The Tragedy of Coriolanus (1608)

Online Critical Edition in Progress - Version 1.a.
Shakespeare Network -

Read & Listen - Click play and scroll down the page.

Act II, Scene 1

Rome. A public place.

Menenius Agrippa
The augurer tells me we shall have news to-night.

Junius Brutus
Good or bad?

Menenius Agrippa
Not according to the prayer of the people, for they
love not CORIOLANUS.

Sicinius Velutus
Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

Menenius Agrippa
Pray you, who does the wolf love?

Menenius Agrippa
Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the

Junius Brutus
He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.

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

Well, sir.

Menenius Agrippa
In what enormity is CORIOLANUS poor in, that you two
have not in abundance?

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

Sicinius Velutus
Especially in pride.

Junius Brutus
And topping all others in boasting.

Menenius Agrippa
This is strange now: do you two know how you are
censured here in the city, I mean of us o' the
right-hand file? do you?

Why, how are we censured?

Menenius Agrippa
Because you talk of pride now,--will you not be angry?

Well, well, sir, well.

Menenius Agrippa
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 CORIOLANUS for
being proud?

Junius Brutus
We do it not alone, sir.

Menenius Agrippa
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!

Junius Brutus
What then, sir?

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

Sicinius Velutus
Menenius, you are known well enough too.

Menenius Agrippa
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 can't 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 you have good faces. If you see this in
the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
well enough too? what barm can your bisson
conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
known well enough too?

Junius Brutus
Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

Menenius Agrippa
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 fosset-seller;
and then rejourn the controversy of three pence 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.

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

Menenius Agrippa
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, CORIOLANUS is proud;
who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors
since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the
best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den 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 go aside]
How now, my as fair as noble ladies,--and the moon,
were she earthly, no nobler,--whither do you follow
your eyes so fast?

Honourable Menenius, my boy CORIOLANUS approaches; for
the love of Juno, let's go.

Menenius Agrippa
Ha! CORIOLANUS coming home!

Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous

Menenius Agrippa
Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
CORIOLANUS coming home!

[together with Virgilia] Nay, 'tis true.

Nay, 'tis true.

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 Agrippa
I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for

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

Menenius Agrippa
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.

O, no, no, no.

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

Menenius Agrippa
So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a'
victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.

On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
with the oaken garland.

Menenius Agrippa
Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

Titus TITUS writes, they fought together, but
Aufidius got off.

Menenius Agrippa
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 Corioli, and the gold
that's in them. Is the senate possessed of this?

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

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

Menenius Agrippa
Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
true purchasing.

The gods grant them true!

True! pow, wow.

Menenius Agrippa
True! I'll be sworn they are true.
Where is he wounded?
[To the Tribunes]
God save your good worships! CORIOLANUS is coming
home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?

I' the shoulder and i' the 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' the body.

Menenius Agrippa
One i' the neck, and two i' the thigh,--there's
nine that I know.

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

Menenius Agrippa
Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.
[A shout and flourish]
Hark! the trumpets.

These are the ushers of CORIOLANUS: 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]

Know, Rome, that all alone CORIOLANUS did fight
Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,
With fame, a name to Caius CORIOLANUS; these
In honour follows Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

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

Look, sir, your mother!

You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
For my prosperity!

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

My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
And mothers that lack sons.

Menenius Agrippa
Now, the gods crown thee!

And live you yet?
O my sweet lady, pardon.

I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
And welcome, general: and ye're welcome all.

Menenius Agrippa
A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
A curse begin 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.

Ever right.

Menenius ever, ever.

Give way there, and go on!

[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.

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.

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

On, to the Capitol!
[Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before.]
BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward]

Junius 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 smother'd up, leads fill'd, 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: or veil'd dames
Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the 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 Velutus
On the sudden,
I warrant him consul.

Junius Brutus
Then our office may,
During his power, go sleep.

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

Junius Brutus
In that there's comfort.

Sicinius Velutus
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.

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

Sicinius Velutus
'Tis right.

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

Junius Brutus
'Tis most like he will.

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

Junius 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
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 Velutus
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.

Junius Brutus
What's the matter?

You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
That CORIOLANUS shall be consul:
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
The blind to bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he pass'd: 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.

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

Sicinius Velutus
Have with you.

Act II, Scene 2

The same. The Capitol.

First Officer
Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
for consulships?

Second Officer
Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one
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 had 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 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
an 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 is a worthy man: make way, they
are coming.
[A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS]
the consul, MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators,
SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their
places; the Tribunes take their Places by
themselves. CORIOLANUS stands]

Menenius Agrippa
Having determined of the Volsces and
To send for Titus TITUS, 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 perform'd
By Caius CORIOLANUS 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' the people,
We do request your kindest ears, and after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.

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

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

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

Menenius Agrippa
He loves your people
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
Worthy Cominius, speak.
[CORIOLANUS offers to go away]
Nay, keep your place.

First Senator
Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.

Your horror's pardon:
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.

Junius Brutus
Sir, I hope
My words disbench'd you not.

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 Agrippa
Pray now, sit down.

I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster'd.

Menenius Agrippa
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.

I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be utter'd 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: be bestrid
An o'er-press'd Roman and i' the 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' the field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea,
And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers;
And by his rare example made the coward
Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
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 enter'd
The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden reinforcement struck
Corioli 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
Re-quicken'd 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 call'd
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.

Menenius Agrippa
Worthy man!

First Senator
He cannot but with measure fit the honours
Which we devise him.

Our spoils he kick'd at,
And look'd 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 Agrippa
He's right noble:
Let him be call'd for.

First Senator
Call Coriolanus.

He doth appear.

Menenius Agrippa
The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.

I do owe them still
My life and services.

Menenius Agrippa
It then remains
That you do speak to the people.

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

Menenius Agrippa
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.

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

Junius Brutus
Mark you that?

To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had received them for the hire
Of their breath only!

Menenius Agrippa
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 of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS]

Junius Brutus
You see how he intends to use the people.

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

Junius Brutus
Come, we'll inform them
Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
I know, they do attend us.

Act II, Scene 3

The same. The Forum.

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 auburn, 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' the compass.

Second Citizen
Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would

Third Citizen
Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, 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,]
Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
behavior. 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 direct you how
you shall go by him.

Content, content.

Menenius Agrippa
O sir, you are not right: have you not known
The worthiest men have done't?

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 roar'd and ran
From the noise of our own drums.'

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

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

Menenius Agrippa
You'll mar all:
I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.

Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean.
[Re-enter two of the Citizens]
So, here comes a brace.
[Re-enter a third Citizen]
You know the cause, air, of my standing here.

Third Citizen
We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.

Mine own desert.

Second Citizen
Your own desert!

Ay, but not mine own desire.

Third Citizen
How not your own desire?

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

Third Citizen
You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
gain by you.

Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?

First Citizen
The price is to ask it kindly.

Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to
show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
good voice, sir; what say you?

Second Citizen
You shall ha' it, worthy sir.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

"Both Citizens"
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!

Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
To beg of Hob and Dick, that do 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 heapt
For truth to o'er-peer. 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 suffer'd, the other will I do.
[Re-enter three Citizens more]
Here come more voices.
Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
Watch'd 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 Citizens
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!

Worthy voices!

Menenius Agrippa
You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice: remains
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

Is this done?

Sicinius Velutus
The custom of request you have discharged:
The people do admit you, and are summon'd
To meet anon, upon your approbation.

Where? at the senate-house?

Sicinius Velutus
There, Coriolanus.

May I change these garments?

Sicinius Velutus
You may, sir.

That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
Repair to the senate-house.

Menenius Agrippa
I'll keep you company. Will you along?

Junius Brutus
We stay here for the people.

Sicinius Velutus
Fare you well.
He has it now, and by his looks methink
'Tis warm at 's heart.

Junius Brutus
With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
will you dismiss the people?

Sicinius Velutus
How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

First Citizen
He has our voices, sir.

Junius Brutus
We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

Second Citizen
Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.

Third Citizen
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 show'd us
His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.

Sicinius Velutus
Why, so he did, I am sure.

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

Junius Brutus
Could you not have told him
As you were lesson'd, 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' the body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o' the state,
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to the 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 Velutus
Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd
Either his gracious promise, which you might,
As cause had call'd you up, have held him to
Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
And pass'd him unelected.

Junius 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 judgment?

Sicinius Velutus
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 confirm'd; 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.

Junius 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 Velutus
Let them assemble,
And on a safer judgment 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 scorn'd you; but your loves,
Thinking upon his services, took from you
The apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.

Junius Brutus
A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
No impediment between, but that you must
Cast your election on him.

Sicinius Velutus
Say, you chose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections, and that your minds,
Preoccupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

Junius 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' the Marcians, from whence came
That Ancus CORIOLANUS, Numa's daughter's son,
Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
Was his great ancestor.

Sicinius Velutus
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.

Junius 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 the Capitol.

We will so: almost all
Repent in their election.

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


© Copyright 2017-2024 Shakespeare Network - Maximianno Cobra - All rights reserved.