Page images

say that: for the defence of a town, our general is 1 Serv. Ay, and for an assault too. [excellent. Re-enter third Servant.

3 Serv. O, slaves, I can tell you news; news, you rascals.

1.2. Serv. What, what, what? let's partake. 3 Serv. I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as lieve be a condemned man.

1.2. Serv. Wherefore? wherefore?

3 Serv. Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,-Caius Marcius.

1 Serv. Why do you say, thwack our general? 3 Serv. I do not say, thwack our general; but he was always good enough for him.

2 Serv. Come, we are fellows, and friends: he was ever too hard for him; I have heard him say so himself.

1 Serv. He was too hard for him directly, to say the truth on't: before Corioli he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado.

2 Serv. An he had been cannibally given, he might have broiled and eaten him too.

1 Serv. But, more of thy news?

3 Serv. Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son and heir to Mars: set at upper end o'the table: no question asked him by any of the senators, but they stand bald before him: Our general himself makes a mistress of him; sanctifies himself with's hand, and turns up the white o'the eye to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is, our general is cut i'the middle, and but one half of what he was yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says, and sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears: He will mow down all before him, and leave his passage poll'd. 2 Serv. And he's as like to do't, as any man I can imagine.

3 Serv. Do't? he will do't: For, look you, sir, he has as many friends as enemies: which friends, sir, (as it were,) durst not (look you, sir,) shew themselves (as we term it,) his friends, whilst he's in directitude.

1 Serv. Directitude! what's that?

3. Serv. But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again, and the man in blood, they will out of their burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with him.

1 Serv. But when goes this forward?

3 Serv. To-morrow; to-day; presently. You shall have the drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were, a parcel of the feast, and to be executed ere they wipe their lips.

2 Serv. Why, then we shall have a stiring world again. This peace is nothing, but to rust iron, increase tailors, and breed ballad-makers.

1 Serv. Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace, as far as day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more bastard children, than wars a destroyer of men.

2 Serv. 'Tis so: and as wars, in some sort, may be said to be a ravisher; so it cannot be denied, but peace is a great maker of cuckolds.

1 Serv. Ay, and it makes men hate one another. 3 Serv. Reason; because they then less need one another. The wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheap as Volcians. They are rising, they are rising.

All. In, in, in, in.


SCENE VI.-Rome. A Public place. Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS. Sic. We hear not of him, neither need we fear him; His remedies are tame i' the present peace And quietness o'the people, which before Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends Blush, that the world goes well; who rather had, Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold

Dissentious numbers pestering streets, than see Our tradesmen singing in their shops, and going About their functions friendly.


Bru. We stood to't in good time. Is this Menenius?

Sic. 'Tis he, 'tis he: O, he is grown most kind Of late. Hail, sir! Men.

Hail to you both!

Sic. Your Coriolanus, sir, is not much miss'd,
But with his friends: the common-wealth doth stand;
And so would do, were he more angry at it.
Men. All's well; and might have been much
better, if

He could have temporiz'd.
Where is he, hear you?
Men. Nay, I hear nothing; his mother and his wife
Hear nothing from him.

Enter three or four Citizens. Cit. The gods preserve you both! Sic. Good-e'en, our neighbours. Bru. Good-e'en to you all, good-e'en to you all. 1 Cit. Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,

Are bound to pray for you both.
Live, and thrive!
Bru. Farewell, kind neighbours: We wish'd
Had lov'd you as we did.

Now the gods keep you!
Both Tri. Farewell, farewell. [Exeunt Citizens.
Sic. This is a happier and more comely time,
Than when these fellows ran about the streets,
Crying, Confusion.


Caius Marcius was

A worthy officer i' the war; but insolent,
O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
And affecting one sole throne,
Without assistance.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Com. O, you have made good work!


What news? what news?

[blocks in formation]

Cit. 'Faith, we hear fearful news. 1 Cit. For mine own part, When I said, banish him, I said, 'twas pity. 2 Cit. And so did I.

Com. You have holp to ravish your own daugh- very many of us: That we did, we did for the best: 3 Cit. And so did I; and to say the truth, so did

ters, and

To melt the city leads upon your pates;

To see your wives dishonour'd to your noses ;-
Men. What's the news? what's the news?
Com. Your temples burned in their cement; and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confin'd
Into an augre's bore.


Pray now, your news?—

You have made fair work, I fear me :-Pray, your


[blocks in formation]

Your Rome about your ears. Men.

He will shake

As Hercules


Did shake down mellow fruit: You have made fair
Bru. But is this true, sir?
Ay; and you'll look pale
Before you find it other. All the regions
Do smilingly revolt; and, who resist,
Are only mock'd for valiant ignorance,
And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
Your enemies, and his, find something in him.
Men. We are all undone, unless
The noble man have mercy.

Who shall ask it?
The tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
Deserve such pity of him, as the wolf

Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
Should say, Be good to Rome, they charg'd him even
As those should do that had deserv'd his hate,
And therein shew'd like enemies.

[blocks in formation]

and though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our will.

Com. You are goodly things, you voices! Men. You have made Good work, you and your cry!-Shall us to the Com. O, ay; what else? [Capitol? [Exeunt Com. and Men. These are a side, that would be glad to have Sic. Go, masters, get you home, be not dismay'd; This true, which they so seem to fear. Go home, And shew no sign of fear.

1 Cit. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. I ever said, we were i'the wrong, when we banish'd him.

2 Cit. So did we all. But come, let's home.

[blocks in formation]

Enter AUFIDIUS, and his Lieutenant. Auf. Do they still fly to the Roman? Lieu. I do not know what witchcraft's in him; but Your soldiers use him as the grace 'fore meat, Their talk at table, and their thanks at end; And you are darken'd in this action, sir, Even by your own. Auf. I cannot help it now; Unless, by using means, I lame the foot Of our design. He bears himself more proadlier Even to my person, than I thought he would, When first I did embrace him: Yet his nature In that's no changeling; and I must excuse What cannot be amended.


Yet I wish, sir, (I mean for your particular,) you had not Join'd in commission with him: but either Had borne the action of yourself, or else To him had left it solely.

Auf. I understand thee well; and be thou sure, When he shall come to his account, he knows not What I can urge against him. Although it seems, And so he thinks, and is no less apparent To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly, And shews good husbandry for the Volcian state; Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon As draw his sword: yet he hath left undone

That, which shall break his neck, or hazard mine,
Whene'er we come to our account.
Lieu. Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry
Auf. All places yield to him, ere he sits down,
And the nobility of Rome are his :

The senators, and patricians, love him too:
The tribunes are no soldiers; and their people
Will be as rash in the repeal, as hasty

To expel him thence. I think, he'll be to Rome,
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature. First he was
A noble servant to them; but he could not
Carry his honours even whether 'twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
To fail in the disposing of those chances
Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
Not to be other than one thing, not moving
From the casque to the cushion, but commanding

Even with the same austerity and garb
As he controll'd the war: but, one of these,
(As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him,) made him fear'd,
So hated, and so banish'd: But he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance. So our virtues
Lie in the interpretation of the time;
And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
To extol what it hath done.

One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights fouler, strength by strengths, do fail.
Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine.


SCENE I.-Rome. A public Place. Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and others.

Men. No, I'll not go: you hear, what he hath said, Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him In a most dear particular. He call'd me, father: But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him, A mile before his tent fall down, and kneel The way into his mercy: Nay, if he coy'd To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home. Com. He would not seem to know me. Men. Do you 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, titleless, Till he had forg'd himself a name i' the fire Of burning Rome.


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

Com. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon, When it was less expected: He replied, It was a bare petition of a state To one whom they had punish'd. Men.

Could he say less?

Very well:

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, musty chaff: He said, 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And still to nose the offence.

For one poor grain
Or two? I am one of those; his mother, wife,
His child, and this brave fellow too, we are the
grains :

You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt Above the moon: We must be burnt for you. Sic. Nay, pray, be patient: If you refuse your aid In this so never-heeded help, yet do not Upbraid us with our distress, But, sure, if you

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Well, and say that Marcius

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

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

Yet your good will
Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
As you intended well.
I'll undertake it:
I think, he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip,
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
These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch
Till he be dieted to my request,
And then I'll set upon him.


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


He'll never hear him.

Good faith, I'll prove him,
Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
Of my success.
Com. I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury
The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him:
'Twas very faintly he said, Rise; dismiss'd me
Thus, with his speechless hand: What he would do,
He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
Bound with an oath, to yield to his conditions:
So, that all hope is vain,

Unless his noble mother, and his wife;
Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him

For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,
And with our fair entreaties haste them on. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. An advanced Post of the Volcian Camp
before Rome. The Guard at their stations.
Enter to them MENENIUS.

1 G. Stay: Whence are you? 2 G.

Stand, and go back. Men. You guard like men; 'tis well: But, by your leave,

I am an officer of state, and come
To speak with Coriolanus.

1 G.


From whence?

From Rome.

[blocks in formation]

1 G. 'Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf, as you have uttered words in your own, you should not pass here: no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chastely. Therefore, go back. Men. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always factionary on the party of your general.

2 G. Howsoever you have been his liar, (as you say, you have,) I am one that, telling true under him, must say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back. Men. Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would not speak with him till after dinner.

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

1 G. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have push'd out your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front his revenges with the easy groans of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution: you are condemned, our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.

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

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

1 G. My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go, lest I let forth your half pint of blood ;-back, -that's the utmost of your having:-back. Men. Nay, but fellow, fellow,

Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. Cor. What's the matter?

Men. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you; you shall know now, that I am in estimation; you shall perceive, that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment with him, if thou stand'st not i' the state of hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee. The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father Menenius does! O, my son! my son! thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to thee; but being assured, none but myself could move thee, I have been blown out of your gates with sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here; this, who, like a block, hath denied my access to thee.

Cor. Away!

Men. How! away?

2G. What cause, do you think, I have to swoon? Men. I neither care for the world, nor your general: for such things as you, I can scarce think there's any, you are so slight. He, that hath a will to die by himself, fears it not from another. Let your general do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was said to, Away! [Exit.

1 G. Á noble fellow, I warrant him. 2G. The worthy fellow is our general: He is the rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.-The Tent of Coriolanus. Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others. Cor. We will before the walls of Rome to-morrow Set down our host.-My partner in this action, You must report to the Volcian lords, how plainly I have borne this business. Auf.

Only their ends You have respected; stopp'd your ears against The general suit of Rome; never admitted A private whisper, no, not with such friends That thought them sure of you. Cor. This last old man, Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome, Lov'd me above the measure of a father; Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge Was to send him; for whose old love, I have (Though I shew'd sourly 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 embassies, and suits, Nor from the state, 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 same time 'tis made? I will not.Enter, in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, leading young MARCIUS, VALERIA, and Attendants. My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mould Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand The grand-child to her blood. But, out, affection! All bond and privilege of nature, break! Let it be virtuous, to be obstinate.What is that curt'sy worth? or those dove's eyes, Which can make gods forsworn?--I melt, and am not Of stronger earth than others.-My mother bows; As if Olympus to a molehill should In supplication nod: and my young boy Hath an aspect of intercession, which Great nature cries, Deny not.-Let the Volces Plough Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never Be such a gosling to obey instinct; but stand, As if a man were author of himself, And knew no other kin. Vir. My lord and husband! Cor. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome. Vir. The sorrow, that delivers us thus chang'd, Like a dull actor now, I have forgot my part, and I am out, Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh, Forgive my tyranny; but do not say, For that, Forgive our Romans.-O, a kiss Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge! Now by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip Hath virgin'd it e'er since.-You gods! I prate, And the most noble mother of the world Leave unsaluted: Sink, my knee, i' the earth; (Kneels.)


Cor. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs Makes you think so.
Are servanted to others: Though I owe
My revenge properly, my remission lies

In Volcian breasts. That we have been familiar,
Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather
Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone.
Mine ears against your suits are stronger, than
Your gates against my force. Yet, for I lov'd thee,
Take this along; I writ it for thy sake,

(Gives a letter.)
And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius,
I will not hear thee speak.-This man, Aufidius,
Was my belov'd in Rome: yet thou behold'st-
Auf. You keep a constant temper.

[Exeunt Coriolanus and Aufidius. 1 G. Now, sir, is your name Menenius? 2 G. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: You know the way home again.

1 G. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your greatness back?

Of thy deep duty more impression shew Than that of common sons.


O, stand up bless'd! Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint, I kneel before thee; and unproperly Shew duty, as mistaken all the while Between the child and parent.




What is this?
Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun;
Murd'ring impossibility, to make

What cannot be, slight work.

Thou art my warrior;
I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
Cor. The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome; chaste as the icicle,
That's curded by the frost from purest snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple: Dear Valeria!
Vol. This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
May shew like all yourself.

The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou may'st prove
To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye thee!


Your knee, sirrah.

Cor. That's my brave boy.
Vol. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.

I beseech you, peace:
Or, if you'd ask, remember this before;
The things, I have forsworn to grant, may never
Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics :-Tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural: Desire not
To allay my rages and revenges, with
Your colder reasons.


O, no more, no more!

You have said, you will not grant us any thing;
For we have nothing else to ask, but that
Which you deny already: Yet we will ask ;
That, if you fail in our request, the blame
May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us:
Cor. Aufidius, and you Volces, mark; for we'll
Hear nought from Rome in private.-Your request?
Vol. Should we be silent and not speak, our rai-

And state of bodies would bewray what life
We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself,
How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither: since that thy sight, which

Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with

Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and


Making the mother, wife, and child, to see
The son, the husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we,
Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st 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 lose
The country, our dear nurse; or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win : for either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led
With manacles thorough our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin;
And bear the palm, for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune, till
These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to shew a noble grace to both parts,
Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country, than to tread
(Trust to't, thou shalt not,) on thy mother's womb,
That brought thee to this world.

Ay, and on mine,

That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name
Living to time.


He shall 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 see.
I have sat too long.



Nay, go not from us thus.
If it were so, that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volces whom you serve, you might condemn us
As poisonous of your honour: No; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volces
May say, This mercy we have shew'd; the Romans,
This we received; and each in either side
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, Be bless'd
For making up this peace! Thou know'st, great son,
The end of war's uncertain; but this certain,
Which thou shalt thereby reap, is such a name,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses;
Whose chronicle thus writ,-The man was noble,
But with his last attempt he wip'd it out;
Destroy'd his country; and his name remains
Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To the ensuing age, abhorr'd. Speak to me, son:
To imitate the graces of the gods;

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o'the air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost 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:
Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons.-There is no man in the
More bound to his mother; yet here he lets me
Like one i'the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
Shew'd thy dear mother any courtesy ;
When she, (poor hen!) fond of no second brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home,
Loaden with honour. Say, my request's unjust,
Thon art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,
And spurn me back: But, if it be not so,
That thou restrain'st from me the duty, which
To a mother's part belongs.-He turns away:
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride,
Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
This is the last;-So we will home to Rome,
Than pity to our prayers. Down; an end;
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,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny't.-Come, let us go;
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli, and his child
Like him by chance :-Yet give us our despatch:
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.

O mother, mother!
(Holding Volumnia by the hands, silent.)
What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
my mother, mother! O!
They laugh at.
You have won a happy victory to Rome:
But, for your son,-believe it, O, believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
If not most mortal to him. But, let it come:-
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my stead, say, would you have heard
A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?
Auf. I was mov'd withal.


I dare be sworn, you were:
And, sir, it is no little thing, to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you,
What peace you'll make, advise me: For my part,
Stand to me in this cause.-O mother! wife!

« PreviousContinue »