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Act V, Scene 4

Rome. A public place.



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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]

  • 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.
  • 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.