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And now for KickAss Shakespeare's presentation of
Act I. Scene I. Rome. A street
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons
Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?
First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.
We know't, we know't.
Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price.
Is't a verdict?
No more talking on't; let it be done: away, away!
One word, good citizens.
We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they
would yield us but the superfluity, while it were
wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely;
but they think we are too dear: the leanness that
afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
inventory to particularise their abundance; our
sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this with
our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I20
speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
Against him first: he's a very dog to the commonalty.
Consider you what services he has done for his country?
Very well; and could be content to give him good
report fort, but that he pays himself with being proud.
Nay, but speak not maliciously.
I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did
it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can be
content to say it was for his country he did it to30
please his mother and to be partly proud; which he
is, even till the altitude of his virtue.
What he cannot help in his nature, you account a
vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;
he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition.
What shouts are these? The other side o' the city
is risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!
Soft! who comes here?
Enter Menenius Agrippa
Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved
He's one honest enough: would all the rest were so!
What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where go you
With bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray you.
Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have
had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do,
which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say poor
suitors have strong breaths: they shall know we
have strong arms too.
Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
Against the Roman state, whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder than can ever60
Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you, and you slander
The helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.
Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er cared for us
yet: suffer us to famish, and their store-houses
crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to70
support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act
established against the rich, and provide more
piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain
the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and
there's all the love they bear us.
Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale: it may be you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture80
To stale 't a little more.
Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to
fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an 't please
There was a time when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly, thus accused it:
That only like a gulf it did remain
I' the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest, where the other instruments90
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answer'd--
Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus--
For, look you, I may make the belly smile
As well as speak--it tauntingly replied
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts100
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators for that
They are not such as you.
Your belly's answer? What!
The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter.
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabric, if that they--
'Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? what then?
Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,
Who is the sink o' the body,--
Well, what then?
The former agents, if they did complain,
What could the belly answer?
I will tell you
If you'll bestow a small--of what you have little--
Patience awhile, you'll hear the belly's answer.
Ye're long about it.
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd:
'True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he,
'That I receive the general food at first,
Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the store-house and the shop
Of the whole body: but, if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o' the brain;130
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
You, my good friends,'--this says the belly, mark me,--
Ay, sir; well, well.
'Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,140
And leave me but the bran.' What say you to't?
It was an answer: how apply you this?
The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members; for examine
Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
Touching the weal o' the common, you shall find
No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you
And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
You, the great toe of this assembly?
I the great toe! why the great toe?
For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest,
Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost:
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
Lead'st first to win some vantage.
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs:
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
The one side must have bale.
Enter Caius Marcius
Hail, noble Marcius!
Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,160
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?
We have ever your good word.
He that will give good words to thee will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,170
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him
And curse that justice did it.
Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust Ye?
With every minute you do change a mind,180
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter,
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another? What's their seeking?
For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
The city is well stored.
Hang 'em! They say!
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know190
What's done i' the Capitol; who's like to rise,
Who thrives and who declines; side factions
and give out
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong
And feebling such as stand not in their liking
Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I'll make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high200
As I could pick my lance.
Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
What says the other troop?
They are dissolved: hang 'em!
They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs,
That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
Corn for the rich men only: with these shreds210
They vented their complainings; which being answer'd,
And a petition granted them, a strange one--
To break the heart of generosity,
And make bold power look pale--they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon,
Shouting their emulation.
What is granted them?
Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice: one's Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not--'Sdeath!220
The rabble should have first unroof'd the city,
Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.
This is strange.
Go, get you home, you fragments!
Enter a Messenger, hastily
Where's Caius Marcius?
Here: what's the matter?
The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
I am glad on 't: then we shall ha' means to vent230
Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.
Enter Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators; Junius Brutus and Sicinius Velutus
Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us;
The Volsces are in arms.
They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to 't.
I sin in envying his nobility,
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.
You have fought together.
Were half to half the world by the ears and he.240
Upon my party, I'ld revolt to make
Only my wars with him: he is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
It is your former promise.
Sir, it is;
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?
No, Caius Marcius;
I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other,
Ere stay behind this business.
Your company to the Capitol; where, I know,
Our greatest friends attend us.
[To Cominius] Lead you on.
Right worthy you priority.
[To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be gone!
Nay, let them follow:
The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but Sicinius and Brutus
Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
He has no equal.
When we were chosen tribunes for the people,--
Mark'd you his lip and eyes?
Nay. but his taunts.
Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.
Be-mock the modest moon.
The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.
Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Fame, at the which he aims,
In whom already he's well graced, can not280
Better be held nor more attain'd than by
A place below the first: for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man, and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius 'O if he
Had borne the business!'
Besides, if things go well,
Opinion that so sticks on Marcius shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.
Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius.
Though Marcius earned them not, and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed
In aught he merit not.
Let's hence, and hear
How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
More than his singularity, he goes
Upon this present action.
Act I. Scene II. Corioli. The Senate-house
Enter Tullus Aufidius and certain Senators
So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are entered in our counsels
And know how we proceed.
Is it not yours?
What ever have been thought on in this state,
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think
I have the letter here; yes, here it is.
'They have press'd a power, but it is not known
Whether for east or west: the dearth is great;
The people mutinous; and it is rumour'd,
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither 'tis bent: most likely 'tis for you:
Consider of it.'
Our army's in the field20
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
To answer us.
Nor did you think it folly
To keep your great pretences veil'd till when
They needs must show themselves; which
in the hatching,
It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery.
We shall be shorten'd in our aim, which was
To take in many towns ere almost Rome
Should know we were afoot.
Take your commission; hie you to your bands:
Let us alone to guard Corioli:
If they set down before 's, for the remove
Bring your army; but, I think, you'll find
They've not prepared for us.
O, doubt not that;
I speak from certainties. Nay, more,
Some parcels of their power are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your honours.40
If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,
'Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
Till one can do no more.
The gods assist you!
And keep your honours safe!
Act I. Scene III. Rome. A room in Marcius' house
Enter Volumnia and Virgilia they set them down on two low stools, and sew
I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a
more comfortable sort: if my son were my husband, I
should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he
won honour than in the embracements of his bed where
he would show most love. When yet he was but
tender-bodied and the only son of my womb, when
youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when
for a day of kings' entreaties a mother should not
sell him an hour from her beholding, I, considering10
how honour would become such a person. that it was
no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if
renown made it not stir, was pleased to let him seek
danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel
war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows
bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not
more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child
than now in first seeing he had proved himself a
But had he died in the business, madam; how then?
Then his good report should have been my son; I
therein would have found issue. Hear me profess
sincerely: had I a dozen sons, each in my love
alike and none less dear than thine and my good
Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their
country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Enter a Gentlewoman
Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.
Indeed, you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum,30
See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair,
As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him:
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
'Come on, you cowards! you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome:' his bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes,
Like to a harvest-man that's task'd to mow
Or all or lose his hire.
His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!
Away, you fool! it more becomes a man40
Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.
Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
He'll beat Aufidius 'head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.
Enter Valeria, with an Usher and Gentlewoman
My ladies both, good day to you.
I am glad to see your ladyship.
How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers.
What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good
faith. How does your little son?
I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.
He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than
look upon his school-master.
O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear,'tis a
very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o'
Wednesday half an hour together: has such a60
confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded
butterfly: and when he caught it, he let it go
again; and after it again; and over and over he
comes, and again; catched it again; or whether his
fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his
teeth and tear it; O, I warrant it, how he mammocked
One on 's father's moods.
Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.
A crack, madam.
Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play
the idle husewife with me this afternoon.
No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
Not out of doors!
She shall, she shall.
Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the
threshold till my lord return from the wars.
Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably: come,
you must go visit the good lady that lies in.
I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with80
my prayers; but I cannot go thither.
Why, I pray you?
'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.
You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all
the yarn she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill
Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would your cambric
were sensible as your finger, that you might leave
pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.
In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you90
excellent news of your husband.
O, good madam, there can be none yet.
Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from
him last night.
In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it.
Thus it is: the Volsces have an army forth; against
whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of
our Roman power: your lord and Titus Lartius are set
down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt100
prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true,
on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every
Let her alone, lady: as she is now, she will but
disease our better mirth.
In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then.
Come, good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy
solemness out o' door. and go along with us.
No, at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish110
you much mirth.
Well, then, farewell.
Act I. Scene IV. Before Corioli
Enter, with drum and colours, Marcius, Titus Lartius, Captains and Soldiers. To them a Messenger
Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.
My horse to yours, no.
Say, has our general met the enemy?
They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.
So, the good horse is mine.
I'll buy him of you.
No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I will10
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
How far off lie these armies?
Within this mile and half.
Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.
They sound a parley. Enter two Senators with others on the walls
Tutus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
No, nor a man that fears you less than he,
That's lesser than a little.
Drums afar off
Hark! our drums
Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls,
Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we, have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves.
Alarum afar off
Hark you. far off!
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
O, they are at it!
Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!
Enter the army of the Volsces
They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields. Advance,
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
He that retires I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.
Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches. Enter Marcius cursing
All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! you herd of--Boils and plagues40
Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
And make my wars on you: look to't: come on;
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,50
As they us to our trenches followed.
Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and Marcius follows them to the gates
So, now the gates are ope: now prove good seconds:
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.
Enters the gates
Fool-hardiness; not I.
Marcius is shut in
See, they have shut him in.
To the pot, I warrant him.
Enter Titus Lartius
What is become of Marcius?
Slain, sir, doubtless.
Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd to their gates: he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
O noble fellow!
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible70
Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou madst thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.
Enter Marcius, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.
They fight, and all Enter the city
Act I. Scene V. Corioli. A street
Enter certain Romans, with spoils
This will I carry to Rome.
And I this.
A murrain on't! I took this for silver.
Alarum continues still afar off
Enter Marcius and Titus Lartius with a trumpet
See here these movers that do prize their hours
At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
Ere yet the fight be done, pack up: down with them!
And hark, what noise the general makes! To him!10
There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius,
Piercing our Romans: then, valiant Titus, take
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.
Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
Thy exercise hath been too violent for
A second course of fight.
Sir, praise me not;
My work hath yet not warm'd me: fare you well:20
The blood I drop is rather physical
Than dangerous to me: to Aufidius thus
I will appear, and fight.
Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms
Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!
Thy friend no less
Than those she placeth highest! So, farewell.
Thou worthiest Marcius!
Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers o' the town,
Where they shall know our mind: away!
Act I. Scene VI. Near the camp of Cominius
Enter Cominius, as it were in retire, with soldiers
Breathe you, my friends: well fought;
we are come off
Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs,
We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck,
By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
The charges of our friends. Ye Roman gods!
Lead their successes as we wish our own,
That both our powers, with smiling10
May give you thankful sacrifice.
Enter a Messenger
The citizens of Corioli have issued,
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle:
I saw our party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.
Though thou speak'st truth,
Methinks thou speak'st not well.
How long is't since?
Above an hour, my lord.
'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?
Spies of the Volsces
Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
Three or four miles about, else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.
That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods30
He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have
Before-time seen him thus.
[Within] Come I too late?
The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour
More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
From every meaner man.
Come I too late?
Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
But mantled in your own.
O, let me clip ye40
In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart
As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn'd to bedward!
Flower of warriors,
How is it with Titus Lartius?
As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,50
To let him slip at will.
Where is that slave
Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
Where is he? call him hither.
Let him alone;
He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen,
The common file--a plague! tribunes for them!--
The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
From rascals worse than they.
But how prevail'd you?
Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?
We have at disadvantage fought and did
Retire to win our purpose.
How lies their battle? know you on which side
They have placed their men of trust?
As I guess, Marcius,
Their bands i' the vaward are the Antiates,70
Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of hope.
I do beseech you,
By all the battles wherein we have fought,
By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
We have made to endure friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
We prove this very hour.
Though I could wish
You were conducted to a gentle bath
And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never
Deny your asking: take your choice of those
That best can aid your action.
Those are they
That most are willing. If any such be here--
As it were sin to doubt--that love this painting
Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear
Lesser his person than an ill report;90
If any think brave death outweighs bad life
And that his country's dearer than himself;
Let him alone, or so many so minded,
Wave thus, to express his disposition,
And follow Marcius.
They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in their arms, and cast up their caps
O, me alone! make you a sword of me?
If these shows be not outward, which of you
But is four Volsces? none of you but is
Able to bear against the great Aufidius
A shield as hard as his. A certain number,100
Though thanks to all, must I select
from all: the rest
Shall bear the business in some other fight,
As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march;
And four shall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are best inclined.
March on, my fellows:
Make good this ostentation, and you shall
Divide in all with us.
Act I. Scene VII. The gates of Corioli
Titus Lartius, having set a guard upon Corioli, going with drum and trumpet toward Cominius and CAIUS Marcius, enters with Lieutenant, other Soldiers, and a Scout
So, let the ports be guarded: keep your duties,
As I have set them down. If I do send, dispatch
Those centuries to our aid: the rest will serve
For a short holding: if we lose the field,
We cannot keep the town.
Fear not our care, sir.
Hence, and shut your gates upon's.
Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us.
Act I. Scene VIII. A field of battle
Alarum as in battle. Enter, from opposite sides, Marcius and Aufidius
I'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee
Worse than a promise-breaker.
We hate alike:
Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor
More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.
Let the first budger die the other's slave,
And the gods doom him after!
If I fly, Marcius,
Holloa me like a hare.
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
And made what work I pleased: 'tis not my blood
Wherein thou seest me mask'd; for thy revenge
Wrench up thy power to the highest.
Wert thou the Hector
That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,
Thou shouldst not scape me here.
They fight, and certain Volsces come to the aid of Aufidius. Marcius fights till they be driven in breathless
Officious, and not valiant, you have shamed me
In your condemned seconds.
Act I. Scene IX. The Roman camp
Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter, from one side, Cominius with the Romans; from the other side, Marcius, with his arm in a scarf
If I should tell thee o'er this thy day's work,
Thou'ldst not believe thy deeds: but I'll report it
Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles,
Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
I' the end admire, where ladies shall be frighted,
And, gladly quaked, hear more; where the
That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,
Shall say against their hearts 'We thank the gods10
Our Rome hath such a soldier.'
Yet camest thou to a morsel of this feast,
Having fully dined before.
Enter Titus Lartius, with his power, from the pursuit
Here is the steed, we the caparison:
Hadst thou beheld--
Pray now, no more: my mother,
Who has a charter to extol her blood,
When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
As you have done; that's what I can; induced20
As you have been; that's for my country:
He that has but effected his good will
Hath overta'en mine act.
You shall not be
The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
The value of her own: 'twere a concealment
Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
To hide your doings; and to silence that,
Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch'd,
Would seem but modest: therefore, I beseech you30
In sign of what you are, not to reward
What you have done--before our army hear me.
I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
To hear themselves remember'd.
Should they not,
Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude,
And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses,
Whereof we have ta'en good and good store, of all
The treasure in this field achieved and city,
We render you the tenth, to be ta'en forth,40
Before the common distribution, at
Your only choice.
I thank you, general;
But cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
And stand upon my common part with those
That have beheld the doing.
A long flourish. They all cry 'Marcius! Marcius!' cast up their caps and lances: Cominius and Lartius stand bare
May these same instruments, which you profane,
Never sound more! when drums and trumpets shall
I' the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be50
Made all of false-faced soothing!
When steel grows soft as the parasite's silk,
Let him be made a coverture for the wars!
No more, I say! For that I have not wash'd
My nose that bled, or foil'd some debile wretch.--
Which, without note, here's many else have done,--
You shout me forth
In acclamations hyperbolical;
As if I loved my little should be dieted
In praises sauced with lies.
Too modest are you;
More cruel to your good report than grateful
To us that give you truly: by your patience,
If 'gainst yourself you be incensed, we'll put you,
Like one that means his proper harm, in manacles,
Then reason safely with you. Therefore, be it known,
As to us, to all the world, that Caius Marcius
Wears this war's garland: in token of the which,
My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
With all his trim belonging; and from this time,70
For what he did before Corioli, call him,
With all the applause and clamour of the host,
CAIUS Marcius Coriolanus! Bear
The addition nobly ever!
Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums
Caius Marcius Coriolanus!
I will go wash;
And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
Whether I blush or no: howbeit, I thank you.
I mean to stride your steed, and at all times
To undercrest your good addition80
To the fairness of my power.
So, to our tent;
Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
To Rome of our success. You, Titus Lartius,
Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
The best, with whom we may articulate,
For their own good and ours.
I shall, my lord.
The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg90
Of my lord general.
Take't; 'tis yours. What is't?
I sometime lay here in Corioli
At a poor man's house; he used me kindly:
He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was with in my view,
And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity: I request you
To give my poor host freedom.
O, well begg'd!
Were he the butcher of my son, he should100
Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.
Marcius, his name?
By Jupiter! forgot.
I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
Have we no wine here?
Go we to our tent:
The blood upon your visage dries; 'tis time
It should be look'd to: come.
Act I. Scene X. The camp of the Volsces
A flourish. Cornets. Enter Tullus Aufidius, bloody, with two or three Soldiers
The town is ta'en!
'Twill be deliver'd back on good condition.
I would I were a Roman; for I cannot,
Being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition!
What good condition can a treaty find
I' the part that is at mercy? Five times, Marcius,
I have fought with thee: so often hast thou beat me,
And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter10
As often as we eat. By the elements,
If e'er again I meet him beard to beard,
He's mine, or I am his: mine emulation
Hath not that honour in't it had; for where
I thought to crush him in an equal force,
True sword to sword, I'll potch at him some way
Or wrath or craft may get him.
He's the devil.
Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour's poison'd
With only suffering stain by him; for him20
Shall fly out of itself: nor sleep nor sanctuary,
Being naked, sick, nor fane nor Capitol,
The prayers of priests nor times of sacrifice,
Embarquements all of fury, shall lift up
Their rotten privilege and custom 'gainst
My hate to Marcius: where I find him, were it
At home, upon my brother's guard, even there,
Against the hospitable canon, would I
Wash my fierce hand in's heart. Go you to the city;
Learn how 'tis held; and what they are that must30
Be hostages for Rome.
Will not you go?
I am attended at the cypress grove: I pray you--
'Tis south the city mills--bring me word thither
How the world goes, that to the pace of it
I may spur on my journey.
I shall, sir.
Act II. Scene I. Rome. A public place
Enter Menenius with the two Tribunes of the people, Sicinius and Brutus.
The augurer tells me we shall have news today.
Good or bad?
Not according to the prayer of the people, for they
love not Marcius.
Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
Pray you, who does the wolf love?
Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the
He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.
He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two
are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.
In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you two
have not in abundance?
He's poor in no one fault, but stored with all.
Especially in pride.
And topping all others in boasting.
This is strange now: do you two know how you are20
censured here in the city, I mean of us o' the
right-hand file? do you?
Why, how are we censured?
Because you talk of pride now,--will you not be angry?
Well, well, sir, well.
Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience:
give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at
your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a
pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius for30
We do it not alone, sir.
I know you can do very little alone; for your helps
are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous
single: your abilities are too infant-like for
doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you
could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
O that you could!
What then, sir?
Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as
any in Rome.
Menenius, you are known well enough too.
I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect in
favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like
upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
with the buttock of the night than with the forehead50
of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my
malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as
you are--I cannot call you Lycurguses--if the drink
you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a
crooked face at it. I can't say your worships have
delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in
compound with the major part of your syllables: and
though I must be content to bear with those that say
you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that
tell you you have good faces. If you see this in60
the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
well enough too? what barm can your bisson
conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
known well enough too?
Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing. You
are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs: you
wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a
cause between an orange wife and a fosset-seller;
and then rejourn the controversy of three pence to a70
second day of audience. When you are hearing a
matter between party and party, if you chance to be
pinched with the colic, you make faces like
mummers; set up the bloody flag against all
patience; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
dismiss the controversy bleeding the more entangled
by your hearing: all the peace you make in their
cause is, calling both the parties knaves. You are
a pair of strange ones.
Come, come, you are well understood to be a80
perfecter giber for the table than a necessary
bencher in the Capitol.
Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When
you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the
wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not
so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's
cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's pack-
saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud;
who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors90
since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the
best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to
your worships: more of your conversation would
infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly
plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.
Brutus and Sicinius go aside
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria
How now, my as fair as noble ladies,--and the moon,
were she earthly, no nobler,--whither do you follow
your eyes so fast?
Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for
the love of Juno, let's go.
Ha! Marcius coming home!
Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous
Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
Marcius coming home!
Look, here's a letter from him: the state hath
another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one
at home for you.
I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for110
Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw't.
A letter for me! it gives me an estate of seven
years' health; in which time I will make a lip at
the physician: the most sovereign prescription in
Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative,
of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.
O, no, no, no.
O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for't.
So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a'
victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.
On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
with the oaken garland.
Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?
Titus Lartius writes, they fought together, but
Aufidius got off.
And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that:
an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so
fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold130
that's in them. Is the senate possessed of this?
Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes; the senate
has letters from the general, wherein he gives my
son the whole name of the war: he hath in this
action outdone his former deeds doubly
In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.
Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
The gods grant them true!
True! pow, wow.
True! I'll be sworn they are true.
Where is he wounded?
To the Tribunes
God save your good worships! Marcius is coming
home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?
I' the shoulder and i' the left arm there will be
large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall
stand for his place. He received in the repulse of
Tarquin seven hurts i' the body.
One i' the neck, and two i' the thigh,--there's
nine that I know.
He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
wounds upon him.
Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.
A shout and flourish
Hark! the trumpets.
These are the ushers of Marcius: before him he
carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
Death, that dark spirit, in 's nervy arm doth lie;
Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.
A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter Cominius the general, and Titus Lartius; between them, Coriolanus, crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and Soldiers, and a Herald
Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,160
With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
In honour follows Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
No more of this; it does offend my heart:
Pray now, no more.
Look, sir, your mother!
You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
For my prosperity!
Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly named,--
What is it?--Coriolanus must I call thee?--
But O, thy wife!
My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
And mothers that lack sons.
Now, the gods crown thee!
And live you yet?
O my sweet lady, pardon.
I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
And welcome, general: and ye're welcome all.
A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
A curse begin at very root on's heart,
That is not glad to see thee! You are three
That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,190
We have some old crab-trees here
at home that will not
Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors:
We call a nettle but a nettle and
The faults of fools but folly.
Menenius ever, ever.
Give way there, and go on!
[To Volumnia and Virgilia] Your hand, and yours:
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,200
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have received not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.
I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy: only
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.
Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way,210
Than sway with them in theirs.
On, to the Capitol!
Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before. Brutus and Sicinius come forward
All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
Into a rapture lets her baby cry
While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
Clambering the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks, windows,
Are smother'd up, leads fill'd, and ridges horsed
With variable complexions, all agreeing220
In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
Do press among the popular throngs and puff
To win a vulgar station: or veil'd dames
Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the wanton spoil
Of Phoebus' burning kisses: such a pother
As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers
And gave him graceful posture.
On the sudden,230
I warrant him consul.
Then our office may,
During his power, go sleep.
He cannot temperately transport his honours
From where he should begin and end, but will
Lose those he hath won.
In that there's comfort.
The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
Upon their ancient malice will forget240
With the least cause these his new honours, which
That he will give them make I as little question
As he is proud to do't.
I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i' the market-place nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility;
Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To the people, beg their stinking breaths.
It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
And the desire of the nobles.
I wish no better
Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
'Tis most like he will.
It shall be to him then as our good wills,
A sure destruction.
So it must fall out260
To him or our authorities. For an end,
We must suggest the people in what hatred
He still hath held them; that to's power he would
Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders and
Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them,
In human action and capacity,
Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
Than camels in the war, who have their provand
Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
For sinking under them.
This, as you say, suggested
At some time when his soaring insolence
Shall touch the people--which time shall not want,
If he be put upon 't; and that's as easy
As to set dogs on sheep--will be his fire
To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
Shall darken him for ever.
Enter a Messenger
What's the matter?
You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
That Marcius shall be consul:280
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
The blind to bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he pass'd: the nobles bended,
As to Jove's statue, and the commons made
A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts:
I never saw the like.
Let's to the Capitol;
And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
But hearts for the event.
Have with you.
Act II. Scene II. The same. The Capitol
Enter two Officers, to lay cushions
Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one
Coriolanus will carry it.
That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, and
loves not the common people.
Faith, there had been many great men that have
flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and there
be many that they have loved, they know not10
wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why,
they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for
Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate
him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets
them plainly see't.
If he did not care whether he had their love or no,
he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither
good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater
devotion than can render it him; and leaves20
nothing undone that may fully discover him their
opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and
displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he
dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his
ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who,
having been supple and courteous to the people,
bonneted, without any further deed to have them at
an into their estimation and report: but he hath so
planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions30
in their hearts, that for their tongues to be
silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of
ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a
malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck
reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.
No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, they
A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, Cominius the consul, Menenius, Coriolanus, Senators, Sicinius and Brutus. The Senators take their places; the Tribunes take their Places by themselves. Coriolanus stands
Having determined of the Volsces and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
As the main point of this our after-meeting,40
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country: therefore,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul, and last general
In our well-found successes, to report
A little of that worthy work perform'd
By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom
We met here both to thank and to remember
With honours like himself.
Speak, good Cominius:
Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
Rather our state's defective for requital
Than we to stretch it out.
To the Tribunes
Masters o' the people,
We do request your kindest ears, and after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.
We are convented
Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts60
Inclinable to honour and advance
The theme of our assembly.
Which the rather
We shall be blest to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto prized them at.
That's off, that's off;
I would you rather had been silent. Please you
To hear Cominius speak?
But yet my caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give it.
He loves your people
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
Worthy Cominius, speak.
Coriolanus offers to go away
Nay, keep your place.
Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.
Your horror's pardon:
I had rather have my wounds to heal again80
Than hear say how I got them.
Sir, I hope
My words disbench'd you not.
No, sir: yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but
I love them as they weigh.
Pray now, sit down.
I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun90
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster'd.
Masters of the people,
Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter--
That's thousand to one good one--when you now see
He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
Than one on's ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.
I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be utter'd feebly. It is held
That valour is the chiefest virtue, and100
Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
The man I speak of cannot in the world
Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him: be bestrid
An o'er-press'd Roman and i' the consul's view
Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met,110
And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea,
And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers;
And by his rare example made the coward120
Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
And fell below his stem: his sword, death's stamp,
Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd
The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden reinforcement struck
Corioli like a planet: now all's his:130
When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce
His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
Re-quicken'd what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he; where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.
He cannot but with measure fit the honours140
Which we devise him.
Our spoils he kick'd at,
And look'd upon things precious as they were
The common muck of the world: he covets less
Than misery itself would give; rewards
His deeds with doing them, and is content
To spend the time to end it.
He's right noble:
Let him be call'd for.
He doth appear.
The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.
I do owe them still
My life and services.
It then remains
That you do speak to the people.
I do beseech you,
Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,160
For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you
That I may pass this doing.
Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.
Put them not to't:
Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.
It is apart170
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.
Mark you that?
To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had received them for the hire
Of their breath only!
Do not stand upon't.
We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul180
Wish we all joy and honour.
To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but Sicinius and Brutus
You see how he intends to use the people.
May they perceive's intent! He will require them,
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.
Come, we'll inform them
Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
I know, they do attend us.
Act II. Scene III. The same. The Forum
Enter seven or eight Citizens
Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.
We may, sir, if we will.
We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
power that we have no power to do; for if he show us
his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if
he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful,10
were to make a monster of the multitude: of the
which we being members, should bring ourselves to be
And to make us no better thought of, a little help
will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he
himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.
We have been called so of many; not that our heads
are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald,
but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and
truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of20
one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south,
and their consent of one direct way should be at
once to all the points o' the compass.
Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would
Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but
if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.
Why that way?
To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts30
melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return
for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.
You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.
Are you all resolved to give your voices? But
that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I
say, if he would incline to the people, there was
never a worthier man.
Enter Coriolanus in a gown of humility, with Menenius
Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and40
by threes. He's to make his requests by
particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
you shall go by him.
O sir, you are not right: have you not known
The worthiest men have done't?
What must I say?
'I Pray, sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring50
My tongue to such a pace:--'Look, sir, my wounds!
I got them in my country's service, when
Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran
From the noise of our own drums.'
O me, the gods!
You must not speak of that: you must desire them
To think upon you.
Think upon me! hang 'em!
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by 'em.
You'll mar all:
I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.
Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean.
Enter two of the Citizens
So, here comes a brace.
Enter a third Citizen
You know the cause, air, of my standing here.
We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.
Mine own desert.
Your own desert!
Ay, but not mine own desire.
How not your own desire?
No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble the
poor with begging.
You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
gain by you.
Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?
The price is to ask it kindly.
Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to
show you, which shall be yours in private. Your80
good voice, sir; what say you?
You shall ha' it, worthy sir.
A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices
begged. I have your alms: adieu.
But this is something odd.
An 'twere to give again,--but 'tis no matter.
Exeunt the three Citizens
Enter two other Citizens
Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
voices that I may be consul, I have here the
You have deserved nobly of your country, and you90
have not deserved nobly.
You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
the common people.
You should account me the more virtuous that I have
not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account
gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is100
rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
the insinuating nod and be off to them most
counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
bewitchment of some popular man and give it
bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
I may be consul.
We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
you our voices heartily.
You have received many wounds for your country.
I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I110
will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't:
What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,120
And mountainous error be too highly heapt
For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
Let the high office and the honour go
To one that would do thus. I am half through;
The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.
Enter three Citizens more
Here come more voices.
Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices bear
Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
I have seen and heard of; for your voices have130
Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
Indeed I would be consul.
He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,
and make him good friend to the people!
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!
Enter Menenius, with Brutus and Sicinius
You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice: remains140
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.
Is this done?
The custom of request you have discharged:
The people do admit you, and are summon'd
To meet anon, upon your approbation.
Where? at the senate-house?
May I change these garments?
You may, sir.
That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
Repair to the senate-house.
I'll keep you company. Will you along?
We stay here for the people.
Fare you well.
Exeunt Coriolanus and Menenius
He has it now, and by his looks methink
'Tis warm at 's heart.
With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
will you dismiss the people?
How now, my masters! have you chose this man?
He has our voices, sir.
We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.
Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.
He flouted us downright.
No,'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.
Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
He used us scornfully: he should have show'd us
His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.
Why, so he did, I am sure.
No, no; no man saw 'em.
He said he had wounds, which he could show
And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
'I would be consul,' says he: 'aged custom,
But by your voices, will not so permit me;
Your voices therefore.' When we granted that,
Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank you:
Your most sweet voices: now you have left180
I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?
Why either were you ignorant to see't,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?
Could you not have told him
As you were lesson'd, when he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy, ever spake against
Your liberties and the charters that you bear190
I' the body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o' the state,
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
Would think upon you for your voices and
Translate his malice towards you into love,
Standing your friendly lord.
Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd
Either his gracious promise, which you might,
As cause had call'd you up, have held him to
Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
And pass'd him unelected.
Did you perceive
He did solicit you in free contempt
When he did need your loves, and do you think
That his contempt shall not be bruising to you,
When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
Against the rectorship of judgment?
Ere now denied the asker? and now again
Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow220
Your sued-for tongues?
He's not confirm'd; we may deny him yet.
And will deny him:
I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.
Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
They have chose a consul that will from them take
Their liberties; make them of no more voice
Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
As therefore kept to do so.
Let them assemble,
And on a safer judgment all revoke
Your ignorant election; enforce his pride,
And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves,
Thinking upon his services, took from you
The apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.
A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
No impediment between, but that you must
Cast your election on him.
Say, you chose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections, and that your minds,
Preoccupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.
Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
How youngly he began to serve his country,
How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence came
That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son,
Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,260
Was his great ancestor.
One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you have found,
Scaling his present bearing with his past,
That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.
Say, you ne'er had done't--
Harp on that still--but by our putting on;270
And presently, when you have drawn your number,
Repair to the Capitol.
We will so: almost all
Repent in their election.
Let them go on;
This mutiny were better put in hazard,
Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusal, both observe and answer
The vantage of his anger.
To the Capitol, come:
We will be there before the stream o' the people;
And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
Which we have goaded onward.
Act III. Scene I. Rome. A street
Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, all the Gentry, Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators
Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?
He had, my lord; and that it was which caused
Our swifter composition.
So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road.
They are worn, lord consul, so,
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their banners wave again.
Saw you Aufidius?
On safe-guard he came to me; and did curse
Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
Yielded the town: he is retired to Antium.
Spoke he of me?
He did, my lord.
How often he had met you, sword to sword;
That of all things upon the earth he hated
Your person most, that he would pawn his fortunes20
To hopeless restitution, so he might
Be call'd your vanquisher.
At Antium lives he?
I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
Enter Sicinius and Brutus
Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,
The tongues o' the common mouth: I do despise them;
For they do prank them in authority,
Against all noble sufferance.
Pass no further.
Ha! what is that?
It will be dangerous to go on: no further.
What makes this change?
Hath he not pass'd the noble and the common?
Have I had children's voices?
Tribunes, give way; he shall to the market-place.
The people are incensed against him.
Or all will fall in broil.
Are these your herd?
Must these have voices, that can yield them now
And straight disclaim their tongues? What are
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?
Be calm, be calm.
It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,50
To curb the will of the nobility:
Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
Nor ever will be ruled.
Call't not a plot:
The people cry you mock'd them, and of late,
When corn was given them gratis, you repined;
Scandal'd the suppliants for the people, call'd them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
Why, this was known before.
Not to them all.
Have you inform'd them sithence?
How! I inform them!
You are like to do such business.
Each way, to better yours.
Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow tribune.
You show too much of that
For which the people stir: if you will pass70
To where you are bound, you must inquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.
Let's be calm.
The people are abused; set on. This paltering
Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
I' the plain way of his merit.
Tell me of corn!80
This was my speech, and I will speak't again--
Not now, not now.
Not in this heat, sir, now.
Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,
I crave their pardons:
For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves: I say again,
In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate
The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,90
Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd,
By mingling them with us, the honour'd number,
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to beggars.
Well, no more.
No more words, we beseech you.
How! no more!
As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs100
Coin words till their decay against those measles,
Which we disdain should tatter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.
You speak o' the people,
As if you were a god to punish, not
A man of their infirmity.
We let the people know't.
What, what? his choler?
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my mind!
It is a mind
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.
Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you
His absolute 'shall'?
'Twas from the canon.
O good but most unwise patricians! why,
You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
That with his peremptory 'shall,' being but
The horn and noise o' the monster's, wants not spirit
To say he'll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power
Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn'd,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,130
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,
When, both your voices blended, the great'st taste
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,
And such a one as he, who puts his 'shall,'
His popular 'shall' against a graver bench
Than ever frown in Greece. By Jove himself!
It makes the consuls base: and my soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion140
May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
The one by the other.
Well, on to the market-place.
Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
The corn o' the storehouse gratis, as 'twas used
Sometime in Greece,--
Well, well, no more of that.
Though there the people had more absolute power,
I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.
Why, shall the people give
One that speaks thus their voice?
I'll give my reasons,
More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
Was not our recompense, resting well assured
That ne'er did service for't: being press'd to the war,
Even when the navel of the state was touch'd,
They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i' the war
Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show'd160
Most valour, spoke not for them: the accusation
Which they have often made against the senate,
All cause unborn, could never be the motive
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bisson multitude digest
The senate's courtesy? Let deeds express
What's like to be their words: 'we did request it;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
They gave us our demands.' Thus we debase
The nature of our seats and make the rabble170
Call our cares fears; which will in time
Break ope the locks o' the senate and bring in
The crows to peck the eagles.
Enough, with over-measure.
No, take more:
What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all reason, where gentry, title, wisdom,180
Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance,--it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd,
Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you,--
You that will be less fearful than discreet,
That love the fundamental part of state
More than you doubt the change on't, that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish190
To jump a body with a dangerous physic
That's sure of death without it, at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become't,
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For the in which doth control't.
Has said enough.
Has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer200
As traitors do.
Thou wretch, despite o'erwhelm thee!
What should the people do with these bald tribunes?
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To the greater bench: in a rebellion,
When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
Then were they chosen: in a better hour,
Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
And throw their power i' the dust.
This a consul? no.
The aediles, ho!
Enter an Aedile
Let him be apprehended.
Go, call the people:
in whose name myself
Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
A foe to the public weal: obey, I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.
Hence, old goat!
Senators, & C We'll surety him.
Aged sir, hands off.
Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy garments.
Help, ye citizens!
Enter a rabble of Citizens (Plebeians), with the Aediles
On both sides more respect.
Here's he that would take from you all your power.
Seize him, Aediles!
Down with him! down with him!
Senators, & C Weapons, weapons, weapons!
They all bustle about Coriolanus, crying
'Tribunes!' 'Patricians!' 'Citizens!' 'What, ho!'230
'Sicinius!' 'Brutus!' 'Coriolanus!' 'Citizens!'
'Peace, peace, peace!' 'Stay, hold, peace!'
What is about to be? I am out of breath;
Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You, tribunes
To the people! Coriolanus, patience!
Speak, good Sicinius.
Hear me, people; peace!
Let's hear our tribune: peace Speak, speak, speak.
You are at point to lose your liberties:
Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,240
Whom late you have named for consul.
Fie, fie, fie!
This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.
What is the city but the people?
The people are the city.
By the consent of all, we were establish'd
The people's magistrates.
You so remain.
And so are like to do.
That is the way to lay the city flat;
To bring the roof to the foundation,
And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
In heaps and piles of ruin.
This deserves death.
Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o' the people, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Marcius is worthy260
Of present death.
Therefore lay hold of him;
Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.
Aediles, seize him!
Yield, Marcius, yield!
Hear me one word;
Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.
[To Brutus] Be that you seem, truly your270
And temperately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redress.
Sir, those cold ways,
That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him,
And bear him to the rock.
No, I'll die here.
Drawing his sword
There's some among you have beheld me fighting:
Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.
Lay hands upon him.
Help Marcius, help,
You that be noble; help him, young and old!
Down with him, down with him!
In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the Aediles, and the People, are beat in
Go, get you to your house; be gone, away!
All will be naught else.
Get you gone.
We have as many friends as enemies.
Sham it be put to that?
The gods forbid!
I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
Leave us to cure this cause.
For 'tis a sore upon us,
You cannot tent yourself: be gone, beseech you.
Come, sir, along with us.
I would they were barbarians--as they are,
Though in Rome litter'd--not Romans--as they are not,
Though calved i' the porch o' the Capitol--
Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;
One time will owe another.
On fair ground
I could beat forty of them.
I could myself
Take up a brace o' the best of them; yea, the
But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic;
And manhood is call'd foolery, when it stands310
Against a falling fabric. Will you hence,
Before the tag return? whose rage doth rend
Like interrupted waters and o'erbear
What they are used to bear.
Pray you, be gone:
I'll try whether my old wit be in request
With those that have but little: this must be patch'd
With cloth of any colour.
Nay, come away.
Exeunt Coriolanus, Cominius, and others
This man has marr'd his fortune.
His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for's power to thunder. His heart's his mouth:
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.
A noise within
Here's goodly work!
I would they were abed!
I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance!
Could he not speak 'em fair?
Enter Brutus and Sicinius, with the rabble
Where is this viper
That would depopulate the city and
Be every man himself?
You worthy tribunes,--
He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands: he hath resisted law,
And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
Than the severity of the public power
Which he so sets at nought.
He shall well know340
The noble tribunes are the people's mouths,
And we their hands.
He shall, sure on't.
Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
With modest warrant.
Sir, how comes't that you
Have holp to make this rescue?
Hear me speak:350
As I do know the consul's worthiness,
So can I name his faults,--
Consul! what consul?
The consul Coriolanus.
No, no, no, no, no.
If, by the tribunes' leave, and yours, good people,
I may be heard, I would crave a word or two;
The which shall turn you to no further harm
Than so much loss of time.
Speak briefly then;
For we are peremptory to dispatch
This viperous traitor: to eject him hence
Were but one danger, and to keep him here
Our certain death: therefore it is decreed
He dies today.
Now the good gods forbid
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserved children is enroll'd
In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam370
Should now eat up her own!
He's a disease that must be cut away.
O, he's a limb that has but a disease;
Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
What has he done to Rome that's worthy death?
Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost--
Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath,
By many an ounce--he dropp'd it for his country;
And what is left, to lose it by his country,
Were to us all, that do't and suffer it,380
A brand to the end o' the world.
This is clean kam.
Merely awry: when he did love his country,
It honour'd him.
The service of the foot
Being once gangrened, is not then respected
For what before it was.
We'll hear no more.
Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence:
Lest his infection, being of catching nature,390
One word more, one word.
This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will too late
Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process;
Lest parties, as he is beloved, break out,
And sack great Rome with Romans.
If it were so,--
What do ye talk?
Have we not had a taste of his obedience?400
Our aediles smote? ourselves resisted? Come.
Consider this: he has been bred i' the wars
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school'd
In bolted language; meal and bran together
He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
I'll go to him, and undertake to bring him
Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,
In peace, to his utmost peril.
It is the humane way: the other course410
Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.
Be you then as the people's officer.
Masters, lay down your weapons.
Go not home.
Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there:
Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed
In our first way.
I'll bring him to you.
To the Senators
Let me desire your company: he must come,
Or what is worst will follow.
Pray you, let's to him.
Act III. Scene II. A room in Coriolanus's house
Enter Coriolanus with Patricians
Let them puff all about mine ears, present me
Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,
Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,
That the precipitation might down stretch
Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
Be thus to them.
You do the nobler.
I muse my mother
Does not approve me further, who was wont10
To call them woollen vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood up
To speak of peace or war.
I talk of you:
Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am.
O, sir, sir, sir,20
I would have had you put your power well on,
Before you had worn it out.
You might have been enough the man you are,
With striving less to be so; lesser had been
The thwartings of your dispositions, if
You had not show'd them how ye were disposed
Ere they lack'd power to cross you.
Let them hang.
Ay, and burn too.
Enter Menenius and Senators
Come, come, you have been too rough, something
You must return and mend it.
There's no remedy;
Unless, by not so doing, our good city
Cleave in the midst, and perish.
Pray, be counsell'd:
I have a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
To better vantage.
Well said, noble woman?
Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that
The violent fit o' the time craves it as physic
For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
Which I can scarcely bear.
What must I do?
Return to the tribunes.
Well, what then? what then?
Repent what you have spoke.
For them! I cannot do it to the gods;50
Must I then do't to them?
You are too absolute;
Though therein you can never be too noble,
But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,
Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends,
I' the war do grow together: grant that, and tell me,
In peace what each of them by the other lose,
That they combine not there.
A good demand.
If it be honour in your wars to seem
The same you are not, which, for your best ends,
You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse,
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honour, as in war, since that to both
It stands in like request?
Why force you this?
Because that now it lies you on to speak
To the people; not by your own instruction,
Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you,70
But with such words that are but rooted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
Now, this no more dishonours you at all
Than to take in a town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so in honour: I am in this,80
Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our general louts
How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,
For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
Of what that want might ruin.
Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
Of what is past.
I prithee now, my son,90
Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having stretch'd it--here be with them--
Thy knee bussing the stones--for in such business
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant
More learned than the ears--waving thy head,
Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,100
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.
This but done,
Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have pardons, being ask'd, as free
As words to little purpose.
Go, and be ruled: although I know thou hadst rather110
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius.
I have been i' the market-place; and, sir,'tis fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
By calmness or by absence: all's in anger.
Only fair speech.
I think 'twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.
He must, and will
Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.
Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce?
Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't:
Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
This mould of Marcius, they to dust should grind it
And throw't against the wind. To the market-place!
You have put me now to such a part which never
I shall discharge to the life.
Come, come, we'll prompt you.
I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said130
My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
To have my praise for this, perform a part
Thou hast not done before.
Well, I must do't:
Away, my disposition, and possess me
Some harlot's spirit! my throat of war be turn'd,
Which quired with my drum, into a pipe
Small as an eunuch, or the virgin voice
That babies lulls asleep! the smiles of knaves
Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up140
The glasses of my sight! a beggar's tongue
Make motion through my lips, and my arm'd knees,
Who bow'd but in my stirrup, bend like his
That hath received an alms! I will not do't,
Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth
And by my body's action teach my mind
A most inherent baseness.
At thy choice, then:
To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
Than thou of them. Come all to ruin; let150
Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list
Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me,
But owe thy pride thyself.
Pray, be content:
Mother, I am going to the market-place;
Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going:160
Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul;
Or never trust to what my tongue can do
I' the way of flattery further.
Do your will.
Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself
To answer mildly; for they are prepared
With accusations, as I hear, more strong
Than are upon you yet.
The word is 'mildly.' Pray you, let us go:
Let them accuse me by invention, I170
Will answer in mine honour.
Ay, but mildly.
Well, mildly be it then. Mildly!
Act III. Scene III. The same. The Forum
Enter Sicinius and Brutus
In this point charge him home, that he affects
Tyrannical power: if he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people,
And that the spoil got on the Antiates
Was ne'er distributed.
Enter an Aedile
What, will he come?
With old Menenius, and those senators10
That always favour'd him.
Have you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procured
Set down by the poll?
I have; 'tis ready.
Have you collected them by tribes?
Assemble presently the people hither;
And when they bear me say 'It shall be so
I' the right and strength o' the commons,' be it either20
For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
If I say fine, cry 'Fine;' if death, cry 'Death.'
Insisting on the old prerogative
And power i' the truth o' the cause.
I shall inform them.
And when such time they have begun to cry,
Let them not cease, but with a din confused
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.
Make them be strong and ready for this hint,
When we shall hap to give 't them.
Go about it.
Put him to choler straight: he hath been used
Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
Of contradiction: being once chafed, he cannot
Be rein'd again to temperance; then he speaks
What's in his heart; and that is there which looks
With us to break his neck.
Well, here he comes.
Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, and Cominius, with Senators and Patricians
Calmly, I do beseech you.
Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece
Will bear the knave by the volume. The honour'd gods
Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of justice
Supplied with worthy men! plant love among 's!
Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,
And not our streets with war!
A noble wish.
Enter Aedile, with Citizens
Draw near, ye people.
List to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I say!
First, hear me speak.
Well, say. Peace, ho!
Shall I be charged no further than this present?
Must all determine here?
I do demand,
If you submit you to the people's voices,
Allow their officers and are content
To suffer lawful censure for such faults
As shall be proved upon you?
I am content.
Lo, citizens, he says he is content:
The warlike service he has done, consider; think
Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i' the holy churchyard.
Scratches with briers,
Scars to move laughter only.
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier: do not take70
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
But, as I say, such as become a soldier,
Rather than envy you.
Well, well, no more.
What is the matter
That being pass'd for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour'd that the very hour
You take it off again?
Answer to us.
Say, then: 'tis true, I ought so.
We charge you, that you have contrived to take
From Rome all season'd office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which you are a traitor to the people.
Nay, temperately; your promise.
The fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the people!
Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thy hand clutch'd as many millions, in90
Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.
Mark you this, people?
To the rock, to the rock with him!
We need not put new matter to his charge:
What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
Opposing laws with strokes and here defying100
Those whose great power must try him; even this,
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves the extremest death.
But since he hath
Served well for Rome,--
What do you prate of service?
I talk of that, that know it.
Is this the promise that you made your mother?
Know, I pray you,--
I know no further:
Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, raying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would not buy
Their mercy at the price of one fair word;
Nor cheque my courage for what they can give,
To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'
For that he has,
As much as in him lies, from time to time
Envied against the people, seeking means120
To pluck away their power, as now at last
Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
That do distribute it; in the name o' the people
And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
Even from this instant, banish him our city,
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian never more
To enter our Rome gates: i' the people's name,
I say it shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be so; let him away:
He's banish'd, and it shall be so.
Hear me, my masters, and my common friends,--
He's sentenced; no more hearing.
Let me speak:
I have been consul, and can show for Rome
Her enemies' marks upon me. I do love
My country's good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life,
My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase,140
And treasure of my loins; then if I would
We know your drift: speak what?
There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
As enemy to the people and his country:
It shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be so.
You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men150
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation160
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
Exeunt Coriolanus, Cominius, Menenius, Senators, and Patricians
The people's enemy is gone, is gone!
Our enemy is banish'd! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!
Shouting, and throwing up their caps
Go, see him out at gates, and follow him,
As he hath followed you, with all despite;
Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.
Come, come; let's see him out at gates; come.170
The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.
Act IV. Scene I. Rome. Before a gate of the city
Enter Coriolanus, Volumnia, Virgilia, Menenius, Cominius, with the young Nobility of Rome
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;
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 me10
With precepts that would make invincible
The heart that conn'd them.
O heavens! O heavens!
Nay! prithee, woman,--
Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
And occupations perish!
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,20
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,
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 well30
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
With cautelous baits and practise.
My first son.
Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee awhile: determine on some course,
More than a wild exposture to each chance40
That starts i' the way before thee.
O the gods!
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
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.
Fare ye well:50
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,
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.
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.
Give me thy hand: Come.
Act IV. Scene II. The same. A street near the gate
Enter Sicinius, Brutus, and an Aedile
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.
Now we have shown our power,
Let us seem humbler after it is done
Than when it was a-doing.