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Act IV. Scene 5.



MENENIUS AGRIPPA; Friend to Coriolanus.

Generals against the Volscians.



Tribunes of the People.

Young MARCIUS, Son to Coriolanus.

A Roman Herald.

TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of the Volscians.

Lieutenant to Aufidius.

Conspirators with Aufidius.

A Citizen of Antium.

Two Volscian Guards.

VOLUMNIA, Mother to Coriolanus.
VIRGILIA, Wife to Coriolanus.
VALERIA, Friend to Virgilia.

Gentlewoman, attending Virgilia.

Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ediles,
Lictors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to
Aufidius, and other Attendants.

SCENE,-Partly in Rome; and partly in the Territories of the Volscians and Antiates.

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(Several speaking at once.) 1 Cit. Yon are all resolved rather to die, than to famish?

Cit. Resolved, resolved.

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 conscienc'd 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.

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, I need not be barren of ac

1 Cit. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief casations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in enemy to the people.

Cit. We know't, we know't.

1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our

own price. Is't a verdict?


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 [commonalty. Caius Marcius? 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 bim good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.

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 Čit. He's one honest enough; 'Would, all the

rest were so!

Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? [you.

Where go you

1 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll shew '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 ho[nest neighbours, Will you undo yourselves? 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 the beaven 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.
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 ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.

Men. Either you must

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will ventare
To scale't a little more.

1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver. [members

Men. There was a time, when all the body's Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :That only like a gulf it did remain I'the midst o'the body, idle and inactive, Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing Like labour with the rest; where the other instru


Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answer'd,-

1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly? Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus, (For, look you, I may make the belly smile, As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied!

To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators, for that
They are not such as you.

1 Cit.
Your belly's answer: What!
The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps

In this our fabric, if that they


What then?

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Well, what then? 1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?


I will tell you;
If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little)
Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's answer.
1 Cit. You are long about it.
Note me this, good friend;
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,

Even to the court, the heart,-to the seat o'the brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves, and small inferior veine
From me receive that natural competen

Whereby they live: And though that all at once,
You, my good friends (this says the belly,) mark
1 Cit. Ay, sir; well, well.

[me,Though all at once cannot

See what I do deliver out to each;
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flower of all,
And leave me but the bran. What say you to't?
1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this?
Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members: For examine
Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly,
Touching the weal o'the common; you shall find,
No public benefit which you receive,
But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you,
And no way from yourselves.-What do you think?
You, the great toe of this assembly?—

1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
Men. For that being one o'the lowest, basest,

Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost:
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run
Lead'st first to win some vantage.-

But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs;
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle,
The one side must have bale.-Hail, noble Marcins!

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.
Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will
Beneath abhorring.-What would you have, you
That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you,
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 great-




Deserves your hate: and your affections are
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. Hang ye! Trust
With every minute you do change a mind;
And call him noble, that was now your hate,
Him vile, that was your garland. What's the mat-
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another?-What's their seeking?
Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they
The city is well stor❜d.
'Hang em! they say?
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
What's done i'the Capitol: who's like to rise,
Who thrives, and who declines: side factions, and
give out

Conjectural marriages: making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking,
Below their cobbled shoes. They say, there's grain

Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
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?
They are dissolved: Hang 'em!
They said, they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth pro-



That, hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must eat;

[sent not That, meat was made for mouths; that, the gods Corn for the rich men only:-With these shreds They vented their complainings; which being answer'd,

And a petition granted them, a strange one, [caps (To break the heart of generosity, And make bold power look pale,) they threw their As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon, Shouting their emulation.

[doms, Men. What is granted them? Mar. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisOf their own choice: One's Junius Brutus, 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.


This is strange.

Mar. Go, get you home, you fragments!

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Where's Caius Marcius?
Mar. Here: What's the matter?

Mess. The news is, sir, the Volces are in arms.
Mar. I am glad on't; then we shall have means
to vent

Our musty superfluity :-See, our best elders. Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators; JUNIUS BRUTUS, and SICINIUS VELUTUS. 1 Sen. Marcius, 'tis true, that you have lately [told us; The Volces are in arms.

They have a leader, Mar. to't. Tallus Aufidius, that will put you I sin in envying his nobility: And were I any thing but what I am, I would wish me only he. You have fought together. Com. Mar. Were half to half the world by the ears, [and he Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make Only my wars with him: he is a lion That I am proud to hunt.

Which he treads on at noon: But I do wonder,
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Under Cominius.


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!


Besides, if things go well,
Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.



Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though, indeed,
In aught he merit not.
Let's hence, and hear
How the despatch is made; and in what fashion,
More than in singularity, he goes

Upon his present action.

Let's along.


SCENE II.-Corioli. The Senate-House.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, and certain Senators.
1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels,
And know how we proceed.
Is it not yours?
What ever hath been thought on in this state,
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? "Tis not four days gone,
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think,
I have the letter here; yes, here it is:
They have press'd a power, but it is not known
Whether for east or, west: The dearth is great;
The people mutinous: and it is rumour'd,"
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
(Who is of Rome worse hated thun of you,)
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation,
Whither 'tis bent: most likely, 'tis for you:
Consider of it.

Sen. Attend upon

Com. It is Mar.

Then, worthy Marcius, Cominius to these wars. former promise. your

1 Sen.

Sir, it is ;

And I am constant.-Titus Lartins, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face:
What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?
No, Caius Marcius;
I'll lean upon one crutch, and fight with the other,
Ere stay behind this business.

O, true bred!


Lead you on:

1 Sen. Your company to the capitol; where, I Our greatest friends attend us.

Follow, Cominius; we must follow you;
Right worthy you priority.



Noble Lartius!

1 Sen. Hence! To your homes, be gone.
(To the Citizens.)
Nay, let them follow:
The Volces have much corn; take these rats thither,
To gnaw their garners:-Worshipful mutineers,
Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
[Exeunt Senators, Com. Mar. Tit. and
Menen. Citizens steal away.
Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
Bru. He has no equal.
Sic. When we were chosen tribunes for the peo-
Bru. Mark'd you his lip, and eyes?
Nay, but his taunts.
Bru. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the
Sic. Be-mock the modest moon.
Bru. The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.
Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow

Our army's in the field: We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready To answer us.


Nor did you think it folly, To keep your great pretences veil'd, till when They needs must shew themselves; which in the hatching,

It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery
We shall be shorten'd in our aim; which was,
To take in many towns, ere, almost, Rome
Should know we were afoot.

Noble Aufidius,
2 Sen.
Take your commission: hie you to your bands:
Let us alone to guard Corioli:

If they set down before us, for the remove
Bring up your army; but, I think, you'll find
They have not prepar'd for us.
O, doubt not that;
I speak from certainties. Nay, more,
Some parcels of their powers are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your honours.
If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,

'Tis sworn between us, we shall never strike,
Till one can do no more.
The gods assist you!
Auf. And keep your honours safe!

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self 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 shew 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?

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 [self. Vir. 'Beseech you, give me leave to retire myVol. Indeed, you shall not. 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 bloody brow With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes; Like to a harvest-man, that's task'd to mow Or all, or lose his hire.

Vir. His bloody brow! O, Jupiter, no blood! Vol. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man, Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba, When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier Than Hector's forehead, when it spit forth blood At Grecian swords contending.-Tell Valeria, We are fit to bid her welcome.

[Exit Gent. 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. My ladies both, good day to you.
Vol. Sweet madam,-

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 drum, than look upon his school-master.

Val. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear, 'tis a very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked 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 mammocked it!

Vol. One of his father's moods.
Val. Indeed la, 'tis a noble child.
Vir. A crack, madam.

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.

Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience: I will not

over the threshold, till my lord return from the


Val. Fy, 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?

Vir. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love. Val. You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all the yarn she spun, in Ulysses' absence, did but fill Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would your cambric were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with [will not forth.


Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I Val. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.

Vir. O, good madam, there can be none yet. Val. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him last night.

Vir. Indeed, madam?

Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is :-The Volces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, 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 ns.

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 solemness 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.


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Now, Mars, I pr'ythee, make us quick in work; That we with smoking swords may march from hence,

To help our fielded friends!—Come, blow thy blast. They sound a parley. Enter, on the walls, some Senators, and others.

Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he ; That's lesser than a little. Hark, our drums (Alarums afar of.) 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.

There is Aufidius; list, what
Amongst your cloven army.

Hark you, far off; (Other Alarums.) work he makes


O, they are at it! [ho!
Lart. Their noise be our instruction.-Ladders,
The Volces enter, and pass over the stage.
Mar. They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields.-Advance,
brave Titus:


Ere yet the fight be done, pack up :-Down with [him :And hark, what noise the general makes!-To There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius, Piercing our Romans: Then, valiant Titus, take Convenient numbers to make good the city; Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste To help Cominius, Lart. Worthy sir, thou bleed'st; Which makes me sweat with wrath.-Come on, Thy exercise hath been too violent for

They do disdain as much beyond our thoughts,

my fellows;

He that retires, I'll take him for a Volce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

Alarum, and exeunt Romans and Volces, fighting.
The Romans are beaten back to their trenches.
Re-enter MARCIUS.

Mar. All the contagion of the south light on you, You shames of Rome! you herd of Boils and plagues

Plaster you o'er; that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat? Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear; Mend, and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe,
And make my wars on you: look to't: Come on;
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.

Another alarum. The Volces and Romans Re-enter,
and the fight is renewed. The Volces retire into
Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the gates.
So, now the gates are ope: Now prove good seconds:
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the flyers: mark me, and do the like.
(He enters the gates, and is shut in.)
1 Sol. Fool-hardiness; not I.
2 Sol.

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Nor I.
See, they
(Alarum continues.)
To the pot, I warrant him.

Lart. What is become of Marcius?

Slain, sir, doubtless.

1 Sol. Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters: who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd-to their gates; he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.



O noble fellow!
Who, sensible, outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up! Thou art left, Mar-
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks, and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous, and did tremble.

Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy.
Look, sir.
1 Sol.
"Tis Marcius:
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.
(They fight, and all enter the city.)
Within the Town. A Street.


Enter certain Romans, with spoils.

1 Rom. This will I carry to Rome.

2 Rom. And I this.

3 Rom. A murrain on't! I took this for silver.
(Alarum still continues afar off.)


Mar. See here these movers, that do prize their


At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,

A second course of fight.

Sir, praise me not:
My work hath not yet warm'd me: Fare you well.
The blood I drop is rather physical
Than dangerous to me: To Aufidius thus
I will appear, and fight.

Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms
Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!
Thy friend no less
Than those she placeth highest! So, farewell.
Lart. Thou worthiest Marcius! [Exit Marcius.
Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers of the town,

Where they shall know our mind: Away. [Exeunt.
SCENE VI. Near the Camp of Cominius.
Enter COMINIUS and Forces, retreating.
Com. Breathe you, my friends; well fought: we
are come off

Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Nor cowardly in retire: Believe me, sirs,
We shall be charg'd again. Whiles we have struck,
By interims, and conveying gusts, we have heard
The charges of our friends:-The Roman gods
Lead their successes as we wish our own;
That both our powers, with smiling fronts encoun-
Enter a Messenger.
May give you thankful sacrifice!-Thy news?
Mess. The citizens of Corioli have issued,
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle:
I saw our party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.

Though thou speak'st truth,
Methinks, thou speak'st not well. How long is't
Mess. Above an hour, my lord.


Com. "Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
How could'st thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?


Spies of the Volces
Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.


Who's yonder,
That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods!
He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have
Before-time seen him thus.


Come I too late?
Com. The shepherd knows not thunder from a

More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
From every meaner man's.

Mar. Come I too late?

Com. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others, But mantled in your own.


O! let me clip you
In arms as sound, as when I woo'd; in heart
As merry, as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn'd to bedward.


How is't with Titus Lartius?

Flower of warriors,

Mar. As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threat'ning the other
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,

Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
To let him slip at will.

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