Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, all the Gentry,

Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators


Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?
head (n.) 1 fighting force, army, body of troops


He had, my lord, and that it was which caused

Our swifter composition.
composition (n.) 3 settlement, truce, coming to terms


So then the Volsces stand but as at first,

Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road
road (n.) 3 inroad, raid, incursion

Upon's again.
worn (adj.) worn out, exhausted, spent


                         They are worn, lord Consul, so

That we shall hardly in our ages see
age (n.) 1 whole life, lifetime, days

Their banners wave again.


                         Saw you Aufidius?


On safeguard he came to me, and did curse
safeguard, on under safe-conduct, with guarantee of safe passage

Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely

Yielded the town. He is retired to Antium.


Spoke he of me?


                         He did, my lord.


                                                         How? What?


How often he had met you, sword to sword;

That of all things upon the earth he hated

Your person most; that he would pawn his fortunes

To hopeless restitution, so he might
restitution (n.) recovery, restoration, retrieval

Be called your vanquisher.


                         At Antium lives he?


At Antium.


I wish I had a cause to seek him there,

To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.

Enter Sicinius and Brutus

Behold, these are the Tribunes of the People,

The tongues o'th' common mouth. I do despise them,

For they do prank them in authority
prank (v.) dress up, deck out, adorn

Against all noble sufferance.
sufferance (n.) 2 endurance, forbearance, patience


                         Pass no further.


Ha? What is that?


It will be dangerous to go on. No further.


What makes this change?


The matter?


Hath he not passed the noble and the common?
common (n.) 3 common people, ordinary citizens
noble (n.) 1 nobility
pass (v.) 3 be approved [by], be ratified [by]


Cominius, no.
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count


                         Have I had children's voices?


Tribunes, give way. He shall to th' market-place.


The people are incensed against him.



Or all will fall in broil.
broil (n.) 1 turmoil, confused fighting, battle


                         Are these your herd?

Must these have voices, that can yield them now
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count

And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices?
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
rule (v.) control, direct, guide

Have you not set them on?
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite


                         Be calm, be calm.


It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,
purposed (adj.) 2 planned, premeditated, prearranged

To curb the will of the nobility.

Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule

Nor ever will be ruled.


                         Call't not a plot.

The people cry you mocked them; and of late,
late, of recently, a little while ago

When corn was given them gratis, you repined,
gratis (adv.) for nothing, without payment
repine (v.) be discontented, complain, feel dissatisfaction

Scandalled the suppliants for the people, called them
scandal (v.) 1 revile, scorn, denigrate

Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
time-pleaser (n.) time-server, follower of fashion


Why, this was known before.


                         Not to them all.


Have you informed them sithence?
sithence (adv.) since, subsequently


                         How? I inform them!


You are like to do such business.
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count


                         Not unlike

Each way to better yours.


Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,

Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

Your fellow tribune.


                         You show too much of that

For which the people stir. If you will pass
stir (v.) 2 rise in revolt, make a disturbance

To where you are bound, you must enquire your way,

Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

Or never be so noble as a consul,

Nor yoke with him for tribune.
yoke (v.) 1 associate, link, join, couple


                         Let's be calm.


The people are abused. Set on. This paltering
abuse (v.) 1 deceive, mislead, fool, cheat
paltering (n.) evasiveness, equivocation, trickery
set on (v.) 2 go forward, advance, proceed

Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

Deserved this so dishonoured rub, laid falsely
dishonoured (adj.) dishonourable, dishonouring, shameful
falsely (adv.) treacherously, deceitfully, dishonestly
rub (n.) 1 [bowls] obstacle, impediment, hindrance

I'th' plain way of his merit.
plain (adj.) 3 [bowls] level, flat, even, smooth


                         Tell me of corn!

This was my speech, and I will speak't again –


Not now, not now.
heat (n.) 1 anger, rage, passion


                         Not in this heat, sir, now.


Now, as I live I will.

My nobler friends, I crave their pardons. For
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count

The mutable, rank-scented meiny, let them
meiny (n.) 1 multitude, crowd, throng
rank-scented (adj.) foul-smelling, stinking

Regard me as I do not flatter, and
regard (v.) 1 take note of, pay heed to, value

Therein behold themselves. I say again,

In soothing them we nourish 'gainst our Senate
soothe (v.) 2 flatter, praise, sweet-talk

The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
cockle (n.) 1 variety of weed, darnel See Topics: Plants

Which we ourselves have ploughed for, sowed, and scattered

By mingling them with us, the honoured number,
honoured (adj.) honourable, dignified, virtuous

Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
virtue (n.) 3 courage, valour, bravery

Which they have given to beggars.


                         Well, no more.


No more words, we beseech you.


                         How? No more?

As for my country I have shed my blood,

Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs

Coin words till their decay against those measles
decay (n.) 1 destruction, downfall, ending
measles (n.) scabs; or: lepers

Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
tetter (v.) cover the skin with scabs

The very way to catch them.


                         You speak o'th' people,

As if you were a god to punish, not

A man of their infirmity.


                         'Twere well

We let the people know't.


                         What, what? His choler?
choler (n.) anger, rage, wrath



Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
patient (adj.) calm, serene, of quiet mind

By Jove, 'twould be my mind.


                         It is a mind

That shall remain a poison where it is,

Not poison any further.


                         Shall remain!

Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you
minnow (n.) [variety of fish] insignificant object

His absolute ‘shall'?
canon, from the out of order, improper, inappropriate
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


                         'Twas from the canon.


                                                         ‘ Shall!’

O good but most unwise patricians! Why,

You grave but reckless Senators, have you thus

Given Hydra here to choose an officer

That with his peremptory ‘ shall,’ being but

The horn and noise o'th' monster's, wants not spirit
horn (n.) 3 type of wind instrument

To say he'll turn your current in a ditch,
turn (v.) 6 send, drive, dispatch

And make your channel his? If he have power,

Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
ignorance (n.) 1 negligence, obtuseness, lack of understanding
power (n.) 3 authority, government
vail (v.) 1 lower, bow down, cast down [as in submission]

Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
learned (adj.) wise, erudite, sagacious
lenity (n.) mildness, gentleness, mercifulness

Be not as common fools; if you are not,

Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians
cushion (n.) seat of office, judgement seat

If they be senators; and they are no less

When, both your voices blended, the great'st taste

Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate;
palate (v.) 2 present a flavour to, savour of

And such a one as he, who puts his ‘ shall,’

His popular ‘ shall,’ against a graver bench
bench (n.) governing body, court of justice
popular (adj.) 1 plebeian, of the common people

Than ever frowned in Greece. By Jove himself,

It makes the consuls base! And my soul aches
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank See Topics: Frequency count

To know, when two authorities are up,
up (adv.) 2 in a state of forceful action, exerting power

Neither supreme, how soon confusion
confusion (n.) 1 destruction, overthrow, ruin

May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
take (v.) 20 conquer, overthrow, destroy

The one by th' other.


                         Well, on to th' market-place.


Whoever gave that counsel to give forth
counsel (n.) 1 advice, guidance, direction

The corn o'th' storehouse gratis, as 'twas used
gratis (adv.) for nothing, without payment
use (v.) 1 be accustomed, make a habit [of]

Sometime in Greece –
sometime (adv.) 1 formerly, at one time, once


                         Well, well, no more of that.


Though there the people had more absolute power –
absolute (adj.) 5 unrestricted, unconditional, without restraint

I say they nourished disobedience, fed

The ruin of the state.


                         Why shall the people give

One that speaks thus their voice?
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count


                         I'll give my reasons,

More worthier than their voices. They know the corn

Was not our recompense, resting well assured
recompense (n.) 1 payment for services, reward

That ne'er did service for't. Being pressed to th' war,
press (v.) 1 levy, raise, conscript

Even when the navel of the state was touched,
navel (n.) very heart, nerve centre
touch (v.) 7 threaten, endanger, imperil

They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
thread (v.) trace a path through, make a way through

Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i'th' war,
gratis (adv.) for nothing, without payment

Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they showed

Most valour, spoke not for them. Th' accusation

Which they have often made against the Senate,

All cause unborn, could never be the native
native (n.) origin, source, root
unborn (adj.) not existing, without being

Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
frank (adj.) 1 generous, liberal, bounteous

How shall this bosom multiplied digest
bosom (n.) 5 stomach, gut; or: being, person
digest, disgest (v.) 4 understand, interpret, comprehend
multiplied (adj.) many-headed, myriad, multiple

The Senate's courtesy? Let deeds express

What's like to be their words: ‘ We did request it;
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

We are the greater poll, and in true fear
poll (n.) 2 number of persons

They gave us our demands.’ Thus we debase

The nature of our seats, and make the rabble

Call our cares fears; which will in time
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]

Break ope the locks o'th' Senate and bring in
ope (v.) open See Topics: Frequency count

The crows to peck the eagles.


                         Come, enough.


Enough, with over measure.


                         No, take more.

What may be sworn by, both divine and human,

Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
double (adj.) 3 divided, twofold, dual
seal (v.) 1 confirm, ratify, approve
worship (n.) 3 sovereignty, supremacy

Where one part does disdain with cause, the other

Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wisdom,
gentry (n.) 3 position of gentleman, high rank
insult (v.) be insolent, show scorn, triumph scornfully

Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
conclude (v.) 2 come to a decision, make an agreement

Of general ignorance – it must omit
general (adj.) 1 common, of everyone, public
omit (v.) neglect, disregard, forget about

Real necessities, and give way the while

To unstable slightness. Purpose so barred, it follows
bar (v.) 1 prevent, obstruct, block
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
slightness (n.) triviality, paltriness, trifling

Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you –
purpose, to effectively, to any effect

You that will be less fearful than discreet,
discreet (adj.) discerning, judicious, prudent

That love the fundamental part of state

More than you doubt the change on't, that prefer
doubt (v.) 1 fear, be afraid [for], feel anxious [for]

A noble life before a long, and wish

To jump a body with a dangerous physic
jump (v.) 2 risk, hazard, imperil
physic (n.) 1 medicine, healing, treatment See Topics: Frequency count

That's sure of death without it – at once pluck out

The multitudinous tongue, let them not lick
multitudinous (adj.) 2 belonging to the multitude

The sweet which is their poison. Your dishonour

Mangles true judgement, and bereaves the state

Of that integrity which should become't,
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count
integrity (n.) 1 unity, wholeness, oneness

Not having the power to do the good it would

For th' ill which doth control't.
control (v.) 2 overwhelm, overpower
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil


                         'Has said enough.


'Has spoken like a traitor and shall answer
answer (v.) 4 suffer the consequences [for], be accountable [for]

As traitors do.
despite (n.) 1 contempt, scorn, disdain


                         Thou wretch, despite o'erwhelm thee!

What should the people do with these bald Tribunes,
bald (adj.) 1 trivial, foolish, witless

On whom depending, their obedience fails

To th' greater bench? In a rebellion,
bench (n.) governing body, court of justice

When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

Then were they chosen. In a better hour

Let what is meet be said it must be meet,

And throw their power i'th' dust.


Manifest treason!


                         This a Consul? No.


The Aediles, ho!

Enter an Aedile

                         Let him be apprehended.


Go, call the people, (Exit Aedile) in whose name myself

Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
attach (v.) 1 arrest, seize, apprehend
innovator (n.) revolutionary, radical, rebel

A foe to th' public weal. Obey, I charge thee,
weal 1 state, community, commonwealth

And follow to thine answer.
answer (n.) 2 interrogation, cross-examination, appearance in court, trial


                         Hence, old goat!


We'll surety him.
surety (v.) go bail for, act as a guarantor for


                         Aged sir, hands off.


Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones

Out of thy garments.


                         Help, ye citizens!

Enter a rabble of Plebeians, with the Aediles
respect (n.) 5 courtesy, politeness, consideration


On both sides more respect.


Here's he that would take from you all your power.


Seize him, Aediles!


Down with him, down with him!


Weapons, weapons, weapons!

They all bustle about Coriolanus


(shouting confusedly)

Tribunes! Patricians! Citizens! What ho!

Sicinius! Brutus! Coriolanus! Citizens!


Peace, peace, peace! Stay, hold, peace!

What is about to be? I am out of breath.

Confusion's near. I cannot speak. You Tribunes

To th' People – Coriolanus, patience! –

Speak, good Sicinius.


                         Hear me, people. Peace!


Let's hear our Tribune. Peace! Speak, speak, speak.


You are at point to lose your liberties.
point, at just about, on the point [of]

Martius would have all from you, Martius,

Whom late you have named for consul.


                         Fie, fie, fie!

This is the way to kindle, not to quench.


To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.
unbuild (v.) pull down, demolish, dismantle


What is the city but the people?



The people are the city.


By the consent of all we were established

The people's magistrates.


                         You so remain.


And so are like to do.
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count


That is the way to lay the city flat,

To bring the roof to the foundation,

And bury all which yet distinctly ranges
distinctly (adv.) 2 clearly, without confusion
range (v.) 3 arrange, lay out, array [in order]

In heaps and piles of ruin.


                         This deserves death.


Or let us stand to our authority,
stand to (v.) 1 maintain, uphold, be steadfast in

Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,

Upon the part o'th' people, in whose power
power (n.) 5 exercise of power, authoritative action

We were elected theirs, Martius is worthy

Of present death.


                         Therefore lay hold of him;

Bear him to th' rock Tarpeian, and from thence

Into destruction cast him.


                         Aediles, seize him.


Yield, Martius, yield.


                         Hear me one word

Beseech you, Tribunes, hear me but a word.


Peace, peace!


(to Brutus)

Be that you seem, truly your country's friend,

And temperately proceed to what you would

Thus violently redress.


                         Sir, those cold ways,

That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous

Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him

And bear him to the rock.

Coriolanus draws his sword


                         No, I'll die here.

There's some among you have beheld me fighting;

Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.


Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.


Lay hands upon him.


                         Help Martius, help,

You that be noble, help him, young and old!


Down with him, down with him!

In this mutiny the Tribunes, the Aediles, and the

people are beat in


Go, get you to your house! Be gone, away!

All will be naught else.
naught, nought (adj.) 4 lost, ruined, brought to nothing


                         Get you gone.


                                                         Stand fast!

We have as many friends as enemies.


Shall it be put to that?


                         The gods forbid!

I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;

Leave us to cure this cause.
cause (n.) 8 disease, illness, sickness


                         For 'tis a sore upon us

You cannot tent yourself. Be gone, beseech you.
tent (v.) 3 treat with a tent [linen for cleansing wounds]; cure, remedy


Come, sir, along with us.


I would they were barbarians, as they are,

Though in Rome littered; not Romans, as they are not,
litter (v.) [comparing humans to animals] bring forth, be born

Though calved i'th' porch o'th' Capitol.
calve (v.) [of humans compared to animals] bring forth


                         Be gone.

Put not your worthy rage into your tongue.

One time will owe another.
owe (v.) 2 repay, compensate, pay back


                         On fair ground

I could beat forty of them.


                         I could myself

Take up a brace o'th' best of them; yea, the two Tribunes.
brace (n.) 1 group of two, couple, pair See Topics: Numbers
take up (v.) 2 take on, handle, cope with


But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic,
arithmetic (n.) calculation, computation, reckoning

And manhood is called foolery when it stands
stand (v.) 13 make a stand [against], fight, resist

Against a falling fabric. Will you hence
fabric (n.) building, edifice

Before the tag return, whose rage doth rend
tag (n.) rabble, riffraff, mob

Like interrupted waters, and o'erbear
overbear (v.) 1 overwhelm, overcome, overpower

What they are used to bear?


                         Pray you be gone.

I'll try whether my old wit be in request

With those that have but little. This must be patched

With cloth of any colour.


                         Nay, come away.

Exeunt Coriolanus and Cominius


This man has marred his fortune.


His nature is too noble for the world.

He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,

Or Jove for's power to thunder. His heart's his mouth.

What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent,
vent (v.) 1 utter, express, air, proclaim

And, being angry, does forget that ever

He heard the name of death.

A noise within

Here's goodly work!


                         I would they were a-bed!


I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance,

Could he not speak 'em fair?

Enter Brutus and Sicinius, with the rabble again


                         Where is this viper

That would depopulate the city and

Be every man himself?


                         You worthy Tribunes –


He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock

With rigorous hands. He hath resisted law,

And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
scorn (v.) 2 refuse with contempt, disdain to offer

Than the severity of the public power,
power (n.) 5 exercise of power, authoritative action

Which he so sets at nought.


                         He shall well know

The noble Tribunes are the people's mouths,

And we their hands.
sure (adv.) 2 surely, assuredly, certainly


                         He shall, sure on't.


                                                         Sir, sir –




Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
havoc (n.) [in fighting and hunting: calling for] total slaughter, general devastation

With modest warrant.
warrant (n.) 2 licence, sanction, authorization


                         Sir, how comes't that you

Have holp to make this rescue?
rescue (n.) 1 [legal] forced removal from custody


                         Hear me speak.

As I do know the Consul's worthiness,

So can I name his faults.


                         Consul! What Consul?


The Consul Coriolanus.


                         He Consul!


No, no, no, no, no.


If, by the Tribunes' leave, and yours, good people,

I may be heard, I would crave a word or two,
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count

The which shall turn you to no further harm

Than so much loss of time.


                         Speak briefly then,

For we are peremptory to dispatch
dispatch, despatch (v.) 3 kill, put to death, make away with, finish off
peremptory (adj.) 1 determined, resolved, absolutely decided

This viperous traitor. To eject him hence

Were but our danger, and to keep him here

Our certain death. Therefore it is decreed

He dies tonight.


                         Now the good gods forbid

That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude

Towards her deserved children is enrolled
deserved (adj.) deserving, meritorious, praiseworthy

In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam
dam (n.) mother See Topics: Family

Should now eat up her own!


He's a disease that must be cut away.


O, he's a limb that has but a disease –

Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
mortal (adj.) 1 fatal, deadly, lethal

What has he done to Rome that's worthy death?

Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost –

Which I dare vouch is more than that he hath

By many an ounce – he dropped it for his country;

And what is left, to lose it by his country

Were to us all that do't and suffer it

A brand to th' end o'th' world.
brand (n.) 2 mark of infamy, stigma, disgrace
clean (adv.) totally, absolutely, utterly
kam (adj.) crooked, misleading, perverse


                         This is clean kam.


Merely awry. When he did love his country,
merely (adv.) 1 completely, totally, entirely See Topics: Frequency count

It honoured him.


                         The service of the foot,

Being once gangrened, is not then respected

For what before it was.


                         We'll hear no more.

Pursue him to his house and pluck him thence,

Lest his infection, being of catching nature,

Spread further.


                         One word more, one word!

This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find

The harm of unscanned swiftness, will too late
unscanned (adj.) unthinking, unconsidered, thoughtless

Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process,
pound (n.) 1 pound-weight, weight, load
process (n.) 5 proper legal procedure

Lest parties – as he is beloved – break out
party (n.) 1 side, faction, camp

And sack great Rome with Romans.


                         If it were so –


What do ye talk?

Have we not had a taste of his obedience?

Our Aediles smote? Ourselves resisted? Come!
smite (v.), past forms smote, smit 1 strike, hit (often, with great force)


Consider this. He has been bred i'th' wars

Since 'a could draw a sword, and is ill schooled
ill (adv.) 2 imperfectly, poorly, to ill effect

In bolted language. Meal and bran together
bolted (adj.) refined, carefully sifted, polished

He throws without distinction. Give me leave,

I'll go to him and undertake to bring him

Where he shall answer by a lawful form,
form (n.) 5 way of behaving, behaviour, code of conduct

In peace, to his utmost peril.


                         Noble Tribunes,

It is the humane way. The other course

Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

Unknown to the beginning.


                         Noble Menenius,

Be you then as the people's officer.

Masters, lay down your weapons.


Go not home.


Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there;
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count

Where, if you bring not Martius, we'll proceed

In our first way.


                         I'll bring him to you.

(to the Senators) Let me desire your company. He must come,

Or what is worst will follow.


                         Pray you let's to him.


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