The Tragedy of Coriolanus by William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS by William Shakespeare PERSONS REPRESENTED. CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS, a noble Roman TITUS LARTIUS, General against the Volscians COMINIUS, General against the Volscians MENENIUS AGRIPPA, Friend to Coriolanus SICINIUS VELUTUS, Tribune of the People JUNIUS BRUTUS, Tribune of the People YOUNG MARCIUS, son to Coriolanus A ROMAN HERALD TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of
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THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS

by William Shakespeare

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS, a noble Roman

TITUS LARTIUS, General against the Volscians COMINIUS, General against the Volscians
MENENIUS AGRIPPA, Friend to Coriolanus SICINIUS VELUTUS, Tribune of the People
JUNIUS BRUTUS, Tribune of the People YOUNG MARCIUS, son to Coriolanus
A ROMAN HERALD
TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of the Volscians LIEUTENANT, to Aufidius
Conspirators with Aufidius
A CITIZEN of Antium
TWO VOLSCIAN GUARDS

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 Attendants

SCENE: Partly in Rome, and partly in the territories of the Volscians and Antiates.

ACT I.

SCENE I. 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 resolved rather to die than to famish?

ALL.
Resolved, resolved.

FIRST CITIZEN.
First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.

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 commonalty.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Consider you what services he has done for his country?

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-conscienced 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’ the city is risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!

ALL.
Come, come.

FIRST CITIZEN.
Soft! who comes here?

SECOND CITIZEN.
Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.

FIRST CITIZEN.
He’s one honest enough; would all the rest were so!

[Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA.]

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 the senate; they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we’ll show ’em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall know we have strong arms too.

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 cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses crammed 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 us.

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’ the midst o’ the 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 answered,–

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 the 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’ the 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’ll hear the belly’s answer.

FIRST CITIZEN.
You are long about it.

MENENIUS.
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate, Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer’d: ‘True is it, my incorporate friends,’ quoth he, ‘That I receive the general food at first Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the 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 the seat o’ the 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’ the common; you shall find No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you, And no way from yourselves.–What do you think, You, the great toe of this assembly?

FIRST CITIZEN.
I the great toe? why the great toe?

MENENIUS.
For that, being one o’ the lowest, basest, poorest, Of this most wise rebellion, thou go’st foremost: Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run, Lead’st first to win some vantage.–
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs: Rome and her rats are at the point of battle; The one side must have bale.–

[Enter CAIUS MARCIUS.]

Hail, noble Marcius!

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 ic,
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’ the Capitol; who’s like to rise, Who thrives and who declines; side factions, and give out Conjectural marriages; making parties strong, And feebling such as stand not in their liking Below their cobbled shoes. They say there’s 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 dissolved: hang ’em!
They said they were an-hungry; sigh’d forth proverbs,– That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat, That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not Corn for the rich men only:–with these 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’ the 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, and other SENATORS; JUNIUS BRUTUS and SICINIUS VELUTUS.]

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 the 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?

TITUS LARTIUS.
No, Caius Marcius;
I’ll lean upon one crutch and fight with the other Ere stay behind this business.

MENENIUS.
O, true bred!

FIRST SENATOR.
Your company to the Capitol; where, I know, Our greatest friends attend us.

TITUS LARTIUS.
Lead you on.
Follow, Cominius; we must follow you; Right worthy your priority.

COMINIUS.
Noble Marcius!

FIRST SENATOR.
Hence to your homes; be gone!
[To the Citizens.]

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.

[Exeunt Senators, COM., MAR, TIT., and MENEN. Citizens steal away.]

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 in singularity, he goes
Upon this present action.

BRUTUS.
Let’s along.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE II. Corioli. The Senate House.

[Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS and certain SENATORS.]

FIRST SENATOR.
So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are enter’d 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 pressed 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 shorten’d 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 They’ve not prepared 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.

SECOND SENATOR.
Farewell.

ALL. Farewell.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE III. Rome. An apartmnet in MARCIUS’ house.

[Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA; they sit 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 pleased to let him seek danger where he was to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child than now in first seeing he had proved himself a 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 the hair; As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him: Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:– ‘Come on, you cowards! you were got in fear Though you were born in Rome:’ his bloody brow With his mail’d hand then wiping, forth he goes, Like to a harvest-man that’s tasked 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, looked not lovelier Than Hector’s forehead when it spit forth blood At Grecian swords contending.–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 her 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 son?

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 looked upon him o’ Wednesday, half an hour together: has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again; or whether his fall enraged him, or how ’twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it; O, I warrant, how he mammocked 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 hereafter.

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.–Pr’ythee, 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 mirth.

VALERIA.
Well then, farewell.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE IV. Before Corioli.

[Enter, with drum and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Officers, and soldiers.]

MARCIUS.
Yonder comes news:–a wager they have met.

LARTIUS.
My horse to yours, no.

MARCIUS.
‘Tis done.

LARTIUS.
Agreed.

[Enter a Messenger.]

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 pr’ythee, 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, on the Walls, some Senators and others.]

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!

[The Volsces enter and pass over.]

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.

[Alarums, and exeunt Romeans and Volsces fighting. Romans are beaten back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS.]

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.

[Another alarum. The Volsces and Romans re-enter, and the fight is renewed. The Volsces retire into Corioli, 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.

[He enters the gates]

FIRST SOLDIER.
Fool-hardiness: not I.

SECOND SOLDIER.
Nor 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 sensible, outdares his senseless sword, And when it bows stands up! Thou art left, Marcius: A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier Even to Cato’s wish, not fierce and 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.]

SCENE V. 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 trumpet.]

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!– 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’ the town, Where they shall know our mind: away!

[Exeunt.]

SCENE VI. Near the camp of COMINIUS.

[Enter COMINIUS and Foreces, retreating.]

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 encountering, 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.

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.
[Within.] 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.

[Enter MARCIUS.]

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 the 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’s 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 shunned 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’ the 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 placed their men of trust?

COMINIUS.
As I guess, Marcius,
Their bands in the 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 the blood we have shed together, by the vows We have made to endure friends, that you directly Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates; And that you not delay the present, but, Filling the air with swords 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 [waving his hand], 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.]

SCENE VII. The gates of Corioli.

[TITUS LARTIUS, having set a guard upon Corioli, going with drum and trumpet toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with a LIEUTENANT, a party of Soldiers, and a Scout.]

LARTIUS.
So, let the ports be guarded: keep your duties As I have set them down. If I do send, despatch 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 the Roman camp conduct us.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE VIII. A field of battle between the Roman and the Volscian camps.

[Alarum. Enter, from opposite sides, MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS.]

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,
Halloo 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 the highest.

AUFIDIUS.
Wert thou the Hector
That was the whip of your bragg’d progeny, Thou shouldst not scape me here.–

[They fight, and certain Volsces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS.]

Officious, and not valiant,–you have sham’d me In your condemned seconds.

[Exeunt fighting, driven in by MAR.]

SCENE IX. The Roman camp.

[Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter, at one side, COMINIUS and Romans; at the other side, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf, and other Romans.]

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’ the 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 dined 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; induced 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 remember’d.

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’ the 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 a coverture for the wars. No more, I say! for that I have not wash’d My nose that bled, or foil’d some debile wretch,– Which, without note, here’s many else have done,– You shout me forth in acclamations hyperbolical; As if I loved my little should be dieted In praises 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, call him, With all the applause–and clamour of the host, ‘Caius Marcius Coriolanus.’–
Bear the 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 the 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 used me kindly: He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was within my view, And wrath o’erwhelmed 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.]

SCENE X. 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 delivered 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’ the part that is at mercy?–Five times, Marcius, I have fought with thee; so often hast thou beat me; And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter As often as we eat.–By the elements,
If e’er again I meet him beard to beard, He’s mine or I am his: mine emulation
Hath not that honour in’t it had; for where I thought to crush him in an equal force,– True sword to sword,–I’ll potch at him some way, Or wrath or craft may get him.

FIRST SOLDIER.
He’s the devil.

AUFIDIUS.
Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour’s poisoned With only suffering 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 the 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.]

ACT II.

SCENE I. Rome. A public place

[Enter MENENIUS, 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 baas like a bear.

MENENIUS.
He’s a bear indeed, that lives like 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 stored 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’ the right-hand file? Do you?

BOTH TRIBUNES.
Why, how are we censured?

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 delivered the matter well when I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables; and though I must be content to bear with those that say you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that tell you 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 anything. 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 pinched with the colic, you make faces like mummers, set up the bloody flag against all patience, and, in roaring for a chamber-pot, dismiss the controversy bleeding, the more entangled by your hearing: all the peace you make in their cause is calling both the parties knaves. You are a pair of strange ones.

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 entombed 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 retire.]

[Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, &c.]

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 approbation.

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 it.

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 disciplined 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 stayed by him, I would not have been so fidiused for all the chests in Corioli and the gold that’s in them. Is the Senate possessed 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 doubly.

VALERIA.
In troth, there’s wondrous things spoke of him.

MENENIUS.
Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his true purchasing.

VIRGILIA.
The gods grant them true!

VOLUMNIA.
True! pow, wow.

MENENIUS.
True! I’ll be sworn they are true. Where is he wounded?–[To the TRIBUNES, who come forward.] God save your good worships! Marcius is coming home; he has more cause to be proud.–Where is he wounded?

VOLUMNIA.
I’ the shoulder and i’ the left arm; there will be large cicatrices to show the people when he shall stand for his place. He received in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts i’ the body.

MENENIUS.
One i’ the neck and two i’ the thigh,–there’s nine that I know.

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 and TITUS LARTIUS; between them, CORIOLANUS, crowned 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!

CORIOLANUS.
O,
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 call 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, pardon.

VOLUMNIA.
I know not where to turn.–O, welcome home;–and welcome, general;–and you 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. The tribunes remain.]

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 the wanton spoil Of Phoebus’ burning kisses; such a pother, As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers, And gave him graceful posture.

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 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’ the market-place, nor on him put The napless vesture of humility;
Nor, showing, as the manner is, his wounds To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

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 it 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 the time, But hearts for the event.

SICINIUS.
Have with you.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE II. Rome. The Capitol.

[Enter two OFFICERS, to lay cushions.]

FIRST OFFICER.
Come, come; they are almost here. How many stand for consulships?

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 flattered 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,