Coriolanus


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Coriolanus, with Nobles


CORIOLANUS

Let them pull all about mine ears, present me

Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,

Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,

That the precipitation might down stretch
precipitation (n.) 1 sheer drop, steepness, precipitousness

Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
beam (n.) 6 reach, range, line [of the eye, thought of as emitting beams of light]
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Be thus to them.


NOBLE

                         You do the nobler.


CORIOLANUS

I muse my mother
muse (v.) 1 wonder, be surprised

Does not approve me further, who was wont

To call them woollen vassals, things created
vassal (n.) 1 servant, slave, subject
woollen (adj.) in coarse woollen clothes

To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads

In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,
yawn (v.) open wide, gape

When one but of my ordinance stood up
ordinance (n.) 5 rank, position, standing [in the state]

To speak of peace or war.

Enter Volumnia

                         I talk of you:

Why did you wish me milder? Would you have me

False to my nature? Rather say I play
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

The man I am.


VOLUMNIA

                         O, sir, sir, sir,

I would have had you put your power well on
power (n.) 3 authority, government

Before you had worn it out.


CORIOLANUS

                         Let go.


VOLUMNIA

You might have been enough the man you are

With striving less to be so. Lesser had been

The crossings of your dispositions, if
crossing (n.) thwarting, opposing, challenging, contradiction
disposition (n.) 3 inclination, mood, frame of mind

You had not showed them how ye were disposed

Ere they lacked power to cross you.
cross (v.) 2 contradict, challenge, go against


CORIOLANUS

                         Let them hang!


VOLUMNIA

Ay, and burn too!

Enter Menenius, with the Senators
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count


MENENIUS

Come, come, you have been too rough, something too rough.

You must return and mend it.


FIRST SENATOR

                         There's no remedy,

Unless, by not so doing, our good city

Cleave in the midst and perish.


VOLUMNIA

                         Pray be counselled.

I have a heart as little apt as yours,
apt (adj.) 5 yielding, compliant, submissive

But yet a brain that leads my use of anger

To better vantage.
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit


MENENIUS

                         Well said, noble woman!

Before he should thus stoop to th' heart, but that

The violent fit o'th' time craves it as physic
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count
fit (n.) 1 fever, attack, seizure
physic (n.) 1 medicine, healing, treatment See Topics: Frequency count

For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,

Which I can scarcely bear.


CORIOLANUS

                         What must I do?


MENENIUS

Return to th' Tribunes.


CORIOLANUS

                         Well, what then? What then?


MENENIUS

Repent what you have spoke.


CORIOLANUS

For them! I cannot do it to the gods.

Must I then do't to them?
absolute (adj.) 6 inflexible, uncompromising, intransigent


VOLUMNIA

                         You are too absolute,

Though therein you can never be too noble.

But when extremities speak, I have heard you say,
extremity (n.) 4 extreme urgency, absolute necessity, crisis
speak (v.) 4 declare itself, be announced

Honour and policy, like unsevered friends,
policy (n.) 2 stratagem, cunning, intrigue, craft
unsevered (adj.) inseparable, intimate, united

I'th' war do grow together. Grant that, and tell me

In peace what each of them by th' other lose

That they combine not there.


CORIOLANUS

                         Tush, tush!


MENENIUS

                                                         A good demand.


VOLUMNIA

If it be honour in your wars to seem

The same you are not, which for your best ends

You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse
policy (n.) 2 stratagem, cunning, intrigue, craft

That it shall hold companionship in peace

With honour as in war, since that to both

It stands in like request?
force (v.) 4 urge, press, enforce
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
request (n.) demand, state of being sought after
stand (v.) 2 continue, remain, wait, stay put


CORIOLANUS

                         Why force you this?


VOLUMNIA

Because that now it lies you on to speak
lie (v.) 6 be obligatory, be incumbent

To th' people, not by your own instruction,
instruction (n.) 3 precept, prompting, conviction

Nor by th' matter which your heart prompts you,
matter (n.) 5 reason, cause, ground

But with such words that are but roted in
rote (v.) learn by heart, fix routinely

Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables

Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
allowance (n.) 1 acknowledgement, admission, confirmation

Now this no more dishonours you at all

Than to take in a town with gentle words,
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
take in (v.) conquer, subdue, overcome

Which else would put you to your fortune and

The hazard of much blood.

I would dissemble with my nature where
dissemble (v.) 2 deceive, disguise the truth, pretend

My fortunes and my friends at stake required

I should do so in honour. I am in this
be (v.) 4 represent, speak for

Your wife, your son, these Senators, the nobles;

And you will rather show our general louts
general (adj.) 1 common, of everyone, public

How you can frown, than spend a fawn upon 'em

For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
inheritance (n.) acquiring, obtaining, winning
safeguard (n.) safeguarding, defence, protection

Of what that want might ruin.
want (n.) 1 lack, shortage, dearth


MENENIUS

                         Noble lady!

– Come, go with us, speak fair. You may salve so,
salve (v.) 1 heal, remedy, make good

Not what is dangerous present, but the loss

Of what is past.


VOLUMNIA

                         I prithee now, my son,

Go to them with this bonnet in thy hand;
bonnet (n.) hat, cap See Topics: Clothing

And thus far having stretched it – here be with them –

Thy knee bussing the stones – for in such business
buss (v.) kiss wantonly, smack against

Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' ignorant

More learned than the ears – waving thy head,
wave (v.) 2 move up and down, incline

Which often thus correcting thy stout heart,
stout (adj.) 2 proud, haughty, arrogant

Now humble as the ripest mulberry

That will not hold the handling, say to them
hold (v.) 4 bear, tolerate, endure

Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
broil (n.) 1 turmoil, confused fighting, battle

Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
soft (adj.) 2 tender, compassionate, kind

Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,

In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
frame (v.) 2 adapt, adjust, shape, accommodate

Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
forsooth (adv.) in truth, certainly, truly, indeed See Topics: Frequency count

As thou hast power and person.


MENENIUS

                         This but done

Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours.

For they have pardons, being asked, as free

As words to little purpose.
purpose (n.) 2 point at issue, matter in hand


VOLUMNIA

                         Prithee now,

Go, and be ruled; although I know thou hadst rather

Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
gulf (n.) 2 abyss, chasm, pit

Than flatter him in a bower.

Enter Cominius
bower (n.) arbour, leafy glade; or: lady's chamber, boudoir

                         Here is Cominius.


COMINIUS

I have been i'th' market-place; and, sir,'tis fit

You make strong party, or defend yourself
party (n.) 1 side, faction, camp

By calmness or by absence. All's in anger.


MENENIUS

Only fair speech.


COMINIUS

                         I think 'twill serve, if he

Can thereto frame his spirit.
frame (v.) 2 adapt, adjust, shape, accommodate


VOLUMNIA

                         He must, and will.

Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.


CORIOLANUS

Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce? Must I
sconce (n.) 1 [jocular] head, pate, bonce
unbarbed (adj.) uncovered, unprotected, bare

With my base tongue give to my noble heart
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count
tongue (n.) 1 speech, expression, language, words, voice

A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't.

Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
plot (n.) 4 piece of earth; body

This mould of Martius, they to dust should grind it

And throw't against the wind. To th' market-place!

You have put me now to such a part which never

I shall discharge to th' life.
discharge (v.) 2 play, perform, execute
life, to the convincingly, in a faithful manner


COMINIUS

                         Come, come, we'll prompt you.


VOLUMNIA

I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said

My praises made thee first a soldier, so,

To have my praise for this, perform a part

Thou hast not done before.


CORIOLANUS

                         Well, I must do't.

Away, my disposition, and possess me
disposition (n.) 2 natural temperament, normal state of mind

Some harlot's spirit! My throat of war be turned,
harlot (n.) prostitute, whore

Which choired with my drum, into a pipe
choir, quire (v.) 1 sing in tune, make music

Small as an eunuch or the virgin voice
small (adj.) 3 high-pitched, fluting, thin

That babies lulls asleep! The smiles of knaves
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up
take up (v.) 3 occupy, fill up
tent (v.) 1 lodge, encamp, take up residence

The glasses of my sight! A beggar's tongue
glass (n.) 4 eye-ball

Make motion through my lips, and my armed knees,

Who bowed but in my stirrup, bend like his

That hath received an alms! I will not do't,

Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth
surcease (v.) cease, stop, leave off

And by my body's action teach my mind

A most inherent baseness.
baseness (n.) 3 cowardice, degenerateness, degradation
inherent (adj.) fixed, irremovable, permanent


VOLUMNIA

                         At thy choice, then.

To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
more (adj.) 1 greater

Than thou of them. Come all to ruin. Let

Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear

Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
stoutness (n.) obstinacy, stubbornness, intractability

With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list.
list (v.) 1 wish, like, please

Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me,

But owe thy pride thyself.
content (adj.) 3 satisfied, calm, easy in mind
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count


CORIOLANUS

                         Pray, be content.

Mother, I am going to the market-place.

Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count
mountebank (v.) win over by plausible trickery

Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
cog (v.) 1 flatter, fawn, sweet-talk

Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going.

Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul,
commend (v.) 1 convey greetings, present kind regards See Topics: Frequency count

Or never trust to what my tongue can do

I'th' way of flattery further.


VOLUMNIA

                         Do your will.

Exit Volumnia


COMINIUS

Away! The Tribunes do attend you. Arm yourself
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count

To answer mildly; for they are prepared

With accusations, as I hear, more strong

Than are upon you yet.


CORIOLANUS

The word is ‘ mildly ’. Pray you let us go.

Let them accuse me by invention, I
invention (n.) 7 concoction, trumped-up charge

Will answer in mine honour.


MENENIUS

                         Ay, but mildly.


CORIOLANUS

Well, mildly be it then – mildly!

Exeunt

 
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