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Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a noble Roman.
Menenius Agrippa, Friend to Coriolanus. Sicinius Velutus, Tribunes of the People. Junius Brutus,
Young Marcius, Son to Coriolanus.
A Roman Herald.
Tullus Aufidius, General of the Volscians.
Conspirators with Aufidius.
SCENE, partly in Rome, and partly in the territories of the Volscians and Antiates.
Cit. Resolved, resolved.
1 Cit. First, you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.
Cit. We know't, we know't.
A Citizen of Antium. Two Volscian Guards.
1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict? Laway. Cit. No more talking on't; let it be done: away, 2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good: what authority surfeits on, would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.-Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius? [commonalty. Cit. Against him first; he's a very dog to the 2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?
1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
Volumnia, Mother to Coriolanus. Virgilia, Wife to Coriolanus. Valeria, Friend to Virgilia. Gentlewoman, attending Virgilia.
2 Cit Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft conscienced men can be content to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ediles, Lict ors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other attendants.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: you must in no way say, he is covetous.
1 Cit. If I must not, need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o'the city is risen: why stay we prating here? to the capitol.
Cit. Come, come.
1 Cit. Soft; who comes here?
2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
1 Cit. He's one honest enough; 'would all the rest were so!
Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you [you. With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray 1 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say, poor suitors have strong breaths, they shall know, we have strong arms too.
Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine Will you undo yourselves? [honest neighbours,
1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already. Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman state; whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment: for the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity Thither where more attends you; and you slander The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers When you curse them as enemies.
1 Cit. Care for us!-True, indeed!-They
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :-
1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
1 Cit. Your belly's answer. What!
Men. What then?
'Fore me, this fellow speaks!-what then? what 1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be reWho is the sink o'the body,[strain'd,
Men. Well, what then?
1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?
Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe? [est,
Men. I will tell you;
If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little) Patience, awhile, you'll hear the belly's answer.
Cit. You are long about it.
Men. Note me this, good friends; Your most grave belly was deliberate, Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd. True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he, "That I receive the general food at first, Which you do live upon; and fit it is; Because I am the store-house, and the shop Of the whole body: but if you do remember, I send it through the rivers of your blood, [brain; Even to the court, the heart,-to the seat o'the And, through the cranks and offices of man, The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins, From me receive the natural competency
Mar. Thanks.-What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs ?
1 Cit. We have ever your good word. [flatter Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will Beneath abhorring.—What would you have, you [you, That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights The other makes you proud. He that trusts you, Where he should find you lions, finds you hares; Where foxes, geese. You are no surer, no, Than is the coal of fire upon the ice, Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is, To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him, And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatDeserves your hate: and your affections are [ness, A sick man's appetite, who desires most that, Which would increase his evil. He that depends Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead, And hews down oaks with rushes. Hangye! Trust With every minute you do change a mind: [ye? And call him noble, that was now your hate, Him vile, that was your garland. What's the matThat in these several places of the city [ter, You cry against the noble senate, who, Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else [ing? Would feed on one another?-What's their seek
Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they The city is well stor❜d.
Mar. Hang 'em! They say?
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
Conjectural marriages: making parties strong,
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high As I could pick my lance.
Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded; For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech What says the other troop? [you, Mar. They are dissolv'd. Hang 'em! [verbs; They said, they were an hungry; sigh'd forth proThat, hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must eat; That, meat was made for mouths; that, the gods sent Corn for rich men only. With these shreds [not They vented their complainings; which being anAnd a petition granted them, a strange one [swer'd, (To break the heart of generosity, [caps And make bold power look pale,) they threw their As they would hang them on the horns o'the moon, Shouting their emulation.
Men. What is granted them?
Mar. Five tribunes, to defend their valgar wisOf their own choice. One's Junius Brutus, y Sicinius Velutus, and I know not 'Sdeath! The rabble should have first unroof'd the city Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes For insurrection's arguing.
Men. This is strange.
Mar. Go, get you home, you fragments!
Bru. The present wars devour him: he is grown Too proud to be so valiant. Sic. Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder, His insolence can brook to be commanded.
Bru. Fame, at the which he aims,In whom already he is well grac'd, cannot Better be held, nor more attain'd, than by A place below the first: for what miscarries Shall be the general's fault, though he perform To the utmost of a man; and giddy censure Will then cry out of Marcius, O, if he Had borne the business!
Enter Volumnia and Virgilia: they sit down on two low stools, and sew.
Vol. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a more comfortable sort: if my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour, than in the embracements of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way; when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I, considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown made it not stir,—was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, -I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.
Vir. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?
Like to a harvest-man, that's task'd to mow Or all, or lose his hire.
Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely:-had I a dozen sons,—each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Enter a gentlewoman.
Gent. Madam, the lady Valeria is come to visit you.
Vir. 'Beseech you, give me leave to retire Vol. Indeed, you shall not. dia [myself. Methinks, I hear hither your husband's drum; See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair; As children from a bear, the Volces shunning him: Methinks, I see him stamp thus, and call thus,Come on, you cowards; you were got in fear, Though you were born in Rome.'His bloodybrow With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes;
Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.
Val. How do you both? you are manifest housekeepers. What, are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith.-How does your little son?
Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam. Vol. He had rather see the swords, and hear a [exeunt. drum, than look upon his schoolmaster.
Vir. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius? Vol. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee, And tread upon his neck.
Re-enter gentlewoman, with Valeria and her usher
Val. O'my word, the father's son: I'll swear, 'tis a very pretty boy. O'my troth, I look'd upon him o'Wednesday half an hour together: he has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again: or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth, and tear it; O, I warrant. how he mammock'd it!os
Vol. One of his father's moods.
Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle huswife with me this afternoon. Vir. No, good madam; I will not out of doors. Val. Not out of doors?
Vol. She shall, she shall. 25
Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience I will not over the threshold, till my lord return from the wars.
Val. Fie,you confine yourself most unreasonably: come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.
Vir. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my prayers; but I cannot go thither. Vol. Why, I pray you?
[love. Vir. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want Val. You would be another Penelope; yet, they say, all the yarn she spun, in Ulysses' absence, did but fill Ithica full of moths. Come; I would, your cambrick were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, 1 will not forth.
with one part of our Roman power: your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city, Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
Vir. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every thing hereafter.
Vol. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our better mirth.
Val. In troth, I think, she would.-Fare you well, then.-Come, good sweet lady.-Pr'ythee, Virgilia, turn thy solemnness out o'door, and go along with us.
Vir. No; at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish you much mirth.
Val. Well, then, farewell.
SCENE IV. BEFORE CORIOLI.
Enter, with drum and colours, Marcius, Titus Lar-
Mar. 'Tis done.
You shames of Rome! you herd of-Boils and
Mar. Say, has our general met the enemy?
Lart. No, I'll nor sell, nor give him: lend you him I will,
For half a hundred years.-Summon the town.
To help our fielded friends!-Come, blow thy blast.
1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he, That's lesser than a little, Hark, our drums alarums afar off. Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls, Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates, Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes:
They'll open of themselves.
Hark you, far off:
Mar. O, they are at it.
Lart. O, noble fellow!
Who, sensible, outdares his senseless sword,
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.
SCENE V. WITHIN THE TOWN. A STREET.
Enter certain Romans, with spoils.
3 Rom. A murrain on't! I took this for silver. [alarum continues, still afar off. Enter Marcius and Titus Lartius, with a trumpet. Mar. See here these movers, that do prize their hours
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Mar. All the contagion of the south light on you. To help Comiuius.