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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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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. 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