The Tragedy of Coriolanus (1608)

Intro
Online Critical Edition in Progress - Version 1.a.
Shakespeare Network - https://shakespearenetwork.net/

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




Act IV, Scene 3

A highway between Rome and Antium.

Coriolanus
Come, leave your tears: a brief farewell: the beast
With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
Where is your ancient courage? you were used
To say extremity was the trier of spirits;
That common chances common men could bear;
That when the sea was calm all boats alike
Show'd mastership in floating; fortune's blows,
When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves
A noble cunning: you were used to load me
With precepts that would make invincible
The heart that conn'd them.

Virgilia
O heavens! O heavens!

Coriolanus
Nay! prithee, woman,--

Volumnia
Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
And occupations perish!

Coriolanus
What, what, what!
I shall be loved when I am lack'd. Nay, mother.
Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
If you had been the wife of Hercules,
Six of his labours you'ld have done, and saved
Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,
Droop not; adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother:
I'll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,
Thy tears are salter than a younger man's,
And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime general,
I have seen thee stem, and thou hast oft beheld
Heart-hardening spectacles; tell these sad women
'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
As 'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
My hazards still have been your solace: and
Believe't not lightly--though I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen--your son
Will or exceed the common or be caught
With cautelous baits and practise.

Volumnia
My first son.
Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee awhile: determine on some course,
More than a wild exposture to each chance
That starts i' the way before thee.

Coriolanus
O the gods!

Cominius
I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee
Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
And we of thee: so if the time thrust forth
A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
O'er the vast world to seek a single man,
And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
I' the absence of the needer.

Coriolanus
Fare ye well:
Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
Of the wars' surfeits, to go rove with one
That's yet unbruised: bring me but out at gate.
Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
My friends of noble touch, when I am forth,
Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
While I remain above the ground, you shall
Hear from me still, and never of me aught
But what is like me formerly.

Menenius Agrippa
That's worthily
As any ear can hear. Come, let's not weep.
If I could shake off but one seven years
From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
I'ld with thee every foot.

Coriolanus
Give me thy hand: Come.

Roman
I know you well, sir, and you know
me: your name, I think, is Adrian.

Volsce
It is so, sir: truly, I have forgot you.

Roman
I am a Roman; and my services are,
as you are, against 'em: know you me yet?

Volsce
Nicanor? no.

Roman
The same, sir.

Volsce
You had more beard when I last saw you; but your
favour is well approved by your tongue. What's the
news in Rome? I have a note from the Volscian state,
to find you out there: you have well saved me a
day's journey.

Roman
There hath been in Rome strange insurrections; the
people against the senators, patricians, and nobles.

Volsce
Hath been! is it ended, then? Our state thinks not
so: they are in a most warlike preparation, and
hope to come upon them in the heat of their division.

Roman
The main blaze of it is past, but a small thing
would make it flame again: for the nobles receive
so to heart the banishment of that worthy
Coriolanus, that they are in a ripe aptness to take
all power from the people and to pluck from them
their tribunes for ever. This lies glowing, I can
tell you, and is almost mature for the violent
breaking out.

Volsce
Coriolanus banished!

Roman
Banished, sir.

Volsce
You will be welcome with this intelligence, Nicanor.

Roman
The day serves well for them now. I have heard it
said, the fittest time to corrupt a man's wife is
when she's fallen out with her husband. Your noble
Tullus Aufidius will appear well in these wars, his
great opposer, Coriolanus, being now in no request
of his country.

Volsce
He cannot choose. I am most fortunate, thus
accidentally to encounter you: you have ended my
business, and I will merrily accompany you home.

Roman
I shall, between this and supper, tell you most
strange things from Rome; all tending to the good of
their adversaries. Have you an army ready, say you?

Volsce
A most royal one; the centurions and their charges,
distinctly billeted, already in the entertainment,
and to be on foot at an hour's warning.

Roman
I am joyful to hear of their readiness, and am the
man, I think, that shall set them in present action.
So, sir, heartily well met, and most glad of your company.

Volsce
You take my part from me, sir; I have the most cause
to be glad of yours.

Roman
Well, let us go together.

© Copyright 2017-2021 Shakespeare Network - Maximianno Cobra - All rights reserved.

shakespeare_network

© Copyright 2017-2021 Shakespeare Network - Maximianno Cobra - All rights reserved.