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William Shakespeare. The Tragedy Of Coriolanus


Dramatis Personae


    Generals against the Volscians

  MENENIUS AGRIPPA, friend to Coriolanus

    Tribunes of the People

  YOUNG MARCIUS, son to Coriolanus
  NICANOR, a Roman
  TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of the Volscians
  LIEUTENANT, to Aufidius
  CONSPIRATORS, With Aufidius
  ADRIAN, a Volscian
  A CITIZEN of Antium

  VOLUMNIA, mother to Coriolanus
  VIRGILIA, wife to Coriolanus
  VALERIA, friend to Virgilia
  GENTLEWOMAN attending on Virgilia

  Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Aediles, Lictors,
    Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other

Rome and the neighbourhood; Corioli and the neighbourhood; Antium

Rome. A street

Enter a company of mutinous citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons

  FIRST CITIZEN. Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
  ALL. Speak, speak.
  FIRST CITIZEN. YOU are all resolv'd rather to die than to famish?
  ALL. Resolv'd, resolv'd.
  FIRST CITIZEN. First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the
  ALL. We know't, we know't.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own
    price. Is't a verdict?
  ALL. No more talking on't; let it be done. Away, away!
  SECOND CITIZEN. One word, good citizens.
  FIRST CITIZEN. 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 particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a
    gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes ere we become
    rakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in
    thirst for revenge.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
  FIRST CITIZEN. Against him first; he's a very dog to the
  SECOND CITIZEN. Consider you what services he has done for his
  FIRST CITIZEN. Very well, and could be content to give him good
    report for't but that he pays himself with being proud.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
  FIRST CITIZEN. I say unto you, what he hath done famously he did it
    to that end; though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say it
    was for his country, he did it to please his mother and to be
    partly proud, which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
  SECOND CITIZEN. What he cannot help in his nature you account a
    vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
  FIRST CITIZEN. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;
    he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition.  [Shouts
    within]  What shouts are these? The other side o' th' city is
    risen. Why stay we prating here? To th' Capitol!
  ALL. Come, come.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Soft! who comes here?

                       Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA

  SECOND CITIZEN. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always lov'd
    the people.
  FIRST CITIZEN. He's one honest enough; would all the rest were so!
  MENENIUS. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you
    With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Our business is not unknown to th' 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.
  MENENIUS. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
    Will you undo yourselves?
  FIRST CITIZEN. We cannot, sir; we are undone already.
  MENENIUS. 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 ever
    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' th' state, who care for you like fathers,
    When you curse them as enemies.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er car'd for us
    yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses cramm'd with
    grain; make edicts for usury, to 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
  MENENIUS. Either you must
    Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
    Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
    A pretty tale. It may be you have heard it;
    But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
    To stale't a little more.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Well, I'll hear it, sir; yet you must not think to
    fob off our disgrace with a tale. But, an't please you, deliver.
  MENENIUS. There was a time when all the body's members
    Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:
    That only like a gulf it did remain
    I' th' midst o' th' body, idle and unactive,
    Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
    Like labour with the rest; where th' other instruments
    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-
  FIRST CITIZEN. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
  MENENIUS. 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 th' discontented members, the mutinous parts
    That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
    As you malign our senators for that
    They are not such as you.
  FIRST CITIZEN. 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
    Is this our fabric, if that they-
  MENENIUS. What then?
    Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? What then?
  FIRST CITIZEN. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,
    Who is the sink o' th' body-
  MENENIUS. Well, what then?
  FIRST CITIZEN. The former agents, if they did complain,
    What could the belly answer?
  MENENIUS. I will tell you;
    If you'll bestow a small- of what you have little-
    Patience awhile, you'st hear the belly's answer.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Y'are long about it.
  MENENIUS. Note me this, good friend:
    Your most grave belly was deliberate,
    Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered.
    '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 storehouse 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 th' seat o' th' brain;
    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.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Ay, sir; well, well.
  MENENIUS. '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,
    And leave me but the bran.' What say you to' t?
  FIRST CITIZEN. It was an answer. How apply you this?
  MENENIUS. 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' th' 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?
  FIRST CITIZEN. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
  MENENIUS. For that, being one o' th' lowest, basest, poorest,
    Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest 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!
  MARCIUS. Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues
    That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
    Make yourselves scabs?
  FIRST CITIZEN. We have ever your good word.
  MARCIUS. 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
    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
    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?
  MENENIUS. For corn at their own rates, whereof they say
    The city is well stor'd.
  MARCIUS. Hang 'em! They say!
    They'll sit by th' fire and presume to know
    What's done i' th' 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 grain enough!
    Would the nobility lay aside their ruth
    And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
    With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
    As I could pick my lance.
  MENENIUS. 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?
  MARCIUS. They are dissolv'd. 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 shreds
    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' th' moon,
    Shouting their emulation.
  MENENIUS. What is granted them?
  MARCIUS. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
    Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus-
    Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. 'Sdeath!
    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.
  MENENIUS. This is strange.
  MARCIUS. Go get you home, you fragments.

                     Enter a MESSENGER, hastily

  MESSENGER. Where's Caius Marcius?
  MARCIUS. Here. What's the matter?
  MESSENGER. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
  MARCIUS. I am glad on't; then we shall ha' means to vent
    Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.

         Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, with other SENATORS;

  FIRST SENATOR. Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:
    The Volsces are in arms.
  MARCIUS. They have a leader,
    Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
    I sin in envying his nobility;
    And were I anything but what I am,
    I would wish me only he.
  COMINIUS. You have fought together?
  MARCIUS. Were half to half the world by th' ears, and he
    Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
    Only my wars with him. He is a lion
    That I am proud to hunt.
  FIRST SENATOR. Then, worthy Marcius,
    Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
  COMINIUS. It is your former promise.
  MARCIUS. 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?
  LARTIUS. No, Caius Marcius;
    I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other
    Ere stay behind this business.
  MENENIUS. O, true bred!
  FIRST SENATOR. Your company to th' Capitol; where, I know,
    Our greatest friends attend us.
  LARTIUS.  [To COMINIUS]  Lead you on.
    [To MARCIUS]  Follow Cominius; we must follow you;
    Right worthy you priority.
  COMINIUS. Noble Marcius!
  FIRST SENATOR.  [To the Citizens]  Hence to your homes; be gone.
  MARCIUS. Nay, let them follow.
    The Volsces have much corn: take these rats thither
    To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutineers,
    Your valour puts well forth; pray follow.
         Ciitzens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS
  SICINIUS. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
  BRUTUS. He has no equal.
  SICINIUS. When we were chosen tribunes for the people-
  BRUTUS. Mark'd you his lip and eyes?
  SICINIUS. Nay, but his taunts!
  BRUTUS. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the gods.
  SICINIUS. Bemock the modest moon.
  BRUTUS. The present wars devour him! He is grown
    Too proud to be so valiant.
  SICINIUS. 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
    Under Cominius.
  BRUTUS. Fame, at the which he aims-
    In whom already he is well grac'd- cannot
    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 th' utmost of a man, and giddy censure
    Will then cry out of Marcius 'O, if he
    Had borne the business!'
  SICINIUS. Besides, if things go well,
    Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
    Of his demerits rob Cominius.
  BRUTUS. Come.
    Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
    Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults
    To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed
    In aught he merit not.
  SICINIUS. Let's hence and hear
    How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
    More than his singularity, he goes
    Upon this present action.
  BRUTUS. Let's along.                                    Exeunt

Corioli. The Senate House.


  FIRST SENATOR. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
    That they of Rome are ent'red in our counsels
    And know how we proceed.
  AUFIDIUS. 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:
    [Reads]  '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.'
  FIRST SENATOR. Our army's in the field;
    We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
    To answer us.
  AUFIDIUS. 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 short'ned in our aim, which was
    To take in many towns ere almost Rome
    Should know we were afoot.
  SECOND SENATOR. Noble Aufidius,
    Take your commission; hie you to your bands;
    Let us alone to guard Corioli.
    If they set down before's, for the remove
    Bring up your army; but I think you'll find
    Th' have not prepar'd for us.
  AUFIDIUS. 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.
    If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,
    'Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
    Till one can do no more.
  ALL. The gods assist you!
  AUFIDIUS. And keep your honours safe!
  FIRST SENATOR. Farewell.
  ALL. Farewell.                                           Exeunt

Rome. MARCIUS' house

Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA, mother and wife to MARCIUS;
they set them down on two low stools and sew

  VOLUMNIA. 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 pluck'd all gaze his way; when, for a day of
    kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her
    beholding; I, considering how honour would become such a person-
    that it was no better than picture-like to hang by th' wall, if
    renown made it not stir- was pleas'd to let him seek danger where
    he was to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him, from whence he
    return'd 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 man.
  VIRGILIA. But had he died in the business, madam, how then?
  VOLUMNIA. 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

  GENTLEWOMAN. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
  VIRGILIA. Beseech you give me leave to retire myself.
  VOLUMNIA. Indeed you shall not.
    Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum;
    See him pluck Aufidius down by th' 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.
  VIRGILIA. His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!
  VOLUMNIA. Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
    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.              Exit GENTLEWOMAN
  VIRGILIA. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
  VOLUMNIA. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee
    And tread upon his neck.

         Re-enter GENTLEWOMAN, With VALERIA and an usher

  VALERIA. My ladies both, good day to you.
  VOLUMNIA. Sweet madam!
  VIRGILIA. I am glad to see your ladyship.
  VALERIA. How do you both? You are manifest housekeepers. What are
    you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your little
  VIRGILIA. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.
  VOLUMNIA. He had rather see the swords and hear a drum than look
    upon his schoolmaster.
  VALERIA. O' my word, the father's son! I'll swear 'tis a very
    pretty boy. O' my troth, I look'd upon him a Wednesday half an
    hour together; has such a confirm'd 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 up
    again, catch'd it again; or whether his fall enrag'd him, or how
    'twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it. O, I warrant, how he
    mammock'd it!
  VOLUMNIA. One on's father's moods.
  VALERIA. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.
  VIRGILIA. A crack, madam.
  VALERIA. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the
    idle huswife with me this afternoon.
  VIRGILIA. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
  VALERIA. Not out of doors!
  VOLUMNIA. She shall, she shall.
  VIRGILIA. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the threshold
    till my lord return from the wars.
  VALERIA. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably; come, you
    must go visit the good lady that lies in.
  VIRGILIA. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my
    prayers; but I cannot go thither.
  VOLUMNIA. Why, I pray you?
  VIRGILIA. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.
  VALERIA. 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.
  VIRGILIA. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed I will not forth.
  VALERIA. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news
    of your husband.
  VIRGILIA. O, good madam, there can be none yet.
  VALERIA. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him
    last night.
  VIRGILIA. Indeed, madam?
  VALERIA. 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 doubt prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true,
    on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
  VIRGILIA. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in everything
  VOLUMNIA. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease
    our better mirth.
  VALERIA. 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.
  VIRGILIA. No, at a word, madam; indeed I must not. I wish you much
  VALERIA. Well then, farewell.                           Exeunt

Before Corioli

Enter MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, with drum and colours,
with CAPTAINS and soldiers. To them a MESSENGER

  MARCIUS. Yonder comes news; a wager- they have met.
  LARTIUS. My horse to yours- no.
  MARCIUS. 'Tis done.
  LARTIUS. Agreed.
  MARCIUS. Say, has our general met the enemy?
  MESSENGER. They lie in view, but have not spoke as yet.
  LARTIUS. So, the good horse is mine.
  MARCIUS. I'll buy him of you.
  LARTIUS. No, I'll nor sell nor give him; lend you him I will
    For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
  MARCIUS. How far off lie these armies?
  MESSENGER. Within this mile and half.
  MARCIUS. 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 of Corioli

    Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
  FIRST SENATOR. No, nor a man that fears you less than he:
    That's lesser than a little.  [Drum 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 far off]  Hark you far off!
    There is Aufidius. List what work he makes
    Amongst your cloven army.
  MARCIUS. O, they are at it!
  LARTIUS. Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!

                   Enter the army of the Volsces

  MARCIUS. 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, brave Titus.
    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.
                      Re-enter MARCIUS, cursing

  MARCIUS. All the contagion of the south light on you,
    You shames of Rome! you herd of- Boils and plagues
    Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
    Farther 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,
    As they us to our trenches. Follow me.

         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.

                    [MARCIUS enters the gates]

  FIRST SOLDIER. Fool-hardiness; not I.
  SECOND SOLDIER. Not I.                    [MARCIUS is shut in]
  FIRST SOLDIER. See, they have shut him in.
  ALL. To th' pot, I warrant him.             [Alarum continues]

                      Re-enter TITUS LARTIUS

  LARTIUS. What is become of Marcius?
  ALL. Slain, sir, doubtless.
  FIRST SOLDIER. 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.
  LARTIUS. O noble fellow!
    Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
    And when it bows stand'st 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 terrible
    Only in strokes; but with thy grim looks and
    The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds
    Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
    Were feverous and did tremble.

          Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy

  FIRST SOLDIER. Look, sir.
  LARTIUS. O, 'tis Marcius!
    Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.
                            [They fight, and all enter the city]

Within Corioli. A street

Enter certain Romans, with spoils

  FIRST ROMAN. This will I carry to Rome.
  SECOND ROMAN. And I this.
  THIRD ROMAN. A murrain on 't! I took this for silver.
                               [Alarum continues still afar off]

          Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS With a trumpeter

  MARCIUS. See here these movers that do prize their hours
    At a crack'd drachma! 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!
                                                Exeunt pillagers
    And hark, what noise the general makes! To him!
    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.
  LARTIUS. Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
    Thy exercise hath been too violent
    For a second course of fight.
  MARCIUS. Sir, praise me not;
    My work hath yet not warm'd me. Fare you well;
    The blood I drop is rather physical
    Than dangerous to me. To Aufidius thus
    I will appear, and fight.
  LARTIUS. 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!
  MARCIUS. Thy friend no less
    Than those she placeth highest! So farewell.
  LARTIUS. Thou worthiest Marcius!                  Exit MARCIUS
    Go sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
    Call thither all the officers o' th' town,
    Where they shall know our mind. Away!                 Exeunt

Near the camp of COMINIUS

Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire, with soldiers

  COMINIUS. 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 charg'd again. Whiles we have struck,
    By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
    The charges of our friends. The Roman gods,
    Lead their successes as we wish our own,
    That both our powers, with smiling fronts encount'ring,
    May give you thankful sacrifice!

                         Enter A MESSENGER

    Thy news?
  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.
  COMINIUS. Though thou speak'st truth,
    Methinks thou speak'st not well. How long is't since?
  MESSENGER. Above an hour, my lord.
  COMINIUS. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums.
    How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
    And bring thy news so late?
  MESSENGER. Spies of the Volsces
    Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
    Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
    Half an hour since brought my report.

                           Enter MARCIUS

  COMINIUS. Who's yonder
    That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods!
    He has the stamp of Marcius, and I have
    Before-time seen him thus.
  MARCIUS. Come I too late?
  COMINIUS. The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabor
    More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
    From every meaner man.
  MARCIUS. Come I too late?
  COMINIUS. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
    But mantled in your own.
  MARCIUS. O! let me clip ye
    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.
  COMINIUS. Flower of warriors,
    How is't with Titus Lartius?
  MARCIUS. As with a man busied about decrees:
    Condemning some to death and some to exile;
    Ransoming him or pitying, threat'ning th' other;
    Holding Corioli in the name of Rome
    Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
    To let him slip at will.
  COMINIUS. Where is that slave
    Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
    Where is he? Call him hither.
  MARCIUS. 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.
  COMINIUS. But how prevail'd you?
  MARCIUS. Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
    Where is the enemy? Are you lords o' th' field?
    If not, why cease you till you are so?
  COMINIUS. Marcius,
    We have at disadvantage fought, and did
    Retire to win our purpose.
  MARCIUS. How lies their battle? Know you on which side
    They have plac'd their men of trust?
  COMINIUS. As I guess, Marcius,
    Their bands i' th' vaward are the Antiates,
    Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,
    Their very heart of hope.
  MARCIUS. I do beseech you,
    By all the battles wherein we have fought,
    By th' blood we have shed together, by th' 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 advanc'd and darts,
    We prove this very hour.
  COMINIUS. 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.
  MARCIUS. 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;
    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,
    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 inclin'd.
  COMINIUS. March on, my fellows;
    Make good this ostentation, and you shall
    Divide in all with us.                                Exeunt

The gates of Corioli

TITUS LARTIUS, having set a guard upon Corioli, going with drum and trumpet
toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with a LIEUTENANT, other soldiers,
and a scout

  LARTIUS. 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.
  LIEUTENANT. Fear not our care, sir.
  LARTIUS. Hence, and shut your gates upon's.
    Our guider, come; to th' Roman camp conduct us.       Exeunt

A field of battle between the Roman and the Volscian camps

Alarum, as in battle. Enter MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS at several doors

  MARCIUS. I'll fight with none but thee, for I do hate thee
    Worse than a promise-breaker.
  AUFIDIUS. We hate alike:
    Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor
    More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.
  MARCIUS. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
    And the gods doom him after!
  AUFIDIUS. If I fly, Marcius,
    Halloa me like a hare.
  MARCIUS. Within these three hours, Tullus,
    Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
    And made what work I pleas'd. 'Tis not my blood
    Wherein thou seest me mask'd. For thy revenge
    Wrench up thy power to th' highest.
  AUFIDIUS. Wert thou the Hector
    That was the whip of your bragg'd progeny,
    Thou shouldst not scape me here.

       Here they fight, and certain Volsces come in the aid
        of AUFIDIUS. MARCIUS fights till they be driven in

    Officious, and not valiant, you have sham'd me
    In your condemned seconds.                            Exeunt

The Roman camp

Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Enter, at one door,
COMINIUS with the Romans; at another door, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf

  COMINIUS. If I should tell thee o'er this thy day's work,
    Thou't not believe thy deeds; but I'll report it
    Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles;
    Where great patricians shall attend, and shrug,
    I' th' end admire; where ladies shall be frighted
    And, gladly quak'd, hear more; where the dull tribunes,
    That with the fusty plebeians hate thine honours,
    Shall say against their hearts 'We thank the gods
    Our Rome hath such a soldier.'
    Yet cam'st thou to a morsel of this feast,
    Having fully din'd before.

         Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power, from the pursuit

  LARTIUS. O General,
    Here is the steed, we the caparison.
    Hadst thou beheld-
  MARCIUS. 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; induc'd
    As you have been- that's for my country.
    He that has but effected his good will
    Hath overta'en mine act.
  COMINIUS. 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 you,
    In sign of what you are, not to reward
    What you have done, before our army hear me.
  MARCIUS. I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
    To hear themselves rememb'red.
  COMINIUS. 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 achiev'd and city,
    We render you the tenth; to be ta'en forth
    Before the common distribution at
    Your only choice.
  MARCIUS. 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' th' field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
    Made all of false-fac'd soothing. When steel grows
    Soft as the parasite's silk, let him be made
    An overture for th' 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 lov'd my little should be dieted
    In praises sauc'd with lies.
  COMINIUS. 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 incens'd, 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,
    For what he did before Corioli, can him
    With all th' applause-and clamour of the host,
    Caius Marcius Coriolanus.
    Bear th' addition nobly ever!
                           [Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums]
  ALL. Caius Marcius Coriolanus!
  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 addition
    To th' fairness of my power.
  COMINIUS. 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.
  LARTIUS. I shall, my lord.
  CORIOLANUS. The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
    Refus'd most princely gifts, am bound to beg
    Of my Lord General.
  COMINIUS. Take't- 'tis yours; what is't?
  CORIOLANUS. I sometime lay here in Corioli
    At a poor man's house; he us'd me kindly.
    He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
    But then Aufidius was within my view,
    And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity. I request you
    To give my poor host freedom.
  COMINIUS. O, well begg'd!
    Were he the butcher of my son, he should
    Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.
  LARTIUS. Marcius, his name?
  CORIOLANUS. By Jupiter, forgot!
    I am weary; yea, my memory is tir'd.
    Have we no wine here?
  COMINIUS. Go we to our tent.
    The blood upon your visage dries; 'tis time
    It should be look'd to. Come.                         Exeunt

The camp of the Volsces

A flourish. Cornets. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS bloody, with two or three soldiers

  AUFIDIUS. The town is ta'en.
  FIRST SOLDIER. 'Twill be deliver'd back on good condition.
  AUFIDIUS. 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' th' 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 encounter
    As often as we eat. By th' 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.
  FIRST SOLDIER. He's the devil.
  AUFIDIUS. Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour's poison'd
    With only suff'ring stain by him; for him
    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 th' city;
    Learn how 'tis held, and what they are that must
    Be hostages for Rome.
  FIRST SOLDIER. Will not you go?
  AUFIDIUS. 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.
  FIRST SOLDIER. I shall, sir.                            Exeunt

Rome. A public place

Enter MENENIUS, with the two Tribunes of the people, SICINIUS and BRUTUS

  MENENIUS. The augurer tells me we shall have news tonight.
  BRUTUS. Good or bad?
  MENENIUS. Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love
    not Marcius.
  SICINIUS. Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
  MENENIUS. Pray you, who does the wolf love?
  SICINIUS. The lamb.
  MENENIUS. Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians would the
    noble Marcius.
  BRUTUS. He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.
  MENENIUS. He's a bear indeed, that lives fike a lamb. You two are
    old men; tell me one thing that I shall ask you.
  BOTH TRIBUNES. Well, sir.
  MENENIUS. In what enormity is Marcius poor in that you two have not
    in abundance?
  BRUTUS. He's poor in no one fault, but stor'd with all.
  SICINIUS. Especially in pride.
  BRUTUS. And topping all others in boasting.
  MENENIUS. This is strange now. Do you two know how you are censured
    here in the city- I mean of us o' th' right-hand file? Do you?
  BOTH TRIBUNES. Why, how are we censur'd?
  MENENIUS. Because you talk of pride now- will you not be angry?
  BOTH TRIBUNES. Well, well, sir, well.
  MENENIUS. 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 for being proud?
  BRUTUS. We do it not alone, sir.
  MENENIUS. 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!
  BOTH TRIBUNES. What then, sir?
  MENENIUS. Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
    proud, violent, testy magistrates-alias fools- as any in Rome.
  SICINIUS. Menenius, you are known well enough too.
  MENENIUS. 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 forehead 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 cannot say your worships have
    deliver'd 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 in the
    map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough too?
    What harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this
    character, if I be known well enough too?
  BRUTUS. Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
  MENENIUS. 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 threepence
    to a second day of audience. When you are hearing a matter
    between party and party, if you chance to be pinch'd 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.
  BRUTUS. Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber
    for the table than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.
  MENENIUS. 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 entomb'd in an ass's
    pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying Marcius is proud; who, in a
    cheap estimation, is worth all your predecessors 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?
  VOLUMNIA. Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the
    love of Juno, let's go.
  MENENIUS. Ha! Marcius coming home?
  VOLUMNIA. Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous
  MENENIUS. Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
    Marcius coming home!
  VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA. Nay, 'tis true.
  VOLUMNIA. Look, here's a letter from him; the state hath another,
    his wife another; and I think there's one at home for you.
  MENENIUS. I will make my very house reel to-night. A letter for me?
  VIRGILIA. Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw't.
  MENENIUS. 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.
  VIRGILIA. O, no, no, no.
  VOLUMNIA. O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for't.
  MENENIUS. So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings a victory in
    his pocket? The wounds become him.
  VOLUMNIA. On's brows, Menenius, he comes the third time home with
    the oaken garland.
  MENENIUS. Has he disciplin'd Aufidius soundly?
  VOLUMNIA. Titus Lartius writes they fought together, but Aufidius
    got off.
  MENENIUS. And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that; an he
    had stay'd by him, I would not have been so fidius'd for all the
    chests in Corioli and the gold that's in them. Is the Senate
    possess'd of this?
  VOLUMNIA. 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
  VALERIA. In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.
  MENENIUS. Wondrous! Ay, I warrant you, and not without his true
  VIRGILIA. The gods grant them true!
  VOLUMNIA. True! pow, waw.
  MENENIUS. 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?
  VOLUMNIA. I' th' shoulder and i' th' 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' th' body.
  MENENIUS. One i' th' neck and two i' th' thigh- there's nine that I
  VOLUMNIA. He had before this last expedition twenty-five wounds
    upon him.
  MENENIUS. Now it's twenty-seven; every gash was an enemy's grave.
    [A shout and flourish]  Hark! the trumpets.
  VOLUMNIA. 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 advanc'd, declines, and then men die.

            A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the
              GENERAL, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them,
           CORIOLANUS, crown'd with an oaken garland; with
                   CAPTAINS and soldiers and a HERALD

  HERALD. Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
    Within Corioli gates, where he hath won,
    With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
    In honour follows Coriolanus.
    Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!             [Flourish]
  ALL. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
  CORIOLANUS. No more of this, it does offend my heart.
    Pray now, no more.
  COMINIUS. Look, sir, your mother!
    You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
    For my prosperity!                                  [Kneels]
  VOLUMNIA. Nay, my good soldier, up;
    My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
    By deed-achieving honour newly nam'd-
    What is it? Coriolanus must I can thee?
    But, O, thy wife!
  CORIOLANUS. My gracious silence, hail!
    Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
    That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
    Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
    And mothers that lack sons.
  MENENIUS. Now the gods crown thee!
  CORIOLANUS. And live you yet?  [To VALERIA]  O my sweet lady,
  VOLUMNIA. I know not where to turn.
    O, welcome home! And welcome, General.
    And y'are welcome all.
  MENENIUS. 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,
    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.
  COMINIUS. Ever right.
  CORIOLANUS. Menenius ever, ever.
  HERALD. Give way there, and go on.
  CORIOLANUS.  [To his wife and mother]  Your hand, and yours.
    Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
    The good patricians must be visited;
    From whom I have receiv'd not only greetings,
    But with them change of honours.
  VOLUMNIA. 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.
  CORIOLANUS. Know, good mother,
    I had rather be their servant in my way
    Than sway with them in theirs.
  COMINIUS. On, to the Capitol.
                 [Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before]

                BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward

  BRUTUS. 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,
    Clamb'ring the walls to eye him; stalls, bulks, windows,
    Are smother'd up, leads fill'd and ridges hors'd
    With variable complexions, all agreeing
    In earnestness to see him. Seld-shown flamens
    Do press among the popular throngs and puff
    To win a vulgar station; our veil'd dames
    Commit the war of white and damask in
    Their nicely gawded cheeks to th' 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.
  SICINIUS. On the sudden
    I warrant him consul.
  BRUTUS. Then our office may
    During his power go sleep.
  SICINIUS. He cannot temp'rately transport his honours
    From where he should begin and end, but will
    Lose those he hath won.
  BRUTUS. In that there's comfort.
  SICINIUS. Doubt not
    The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
    Upon their ancient malice will forget
    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.
  BRUTUS. I heard him swear,
    Were he to stand for consul, never would he
    Appear i' th' market-place, nor on him put
    The napless vesture of humility;
    Nor, showing, as the manner is, his wounds
    To th' people, beg their stinking breaths.
  SICINIUS. 'Tis right.
  BRUTUS. 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.
  SICINIUS. I wish no better
    Than have him hold that purpose, and to put it
    In execution.
  BRUTUS. 'Tis most like he will.
  SICINIUS. It shall be to him then as our good wills:
    A sure destruction.
  BRUTUS. So it must fall out
    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, silenc'd 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 their war, who have their provand
    Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
    For sinking under them.
  SICINIUS. 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

  BRUTUS. What's the matter?
  MESSENGER. You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
    That Marcius shall be consul.
    I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
    The blind to hear 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.
  BRUTUS. Let's to the Capitol,
    And carry with us ears and eyes for th' time,
    But hearts for the event.
  SICINIUS. Have with you.                                Exeunt

Rome. The Capitol

Enter two OFFICERS, to lay cushions, as it were in the Capitol

  FIRST OFFICER. Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand for
  SECOND OFFICER. Three, they say; but 'tis thought of every one
    Coriolanus will carry it.
  FIRST OFFICER. That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud and
    loves not the common people.
  SECOND OFFICER. Faith, there have been many great men that have
    flatter'd the people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many
    that they have loved, they know not 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
  FIRST OFFICER. 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 they can
    render it him, and leaves 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.
  SECOND OFFICER. 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 all, into their estimation and report; but
    he hath so planted his honours in their eyes and his actions 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 car that heard it.
  FIRST OFFICER. No more of him; he's a worthy man. Make way, they
    are coming.

         A sennet. Enter the PATRICIANS and the TRIBUNES
         OF THE PEOPLE, LICTORS before them; CORIOLANUS,
            MENENIUS, COMINIUS the Consul. SICINIUS and
               BRUTUS take their places by themselves.
                         CORIOLANUS stands

  MENENIUS. Having determin'd of the Volsces, and
    To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
    As the main point of this our after-meeting,
    To gratify his noble service that
    Hath thus stood for his country. Therefore please you,
    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.                 [CORIOLANUS sits]
  FIRST SENATOR. 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. Masters o' th' people,
    We do request your kindest ears; and, after,
    Your loving motion toward the common body,
    To yield what passes here.
  SICINIUS. We are convented
    Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
    Inclinable to honour and advance
    The theme of our assembly.
  BRUTUS. Which the rather
    We shall be bless'd to do, if he remember
    A kinder value of the people than
    He hath hereto priz'd them at.
  MENENIUS. That's off, that's off;
    I would you rather had been silent. Please you
    To hear Cominius speak?
  BRUTUS. Most willingly.
    But yet my caution was more pertinent
    Than the rebuke you give it.
  MENENIUS. He loves your people;
    But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
    Worthy Cominius, speak.
                       [CORIOLANUS rises, and offers to go away]
    Nay, keep your place.
  FIRST SENATOR. Sit, Coriolanus, never shame to hear
    What you have nobly done.
  CORIOLANUS. Your Honours' pardon.
    I had rather have my wounds to heal again
    Than hear say how I got them.
  BRUTUS. Sir, I hope
    My words disbench'd you not.
  CORIOLANUS. No, sir; yet oft,
    When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
    You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not. But your people,
    I love them as they weigh-
  MENENIUS. Pray now, sit down.
  CORIOLANUS. I had rather have one scratch my head i' th' sun
    When the alarum were struck than idly sit
    To hear my nothings monster'd.                          Exit
  MENENIUS. 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.
  COMINIUS. I shall lack voice; the deeds of Coriolanus
    Should not be utter'd feebly. It is held
    That valour is the chiefest virtue and
    Most dignifies the haver. If it be,
    The man I speak of cannot in the world
    Be singly counterpois'd. 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; he bestrid
    An o'erpress'd Roman and i' th' consul's view
    Slew three opposers; Tarquin's self he met,
    And struck him on his knee. In that day's feats,
    When he might act the woman in the scene,
    He prov'd best man i' th' field, and for his meed
    Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
    Man-ent'red 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 coward
    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 tim'd with dying cries. Alone he ent'red
    The mortal gate of th' city, which he painted
    With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
    And with a sudden re-enforcement struck
    Corioli like a planet. Now all's his.
    When by and by the din of war 'gan pierce
    His ready sense, then straight his doubled spirit
    Re-quick'ned 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.
  MENENIUS. Worthy man!
  FIRST SENATOR. He cannot but with measure fit the honours
    Which we devise him.
  COMINIUS. 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.
  MENENIUS. He's right noble;
    Let him be call'd for.
  FIRST SENATOR. Call Coriolanus.
    OFFICER. He doth appear.

                            Re-enter CORIOLANUS

  MENENIUS. The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd
    To make thee consul.
  CORIOLANUS. I do owe them still
    My life and services.
  MENENIUS. It then remains
    That you do speak to the people.
  CORIOLANUS. I do beseech you
    Let me o'erleap that custom; for I cannot
    Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them
    For my wounds' sake to give their suffrage. Please you
    That I may pass this doing.
  SICINIUS. Sir, the people
    Must have their voices; neither will they bate
    One jot of ceremony.
  MENENIUS. 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.
  CORIOLANUS. It is a part
    That I shall blush in acting, and might well
    Be taken from the people.
  BRUTUS. Mark you that?
  CORIOLANUS. To brag unto them 'Thus I did, and thus!'
    Show them th' unaching scars which I should hide,
    As if I had receiv'd them for the hire
    Of their breath only!
  MENENIUS. Do not stand upon't.
    We recommend to you, Tribunes of the People,
    Our purpose to them; and to our noble consul
    Wish we all joy and honour.
  SENATORS. To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
                             [Flourish. Cornets. Then exeunt all
                                        but SICINIUS and BRUTUS]
  BRUTUS. You see how he intends to use the people.
  SICINIUS. May they perceive's intent! He will require them
    As if he did contemn what he requested
    Should be in them to give.
  BRUTUS. Come, we'll inform them
    Of our proceedings here. On th' market-place
    I know they do attend us.                             Exeunt

Rome. The Forum

Enter seven or eight citizens

  FIRST CITIZEN. Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to
    deny him.
  SECOND CITIZEN. We may, sir, if we will.
  THIRD CITIZEN. 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 were to make a
    monster of the multitude; of the which we being members should
    bring ourselves to be monstrous members.
  FIRST CITIZEN. 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.
  THIRD CITIZEN. We have been call'd so of many; not that our heads
    are some brown, some black, some abram, some bald, but that our
    wits are so diversely colour'd; and truly I think if all our wits
    were to issue out of 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' th' compass.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would
  THIRD CITIZEN. Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
    will- 'tis strongly wedg'd up in a block-head; but if it were at
    liberty 'twould sure southward.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Why that way?
  THIRD CITIZEN. To lose itself in a fog; where being three parts
   melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return for
    conscience' sake, to help to get thee a wife.
  SECOND CITIZEN. YOU are never without your tricks; you may, you
  THIRD CITIZEN. Are you all resolv'd 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 behaviour.
    We are not to stay all together, but to come by him where he
    stands, by ones, by twos, and 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'll direct you how you shall go by him.
  ALL. Content, content.                         Exeunt citizens
  MENENIUS. O sir, you are not right; have you not known
    The worthiest men have done't?
  CORIOLANUS. What must I say?
    'I pray, sir'- Plague upon't! I cannot bring
    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 th' noise of our own drums.'
  MENENIUS. O me, the gods!
    You must not speak of that. You must desire them
    To think upon you.
  CORIOLANUS. Think upon me? Hang 'em!
    I would they would forget me, like the virtues
    Which our divines lose by 'em.
  MENENIUS. You'll mar all.
    I'll leave you. Pray you speak to 'em, I pray you,
    In wholesome manner.                                    Exit

                       Re-enter three of the citizens

  CORIOLANUS. Bid them wash their faces
    And keep their teeth clean. So, here comes a brace.
    You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
  THIRD CITIZEN. We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.
  CORIOLANUS. Mine own desert.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Your own desert?
  CORIOLANUS. Ay, not mine own desire.
  THIRD CITIZEN. How, not your own desire?
  CORIOLANUS. No, sir, 'twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor
    with begging.
  THIRD CITIZEN. YOU MUST think, if we give you anything, we hope to
    gain by you.
  CORIOLANUS. Well then, I pray, your price o' th' consulship?
  FIRST CITIZEN. The price is to ask it kindly.
  CORIOLANUS. Kindly, sir, I pray let me ha't. I have wounds to show
    you, which shall be yours in private. Your good voice, sir; what
    say you?
  SECOND CITIZEN. You shall ha' it, worthy sir.
  CORIOLANUS. A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices begg'd.
    I have your alms. Adieu.
  THIRD CITIZEN. But this is something odd.
  SECOND CITIZEN. An 'twere to give again- but 'tis no matter.
                                       Exeunt the three citizens

                      Re-enter two other citizens

  CORIOLANUS. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
    voices that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
  FOURTH CITIZEN. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
    have not deserved nobly.
  CORIOLANUS. Your enigma?
  FOURTH CITIZEN. You have been a scourge to her enemies; you have
    been a rod to her friends. You have not indeed loved the common
  CORIOLANUS. 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 is 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.
  FIFTH CITIZEN. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
    you our voices heartily.
  FOURTH CITIZEN. You have received many wounds for your country.
  CORIOLANUS. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
    will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no farther.
  BOTH CITIZENS. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
                                                 Exeunt citizens
  CORIOLANUS. Most sweet voices!
    Better it is to die, better to starve,
    Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
    Why in this wolvish 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,
    And mountainous error be too highly heap'd
    For truth to o'erpeer. 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 suffered, the other will I do.

                      Re-enter three citizens more

    Here come moe 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 have
    Done many things, some less, some more. Your voices?
    Indeed, I would be consul.
  SIXTH CITIZEN. He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
    man's voice.
  SEVENTH CITIZEN. Therefore let him be consul. The gods give him
    joy, and make him good friend to the people!
  ALL. Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!
                                                 Exeunt citizens
  CORIOLANUS. Worthy voices!

             Re-enter MENENIUS with BRUTUS and SICINIUS

  MENENIUS. You have stood your limitation, and the tribunes
    Endue you with the people's voice. Remains
    That, in th' official marks invested, you
    Anon do meet the Senate.
  CORIOLANUS. Is this done?
  SICINIUS. The custom of request you have discharg'd.
    The people do admit you, and are summon'd
    To meet anon, upon your approbation.
  CORIOLANUS. Where? At the Senate House?
  SICINIUS. There, Coriolanus.
  CORIOLANUS. May I change these garments?
  SICINIUS. You may, sir.
  CORIOLANUS. That I'll straight do, and, knowing myself again,
    Repair to th' Senate House.
  MENENIUS. I'll keep you company. Will you along?
  BRUTUS. We stay here for the people.
  SICINIUS. Fare you well.
                                  Exeunt CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS
    He has it now; and by his looks methinks
    'Tis warm at's heart.
  BRUTUS. With a proud heart he wore
    His humble weeds. Will you dismiss the people?

                            Re-enter citizens

  SICINIUS. How now, my masters! Have you chose this man?
  FIRST CITIZEN. He has our voices, sir.
  BRUTUS. We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Amen, sir. To my poor unworthy notice,
    He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.
  THIRD CITIZEN. Certainly;
    He flouted us downright.
  FIRST CITIZEN. No, 'tis his kind of speech- he did not mock us.
  SECOND CITIZEN. Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
    He us'd us scornfully. He should have show'd us
    His marks of merit, wounds receiv'd for's country.
  SICINIUS. Why, so he did, I am sure.
  ALL. No, no; no man saw 'em.
  THIRD CITIZEN. He said he had wounds which he could show in
    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 left your voices,
    I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?
  SICINIUS. Why either were you ignorant to see't,
    Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
    To yield your voices?
  BRUTUS. 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 bear
    I' th' body of the weal; and now, arriving
    A place of potency and sway o' th' state,
    If he should still malignantly remain
    Fast foe to th' 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.
  SICINIUS. Thus to have said,
    As you were fore-advis'd, 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 th' advantage of his choler
    And pass'd him unelected.
  BRUTUS. 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?
  SICINIUS. Have you
    Ere now denied the asker, and now again,
    Of him that did not ask but mock, bestow
    Your su'd-for tongues?
  THIRD CITIZEN. He's not confirm'd: we may deny him yet.
  SECOND CITIZENS. And will deny him;
    I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
  FIRST CITIZEN. I twice five hundred, and their friends to piece
  BRUTUS. 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.
  SICINIUS. 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
    Th' 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 labour'd,
    No impediment between, but that you must
    Cast your election on him.
  SICINIUS. Say you chose him
    More after our commandment than as guided
    By your own true affections; and that your minds,
    Pre-occupied with what you rather must do
    Than what you should, made you against the grain
    To voice him consul. Lay the fault on us.
  BRUTUS. 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' th' 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 best water brought by conduits hither;
    And Censorinus, nobly named so,
    Twice being by the people chosen censor,
    Was his great ancestor.
  SICINIUS. 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.
  BRUTUS. Say you ne'er had done't-
    Harp on that still- but by our putting on;
    And presently, when you have drawn your number,
    Repair to th' Capitol.
  CITIZENS. will will so; almost all
    Repent in their election.                   Exeunt plebeians
  BRUTUS. 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.
  SICINIUS. To th' Capitol, come.
    We will be there before the stream o' th' people;
    And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
    Which we have goaded onward.                          Exeunt

Rome. A street


  CORIOLANUS. Tullus Aufidius, then, had made new head?
  LARTIUS. He had, my lord; and that it was which caus'd
    Our swifter composition.
  CORIOLANUS. So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
    Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road
    Upon's again.
  COMINIUS. They are worn, Lord Consul, so
    That we shall hardly in our ages see
    Their banners wave again.
  CORIOLANUS. Saw you Aufidius?
  LARTIUS. On safeguard he came to me, and did curse
    Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
    Yielded the town. He is retir'd to Antium.
  CORIOLANUS. Spoke he of me?
  LARTIUS. He did, my lord.
  CORIOLANUS. How? What?
  LARTIUS. 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 fortunes
    To hopeless restitution, so he might
    Be call'd your vanquisher.
  CORIOLANUS. At Antium lives he?
  LARTIUS. At Antium.
  CORIOLANUS. 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' th' common mouth. I do despise them,
    For they do prank them in authority,
    Against all noble sufferance.
  SICINIUS. Pass no further.
  CORIOLANUS. Ha! What is that?
  BRUTUS. It will be dangerous to go on- no further.
  CORIOLANUS. What makes this change?
  MENENIUS. The matter?
  COMINIUS. Hath he not pass'd the noble and the common?
  BRUTUS. Cominius, no.
  CORIOLANUS. Have I had children's voices?
  FIRST SENATOR. Tribunes, give way: he shall to th' market-place.
  BRUTUS. The people are incens'd against him.
    Or all will fall in broil.
  CORIOLANUS. Are these your herd?
    Must these have voices, that can yield them now
    And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices?
    You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
    Have you not set them on?
  MENENIUS. Be calm, be calm.
  CORIOLANUS. It is a purpos'd thing, and grows by plot,
    To curb the will of the nobility;
    Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
    Nor ever will be rul'd.
  BRUTUS. Call't not a plot.
    The people cry you mock'd them; and of late,
    When corn was given them gratis, you repin'd;
    Scandal'd the suppliants for the people, call'd them
    Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
  CORIOLANUS. Why, this was known before.
  BRUTUS. Not to them all.
  CORIOLANUS. Have you inform'd them sithence?
  BRUTUS. How? I inform them!
  COMINIUS. You are like to do such business.
  BRUTUS. Not unlike
    Each way to better yours.
  CORIOLANUS. Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
    Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
    Your fellow tribune.
  SICINIUS. You show too much of that
    For which the people stir; if you will pass
    To where you are bound, you must enquire 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.
  MENENIUS. Let's be calm.
  COMINIUS. The people are abus'd; set on. This palt'ring
    Becomes not Rome; nor has Coriolanus
    Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
    I' th' plain way of his merit.
  CORIOLANUS. Tell me of corn!
    This was my speech, and I will speak't again-
  MENENIUS. Not now, not now.
  FIRST SENATOR. Not in this heat, sir, now.
  CORIOLANUS. Now, as I live, I will.
    My nobler friends, I crave their pardons.
    For the mutable, rank-scented meiny, 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,
    Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd, and scatter'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.
  MENENIUS. Well, no more.
  FIRST SENATOR. No more words, we beseech you.
  CORIOLANUS. How? no more!
    As for my country I have shed my blood,
    Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
    Coin words till their decay against those measles
    Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
    The very way to catch them.
  BRUTUS. You speak o' th' people
    As if you were a god, to punish; not
    A man of their infirmity.
  SICINIUS. 'Twere well
    We let the people know't.
  MENENIUS. What, what? his choler?
    Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
    By Jove, 'twould be my mind!
  SICINIUS. It is a mind
    That shall remain a poison where it is,
    Not poison any further.
  CORIOLANUS. Shall remain!
    Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you
    His absolute 'shall'?
  COMINIUS. 'Twas from the canon.
  CORIOLANUS. 'Shall'!
    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' th' 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,
    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'd 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 confusion
    May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
    The one by th' other.
  COMINIUS. Well, on to th' market-place.
  CORIOLANUS. Whoever gave that counsel to give forth
    The corn o' th' storehouse gratis, as 'twas us'd
    Sometime in Greece-
  MENENIUS. Well, well, no more of that.
  CORIOLANUS. Though there the people had more absolute pow'r-
    I say they nourish'd disobedience, fed
    The ruin of the state.
  BRUTUS. Why shall the people give
    One that speaks thus their voice?
  CORIOLANUS. I'll give my reasons,
    More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
    Was not our recompense, resting well assur'd
    They ne'er did service for't; being press'd to th' 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' th' war,
    Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show'd
    Most valour, spoke not for them. Th' accusation
    Which they have often made against the Senate,
    All cause unborn, could never be the native
    Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
    How shall this bosom multiplied 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 rabble
    Call our cares fears; which will in time
    Break ope the locks o' th' Senate and bring in
    The crows to peck the eagles.
  MENENIUS. Come, enough.
  BRUTUS. Enough, with over measure.
  CORIOLANUS. 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,
    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, it follows
    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 wish
    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 th' ill which doth control't.
  BRUTUS. Has said enough.
  SICINIUS. Has spoken like a traitor and shall answer
    As traitors do.
  CORIOLANUS. 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' th' dust.
  BRUTUS. Manifest treason!
  SICINIUS. This a consul? No.
  BRUTUS. The aediles, ho!

                           Enter an AEDILE

    Let him be apprehended.
  SICINIUS. Go call the people,  [Exit AEDILE]  in whose name myself
    Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
    A foe to th' public weal. Obey, I charge thee,
    And follow to thine answer.
  CORIOLANUS. Hence, old goat!
  PATRICIANS. We'll surety him.
  COMINIUS. Ag'd sir, hands off.
  CORIOLANUS. Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
    Out of thy garments.
  SICINIUS. Help, ye citizens!

              Enter a rabble of plebeians, with the AEDILES

  MENENIUS. On both sides more respect.
  SICINIUS. Here's he that would take from you all your power.
  BRUTUS. Seize him, aediles.
    PLEBEIANS. Down with him! down with him!
  SECOND SENATOR. Weapons, weapons, weapons!
                              [They all bustle about CORIOLANUS]
  ALL. Tribunes! patricians! citizens! What, ho! Sicinius!
    Brutus! Coriolanus! Citizens!
  PATRICIANS. Peace, peace, peace; stay, hold, peace!
  MENENIUS. What is about to be? I am out of breath;
    Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You tribunes
    To th' people- Coriolanus, patience!
    Speak, good Sicinius.
  SICINIUS. Hear me, people; peace!
  PLEBEIANS. Let's hear our tribune. Peace! Speak, speak, speak.
  SICINIUS. You are at point to lose your liberties.
    Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,
    Whom late you have nam'd for consul.
  MENENIUS. Fie, fie, fie!
    This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
  FIRST SENATOR. To unbuild the city, and to lay all flat.
  SICINIUS. What is the city but the people?
    The people are the city.
  BRUTUS. By the consent of all we were establish'd
    The people's magistrates.
  PLEBEIANS. You so remain.
  MENENIUS. And so are like to do.
  COMINIUS. 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.
  SICINIUS. This deserves death.
  BRUTUS. Or let us stand to our authority
    Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
    Upon the part o' th' people, in whose power
    We were elected theirs: Marcius is worthy
    Of present death.
  SICINIUS. Therefore lay hold of him;
    Bear him to th' rock Tarpeian, and from thence
    Into destruction cast him.
  BRUTUS. AEdiles, seize him.
  PLEBEIANS. Yield, Marcius, yield.
  MENENIUS. Hear me one word; beseech you, Tribunes,
    Hear me but a word.
  AEDILES. Peace, peace!
  MENENIUS. Be that you seem, truly your country's friend,
    And temp'rately proceed to what you would
    Thus violently redress.
  BRUTUS. 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.
                                    [CORIOLANUS draws his sword]
  CORIOLANUS. No: I'll die here.
    There's some among you have beheld me fighting;
    Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
  MENENIUS. Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.
  BRUTUS. Lay hands upon him.
  MENENIUS. Help Marcius, help,
    You that be noble; help him, young and old.
  PLEBEIANS. Down with him, down with him!
                      [In this mutiny the TRIBUNES, the AEDILES,
                                     and the people are beat in]
  MENENIUS. Go, get you to your house; be gone, away.
    All will be nought else.
  SECOND SENATOR. Get you gone.
  CORIOLANUS. Stand fast;
    We have as many friends as enemies.
  MENENIUS. Shall it be put to that?
  FIRST SENATOR. The gods forbid!
    I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
    Leave us to cure this cause.
  MENENIUS. For 'tis a sore upon us
    You cannot tent yourself; be gone, beseech you.
  COMINIUS. Come, sir, along with us.
  CORIOLANUS. I would they were barbarians, as they are,
    Though in Rome litter'd; not Romans, as they are not,
    Though calved i' th' porch o' th' Capitol.
  MENENIUS. Be gone.
    Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;
    One time will owe another.
  CORIOLANUS. On fair ground
    I could beat forty of them.
  MENENIUS. I could myself
    Take up a brace o' th' best of them; yea, the two tribunes.
  COMINIUS. But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic,
    And manhood is call'd foolery when it stands
    Against a falling fabric. Will you hence,
    Before the tag return? whose rage doth rend
    Like interrupted waters, and o'erbear
    What they are us'd to bear.
  MENENIUS. 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.
  COMINIUS. Nay, come away.
                     Exeunt CORIOLANUS and COMINIUS, with others
  PATRICIANS. This man has marr'd his fortune.
  MENENIUS. 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!
  PATRICIANS. I would they were a-bed.
  MENENIUS. I would they were in Tiber.
    What the vengeance, could he not speak 'em fair?

            Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, the rabble again

  SICINIUS. Where is this viper
    That would depopulate the city and
    Be every man himself?
  MENENIUS. You worthy Tribunes-
  SICINIUS. 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.
  FIRST CITIZEN. He shall well know
    The noble tribunes are the people's mouths,
    And we their hands.
  PLEBEIANS. He shall, sure on't.
  MENENIUS. Sir, sir-
  SICINIUS. Peace!
  MENENIUS. Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
    With modest warrant.
  SICINIUS. Sir, how comes't that you
    Have holp to make this rescue?
  MENENIUS. Hear me speak.
    As I do know the consul's worthiness,
    So can I name his faults.
  SICINIUS. Consul! What consul?
  MENENIUS. The consul Coriolanus.
  BRUTUS. He consul!
  PLEBEIANS. No, no, no, no, no.
  MENENIUS. 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.
  SICINIUS. 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 to-night.
  MENENIUS. 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 dam
    Should now eat up her own!
  SICINIUS. He's a disease that must be cut away.
  MENENIUS. 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 dropt it for his country;
    And what is left, to lose it by his country
    Were to us all that do't and suffer it
    A brand to th' end o' th' world.
  SICINIUS. This is clean kam.
  BRUTUS. Merely awry. When he did love his country,
    It honour'd him.
  SICINIUS. The service of the foot,
    Being once gangren'd, is not then respected
    For what before it was.
  BRUTUS. We'll hear no more.
    Pursue him to his house and pluck him thence,
    Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
    Spread further.
  MENENIUS. 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 belov'd- break out,
    And sack great Rome with Romans.
  BRUTUS. If it were so-
  SICINIUS. What do ye talk?
    Have we not had a taste of his obedience-
    Our aediles smote, ourselves resisted? Come!
  MENENIUS. Consider this: he has been bred i' th' wars
    Since 'a 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.
  FIRST SENATOR. Noble Tribunes,
    It is the humane way; the other course
    Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
    Unknown to the beginning.
  SICINIUS. Noble Menenius,
    Be you then as the people's officer.
    Masters, lay down your weapons.
  BRUTUS. Go not home.
  SICINIUS. Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there;
    Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed
    In our first way.
  MENENIUS. I'll bring him to you.
    [To the SENATORS]  Let me desire your company; he must come,
    Or what is worst will follow.
  FIRST SENATOR. Pray you let's to him.                   Exeunt

Rome. The house of CORIOLANUS


  CORIOLANUS. Let them pull 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.
  FIRST PATRICIAN. You do the nobler.
  CORIOLANUS. I muse my mother
    Does not approve me further, who was wont
    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.

                          Enter VOLUMNIA

    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.
  VOLUMNIA. O, sir, sir, sir,
    I would have had you put your power well on
    Before you had worn it out.
  VOLUMNIA. 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 dispos'd,
    Ere they lack'd power to cross you.
  CORIOLANUS. Let them hang.
  VOLUMNIA. Ay, and burn too.

                    Enter MENENIUS with the SENATORS

  MENENIUS. Come, come, you have been too rough, something too rough;
    You must return and mend it.
  FIRST SENATOR. There's no remedy,
    Unless, by not so doing, our good city
    Cleave in the midst and perish.
  VOLUMNIA. 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.
  MENENIUS. Well said, noble woman!
    Before he should thus stoop to th' herd, but that
    The violent fit o' th' time craves it as physic
    For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
    Which I can scarcely bear.
  CORIOLANUS. What must I do?
  MENENIUS. Return to th' tribunes.
  CORIOLANUS. Well, what then, what then?
  MENENIUS. Repent what you have spoke.
  CORIOLANUS. For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
    Must I then do't to them?
  VOLUMNIA. 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' th' war do grow together; grant that, and tell me
    In peace what each of them by th' other lose
    That they combine not there.
  CORIOLANUS. Tush, tush!
  MENENIUS. A good demand.
  VOLUMNIA. 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?
  CORIOLANUS. Why force you this?
  VOLUMNIA. Because that now it lies you on to speak
    To th' people, not by your own instruction,
    Nor by th' matter which your heart prompts you,
    But with such words that are but roted 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 requir'd
    I should do so in honour. I am in this
    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.
  MENENIUS. Noble lady!
    Come, go with us, speak fair; you may salve so,
    Not what is dangerous present, but the los
    Of what is past.
  VOLUMNIA. I prithee now, My son,
    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 busines
    Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' 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,
    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.
  MENENIUS. 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.
  VOLUMNIA. Prithee now,
    Go, and be rul'd; although I know thou hadst rather
    Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
    Than flatter him in a bower.

                           Enter COMINIUS

    Here is Cominius.
  COMINIUS. I have been i' th' market-place; and, sir, 'tis fit
    You make strong party, or defend yourself
    By calmness or by absence; all's in anger.
  MENENIUS. Only fair speech.
  COMINIUS. I think 'twill serve, if he
    Can thereto frame his spirit.
  VOLUMNIA. He must and will.
    Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.
  CORIOLANUS. Must I go show them my unbarb'd sconce? Must I
    With my base tongue give to 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 th' market-place!
    You have put me now to such a part which never
    I shall discharge to th' life.
  COMINIUS. Come, come, we'll prompt you.
  VOLUMNIA. I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
    My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
    To have my praise for this, perform a part
    Thou hast not done before.
  CORIOLANUS. Well, I must do't.
    Away, my disposition, and possess me
    Some harlot's spirit! My throat of war be turn'd,
    Which quier'd 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 up
    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 receiv'd 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.
  VOLUMNIA. At thy choice, then.
    To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
    Than thou of them. Come all to ruin. Let
    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.
  CORIOLANUS. 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 belov'd
    Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going.
    Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul,
    Or never trust to what my tongue can do
    I' th' way of flattery further.
  VOLUMNIA. Do your will.                                   Exit
  COMINIUS. Away! The tribunes do attend you. Arm yourself
    To answer mildly; for they are prepar'd
    With accusations, as I hear, more strong
    Than are upon you yet.
  CORIOLANUS. The word is 'mildly.' Pray you let us go.
    Let them accuse me by invention; I
    Will answer in mine honour.
  MENENIUS. Ay, but mildly.
  CORIOLANUS. Well, mildly be it then- mildly.            Exeunt

Rome. The Forum


  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?
  AEDILE. He's coming.
  BRUTUS. How accompanied?
  AEDILE. With old Menenius, and those senators
    That always favour'd him.
  SICINIUS. Have you a catalogue
    Of all the voices that we have procur'd,
    Set down by th' poll?
  AEDILE. I have; 'tis ready.
  SICINIUS. Have you corrected them by tribes?
  AEDILE. I have.
  SICINIUS. Assemble presently the people hither;
    And when they hear me say 'It shall be so
    I' th' right and strength o' th' commons' be it either
    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' th' truth o' th' cause.
  AEDILE. I shall inform them.
  BRUTUS. And when such time they have begun to cry,
    Let them not cease, but with a din confus'd
    Enforce the present execution
    Of what we chance to sentence.
  AEDILE. Very well.
  SICINIUS. Make them be strong, and ready for this hint,
    When we shall hap to give't them.
  BRUTUS. Go about it.                               Exit AEDILE
    Put him to choler straight. He hath been us'd
    Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
    Of contradiction; being once chaf'd, 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.

          Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS and COMINIUS, with others

  SICINIUS. Well, here he comes.
  MENENIUS. Calmly, I do beseech you.
  CORIOLANUS. Ay, as an ostler, that for th' poorest piece
    Will bear the knave by th' volume. Th' 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!
  FIRST SENATOR. Amen, amen!
  MENENIUS. A noble wish.

                  Re-enter the.AEDILE,with the plebeians

  SICINIUS. Draw near, ye people.
  AEDILE. List to your tribunes. Audience! peace, I say!
  CORIOLANUS. First, hear me speak.
  BOTH TRIBUNES. Well, say. Peace, ho!
  CORIOLANUS. Shall I be charg'd no further than this present?
    Must all determine here?
  SICINIUS. 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 prov'd upon you.
  CORIOLANUS. I am content.
  MENENIUS. 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' th' holy churchyard.
  CORIOLANUS. Scratches with briers,
    Scars to move laughter only.
  MENENIUS. Consider further,
    That when he speaks not like a citizen,
    You find him like a soldier; do not take
    His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
    But, as I say, such as become a soldier
    Rather than envy you.
  COMINIUS. Well, well! No more.
  CORIOLANUS. 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?
  SICINIUS. Answer to us.
  CORIOLANUS. Say then; 'tis true, I ought so.
  SICINIUS. We charge you that you have contriv'd 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.
  CORIOLANUS. How- traitor?
  MENENIUS. Nay, temperately! Your promise.
  CORIOLANUS. The fires i' th' lowest hell fold in the people!
    Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
    Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
    In thy hands clutch'd as many millions, in
    Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
    'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
    As I do pray the gods.
  SICINIUS. Mark you this, people?
  PLEBEIANS. To th' rock, to th' rock, with him!
  SICINIUS. Peace!
    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 defying
    Those whose great power must try him- even this,
    So criminal and in such capital kind,
    Deserves th' extremest death.
  BRUTUS. But since he hath
    Serv'd well for Rome-
  CORIOLANUS. What do you prate of service?
  BRUTUS. I talk of that that know it.
  MENENIUS. Is this the promise that you made your mother?
  COMINIUS. Know, I pray you-
  CORIOLANUS. I'll know no further.
    Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
    Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger
    But with a grain a day, I would not buy
    Their mercy at the price of one fair word,
    Nor check my courage for what they can give,
    To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'
  SICINIUS. For that he has-
    As much as in him lies- from time to time
    Envied against the people, seeking means
    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' th' people,
    And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
    Ev'n from this instant, banish him our city,
    In peril of precipitation
    From off the rock Tarpeian, never more
    To enter our Rome gates. I' th' people's name,
    I say it shall be so.
  PLEBEIANS. It shall be so, it shall be so! Let him away!
    He's banish'd, and it shall be so.
  COMINIUS. Hear me, my masters and my common friends-
  SICINIUS. He's sentenc'd; no more hearing.
  COMINIUS. 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
    And treasure of my loins. Then if I would
    Speak that-
  SICINIUS. We know your drift. Speak what?
  BRUTUS. There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
    As enemy to the people and his country.
    It shall be so.
  PLEBEIANS. It shall be so, it shall be so.
  CORIOLANUS. YOU common cry of curs, whose breath I hate
    As reek o' th' rotten fens, whose loves I prize
    As the dead carcasses of unburied men
    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 but reservation of yourselves
    Still your own foes- deliver you
    As most abated captives to some nation
    That won you without blows! Despising
    For you the city, thus I turn my back;
    There is a world elsewhere.
                                              Exeunt CORIOLANUS,
                   COMINIUS, MENENIUS, with the other PATRICIANS
  AEDILE. The people's enemy is gone, is gone!
                        [They all shout and throw up their caps]
  PLEBEIANS. Our enemy is banish'd, he is gone! Hoo-oo!
  SICINIUS. Go see him out at gates, and follow him,
    As he hath follow'd you, with all despite;
    Give him deserv'd vexation. Let a guard
    Attend us through the city.
  PLEBEIANS. Come, come, let's see him out at gates; come!
    The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.           Exeunt

Rome. Before a gate of the city

with the young NOBILITY of Rome

  CORIOLANUS. Come, leave your tears; a brief farewell. The beast
    With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
    Where is your ancient courage? You were us'd
    To say extremities 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 us'd to load me
    With precepts that would make invincible
    The heart that conn'd them.
  VIRGILIA. O heavens! O heavens!
  CORIOLANUS. Nay, I prithee, woman-
  VOLUMNIA. Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
    And occupations perish!
  CORIOLANUS. What, what, what!
    I shall be lov'd when I am lack'd. Nay, mother,
    Resume that spirit when you were wont to say,
    If you had been the wife of Hercules,
    Six of his labours you'd have done, and sav'd
    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 stern, and thou hast oft beheld
    Heart-hard'ning spectacles; tell these sad women
    'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
    As 'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
    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 practice.
  VOLUMNIA. My first son,
    Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
    With thee awhile; determine on some course
    More than a wild exposture to each chance
    That starts i' th' way before thee.
  VIRGILIA. O the gods!
  COMINIUS. I'll follow thee a month, devise with the
    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' th' absence of the needer.
  CORIOLANUS. Fare ye well;
    Thou hast years upon thee, and thou art too full
    Of the wars' surfeits to go rove with one
    That's yet unbruis'd; 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.
  MENENIUS. That's worthily
    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'd with thee every foot.
  CORIOLANUS. Give me thy hand.
    Come.                                                 Exeunt

Rome. A street near the gate

Enter the two Tribunes, SICINIUS and BRUTUS with the AEDILE

  SICINIUS. 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.
  BRUTUS. Now we have shown our power,
    Let us seem humbler after it is done
    Than when it was a-doing.
  SICINIUS. Bid them home.
    Say their great enemy is gone, and they
    Stand in their ancient strength.
  BRUTUS. Dismiss them home.                         Exit AEDILE
    Here comes his mother.

                   Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and MENENIUS

  SICINIUS. Let's not meet her.
  BRUTUS. Why?
  SICINIUS. They say she's mad.
  BRUTUS. They have ta'en note of us; keep on your way.
  VOLUMNIA. O, Y'are well met; th' hoarded plague o' th' gods
    Requite your love!
  MENENIUS. Peace, peace, be not so loud.
  VOLUMNIA. If that I could for weeping, you should hear-
    Nay, and you shall hear some.  [To BRUTUS] Will you be gone?
  VIRGILIA.  [To SICINIUS]  You shall stay too. I would I had the
    To say so to my husband.
  SICINIUS. Are you mankind?
  VOLUMNIA. Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this, fool:
    Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
    To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
    Than thou hast spoken words?
  SICINIUS. O blessed heavens!
  VOLUMNIA. Moe noble blows than ever thou wise words;
    And for Rome's good. I'll tell thee what- yet go!
    Nay, but thou shalt stay too. I would my son
    Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
    His good sword in his hand.
  SICINIUS. What then?
  VIRGILIA. What then!
    He'd make an end of thy posterity.
  VOLUMNIA. Bastards and all.
    Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
  MENENIUS. Come, come, peace.
  SICINIUS. I would he had continued to his country
    As he began, and not unknit himself
    The noble knot he made.
  BRUTUS. I would he had.
  VOLUMNIA. 'I would he had!' 'Twas you incens'd the rabble-
    Cats that can judge as fitly of his worth
    As I can of those mysteries which heaven
    Will not have earth to know.
  BRUTUS. Pray, let's go.
  VOLUMNIA. Now, pray, sir, get you gone;
    You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:
    As far as doth the Capitol exceed
    The meanest house in Rome, so far my son-
    This lady's husband here, this, do you see?-
    Whom you have banish'd does exceed you an.
  BRUTUS. Well, well, we'll leave you.
  SICINIUS. Why stay we to be baited
    With one that wants her wits?                Exeunt TRIBUNES
  VOLUMNIA. Take my prayers with you.
    I would the gods had nothing else to do
    But to confirm my curses. Could I meet 'em
    But once a day, it would unclog my heart
    Of what lies heavy to't.
  MENENIUS. You have told them home,
    And, by my troth, you have cause. You'll sup with me?
  VOLUMNIA. Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself,
    And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let's go.
    Leave this faint puling and lament as I do,
    In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.
                                    Exeunt VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA
  MENENIUS. Fie, fie, fie!                                  Exit

A highway between Rome and Antium

Enter a ROMAN and a VOLSCE, meeting

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

Antium. Before AUFIDIUS' house

Enter CORIOLANUS, in mean apparel, disguis'd and muffled

  CORIOLANUS. A goodly city is this Antium. City,
    'Tis I that made thy widows: many an heir
    Of these fair edifices fore my wars
    Have I heard groan and drop. Then know me not.
    Lest that thy wives with spits and boys with stones,
    In puny battle slay me.

                           Enter A CITIZEN

    Save you, sir.
  CITIZEN. And you.
  CORIOLANUS. Direct me, if it be your will,
    Where great Aufidius lies. Is he in Antium?
  CITIZEN. He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
    At his house this night.
  CORIOLANUS. Which is his house, beseech you?
  CITIZEN. This here before you.
  CORIOLANUS. Thank you, sir; farewell.             Exit CITIZEN
    O world, thy slippery turns! Friends now fast sworn,
    Whose double bosoms seems to wear one heart,
    Whose hours, whose bed, whose meal and exercise
    Are still together, who twin, as 'twere, in love,
    Unseparable, shall within this hour,
    On a dissension of a doit, break out
    To bitterest enmity; so fellest foes,
    Whose passions and whose plots have broke their sleep
    To take the one the other, by some chance,
    Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends
    And interjoin their issues. So with me:
    My birthplace hate I, and my love's upon
    This enemy town. I'll enter. If he slay me,
    He does fair justice: if he give me way,
    I'll do his country service.

Antium. AUFIDIUS' house

Music plays. Enter A SERVINGMAN

  FIRST SERVANT. Wine, wine, wine! What service is here! I think our
    fellows are asleep.                                     Exit

                     Enter another SERVINGMAN

  SECOND SERVANT.Where's Cotus? My master calls for him.
    Cotus!                                                  Exit

                       Enter CORIOLANUS

  CORIOLANUS. A goodly house. The feast smells well, but I
    Appear not like a guest.

                 Re-enter the first SERVINGMAN

  FIRST SERVANT. What would you have, friend?
    Whence are you? Here's no place for you: pray go to the door.
  CORIOLANUS. I have deserv'd no better entertainment
    In being Coriolanus.

                   Re-enter second SERVINGMAN

  SECOND SERVANT. Whence are you, sir? Has the porter his eyes in his
    head that he gives entrance to such companions? Pray get you out.
  SECOND SERVANT. Away? Get you away.
  CORIOLANUS. Now th' art troublesome.
  SECOND SERVANT. Are you so brave? I'll have you talk'd with anon.

          Enter a third SERVINGMAN. The first meets him

  THIRD SERVANT. What fellow's this?
  FIRST SERVANT. A strange one as ever I look'd on. I cannot get him
    out o' th' house. Prithee call my master to him.
  THIRD SERVANT. What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you avoid the
  CORIOLANUS. Let me but stand- I will not hurt your hearth.
  THIRD SERVANT. What are you?
  CORIOLANUS. A gentleman.
  THIRD SERVANT. A marv'llous poor one.
  CORIOLANUS. True, so I am.
  THIRD SERVANT. Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some other
    station; here's no place for you. Pray you avoid. Come.
  CORIOLANUS. Follow your function, go and batten on cold bits.
                                      [Pushes him away from him]
  THIRD SERVANT. What, you will not? Prithee tell my master what a
    strange guest he has here.
  SECOND SERVANT. And I shall.                              Exit
  THIRD SERVANT. Where dwell'st thou?
  CORIOLANUS. Under the canopy.
  THIRD SERVANT. Under the canopy?
  THIRD SERVANT. Where's that?
  CORIOLANUS. I' th' city of kites and crows.
  THIRD SERVANT. I' th' city of kites and crows!
    What an ass it is! Then thou dwell'st with daws too?
  CORIOLANUS. No, I serve not thy master.
  THIRD SERVANT. How, sir! Do you meddle with my master?
  CORIOLANUS. Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thy
    mistress. Thou prat'st and prat'st; serve with thy trencher;
    hence!                                      [Beats him away]

             Enter AUFIDIUS with the second SERVINGMAN

  AUFIDIUS. Where is this fellow?
  SECOND SERVANT. Here, sir; I'd have beaten him like a dog, but for
    disturbing the lords within.
  AUFIDIUS. Whence com'st thou? What wouldst thou? Thy name?
    Why speak'st not? Speak, man. What's thy name?
  CORIOLANUS.  [Unmuffling]  If, Tullus,
    Not yet thou know'st me, and, seeing me, dost not
    Think me for the man I am, necessity
    Commands me name myself.
  AUFIDIUS. What is thy name?
  CORIOLANUS. A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
    And harsh in sound to thine.
  AUFIDIUS. Say, what's thy name?
    Thou has a grim appearance, and thy face
    Bears a command in't; though thy tackle's torn,
    Thou show'st a noble vessel. What's thy name?
  CORIOLANUS. Prepare thy brow to frown- know'st thou me yet?
  AUFIDIUS. I know thee not. Thy name?
  CORIOLANUS. My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done
    To thee particularly, and to all the Volsces,
    Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
    My surname, Coriolanus. The painful service,
    The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood
    Shed for my thankless country, are requited
    But with that surname- a good memory
    And witness of the malice and displeasure
    Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name remains;
    The cruelty and envy of the people,
    Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
    Have all forsook me, hath devour'd the rest,
    An suffer'd me by th' voice of slaves to be
    Whoop'd out of Rome. Now this extremity
    Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope,
    Mistake me not, to save my life; for if
    I had fear'd death, of all the men i' th' world
    I would have 'voided thee; but in mere spite,
    To be full quit of those my banishers,
    Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
    A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
    Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
    Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight
    And make my misery serve thy turn. So use it
    That my revengeful services may prove
    As benefits to thee; for I will fight
    Against my cank'red country with the spleen
    Of all the under fiends. But if so be
    Thou dar'st not this, and that to prove more fortunes
    Th'art tir'd, then, in a word, I also am
    Longer to live most weary, and present
    My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;
    Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
    Since I have ever followed thee with hate,
    Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast,
    And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
    It be to do thee service.
  AUFIDIUS. O Marcius, Marcius!
    Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
    A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
    Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
    And say ''Tis true,' I'd not believe them more
    Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me twine
    Mine arms about that body, where against
    My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
    And scarr'd the moon with splinters; here I clip
    The anvil of my sword, and do contest
    As hotly and as nobly with thy love
    As ever in ambitious strength I did
    Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
    I lov'd the maid I married; never man
    Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here,
    Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
    Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
    Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars, I tell the
    We have a power on foot, and I had purpose
    Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
    Or lose mine arm for't. Thou hast beat me out
    Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
    Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me-
    We have been down together in my sleep,
    Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat-
    And wak'd half dead with nothing. Worthy Marcius,
    Had we no other quarrel else to Rome but that
    Thou art thence banish'd, we would muster all
    From twelve to seventy, and, pouring war
    Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
    Like a bold flood o'erbeat. O, come, go in,
    And take our friendly senators by th' hands,
    Who now are here, taking their leaves of me
    Who am prepar'd against your territories,
    Though not for Rome itself.
  CORIOLANUS. You bless me, gods!
  AUFIDIUS. Therefore, most. absolute sir, if thou wilt have
    The leading of thine own revenges, take
    Th' one half of my commission, and set down-
    As best thou art experienc'd, since thou know'st
    Thy country's strength and weakness- thine own ways,
    Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
    Or rudely visit them in parts remote
    To fright them ere destroy. But come in;
    Let me commend thee first to those that shall
    Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
    And more a friend than e'er an enemy;
    Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand; most welcome!
                                  Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS

                    The two SERVINGMEN come forward

  FIRST SERVANT. Here's a strange alteration!
  SECOND SERVANT. By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with
    a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made a false report
    of him.
  FIRST SERVANT. What an arm he has! He turn'd me about with his
    finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.
  SECOND SERVANT. Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in
    him; he had, sir, a kind of face, methought- I cannot tell how to
    term it.
  FIRST SERVANT. He had so, looking as it were- Would I were hang'd,
    but I thought there was more in him than I could think.
  SECOND SERVANT. So did I, I'll be sworn. He is simply the rarest
    man i' th' world.
  FIRST SERVANT. I think he is; but a greater soldier than he you wot
  SECOND SERVANT. Who, my master?
  FIRST SERVANT. Nay, it's no matter for that.
  SECOND SERVANT. Worth six on him.
  FIRST SERVANT. Nay, not so neither; but I take him to be the
    greater soldier.
  SECOND SERVANT. Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that;
    for the defence of a town our general is excellent.
  FIRST SERVANT. Ay, and for an assault too.

                       Re-enter the third SERVINGMAN

  THIRD SERVANT. O slaves, I can tell you news- news, you rascals!
  BOTH. What, what, what? Let's partake.
  THIRD SERVANT. I would not be a Roman, of all nations;
    I had as lief be a condemn'd man.
  BOTH. Wherefore? wherefore?
  THIRD SERVANT. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general-
    Caius Marcius.
  FIRST SERVANT. Why do you say 'thwack our general'?
  THIRD SERVANT. I do not say 'thwack our general,' but he was always
    good enough for him.
  SECOND SERVANT. Come, we are fellows and friends. He was ever too
    hard for him, I have heard him say so himself.
  FIRST SERVANT. He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth
    on't; before Corioli he scotch'd him and notch'd him like a
  SECOND SERVANT. An he had been cannibally given, he might have
    broil'd and eaten him too.
  FIRST SERVANT. But more of thy news!
  THIRD SERVANT. Why, he is so made on here within as if he were son
    and heir to Mars; set at upper end o' th' table; no question
    asked him by any of the senators but they stand bald before him.
    Our general himself makes a mistress of him, sanctifies himself
    with's hand, and turns up the white o' th' eye to his discourse.
    But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' th' middle
    and but one half of what he was yesterday, for the other has half
    by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says,
    and sowl the porter of Rome gates by th' ears; he will mow all
    down before him, and leave his passage poll'd.
  SECOND SERVANT. And he's as like to do't as any man I can imagine.
  THIRD SERVANT. Do't! He will do't; for look you, sir, he has as
    many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it were, durst
    not- look you, sir- show themselves, as we term it, his friends,
    whilst he's in directitude.
  FIRST SERVANT. Directitude? What's that?
  THIRD SERVANT. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again and
    the man in blood, they will out of their burrows, like conies
    after rain, and revel an with him.
  FIRST SERVANT. But when goes this forward?
  THIRD SERVANT. To-morrow, to-day, presently. You shall have the
    drum struck up this afternoon; 'tis as it were parcel of their
    feast, and to be executed ere they wipe their lips.
  SECOND SERVANT. Why, then we shall have a stirring world again.
    This peace is nothing but to rust iron, increase tailors, and
    breed ballad-makers.
  FIRST SERVANT. Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as
    day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent.
    Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mull'd, deaf, sleepy,
    insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war's a
    destroyer of men.
  SECOND SERVANT. 'Tis so; and as war in some sort may be said to be
    a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is a great maker of
  FIRST SERVANT. Ay, and it makes men hate one another.
  THIRD SERVANT. Reason: because they then less need one another. The
    wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheap as Volscians.
    They are rising, they are rising.
  BOTH. In, in, in, in!                                   Exeunt

Rome. A public place

Enter the two Tribunes, SICINIUS and BRUTUS

  SICINIUS. We hear not of him, neither need we fear him.
    His remedies are tame. The present peace
    And quietness of the people, which before
    Were in wild hurry, here do make his friends
    Blush that the world goes well; who rather had,
    Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold
    Dissentious numbers pest'ring streets than see
    Our tradesmen singing in their shops, and going
    About their functions friendly.

                          Enter MENENIUS

  BRUTUS. We stood to't in good time. Is this Menenius?
  SICINIUS. 'Tis he, 'tis he. O, he is grown most kind
    Of late. Hail, sir!
  MENENIUS. Hail to you both!
  SICINIUS. Your Coriolanus is not much miss'd
    But with his friends. The commonwealth doth stand,
    And so would do, were he more angry at it.
  MENENIUS. All's well, and might have been much better
    He could have temporiz'd.
  SICINIUS. Where is he, hear you?
  MENENIUS. Nay, I hear nothing; his mother and his wife
    Hear nothing from him.

                     Enter three or four citizens

  CITIZENS. The gods preserve you both!
  SICINIUS. God-den, our neighbours.
  BRUTUS. God-den to you all, god-den to you an.
  FIRST CITIZEN. Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees
    Are bound to pray for you both.
  SICINIUS. Live and thrive!
  BRUTUS. Farewell, kind neighbours; we wish'd Coriolanus
    Had lov'd you as we did.
  CITIZENS. Now the gods keep you!
  BOTH TRIBUNES. Farewell, farewell.             Exeunt citizens
  SICINIUS. This is a happier and more comely time
    Than when these fellows ran about the streets
    Crying confusion.
  BRUTUS. Caius Marcius was
    A worthy officer i' the war, but insolent,
    O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
  SICINIUS. And affecting one sole throne,
    Without assistance.
  MENENIUS. I think not so.
  SICINIUS. We should by this, to all our lamentation,
    If he had gone forth consul, found it so.
  BRUTUS. The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
    Sits safe and still without him.

                             Enter an AEDILE

  AEDILE. Worthy tribunes,
    There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
    Reports the Volsces with several powers
    Are ent'red in the Roman territories,
    And with the deepest malice of the war
    Destroy what lies before 'em.
  MENENIUS. 'Tis Aufidius,
    Who, hearing of our Marcius' banishment,
    Thrusts forth his horns again into the world,
    Which were inshell'd when Marcius stood for Rome,
    And durst not once peep out.
  SICINIUS. Come, what talk you of Marcius?
  BRUTUS. Go see this rumourer whipp'd. It cannot be
    The Volsces dare break with us.
  MENENIUS. Cannot be!
    We have record that very well it can;
    And three examples of the like hath been
    Within my age. But reason with the fellow
    Before you punish him, where he heard this,
    Lest you shall chance to whip your information
    And beat the messenger who bids beware
    Of what is to be dreaded.
  SICINIUS. Tell not me.
    I know this cannot be.
  BRUTUS. Not Possible.

                           Enter A MESSENGER

  MESSENGER. The nobles in great earnestness are going
    All to the Senate House; some news is come
    That turns their countenances.
  SICINIUS. 'Tis this slave-
    Go whip him fore the people's eyes- his raising,
    Nothing but his report.
  MESSENGER. Yes, worthy sir,
    The slave's report is seconded, and more,
    More fearful, is deliver'd.
  SICINIUS. What more fearful?
  MESSENGER. It is spoke freely out of many mouths-
    How probable I do not know- that Marcius,
    Join'd with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
    And vows revenge as spacious as between
    The young'st and oldest thing.
  SICINIUS. This is most likely!
  BRUTUS. Rais'd only that the weaker sort may wish
    Good Marcius home again.
  SICINIUS. The very trick on 't.
  MENENIUS. This is unlikely.
    He and Aufidius can no more atone
    Than violent'st contrariety.

                      Enter a second MESSENGER

  SECOND MESSENGER. You are sent for to the Senate.
    A fearful army, led by Caius Marcius
    Associated with Aufidius, rages
    Upon our territories, and have already
    O'erborne their way, consum'd with fire and took
    What lay before them.

                            Enter COMINIUS

  COMINIUS. O, you have made good work!
  MENENIUS. What news? what news?
  COMINIUS. You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
    To melt the city leads upon your pates,
    To see your wives dishonour'd to your noses-
  MENENIUS. What's the news? What's the news?
  COMINIUS. Your temples burned in their cement, and
    Your franchises, whereon you stood, confin'd
    Into an auger's bore.
  MENENIUS. Pray now, your news?
    You have made fair work, I fear me. Pray, your news.
    If Marcius should be join'd wi' th' Volscians-
    He is their god; he leads them like a thing
    Made by some other deity than Nature,
    That shapes man better; and they follow him
    Against us brats with no less confidence
    Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
    Or butchers killing flies.
  MENENIUS. You have made good work,
    You and your apron men; you that stood so much
    Upon the voice of occupation and
    The breath of garlic-eaters!
  COMINIUS. He'll shake
    Your Rome about your ears.
  MENENIUS. As Hercules
    Did shake down mellow fruit. You have made fair work!
  BRUTUS. But is this true, sir?
  COMINIUS. Ay; and you'll look pale
    Before you find it other. All the regions
    Do smilingly revolt, and who resists
    Are mock'd for valiant ignorance,
    And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
    Your enemies and his find something in him.
  MENENIUS. We are all undone unless
    The noble man have mercy.
  COMINIUS. Who shall ask it?
    The tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
    Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
    Does of the shepherds; for his best friends, if they
    Should say 'Be good to Rome'- they charg'd him even
    As those should do that had deserv'd his hate,
    And therein show'd fike enemies.
  MENENIUS. 'Tis true;
    If he were putting to my house the brand
    That should consume it, I have not the face
    To say 'Beseech you, cease.' You have made fair hands,
    You and your crafts! You have crafted fair!
  COMINIUS. You have brought
    A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
    S' incapable of help.
  BOTH TRIBUNES. Say not we brought it.
  MENENIUS. How! Was't we? We lov'd him, but, like beasts
    And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
    Who did hoot him out o' th' city.
  COMINIUS. But I fear
    They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
    The second name of men, obeys his points
    As if he were his officer. Desperation
    Is all the policy, strength, and defence,
    That Rome can make against them.

                       Enter a troop of citizens

  MENENIUS. Here comes the clusters.
    And is Aufidius with him? You are they
    That made the air unwholesome when you cast
    Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at
    Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming,
    And not a hair upon a soldier's head
    Which will not prove a whip; as many coxcombs
    As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
    And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter;
    If he could burn us all into one coal
    We have deserv'd it.
  PLEBEIANS. Faith, we hear fearful news.
  FIRST CITIZEN. For mine own part,
    When I said banish him, I said 'twas pity.
  SECOND CITIZEN. And so did I.
  THIRD CITIZEN. And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very
    many of us. That we did, we did for the best; and though we
    willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our
  COMINIUS. Y'are goodly things, you voices!
  MENENIUS. You have made
    Good work, you and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?
  COMINIUS. O, ay, what else?
                                    Exeunt COMINIUS and MENENIUS
  SICINIUS. Go, masters, get you be not dismay'd;
    These are a side that would be glad to have
    This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
    And show no sign of fear.
  FIRST CITIZEN. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. I
    ever said we were i' th' wrong when we banish'd him.
  SECOND CITIZEN. So did we all. But come, let's home.
                                                 Exeunt citizens
  BRUTUS. I do not like this news.
  BRUTUS. Let's to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
    Would buy this for a lie!
  SICINIUS. Pray let's go.                                Exeunt

A camp at a short distance from Rome


  AUFIDIUS. Do they still fly to th' Roman?
  LIEUTENANT. I do not know what witchcraft's in him, but
    Your soldiers use him as the grace fore meat,
    Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
    And you are dark'ned in this action, sir,
    Even by your own.
  AUFIDIUS. I cannot help it now,
    Unless by using means I lame the foot
    Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
    Even to my person, than I thought he would
    When first I did embrace him; yet his nature
    In that's no changeling, and I must excuse
    What cannot be amended.
  LIEUTENANT. Yet I wish, sir-
    I mean, for your particular- you had not
    Join'd in commission with him, but either
    Had borne the action of yourself, or else
    To him had left it solely.
  AUFIDIUS. I understand thee well; and be thou sure,
    When he shall come to his account, he knows not
    What I can urge against him. Although it seems,
    And so he thinks, and is no less apparent
    To th' vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly
    And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
    Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon
    As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
    That which shall break his neck or hazard mine
    Whene'er we come to our account.
  LIEUTENANT. Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry Rome?
  AUFIDIUS. All places yield to him ere he sits down,
    And the nobility of Rome are his;
    The senators and patricians love him too.
    The tribunes are no soldiers, and their people
    Will be as rash in the repeal as hasty
    To expel him thence. I think he'll be to Rome
    As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
    By sovereignty of nature. First he was
    A noble servant to them, but he could not
    Carry his honours even. Whether 'twas pride,
    Which out of daily fortune ever taints
    The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
    To fail in the disposing of those chances
    Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
    Not to be other than one thing, not moving
    From th' casque to th' cushion, but commanding peace
    Even with the same austerity and garb
    As he controll'd the war; but one of these-
    As he hath spices of them all- not all,
    For I dare so far free him- made him fear'd,
    So hated, and so banish'd. But he has a merit
    To choke it in the utt'rance. So our virtues
    Lie in th' interpretation of the time;
    And power, unto itself most commendable,
    Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
    T' extol what it hath done.
    One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
    Rights by rights falter, strengths by strengths do fail.
    Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
    Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine.

Rome. A public place

Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS and BRUTUS, the two Tribunes, with others

  MENENIUS. No, I'll not go. You hear what he hath said
    Which was sometime his general, who lov'd him
    In a most dear particular. He call'd me father;
    But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him:
    A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
    The way into his mercy. Nay, if he coy'd
    To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
  COMINIUS. He would not seem to know me.
  MENENIUS. Do you hear?
  COMINIUS. Yet one time he did call me by my name.
    I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops
    That we have bled together. 'Coriolanus'
    He would not answer to; forbid all names;
    He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
    Till he had forg'd himself a name i' th' fire
    Of burning Rome.
  MENENIUS. Why, so! You have made good work.
    A pair of tribunes that have wrack'd for Rome
    To make coals cheap- a noble memory!
  COMINIUS. I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
    When it was less expected; he replied,
    It was a bare petition of a state
    To one whom they had punish'd.
  MENENIUS. Very well.
    Could he say less?
  COMINIUS. I offer'd to awaken his regard
    For's private friends; his answer to me was,
    He could not stay to pick them in a pile
    Of noisome musty chaff. He said 'twas folly,
    For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt
    And still to nose th' offence.
  MENENIUS. For one poor grain or two!
    I am one of those. His mother, wife, his child,
    And this brave fellow too- we are the grains:
    You are the musty chaff, and you are smelt
    Above the moon. We must be burnt for you.
  SICINIUS. Nay, pray be patient; if you refuse your aid
    In this so never-needed help, yet do not
    Upbraid's with our distress. But sure, if you
    Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
    More than the instant army we can make,
    Might stop our countryman.
  MENENIUS. No; I'll not meddle.
  SICINIUS. Pray you go to him.
  MENENIUS. What should I do?
  BRUTUS. Only make trial what your love can do
    For Rome, towards Marcius.
  MENENIUS. Well, and say that Marcius
    Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
    Unheard- what then?
    But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
    With his unkindness? Say't be so?
  SICINIUS. Yet your good will
    Must have that thanks from Rome after the measure
    As you intended well.
  MENENIUS. I'll undertake't;
    I think he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip
    And hum at good Cominius much unhearts me.
    He was not taken well: he had not din'd;
    The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
    We pout upon the morning, are unapt
    To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
    These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
    With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
    Than in our priest-like fasts. Therefore I'll watch him
    Till he be dieted to my request,
    And then I'll set upon him.
  BRUTUS. You know the very road into his kindness
    And cannot lose your way.
  MENENIUS. Good faith, I'll prove him,
    Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
    Of my success.                                          Exit
  COMINIUS. He'll never hear him.
  COMINIUS. I tell you he does sit in gold, his eye
    Red as 'twould burn Rome, and his injury
    The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
    'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise'; dismiss'd me
    Thus with his speechless hand. What he would do,
    He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
    Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions;
    So that all hope is vain,
    Unless his noble mother and his wife,
    Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
    For mercy to his country. Therefore let's hence,
    And with our fair entreaties haste them on.           Exeunt

The Volscian camp before Rome

Enter MENENIUS to the WATCH on guard

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

                      Enter CORIOLANUS with AUFIDIUS

  CORIOLANUS. What's the matter?
  MENENIUS. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you; you shall
    know now that I am in estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack
    guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus. Guess but by my
    entertainment with him if thou stand'st not i' th' state of
    hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship and crueller
    in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come
    upon thee. The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy
    particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father
    Menenius does! O my son! my son! thou art preparing fire for us;
    look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come
    to thee; but being assured none but myself could move thee, I
    have been blown out of your gates with sighs, and conjure thee to
    pardon Rome and thy petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage
    thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here; this,
    who, like a block, hath denied my access to thee.
  MENENIUS. How! away!
  CORIOLANUS. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
    Are servanted to others. Though I owe
    My revenge properly, my remission lies
    In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
    Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison rather
    Than pity note how much. Therefore be gone.
    Mine ears against your suits are stronger than
    Your gates against my force. Yet, for I lov'd thee,
    Take this along; I writ it for thy sake     [Gives a letter]
    And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius,
    I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius,
    Was my belov'd in Rome; yet thou behold'st.
  AUFIDIUS. You keep a constant temper.
                                  Exeunt CORIOLANUS and Aufidius
  FIRST WATCH. Now, sir, is your name Menenius?
  SECOND WATCH. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power! You know the
    way home again.
  FIRST WATCH. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your
    greatness back?
  SECOND WATCH. What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?
  MENENIUS. I neither care for th' world nor your general; for such
    things as you, I can scarce think there's any, y'are so slight.
    He that hath a will to die by himself fears it not from another.
    Let your general do his worst. For you, be that you are, long;
    and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was
    said to: Away!                                          Exit
  FIRST WATCH. A noble fellow, I warrant him.
  SECOND WATCH. The worthy fellow is our general; he's the rock, the
    oak not to be wind-shaken.                            Exeunt

The tent of CORIOLANUS

Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others

  CORIOLANUS. We will before the walls of Rome to-morrow
    Set down our host. My partner in this action,
    You must report to th' Volscian lords how plainly
    I have borne this business.
  AUFIDIUS. Only their ends
    You have respected; stopp'd your ears against
    The general suit of Rome; never admitted
    A private whisper- no, not with such friends
    That thought them sure of you.
  CORIOLANUS. This last old man,
    Whom with crack'd heart I have sent to Rome,
    Lov'd me above the measure of a father;
    Nay, godded me indeed. Their latest refuge
    Was to send him; for whose old love I have-
    Though I show'd sourly to him- once more offer'd
    The first conditions, which they did refuse
    And cannot now accept. To grace him only,
    That thought he could do more, a very little
    I have yielded to; fresh embassies and suits,
    Nor from the state nor private friends, hereafter
    Will I lend ear to.  [Shout within]  Ha! what shout is this?
    Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
    In the same time 'tis made? I will not.

       Enter, in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, VALERIA,
                   YOUNG MARCIUS, with attendants

    My wife comes foremost, then the honour'd mould
    Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand
    The grandchild to her blood. But out, affection!
    All bond and privilege of nature, break!
    Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.
    What is that curtsy worth? or those doves' eyes,
    Which can make gods forsworn? I melt, and am not
    Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows,
    As if Olympus to a molehill should
    In supplication nod; and my young boy
    Hath an aspect of intercession which
    Great nature cries 'Deny not.' Let the Volsces
    Plough Rome and harrow Italy; I'll never
    Be such a gosling to obey instinct, but stand
    As if a man were author of himself
    And knew no other kin.
  VIRGILIA. My lord and husband!
  CORIOLANUS. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
  VIRGILIA. The sorrow that delivers us thus chang'd
    Makes you think so.
  CORIOLANUS. Like a dull actor now
    I have forgot my part and I am out,
    Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
    Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
    For that, 'Forgive our Romans.' O, a kiss
    Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
    Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
    I carried from thee, dear, and my true lip
    Hath virgin'd it e'er since. You gods! I prate,
    And the most noble mother of the world
    Leave unsaluted. Sink, my knee, i' th' earth;       [Kneels]
    Of thy deep duty more impression show
    Than that of common sons.
  VOLUMNIA. O, stand up blest!
    Whilst with no softer cushion than the flint
    I kneel before thee, and unproperly
    Show duty, as mistaken all this while
    Between the child and parent.                       [Kneels]
  CORIOLANUS. What's this?
    Your knees to me, to your corrected son?
    Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
    Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
    Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun,
    Murd'ring impossibility, to make
    What cannot be slight work.
  VOLUMNIA. Thou art my warrior;
    I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
  CORIOLANUS. The noble sister of Publicola,
    The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
    That's curdied by the frost from purest snow,
    And hangs on Dian's temple- dear Valeria!
  VOLUMNIA. This is a poor epitome of yours,
    Which by th' interpretation of full time
    May show like all yourself.
  CORIOLANUS. The god of soldiers,
    With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
    Thy thoughts with nobleness, that thou mayst prove
    To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' th' wars
    Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
    And saving those that eye thee!
  VOLUMNIA. Your knee, sirrah.
  CORIOLANUS. That's my brave boy.
  VOLUMNIA. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
    Are suitors to you.
  CORIOLANUS. I beseech you, peace!
    Or, if you'd ask, remember this before:
    The thing I have forsworn to grant may never
    Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
    Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
    Again with Rome's mechanics. Tell me not
    Wherein I seem unnatural; desire not
    T'allay my rages and revenges with
    Your colder reasons.
  VOLUMNIA. O, no more, no more!
    You have said you will not grant us any thing-
    For we have nothing else to ask but that
    Which you deny already; yet we will ask,
    That, if you fail in our request, the blame
    May hang upon your hardness; therefore hear us.
  CORIOLANUS. Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for we'll
    Hear nought from Rome in private. Your request?
  VOLUMNIA. Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment
    And state of bodies would bewray what life
    We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself
    How more unfortunate than all living women
    Are we come hither; since that thy sight, which should
    Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comforts,
    Constrains them weep and shake with fear and sorrow,
    Making the mother, wife, and child, to see
    The son, the husband, and the father, tearing
    His country's bowels out. And to poor we
    Thine enmity's most capital: thou bar'st us
    Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
    That all but we enjoy. For how can we,
    Alas, how can we for our country pray,
    Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
    Whereto we are bound? Alack, or we must lose
    The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,
    Our comfort in the country. We must find
    An evident calamity, though we had
    Our wish, which side should win; for either thou
    Must as a foreign recreant be led
    With manacles through our streets, or else
    Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
    And bear the palm for having bravely shed
    Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
    I purpose not to wait on fortune till
    These wars determine; if I can not persuade thee
    Rather to show a noble grace to both parts
    Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
    March to assault thy country than to tread-
    Trust to't, thou shalt not- on thy mother's womb
    That brought thee to this world.
  VIRGILIA. Ay, and mine,
    That brought you forth this boy to keep your name
    Living to time.
  BOY. 'A shall not tread on me!
    I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
  CORIOLANUS. Not of a woman's tenderness to be
    Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
    I have sat too long.                                [Rising]
  VOLUMNIA. Nay, go not from us thus.
    If it were so that our request did tend
    To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
    The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us
    As poisonous of your honour. No, our suit
    Is that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
    May say 'This mercy we have show'd,' the Romans
    'This we receiv'd,' and each in either side
    Give the all-hail to thee, and cry 'Be blest
    For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great son,
    The end of war's uncertain; but this certain,
    That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
    Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name
    Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses;
    Whose chronicle thus writ: 'The man was noble,
    But with his last attempt he wip'd it out,
    Destroy'd his country, and his name remains
    To th' ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me, son.
    Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
    To imitate the graces of the gods,
    To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' th' air,
    And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
    That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
    Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
    Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you:
    He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy;
    Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
    Than can our reasons. There's no man in the world
    More bound to's mother, yet here he lets me prate
    Like one i' th' stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
    Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,
    When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
    Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home
    Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust,
    And spurn me back; but if it he not so,
    Thou art not honest, and the gods will plague thee,
    That thou restrain'st from me the duty which
    To a mother's part belongs. He turns away.
    Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
    To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride
    Than pity to our prayers. Down. An end;
    This is the last. So we will home to Rome,
    And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold's!
    This boy, that cannot tell what he would have
    But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,
    Does reason our petition with more strength
    Than thou hast to deny't. Come, let us go.
    This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
    His wife is in Corioli, and his child
    Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch.
    I am hush'd until our city be afire,
    And then I'll speak a little.
                              [He holds her by the hand, silent]
  CORIOLANUS. O mother, mother!
    What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
    The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
    They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
    You have won a happy victory to Rome;
    But for your son- believe it, O, believe it!-
    Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
    If not most mortal to him. But let it come.
    Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
    I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
    Were you in my stead, would you have heard
    A mother less, or granted less, Aufidius?
  AUFIDIUS. I was mov'd withal.
  CORIOLANUS. I dare be sworn you were!
    And, sir, it is no little thing to make
    Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
    What peace you'fl make, advise me. For my part,
    I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you
    Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife!
  AUFIDIUS.  [Aside]  I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and thy
    At difference in thee. Out of that I'll work
    Myself a former fortune.
  CORIOLANUS.  [To the ladies]  Ay, by and by;
    But we will drink together; and you shall bear
    A better witness back than words, which we,
    On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd.
    Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
    To have a temple built you. All the swords
    In Italy, and her confederate arms,
    Could not have made this peace.                       Exeunt

Rome. A public place


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

                           Enter a MESSENGER

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

                         Enter another MESSENGER

  SICINIUS. What's the news?
  SECOND MESSENGER. Good news, good news! The ladies have prevail'd,
    The Volscians are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone.
    A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
    No, not th' expulsion of the Tarquins.
  SICINIUS. Friend,
    Art thou certain this is true? Is't most certain?
  SECOND MESSENGER. As certain as I know the sun is fire.
    Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
    Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide
    As the recomforted through th' gates. Why, hark you!
                  [Trumpets, hautboys, drums beat, all together]
    The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
    Tabors and cymbals, and the shouting Romans,
    Make the sun dance. Hark you!               [A shout within]
  MENENIUS. This is good news.
    I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
    Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
    A city full; of tribunes such as you,
    A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
    This morning for ten thousand of your throats
    I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
                                   [Sound still with the shouts]
  SICINIUS. First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
    Accept my thankfulness.
  SECOND MESSENGER. Sir, we have all
    Great cause to give great thanks.
  SICINIUS. They are near the city?
  MESSENGER. Almost at point to enter.
  SICINIUS. We'll meet them,
    And help the joy.                                     Exeunt

Rome. A street near the gate

Enter two SENATORS With VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, passing over the stage,
'With other LORDS

  FIRST SENATOR. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!
    Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
    And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them.
    Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,
    Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
  ALL. Welcome, ladies, welcome!
                    [A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt]

Corioli. A public place

Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS with attendents

  AUFIDIUS. Go tell the lords o' th' city I am here;
    Deliver them this paper' having read it,
    Bid them repair to th' market-place, where I,
    Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
    Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
    The city ports by this hath enter'd and
    Intends t' appear before the people, hoping
    To purge himself with words. Dispatch.
                                               Exeunt attendants

           Enter three or four CONSPIRATORS of AUFIDIUS' faction

    Most welcome!
  FIRST CONSPIRATOR. How is it with our general?
  AUFIDIUS. Even so
    As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
    And with his charity slain.
  SECOND CONSPIRATOR. Most noble sir,
    If you do hold the same intent wherein
    You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
    Of your great danger.
  AUFIDIUS. Sir, I cannot tell;
    We must proceed as we do find the people.
  THIRD CONSPIRATOR. The people will remain uncertain whilst
    'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
    Makes the survivor heir of all.
  AUFIDIUS. I know it;
    And my pretext to strike at him admits
    A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd
    Mine honour for his truth; who being so heighten'd,
    He watered his new plants with dews of flattery,
    Seducing so my friends; and to this end
    He bow'd his nature, never known before
    But to be rough, unswayable, and free.
  THIRD CONSPIRATOR. Sir, his stoutness
    When he did stand for consul, which he lost
    By lack of stooping-
  AUFIDIUS. That I would have spoken of.
    Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth,
    Presented to my knife his throat. I took him;
    Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
    In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
    Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
    My best and freshest men; serv'd his designments
    In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
    Which he did end all his, and took some pride
    To do myself this wrong. Till, at the last,
    I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
    He wag'd me with his countenance as if
    I had been mercenary.
  FIRST CONSPIRATOR. So he did, my lord.
    The army marvell'd at it; and, in the last,
    When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
    For no less spoil than glory-
  AUFIDIUS. There was it;
    For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
    At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
    As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
    Of our great action; therefore shall he die,
    And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
                                                      [Drums and
                trumpets sound, with great shouts of the people]
  FIRST CONSPIRATOR. Your native town you enter'd like a post,
    And had no welcomes home; but he returns
    Splitting the air with noise.
  SECOND CONSPIRATOR. And patient fools,
    Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
    With giving him glory.
  THIRD CONSPIRATOR. Therefore, at your vantage,
    Ere he express himself or move the people
    With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
    Which we will second. When he lies along,
    After your way his tale pronounc'd shall bury
    His reasons with his body.
  AUFIDIUS. Say no more:
    Here come the lords.

                     Enter the LORDS of the city

  LORDS. You are most welcome home.
  AUFIDIUS. I have not deserv'd it.
    But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
    What I have written to you?
  LORDS. We have.
  FIRST LORD. And grieve to hear't.
    What faults he made before the last, I think
    Might have found easy fines; but there to end
    Where he was to begin, and give away
    The benefit of our levies, answering us
    With our own charge, making a treaty where
    There was a yielding- this admits no excuse.
  AUFIDIUS. He approaches; you shall hear him.

            Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and colours;
                      the commoners being with him

  CORIOLANUS. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier;
    No more infected with my country's love
    Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
    Under your great command. You are to know
    That prosperously I have attempted, and
    With bloody passage led your wars even to
    The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home
    Doth more than counterpoise a full third part
    The charges of the action. We have made peace
    With no less honour to the Antiates
    Than shame to th' Romans; and we here deliver,
    Subscrib'd by th' consuls and patricians,
    Together with the seal o' th' Senate, what
    We have compounded on.
  AUFIDIUS. Read it not, noble lords;
    But tell the traitor in the highest degree
    He hath abus'd your powers.
  CORIOLANUS. Traitor! How now?
  AUFIDIUS. Ay, traitor, Marcius.
  CORIOLANUS. Marcius!
  AUFIDIUS. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius! Dost thou think
    I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
    Coriolanus, in Corioli?
    You lords and heads o' th' state, perfidiously
    He has betray'd your business and given up,
    For certain drops of salt, your city Rome-
    I say your city- to his wife and mother;
    Breaking his oath and resolution like
    A twist of rotten silk; never admitting
    Counsel o' th' war; but at his nurse's tears
    He whin'd and roar'd away your victory,
    That pages blush'd at him, and men of heart
    Look'd wond'ring each at others.
  CORIOLANUS. Hear'st thou, Mars?
  AUFIDIUS. Name not the god, thou boy of tears-
  AUFIDIUS. -no more.
  CORIOLANUS. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
    Too great for what contains it. 'Boy'! O slave!
    Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
    I was forc'd to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
    Must give this cur the lie; and his own notion-
    Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him, that
    Must bear my beating to his grave- shall join
    To thrust the lie unto him.
  FIRST LORD. Peace, both, and hear me speak.
  CORIOLANUS. Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
    Stain all your edges on me. 'Boy'! False hound!
    If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there
    That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
    Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli.
    Alone I did it. 'Boy'!
  AUFIDIUS. Why, noble lords,
    Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
    Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
    Fore your own eyes and ears?
  CONSPIRATORS. Let him die for't.
  ALL THE PEOPLE. Tear him to pieces. Do it presently. He kill'd my
    son. My daughter. He kill'd my cousin Marcus. He kill'd my
  SECOND LORD. Peace, ho! No outrage- peace!
    The man is noble, and his fame folds in
    This orb o' th' earth. His last offences to us
    Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
    And trouble not the peace.
  CORIOLANUS. O that I had him,
    With six Aufidiuses, or more- his tribe,
    To use my lawful sword!
  AUFIDIUS. Insolent villain!
  CONSPIRATORS. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
           [The CONSPIRATORS draw and kill CORIOLANUS,who falls.
                                         AUFIDIUS stands on him]
  LORDS. Hold, hold, hold, hold!
  AUFIDIUS. My noble masters, hear me speak.
  FIRST LORD. O Tullus!
  SECOND LORD. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
  THIRD LORD. Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
    Put up your swords.
  AUFIDIUS. My lords, when you shall know- as in this rage,
    Provok'd by him, you cannot- the great danger
    Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
    That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
    To call me to your Senate, I'll deliver
    Myself your loyal servant, or endure
    Your heaviest censure.
  FIRST LORD. Bear from hence his body,
    And mourn you for him. Let him be regarded
    As the most noble corse that ever herald
    Did follow to his um.
  SECOND LORD. His own impatience
    Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
    Let's make the best of it.
  AUFIDIUS. My rage is gone,
    And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.
    Help, three o' th' chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
    Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully;
    Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
    Hath widowed and unchilded many a one,
    Which to this hour bewail the injury,
    Yet he shall have a noble memory.
    Assist.               Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS
                                          [A dead march sounded]