Coriolanus

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, all the Gentry,
Cominius, Titus Latius, and other Senators.

Corio.
Tullus Auffidius then had made new head.

Latius.
He had, my Lord, and that it was which caus'd
Our swifter Composition.

Corio.
So then the Volces stand but as at first,
Readie when time shall prompt them, to make roade
Vpon's againe.

Com.
They are worne (Lord Consull) so,
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their Banners waue againe.

Corio.
Saw you Auffidius?

Latius.
On safegard he came to me, and did curse
Against the Volces, for they had so vildly
Yeelded the Towne: he is retyred to Antium.

Corio.
Spoke he of me?

Latius.
He did, my Lord.

Corio.
How? what?

Latius.
How often he had met you Sword to Sword:
That of all things vpon the Earth, he hated
Your person most: That he would pawne his fortunes
To hopelesse restitution, so he might
Be call'd your Vanquisher.

Corio.
At Antium liues he?

Latius.
At Antium.

Corio.
I wish I had a cause to seeke him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
Enter Scicinius and Brutus.
Behold, these are the Tribunes of the People,
The Tongues o'th' Common Mouth. I do despise them:
For they doe pranke them in Authoritie,
Against all Noble sufferance.

Scicin.
Passe no further.

Cor.
Hah? what is that?

Brut.
It will be dangerous to goe on--- No further.

Corio.
What makes this change?

Mene.
The matter?

Com.
Hath he not pass'd the Noble, and the Common?

Brut.
Cominius, no.

Corio.
Haue I had Childrens Voyces?

Senat.
Tribunes giue way, he shall to th'Market place.

Brut.
The People are incens'd against him.

Scicin.
Stop,
or all will fall in broyle.

Corio.
Are these your Heard?
Must these haue Voyces, that can yeeld them now,
And straight disclaim their toungs? what are your Offices?
You being their Mouthes, why rule you not their Teeth?
Haue you not set them on?

Mene.
Be calme, be calme.

Corio.
It is a purpos'd thing, and growes by Plot,
To curbe the will of the Nobilitie:
Suffer't, and liue with such as cannot rule,
Nor euer will be ruled.

Brut.
Call't not a Plot:
The People cry you mockt them: and of late,
When Corne was giuen them gratis, you repin'd,
Scandal'd the Suppliants: for the People, call'd them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to Noblenesse.

Corio.
Why this was knowne before.

Brut.
Not to them all.

Corio.
Haue you inform'd them sithence?

Brut.
How? I informe them?

Com.
You are like to doe such businesse.

Brut.
Not vnlike
each way to better yours.

Corio.
Why then should I be Consull? by yond Clouds
Let me deserue so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow Tribune.

Scicin.
You shew too much of that,
For which the People stirre: if you will passe
To where you are bound, you must enquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or neuer be so Noble as a Consull,
Nor yoake with him for Tribune.

Mene.
Let's be calme.

Com.
The People are abus'd: set on, this paltring
Becomes not Rome: nor ha's Coriolanus
Deseru'd this so dishonor'd Rub, layd falsely
I'th' plaine Way of his Merit.

Corio.
Tell me of Corne:
this was my speech, / And I will speak't againe.

Mene.
Not now, not now.

Senat.
Not in this heat, Sir, now.

Corio.
Now as I liue, I will.
My Nobler friends, I craue their pardons: / For
the mutable ranke-sented Meynie, / Let them
regard me, as I doe not flatter, / And
therein behold themselues: I say againe,
In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our Senate
The Cockle of Rebellion, Insolence, Sedition,
Which we our selues haue plowed for, sow'd, & scatter'd,
By mingling them with vs, the honor'd Number,
Who lack not Vertue, no, nor Power, but that
Which they haue giuen to Beggers.

Mene.
Well, no more.

Senat.
No more words, we beseech you.

Corio.
How? no more?
As for my Country, I haue shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force: So shall my Lungs
Coine words till their decay, against those Meazels
Which we disdaine should Tetter vs, yet sought
The very way to catch them.

Bru.
You speake a'th' people,
as if you were a God, / To punish; Not
a man, of their Infirmity.

Sicin.
'Twere well
we let the people know't.

Mene.
What, what? His Choller?

Cor.
Choller?
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Ioue, 'twould be my minde.

Sicin.
It is a minde
that shall remain a poison / Where it is:
not poyson any further.

Corio.
Shall remaine?
Heare you this Triton of the Minnoues? Marke you
His absolute Shall?

Com.
'Twas from the Cannon.

Cor.
Shall?
O God! but most vnwise Patricians: why
You graue, but wreaklesse Senators, haue you thus
Giuen Hidra heere to choose an Officer,
That with his peremptory Shall, being but
The horne, and noise o'th' Monsters, wants not spirit
To say, hee'l turne your Current in a ditch,
And make your Channell his? If he haue power,
Then vale your Ignorance: If none, awake
Your dangerous Lenity: If you are Learn'd,
Be not as common Fooles; if you are not,
Let them haue Cushions by you. You are Plebeians,
If they be Senators: and they are no lesse,
When both your voices blended, the great'st taste
Most pallates theirs. They choose their Magistrate,
And such a one as he, who puts his Shall,
His popular Shall, against a grauer Bench
Then euer frown'd in Greece. By Ioue himselfe,
It makes the Consuls base; and my Soule akes
To know, when two Authorities are vp,
Neither Supreame; How soone Confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of Both, and take
The one by th' other.

Com.
Well, on to'th' Market place.

Corio.
Who euer gaue that Counsell, to giue forth
The Corne a'th' Store-house gratis, as 'twas vs'd
Sometime in Greece.

Mene.
Well, well, no more of that.

Cor.
Thogh there the people had more absolute powre
I say they norisht disobedience: fed,
the ruin of the State.

Bru.
Why shall the people giue
One that speakes thus, their voyce?

Corio.
Ile giue my Reasons,
More worthier then their Voyces. They know the Corne
Was not our recompence, resting well assur'd
They ne're did seruice for't; being prest to'th' Warre,
Euen when the Nauell of the State was touch'd,
They would not thred the Gates: This kinde of Seruice
Did not deserue Corne gratis. Being i'th' Warre,
There Mutinies and Reuolts, wherein they shew'd
Most Valour spoke not for them. Th'Accusation
Which they haue often made against the Senate,
All cause vnborne, could neuer be the Natiue
Of our so franke Donation. Well, what then?
How shall this Bosome-multiplied, digest
The Senates Courtesie? Let deeds expresse
What's like to be their words, We did request it,
We are the greater pole, and in true feare
They gaue vs our demands. Thus we debase
The Nature of our Seats, and make the Rabble
Call our Cares, Feares; which will in time
Breake ope the Lockes a'th' Senate, and bring in
The Crowes to pecke the Eagles.

Mene.
Come enough.

Bru.
Enough, with ouer measure.

Corio.
No, take more.
What may be sworne by, both Diuine and Humane,
Seale what I end withall. This double worship,
Whereon part do's disdaine with cause, the other
Insult without all reason: where Gentry, Title, wisedom
Cannot conclude, but by the yea and no
Of generall Ignorance, it must omit
Reall Necessities, and giue way the while
To vnstable Slightnesse. Purpose so barr'd, it followes,
Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore beseech you,
You that will be lesse fearefull, then discreet,
That loue the Fundamentall part of State
More then you doubt the change on't: That preferre
A Noble life, before a Long, and Wish,
To iumpe a Body with a dangerous Physicke,
That's sure of death without it: at once plucke out
The Multitudinous Tongue, let them not licke
The sweet which is their poyson. Your dishonor
Mangles true iudgement, and bereaues the State
Of that Integrity which should becom't:
Not hauing the power to do the good it would
For th' ill which doth controul't.

Bru.
Has said enough.

Sicin.
Ha's spoken like a Traitor, and shall answer
As Traitors do.

Corio.
Thou wretch, despight ore-whelme thee:
What should the people do with these bald Tribunes?
On whom depending, their obedience failes
To'th' greater Bench, in a Rebellion:
When what's not meet, but what must be, was Law,
Then were they chosen: in a better houre,
Let what is meet, be saide it must be meet,
And throw their power i'th' dust.

Bru.
Manifest Treason.

Sicin.
This a Consull? No.

Bru.
The Ediles hoe:
Enter an Adile.
Let him be apprehended:

Sicin.
Go call the people, in whose name my Selfe
Attach thee as a Traitorous Innouator:
A Foe to'th' publike Weale. Obey I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.

Corio.
Hence old Goat.

All.
Wee'l Surety him.

Com.
Ag'd sir, hands off.

Corio.
Hence rotten thing, or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy Garments.

Sicin.
Helpe ye Citizens.
Enter a rabble of Plebeians with the Adiles.

Mene.
On both sides more respect.

Sicin.
Heere's hee, that would take from you all your power.

Bru.
Seize him Adiles.

All.
Downe with him, downe with him.

2 Sen.
Weapons, weapons, weapons:
They all bustle about Coriolanus.

All.
Tribunes, Patricians, Citizens: what ho:
Sicinius, Brutus, Coriolanus, Citizens.

Mene.
Peace, peace, peace, stay, hold, peace.
What is about to be? I am out of Breath,
Confusions neere, I cannot speake. You, Tribunes
To'th' people: Coriolanus, patience:
Speak good Sicinius.

Scici.
Heare me, People peace.

All.
Let's here our Tribune: peace, speake, speake, speake.

Scici.
You are at point to lose your Liberties:
Martius would haue all from you; Martius,
Whom late you haue nam'd for Consull.

Mene.
Fie, fie, fie,
this is the way to kindle, not to quench.

Sena.
To vnbuild the Citie, and to lay all flat.

Scici.
What is the Citie, but the People?

All.
True,
the People are the Citie.

Brut.
By the consent of all, we were establish'd
the Peoples Magistrates.

All.
You so remaine.

Mene.
And so are like to doe.

Com.
That is the way to lay the Citie flat,
To bring the Roofe to the Foundation,
And burie all, which yet distinctly raunges
In heapes, and piles of Ruine.

Scici.
This deserues Death.

Brut.
Or let vs stand to our Authoritie,
Or let vs lose it: we doe here pronounce,
Vpon the part o'th' People, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Martius is worthy
Of present Death.

Scici.
Therefore lay hold of him:
Beare him to th'Rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.

Brut.
Adiles seize him.

All Ple.
Yeeld Martius, yeeld.

Mene.
Heare me one word,
'beseech you Tribunes, heare me but a word.

Adiles.
Peace, peace.

Mene.
Be that you seeme, truly your Countries friend,
And temp'rately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redresse.

Brut.
Sir, those cold wayes,
That seeme like prudent helpes, are very poysonous,
Where the Disease is violent. Lay hands vpon him,
And beare him to the Rock.
Corio. drawes his Sword.

Corio.
No, Ile die here:
There's some among you haue beheld me fighting,
Come trie vpon your selues, what you haue seene me.

Mene.
Downe with that Sword, Tribunes withdraw a while.

Brut.
Lay hands vpon him.

Mene.
Helpe Martius, helpe:
you that be noble, helpe him young and old.
Downe with him, downe with him.
Exeunt. In this Mutinie, the Tribunes, the Adiles, and the
People are beat in.

Mene.
Goe, get you to our House: be gone, away,
All will be naught else.

2. Sena.
Get you gone.

Com.
Stand fast,
we haue as many friends as enemies.

Mene.
Shall it be put to that?

Sena.
The Gods forbid:
I prythee noble friend, home to thy House,
Leaue vs to cure this Cause.

Mene.
For 'tis a Sore vpon vs,
You cannot Tent your selfe: be gone, 'beseech you.

Corio.
Come Sir, along with vs.

Mene.
I would they were Barbarians, as they are,
Though in Rome litter'd: not Romans, as they are not,
Though calued i'th' Porch o'th' Capitoll:
Be gone,
put not your worthy Rage into your Tongue,
One time will owe another.

Corio.
On faire ground,
I could beat fortie of them.

Mene.
I could my selfe
take vp a Brace o'th' best of them, yea, the two Tribunes.

Com.
But now 'tis oddes beyond Arithmetick,
And Manhood is call'd Foolerie, when it stands
Against a falling Fabrick. Will you hence,
Before the Tagge returne? whose Rage doth rend
Like interrupted Waters, and o're-beare
What they are vs'd to beare.

Mene.
Pray you be gone:
Ile trie whether my old Wit be in request
With those that haue but little: this must be patcht
With Cloth of any Colour.

Com.
Nay, come away.
Exeunt Coriolanus and Cominius.

Patri.
This man ha's marr'd his fortune.

Mene.
His nature is too noble for the World:
He would not flatter Neptune for his Trident,
Or Ioue, for's power to Thunder: his Heart's his Mouth:
What his Brest forges, that his Tongue must vent,
And being angry, does forget that euer
He heard the Name of Death.
A Noise within.
Here's goodly worke.

Patri.
I would they were a bed.

Mene.
I would they were in Tyber. / What the vengeance,
could he not speake 'em faire?
Enter Brutus and Sicinius with the rabble againe.

Sicin.
Where is this Viper,
That would depopulate the city, &
be euery man himself

Mene.
You worthy Tribunes.

Sicin.
He shall be throwne downe the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands: he hath resisted Law,
And therefore Law shall scorne him further Triall
Then the seuerity of the publike Power,
Which he so sets at naught.

1 Cit.
He shall well know
the Noble Tribunes are / The peoples mouths,
and we their hands.

All.
He shall sure ont.

Mene.
Sir, sir.

Sicin.
Peace.

Me.
Do not cry hauocke, where you shold but hunt
With modest warrant.

Sicin.
Sir, how com'st that you
haue holpe / To make this rescue?

Mene.
Heere me speake?
As I do know / The Consuls worthinesse,
so can I name his Faults.

Sicin.
Consull? what Consull?

Mene.
The Consull Coriolanus.

Bru.
He Consull.

All.
No, no, no, no, no.

Mene.
If by the Tribunes leaue, / And yours good people,
I may be heard, I would craue a word or two,
The which shall turne you to no further harme,
Then so much losse of time.

Sic.
Speake breefely then,
For we are peremptory to dispatch
This Viporous Traitor: to eiect him hence
Were but one danger, and to keepe him heere
Our certaine death: therefore it is decreed,
He dyes to night.

Menen.
Now the good Gods forbid,
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserued Children, is enroll'd
In Ioues owne Booke, like an vnnaturall Dam
Should now eate vp her owne.

Sicin.
He's a Disease that must be cut away.

Mene.
Oh he's a Limbe, that ha's but a Disease
Mortall, to cut it off: to cure it, easie.
What ha's he done to Rome, that's worthy death?
Killing our Enemies, the blood he hath lost
(Which I dare vouch, is more then that he hath
By many an Ounce) he dropp'd it for his Country:
And what is left, to loose it by his Countrey,
Were to vs all that doo't, and suffer it
A brand to th' end a'th World.

Sicin.
This is cleane kamme.

Brut.
Meerely awry: / When he did loue his Country,
it honour'd him.

Menen.
The seruice of the foote
Being once gangren'd, is not then respected
For what before it was.

Bru.
Wee'l heare no more:
Pursue him to his house, and plucke him thence,
Least his infection being of catching nature,
Spred further.

Menen.
One word more, one word:
This Tiger-footed-rage, when it shall find
The harme of vnskan'd swiftnesse, will (too late)
Tye Leaden pounds too's heeles. Proceed by Processe,
Least parties (as he is belou'd) breake out,
And sacke great Rome with Romanes.

Brut.
If it were so?

Sicin.
What do ye talke?
Haue we not had a taste of his Obedience?
Our Ediles smot: our selues resisted: come.

Mene.
Consider this: He ha's bin bred i'th' Warres
Since a could draw a Sword, and is ill-school'd
In boulted Language: Meale and Bran together
He throwes without distinction. Giue me leaue,
Ile go to him, and vndertake to bring him in peace,
Where he shall answer by a lawfull Forme
(In peace) to his vtmost perill.

1. Sen.
Noble Tribunes,
It is the humane way: the other course
Will proue to bloody: and the end of it,
Vnknowne to the Beginning.

Sic.
Noble Menenius,
be you then as the peoples officer:
Masters, lay downe your Weapons.

Bru.
Go not home.

Sic.
Meet on the Market place: wee'l attend you there:
Where if you bring not Martius, wee'l proceede
In our first way.

Menen.
Ile bring him to you.
Let me desire your company: he must come,
Or what is worst will follow.

Sena.
Pray you let's to him.
Exeunt Omnes.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Coriolanus with Nobles.

Corio.
Let them pull all about mine eares, present me
Death on the Wheele, or at wilde Horses heeles,
Or pile ten hilles on the Tarpeian Rocke,
That the precipitation might downe stretch
Below the beame of sight; yet will I still
Be thus to them. Enter Volumnia.

Noble.
You do the Nobler.

Corio.
I muse my Mother
Do's not approue me further, who was wont
To call them Wollen Vassailes, things created
To buy and sell with Groats, to shew bare heads
In Congregations, to yawne, be still, and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood vp
To speake of Peace, or Warre.
I talke of you,
Why did you wish me milder? Would you haue me
False to my Nature? Rather say, I play
The man I am.

Volum.
Oh sir, sir, sir,
I would haue had you put your power well on
Before you had worne it out.

Corio.
Let go.

Vol.
You might haue beene enough the man you are,
With striuing lesse to be so: Lesser had bin
The things of your dispositions, if
You had not shew'd them how ye were dispos'd
Ere they lack'd power to crosse you.

Corio.
Let them hang.

Volum.
I, and burne too.
Enter Menenius with the Senators.

Men.
Come, come, you haue bin too rough, somthing too rough:
you must returne, and mend it.

Sen.
There's no remedy,
Vnlesse by not so doing, our good Citie
Cleaue in the midd'st, and perish.

Volum.
Pray be counsail'd;
I haue a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a braine, that leades my vse of Anger
To better vantage.

Mene.
Well said, Noble woman:
Before he should thus stoope to'th' heart, but that
The violent fit a'th' time craues it as Physicke
For the whole State; I would put mine Armour on,
Which I can scarsely beare.

Corio.
What must I do?

Mene.
Returne to th' Tribunes.

Corio.
Well, what then? what then?

Mene.
Repent, what you haue spoke.

Corio.
For them, I cannot do it to the Gods,
Must I then doo't to them?

Volum.
You are too absolute,
Though therein you can neuer be too Noble,
But when extremities speake. I haue heard you say,
Honor and Policy, like vnseuer'd Friends,
I'th' Warre do grow together: Grant that, and tell me
In Peace, what each of them by th' other loose,
That they combine not there?

Corio.
Tush, tush.

Mene.
A good demand.

Volum.
If it be Honor in your Warres, to seeme
The same you are not, which for your best ends
You adopt your policy: How is it lesse or worse
That it shall hold Companionship in Peace
With Honour, as in Warre; since that to both
It stands in like request.

Corio.
Why force you this?

Volum.
Because, that / Now it lyes you on to speake
to th' people: / Not by your owne instruction,
nor by'th' matter / Which your heart prompts you,
but with such words / That are but roated in
your Tongue; / Though but Bastards, and Syllables
Of no allowance, to your bosomes truth.
Now, this no more dishonors you at all,
Then to take in a Towne with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune, and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my Nature, where
My Fortunes and my Friends at stake, requir'd
I should do so in Honor. I am in this
Your Wife, your Sonne: These Senators, the Nobles,
And you, will rather shew our generall Lowts,
How you can frowne, then spend a fawne vpon 'em,
For the inheritance of their loues, and safegard
Of what that want might ruine.

Menen.
Noble Lady,
Come goe with vs, speake faire: you may salue so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the losse
Of what is past.

Volum.
I pry thee now, my Sonne,
Goe to them, with this Bonnet in thy hand,
And thus farre hauing stretcht it (here be with them)
Thy Knee bussing the stones: for in such businesse
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' ignorant
More learned then the eares, wauing thy head,
Which often thus correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest Mulberry,
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their Souldier, and being bred in broyles,
Hast not the soft way, which thou do'st confesse
Were fit for thee to vse, as they to clayme,
In asking their good loues, but thou wilt frame
Thy selfe (forsooth) hereafter theirs so farre,
As thou hast power and person.

Menen.
This but done,
Euen as she speakes, why their hearts were yours:
For they haue Pardons, being ask'd, as free,
As words to little purpose.

Volum.
Prythee now,
Goe, and be rul'd: although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine Enemie in a fierie Gulfe,
Then flatter him in a Bower.
Enter Cominius.
Here is Cominius.

Com.
I haue beene i'th' Market place: and Sir 'tis fit
You make strong partie, or defend your selfe
By calmenesse, or by absence: all's in anger.

Menen.
Onely faire speech.

Com.
I thinke 'twill serue, if he
can thereto frame his spirit.

Volum.
He must, and will:
Prythee now say you will, and goe about it.

Corio.
Must I goe shew them my vnbarb'd Sconce? / Must I
with my base Tongue giue to my Noble Heart
A Lye, that it must beare well? I will doo't:
Yet were there but this single Plot, to loose
This Mould of Martius, they to dust should grinde it,
And throw't against the Winde. To th' Market place:
You haue put me now to such a part, which neuer
I shall discharge to th' Life.

Com.
Come, come, wee'le prompt you.

Volum.
I prythee now sweet Son, as thou hast said
My praises made thee first a Souldier; so
To haue my praise for this, performe a part
Thou hast not done before.

Corio.
Well, I must doo't:
Away my disposition, and possesse me
Some Harlots spirit: My throat of Warre be turn'd,
Which quier'd with my Drumme into a Pipe,
Small as an Eunuch, or the Virgin voyce
That Babies lull a-sleepe: The smiles of Knaues
Tent in my cheekes, and Schoole-boyes Teares take vp
The Glasses of my sight: A Beggars Tongue
Make motion through my Lips, and my Arm'd knees
Who bow'd but in my Stirrop, bend like his
That hath receiu'd an Almes. I will not doo't,
Least I surcease to honor mine owne truth,
And by my Bodies action, teach my Minde
A most inherent Basenesse.

Volum.
At thy choice then:
To begge of thee, it is my more dis-honor,
Then thou of them. Come all to ruine, let
Thy Mother rather feele thy Pride, then feare
Thy dangerous Stoutnesse: for I mocke at death
With as bigge heart as thou. Do as thou list,
Thy Valiantnesse was mine, thou suck'st it from me:
But owe thy Pride thy selfe.

Corio.
Pray be content:
Mother, I am going to the Market place:
Chide me no more. Ile Mountebanke their Loues,
Cogge their Hearts from them, and come home belou'd
Of all the Trades in Rome. Looke, I am going:
Commend me to my Wife, Ile returne Consull,
Or neuer trust to what my Tongue can do
I'th way of Flattery further.

Volum.
Do your will.
Exit Volumnia

Com.
Away, the Tribunes do attend you: arm your self
To answer mildely: for they are prepar'd
With Accusations, as I heare more strong
Then are vpon you yet.

Corio.
The word is, Mildely. Pray you let vs go,
Let them accuse me by inuention: I
Will answer in mine Honor.

Menen.
I, but mildely.

Corio.
Well mildely be it then, Mildely.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Sicinius and Brutus.

Bru.
In this point charge him home, that he affects
Tyrannicall power: If he euade vs there,
Inforce him with his enuy to the people,
And that the Spoile got on the Antiats
Was ne're distributed.
Enter an Edile.
What, will he come?

Edile.
Hee's comming.

Bru.
How accompanied?

Edile.
With old Menenius, and those Senators
That alwayes fauour'd him.

Sicin.
Haue you a Catalogue
Of all the Voices that we haue procur'd,
set downe by'th Pole?

Edile.
I haue: 'tis ready.

Sicin.
Haue you collected them by Tribes?

Edile.
I haue.

Sicin.
Assemble presently the people hither:
And when they heare me say, it shall be so,
I'th' right and strength a'th' Commons: be it either
For death, for fine, or Banishment, then let them
If I say Fine, cry Fine; if Death, cry Death,
Insisting on the olde prerogatiue
And power i'th Truth a'th Cause.

Edile.
I shall informe them.

Bru.
And when such time they haue begun to cry,
Let them not cease, but with a dinne confus'd
Inforce the present Execution
Of what we chance to Sentence.

Edi.
Very well.

Sicin.
Make them be strong, and ready for this hint
When we shall hap to giu't them.

Bru.
Go about it,
Put him to Choller straite, he hath bene vs'd
Euer to conquer, and to haue his worth
Of contradiction. Being once chaft, he cannot
Be rein'd againe to Temperance, then he speakes
What's in his heart, and that is there which lookes
With vs to breake his necke.
Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, and Cominius, with others.

Sicin.
Well, heere he comes.

Mene.
Calmely, I do beseech you.

Corio.
I, as an Hostler, that fourth poorest peece
Will beare the Knaue by'th Volume: / Th' honor'd Goddes
Keepe Rome in safety, and the Chaires of Iustice
Supplied with worthy men, plant loue amongs
Through our large Temples with ye shewes of peace
And not our streets with Warre.

1 Sen.
Amen, Amen.

Mene.
A Noble wish.
Enter the Edile with the Plebeians.

Sicin.
Draw neere ye people.

Edile.
List to your Tribunes. Audience: / Peace I say.

Corio.
First heare me speake.

Both Tri.
Well, say: Peace hoe.

Corio.
Shall I be charg'd no further then this present?
Must all determine heere?

Sicin.
I do demand,
If you submit you to the peoples voices,
Allow their Officers, and are content
To suffer lawfull Censure for such faults
As shall be prou'd vpon you.

Corio.
I am Content.

Mene.
Lo Citizens, he sayes he is Content.
The warlike Seruice he ha's done, consider: Thinke
Vpon the wounds his body beares, which shew
Like Graues i'th holy Church-yard.

Corio.
Scratches with Briars,
scarres to moue / Laughter onely.

Mene.
Consider further:
That when he speakes not like a Citizen,
You finde him like a Soldier: do not take
His rougher Actions for malicious sounds:
But as I say, such as become a Soldier,
Rather then enuy you.

Com.
Well, well, no more.

Corio.
What is the matter,
That being past for Consull with full voyce:
I am so dishonour'd, that the very houre
You take it off againe.

Sicin.
Answer to vs.

Corio.
Say then: 'tis true, I ought so

Sicin.
We charge you, that you haue contriu'd to take
From Rome all season'd Office, and to winde
Your selfe into a power tyrannicall,
For which you are a Traitor to the people.

Corio.
How? Traytor?

Mene.
Nay temperately: your promise.

Corio.
The fires i'th' lowest hell. Fould in the people:
Call me their Traitor, thou iniurious Tribune.
Within thine eyes sate twenty thousand deaths
In thy hands clutcht: as many Millions in
Thy lying tongue, both numbers. I would say
Thou lyest vnto thee, with a voice as free,
As I do pray the Gods.

Sicin.
Marke you this people?

All.
To'th' Rocke, to'th' Rocke with him.

Sicin.
Peace:
We neede not put new matter to his charge:
What you haue seene him do, and heard him speake:
Beating your Officers, cursing your selues,
Opposing Lawes with stroakes, and heere defying
Those whose great power must try him. Euen this
so criminall, and in such capitall kinde
Deserues th' extreamest death.

Bru.
But since he hath
seru'd well for Rome.

Corio.
What do you prate of Seruice.

Brut.
I talke of that, that know it.

Corio.
You?

Mene.
Is this the promise that you made your mother.

Com.
Know, I pray you.

Corio.
Ile know no further:
Let them pronounce the steepe Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, Fleaing, pent to linger
But with a graine a day, I would not buy
Their mercie, at the price of one faire word,
Nor checke my Courage for what they can giue,
To haue't with saying, Good morrow.

Sicin.
For that he ha's
(As much as in him lies) from time to time
Enui'd against the people; seeking meanes
To plucke away their power: as now at last,
Giuen Hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
Of dreaded Iustice, but on the Ministers
That doth distribute it. In the name a'th' people,
And in the power of vs the Tribunes, wee
(Eu'n from this instant) banish him our Citie
In perill of precipitation
From off the Rocke Tarpeian, neuer more
To enter our Rome gates. I'th' Peoples name,
I say it shall bee so.

All.
It shall be so, it shall be so: let him away:
Hee's banish'd, and it shall be so.

Com.
Heare me my Masters, and my common friends.

Sicin.
He's sentenc'd: No more hearing.

Com.
Let me speake:
I haue bene Consull, and can shew from Rome
Her Enemies markes vpon me. I do loue
My Countries good, with a respect more tender,
More holy, and profound, then mine owne life,
My deere Wiues estimate, her wombes encrease,
And treasure of my Loynes: then if I would
Speake that.

Sicin.
We know your drift. Speake what?

Bru.
There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd
As Enemy to the people, and his Countrey.
It shall bee so.

All.
It shall be so, it shall be so.

Corio.
You common cry of Curs, whose breath I hate,
As reeke a'th' rotten Fennes: whose Loues I prize,
As the dead Carkasses of vnburied men,
That do corrupt my Ayre: I banish you,
And heere remaine with your vncertaintie.
Let euery feeble Rumor shake your hearts:
Your Enemies, with nodding of their Plumes
Fan you into dispaire: Haue the power still
To banish your Defenders, till at length
Your ignorance (which findes not till it feeles,
Making but reseruation of your selues,
Still your owne Foes) deliuer you
As most abated Captiues, to some Nation
That wonne you without blowes, despising
For you the City. Thus I turne my backe;
There is a world elsewhere.
Exeunt Coriolanus, Cominius, with Cumalijs.

Edile.
The peoples Enemy is gone, is gone.

All.
Our enemy is banish'd, he is gone: Hoo, oo.
They all shout, and throw vp their Caps.

Sicin.
Go see him out at Gates, and follow him
As he hath follow'd you, with all despight
Giue him deseru'd vexation. Let a guard
Attend vs through the City.

All.
Come, come, lets see him out at gates, come:
The Gods preserue our Noble Tribunes, come.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, all the Gentry,
Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators

CORIOLANUS
Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?

LARTIUS
He had, my lord, and that it was which caused
Our swifter composition.

CORIOLANUS
So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road
Upon's again.

COMINIUS
They are worn, lord Consul, so
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their banners wave again.

CORIOLANUS
Saw you Aufidius?

LARTIUS
On safeguard he came to me, and did curse
Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
Yielded the town. He is retired to Antium.

CORIOLANUS
Spoke he of me?

LARTIUS
He did, my lord.

CORIOLANUS
How? What?

LARTIUS
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
Be called your vanquisher.

CORIOLANUS
At Antium lives he?

LARTIUS
At Antium.

CORIOLANUS
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
Against all noble sufferance.

SICINIUS
Pass no further.

CORIOLANUS
Ha? What is that?

BRUTUS
It will be dangerous to go on. No further.

CORIOLANUS
What makes this change?

MENENIUS
The matter?

COMINIUS
Hath he not passed the noble and the common?

BRUTUS
Cominius, no.

CORIOLANUS
Have I had children's voices?

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

BRUTUS
The people are incensed against him.

SICINIUS
Stop,
Or all will fall in broil.

CORIOLANUS
Are these your herd?
Must these have voices, that can yield them now
And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices?
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?

MENENIUS
Be calm, be calm.

CORIOLANUS
It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,
To curb the will of the nobility.
Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
Nor ever will be ruled.

BRUTUS
Call't not a plot.
The people cry you mocked them; and of late,
When corn was given them gratis, you repined,
Scandalled the suppliants for the people, called them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.

CORIOLANUS
Why, this was known before.

BRUTUS
Not to them all.

CORIOLANUS
Have you informed them sithence?

BRUTUS
How? I inform them!

CORIOLANUS
You are like to do such business.

BRUTUS
Not unlike
Each way to better yours.

CORIOLANUS
Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow tribune.

SICINIUS
You show too much of that
For which the people stir. If you will pass
To where you are bound, you must enquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.

MENENIUS
Let's be calm.

COMINIUS
The people are abused. Set on. This paltering
Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
Deserved this so dishonoured rub, laid falsely
I'th' plain way of his merit.

CORIOLANUS
Tell me of corn!
This was my speech, and I will speak't again –

MENENIUS
Not now, not now.

FIRST SENATOR
Not in this heat, sir, now.

CORIOLANUS
Now, as I live I will.
My nobler friends, I crave their pardons. For
The mutable, rank-scented meiny, let them
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves. I say again,
In soothing them we nourish 'gainst our Senate
The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
Which we ourselves have ploughed for, sowed, and scattered
By mingling them with us, the honoured number,
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to beggars.

MENENIUS
Well, no more.

FIRST SENATOR
No more words, we beseech you.

CORIOLANUS
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
Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.

BRUTUS
You speak o'th' people,
As if you were a god to punish, not
A man of their infirmity.

SICINIUS
'Twere well
We let the people know't.

MENENIUS
What, what? His choler?

CORIOLANUS
Choler!
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my mind.

SICINIUS
It is a mind
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.

CORIOLANUS
Shall remain!
Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you
His absolute ‘shall'?

COMINIUS
'Twas from the canon.

CORIOLANUS
‘ 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
To say he'll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power,
Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians
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;
And such a one as he, who puts his ‘ shall,’
His popular ‘ shall,’ against a graver bench
Than ever frowned in Greece. By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base! And my soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
The one by th' other.

COMINIUS
Well, on to th' market-place.

CORIOLANUS
Whoever gave that counsel to give forth
The corn o'th' storehouse gratis, as 'twas used
Sometime in Greece –

MENENIUS
Well, well, no more of that.

CORIOLANUS
Though there the people had more absolute power –
I say they nourished disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.

BRUTUS
Why shall the people give
One that speaks thus their voice?

CORIOLANUS
I'll give my reasons,
More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
Was not our recompense, resting well assured
That ne'er did service for't. Being pressed to th' war,
Even when the navel of the state was touched,
They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i'th' war,
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
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bosom multiplied digest
The Senate's courtesy? Let deeds express
What's like to be their words: ‘ We did request it;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
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
Break ope the locks o'th' Senate and bring in
The crows to peck the eagles.

MENENIUS
Come, enough.

BRUTUS
Enough, with over measure.

CORIOLANUS
No, take more.
What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wisdom,
Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance – it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness. Purpose so barred, it follows
Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you –
You that will be less fearful than discreet,
That love the fundamental part of state
More than you doubt the change on't, that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish
To jump a body with a dangerous physic
That's sure of death without it – at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue, let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison. Your dishonour
Mangles true judgement, and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become't,
Not having the power to do the good it would
For th' ill which doth control't.

BRUTUS
'Has said enough.

SICINIUS
'Has spoken like a traitor and shall answer
As traitors do.

CORIOLANUS
Thou wretch, despite o'erwhelm thee!
What should the people do with these bald Tribunes,
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To th' greater bench? In a rebellion,
When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
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.

BRUTUS
Manifest treason!

SICINIUS
This a Consul? No.

BRUTUS
The Aediles, ho!
Enter an Aedile
Let him be apprehended.

SICINIUS
Go, call the people, (Exit Aedile) in whose name myself
Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
A foe to th' public weal. Obey, I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.

CORIOLANUS
Hence, old goat!

PATRICIANS
We'll surety him.

COMINIUS
Aged sir, hands off.

CORIOLANUS
Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy garments.

SICINIUS
Help, ye citizens!
Enter a rabble of Plebeians, with the Aediles

MENENIUS
On both sides more respect.

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

BRUTUS
Seize him, Aediles!

PLEBEIANS
Down with him, down with him!

SECOND SENATOR
Weapons, weapons, weapons!
They all bustle about Coriolanus

ALL
(shouting confusedly)
Tribunes! Patricians! Citizens! What ho!
Sicinius! Brutus! Coriolanus! Citizens!

MENENIUS
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.

SICINIUS
Hear me, people. Peace!

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

SICINIUS
You are at point to lose your liberties.
Martius would have all from you, Martius,
Whom late you have named for consul.

MENENIUS
Fie, fie, fie!
This is the way to kindle, not to quench.

FIRST SENATOR
To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.

SICINIUS
What is the city but the people?

PLEBEIANS
True,
The people are the city.

BRUTUS
By the consent of all we were established
The people's magistrates.

PLEBEIANS
You so remain.

MENENIUS
And so are like to do.

COMINIUS
That is the way to lay the city flat,
To bring the roof to the foundation,
And bury all which yet distinctly ranges
In heaps and piles of ruin.

SICINIUS
This deserves death.

BRUTUS
Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o'th' people, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Martius is worthy
Of present death.

SICINIUS
Therefore lay hold of him;
Bear him to th' rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.

BRUTUS
Aediles, seize him.

PLEBEIANS
Yield, Martius, yield.

MENENIUS
Hear me one word
Beseech you, Tribunes, hear me but a word.

AEDILES
Peace, peace!

MENENIUS
(to Brutus)
Be that you seem, truly your country's friend,
And temperately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redress.

BRUTUS
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

CORIOLANUS
No, I'll die here.
There's some among you have beheld me fighting;
Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.

MENENIUS
Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.

BRUTUS
Lay hands upon him.

COMINIUS
Help Martius, help,
You that be noble, help him, young and old!

PLEBEIANS
Down with him, down with him!
In this mutiny the Tribunes, the Aediles, and the
people are beat in

MENENIUS
Go, get you to your house! Be gone, away!
All will be naught else.

SECOND SENATOR
Get you gone.

COMINIUS
Stand fast!
We have as many friends as enemies.

MENENIUS
Shall it be put to that?

FIRST SENATOR
The gods forbid!
I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
Leave us to cure this cause.

MENENIUS
For 'tis a sore upon us
You cannot tent yourself. Be gone, beseech you.

COMINIUS
Come, sir, along with us.

CORIOLANUS
I would they were barbarians, as they are,
Though in Rome littered; not Romans, as they are not,
Though calved i'th' porch o'th' Capitol.

MENENIUS
Be gone.
Put not your worthy rage into your tongue.
One time will owe another.

CORIOLANUS
On fair ground
I could beat forty of them.

MENENIUS
I could myself
Take up a brace o'th' best of them; yea, the two Tribunes.

COMINIUS
But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic,
And manhood is called foolery when it stands
Against a falling fabric. Will you hence
Before the tag return, whose rage doth rend
Like interrupted waters, and o'erbear
What they are used to bear?

MENENIUS
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.

COMINIUS
Nay, come away.
Exeunt Coriolanus and Cominius

PATRICIAN
This man has marred his fortune.

MENENIUS
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,
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.
A noise within
Here's goodly work!

PATRICIAN
I would they were a-bed!

MENENIUS
I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance,
Could he not speak 'em fair?
Enter Brutus and Sicinius, with the rabble again

SICINIUS
Where is this viper
That would depopulate the city and
Be every man himself?

MENENIUS
You worthy Tribunes –

SICINIUS
He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands. He hath resisted law,
And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
Than the severity of the public power,
Which he so sets at nought.

FIRST CITIZEN
He shall well know
The noble Tribunes are the people's mouths,
And we their hands.

PLEBEIANS
He shall, sure on't.

MENENIUS
Sir, sir –

SICINIUS
Peace!

MENENIUS
Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
With modest warrant.

SICINIUS
Sir, how comes't that you
Have holp to make this rescue?

MENENIUS
Hear me speak.
As I do know the Consul's worthiness,
So can I name his faults.

SICINIUS
Consul! What Consul?

MENENIUS
The Consul Coriolanus.

BRUTUS
He Consul!

PLEBEIANS
No, no, no, no, no.

MENENIUS
If, by the Tribunes' leave, and yours, good people,
I may be heard, I would crave a word or two,
The which shall turn you to no further harm
Than so much loss of time.

SICINIUS
Speak briefly then,
For we are peremptory to dispatch
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.

MENENIUS
Now the good gods forbid
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserved children is enrolled
In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam
Should now eat up her own!

SICINIUS
He's a disease that must be cut away.

MENENIUS
O, he's a limb that has but a disease –
Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
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.

SICINIUS
This is clean kam.

BRUTUS
Merely awry. When he did love his country,
It honoured him.

MENENIUS
The service of the foot,
Being once gangrened, is not then respected
For what before it was.

BRUTUS
We'll hear no more.
Pursue him to his house and pluck him thence,
Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
Spread further.

MENENIUS
One word more, one word!
This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
The harm of unscanned swiftness, will too late
Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process,
Lest parties – as he is beloved – break out
And sack great Rome with Romans.

BRUTUS
If it were so –

SICINIUS
What do ye talk?
Have we not had a taste of his obedience?
Our Aediles smote? Ourselves resisted? Come!

MENENIUS
Consider this. He has been bred i'th' wars
Since 'a could draw a sword, and is ill schooled
In bolted language. Meal and bran together
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,
In peace, to his utmost peril.

FIRST SENATOR
Noble Tribunes,
It is the humane way. The other course
Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.

SICINIUS
Noble Menenius,
Be you then as the people's officer.
Masters, lay down your weapons.

BRUTUS
Go not home.

SICINIUS
Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there;
Where, if you bring not Martius, we'll proceed
In our first way.

MENENIUS
I'll bring him to you.
(to the Senators) Let me desire your company. He must come,
Or what is worst will follow.

FIRST SENATOR
Pray you let's to him.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
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
Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
Be thus to them.

NOBLE
You do the nobler.

CORIOLANUS
I muse my mother
Does not approve me further, who was wont
To call them woollen vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood up
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
The man I am.

VOLUMNIA
O, sir, sir, sir,
I would have had you put your power well on
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
You had not showed them how ye were disposed
Ere they lacked power to cross you.

CORIOLANUS
Let them hang!

VOLUMNIA
Ay, and burn too!
Enter Menenius, with the Senators

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,
But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
To better vantage.

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
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?

VOLUMNIA
You are too absolute,
Though therein you can never be too noble.
But when extremities speak, I have heard you say,
Honour and policy, like unsevered friends,
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
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honour as in war, since that to both
It stands in like request?

CORIOLANUS
Why force you this?

VOLUMNIA
Because that now it lies you on to speak
To th' people, not by your own instruction,
Nor by th' matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but roted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
Now this no more dishonours you at all
Than to take in a town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so in honour. I am in this
Your wife, your son, these Senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our general louts
How you can frown, than spend a fawn upon 'em
For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
Of what that want might ruin.

MENENIUS
Noble lady!
– Come, go with us, speak fair. You may salve so,
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;
And thus far having stretched it – here be with them –
Thy knee bussing the stones – for in such business
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' ignorant
More learned than the ears – waving thy head,
Which often thus correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling, say to them
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
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.

VOLUMNIA
Prithee now,
Go, and be ruled; although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower.
Enter Cominius
Here is Cominius.

COMINIUS
I have been i'th' market-place; and, sir, 'tis fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
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.

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
With my base tongue give to my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't.
Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
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.

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
Some harlot's spirit! My throat of war be turned,
Which choired with my drum, into a pipe
Small as an eunuch or the virgin voice
That babies lulls asleep! The smiles of knaves
Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up
The glasses of my sight! A beggar's tongue
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
And by my body's action teach my mind
A most inherent baseness.

VOLUMNIA
At thy choice, then.
To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
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
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list.
Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me,
But owe thy pride thyself.

CORIOLANUS
Pray, be content.
Mother, I am going to the market-place.
Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going.
Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul,
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
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
Will answer in mine honour.

MENENIUS
Ay, but mildly.

CORIOLANUS
Well, mildly be it then – mildly!
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Sicinius and Brutus

BRUTUS
In this point charge him home, that he affects
Tyrannical power. If he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people,
And that the spoil got on the Antiates
Was ne'er distributed.
Enter an Aedile
What, will he come?

AEDILE
He's coming.

BRUTUS
How accompanied?

AEDILE
With old Menenius and those senators
That always favoured him.

SICINIUS
Have you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procured,
Set down by th' poll?

AEDILE
I have; 'tis ready.

SICINIUS
Have you collected them by tribes?

AEDILE
I have.

SICINIUS
Assemble presently the people hither.
And when they hear me say ‘ It shall be so
I'th' right and strength o'th' commons,’ be it either
For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
If I say ‘ Fine,’ cry ‘ Fine!’, if ‘ Death,’ cry ‘ Death.’
Insisting on the old prerogative
And power i'th' truth o'th' cause.

AEDILE
I shall inform them.

BRUTUS
And when such time they have begun to cry,
Let them not cease, but with a din confused
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.

AEDILE
Very well.

SICINIUS
Make them be strong, and ready for this hint,
When we shall hap to give't them.

BRUTUS
Go about it.
Exit Aedile
Put him to choler straight. He hath been used
Ever to conquer and to have his worth
Of contradiction. Being once chafed, he cannot
Be reined again to temperance, then he speaks
What's in his heart, and that is there which looks
With us to break his neck.
Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, and Cominius, with others

SICINIUS
Well, here he comes.

MENENIUS
Calmly, I do beseech you.

CORIOLANUS
Ay, as an hostler, that for th' poorest piece
Will bear the knave by th' volume. (Aloud) Th' honoured gods
Keep Rome in safety and the chairs of justice
Supplied with worthy men! Plant love among's!
Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,
And not our streets with war!

FIRST SENATOR
Amen, amen.

MENENIUS
A noble wish.
Enter the Aedile, with the Plebeians

SICINIUS
Draw near, ye people.

AEDILE
List to your Tribunes. Audience! Peace, I say!

CORIOLANUS
First, hear me speak.

BOTH TRIBUNES
Well, say. Peace ho!

CORIOLANUS
Shall I be charged no further than this present?
Must all determine here?

SICINIUS
I do demand
If you submit you to the people's voices,
Allow their officers, and are content
To suffer lawful censure for such faults
As shall be proved upon you?

CORIOLANUS
I am content.

MENENIUS
Lo, citizens, he says he is content.
The warlike service he has done, consider. Think
Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i'th' holy churchyard.

CORIOLANUS
Scratches with briars,
Scars to move laughter only.

MENENIUS
Consider further,
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier. Do not take
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
But, as I say, such as become a soldier
Rather than envy you.

COMINIUS
Well, well, no more.

CORIOLANUS
What is the matter
That being passed for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonoured that the very hour
You take it off again?

SICINIUS
Answer to us.

CORIOLANUS
Say, then. 'Tis true, I ought so.

SICINIUS
We charge you that you have contrived to take
From Rome all seasoned office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical,
For which you are a traitor to the people.

CORIOLANUS
How – traitor?

MENENIUS
Nay, temperately! Your promise.

CORIOLANUS
The fires i'th' lowest hell fold in the people!
Call me their traitor, thou injurious Tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thy hand clutched as many millions, in
Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
‘ Thou liest ’ unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.

SICINIUS
Mark you this, people?

PLEBEIANS
To th' rock, to th' rock with him!

SICINIUS
Peace!
We need not put new matter to his charge.
What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
Opposing laws with strokes, and here defying
Those whose great power must try him – even this,
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves th' extremest death.

BRUTUS
But since he hath
Served well for Rome –

CORIOLANUS
What do you prate of service?

BRUTUS
I talk of that that know it.

CORIOLANUS
You!

MENENIUS
Is this the promise that you made your mother?

COMINIUS
Know, I pray you –

CORIOLANUS
I'll know no further.
Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would not buy
Their mercy at the price of one fair word,
Nor check my courage for what they can give,
To have't with saying ‘ Good morrow.’

SICINIUS
For that he has –
As much as in him lies – from time to time
Envied against the people, seeking means
To pluck away their power, as now at last
Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
That do distribute it – in the name o'th' people
And in the power of us the Tribunes, we,
Even from this instant, banish him our city,
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian, never more
To enter our Rome gates. I'th' people's name,
I say it shall be so.

PLEBEIANS
It shall be so, it shall be so! Let him away!
He's banished, and it shall be so.

COMINIUS
Hear me, my masters and my common friends –

SICINIUS
He's sentenced. No more hearing.

COMINIUS
Let me speak.
I have been Consul, and can show for Rome
Her enemies' marks upon me. I do love
My country's good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life,
My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase
And treasure of my loins. Then if I would
Speak that –

SICINIUS
We know your drift. Speak what?

BRUTUS
There's no more to be said, but he is banished
As enemy to the people and his country.
It shall be so.

PLEBEIANS
It shall be so, it shall be so!

CORIOLANUS
You common cry of curs, whose breath I hate
As reek o'th' rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air – I banish you.
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts;
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders, till at length
Your ignorance – which finds not till it feels,
Making but reservation of yourselves
Still your own foes – deliver you
As most abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising
For you the city, thus I turn my back.
There is a world elsewhere.
Exeunt Coriolanus,
Cominius, Menenius, with the other Patricians

AEDILE
The people's enemy is gone, is gone!

PLEBEIANS
Our enemy is banished, he is gone! Hoo-oo!
They all shout, and throw up their caps

SICINIUS
Go see him out at gates, and follow him
As he hath followed you, with all despite;
Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.

PLEBEIANS
Come, come, let's see him out at gates, come!
The gods preserve our noble Tribunes! Come!
Exeunt
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