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Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him
In a moft dear particular. He call'd me father:
Eut what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him,
A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius fpeak, I'll keep at home.
Com. He would not feem to know me.
Men. Do you hear?

Com. Yet one time he did call me by my name
I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
He would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titlelefs,

Till he had forg'd himself a name i' the fire
Of burning Rome.

Men. Why, fo; you have made good work:
A pair of tribunes, that have rack'd' for Rome,
To make coals cheap: a noble memory 2!


Com. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon When leaft it was expected: he reply'd,

It was a bare 3 petition of a state,

To one whom they had punish'd,

Men. Very well:

Could he fay lefs?

Com. I offer'd to awaken his regard

For his private friends: his answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
Of noisome, mufty chaff: he said, 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And still to nofe the offence.

Men. For one poor grain or two?
I am one of thofe ; his mother, wife, his child,
And this brave fellow too, we are the grains :
You are the mufty chaff; and you are smelt
Above the moon: We must be burnt for you. [aid
Sic. Nay, pray, be patient: If you refuse your
In this fo never-needed help, yet do not


Return me, as Cominius is return'd, Unheard; what then?

But as a difcontented friend, grief-shot With his unkindness? Say't be fo?

Sic. Yet your good will

Muft have that thanks from Rome, after the measure As you intended well.

Men. I'll undertake it:

I think, he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip, 10 And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me. He was not taken well; he had not din'd: The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the morning, are unapt

To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd 15 Thefe pipes, and thefe conveyances of our blood With wine and feeding, we have fuppler fouls [him Than in our priest-like fafts: therefore I'll watch Till he be dieted to my request,



And then I'll fet upon him.

Bru. You know the very road into his kindness, And cannot lose your way.

Men. Good faith, I'll prove him,

Speed how it will. Ifhall ere long have knowledge
Of my fuccefs.

Com. He'll never hear him.
Sic. Not?


Com. I tell you, he does fit in gold, his eye Red as 'twould burn Rome: and his injury The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him: 30 'Twas very faintly he faid, Rife; difmifs'd me. Thus, with his fpeechlefs hand: What he would do, He fent in writing after me; what he would not, Bound with an oath, to yield to his conditions 4: So that all hope is vain;

35 Unlefs his noble mother, and his wife, Who, as I hear, mean to folicit him


Upbraid us with our diftrefs. But fure, if you 1451
Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
More than the inftant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.

Met. No; I'll not meddle.

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Men. From Rome.

Men. What fhould I do?

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2 Watch. You'll fee your Rome embrac'd with fire before

To rack means to barrafs by exactions. The meaning is, You that have been fuch good stewards for the Roman people, as to get their houfes burned over their heads, to fave them the expence of coals. Memory for memorial.

3 A bare petition means only a mere petition.

4 Dr. Johnson is of pinion, that here is a chaẩm. The speaker's purpose seems to be this: To yield to bis condition is ruin, and better cannot be obtained, so that all bope is vain.



You'll speak with Coriolanus.

Men. Good my friends,

If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
And of his friends there, it is lots' to blanks,
My name hath touch'd your ears: it is, Menenius. 5
1 Watch. Be it fo; go back: the virtue of your


Is not here paffable.

Men. I tell thee, fellow,

Thy general is my lover: I have been

The book of his good acts, whence men have read
His fame unparallel'd, happily, amplified;
For I have ever verify'd my friends,

(Of whom he's chief) with all the fize that verity
Would without lapfing fuffer: nay, fometimes,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle 3 ground,

I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise Have, almost, stamp'd the leafing: Therefore, fellow,

I must have leave to pass.

1 Watch. 'Faith, 'fir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf, as you have utter'd words in your own, you should not pafs here: no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chaftely. Therefore, go back.

Men. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always factionary on the party of your general.

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fay, go, left I let forth your half pint of blood; -back, that's the utmost of your having :-back. Men. Nay, but fellow, fellow,

Enter Coriolanus, with Aufidius.

Cor. What's the matter?

Men. Now, you companion, I'll fay an errand for you: you fhall know now, that I am in eftimation: you fhall perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my fon Coriolanus: guess, by my entertainment with him, if thou stand'st not 'the ftate of hanging, or of fome death more long in fpectatorship, and crueller in fuffering; be- \ hold now presently, and fwoon for what's to come upon thee. The glorious gods fit in hourly fynod about thy particular profperity, and love thee no worfe than thy old father Menenius does! O, my fon, my fon! thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to thee: but being affured, none but myfelf could move thee, I have been blown out of your gates with fighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. The good gods afwage thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here; this, who, like 25 a block, hath denied my access to thee.


2 Watch. Howfoever you have been his liar, (as) you say, you have) I am one that, telling true under 30 him, must say, you cannot país. Therefore, go back.

Men. Has he din'd, can't thou tell? for I would not speak with him 'till after dinner.

1 Watch. You are a Roman, are you? Men. I am as thy general is.



1 Watch. Then you should hate Rome, as hel does. Can you, when you have push'd out of your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your fhield, think to front his revenges with the eafy groans of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palfy'd interceffion of fuch a decay'd dotant as you feem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to 45 flame in, with fuch weak breath as this? No, you are deceiv'd; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution you are condemn'd, our general has fwon you out of reprieve and pardon.

Men. Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would ufe me with estimation.

2 Watch. Come, my captain knows you not. Men. I mean, thy general.


Cor. Away!

Men. How away!

Cor. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
Are fervanted to others: Though I owe
My revenge properly, my remiflion lyes
In Volcian breafts 5. That we have been familiar,
Ingrate forgetfulness fhall poifon, rather
Than pity note how much.-Therefore be gone.
Mine ears against your fuits are stronger, than
Your gates against my force. Yet, for I lov'd thee,
Take this along; I writ it for thy fake,

[Gives him a letter. And would have fent it. Another word, Menenius, I will not hear thee fpeak. This man, Aufidius,

Was my belov'd in Rome : yet thou behold'st—
Auf. You keep a constant temper.

Manent the Guard, and Menenius.


1 Watch. Now, fir, is your name Menenius. 2 Watch. 'Tis a fpell, you fee, of much power: You know the way home again.

I Watch. Do you hear how we are fhent for keeping your greatness back?

2 Watch. What caufe, do you think, I have to fwoon? Men. I neither care for the world, nor your general: for fuch things as you, I can scarce think there's any, you are fo flight. He that hath a will

to die by himself, fears it not

1 Watch. My general cares not for you. Back,155 your general do his worft.

from another. Let For you, be that you

A lot here is a prize. 2 Dr. Johnson explains this paffage thus: To verify is to establish by tef simony. One may fay with propriety, be brought falfe witnesses to verify bis title. Shakspeare confidered the word with his ufual laxity, as importing rather teftimony than truth, and only meant to fay, I bore 3 Subtle means fmooth, level. 4 By witnefs to my friends with all the fine that verity would suffer. virginal palms may be understood the holding up the hands in fupplication. a peculiar right in revenge, in the power of forgiveness the Volcians are conjoined. fbamed, difgraced, made afbamed of ourselves.

5 i. c. Though I have 6 Sbent means


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You have respected; stopp'd your ears against
The general fuit of Rome; never admitted

A private whisper, no, not with such friends
That thought them fure of you.

Cer. This laft old man,

Whom with a crack'd heart I have fent to Rome,
Lov'd me above the measure of a father;
Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge
Was to fend him: for whofe old love, I have
(Though I fhew'd fourly to him) once more offer'd
The first conditions, which they did refuse,
And cannot now accept, to grace him only,
That thought he could do more; a very little
I have yielded too: Fresh embaffies, and fuits,
Nor from the ftate, nor private friends, hereafter
Will I lend ear to.-Ha! What shout is this?
[Shout within.
Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
In the fame time 'tis made? I will not.-

Enter Virgilia, Volumnia, Valeria, young Marcius,
with Attendants, all in mourning.

My wife comes foremoft; then the honour'd mold
Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand
The grandchild to her blood. But, out, affection!
All bond and privilege of nature, break!
Let it be virtuous, to be obftinate.-




Even to a full difgrace.-Beft of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, Forgive our Romans.-0, a kifs
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now by the jealous queen of heaven, that kifs
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er fince.-You gods! I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unfaluted: Sink, my knee, i' the earth;

Of thy deep duty more impreffion shew
Than that of common fons.

Vol. O, ftand up bleft!

Whilft, with no fofter cushion than the flint,
I kneel before thee; and unproperly

Shew duty, as mistaken all the while
Between the child and parent.

Cor. What is this?

Your knees to me? to your corrected son? 20 Then let the pebbles on the hungry beech



Fillop the ftars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedar's 'gainst the fiery fun;
Murd'ring impoffibility, to make
What cannot be, flight work.

Vol. Thou art my warrior!

I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?

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40 To fhame invulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great fea-mark, standing every flaw 3,
And faving those that eye thee!

What is that curt'fy worth? or thofe dove's eyes,
Which can make gods forfworn?—I melt, and 45

am not

Of ftronger earth than others.-My mother bows;
As if Olympus to a mole-hill fhould

In fupplication nod: and my young boy
Hath an afpect of interceffion, which
Great nature cries, Deny not,-Let the Volces
Plough Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never
Be fach a gofling to obey instinct; but stand,
As if a man were author of himself,
And knew no other kin.

Virg. My lord and husband!

Cer. These eyes are not the fame I wore in Rome. Virg. The forrow, that delivers us thus chang'd, Makes you think fo.

Cer. Like a dull actor now,

I have forgot my part, and I am out,

i, e. how openly.

Vol. Your knee, firrah.

Cor. That's my brave boy.

Vol. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myfelf, Are fuitors to you.

Cor. I befeech you, peace:\

Or, if you'd afk, remember this before;

50 The things, I have forfworn to grant, may never
Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
Difmifs my foldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics :-Tell me not
Wherein I feem unnatural: Defire not

55 To allay my rages and revenges, with
Your colder reasons.

Vol. Oh, no more, no more!

You have faid, you will not grant us any thing;
For we have nothing else to afk, but that
60 Which you deny already: Yet we will afk;
That, if we fail in our request, the blame

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May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us.
Cor. Aufidius, and you Volces, mark; for we'll
Hear nought fromRome in private.-Your requeft?
Vol. Should we be filent and not speak, our

Which thou shalt thereby reap, is fuch a name,
Whofe repetition will be dogg'd with curfes;
Whofe chronicle thus writ,-" The man was noble,
"But with his last attempt he wip'd it out:
5" Deftroy'd his country, and his name remains
To the enfuing age, abhorr'd." Speak to me, fon:
Thou haft affected the fine ftrains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods;

And state of bodies would bewray what life
We have led fince thy exile. Think with thyfelf,|
How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither: fince that thy fight, which
[comforts, 10
Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with
I Conftrains them weep, and shake with fear and

Making the mother, wife, and child, to fee
The fon, the husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we,
Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'ft us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy: For how can we,
Alas! how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound; together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound? Alack! or we must lofe
The country, our dear nurfe; or elfe thy perfon,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our with, which fide fhould win: for either thou
Muft, as a foreign recreant, be led
With manacles thorough our streets; or elfe
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin;
And bear the palm, for having bravely fhed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, fon,
I purpose not to wait on fortune, 'till
Thefe wars determine: if I cannot perfuade thee
Rather to fhew a noble grace to both parts,
Than feek the end of one, thou shalt no fooner
March to affault thy country, than to tread
(Truft to't, thou shalt not) on thy mother's womb,
That brought thee to this world.

Virg. Ay, and mine,

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air,
And yet to charge thy fulphur with a bolt
That fhould but rive an oak 2. Why doft not speak?
Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs?-Daughter, speak you?
He cares not for your weeping.-Speak thou, boy;
15 Perhaps, thy childishnefs will move him more
Than can our reafons.-There is no man in the

More bound to his mother; yet here he lets me prate, 3 Like one i' the ftocks. Thou haft never in thy life 20 Shew'd thy dear mother any courtesy;


When the, (poor hen!) fond of no fecond brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and fafely home,
Loaden with honour. Say, my request's unjust,
And fpurn me back: But, if it be not fo,
Thou art not honeft; and the gods will plague thee,
That thou reftrain'ft from me the duty, which
To a mother's part belongs.-He turns away:
Down, ladies; let us fhame him with our knees.
To his furname Coriolanus 'longs more pride,
30 Than pity to our prayers. Down: An end:
This is the laft:-So we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours.-Nay, behold us:
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,

But kneels, and holds up hands, for fellowship,
35 Does reafon 4 our petition with more strength
Than thou haft to deny 't.-Come, let us go:
This fellow had a Volce to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli, and this child
Like him by chance :-Yet give us our dispatch:

That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name 40 I am hush'd until our city be afire,
Living to time.

Boy. He fhall not tread on me;

I'll run away 'till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
Cor. Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
Requires nor child nor woman's face to fee.
I have fat too long.

Vol. Nay, go not from us thus.

If it were fo, that our request did tend

To fave the Romans, thereby to destroy


And then I'll speak a little,

Cur. Mother, mother!

[Holds ber by the bands, filent.
What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
45 The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
You have won a happy victory to Rome:
But, for your fon,-believe it, O, believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,

The Volces whom you ferve, you might condemn 50 If not moft mortal to him. But, let it come :-
As poifonous of your honour: No; our fuit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volces
May fay, "This mercy we have fhew'd;" the


"This we receiv'd;" and each in either fide
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, "Be blest
"For making up this peace!" Thou know'ft, great


The end of war's uncertain; but this certain,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit

Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my itead, fay, would you have heard
A mother lefs? or granted lefs, Aufidius?
55 Auf. I was mov'd withal.

Cur. I dare be fworn, you were;
And, fir, it is no little thing, to make
Mine eyes to fweat compaffion. But, good fir,
What peace you'll make, advise me: For my part,
60I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you: and pray you,

▾ That is, constrains the eye to weep, and the heart to shake. much, and yet be merciful.

4 i. e. argue for.

2 The meaning is, to threaten 3 i.e. keeps me in a state of ignominy talking to no purpote.


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[The Ladies make figns to Coriolanus.
Cor. Ay, by and by;
But we will drink together; and you shall bear
[To Volumnia, Virgilia, &c.
A better witness back than words, which we,
On like conditions, will have counter-feal'd.
Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
To have a temple built you: all the fwords
In Italy, and her confederate arms,

Could not have made this peace.


The Forum, in Rome.


Enter Menenius and Sicinius.



[Exeunt. 15

Enter another Mefferger.

Sic. What's the news?

Mef. Good news, good news ;—The ladies have

The Volces are diflodg'd, and Marcius gone:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,

No, not the expulfion of the Tarquins.

Sic. Friend,

Art thou certain, this is true? is it most certain ?
Mef. As certain, as I know the fun is fire:
Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
Ne'er through an arch so hurry'd the blown tide,
As the recomforted through the gates. Why,
hark you;

[Trumpets, hautbeys, drums beat, all together.
The trumpets, fackbuts, pfalteries, and fifes,
Tabors, and cymbals, and the fhouting Romans,
Make the fun dance. Hark you! [Afbout within.
Men. This is good news:

Men. See you yon coign o' the Capitol; yon20I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia corner-stone?

Sic. Why, what of that?

Men. If it be poffible for you to difplace it with] your little finger, there is fome hope the ladies of Rome, efpecially his mother, may prevail with him. 25 But, I fay, there is no hope in 't; our throats are fentenc'd, and stay upon execution.

Sic. Is 't poffible, that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?

Men. There is difference between a grub, and a butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a creeping thing.

Sic. He lov'd his mother dearly.



Men. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother now, than an eight year old horse 2. The tartness of his face fours ripe grapes. When he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground fhrinks before his treading. He is able to pierce a corflet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his 40 hum is a battery. He fits in his ftate, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done, is finish'd with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god, but eternity, and a heaven to throne in.

Sic. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly. Men. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall bring from him: There is no more mercy in him, than there is milk in a male tyger; and that shall our poor city find: and all this is 'long of you.

Sic. The gods be good unto us!

Men. No, in fuch a cafe the gods will not be good unto us. When we banish'd him, we refpected not them: and, he returning to break our necks, they refpect not us.

Enter a Muffinger.

Mef. Sir, if you'd fave your life, fly to your house :
The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune,
And hale him up and down; all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.


Is worth of confuls, fenators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes, fuch as you,

A fea and land full: You have pray'd well to-day;
This morning, for ten thousand of your throats
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
[Sound ftill, with the fhouts.
Sic. First, the gods blefs you for your tidings:
Accept my thankfulness.
Mef. Sir, we have all great cause to give great


Sic. They are near the city?
Mef. Almoft at point to enter.

Sic. We'll meet them, and help the joy. [Exeunt.
Enter two Senators, with the Ladies, paffing over the
Stage, &c. &c.

Sen. Behold our patronefs, the life of Rome :
Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
And make triumphant fires; ftrew flowers before

Unfhout the noife that banish'd Marcius,
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother:
Cry,-Welcome, ladies, welcome!
All. Welcome, ladies, welcome!

[A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt.


A publick Place in Antium.

Enter Tullus Aufidius, with Attendants. Auf. Go tell the lords of the city, I am here: 50 Deliver them this paper: having read it, Bid them repair to the market-place; where I, Even in theirs and in the commons' ears, Will vouch the truth of it. He 1 accufe, The city ports by this hath enter'd, and 55 Intends to appear before the people, hoping To purge himfelf with words: Dispatch.-Moft welcome!

Enter three or four Confpirators of Aufidius' faction. 1 Con. How is it with our general ?

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'I will take advantage of this conceffion to restore myself to my former credit and power. intelligitur remembers bis dam.

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