Part 3 out of 4
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' the people,
And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
Even from this instant, banish him our city,
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian, never more
To enter our Rome gates: I' the people's name,
I say it shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be so; let him away;
He's banished, and it shall be so.
Hear me, my masters and my common friends,--
He's sentenc'd; no more hearing.
Let me speak:
I have been consul, and can show for Rome
Her enemies' marks upon me. I do love
My country's good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life,
My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase,
And treasure of my loins; then if I would
We know your drift. Speak what?
There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
As enemy to the people and his country:
It shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be so.
You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied 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, Senators, and
The people's enemy is gone, is gone!
Our enemy is banish'd, he is gone! Hoo! hoo!
[Shouting, and throwing up their caps.]
Go, see him out at gates, and follow him,
As he hath follow'd you, with all despite;
Give him deserv'd vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.
Come, come, let's see him out at gates; come.
The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.
SCENE I. Rome. Before a gate of the city.
[Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, MENENIUS, COMINIUS,and
several young Patricians.]
Come, leave your tears; a brief farewell:--he 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.
O heavens! O heavens!
Nay, I pr'ythee, woman,--
Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
And occupations perish!
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.
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' the way before thee.
O the gods!
I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee
Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us,
And we of thee: so, if the time thrust forth
A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
O'er the vast world to seek a single man;
And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
I' the absence of the needer.
Fare ye well:
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.
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.
Give me thy hand:--
SCENE II. Rome. A street near the gate.
[Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an AEDILE.]
Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no further.--
The nobility are vex'd, whom we see have sided
In his behalf.
Now we have shown our power,
Let us seem humbler after it is done
Than when it was a-doing.
Bid them home:
Say their great enemy is gone, and they
Stand in their ancient strength.
Dismiss them home.
Here comes his mother.
Let's not meet her.
They say she's mad.
They have ta'en note of us: keep on your way.
[Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and MENENIUS.]
O, you're well met: the hoarded plague o' the gods
Requite your love!
Peace, peace, be not so loud.
If that I could for weeping, you should hear,--
Nay, and you shall hear some.--[To BRUTUS.] Will you be gone?
You shall stay too[To SICINIUS.]: I would I had the power
To say so to my husband.
Are you mankind?
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?--
O blessed heavens!
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.
He'd make an end of thy posterity.
Bastards and all.--
Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
Come, come, peace.
I would he had continu'd to his country
As he began, and not unknit himself
The noble knot he made.
I would he had.
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.
Pray, let us go.
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 all.
Well, well, we'll leave you.
Why stay we to be baited
With one that wants her wits?
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.
You have told them home,
And, by my troth, you have cause. You'll sup with me?
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.
Fie, fie, fie!
SCENE III. A highway between Rome and Antium.
[Enter a ROMAN and a VOLSCE, meeting.]
I know you well, sir, and you know me; your name, I think,
It is so, sir: truly, I have forgot you.
I am a Roman; and my services are, as you are, against 'em: know
you me yet?
The same, sir.
You had more beard when I last saw you; but your favour is
well approved 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.
There hath been in Rome strange insurrections: the people
against the senators, patricians, and nobles.
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.
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.
You will be welcome with this intelligence, Nicanor.
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 fallen 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.
He cannot choose. I am most fortunate thus accidentally to
encounter you; you have ended my business, and I will merrily
accompany you home.
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?
A most royal one; the centurions and their charges, distinctly
billeted, already in the entertainment, and to be on foot at an
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.
You take my part from me, sir; I have the most cause to be
glad of yours.
Well, let us go together.
SCENE IV. Antium. Before AUFIDIUS'S house.
[Enter CORIOLANUS, in mean apparel, disguised and muffled.]
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.
Direct me, if it be your will,
Where great Aufidius lies; is he in Antium?
He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
At his house this night.
Which is his house, beseech you?
This, here, before you.
Thank you, sir; farewell.
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.
SCENE V. Antium. A hall in AUFIDIUS'S house.
[Music within. Enter A SERVANT.]
Wine, wine, wine! What service is here!
I think our fellows are asleep.
[Enter a second SERVANT.]
Where's Cotus? my master calls for him.--Cotus!
A goodly house: the feast smells well; but I
Appear not like a guest.
[Re-enter the first SERVANT.]
What would you have, friend? whence are you? Here's no place for
you: pray go to the door.
I have deserv'd no better entertainment
In being Coriolanus.
[Re-enter 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.
Away? Get you away.
Now the art troublesome.
Are you so brave? I'll have you talked with anon.
[Enter a third SERVANT. The first meets him.]
What fellow's this?
A strange one as ever I looked on: I cannot get him
out o' the house. Pr'ythee call my master to him.
What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you avoid the house.
Let me but stand; I will not hurt your hearth.
What are you?
A marvellous poor one.
True, so I am.
Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some other station; here's no
place for you. Pray you avoid; come.
Follow your function, go,
And batten on cold bits.
[Pushes him away.]
What, you will not?--Pr'ythee, tell my master what a strange
guest he has here.
And I shall.
Where dwell'st thou?
Under the canopy.
Under the canopy?
I' the city of kites and crows.
I' the city of kites and crows!--What an ass it is!--Then thou
dwell'st with daws too?
No, I serve not thy master.
How, sir! Do you meddle with my master?
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 and the second SERVANT.]
Where is this fellow?
Here, sir; I'd have beaten him like a dog, but for
disturbing the lords within.
Whence com'st thou? what wouldst thou? thy name?
Why speak'st not? speak, man: what's thy name?
[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.
What is thy name?
A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
And harsh in sound to thine.
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?
Prepare thy brow to frown:--know'st thou me yet?
I know thee not:--thy name?
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,
And suffer'd me by the 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' the 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 canker'd 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 follow'd 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.
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 scar'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
Sighed 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 thee
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'erbear. O, come, go in,
And take our friendly senators by the hands;
Who now are here, taking their leaves of me,
Who am prepar'd against your territories,
Though not for Rome itself.
You bless me, gods!
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.]
Here's a strange alteration!
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.
What an arm he has! He turned me about with his finger and his
thumb, as one would set up a top.
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.
He had so, looking as it were,--would I were hanged, but I
thought there was more in him than I could think.
So did I, I'll be sworn: he is simply the rarest man i' the
I think he is; but a greater soldier than he you wot on.
Who, my master?
Nay, it's no matter for that.
Worth six on him.
Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be the greater soldier.
Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that: for the defence
of a town our general is excellent.
Ay, and for an assault too.
[Re-enter third SERVANT.]
O slaves, I can tell you news,--news, you rascals!
FIRST and SECOND SERVANT.
What, what, what? let's partake.
I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as lief be a
FIRST and SECOND SERVANT.
Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,--Caius
Why do you say, thwack our general?
I do not say thwack our general; but he was always good enough
Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever too hard for him; I
have heard him say so himself.
He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth on't; before
Corioli he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado.
An he had been cannibally given, he might have broiled and eaten
But more of thy news?
Why, he is so made on here within as if he were son and heir to
Mars; set at upper end o' the 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' the eye to his discourse. But the
bottom of the news is, our general is cut i' the 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 the ears; he will mow all down
before him, and leave his passage polled.
And he's as like to do't as any man I can imagine.
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
Dejectitude! what's that?
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 all with him.
But when goes this forward?
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.
Why, then we shall have a stirring world again. This peace is
nothing but to rust iron, increase tailors, and breed
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; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a
getter of more bastard children than war's a destroyer of men.
'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 cuckolds.
Ay, and it makes men hate one another.
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.
In, in, in, in!
SCENE VI. Rome. A public place.
[Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS.]
We hear not of him, neither need we fear him;
His remedies are tame i' 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 pestering streets than see
Our tradesmen singing in their shops, and going
About their functions friendly.
We stood to't in good time.--Is this Menenius?
'Tis he, 'tis he. O, he is grown most kind
Hail to you both!
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.
All's well, and might have been much better if
He could have temporiz'd.
Where is he, hear you?
Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his wife
Hear nothing from him.
[Enter three or four Citizens.]
CITIZENS. The gods preserve you both!
God-den, our neighbours.
God-den to you all, God-den to you all.
Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,
Are bound to pray for you both.
Live and thrive!
Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish'd Coriolanus
Had lov'd you as we did.
Now the gods keep you!
This is a happier and more comely time
Than when these fellows ran about the streets
Caius Marcius was
A worthy officer i' the war; but insolent,
O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
And affecting one sole throne,
I think not so.
We should by this, to all our lamentation,
If he had gone forth consul, found it so.
The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.
[Enter an AEDILE.]
There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
Reports,--the Volsces with several powers
Are enter'd in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before 'em.
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.
Come, what talk you of Marcius?
Go see this rumourer whipp'd.--It cannot be
The Volsces dare break with us.
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.
Tell not me:
I know this cannot be.
[Enter A MESSENGER.]
The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the senate-house: some news is come
That turns their countenances.
'Tis this slave,--
Go whip him fore the people's eyes:--his raising;
Nothing but his report.
Yes, worthy sir,
The slave's report is seconded, and more,
More fearful, is deliver'd.
What more fearful?
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.
This is most likely!
Rais'd only, that the weaker sort may wish
Good Marcius home again.
The very trick on 't.
This is unlikely:
He and Aufidius can no more atone
Than violentest contrariety.
[Enter a 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.
O, you have made good work!
What news? what news?
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,--
What's the news? what's the news?
Your temples burned in their cement; and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confin'd
Into an auger's bore.
Pray now, your news?--
You have made fair work, I fear me.--Pray, your news.
If Marcius should be join'd wi' the 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.
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!
Your Rome about your ears.
Did shake down mellow fruit.--You have made fair work!
But is this true, sir?
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.
We are all undone unless
The noble man have mercy.
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 like enemies.
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!
You have brought
A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
So incapable of help.
Say not, we brought it.
How! Was it we? we lov'd him, but, like beasts,
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
Who did hoot him out o' the city.
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.]
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.
Faith, we hear fearful news.
For mine own part,
When I said banish him, I said 'twas pity.
And so did I.
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 will.
You are goodly things, you voices!
You have made
Good work, you and your cry!--Shall's to the Capitol?
O, ay; what else?
[Exeunt COMINIUS and MENENIUS.]
Go, masters, get you home; 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.
The gods be good to us!--Come, masters, let's home. I
ever said we were i' the wrong when we banished him.
So did we all. But come, let's home.
I do not like this news.
Let's to the Capitol:--would half my wealth
Would buy this for a lie!
Pray let's go.
SCENE VII. A camp at a short distance from Rome.
[Enter AUFIDIUS and his LIEUTENANT.]
Do they still fly to the Roman?
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 darken'd in this action, sir,
Even by your own.
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.
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.
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 the 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.
Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry Rome?
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 the casque to the 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 utterance. So our virtues
Lie in the interpretation of the time:
And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a cheer
To 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.
SCENE I. Rome. A public place
[Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS and BRUTUS, and others.]
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.
He would not seem to know me.
Do you hear?
Yet one time he did call me by my name:
I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
He would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
Till he had forg'd himself a name i' the fire
Of burning Rome.
Why, so!--you have made good work!
A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
To make coals cheap,--a noble memory!
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.
Could he say less?
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 the offence.
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.
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.
No; I'll not meddle.
Pray you, go to him.
What should I do?
Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome, towards Marcius.
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?
Yet your good-will
Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
As you intended well.
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.
You know the very road into his kindness
And cannot lose your way.
Good faith, I'll prove him,
Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
Of my success.
He'll never hear him.
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'; dismissed 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.
SCENE II. An Advanced post of the Volscian camp before Rome. The
Guards at their station.
[Enter to them MENENIUS.]
Stay: whence are you?
Stand, and go back.
You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your leave,
I am an officer of state, and come
To speak with Coriolanus.
You may not pass; you must return: our general
Will no more hear from thence.
You'll see your Rome embrac'd with fire before
You'll speak with Coriolanus.
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.
Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name
Is not here passable.
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.
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.
Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always
factionary on the party of your general.
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
Has he dined, canst thou tell? For I would not speak with him
till after dinner.
You are a Roman, are you?
I am as thy general is.
Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have
pushed out your gates the very defender of them, and in a violent
popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front
his revenges with the easy groans of old women, the virginal
palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such
a decayed dotant as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the
intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak
breath as this? No, you are deceived; therefore back to Rome, and
prepare for your execution: you are condemned; our general has
sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.
Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here he would use me with
Come, my captain knows you not.
I mean thy general.
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
Nay, but fellow, fellow,--
[Enter CORIOLANUS with AUFIDIUS.]
What's the matter?
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 standest not i' the state of
hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship and crueller
in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come
upon thee.--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.
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 beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st!
You keep a constant temper.
[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS.]
Now, sir, is your name Menenius?
'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know the way home
Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your greatness back?
What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?
I neither care for the 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,
A noble fellow, I warrant him.
The worthy fellow is our general: he is the rock, the oak not to
SCENE III. The tent of CORIOLANUS.
[Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others.]
We will before the walls of Rome to-morrow
Set down our host.--My partner in this action,
You must report to the Volscian lords how plainly
I have borne this business.
Only their ends
You have respected; stopped your ears against
The general suit of Rome; never admitted
A private whisper, no, not with such friends
That thought them sure of you.
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.--
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, leading YOUNG
MARCIUS, VALERIA, and 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 curt'sy worth? or those doves' eyes,
Which can make gods forsworn?--I melt, and am not
Of stronger earth than others.--My mother bows,
As if Olympus to a molehill should
In supplication nod: and my young boy
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.
My lord and husband!
These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
The sorrow that delivers us thus chang'd
Makes you think so.
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' the earth;
Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
O, stand up bless'd!
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.
What is this?
Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun,;
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.
Thou art my warrior;
I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome; chaste as the icicle
That's curded by the frost from purest snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple:--dear Valeria!
This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which, by the interpretation of full time,
May show like all yourself.
The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou mayst prove
To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye thee!
Your knee, sirrah.
That's my brave boy.
Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.
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
To allay my rages and revenges with
Your colder reasons.
O, no more, no more!
You have said you will not grant us anything;
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.
Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark: for we'll
Hear nought from Rome in private.--Your request?
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 barr'st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy; for how can we,
Alas, how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound,--together with thy victory,
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.
Ay, and mine,
That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name
Living to time.
'A shall not tread on me;
I'll run away till I am bigger; but then I'll fight.
Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
I have sat too long.
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 bless'd
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 the 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' the air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
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' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy;
When she,--poor hen,--fond of no second brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home,
Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust,
And spurn me back: but if it be not so,
Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,
That thou restrain'st from me the duty which
To a mother's part belongs.--He turns away:
Down, ladies: let us shame him with our knees.
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 despatch:
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.
[After holding VOLUMNIA by the hands, in silence.]
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?
I was mov'd withal.
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'll make, advise me: for my part,
I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and, pray you
Stand to me in this cause.--O mother! wife!
[Aside.] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and thy honour
At difference in thee; out of that I'll work
Myself a former fortune.
[The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS.]
[To VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, &c.] Ay, by and by;
But we'll 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.
SCENE IV. Rome. A public place.
[Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS.]
See you yond coign o' the Capitol,--yond corner-stone?