Open Source Shakespeare


Act V

Scene 1. Rome. A public place.

Scene 2. Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome.

Scene 3. The tent of Coriolanus.

Scene 4. Rome. A public place.

Scene 5. The same. A street near the gate.

Scene 6. Antium. A public place.

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Act V, Scene 1

Rome. A public place.



  • Menenius Agrippa. No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said
    Which was sometime his general; who loved him 3280
    In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
    But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him;
    A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
    The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
    To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home. 3285
  • Cominius. He would not seem to know me.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Do you hear?
  • Cominius. Yet one time he did call me by my name:
    I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
    That we have bled together. Coriolanus 3290
    He would not answer to: forbad all names;
    He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
    Till he had forged himself a name o' the fire
    Of burning Rome.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Why, so: you have made good work! 3295
    A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
    To make coals cheap,—a noble memory!
  • Cominius. I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
    When it was less expected: he replied,
    It was a bare petition of a state 3300
    To one whom they had punish'd.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Very well:
    Could he say less?
  • Cominius. I offer'd to awaken his regard
    For's private friends: his answer to me was, 3305
    He could not stay to pick them in a pile
    Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
    For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
    And still to nose the offence.
  • Menenius Agrippa. For one poor grain or two! 3310
    I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
    And this brave fellow too, we are the grains:
    You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
    Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your aid 3315
    In this so never-needed help, yet do not
    Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you
    Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
    More than the instant army we can make,
    Might stop our countryman. 3320
  • Menenius Agrippa. No, I'll not meddle.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Pray you, go to him.
  • Menenius Agrippa. What should I do?
  • Junius Brutus. Only make trial what your love can do
    For Rome, towards CORIOLANUS. 3325
  • Menenius Agrippa. Well, and say that CORIOLANUS
    Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
    Unheard; what then?
    But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
    With his unkindness? say't be so? 3330
  • Sicinius Velutus. Yet your good will
    must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
    As you intended well.
  • Menenius Agrippa. I'll undertake 't:
    I think he'll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip 3335
    And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me.
    He was not taken well; he had not dined:
    The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
    We pout upon the morning, are unapt
    To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd 3340
    These and these conveyances of our blood
    With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
    Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him
    Till he be dieted to my request,
    And then I'll set upon him. 3345
  • Junius Brutus. You know the very road into his kindness,
    And cannot lose your way.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Good faith, I'll prove him,
    Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
    Of my success. 3350


  • Cominius. He'll never hear him.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Not?
  • Cominius. I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
    Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury 3355
    The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
    'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise;' dismiss'd me
    Thus, with his speechless hand: what he would do,
    He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
    Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions: 3360
    So that all hope is vain.
    Unless his noble mother, and his wife;
    Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
    For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,
    And with our fair entreaties haste them on. 3365



Act V, Scene 2

Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome.


Two Sentinels on guard.

[Enter to them, MENENIUS]

  • First Senator. Stay: whence are you?
  • Second Senator. Stand, and go back. 3370
  • Menenius Agrippa. You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your leave,
    I am an officer of state, and come
    To speak with Coriolanus.
  • First Senator. From whence?
  • Menenius Agrippa. From Rome. 3375
  • First Senator. You may not pass, you must return: our general
    Will no more hear from thence.
  • Second Senator. You'll see your Rome embraced with fire before
    You'll speak with Coriolanus.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Good my friends, 3380
    If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
    And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks,
    My name hath touch'd your ears it is Menenius.
  • First Senator. Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name
    Is not here passable. 3385
  • Menenius Agrippa. I tell thee, fellow,
    The general is my lover: I have been
    The book of his good acts, whence men have read
    His name unparallel'd, haply amplified;
    For I have ever verified my friends, 3390
    Of whom he's chief, with all the size that verity
    Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes,
    Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground,
    I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise
    Have almost stamp'd the leasing: therefore, fellow, 3395
    I must have leave to pass.
  • First Senator. Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his
    behalf as you have uttered words in your own, you
    should not pass here; no, though it were as virtuous
    to lie as to live chastely. Therefore, go back. 3400
  • Menenius Agrippa. Prithee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius,
    always factionary on the party of your general.
  • Second Senator. Howsoever you have been his liar, as you say you
    have, I am one that, telling true under him, must
    say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back. 3405
  • Menenius Agrippa. Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would not
    speak with him till after dinner.
  • First Senator. You are a Roman, are you?
  • Menenius Agrippa. I am, as thy general is.
  • First Senator. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, 3410
    when you have pushed out your gates the very
    defender of them, and, in a violent popular
    ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to
    front his revenges with the easy groans of old
    women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with 3415
    the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant as
    you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the
    intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with
    such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived;
    therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your 3420
    execution: you are condemned, our general has sworn
    you out of reprieve and pardon.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would
    use me with estimation.
  • Second Senator. Come, my captain knows you not. 3425
  • Menenius Agrippa. I mean, thy general.
  • First Senator. My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go; lest
    I let forth your half-pint of blood; back,—that's
    the utmost of your having: back.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Nay, but, fellow, fellow,— 3430


  • Coriolanus. What's the matter?
  • Menenius Agrippa. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you:
    You shall know now that I am in estimation; you shall
    perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from 3435
    my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment
    with him, if thou standest not i' the state of
    hanging, or of some death more long in
    spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now
    presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee. 3440
    The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy
    particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than
    thy old father Menenius does! O my son, my son!
    thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's 3445
    water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to
    thee; but being assured none but myself could move
    thee, I have been blown out of your gates with
    sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy
    petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage thy 3450
    wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet
    here,—this, who, like a block, hath denied my
    access to thee.
  • Coriolanus. Away!
  • Menenius Agrippa. How! away! 3455
  • Coriolanus. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
    Are servanted to others: though I owe
    My revenge properly, my remission lies
    In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
    Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather 3460
    Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone.
    Mine ears against your suits are stronger than
    Your gates against my force. Yet, for I loved thee,
    Take this along; I writ it for thy sake
    [Gives a letter] 3465
    And would have rent it. Another word, Menenius,
    I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius,
    Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st!
  • Tullus Aufidius. You keep a constant temper.


  • First Senator. Now, sir, is your name Menenius?
  • Second Senator. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know the
    way home again.
  • First Senator. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your
    greatness back? 3475
  • Second Senator. What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?
  • Menenius Agrippa. I neither care for the world nor your general: for
    such things as you, I can scarce think there's any,
    ye're so slight. He that hath a will to die by
    himself fears it not from another: let your general 3480
    do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and
    your misery increase with your age! I say to you,
    as I was said to, Away!


  • First Senator. A noble fellow, I warrant him. 3485
  • Second Senator. The worthy fellow is our general: he's the rock, the
    oak not to be wind-shaken.



Act V, Scene 3

The tent of Coriolanus.


[Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others]

  • Coriolanus. We will before the walls of Rome tomorrow 3490
    Set down our host. My partner in this action,
    You must report to the Volscian lords, how plainly
    I have borne this business.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Only their ends
    You have respected; stopp'd your ears against 3495
    The general suit of Rome; never admitted
    A private whisper, no, not with such friends
    That thought them sure of you.
  • Coriolanus. This last old man,
    Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome, 3500
    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 3505
    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? 3510
    [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] 3515
    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. 3520
    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 3525
    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 3530
    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. 3535
  • Coriolanus. Like a dull actor now,
    I have forgot my part, and I am out,
    Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
    Forgive my tyranny; but do not say
    For that 'Forgive our Romans.' O, a kiss 3540
    Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
    Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
    I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
    Hath virgin'd it e'er since. You gods! I prate,
    And the most noble mother of the world 3545
    Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i' the earth;
    Of thy deep duty more impression show
    Than that of common sons.
  • Volumnia. O, stand up blest! 3550
    Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,
    I kneel before thee; and unproperly
    Show duty, as mistaken all this while
    Between the child and parent.


  • Coriolanus. What is this?
    Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
    Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
    Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
    Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun; 3560
    Murdering impossibility, to make
    What cannot be, slight work.
  • Volumnia. Thou art my warrior;
    I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
  • Coriolanus. The noble sister of Publicola, 3565
    The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
    That's curdied by the frost from purest snow
    And hangs on Dian's temple: dear Valeria!
  • Volumnia. This is a poor epitome of yours,
    Which by the interpretation of full time 3570
    May show like all yourself.
  • Coriolanus. The god of soldiers,
    With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
    Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou mayst prove
    To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars 3575
    Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
    And saving those that eye thee!
  • Volumnia. Your knee, sirrah.
  • Coriolanus. That's my brave boy!
  • Volumnia. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself, 3580
    Are suitors to you.
  • Coriolanus. I beseech you, peace:
    Or, if you'ld ask, remember this before:
    The thing I have forsworn to grant may never
    Be held by you denials. Do not bid me 3585
    Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
    Again with Rome's mechanics: tell me not
    Wherein I seem unnatural: desire not
    To ally my rages and revenges with
    Your colder reasons. 3590
  • Volumnia. O, no more, no more!
    You have said you will not grant us any thing;
    For we have nothing else to ask, but that
    Which you deny already: yet we will ask;
    That, if you fail in our request, the blame 3595
    May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us.
  • Coriolanus. Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for we'll
    Hear nought from Rome in private. Your request?
  • Volumnia. Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment
    And state of bodies would bewray what life 3600
    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 3605
    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 3610
    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, 3615
    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 3620
    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, 3625
    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— 3630
    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. 3635
  • Young Coriolanus. A' shall not tread on me;
    I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
  • Coriolanus. Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
    Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
    I have sat too long. 3640


  • Volumnia. Nay, go not from us thus.
    If it were so that our request did tend
    To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
    The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us, 3645
    As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit
    Is that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
    May say 'This mercy we have show'd;' the Romans,
    'This we received;' and each in either side
    Give the all-hail to thee and cry 'Be blest 3650
    For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great son,
    The end of war's uncertain, but this certain,
    That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
    Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name,
    Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses; 3655
    Whose chronicle thus writ: 'The man was noble,
    But with his last attempt he wiped it out;
    Destroy'd his country, and his name remains
    To the ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me, son:
    Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour, 3660
    To imitate the graces of the gods;
    To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air,
    And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
    That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
    Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man 3665
    Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you:
    He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy:
    Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
    Than can our reasons. There's no man in the world
    More bound to 's mother; yet here he lets me prate 3670
    Like one i' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
    Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,
    When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
    Has cluck'd thee to the wars and safely home,
    Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust, 3675
    And spurn me back: but if it be not so,
    Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,
    That thou restrain'st from me the duty which
    To a mother's part belongs. He turns away:
    Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees. 3680
    To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride
    Than pity to our prayers. Down: an end;
    This is the last: so we will home to Rome,
    And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold 's:
    This boy, that cannot tell what he would have 3685
    But kneels and holds up bands for fellowship,
    Does reason our petition with more strength
    Than thou hast to deny 't. Come, let us go:
    This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
    His wife is in Corioli and his child 3690
    Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch:
    I am hush'd until our city be a-fire,
    And then I'll speak a little.

[He holds her by the hand, silent]

  • Coriolanus. O mother, mother! 3695
    What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
    The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
    They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
    You have won a happy victory to Rome;
    But, for your son,—believe it, O, believe it, 3700
    Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
    If not most mortal to him. But, let it come.
    Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
    I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
    Were you in my stead, would you have heard 3705
    A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?
  • Tullus Aufidius. I was moved withal.
  • Coriolanus. I dare be sworn you were:
    And, sir, it is no little thing to make
    Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir, 3710
    What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part,
    I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you,
    Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife!
  • Tullus Aufidius. [Aside] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and
    thy honour 3715
    At difference in thee: out of that I'll work
    Myself a former fortune.

[The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS]

  • Coriolanus. Ay, by and by;
    [To VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, &c] 3720
    But we will drink together; and you shall bear
    A better witness back than words, which we,
    On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd.
    Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
    To have a temple built you: all the swords 3725
    In Italy, and her confederate arms,
    Could not have made this peace.



Act V, Scene 4

Rome. A public place.



  • Menenius Agrippa. See you yond coign o' the Capitol, yond 3730
  • Sicinius Velutus. Why, what of that?
  • Menenius Agrippa. If it be possible for you to displace it with your
    little finger, there is some hope the ladies of
    Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him. 3735
    But I say there is no hope in't: our throats are
    sentenced and stay upon execution.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Is't possible that so short a time can alter the
    condition of a man!
  • Menenius Agrippa. There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; 3740
    yet your butterfly was a grub. This CORIOLANUS is grown
    from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a
    creeping thing.
  • Sicinius Velutus. He loved his mother dearly.
  • Menenius Agrippa. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother 3745
    now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness
    of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he
    moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before
    his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with
    his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a 3750
    battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for
    Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with
    his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity
    and a heaven to throne in.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly. 3755
  • Menenius Agrippa. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his
    mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy
    in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that
    shall our poor city find: and all this is long of
    you. 3760
  • Sicinius Velutus. The gods be good unto us!
  • Menenius Agrippa. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto
    us. When we banished him, we respected not them;
    and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Sir, if you'ld save your life, fly to your house:
    The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune
    And hale him up and down, all swearing, if
    The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
    They'll give him death by inches. 3770

[Enter a second Messenger]

  • Sicinius Velutus. What's the news?
  • Second Messenger. Good news, good news; the ladies have prevail'd,
    The Volscians are dislodged, and CORIOLANUS gone:
    A merrier day did never yet greet Rome, 3775
    No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Friend,
    Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain?
  • Second Messenger. As certain as I know the sun is fire:
    Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it? 3780
    Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,
    As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you!
    [Trumpets; hautboys; drums beat; all together]
    The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes,
    Tabours and cymbals and the shouting Romans, 3785
    Make the sun dance. Hark you!

[A shout within]

  • Menenius Agrippa. This is good news:
    I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
    Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians, 3790
    A city full; of tribunes, such as you,
    A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
    This morning for ten thousand of your throats
    I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!

[Music still, with shouts]

  • Sicinius Velutus. First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
    Accept my thankfulness.
  • Second Messenger. Sir, we have all
    Great cause to give great thanks.
  • Sicinius Velutus. They are near the city? 3800
  • Second Messenger. Almost at point to enter.
  • Sicinius Velutus. We will meet them,
    And help the joy.



Act V, Scene 5

The same. A street near the gate.


[Enter two Senators with VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA,] [p]VALERIA, &c. passing over the stage, [p]followed by Patricians and others]

  • First Senator. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!
    Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
    And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them: 3810
    Unshout the noise that banish'd CORIOLANUS,
    Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
    Cry 'Welcome, ladies, welcome!'
  • All. Welcome, ladies, Welcome!

[A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt]


Act V, Scene 6

Antium. A public place.


[Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants]

  • Tullus Aufidius. Go tell the lords o' the city I am here:
    Deliver them this paper: having read it,
    Bid them repair to the market place; where I,
    Even in theirs and in the commons' ears, 3820
    Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
    The city ports by this hath enter'd and
    Intends to appear before the people, hoping
    To purge herself with words: dispatch.
    [Exeunt Attendants] 3825
    [Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' faction]
    Most welcome!
  • First Conspirator. How is it with our general?
  • Tullus Aufidius. Even so
    As with a man by his own alms empoison'd, 3830
    And with his charity slain.
  • Second Conspirator. Most noble sir,
    If you do hold the same intent wherein
    You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
    Of your great danger. 3835
  • Tullus Aufidius. Sir, I cannot tell:
    We must proceed as we do find the people.
  • Third Conspirator. The people will remain uncertain whilst
    'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
    Makes the survivor heir of all. 3840
  • Tullus Aufidius. I know it;
    And my pretext to strike at him admits
    A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd
    Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,
    He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery, 3845
    Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,
    He bow'd his nature, never known before
    But to be rough, unswayable and free.
  • Third Conspirator. Sir, his stoutness
    When he did stand for consul, which he lost 3850
    By lack of stooping,—
  • Tullus Aufidius. That I would have spoke of:
    Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
    Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
    Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way 3855
    In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
    Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
    My best and freshest men; served his designments
    In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
    Which he did end all his; and took some pride 3860
    To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
    I seem'd his follower, not partner, and
    He waged me with his countenance, as if
    I had been mercenary.
  • First Conspirator. So he did, my lord: 3865
    The army marvell'd at it, and, in the last,
    When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
    For no less spoil than glory,—
  • Tullus Aufidius. There was it:
    For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him. 3870
    At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
    As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
    Of our great action: therefore shall he die,
    And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
    [Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of] 3875
    the People]
  • First Conspirator. Your native town you enter'd like a post,
    And had no welcomes home: but he returns,
    Splitting the air with noise.
  • Second Conspirator. And patient fools, 3880
    Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
    With giving him glory.
  • Third Conspirator. Therefore, at your vantage,
    Ere he express himself, or move the people
    With what he would say, let him feel your sword, 3885
    Which we will second. When he lies along,
    After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
    His reasons with his body.
  • Tullus Aufidius. Say no more:
    Here come the lords. 3890

[Enter the Lords of the city]

  • All Lords. You are most welcome home.
  • Tullus Aufidius. I have not deserved it.
    But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
    What I have written to you? 3895
  • All Lords. We have.
  • First Lord. And grieve to hear't.
    What faults he made before the last, I think
    Might have found easy fines: but there to end
    Where he was to begin and give away 3900
    The benefit of our levies, answering us
    With our own charge, making a treaty where
    There was a yielding,—this admits no excuse.
  • Tullus Aufidius. He approaches: you shall hear him.
    [Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and] 3905
    colours; commoners being with him]
  • Coriolanus. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
    No more infected with my country's love
    Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
    Under your great command. You are to know 3910
    That prosperously I have attempted and
    With bloody passage led your wars even to
    The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home
    Do more than counterpoise a full third part
    The charges of the action. We have made peace 3915
    With no less honour to the Antiates
    Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,
    Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,
    Together with the seal o' the senate, what
    We have compounded on. 3920
  • Tullus Aufidius. Read it not, noble lords;
    But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
    He hath abused your powers.
  • Coriolanus. Traitor! how now!
  • Tullus Aufidius. Ay, traitor, CORIOLANUS! 3925
  • Coriolanus. CORIOLANUS!
  • Tullus Aufidius. Ay, CORIOLANUS, Caius CORIOLANUS: dost thou think
    I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
    Coriolanus in Corioli?
    You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously 3930
    He has betray'd your business, and given up,
    For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,
    I say 'your city,' to his wife and mother;
    Breaking his oath and resolution like
    A twist of rotten silk, never admitting 3935
    Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears
    He whined and roar'd away your victory,
    That pages blush'd at him and men of heart
    Look'd wondering each at other.
  • Coriolanus. Hear'st thou, Mars? 3940
  • Tullus Aufidius. Name not the god, thou boy of tears!
  • Coriolanus. Ha!
  • Tullus Aufidius. No more.
  • Coriolanus. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
    Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave! 3945
    Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
    I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
    Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion—
    Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that
    Must bear my beating to his grave—shall join 3950
    To thrust the lie unto him.
  • First Lord. Peace, both, and hear me speak.
  • Coriolanus. Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
    Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!
    If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there, 3955
    That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
    Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
    Alone I did it. Boy!
  • Tullus Aufidius. Why, noble lords,
    Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune, 3960
    Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
    'Fore your own eyes and ears?
  • All Conspirators. Let him die for't.
  • All The People. 'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do it presently.' 'He kill'd
    my son.' 'My daughter.' 'He killed my cousin 3965
    Marcus.' 'He killed my father.'
  • Second Lord. Peace, ho! no outrage: peace!
    The man is noble and his fame folds-in
    This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
    Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius, 3970
    And trouble not the peace.
  • Coriolanus. O that I had him,
    With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
    To use my lawful sword!
  • Tullus Aufidius. Insolent villain! 3975
  • All Conspirators. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
    [The Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS:]
    AUFIDIUS stands on his body]
  • All Lords. Hold, hold, hold, hold!
  • Tullus Aufidius. My noble masters, hear me speak. 3980
  • First Lord. O Tullus,—
  • Second Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
  • Third Lord. Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
    Put up your swords.
  • Tullus Aufidius. My lords, when you shall know—as in this rage, 3985
    Provoked by him, you cannot—the great danger
    Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
    That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
    To call me to your senate, I'll deliver
    Myself your loyal servant, or endure 3990
    Your heaviest censure.
  • First Lord. Bear from hence his body;
    And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
    As the most noble corse that ever herald
    Did follow to his urn. 3995
  • Second Lord. His own impatience
    Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
    Let's make the best of it.
  • Tullus Aufidius. My rage is gone;
    And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up. 4000
    Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
    Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:
    Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
    Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
    Which to this hour bewail the injury, 4005
    Yet he shall have a noble memory. Assist.

[Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead march sounded]