Coriolanus


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Music plays. Enter a Servingman


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Wine, wine, wine! What service is

here? I think our fellows are asleep.
fellow (n.) 5 fellow-servant, colleague

Exit

Enter another Servingman


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Where's Cotus? My master calls

for him. Cotus!

Exit

Enter Coriolanus


CORIOLANUS

A goodly house. The feast smells well, but I

Appear not like a guest.

Enter the First Servingman


FIRST SERVINGMAN

What would you have, friend?

Whence are you? Here's no place for you. Pray go to the

door

Exit


CORIOLANUS

I have deserved no better entertainment
entertainment (n.) 4 treatment, attitude, disposition

In being Coriolanus.

Enter Second Servingman


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Whence are you, sir? Has the

porter his eyes in his head that he gives entrance to such

companions? Pray, get you out.
companion (n.) 1 rogue, rascal, fellow


CORIOLANUS

Away!


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Away? Get you away.


CORIOLANUS

Now th'art troublesome.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Are you so brave? I'll have you
brave (adj.) 4 defiant, insolent, impudent

talked with anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

Enter Third Servingman. The First meets him


THIRD SERVINGMAN

What fellow's this?


FIRST SERVINGMAN

A strange one as ever I looked on.

I cannot get him out o'th' house. Prithee, call my master

to him.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

What have you to do here, fellow?

Pray you avoid the house.
avoid (v.) 2 leave, quit, clear out [of]


CORIOLANUS

Let me but stand – I will not hurt your hearth.
stand (v.) 2 continue, remain, wait, stay put


THIRD SERVINGMAN

What are you?


CORIOLANUS

A gentleman.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

A marvellous poor one.
marvellous (adv.) very, extremely, exceedingly See Topics: Frequency count


CORIOLANUS

True, so I am.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Pray you, poor gentleman, take up

some other station. Here's no place for you. Pray you
station (n.) 2 place to stand in, spot to see from

avoid. Come.
avoid (v.) 2 leave, quit, clear out [of]


CORIOLANUS

Follow your function, go and batten on
batten (v.) glut oneself, grow fat on
function (n.) 3 office, occupation, calling

cold bits.

He pushes him away from him


THIRD SERVINGMAN

What, you will not? Prithee tell

my master what a strange guest he has here.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

And I shall.

Exit Second Servingman


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Where dwell'st thou?


CORIOLANUS

Under the canopy.
canopy (n.) 1 sky, firmament


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Under the canopy?


CORIOLANUS

Ay.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Where's that?


CORIOLANUS

I'th' city of kites and crows.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

I'th' city of kites and crows? What

an ass it is! Then thou dwell'st with daws too?
daw (n.) 1 jackdaw [as noted for its stupidity]; dolt, fool


CORIOLANUS

No, I serve not thy master.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

How, sir? Do you meddle with my

master?


CORIOLANUS

Ay, 'tis an honester service than to meddle

with thy mistress. Thou prat'st and prat'st. Serve with

thy trencher, Hence!
trencher (n.) plate, platter, serving dish

He beats him away from the stage

Enter Aufidius with the Second Servingman


AUFIDIUS

Where is this fellow?


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Here, sir. I'd have beaten him

like a dog, but for disturbing the lords within.

Servingmen stand aside


AUFIDIUS

Whence com'st thou? What wouldst thou? Thy name?

Why speak'st not? Speak, man. What's thy name?


CORIOLANUS

(unmuffling)

                         If, Tullus,

Not yet thou know'st me, and, seeing me, dost not

Think me for the man I am, necessity

Commands me name myself.


AUFIDIUS

                         What is thy name?


CORIOLANUS

A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,

And harsh in sound to thine.


AUFIDIUS

                         Say, what's thy name?

Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face

Bears a command in't. Though thy tackle's torn,
tackle (n.) 1 [of a ship] rigging and sails

Thou show'st a noble vessel. What's thy name?


CORIOLANUS

Prepare thy brow to frown. Know'st thou me yet?
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow


AUFIDIUS

I know thee not. Thy name?


CORIOLANUS

My name is Caius Martius, who hath done

To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
particularly (adv.) 1 in person, individually

Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may

My surname, Coriolanus. The painful service,
painful (adj.) 1 painstaking, diligent, laborious

The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood

Shed for my thankless country, are requited

But with that surname – a good memory,
memory (n.) 1 memorial, remembrance

And witness of the malice and displeasure

Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name remains.

The cruelty and envy of the people,
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
dastard (adj.) dastardly, cowardly, despicable

Have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest,

And suffered me by th' voice of slaves to be
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count

Whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity
whoop, hoop (v.) 2 howl, hoot, jeer

Hath brought me to thy hearth, not out of hope –

Mistake me not – to save my life; for if

I had feared death, of all the men i'th' world

I would have 'voided thee; but in mere spite,
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count

To be full quit of those my banishers,
quit (v.) 5 pay back, repay, reward

Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast

A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
wreak (n.) revenge, vengeance, retribution

Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
maim (n.) wound, injury, mutilation
stop (v.) 2 stop up, close (up), shut

Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count
through (prep.) throughout

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 cankered country with the spleen
cankered (adj.) 2 corrupted, rotten to the core
spleen (n.) 1 temper, spirit, passion [part of the body seen as the source of both gloomy and mirthful emotions]

Of all the under fiends. But if so be
under fiend (n.) devil from hell, fiend from under the earth

Thou dar'st not this, and that to prove more fortunes
prove (v.) 1 test, try out, make trial [of]

Th'art tired, then, in a word, I also am

Longer to live most weary, and present

My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;

Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,

Since I have ever followed thee with hate,

Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast,
tun (n.) 1 barrel, large cask

And cannot live but to thy shame, unless

It be to do thee service.


AUFIDIUS

                         O Martius, Martius!

Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart

A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
ancient, aunchient (adj.) 1 long-established, long-standing
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

Should from yond cloud speak divine things,

And say ‘ 'Tis true,’ I'd not believe them more

Than thee, all-noble Martius. Let me twine

Mine arms about that body, whereagainst

My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
ash (n.) spear, lance [made of ash]
grained (adj.) 1 straight-grained, tough, strong

And scarred the moon with splinters. Here I clip
clip (v.) 1 embrace, clasp, hug

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,
contend (v.) 1 fight, engage in combat, struggle

I loved the maid I married; never man

Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here,

Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
dance (v.) set dancing, excite, rouse
rapt (adj.) 2 enraptured, entranced, thrilled

Than when I first my wedded mistress saw

Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars, I tell thee
bestride (v.) 3 stride across, step across

We have a power on foot, and I had purpose
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
brawn (n.) 2 muscular arm, sturdy limb
target (n.) light round shield See Topics: Weapons

Or lose mine arm for't. Thou hast beat me out
out (adv.) 7 fully, completely, outright, totally

Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me –

We have been down together in my sleep,

Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat –
helm (n.) 1 helmet

And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Martius,

Had we no quarrel else to Rome but that

Thou art thence banished, we would muster all

From twelve to seventy, and pouring war

Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,

Like a bold flood o'erbear't. O, come, go in,
overbear (v.) 1 overwhelm, overcome, overpower

And take our friendly senators by th' hands,

Who now are here, taking their leaves of me

Who am prepared against your territories,

Though not for Rome itself.


CORIOLANUS

                         You bless me, gods!


AUFIDIUS

Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
absolute (adj.) 1 perfect, complete, incomparable

The leading of thine own revenges, take

Th' one half of my commission, and set down –
commission (n.) 2 command, authority, power
set down (v.) 1 resolve, decide, determine

As best thou art experienced, 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
rudely (adv.) 1 violently, roughly, with great force

To fright them ere destroy. But come in
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count

Let me commend thee first to those that shall
commend (v.) 3 present, introduce, bring [for favourable acceptance]

Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!

And more a friend than e'er an enemy;

Yet, Martius, that was much. Your hand. Most welcome!

Exeunt

First and Second Servingmen come forward


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Here's a strange alteration!


SECOND SERVINGMAN

By my hand, I had thought to

have strucken him with a cudgel, and yet my mind gave
give (v.) 5 suggest, prompt, intimate

me his clothes made a false report of him.
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken


FIRST SERVINGMAN

What an arm he has! He turned me

about with his finger and his thumb as one would set up
set up (v.) set spinning

a top.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

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.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count


FIRST SERVINGMAN

He had so, looking as it were –

Would I were hanged, but I thought there was more in

him than I could think.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

So did I, I'll be sworn. He is

simply the rarest man i'th' world.
rare (adj.) 1 marvellous, splendid, excellent


FIRST SERVINGMAN

I think he is. But a greater soldier

than he you wot one.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Who, my master?


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Nay, it's no matter for that.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Worth six on him.


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Nay, not so neither. But I take him

to be the greater soldier.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Faith, look you, one cannot tell

how to say that. For the defence of a town our general

is excellent.


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Ay, and for an assault too.

Enter the Third Servingman


THIRD SERVINGMAN

O slaves, I can tell you news –

news, you rascals!


BOTH

What, what, what? Let's partake.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

I would not be a Roman, of all

nations. I had as lief be a condemned man.
lief, had as should like just as much See Topics: Frequency count


BOTH

Wherefore? Wherefore?


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Why, here's he that was wont to

thwack our general, Caius Martius.


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Why do you say ‘ thwack our

General?’


THIRD SERVINGMAN

I do not say ‘thwack our general',

but he was always good enough for him.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Come, we are fellows and friends.

He was ever too hard for him, I have heard him say so
hard (adj.) 1 strong, tough, powerful

himself.


FIRST SERVINGMAN

He was too hard for him, directly
directly (adv.) 2 straightforwardly, rightly, without evasion

to say the truth on't. Before Corioles he scotched him
scotch (v.) slash, cut, gash

and notched him like a carbonado.
carbonado, carbinado (n.) grilled piece of meat


SECOND SERVINGMAN

An he had been cannibally given,
cannibally (adv.) in the manner of a cannibal
give (v.) 3 dispose, mind, incline

he might have boiled and eaten him too.


FIRST SERVINGMAN

But more of thy news!


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Why, he is so made on here within
make on (v.) 2 make much of

as if he were son and heir to Mars; set at upper end

o'th' table; no question asked him by any of the senators

but they stand bald before him. Our general himself
bald (adj.) 2 bare-headed [as a sign of respect]

makes a mistress of him, sanctifies himself with's hand,

and turns up the white o'th' eye to his discourse. But the

bottom of the news is, our general is cut i'th' middle and
bottom (n.) 1 essence, gist, main point

but one half of what he was yesterday, for the other has

half by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll

go, he says, and sowl the porter of Rome gates by th' ears.
sowl (v.) pull, lug, seize roughly

He will mow all down before him, and leave his passage

polled.
polled (adj.) 2 shorn, cleared, stripped bare


SECOND SERVINGMAN

And he's as like to do't as any
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

man I can imagine.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Do't! He will do't, for look you,

sir, he has as many friends as enemies; which friends,

sir, as it were, durst not – look you, sir – show themselves,

as we term it, his friends whilst he's in directitude.
directitude (n.) [humorous nonsense word; unclear meaning] discredit


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Directitude? What's that?


THIRD SERVINGMAN

But when they shall see, sir, his

crest up again and the man in blood, they will out of their
blood, in [hunting] full of life, in fine condition
crest (n.) 2 [on an animal head or neck] ridge of feathers, ridge of hairs; hackles

burrows like conies after rain, and revel all with him.
cony (n.) rabbit


FIRST SERVINGMAN

But when goes this forward?


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Tomorrow, today, presently. You
presently (adv.) 2 after a short time, soon, before long

shall have the drum struck up this afternoon. 'Tis as it

were a parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they
execute (v.) 1 carry out, fulfil, perform
parcel (n.) 1 part, piece, portion, bit

wipe their lips.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

Why, then we shall have a stirring

world again. This peace is nothing but to rust iron,

increase tailors, and breed ballad-makers.


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Let me have war, say I. It exceeds

peace as far as day does night. It's spritely walking,

audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy,
apoplexy (n.) paralysis, torpor, total breakdown
vent (n.) 4 [of a hunted animal] scent

lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of
getter (n.) begetter
mulled (adj.) stupefied, dull, numb

more bastard children than war's a destroyer of men.


SECOND SERVINGMAN

'Tis so. And as wars in some sort
sort (n.) 3 way, manner

may be said to be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but

peace is a great maker of cuckolds.
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count


FIRST SERVINGMAN

Ay, and it makes men hate one

another.


THIRD SERVINGMAN

Reason: because they then less

need one another. The wars for my money. I hope to see

Romans as cheap as Volscians. They are rising, they are

rising.


BOTH

In, in, in, in.

Exeunt

 
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