Coriolanus

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Act II, Scene I
Enter Menenius with the two Tribunes of the people,
Sicinius & Brutus.

Men.
The Agurer tels me, wee shall haue Newes
to night.

Bru.
Good or bad?

Men.
Not according to the prayer of the people, for
they loue not Martius.

Sicin.
Nature teaches Beasts to know their Friends.

Men.
Pray you, who does the Wolfe loue?

Sicin.
The Lambe.

Men.
I, to deuour him, as the hungry Plebeians
would the Noble Martius.

Bru.
He's a Lambe indeed, that baes like a Beare.

Men.
Hee's a Beare indeede, that liues like a Lambe. You
two are old men, tell me one thing that I shall aske you.

Both.
Well sir.

Men.
In what enormity is Martius poore in, that you
two haue not in abundance?

Bru.
He's poore in no one fault, but stor'd withall.

Sicin.
Especially in Pride.

Bru.
And topping all others in boasting.

Men.
This is strange now: Do you two know, how
you are censured heere in the City, I mean of vs a'th'
right hand File, do you?

Both.
Why? how are we censur'd?

Men.
Because you talke of Pride now, will you not
be angry.

Both.
Well, well sir, well.

Men.
Why 'tis no great matter: for a very little
theefe of Occasion, will rob you of a great deale of Patience:
Giue your dispositions the reines, and bee angry at your
pleasures (at the least) if you take it as a pleasure to you,
in being so: you blame Martius for being proud.

Brut.
We do it not alone, sir.

Men.
I know you can doe very little alone, for your
helpes are many, or else your actions would growe wondrous
single: your abilities are to Infant-like, for dooing
much alone. You talke of Pride: Oh, that you could turn
your eyes toward the Napes of your neckes, and make but
an Interiour suruey of your good selues. Oh that you could.

Both.
What then sir?

Men.
Why then you should discouer a brace of vnmeriting,
proud, violent, testie Magistrates (alias Fooles)
as any in Rome.

Sicin.
Menenius, you are knowne well enough too.

Men.
I am knowne to be a humorous Patritian, and
one that loues a cup of hot Wine, with not a drop of alaying
Tiber in't: Said, to be something imperfect in fauouring
the first complaint, hasty and Tinder-like vppon, to
triuiall motion: One, that conuerses more with the Buttocke
of the night, then with the forhead of the morning.
What I think, I vtter, and spend my malice in my breath.
Meeting two such Weales men as you are (I cannot call
you Licurgusses,) if the drinke you giue me, touch my
Palat aduersly, I make a crooked face at it, I can
say, your Worshippes haue deliuer'd the matter well, when
I finde the Asse in compound, with the Maior part of your
syllables. And though I must be content to beare with
those, that say you are reuerend graue men, yet they lye
deadly, that tell you haue good faces, if you see this in the
Map of my Microcosme, followes it that I am knowne well
enough too? What harme can your beesome Conspectuities
gleane out of this Charracter, if I be knowne well enough too.

Bru.
Come sir come, we know you well enough.

Menen.
You know neither mee, your selues, nor any
thing: you are ambitious, for poore knaues cappes and legges:
you weare out a good wholesome Forenoone, in hearing a
cause betweene an Orendge wife, and a Forfet-seller, and
then reiourne the Controuersie of three-pence to a second
day of Audience. When you are hearing a matter betweene
party and party, if you chaunce to bee pinch'd with the
Collicke, you make faces like Mummers, set vp the bloodie
Flagge against all Patience, and in roaring for a Chamber-pot,
dismisse the Controuersie bleeding, the more intangled
by your hearing: All the peace you make in their
Cause, is calling both the parties Knaues. You are a payre of
strange ones.

Bru.
Come, come, you are well vnderstood to bee a perfecter
gyber for the Table, then a necessary Bencher in the
Capitoll.

Men.
Our very Priests must become Mockers, if they
shall encounter such ridiculous Subiects as you are,
when you speake best vnto the purpose. It is not woorth
the wagging of your Beards, and your Beards deserue not
so honourable a graue, as to stuffe a Botchers Cushion, or to
be intomb'd in an Asses Packe-saddle; yet you must bee
saying, Martius is proud: who in a cheape estimation, is
worth all your predecessors, since Deucalion, though
peraduenture some of the best of 'em were hereditarie
hangmen. Godden to your Worships, more of your
conuersation would infect my Braine, being the Heardsmen
of the Beastly Plebeans. I will be bold to take my leaue
of you.
Bru. and Scic. Aside.
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria.
How now (my as faire as Noble) Ladyes, and the Moone
were shee Earthly, no Nobler; whither doe you follow your
Eyes so fast?

Volum.
Honorable Menenius, my Boy Martius
approches: for the loue of Iuno let's goe.

Menen.
Ha? Martius comming home?

Volum.
I, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous
approbation.

Menen.
Take my Cappe Iupiter, and I thanke thee: hoo,
Martius comming home?

2. Ladies.
Nay, 'tis true.

Volum.
Looke, here's a Letter from him, the State hath
another, his Wife another, and (I thinke) there's one at home
for you.

Menen.
I will make my very house reele to night: A
Letter for me?

Virgil.
Yes certaine, there's a Letter for you, I saw't.

Menen.
A Letter for me? it giues me an Estate of seuen
yeeres health; in which time, I will make a Lippe at the Physician:
The most soueraigne Prescription in Galen, is but
Emperickqutique; and to this Preseruatiue, of no better report
then a Horse-drench. Is he not wounded? he was wont
to come home wounded?

Virgil.
Oh no, no, no.

Volum.
Oh, he is wounded, I thanke the Gods for't.

Menen.
So doe I too, if it be not too much: brings a
Victorie in his Pocket? the wounds become him.

Volum.
On's Browes: Menenius, hee comes the third
time home with the Oaken Garland.

Menen.
Ha's he disciplin'd Auffidius soundly?

Volum.
Titus Lartius writes, they fought together,
but Auffidius got off.

Menen.
And 'twas time for him too, Ile warrant him
that: and he had stay'd by him, I would not haue been so
fiddious'd, for all the Chests in Carioles, and the Gold that's
in them. Is the Senate possest of this?

Volum.
Good Ladies let's goe. Yes, yes, yes: The
Senate ha's Letters from the Generall, wherein hee giues
my Sonne the whole Name of the Warre: he hath in this
action out-done his former deeds doubly.

Valer.
In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.

Menen.
Wondrous: I, I warrant you, and not without
his true purchasing.

Virgil.
The Gods graunt them true.

Volum.
True? pow waw.

Mene.
True? Ile be sworne they are true: where is
hee wounded, God saue your good
Worships? Martius is comming home: hee ha's more cause
to be prowd: where is he wounded?

Volum.
Ith' Shoulder, and ith' left Arme: there will be
large Cicatrices to shew the People, when hee shall stand
for his place: he receiued in the repulse of Tarquin
seuen hurts ith' Body.

Mene.
One ith' Neck, and two ith' Thigh, there's nine
that I know.

Volum.
Hee had, before this last Expedition, twentie fiue
Wounds vpon him.

Mene.
Now it's twentie seuen; euery gash was an
Enemies Graue. Hearke, the Trumpets. A showt, and flourish.

Volum.
These are the Vshers of Martius: / Before him,
hee carryes Noyse; / And behinde him, hee leaues Teares:
Death, that darke Spirit, in's neruie Arme doth lye,
Which being aduanc'd, declines, and then men dye.
A Sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter Cominius the
Generall, and Titus Latius: betweene them Coriolanus,
crown'd with an Oaken Garland, with Captaines and
Souldiers, and a Herauld.

Herauld.
Know Rome, that all alone Martius did fight
Within Corioles Gates: where he hath wonne,
With Fame, a Name to Martius Caius: / These
in honor followes Martius Caius Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus.
Sound. Flourish.

All.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus.

Coriol.
No more of this, it does offend my heart:
pray now no more.

Com.
Looke, Sir, your Mother.

Coriol.
Oh!
you haue, I know, petition'd all the Gods
for my prosperitie.
Kneeles.

Volum.
Nay, my good Souldier, vp:
My gentle Martius, worthy Caius, / And
by deed-atchieuing Honor newly nam'd,
What is it (Coriolanus) must I call thee?
But oh, thy Wife.

Corio.
My gracious silence, hayle:
Would'st thou haue laugh'd, had I come Coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah my deare,
Such eyes the Widowes in Carioles were,
And Mothers that lacke Sonnes.

Mene.
Now the Gods Crowne thee.

Com.
And liue you yet? Oh my sweet Lady, pardon.

Volum.
I know not where to turne. / Oh welcome home:
and welcome Generall, / And y'are welcome all.

Mene.
A hundred thousand Welcomes: / I could weepe,
and I could laugh, / I am light, and heauie; welcome:
A Curse begin at very root on's heart,
That is not glad to see thee. / Yon are three,
that Rome should dote on: / Yet by the faith of men,
we haue / Some old Crab-trees here at home, / That will not
be grafted to your Rallish. / Yet welcome Warriors:
Wee call a Nettle, but a Nettle; / And
the faults of fooles, but folly.

Com.
Euer right.

Cor.
Menenius, euer, euer.

Herauld.
Giue way there, and goe on.

Cor.
Your Hand, and yours?
Ere in our owne house I doe shade my Head,
The good Patricians must be visited,
From whom I haue receiu'd not onely greetings,
But with them, change of Honors.

Volum.
I haue liued,
To see inherited my very Wishes,
And the Buildings of my Fancie: / Onely
there's one thing wanting, / Which (I doubt not) but
our Rome / Will cast vpon thee.

Cor.
Know, good Mother,
I had rather be their seruant in my way,
Then sway with them in theirs.

Com.
On, to the Capitall.
Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in State, as before.
Enter Brutus and Scicinius.

Bru.
All tongues speake of him, and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him. Your pratling Nurse
Into a rapture lets her Baby crie,
While she chats him: the Kitchin Malkin pinnes
Her richest Lockram 'bout her reechie necke,
Clambring the Walls to eye him: / Stalls, Bulkes, Windowes,
are smother'd vp, / Leades fill'd, and Ridges hors'd
With variable Complexions; all agreeing
In earnestnesse to see him: seld-showne Flamins
Doe presse among the popular Throngs, and puffe
To winne a vulgar station: our veyl'd Dames
Commit the Warre of White and Damaske / In
their nicely gawded Cheekes, to th'wanton spoyle
Of Phoebus burning Kisses: such a poother,
As if that whatsoeuer God, who leades him,
Were slyly crept into his humane powers,
And gaue him gracefull posture.

Scicin.
On the suddaine,
I warrant him Consull.

Brutus.
Then our Office may,
during his power, goe sleepe.

Scicin.
He cannot temp'rately transport his Honors,
From where he should begin, and end, but will
Lose those he hath wonne.

Brutus.
In that there's comfort.

Scici.
Doubt not,
The Commoners, for whom we stand, but they
Vpon their ancient mallice, will forget
With the least cause, these his new Honors, / Which
that he will giue them, make I as little question,
As he is prowd to doo't.

Brutus.
I heard him sweare,
Were he to stand for Consull, neuer would he
Appeare i'th' Market place, nor on him put
The Naples Vesture of Humilitie,
Nor shewing (as the manner is) his Wounds
To th' People, begge their stinking Breaths.

Scicin.
'Tis right.

Brutus.
It was his word: / Oh he would misse it, rather
then carry it, / But by the suite of the Gentry to him,
And the desire of the Nobles.

Scicin.
I wish no better,
then haue him hold that purpose, and to put it
in execution.

Brutus.
'Tis most like he will.

Scicin.
It shall be to him then, as our good wills;
a sure destruction.

Brutus.
So it must fall out
To him, or our Authorities, for an end.
We must suggest the People, in what hatred
He still hath held them: that to's power he would
Haue made them Mules, silenc'd their Pleaders, / And
dispropertied their Freedomes; holding them,
In humane Action, and Capacitie,
Of no more Soule, nor fitnesse for the World,
Then Cammels in their Warre, who haue their Prouand
Onely for bearing Burthens, and sore blowes
For sinking vnder them.

Scicin.
This (as you say) suggested,
At some time, when his soaring Insolence
Shall teach the People, which time shall not want,
If he be put vpon't, and that's as easie,
As to set Dogges on Sheepe, will be his fire
To kindle their dry Stubble: and their Blaze
Shall darken him for euer.
Enter a Messenger.

Brutus.
What's the matter?

Mess.
You are sent for to the Capitoll: / 'Tis thought,
that Martius shall be Consull:
I haue seene the dumbe men throng to see him, / And
the blind to heare him speak: Matrons flong Gloues,
Ladies and Maids their Scarffes, and Handkerchers,
Vpon him as he pass'd: the Nobles bended
As to Ioues Statue, and the Commons made
A Shower, and Thunder, with their Caps, and Showts:
I neuer saw the like.

Brutus.
Let's to the Capitoll,
And carry with vs Eares and Eyes for th' time,
But Hearts for the euent.

Scicin.
Haue with you.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter two Officers, to lay Cushions, as it were, in the
Capitoll.

1. Off.
Come, come, they are almost here: how
many stand for Consulships?

2. Off.
Three, they say: but 'tis thought of
euery one, Coriolanus will carry it.

1. Off.
That's a braue fellow: but hee's vengeance
prowd, and loues not the common people.

2. Off.
'Faith, there hath beene many great men
that haue flatter'd the people, who ne're loued them; and
there be many that they haue loued, they know not
wherefore: so that if they loue they know not why, they
hate vpon no better a ground. Therefore, for Coriolanus
neyther to care whether they loue, or hate him, manifests
the true knowledge he ha's in their disposition, and out of
his Noble carelesnesse lets them plainely see't.

1. Off.
If he did not care whether he had their
loue, or no, hee waued indifferently, 'twixt doing them
neyther good, nor harme: but hee seekes their hate with
greater deuotion, then they can render it him; and leaues
nothing vndone, that may fully discouer him their opposite.
Now to seeme to affect the mallice and displeasure of
the People, is as bad, as that which he dislikes, to flatter
them for their loue.

2. Off.
Hee hath deserued worthily of his Countrey,
and his assent is not by such easie degrees as those,
who hauing beene supple and courteous to the People,
Bonnetted, without any further deed, to haue them at all
into their estimation, and report: but hee hath so planted
his Honors in their Eyes, and his actions in their Hearts,
that for their Tongues to be silent, and not confesse so much,
were a kinde of ingratefull Iniurie: to report otherwise,
were a Mallice, that giuing it selfe the Lye, would plucke
reproofe and rebuke from euery Eare that heard it.

1. Off.
No more of him, hee's a worthy man:
make way, they are comming.
A Sennet. Enter the Patricians, and the Tribunes of the
People, Lictors before them: Coriolanus, Menenius,
Cominius the Consul: Scicinius and Brutus take their
places by themselues: Coriolanus stands.

Menen.
Hauing determin'd of the Volces, / And
to send for Titus Lartius: it remaines,
As the maine Point of this our after-meeting,
To gratifie his Noble seruice, that
hath / Thus stood for his Countrey. Therefore please you,
Most reuerend and graue Elders, to desire
The present Consull, and last Generall,
In our well-found Successes, to report
A little of that worthy Worke, perform'd
By Martius Caius Coriolanus: whom
We met here, both to thanke, and to remember,
With Honors like himselfe.

1. Sen.
Speake, good Cominius:
Leaue nothing out for length, and make vs thinke
Rather our states defectiue for requitall,
Then we to stretch it out. Masters a'th' People,
We doe request your kindest eares: and after
Your louing motion toward the common Body,
To yeeld what passes here.

Scicin.
We are conuented
vpon a pleasing Treatie, and haue hearts
inclinable to honor and aduance
the Theame of our Assembly.

Brutus.
Which the rather
wee shall be blest to doe, if he remember
a kinder value of the People, then
he hath hereto priz'd them at.

Menen.
That's off, that's off:
I would you rather had been silent: Please you
to heare Cominius speake?

Brutus.
Most willingly:
but yet my Caution was more pertinent
then the rebuke you giue it.

Menen.
He loues your People,
but tye him not to be their Bed-fellow:
Worthie Cominius speake.
Coriolanus rises, and offers to goe away.
Nay, keepe your place.

Senat.
Sit Coriolanus: neuer shame to heare
What you haue Nobly done.

Coriol.
Your Honors pardon:
I had rather haue my Wounds to heale againe,
Then heare say how I got them.

Brutus.
Sir, I hope
my words dis-bench'd you not?

Coriol.
No Sir: yet oft,
When blowes haue made me stay, I fled from words.
You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: but your People,
I loue them as they weigh---

Menen.
Pray now sit downe.

Corio.
I had rather haue one scratch my Head i'th' Sun,
When the Alarum were strucke, then idly sit
To heare my Nothings monster'd.
Exit Coriolanus

Menen.
Masters of the People,
Your multiplying Spawne, how can he flatter?
That's thousand to one good one, when you now see
He had rather venture all his Limbes for Honor,
Then on ones Eares to heare it. Proceed Cominius.

Com.
I shall lacke voyce: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be vtter'd feebly: it is held,
That Valour is the chiefest Vertue, / And
most dignifies the hauer: if it be,
The man I speake of, cannot in the World
Be singly counter-poys'd. At sixteene yeeres,
When Tarquin made a Head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the marke of others: our then Dictator,
Whom with all prayse I point at, saw him fight,
When with his Amazonian Shinne he droue
The brizled Lippes before him: he bestrid
An o're-prest Roman, and i'th' Consuls view
Slew three Opposers: Tarquins selfe he met,
And strucke him on his Knee: in that dayes feates,
When he might act the Woman in the Scene,
He prou'd best man i'th' field, and for his meed
Was Brow-bound with the Oake. His Pupill age
Man-entred thus, he waxed like a Sea,
And in the brunt of seuenteene Battailes since,
He lurcht all Swords of the Garland: for this last,
Before, and in Corioles, let me say
I cannot speake him home: he stopt the flyers,
And by his rare example made the Coward
Turne terror into sport: as Weeds before
A Vessell vnder sayle, so men obey'd,
And fell below his Stem: his Sword, Deaths stampe,
Where it did marke, it tooke from face to foot:
He was a thing of Blood, whose euery motion
Was tim'd with dying Cryes: alone he entred
The mortall Gate of th' Citie, which he painted
With shunlesse destinie: aydelesse came off,
And with a sudden re-inforcement strucke
Carioles like a Planet: now all's his,
When by and by the dinne of Warre gan pierce
His readie sence: then straight his doubled spirit
Requickned what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the Battaile came he, where he did
Runne reeking o're the liues of men, as if
'twere / A perpetuall spoyle: and till we call'd
Both Field and Citie ours, he neuer stood
To ease his Brest with panting.

Menen.
Worthy man.

Senat.
He cannot but with measure fit the Honors
which we deuise him.

Com.
Our spoyles he kickt at,
And look'd vpon things precious, as they were
The common Muck of the World: he couets lesse
Then Miserie it selfe would giue, rewards
his deeds / With doing them, and is content
To spend the time, to end it.

Menen.
Hee's right Noble,
let him be call'd for.

Senat.
Call Coriolanus.
Enter Coriolanus.

Off.
He doth appeare.

Menen.
The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd
to make thee Consull.

Corio.
I doe owe them still
my Life, and Seruices.

Menen.
It then remaines,
that you doe speake to the People.

Corio.
I doe beseech you,
Let me o're-leape that custome: for I cannot
Put on the Gowne, stand naked, and entreat them
For my Wounds sake, to giue their sufferage: / Please you
that I may passe this doing.

Scicin.
Sir, the People
must haue their Voyces, / Neyther will they bate
one iot of Ceremonie.

Menen.
Put them not too't:
Pray you goe fit you to the Custome, / And
take to you, as your Predecessors haue,
Your Honor with your forme.

Corio.
It is a part that
I shall blush in acting, / And might well
be taken from the People.

Brutus.
Marke you that.

Corio.
To brag vnto them, thus I did, and thus
Shew them th' vnaking Skarres, which I should hide,
As if I had receiu'd them for the hyre
Of their breath onely.

Menen.
Doe not stand vpon't:
We recommend to you Tribunes of the People
Our purpose to them, and to our Noble Consull
Wish we all Ioy, and Honor.

Senat.
To Coriolanus come all ioy and Honor.
Flourish Cornets. Then Exeunt.
Manet Sicinius and Brutus.

Bru.
You see how he intends to vse the people.

Scicin.
May they perceiue's intent: he wil require them
As if he did contemne what he requested,
Should be in them to giue.

Bru.
Come, wee'l informe them
Of our proceedings heere on th' Market place,
I know they do attend vs.
Original text
Act II, Scene III
Enter seuen or eight Citizens.

1. Cit.
Once if he do require our voyces, wee
ought not to deny him.

2. Cit.
We may Sir if we will.

3. Cit.
We haue power in our selues to do it, but
it is a power that we haue no power to do: For, if hee shew
vs his wounds, and tell vs his deeds, we are to put our
tongues into those wounds, and speake for them: So if he
tel vs his Noble deeds, we must also tell him our Noble
acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous, and for
the multitude to be ingratefull, were to make a Monster of
the multitude; of the which, we being members, should
bring our selues to be monstrous members.

1. Cit.
And to make vs no better thought of a
little helpe will serue: for once we stood vp about the
Corne, he himselfe stucke not to call vs the many-headed
Multitude.

3. Cit.
We haue beene call'd so of many, not
that our heads are some browne, some blacke, some Abram,
some bald; but that our wits are so diuersly Coulord;
and truely I thinke, if all our wittes were to issue out of one
Scull, they would flye East, West, North, South, and their
consent of one direct way, should be at once to all the
points a'th Compasse.

2. Cit.
Thinke you so? Which way do you
iudge my wit would flye.

3. Cit.
Nay your wit will not so soone out as
another mans will, 'tis strongly wadg'd vp in a blocke-head:
but if it were at liberty, 'twould sure Southward.

2 Cit.
Why that way?

3 Cit.
To loose it selfe in a Fogge, where being three
parts melted away with rotten Dewes, the fourth would
returne for Conscience sake, to helpe to get thee a Wife.

2 Cit.
You are neuer without your trickes, you
may, you may.

3 Cit.
Are you all resolu'd to giue your voyces?
But that's no matter, the greater part carries it, I say. If
hee would incline to the people, there was neuer a worthier
man.
Enter Coriolanus in a gowne of Humility, with
Menenius.
Heere he comes, and in the Gowne of humility, marke his
behauiour: we are not to stay altogether, but to come
by him where he stands, by ones, by twoes, & by threes.
He's to make his requests by particulars, wherein euerie
one of vs ha's a single Honor, in giuing him our own
voices with our owne tongues, therefore follow me, and
Ile direct you how you shall go by him.

All.
Content, content.

Men.
Oh Sir, you are not right: haue you not knowne
The worthiest men haue done't?

Corio.
What must I say,
I pray Sir? / Plague vpon't, I cannot bring
My tongue to such a pace. Looke Sir, my wounds,
I got them in my Countries Seruice, when
Some certaine of your Brethren roar'd, and ranne
From th' noise of our owne Drummes.

Menen.
Oh me the Gods,
you must not speak of that, / You must desire them
to thinke vpon you.

Coriol.
Thinke vpon me? Hang 'em,
I would they would forget me, like the Vertues
Which our Diuines lose by em.

Men.
You'l marre all,
Ile leaue you: Pray you speake to em, I pray you
In wholsome manner.
Exit
Enter three of the Citizens.

Corio.
Bid them wash their Faces,
And keepe their teeth cleane: So, heere comes a brace,
You know the cause (Sir) of my standing heere.

3 Cit.
We do Sir, tell vs what hath brought you too't.

Corio.
Mine owne desert.

2 Cit.
Your owne desert.

Corio.
I, but mine owne desire.

3 Cit.
How not your owne desire?

Corio.
No Sir, 'twas neuer my desire yet to trouble
the poore with begging.

3 Cit.
You must thinke if we giue you any thing,
we hope to gaine by you.

Corio.
Well then I pray, your price
a'th' Consulship.

1 Cit.
The price is, to aske it kindly.

Corio.
Kindly sir, I pray let me ha't: I haue
wounds to shew you, which shall bee yours in priuate:
your good voice Sir, what say
you?

2 Cit.
You shall ha't worthy Sir.

Corio.
A match Sir, there's in all two worthie
voyces begg'd: I haue your Almes, Adieu.

3 Cit.
But this is something odde.

2 Cit.
And 'twere to giue againe: but 'tis no
matter.
Exeunt.
Enter two other Citizens.

Coriol.
Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune
of your voices, that I may bee Consull, I haue heere the
Customarie Gowne.

1.
You haue deserued Nobly of your
Countrey, and you haue not deserued Nobly.

Coriol.
Your Anigma.

1.
You haue bin a scourge to her
enemies, you haue bin a Rod to her Friends, you haue
not indeede loued the Common people.

Coriol.
You should account mee the more Vertuous,
that I haue not bin common in my Loue, I will sir flatter
my sworne Brother the people to earne a deerer estimation
of them, 'tis a condition they account gentle:
& since the wisedome of their choice, is rather to haue my
Hat, then my Heart, I will practice the insinuating nod, and
be off to them most counterfetly, that is sir, I will
counterfet the bewitchment of some popular man, and
giue it bountifull to the desirers: Therefore beseech you,
I may be Consull.

2.
Wee hope to finde you our friend: and
therefore giue you our voices heartily.

1.
You haue receyued many wounds for
your Countrey.

Coriol.
I wil not Seale your knowledge with shewing
them. I will make much of your voyces, and so trouble
you no farther.

Both.
The Gods giue you ioy Sir heartily.

Coriol.
Most sweet Voyces:
Better it is to dye, better to sterue,
Then craue the higher, which first we do deserue.
Why in this Wooluish tongue should I stand heere,
To begge of Hob and Dicke, that does appeere
Their needlesse Vouches: Custome calls me too't.
What Custome wills in all things, should we doo't?
The Dust on antique Time would lye vnswept,
And mountainous Error be too highly heapt,
For Truth to o're-peere. Rather then foole it so,
Let the high Office and the Honor go
To one that would doe thus. I am halfe through,
The one part suffered, the other will I doe.
Enter three Citizens more.
Here come moe Voyces.
Your Voyces? for your Voyces I haue fought,
Watcht for your Voyces: for your Voyces, beare
Of Wounds, two dozen odde: Battailes thrice six
I haue seene, and heard of: for your Voyces, / Haue
done many things, some lesse, some more: / Your Voyces?
Indeed I would be Consull.

1. Cit.
Hee ha's done Nobly, and cannot goe without
any honest mans Voyce.

2. Cit.
Therefore let him be Consull: the
Gods giue him ioy, and make him good friend to the
People.

All.
Amen, Amen. God saue thee, Noble Consull.

Corio.
Worthy Voyces.
Enter Menenius, with Brutus and Scicinius.

Mene.
You haue stood your Limitation: / And the Tribunes
endue you with the Peoples Voyce, / Remaines,
that in th' Officiall Markes inuested, / You
anon doe meet the Senate.

Corio.
Is this done?

Scicin.
The Custome of Request you haue discharg'd:
The People doe admit you, and are summon'd
To meet anon, vpon your approbation.

Corio.
Where? at the Senate-house?

Scicin.
There, Coriolanus.

Corio.
May I change these Garments?

Scicin.
You may, Sir.

Cori.
That Ile straight do: and knowing my selfe again,
Repayre to th'Senate-house.

Mene.
Ile keepe you company. Will you along?

Brut.
We stay here for the People.

Scicin.
Fare you well.
Exeunt Coriol. and Mene.
He ha's it now: and by his Lookes, me thinkes,
'Tis warme at's heart.

Brut.
With a prowd heart he wore
his humble Weeds: / Will you dismisse the People?
Enter the Plebeians.

Scici.
How now, my Masters, haue you chose this man?

1. Cit.
He ha's our Voyces, Sir.

Brut.
We pray the Gods, he may deserue your loues.

2. Cit.
Amen, Sir: to my poore vnworthy notice,
He mock'd vs, when he begg'd our Voyces.

3. Cit.
Certainely,
he flowted vs downe-right.

1. Cit.
No, 'tis his kind of speech, he did not mock vs.

2. Cit.
Not one amongst vs, saue your selfe, but sayes
He vs'd vs scornefully: he should haue shew'd vs
His Marks of Merit, Wounds receiu'd for's Countrey.

Scicin.
Why so he did, I am sure.

All.
No, no: no man saw 'em.

3. Cit.
Hee said hee had Wounds, / Which he could shew in priuate:
And with his Hat, thus wauing it in scorne,
I would be Consull, sayes he: aged Custome,
But by your Voyces, will not so permit me.
Your Voyces therefore: when we graunted that,
Here was, I thanke you for your Voyces, thanke you
Your most sweet Voyces: now you haue left your Voyces,
I haue no further with you. Was not this mockerie?

Scicin.
Why eyther were you ignorant to see't?
Or seeing it, of such Childish friendlinesse,
To yeeld your Voyces?

Brut.
Could you not haue told him,
As you were lesson'd: When he had no Power,
But was a pettie seruant to the State,
He was your Enemie, euer spake against
Your Liberties, and the Charters that you beare
I'th' Body of the Weale: and now arriuing
A place of Potencie, and sway o'th' State,
If he should still malignantly remaine
Fast Foe to th'Plebeij, your Voyces might
Be Curses to your selues. You should haue said,
That as his worthy deeds did clayme no lesse
Then what he stood for: so his gracious nature
Would thinke vpon you, for your Voyces, / And
translate his Mallice towards you, into Loue,
Standing your friendly Lord.

Scicin.
Thus to haue said,
As you were fore-aduis'd, had toucht his Spirit,
And try'd his Inclination: from him pluckt
Eyther his gracious Promise, which you might
As cause had call'd you vp, haue held him to;
Or else it would haue gall'd his surly nature,
Which easily endures not Article,
Tying him to ought, so putting him to Rage,
You should haue ta'ne th' aduantage of his Choller,
And pass'd him vnelected.

Brut.
Did you perceiue,
He did sollicite you in free Contempt,
When he did need your Loues: and doe you thinke,
That his Contempt shall not be brusing to you,
When he hath power to crush? Why, had your Bodyes
No Heart among you? Or had you Tongues, to cry
Against the Rectorship of Iudgement?

Scicin.
Haue you,
ere now, deny'd the asker: / And now againe,
of him that did not aske, but mock, / Bestow
your su'd-for Tongues?

3. Cit.
Hee's not confirm'd, we may deny him yet.

2. Cit.
And will deny him:
Ile haue fiue hundred Voyces of that sound.

1. Cit.
I twice fiue hundred, & their friends, to piece 'em.

Brut.
Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
They haue chose a Consull, that will from them take
Their Liberties, make them of no more Voyce
Then Dogges, that are as often beat for barking,
As therefore kept to doe so.

Scici.
Let them assemble:
and on a safer Iudgement, / All reuoke
your ignorant election: Enforce his Pride,
And his old Hate vnto you: besides, forget not
With what Contempt he wore the humble Weed,
How in his Suit he scorn'd you: but your Loues,
Thinking vpon his Seruices, tooke from you
Th' apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, vngrauely, he did fashion
After the inueterate Hate he beares you.

Brut.
Lay
a fault on vs, your Tribunes, / That we labour'd
(no impediment betweene) / But that you must
cast your Election on him.

Scici.
Say you chose him,
more after our commandment, / Then as guided
by your owne true affections, and that / Your Minds
pre-occupy'd with what you rather must do,
Then what you should, made you against the graine
To Voyce him Consull. Lay the fault on vs.

Brut.
I, spare vs not: Say, we read Lectures to you,
How youngly he began to serue his Countrey,
How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
The Noble House o'th' Martians: from whence came
That Ancus Martius, Numaes Daughters Sonne:
Who after great Hostilius here was King,
Of the same House Publius and Quintus were,
That our best Water, brought by Conduits hither,
And Nobly nam'd, so
twice being Censor,
Was his great Ancestor.

Scicin.
One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought,
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you haue found,
Skaling his present bearing with his past,
That hee's your fixed enemie; and reuoke
Your suddaine approbation.

Brut.
Say you ne're had don't,
(Harpe on that still) but by our putting on:
And presently, when you haue drawne your number,
Repaire to th'Capitoll.

All.
We will so: almost all
repent in their election.
Exeunt Plebeians.

Brut.
Let them goe on:
This Mutinie were better put in hazard,
Then stay past doubt, for greater:
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusall, both obserue and answer
The vantage of his anger.

Scicin.
To th'Capitoll, come:
We will be there before the streame o'th' People:
And this shall seeme, as partly 'tis, their owne,
Which we haue goaded on-ward.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Enter Menenius, with the two Tribunes of the People,
Sicinius and Brutus

MENENIUS
The augurer tells me we shall have news
tonight.

BRUTUS
Good or bad?

MENENIUS
Not according to the prayer of the people, for
they love not Martius.

SICINIUS
Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

MENENIUS
Pray you, who does the wolf love?

SICINIUS
The lamb.

MENENIUS
Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians
would the noble Martius.

BRUTUS
He's a lamb indeed, that baas like a bear.

MENENIUS
He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You
two are old men; tell me one thing that I shall ask you.

BOTH
Well, sir?

MENENIUS
In what enormity is Martius poor in that you
two have not in abundance?

BRUTUS
He's poor in no one fault, but stored with all.

SICINIUS
Especially in pride.

BRUTUS
And topping all others in boasting.

MENENIUS
This is strange now. Do you two know how
you are censured here in the city – I mean of us o'th'
right-hand file? Do you?

BOTH
Why, how are we censured?

MENENIUS
Because you talk of pride now – will you not
be angry?

BOTH
Well, well, sir, well?

MENENIUS
Why, 'tis no great matter, for a very little
thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience.
Give your dispositions the reins and be angry at your
pleasures – at the least, if you take it as a pleasure to you
in being so. You blame Martius for being proud?

BRUTUS
We do it not alone, sir.

MENENIUS
I know you can do very little alone, for your
helps are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous
single. Your abilities are too infant-like for doing
much alone. You talk of pride. O that you could turn
your eyes toward the napes of your necks, and make but
an interior survey of your good selves! O that you could!

BRUTUS
What then, sir?

MENENIUS
Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
proud, violent, testy magistrates – alias fools –
as any in Rome.

SICINIUS
Menenius, you are known well enough too.

MENENIUS
I am known to be a humorous patrician, and
one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect in favouring
the first complaint, hasty and tinder-like upon too
trivial motion; one that converses more with the buttock
of the night than with the forehead of the morning.
What I think I utter, and spend my malice in my breath.
Meeting two such wealsmen as you are – I cannot call
you Lycurguses – if the drink you give me touch my
palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I cannot
say your worships have delivered the matter well, when
I find the ass in compound with the major part of your
syllables. And though I must be content to bear with
those that say you are reverend grave men, yet they lie
deadly that tell you have good faces. If you see this in the
map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known well
enough too? What harm can your bisson conspectuities
glean out of this character, if I be known well enough too?

BRUTUS
Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

MENENIUS
You know neither me, yourselves, nor any
thing. You are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs.
You wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a
cause between an orange-wife and a faucet-seller, and
then rejourn the controversy of threepence to a second
day of audience. When you are hearing a matter between
party and party, if you chance to be pinched with the
colic, you make faces like mummers, set up the bloody
flag against all patience, and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
dismiss the controversy bleeding, the more entangled
by your hearing. All the peace you make in their
cause is calling both the parties knaves. You are a pair of
strange ones.

BRUTUS
Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter
giber for the table than a necessary bencher in the
Capitol.

MENENIUS
Our very priests must become mockers, if they
shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are.
When you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth
the wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not
so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's cushion or to
be entombed in an ass's pack-saddle. Yet you must be
saying Martius is proud; who, in a cheap estimation, is
worth all your predecessors since Deucalion, though
peradventure some of the best of 'em were hereditary
hangmen. Good-e'en to your worships. More of your
conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen
of the beastly plebeians. I will be bold to take my leave
of you.
Brutus and Sicinius stand aside
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria
How now, my as fair as noble ladies – and the moon,
were she earthly, no nobler – whither do you follow your
eyes so fast?

VOLUMNIA
Honourable Menenius, my boy Martius
approaches. For the love of Juno, let's go.

MENENIUS
Ha? Martius coming home?

VOLUMNIA
Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous
approbation.

MENENIUS
Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
Martius coming home?

VIRGILIA and VALERIA
Nay, 'tis true.

VOLUMNIA
Look, here's a letter from him. The state hath
another, his wife another, and I think there's one at home
for you.

MENENIUS
I will make my very house reel tonight. A
letter for me?

VIRGILIA
Yes, certain, there's a letter for you, I saw't.

MENENIUS
A letter for me! It gives me an estate of seven
years' health, in which time I will make a lip at the physician.
The most sovereign prescription in Galen is but
empiricutic and, to this preservative, of no better report
than a horse-drench. Is he not wounded? He was wont
to come home wounded.

VIRGILIA
O, no, no, no.

VOLUMNIA
O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for't.

MENENIUS
So do I too – if it be not too much. Brings 'a
victory in his pocket, the wounds become him.

VOLUMNIA
On's brows, Menenius. He comes the third
time home with the oaken garland.

MENENIUS
Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

VOLUMNIA
Titus Lartius writes they fought together,
but Aufidius got off.

MENENIUS
And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him
that. An he had stayed by him, I would not have been so
fidiused for all the chests in Corioles and the gold that's
in them. Is the Senate possessed of this?

VOLUMNIA
Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes! The
Senate has letters from the general, wherein he gives
my son the whole name of the war. He hath in this
action outdone his former deeds doubly.

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

MENENIUS
Wondrous? Ay, I warrant you, and not without
his true purchasing.

VIRGILIA
The gods grant them true.

VOLUMNIA
True? Pow waw!

MENENIUS
True? I'll be sworn they are true. Where is
he wounded? (To the Tribunes) God save your good
worships! Martius is coming home. He has more cause
to be proud. – Where is he wounded?

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

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

VOLUMNIA
He had before this last expedition twenty-five
wounds upon him.

MENENIUS
Now it's twenty-seven. Every gash was an
enemy's grave. (A shout and flourish) Hark, the trumpets.

VOLUMNIA
These are the ushers of Martius. Before him
he carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears.
Death, that dark spirit, in's nervy arm doth lie,
Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.
A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter Cominius the
General, and Titus Lartius; between them, Coriolanus,
crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and
Soldiers and a Herald

HERALD
Know, Rome, that all alone Martius did fight
Within Corioles gates, where he hath won,
With fame, a name to Caius Martius; these
In honour follows ‘ Coriolanus.’
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
(Sound flourish)

ALL
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

CORIOLANUS
No more of this; it does offend my heart.
Pray now, no more.

COMINIUS
Look, sir, your mother!

CORIOLANUS
O,
You have, I know, petitioned all the gods
For my prosperity!
He kneels

VOLUMNIA
Nay, my good soldier, up,
My gentle Martius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly named –
What is it? – Coriolanus must I call thee? –
But, O, thy wife!

CORIOLANUS
My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laughed had I come coffined home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioles wear,
And mothers that lack sons.

MENENIUS
Now the gods crown thee!

CORIOLANUS
And live you yet? (To Valeria) O my sweet lady, pardon.

VOLUMNIA
I know not where to turn. O, welcome home.
And welcome, general, and y'are welcome all.

MENENIUS
A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
A curse begnaw at very root on's heart
That is not glad to see thee. You are three
That Rome should dote on. Yet, by the faith of men,
We have some old crab-trees here at home that will not
Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors.
We call a nettle but a nettle and
The faults of fools but folly.

COMINIUS
Ever right.

CORIOLANUS
Menenius ever, ever.

HERALD
Give way there, and go on.

CORIOLANUS
(to Volumnia and Virgilia)
Your hand, and yours:
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
The good patricians must be visited,
From whom I have received not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.

VOLUMNIA
I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy. Only
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.

CORIOLANUS
Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way
Than sway with them in theirs.

COMINIUS
On, to the Capitol.
Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before.
Brutus and Sicinius come forward

BRUTUS
All tongues speak of him and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him. Your prattling nurse
Into a rapture lets her baby cry
While she chats him. The kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
Clambering the walls to eye him. Stalls, bulks, windows
Are smothered up, leads filled, and ridges horsed
With variable complexions, all agreeing
In earnestness to see him. Seld-shown flamens
Do press among the popular throngs and puff
To win a vulgar station. Our veiled dames
Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely gawded cheeks to th' wanton spoil
Of Phoebus' burning kisses. Such a pother
As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers
And gave him graceful posture.

SICINIUS
On the sudden
I warrant him consul.

BRUTUS
Then our office may
During his power go sleep.

SICINIUS
He cannot temperately transport his honours
From where he should begin and end, but will
Lose those he hath won.

BRUTUS
In that there's comfort.

SICINIUS
Doubt not
The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
Upon their ancient malice will forget
With the least cause these his new honours, which
That he will give them make I as little question
As he is proud to do't.

BRUTUS
I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i'th' market-place nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility,
Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To th' people, beg their stinking breaths.

SICINIUS
'Tis right.

BRUTUS
It was his word. O, he would miss it rather
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him
And the desire of the nobles.

SICINIUS
I wish no better
Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
In execution.

BRUTUS
'Tis most like he will.

SICINIUS
It shall be to him then as our good wills,
A sure destruction.

BRUTUS
So it must fall out
To him, or our authority's for an end.
We must suggest the people in what hatred
He still hath held them; that to's power he would
Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders and
Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them
In human action and capacity
Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
Than camels in the war, who have their provand
Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
For sinking under them.

SICINIUS
This, as you say, suggested
At some time when his soaring insolence
Shall touch the people – which time shall not want,
If he be put upon't, and that's as easy
As to set dogs on sheep – will be his fire
To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
Shall darken him for ever.
Enter a Messenger

BRUTUS
What's the matter?

MESSENGER
You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
That Martius shall be consul.
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
The blind to hear him speak. Matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he passed. The nobles bended
As to Jove's statue, and the commons made
A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts.
I never saw the like.

BRUTUS
Let's to the Capitol,
And carry with us ears and eyes for th' time,
But hearts for the event.

SICINIUS
Have with you.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Enter two Officers, to lay cushions, as it were in the
Capitol

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

SECOND OFFICER
Three, they say; but 'tis thought of
everyone Coriolanus will carry it.

FIRST OFFICER
That's a brave fellow, but he's vengeance
proud and loves not the common people.

SECOND OFFICER
Faith, there hath been many great men
that have flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and
there be many that they have loved, they know not
wherefore. So that, if they love they know not why, they
hate upon no better a ground. Therefore, for Coriolanus
neither to care whether they love or hate him manifests
the true knowledge he has in their disposition, and out of
his noble carelessness lets them plainly see't.

FIRST OFFICER
If he did not care whether he had their
love or no, he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them
neither good nor harm. But he seeks their hate with
greater devotion than they can render it him, and leaves
nothing undone that may fully discover him their opposite.
Now to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of
the people is as bad as that which he dislikes – to flatter
them for their love.

SECOND OFFICER
He hath deserved worthily of his country;
and his ascent is not by such easy degrees as those
who, having been supple and courteous to the people,
bonneted, without any further deed to have them at all,
into their estimation and report. But he hath so planted
his honours in their eyes and his actions in their hearts
that for their tongues to be silent and not confess so much
were a kind of ingrateful injury. To report otherwise
were a malice that, giving itself the lie, would pluck
reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.

FIRST OFFICER
No more of him, he's a worthy man.
Make way, they are coming.
A sennet. Enter the Patricians and the Tribunes of the
People, Lictors before them; Coriolanus, Menenius,
Cominius the Consul. Sicinius and Brutus take their
places by themselves

MENENIUS
Having determined of the Volsces and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
As the main point of this our after-meeting,
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country. Therefore please you,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul and last general
In our well-found successes to report
A little of that worthy work performed
By Caius Martius Coriolanus, whom
We met here both to thank and to remember
With honours like himself.

FIRST SENATOR
Speak, good Cominius.
Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
Rather our state's defective for requital
Than we to stretch it out. (To the Tribunes) Masters o'th' people,
We do request your kindest ears, and after,
Your loving motion toward the common body
To yield what passes here.

SICINIUS
We are convented
Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
Inclinable to honour and advance
The theme of our assembly.

BRUTUS
Which the rather
We shall be blest to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto prized them at.

MENENIUS
That's off, that's off!
I would you rather had been silent. Please you
To hear Cominius speak?

BRUTUS
Most willingly.
But yet my caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give it.

MENENIUS
He loves your people;
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
Worthy Cominius, speak.
Coriolanus rises, and offers to go away
Nay, keep your place.

FIRST SENATOR
Sit, Coriolanus, never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.

CORIOLANUS
Your honours' pardon.
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.

BRUTUS
Sir, I hope
My words disbenched you not.

CORIOLANUS
No, sir. Yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You soothed not, therefore hurt not. But your people,
I love them as they weigh –

MENENIUS
Pray now, sit down.

CORIOLANUS
I had rather have one scratch my head i'th' sun
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monstered.
Exit Coriolanus

MENENIUS
Masters of the people,
Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter –
That's thousand to one good one – when you now see
He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
Than one on's ears to hear it. Proceed, Cominius.

COMINIUS
I shall lack voice. The deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be uttered feebly. It is held
That valour is the chiefest virtue and
Most dignifies the haver. If it be,
The man I speak of cannot in the world
Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others. Our then dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him. He bestrid
An o'erpressed Roman and i'th' Consul's view
Slew three opposers. Tarquin's self he met,
And struck him on his knee. In that day's feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He proved best man i'th' field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-entered thus, he waxed like a sea,
And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurched all swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioles, let me say
I cannot speak him home. He stopped the fliers,
And by his rare example made the coward
Turn terror into sport. As weeds before
A vessel under sail, so men obeyed
And fell below his stem. His sword, death's stamp,
Where it did mark, it took from face to foot.
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries. Alone he entered
The mortal gate of th' city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden reinforcement struck
Corioles like a planet. Now all's his,
When by and by the din of war 'gan pierce
His ready sense, then straight his doubled spirit
Requickened what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he, where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'Twere a perpetual spoil; and till we called
Both field and city ours he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.

MENENIUS
Worthy man!

FIRST SENATOR
He cannot but with measure fit the honours
Which we devise him.

COMINIUS
Our spoils he kicked at,
And looked upon things precious as they were
The common muck of the world. He covets less
Than misery itself would give, rewards
His deeds with doing them, and is content
To spend the time to end it.

MENENIUS
He's right noble.
Let him be called for.

FIRST SENATOR
Call Coriolanus.
Enter Coriolanus

OFFICER
He doth appear.

MENENIUS
The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.

CORIOLANUS
I do owe them still
My life and services.

MENENIUS
It then remains
That you do speak to the people.

CORIOLANUS
I do beseech you
Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them
For my wounds' sake to give their suffrage. Please you
That I may pass this doing.

SICINIUS
Sir, the people
Must have their voices, neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.

MENENIUS
Put them not to't.
Pray you go fit you to the custom and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.

CORIOLANUS
It is a part
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.

BRUTUS
(to Sicinius)
Mark you that?

CORIOLANUS
To brag unto them ‘ Thus I did, and thus!’,
Show them th' unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had received them for the hire
Of their breath only!

MENENIUS
Do not stand upon't.
We recommend to you, Tribunes of the People,
Our purpose to them; and to our noble Consul
Wish we all joy and honour.

SENATORS
To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
Flourish. Cornets. Then exeunt.
Sicinius and Brutus stay behind

BRUTUS
You see how he intends to use the people.

SICINIUS
May they perceive's intent! He will require them
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.

BRUTUS
Come, we'll inform them
Of our proceedings here. On th' market-place
I know they do attend us.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene III
Enter seven or eight Citizens

FIRST CITIZEN
Once, if he do require our voices, we
ought not to deny him.

SECOND CITIZEN
We may, sir, if we will.

THIRD CITIZEN
We have power in ourselves to do it, but
it is a power that we have no power to do. For if he show
us his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
tongues into those wounds and speak for them. So, if he
tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble
acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous, and for
the multitude to be ingrateful were to make a monster of
the multitude; of the which we being members should
bring ourselves to be monstrous members.

FIRST CITIZEN
And to make us no better thought of a
little help will serve; for once we stood up about the
corn, he himself stuck not to call us the many-headed
multitude.

THIRD CITIZEN
We have been called so of many; not
that our heads are some brown, some black, some abram,
some bald, but that our wits are so diversely coloured.
And truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of one
skull, they would fly east, west, north, south, and their
consent of one direct way should be at once to all the
points o'th' compass.

SECOND CITIZEN
Think you so? Which way do you
judge my wit would fly?

THIRD CITIZEN
Nay, your wit will not so soon out as
another man's will – 'tis strongly wedged up in a blockhead;
but if it were at liberty 'twould sure southward.

SECOND CITIZEN
Why that way?

THIRD CITIZEN
To lose itself in a fog, where being three
parts melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would
return for conscience' sake to help to get thee a wife.

SECOND CITIZEN
You are never without your tricks. You
may, you may!

THIRD CITIZEN
Are you all resolved to give your voices?
But that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I say, if
he would incline to the people, there was never a worthier
man.
Enter Coriolanus in a gown of humility, with
Menenius
Here he comes, and in the gown of humility. Mark his
behaviour. We are not to stay all together, but to come
by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and by threes.
He's to make his requests by particulars, wherein every
one of us has a single honour, in giving him our own
voices with our own tongues. Therefore follow me, and
I'll direct you how you shall go by him.

ALL
Content, content.
Exeunt Citizens

MENENIUS
O sir, you are not right. Have you not known
The worthiest men have done't?

CORIOLANUS
What must I say? –
‘ I pray, sir ’ – Plague upon't! I cannot bring
My tongue to such a pace. ‘ Look, sir, my wounds!
I got them in my country's service, when
Some certain of your brethren roared and ran
From th' noise of our own drums.’

MENENIUS
O me, the gods!
You must not speak of that. You must desire them
To think upon you.

CORIOLANUS
Think upon me? Hang 'em!
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by 'em.

MENENIUS
You'll mar all.
I'll leave you. Pray you speak to 'em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.
Exit
Enter three of the Citizens

CORIOLANUS
Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean. So, here comes a brace.
You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.

THIRD CITIZEN
We do, sir. Tell us what hath brought you to't.

CORIOLANUS
Mine own desert.

SECOND CITIZEN
Your own desert?

CORIOLANUS
Ay, but not mine own desire.

THIRD CITIZEN
How not your own desire?

CORIOLANUS
No, sir, 'twas never my desire yet to trouble
the poor with begging.

THIRD CITIZEN
You must think, if we give you anything,
we hope to gain by you.

CORIOLANUS
Well then, I pray, your price
o'th' consulship?

FIRST CITIZEN
The price is to ask it kindly.

CORIOLANUS
Kindly, sir, I pray let me ha't. I have
wounds to show you, which shall be yours in private.
(to the Second Citizen) Your good voice, sir. What say
you?

SECOND CITIZEN
You shall ha't, worthy sir.

CORIOLANUS
A match, sir. There's in all two worthy
voices begged. I have your alms. Adieu.

THIRD CITIZEN
But this is something odd.

SECOND CITIZEN
An 'twere to give again – but 'tis no
matter.
Exeunt
Enter two other Citizens

CORIOLANUS
Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune
of your voices that I may be consul, I have here the
customary gown.

FOURTH CITIZEN
You have deserved nobly of your
country, and you have not deserved nobly.

CORIOLANUS
Your enigma?

FOURTH CITIZEN
You have been a scourge to her
enemies, you have been a rod to her friends. You have
not indeed loved the common people.

CORIOLANUS
You should account me the more virtuous
that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter
my sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer estimation
of them. 'Tis a condition they account gentle;
and since the wisdom of their choice is rather to have my
hat than my heart, I will practise the insinuating nod and
be off to them most counterfeitly. That is, sir, I will
counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man and
give it bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
I may be consul.

FIFTH CITIZEN
We hope to find you our friend, and
therefore give you our voices heartily.

FOURTH CITIZEN
You have received many wounds for
your country.

CORIOLANUS
I will not seal your knowledge with showing
them. I will make much of your voices and so trouble
you no farther.

BOTH
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
Exeunt

CORIOLANUS
Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this wolvish toge should I stand here
To beg of Hob and Dick that does appear
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't.
What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept
And mountainous error be too highly heaped
For truth to o'erpeer. Rather than fool it so,
Let the high office and the honour go
To one that would do thus. I am half through;
The one part suffered, the other will I do.
Enter three Citizens more
Here come more voices.
Your voices! For your voices I have fought,
Watched for your voices; for your voices bear
Of wounds two dozen odd. Battles thrice six
I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
Done many things, some less, some more. Your voices!
Indeed, I would be consul.

SIXTH CITIZEN
He has done nobly, and cannot go without
any honest man's voice.

SEVENTH CITIZEN
Therefore let him be consul. The
gods give him joy and make him good friend to the
people!

ALL
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble Consul!
Exeunt Citizens

CORIOLANUS
Worthy voices.
Enter Menenius, with Brutus and Sicinius

MENENIUS
You have stood your limitation, and the Tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice. Remains
That in th' official marks invested you
Anon do meet the Senate.

CORIOLANUS
Is this done?

SICINIUS
The custom of request you have discharged.
The people do admit you, and are summoned
To meet anon upon your approbation.

CORIOLANUS
Where? at the Senate House?

SICINIUS
There, Coriolanus.

CORIOLANUS
May I change these garments?

SICINIUS
You may, sir.

CORIOLANUS
That I'll straight do and, knowing myself again,
Repair to th' Senate House.

MENENIUS
I'll keep you company. (To the Tribunes) Will you along?

BRUTUS
We stay here for the people.

SICINIUS
Fare you well.
Exeunt Coriolanus and Menenius
He has it now, and by his looks methinks
'Tis warm at's heart.

BRUTUS
With a proud heart he wore
His humble weeds. Will you dismiss the people?
Enter the Plebeians

SICINIUS
How now, my masters, have you chose this man?

FIRST CITIZEN
He has our voices, sir.

BRUTUS
We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

SECOND CITIZEN
Amen, sir. To my poor unworthy notice,
He mocked us when he begged our voices.

THIRD CITIZEN
Certainly,
He flouted us downright.

FIRST CITIZEN
No,'tis his kind of speech – he did not mock us.

SECOND CITIZEN
Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
He used us scornfully. He should have showed us
His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.

SICINIUS
Why, so he did, I am sure.

CITIZENS
No, no! No man saw 'em.

THIRD CITIZEN
He said he had wounds which he could show in private,
And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
‘ I would be consul,’ says he. ‘ Aged custom
But by your voices will not so permit me;
Your voices therefore.’ When we granted that,
Here was ‘ I thank you for your voices. Thank you,
Your most sweet voices. Now you have left your voices,
I have no further with you.’ Was not this mockery?

SICINIUS
Why either were you ignorant to see't,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?

BRUTUS
Could you not have told him –
As you were lessoned – when he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy, ever spake against
Your liberties and the charters that you bear
I'th' body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o'th' state,
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to th' plebeii, your voices might
Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
Would think upon you for your voices and
Translate his malice towards you into love,
Standing your friendly lord.

SICINIUS
Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advised, had touched his spirit
And tried his inclination; from him plucked
Either his gracious promise, which you might,
As cause had called you up, have held him to;
Or else it would have galled his surly nature,
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught. So putting him to rage,
You should have ta'en th' advantage of his choler
And passed him unelected.

BRUTUS
Did you perceive
He did solicit you in free contempt
When he did need your loves, and do you think
That his contempt shall not be bruising to you
When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
No heart among you? Or had you tongues to cry
Against the rectorship of judgement?

SICINIUS
Have you
Ere now denied the asker, and now again,
Of him that did not ask but mock, bestow
Your sued-for tongues?

THIRD CITIZEN
He's not confirmed; we may deny him yet.

SECOND CITIZEN
And will deny him:
I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.

FIRST CITIZEN
I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.

BRUTUS
Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends
They have chose a consul that will from them take
Their liberties; make them of no more voice
Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
As therefore kept to do so.

SICINIUS
Let them assemble,
And on a safer judgement all revoke
Your ignorant election. Enforce his pride
And his old hate unto you. Besides, forget not
With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
How in his suit he scorned you; but your loves,
Thinking upon his services, took from you
Th' apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.

BRUTUS
Lay
A fault on us, your Tribunes, that we laboured,
No impediment between, but that you must
Cast your election on him.

SICINIUS
Say, you chose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections, and that your minds,
Pre-occupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul. Lay the fault on us.

BRUTUS
Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you,
How youngly he began to serve his country,
How long continued, and what stock he springs of –
The noble house o'th' Martians, from whence came
That Ancus Martius, Numa's daughter's son,
Who after great Hostilius here was king.
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our best water brought by conduits hither;
And Censorinus, nobly named so,
Twice being by the people chosen censor,
Was his great ancestor.

SICINIUS
One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances. But you have found,
Scaling his present bearing with his past,
That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.

BRUTUS
Say you ne'er had done't –
Harp on that still – but by our putting on.
And presently, when you have drawn your number,
Repair to th' Capitol.

ALL
We will so. Almost all
Repent in their election.
Exeunt Plebeians

BRUTUS
Let them go on.
This mutiny were better put in hazard
Than stay, past doubt, for greater.
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusal, both observe and answer
The vantage of his anger.

SICINIUS
To th' Capitol, come.
We will be there before the stream o'th' people;
And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
Which we have goaded onward.
Exeunt
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