we fear him;
    His remedies are tame i' the present peace
    And quietness of the people, which before
    Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
    Blush that the world goes well, who rather had, 3010
    Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold
    Dissentious numbers pestering streets than see
    Our tradesmen with in their shops and going
    About their functions friendly.
  • Junius Brutus. We stood to't in good time. 3015
    [Enter MENENIUS]
    Is this Menenius?
  • Sicinius Velutus. Your Coriolanus
    Is not much miss'd, but with his friends:
    The commonwealth doth stand, and so would do,
    Were he more angry at it.
  • Menenius Agrippa. All's well; and might have been much better, if 3025
    He could have temporized.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his wife
    Hear nothing from him.

[Enter three or four Citizens]

  • First Citizen. Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,
    Are bound to pray for you both. 3035
  • Junius Brutus. Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish'd Coriolanus
    Had loved you as we did.

[Exeunt Citizens]

  • Sicinius Velutus. This is a happier and more comely time
    Than when these fellows ran about the streets,
    Crying confusion.
  • Junius Brutus. Caius CORIOLANUS was 3045
    A worthy officer i' the war; but insolent,
    O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
  • Sicinius Velutus. We should by this, to all our lamentation,
    If he had gone forth consul, found it so.
  • Junius Brutus. The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
    Sits safe and still without him. 3055

[Enter an AEdile]

  • Aedile. Worthy tribunes,
    There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
    Reports, the Volsces with two several powers
    Are enter'd in the Roman territories, 3060
    And with the deepest malice of the war
    Destroy what lies before 'em.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 'Tis Aufidius,
    Who, hearing of our CORIOLANUS' banishment,
    Thrusts forth his horns again into the world; 3065
    Which were inshell'd when CORIOLANUS stood for Rome,
    And durst not once peep out.
  • Junius Brutus. Go see this rumourer whipp'd. It cannot be 3070
    The Volsces dare break with us.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Cannot be!
    We have record that very well it can,
    And three examples of the like have been
    Within my age. But reason with the fellow, 3075
    Before you punish him, where he heard this,
    Lest you shall chance to whip your information
    And beat the messenger who bids beware
    Of what is to be dreaded.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. The nobles in great earnestness are going
    All to the senate-house: some news is come 3085
    That turns their countenances.
  • Sicinius Velutus. 'Tis this slave;—
    Go whip him, 'fore the people's eyes:—his raising;
    Nothing but his report.
  • Messenger. Yes, worthy sir, 3090
    The slave's report is seconded; and more,
    More fearful, is deliver'd.
  • Messenger. It is spoke freely out of many mouths—
    How probable I do not know—that CORIOLANUS, 3095
    Join'd with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
    And vows revenge as spacious as between
    The young'st and oldest thing.
  • Junius Brutus. Raised only, that the weaker sort may wish 3100
    Good CORIOLANUS home again.
  • Menenius Agrippa. This is unlikely:
    He and Aufidius can no more atone
    Than violentest contrariety. 3105

[Enter a second Messenger]

  • Second Messenger. You are sent for to the senate:
    A fearful army, led by Caius CORIOLANUS
    Associated with Aufidius, rages
    Upon our territories; and have already 3110
    O'erborne their way, consumed with fire, and took
    What lay before them.


  • Cominius. You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
    To melt the city leads upon your pates,
    To see your wives dishonour'd to your noses,—
  • Cominius. Your temples burned in their cement, and 3120
    Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
    Into an auger's bore.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Pray now, your news?
    You have made fair work, I fear me.—Pray, your news?—
    If CORIOLANUS should be join'd with Volscians,— 3125
  • Cominius. If!
    He is their god: he leads them like a thing
    Made by some other deity than nature,
    That shapes man better; and they follow him,
    Against us brats, with no less confidence 3130
    Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
    Or butchers killing flies.
  • Menenius Agrippa. You have made good work,
    You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much
    on the voice of occupation and 3135
    The breath of garlic-eaters!
  • Cominius. He will shake
    Your Rome about your ears.
  • Menenius Agrippa. As Hercules
    Did shake down mellow fruit. 3140
    You have made fair work!
  • Cominius. Ay; and you'll look pale
    Before you find it other. All the regions
    Do smilingly revolt; and who resist 3145
    Are mock'd for valiant ignorance,
    And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
    Your enemies and his find something in him.
  • Cominius. Who shall ask it?
    The tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
    Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
    Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
    Should say 'Be good to Rome,' they charged him even 3155
    As those should do that had deserved his hate,
    And therein show'd like enemies.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 'Tis true:
    If he were putting to my house the brand
    That should consume it, I have not the face 3160
    To say 'Beseech you, cease.' You have made fair hands,
    You and your crafts! you have crafted fair!
  • Cominius. You have brought
    A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
    So incapable of help. 3165
  • Menenius Agrippa. How! Was it we? we loved him but, like beasts
    And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
    Who did hoot him out o' the city.
  • Cominius. But I fear 3170
    They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
    The second name of men, obeys his points
    As if he were his officer: desperation
    Is all the policy, strength and defence,
    That Rome can make against them. 3175

[Enter a troop of Citizens]

  • Menenius Agrippa. Here come the clusters.
    And is Aufidius with him? You are they
    That made the air unwholesome, when you cast
    Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at 3180
    Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming;
    And not a hair upon a soldier's head
    Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs
    As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
    And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter; 3185
    if he could burn us all into one coal,
    We have deserved it.
  • First Citizen. For mine own part,
    When I said, banish him, I said 'twas pity. 3190
  • Third Citizen. And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very
    many of us: that we did, we did for the best; and
    though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet
    it was against our will. 3195
  • Cominius. Ye re goodly things, you voices!
  • Menenius Agrippa. You have made
    Good work, you and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?


  • Sicinius Velutus. Go, masters, get you home; be not dismay'd:
    These are a side that would be glad to have
    This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
    And show no sign of fear.
  • First Citizen. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. 3205
    I ever said we were i' the wrong when we banished

[Exeunt Citizens]

  • Junius Brutus. Let's to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
    Would buy this for a lie!


. previous scene      

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