ACT I SCENE I. Rome. A street.
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and
Before we proceed any further, hear me
You are all resolved rather to die than to
First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the
We know't, we know't.
Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own
Is't a verdict?
No more talking on't; let it be done: away,
One word, good citizens.
We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians
What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if
would yield us but the superfluity, while it
wholesome, we might guess they relieved us
but they think we are too dear: the leanness
afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as
inventory to particularise their abundance;
sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this
our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know
speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for
Would you proceed especially against Caius
Against him first: he's a very dog to the
Consider you what services he has done for his
Very well; and could be content to give him
report fort, but that he pays himself with being
Nay, but speak not
I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he
it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can
content to say it was for his country he did it
please his mother and to be partly proud; which
is, even till the altitude of his
What he cannot help in his nature, you account
vice in him. You must in no way say he is
If I must not, I need not be barren of
he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in
Shouts withinWhat shouts are these? The other
side o' the city
is risen: why stay we prating here? to
Soft! who comes here?
Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA
Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always
He's one honest enough: would all the rest were
What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where go
With bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray
Our business is not unknown to the senate; they
had inkling this fortnight what we intend to
which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say
suitors have strong breaths: they shall know
have strong arms too.
Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest
Will you undo
We cannot, sir, we are undone
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 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
where more attends you, and you slander
The helms o' the
state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse
them as enemies.
Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er cared for
yet: suffer us to famish, and their
crammed with grain; make edicts for usury,
support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome
established against the rich, and provide
piercing statutes daily, to chain up and
the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will;
there's all the love they bear
Either you must
yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accused of folly. I
shall tell you
A pretty tale: it may be you have heard
But, since it serves my purpose, I will
To stale 't a little more.
Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think
fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an 't
There was a time when all the body's
Rebell'd against the belly, thus accused
That only like a gulf it did remain
I' the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest, where the other instruments
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The
Well, sir, what answer made the
Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even
For, look you, I may make the belly
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
are not such as you.
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
this our fabric, if that they--
'Fore me, this
fellow speaks! What then? what then?
Should by the cormorant belly be
Who is the sink o' the
Well, what then?
The former agents, if they did complain,
What could the belly answer?
I will tell you
bestow a small--of what you have little--
awhile, you'll hear the belly's answer.
Ye're long about it.
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
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
Because I am the store-house and the
Of the whole body: but, if you do
I send it through the rivers of your
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o' the
And, through the cranks and offices of
The strongest nerves and small inferior
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
You, my good friends,'--this says the belly, mark
Ay, sir; well, well.
'Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive
the flour of all,
And leave me but the bran.' What say
It was an answer: how apply you
The senators of Rome are this good
And you the mutinous members; for
Their counsels and their cares, digest things
Touching the weal o' the common, you shall
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?
I the great toe! why the great
For that, being one o' the lowest, basest,
Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to
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.
Enter CAIUS MARCIUSHail, noble
Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious
That, rubbing the poor itch of your
Make yourselves scabs?
We have ever your good word.
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
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to
Where he should find you lions, finds you
Where foxes, geese: you are no surer,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
make him worthy whose offence subdues him
that justice did it.
Who deserves greatness
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 Ye?
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 matter,
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
For corn at their own rates; whereof, they
The city is well stored.
Hang 'em! They say!
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
Would the nobility lay aside
And let me use my sword, I'll make a
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as
As I could pick my lance.
Nay, these are almost thoroughly
For though abundantly they lack
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I
What says the other
They are dissolved: hang 'em!
They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs,
That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
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--
To break the heart of generosity,
bold power look pale--they threw their caps
would hang them on the horns o' the moon,
What is granted them?
Five tribunes to defend their vulgar
Of their own choice: one's Junius
Sicinius Velutus, and I know
The rabble should have first unroof'd the
Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in
Win upon power and throw forth greater
For insurrection's arguing.
This is strange.
Go, get you home, you fragments!
Enter a Messenger, hastily
Where's Caius Marcius?
Here: what's the matter?
The news is, sir, the Volsces are in
I am glad on 't: then we shall ha' means to
Our musty superfluity. See, our best
Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators; JUNIUS BRUTUS and
Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told
The Volsces are in arms.
They have a leader,
Aufidius, that will put you to 't.
I sin in envying his
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.
You have fought together.
Were half to half the world by the ears and
Upon my party, I'ld revolt to make
Only my wars with him: he is a lion
am proud to hunt.
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
It is your former promise.
Sir, it is;
And I am
constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more
strike at Tullus' face.
What, art thou stiff? stand'st
No, Caius Marcius;
lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other,
behind this business.
Your company to the Capitol; where, I
Our greatest friends attend
[To COMINIUS] Lead you on.
To MARCIUSRight worthy you
[To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be
Nay, let them follow:
Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither
their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
Your valour puts
well forth: pray, follow.
Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and
Was ever man so proud as is this
He has no equal.
When we were chosen tribunes for the
Mark'd you his lip and eyes?
Nay. but his taunts.
Being moved, he will not spare to gird the
Be-mock the modest moon.
The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.
Such a nature,
good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at
noon: but I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be
Fame, at the which he aims,
In whom already he's well graced, can not
Better be held nor more attain'd than by
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
Had borne the business!'
Besides, if things go well,
Opinion that so sticks on Marcius shall
his demerits rob Cominius.
Half all Cominius'
honours are to Marcius.
Though Marcius earned them not,
and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though
In aught he merit not.
Let's hence, and hear
the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
his singularity, he goes
Upon this present
SCENE II. Corioli. The Senate-house.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS and certain Senators
So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are entered in our counsels
And know how we proceed.
Is it not yours?
What ever have
been thought on in this state,
That could be brought to
bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I
I have the letter here; yes, here it is.
Reads'They have press'd a power, but it is not
Whether for east or west: the dearth is
The people mutinous; and it is
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on
Whither 'tis bent: most likely 'tis for
Consider of it.'
Our army's in the field
never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
Nor did you think it folly
keep your great pretences veil'd till when
must show 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
know we were afoot.
commission; hie you to your bands:
Let us alone to guard
If they set down before 's, for the
Bring your army; but, I think, you'll
They've not prepared for us.
O, doubt not that;
from certainties. Nay, more,
Some parcels of their power
are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your
If we and Caius Marcius chance to
'Tis sworn between us we shall ever
Till one can do no more.
The gods assist you!
And keep your honours safe!
SCENE III. Rome. A room in Marcius' house.
Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA they set them down on two low
stools, and sew
I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in
more comfortable sort: if my son were my husband,
should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein
won honour than in the embracements of his bed
he would show most love. When yet he was
tender-bodied and the only son of my womb,
youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way,
for a day of kings' entreaties a mother should
sell him an hour from her beholding, I,
how honour would become such a person. that
no better than picture-like to hang by the wall,
renown made it not stir, was pleased to let him
danger where he was like to find fame. To a
war I sent him; from whence he returned, his
bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang
more in joy at first hearing he was a
than now in first seeing he had proved himself
But had he died in the business, madam; how
Then his good report should have been my son;
therein would have found issue. Hear me
sincerely: had I a dozen sons, each in my
alike and none less dear than thine and my
Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for
country than one voluptuously surfeit out of
Enter a Gentlewoman
Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit
Beseech you, give me leave to retire
Indeed, you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum,
See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair,
children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him:
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
Or all or lose his hire.
His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no
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 sword, contemning. Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.
Heavens bless my lord from fell
He'll beat Aufidius 'head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.
Enter VALERIA, with an Usher and Gentlewoman
My ladies both, good day to
I am glad to see your
How do you both? you are manifest
What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in
faith. How does your little
I thank your ladyship; well, good
He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum,
look upon his school-master.
O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear,'tis
very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him
Wednesday half an hour together: 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 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 it, how he mammocked
One on 's father's moods.
Indeed, la, 'tis a noble
A crack, madam.
Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you
the idle husewife with me this
No, good madam; I will not out of
Not out of doors!
She shall, she shall.
Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over
threshold till my lord return from the
Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably:
you must go visit the good lady that lies
I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her
my prayers; but I cannot go
Why, I pray you?
'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want
You would be another Penelope: yet, they say,
the yarn she spun in Ulysses' absence did but
Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would your
were sensible as your finger, that you might
pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with
No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not
In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell
excellent news of your husband.
O, good madam, there can be none
Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news
him last night.
In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak
Thus it is: the Volsces have an army forth;
whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part
our Roman power: your lord and Titus Lartius are
down before their city Corioli; they nothing
prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is
on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with
Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in
Let her alone, lady: as she is now, she will
disease our better mirth.
In troth, I think she would. Fare you well,
Come, good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn
solemness out o' door. and go along with
No, at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I
you much mirth.
Well, then, farewell.
SCENE IV. Before Corioli.
Enter, with drum and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Captains
and Soldiers. To them a Messenger
Yonder comes news. A wager they have
My horse to yours, no.
Say, has our general met the
They lie in view; but have not spoke as
So, the good horse is mine.
I'll buy him of you.
No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I
For half a hundred years. Summon the
How far off lie these armies?
Within this mile and half.
Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in
That we with smoking swords may march from
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy
They sound a parley. Enter two Senators with others on the
wallsTutus Aufidius, is he within your
No, nor a man that fears you less than
That's lesser than a little.
Drums afar offHark! our drums
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.
Alarum afar offHark you. far off!
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
O, they are at it!
Their noise be our instruction. Ladders,
Enter the army of the Volsces
They fear us not, but issue forth their
Now put your shields before your hearts, and
With hearts more proof than shields.
disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me
sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
He that retires
I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine
Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS
All the contagion of the south light on
You shames of Rome! you herd of--Boils and
Plaster you o'er, that you may be
Further than seen and one infect
Against the wind a mile! You souls of
That bear the shapes of men, how have you
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the
And make my wars on you: look to't: come
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their
As they us to our trenches followed.
Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and MARCIUS follows them to the
gatesSo, now the gates are ope: now prove good
'Tis for the followers fortune widens
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the
Enters the gates
Fool-hardiness; not I.
MARCIUS is shut in
See, they have shut him in.
To the pot, I warrant him.
Re-enter TITUS LARTIUS
What is become of Marcius?
Slain, sir, doubtless.
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!
outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands
up. Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle entire, as big
as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and
Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou madst thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.
Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy
him off, or make remain alike.
They fight, and all enter the city
SCENE V. Corioli. A street.
Enter certain Romans, with spoils
This will I carry to Rome.
And I this.
A murrain on't! I took this for silver.
Alarum continues still afar off
Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS with a trumpet
See here these movers that do prize their
At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden
Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen
Bury with those that wore them, these base
Ere yet the fight be done, pack up: down with
And hark, what noise the general makes! To
There is the man of my soul's hate,
Piercing our Romans: then, valiant Titus,
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.
Worthy sir, thou bleed'st;
Thy exercise hath been too violent for
second course of fight.
Sir, praise me not;
hath yet not warm'd me: fare you well:
The blood I drop
is rather physical
Than dangerous to me: to Aufidius
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
she placeth highest! So, farewell.
Thou worthiest Marcius!
Exit MARCIUSGo, sound thy trumpet in the
Call thither all the officers o' the
Where they shall know our mind: away!
SCENE VI. Near the camp of Cominius.
Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire, with soldiers
Breathe you, my friends: well fought;
we are come off
Like Romans, neither foolish
in our stands,
Nor cowardly in retire: believe me,
We shall be charged again. Whiles we have
By interims and conveying gusts we have
The charges of our friends. Ye Roman
Lead their successes as we wish our own,
That both our powers, with smiling
May give you thankful sacrifice.
Enter a MessengerThy news?
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.
Above an hour, my lord.
'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their
How couldst thou in a mile confound an
And bring thy news so late?
Spies of the Volsces
in chase, that I was forced to wheel
Three or four miles
about, else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my
appear as he were flay'd? O gods
He has the stamp of
Marcius; and I have
Before-time seen him
[Within] Come I too late?
The shepherd knows not thunder from a
More than I know the sound of Marcius'
From every meaner man.
Come I too late?
Ay, if you come not in the blood of
But mantled in your own.
O, let me clip ye
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
Flower of warriors,
How is it
with Titus Lartius?
As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
To let him slip
Where is that slave
told me they had beat you to your trenches?
Where is he?
call him hither.
Let him alone;
He did inform
the truth: but for our gentlemen,
The common file--a
plague! tribunes for them!--
The mouse ne'er shunn'd the
cat as they did budge
From rascals worse than
But how prevail'd you?
Will the time serve to tell? I do not
Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the
If not, why cease you till you are
We have at
disadvantage fought and did
Retire to win our
How lies their battle? know you on which
They have placed their men of
As I guess, Marcius,
bands i' the vaward are the Antiates,
Of their best
trust; o'er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of
I do beseech you,
By all the
battles wherein we have fought,
By the blood we have
shed together, by the vows
We have made to endure
friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and
And that you not delay the present,
Filling the air with swords advanced and
We prove this very hour.
Though I could wish
conducted to a gentle bath
And balms applied to, you,
yet dare I never
Deny your asking: take your choice of
That best can aid your
Those are they
That most are
willing. If any such be here--
As it were sin to
doubt--that love this painting
Wherein you see me
smear'd; if any fear
Lesser his person than an ill
If any think brave death outweighs bad
And that his country's dearer than
Let him alone, or so many so minded,
Wave thus, to express his disposition,
They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in their arms, and
cast up their capsO, me alone! make you a sword of
If these shows be not outward, which of
But is four Volsces? none of you but is
Able to bear against the great Aufidius
shield as hard as his. A certain number,
to all, must I select
from all: the rest
Shall bear the business in some other fight,
As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march;
And four shall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are best inclined.
March on, my fellows:
good this ostentation, and you shall
Divide in all with
SCENE VII. The gates of Corioli.
TITUS LARTIUS, having set a guard upon Corioli, going with drum
and trumpet toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with Lieutenant, other
Soldiers, and a Scout
So, let the ports be guarded: keep your
As I have set them down. If I do send,
Those centuries to our aid: the rest will
For a short holding: if we lose the
We cannot keep the town.
Fear not our care, sir.
Hence, and shut your gates upon's.
Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us.
SCENE VIII. A field of battle.
Alarum as in battle. Enter, from opposite sides, MARCIUS and
I'll fight with none but thee; for I do hate
Worse than a promise-breaker.
We hate alike:
Not Afric owns a
serpent I abhor
More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy
Let the first budger die the other's
And the gods doom him after!
If I fly, Marcius,
like a hare.
Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
made what work I pleased: 'tis not my blood
seest me mask'd; for thy revenge
Wrench up thy power to
Wert thou the Hector
the whip of your bragg'd progeny,
Thou shouldst not
scape me here.
They fight, and certain Volsces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS. MARCIUS
fights till they be driven in breathlessOfficious, and
not valiant, you have shamed me
In your condemned
SCENE IX. The Roman camp.
Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter, from
one side, COMINIUS with the Romans; from the other side, MARCIUS, with his arm
in a scarf
If I should tell thee o'er this thy day's
Thou'ldst not believe thy deeds: but I'll report
Where senators shall mingle tears with
Where great patricians shall attend and
I' the end admire, where ladies shall be
And, gladly quaked, hear more; where
That, with the
fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,
Shall say against
their hearts 'We thank the gods
Our Rome hath such a
Yet camest thou to a morsel of this
Having fully dined before.
Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power, from the
Here is the steed,
we the caparison:
Pray now, no more: my mother,
Who has a charter to extol her blood,
she does praise me grieves me. I have done
As you have
done; that's what I can; induced
As you have been;
that's for my country:
He that has but effected his good
Hath overta'en mine act.
You shall not be
The grave of
your deserving; Rome must know
The value of her own:
'twere a concealment
Worse than a theft, no less than a
To hide your doings; and to silence
Which, to the spire and top of praises
Would seem but modest: therefore, I beseech
In sign of what you are, not to reward
What you have done--before our army hear me.
I have some wounds upon me, and they
To hear themselves
Should they not,
they fester 'gainst ingratitude,
And tent themselves
with death. Of all the horses,
Whereof we have ta'en
good and good store, of all
The treasure in this field
achieved and city,
We render you the tenth, to be ta'en
Before the common distribution, at
Your only choice.
I thank you, general;
cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe to pay my
sword: I do refuse it;
And stand upon my common part
That have beheld the doing.
A long flourish. They all cry 'Marcius! Marcius!' cast up their caps and
lances: COMINIUS and LARTIUS stand bare
May these same instruments, which you
Never sound more! when drums and trumpets
I' the field prove flatterers, let courts and
Made all of false-faced soothing!
When steel grows soft as the parasite's silk,
Let him be made a coverture for the wars!
more, I say! For that I have not wash'd
My nose that
bled, or foil'd some debile wretch.--
note, here's many else have done,--
You shout me
In acclamations hyperbolical;
As if I loved my little should be dieted
praises sauced with lies.
Too modest are you;
cruel to your good report than grateful
To us that give
you truly: by your patience,
If 'gainst yourself you be
incensed, we'll put you,
Like one that means his proper
harm, in manacles,
Then reason safely with you.
Therefore, be it known,
As to us, to all the world, that
Wears this war's garland: in token of the
My noble steed, known to the camp, I give
With all his trim belonging; and from this
For what he did before Corioli, call
With all the applause and clamour of the
CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS! Bear
The addition nobly ever!
Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums
Caius Marcius Coriolanus!
I will go wash;
And when my
face is fair, you shall perceive
Whether I blush or no:
howbeit, I thank you.
I mean to stride your steed, and
at all times
To undercrest your good addition
To the fairness of my power.
So, to our tent;
we do repose us, we will write
To Rome of our success.
You, Titus Lartius,
Must to Corioli back: send us to
The best, with whom we may articulate,
For their own good and ours.
I shall, my lord.
The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg
Of my lord general.
Take't; 'tis yours. What is't?
I sometime lay here in Corioli
At a poor man's house; he used me kindly:
cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was
with in my view,
And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity: I
To give my poor host
O, well begg'd!
Were he the
butcher of my son, he should
Be free as is the wind.
Deliver him, Titus.
Marcius, his name?
By Jupiter! forgot.
weary; yea, my memory is tired.
Have we no wine
Go we to our tent:
blood upon your visage dries; 'tis time
It should be
look'd to: come.
SCENE X. The camp of the Volsces.
A flourish. Cornets. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, bloody, with two or
The town is ta'en!
'Twill be deliver'd back on good
I would I were a
Roman; for I cannot,
Being a Volsce, be that I am.
What good condition can a treaty
I' the part that is at mercy? Five times,
I have fought with thee: so often hast thou
And wouldst do so, I think, should we
As often as we eat. By the
If e'er again I meet him beard to
He's mine, or I am his: mine emulation
Hath not that honour in't it had; for where
I thought to crush him in an equal force,
True sword to sword, I'll potch at him some way
Or wrath or craft may get him.
He's the devil.
Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour's
With only suffering stain by him; for
Shall fly out of itself: nor sleep nor
Being naked, sick, nor fane nor
The prayers of priests nor times of
Embarquements all of fury, shall lift
Their rotten privilege and custom 'gainst
My hate to Marcius: where I find him, were it
At home, upon my brother's guard, even there,
Against the hospitable canon, would I
my fierce hand in's heart. Go you to the city;
how 'tis held; and what they are that must
Will not you go?
I am attended at the cypress grove: I pray
'Tis south the city mills--bring me word
How the world goes, that to the pace of
I may spur on my journey.
I shall, sir.
SCENE I. Rome. A public place.
Enter MENENIUS with the two Tribunes of the people, SICINIUS
The augurer tells me we shall have news
Good or bad?
Not according to the prayer of the people, for
love not Marcius.
Nature teaches beasts to know their
Pray you, who does the wolf
Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would
He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a
He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You
are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask
In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you
have not in abundance?
He's poor in no one fault, but stored with
Especially in pride.
And topping all others in
This is strange now: do you two know how you
censured here in the city, I mean of us o'
right-hand file? do you?
Why, how are we censured?
Because you talk of pride now,--will you not be
Well, well, sir, well.
Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief
occasion will rob you of a great deal of
give your dispositions the reins, and be angry
your pleasures; at the least if you take it as
pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius
We do it not alone, sir.
I know you can do very little alone; for your
are many, or else your actions would grow
single: your abilities are too infant-like
doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that
could turn your eyes toward the napes of your
and make but an interior survey of your good
O that you could!
What then, sir?
Why, then you should discover a brace of
proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias
any in Rome.
Menenius, you are known well enough
I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one
loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of
Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect
favouring the first complaint; hasty and
upon too trivial motion; one that converses
with the buttock of the night than with the
of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend
malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen
you are--I cannot call you Lycurguses--if the
you give me touch my palate adversely, I make
crooked face at it. I can't say your worships
delivered the matter well, when I find the ass
compound with the major part of your syllables:
though I must be content to bear with those that
you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly
tell you you have good faces. If you see this
the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am
well enough too? what barm can your
conspectuities glean out of this character, if I
known well enough too?
Come, sir, come, we know you well
You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing.
are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs:
wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing
cause between an orange wife and a
and then rejourn the controversy of three
pence to a
second day of audience. When you are hearing
matter between party and party, if you chance to
pinched with the colic, you make faces like
mummers; set up the bloody flag against all
patience; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
dismiss the controversy bleeding the more entangled
by your hearing: all the peace you make in their
cause is, calling both the parties knaves. You are
a pair of strange ones.
Come, come, you are well understood to be
perfecter giber for the table than a
bencher in the Capitol.
Our very priests must become mockers, if they
encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are.
you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth
wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve
so honourable a grave as to stuff a
cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's
saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is
who in a cheap estimation, is worth
since Deucalion, though peradventure some
best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den
your worships: more of your conversation
infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the
plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of
BRUTUS and SICINIUS go aside
Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and VALERIAHow now, my
as fair as noble ladies,--and the moon,
earthly, no nobler,--whither do you follow
your eyes so
Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches;
the love of Juno, let's go.
Ha! Marcius coming home!
Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most
Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee.
Marcius coming home!
Look, here's a letter from him: the state
another, his wife another; and, I think, there's
at home for you.
I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter
Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I
A letter for me! it gives me an estate of
years' health; in which time I will make a lip
the physician: the most sovereign prescription
Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this
of no better report than a horse-drench.
not wounded? he was wont to come home
O, no, no, no.
O, he is wounded; I thank the gods
So do I too, if it be not too much: brings
victory in his pocket? the wounds become
On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time
with the oaken garland.
Has he disciplined Aufidius
Titus Lartius writes, they fought together,
Aufidius got off.
And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him
an he had stayed by him, I would not have been
fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the
that's in them. Is the senate possessed of
Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes; the
has letters from the general, wherein he gives
son the whole name of the war: he hath in
action outdone his former deeds
In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of
Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without
The gods grant them true!
True! pow, wow.
True! I'll be sworn they are true.
Where is he wounded?
To the TribunesGod save your good worships!
Marcius is coming
home: he has more cause to be proud.
Where is he wounded?
I' the shoulder and i' the left arm there will
large cicatrices to show the people, when he
stand for his place. He received in the repulse
Tarquin seven hurts i' the
One i' the neck, and two i' the
nine that I know.
He had, before this last expedition,
wounds upon him.
Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's
A shout and flourishHark! the
These are the ushers of Marcius: before him
carries noise, and behind him he leaves
Death, that dark spirit, in 's nervy arm doth
Which, being advanced, declines, and then men
A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the general, and TITUS LARTIUS;
between them, CORIOLANUS, crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and
Soldiers, and a Herald
Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did
Within Corioli gates: where he hath
With fame, a name to Caius Marcius;
In honour follows Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
Welcome to Rome, renowned
No more of this; it does offend my
Pray now, no more.
Look, sir, your mother!
You have, I know,
petition'd all the gods
For my prosperity!
Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
deed-achieving honour newly named,--
it?--Coriolanus must I call thee?--
But O, thy
My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
mothers that lack sons.
Now, the gods crown thee!
And live you yet?
To VALERIAO my sweet lady,
I know not where to turn: O, welcome
And welcome, general: and ye're welcome
A hundred thousand welcomes. I could
And I could laugh, I am light and heavy.
A curse begin at very root on's
That is not glad to see thee! You are
That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of
We have some old crab-trees here
at home that will not
Be grafted to your
relish. Yet welcome, warriors:
We call a nettle but a
The faults of fools but
Menenius ever, ever.
Give way there, and go on!
[To VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA] Your hand, and
Ere in our own house I do shade my
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have received not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.
I have lived
inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy:
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not
Our Rome will cast upon thee.
Know, good mother,
rather be their servant in my way,
Than sway with them
On, to the Capitol!
Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before. BRUTUS and SICINIUS come
All tongues speak of him, and the bleared
Are spectacled to see him: your prattling
Into a rapture lets her baby cry
While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
Clambering the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks,
Are smother'd up, leads fill'd, and ridges
With variable complexions, all
In earnestness to see him: seld-shown
Do press among the popular throngs and
To win a vulgar station: or veil'd dames
Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the wanton spoil
Of Phoebus' burning kisses: such a pother
As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers
gave him graceful posture.
On the sudden,
Then our office may,
his power, go sleep.
He cannot temperately transport his
From where he should begin and end, but
Lose those he hath won.
In that there's comfort.
for whom we stand, but they
Upon their ancient malice
With the least cause these his new honours,
That he will give them make I as little
As he is proud to do't.
I heard him swear,
to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i' the
market-place nor on him put
The napless vesture of
Nor showing, as the manner is, his
To the people, beg their stinking
It was his word: O, he would miss it
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to
And the desire of the nobles.
I wish no better
him hold that purpose and to put it
'Tis most like he will.
It shall be to him then as our good
A sure destruction.
So it must fall out
or our authorities. For an end,
We must suggest the
people in what hatred
He still hath held them; that
to's power he would
Have made them mules, silenced
their pleaders and
Dispropertied their freedoms,
In human action and capacity,
Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
Than camels in the war, who have their provand
Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
For sinking under them.
This, as you say, suggested
At some time when his soaring insolence
Shall touch the people--which time shall not want,
If he be put upon 't; and that's as easy
As to set dogs on sheep--will be his fire
To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
Shall darken him for ever.
Enter a Messenger
What's the matter?
You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis
That Marcius shall be consul:
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
The blind to bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he pass'd: the nobles bended,
As to Jove's statue, and the commons made
A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts:
I never saw the like.
Let's to the Capitol;
carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
for the event.
Have with you.
SCENE II. The same. The Capitol.
Enter two Officers, to lay cushions
Come, come, they are almost here. How many
Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every
Coriolanus will carry it.
That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud,
loves not the common people.
Faith, there had been many great men that
flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and
be many that they have loved, they know
wherefore: so that, if they love they know not
they hate upon no better a ground: therefore,
Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or
him manifests the true knowledge he has in
disposition; and out of his noble carelessness
them plainly see't.
If he did not care whether he had their love or
he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them
good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with
devotion than can render it him; and
nothing undone that may fully discover him
opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice
displeasure of the people is as bad as that which
dislikes, to flatter them for their
He hath deserved worthily of his country: and
ascent is not by such easy degrees as those
having been supple and courteous to the
bonneted, without any further deed to have them
an into their estimation and report: but he hath
planted his honours in their eyes, and his
in their hearts, that for their tongues to
silent, and not confess so much, were a kind
ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were
malice, that, giving itself the lie, would
reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard
No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way,
A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS the consul, MENENIUS,
CORIOLANUS, Senators, SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their places; the
Tribunes take their Places by themselves. CORIOLANUS
Having determined of the Volsces and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
the main point of this our after-meeting,
To gratify his
noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country:
reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul,
and last general
In our well-found successes, to
A little of that worthy work perform'd
By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom
here both to thank and to remember
With honours like
Speak, good Cominius:
nothing out for length, and make us think
state's defective for requital
Than we to stretch it
To the TribunesMasters o' the people,
We do request your kindest ears, and after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.
We are convented
pleasing treaty, and have hearts
Inclinable to honour
The theme of our
Which the rather
We shall be
blest to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people
He hath hereto prized them at.
That's off, that's off;
would you rather had been silent. Please you
But yet my
caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give
He loves your people
him not to be their bedfellow.
CORIOLANUS offers to go awayNay, keep your
Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.
Your horror's pardon:
rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I
Sir, I hope
disbench'd you not.
No, sir: yet oft,
have made me stay, I fled from words.
You soothed not,
therefore hurt not: but
I love them as they weigh.
Pray now, sit down.
I had rather have one scratch my head i' the
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster'd.
Masters of the people,
multiplying spawn how can he flatter--
to one good one--when you now see
He had rather venture
all his limbs for honour
Than one on's ears to hear it?
I shall lack voice: the deeds of
Should not be utter'd feebly. It is
That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
man I speak of cannot in the world
counterpoised. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a
head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others: our
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him: be bestrid
An o'er-press'd Roman and i' the consul's view
Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met,
And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea,
in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurch'd all
swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in
Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he
stopp'd the fliers;
And by his rare example made the
Turn terror into sport: as weeds
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
And fell below his stem: his sword, death's stamp,
Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd
The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden reinforcement struck
Corioli like a planet: now all's his:
When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce
His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
Re-quicken'd what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he; where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.
He cannot but with measure fit the
Which we devise him.
Our spoils he kick'd at,
And look'd upon things precious as they were
The common muck of the world: he covets less
Than misery itself would give; rewards
deeds with doing them, and is content
To spend the time
to end it.
He's right noble:
be call'd for.
He doth appear.
The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.
I do owe them still
It then remains
That you do
speak to the people.
I do beseech you,
o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
Put on the gown,
stand naked and entreat them,
For my wounds' sake, to
give their suffrage: please you
That I may pass this
Sir, the people
their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of
Put them not to't:
you, go fit you to the custom and
Take to you, as your
Your honour with your
It is apart
That I shall
blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the
Mark you that?
To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had received them for the hire
their breath only!
Do not stand upon't.
recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
to them: and to our noble consul
Wish we all joy and
To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!
Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and
You see how he intends to use the
May they perceive's intent! He will require
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.
Come, we'll inform them
our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
I know, they
do attend us.
SCENE III. The same. The Forum.
Enter seven or eight Citizens
Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to
We may, sir, if we will.
We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is
power that we have no power to do; for if he show
his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put
tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so,
he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell
our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude
monstrous, and for the multitude to be
were to make a monster of the multitude: of
which we being members, should bring ourselves to
And to make us no better thought of, a little
will serve; for once we stood up about the corn,
himself stuck not to call us the many-headed
We have been called so of many; not that our
are some brown, some black, some auburn, some
but that our wits are so diversely coloured:
truly I think if all our wits were to issue out
one skull, they would fly east, west, north,
and their consent of one direct way should be
once to all the points o' the
Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit
Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another
will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head,
if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure,
Why that way?
To lose itself in a fog, where being three
melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would
for conscience sake, to help to get thee a
You are never without your tricks: you may, you
Are you all resolved to give your voices?
that's no matter, the greater part carries it.
say, if he would incline to the people, there
never a worthier man.
Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility, with MENENIUSHere he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and
by threes. He's to make his requests by
particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
you shall go by him.
O sir, you are not right: have you not
The worthiest men have
What must I say?
sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring
My tongue to such a
pace:--'Look, sir, my wounds!
I got them in my country's
Some certain of your brethren roar'd and
From the noise of our own
O me, the gods!
You must not
speak of that: you must desire them
To think upon
Think upon me! hang 'em!
would they would forget me, like the virtues
divines lose by 'em.
You'll mar all:
you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
Bid them wash their faces
keep their teeth clean.
Re-enter two of the CitizensSo, here comes a
Re-enter a third CitizenYou know the cause, air,
of my standing here.
We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you
Mine own desert.
Your own desert!
Ay, but not mine own desire.
How not your own desire?
No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble
poor with begging.
You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope
gain by you.
Well then, I pray, your price o' the
The price is to ask it kindly.
Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds
show you, which shall be yours in private.
good voice, sir; what say you?
You shall ha' it, worthy sir.
A match, sir. There's in all two worthy
begged. I have your alms:
But this is something odd.
An 'twere to give again,--but 'tis no
Exeunt the three Citizens
Re-enter two other Citizens
Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of
voices that I may be consul, I have here
You have deserved nobly of your country, and
have not deserved nobly.
You have been a scourge to her enemies, you
been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed
the common people.
You should account me the more virtuous that I
not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter
sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account
gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
the insinuating nod and be off to them most
counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
bewitchment of some popular man and give it
bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
I may be consul.
We hope to find you our friend; and therefore
you our voices heartily.
You have received many wounds for your
I will not seal your knowledge with showing them.
will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
Most sweet voices!
it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire
which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish toge
should I stand here,
To beg of Hob and Dick, that do
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me
What custom wills, in all things should we
The dust on antique time would lie
And mountainous error be too highly
For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it
Let the high office and the honour go
To one that would do thus. I am half through;
The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.
Re-enter three Citizens moreHere come more
Your voices: for your voices I have
Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices
Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice
I have seen and heard of; for your voices
Done many things, some less, some more your
Indeed I would be consul.
He has done nobly, and cannot go without any
Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him
and make him good friend to the
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!
Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS
You have stood your limitation; and the
Endue you with the people's voice:
That, in the official marks invested,
Anon do meet the senate.
Is this done?
The custom of request you have
The people do admit you, and are
To meet anon, upon your
Where? at the senate-house?
May I change these garments?
You may, sir.
That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself
Repair to the senate-house.
I'll keep you company. Will you
We stay here for the people.
Fare you well.
Exeunt CORIOLANUS and MENENIUSHe has it now, and
by his looks methink
'Tis warm at 's
With a proud heart he wore his humble
will you dismiss the people?
How now, my masters! have you chose this
He has our voices, sir.
We pray the gods he may deserve your
Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.
He flouted us
No,'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock
Not one amongst us, save yourself, but
He used us scornfully: he should have show'd
His marks of merit, wounds received for's
Why, so he did, I am sure.
No, no; no man saw 'em.
He said he had wounds, which he could
And with his
hat, thus waving it in scorn,
'I would be consul,' says
he: 'aged custom,
But by your voices, will not so
Your voices therefore.' When we granted
Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank
Your most sweet voices: now you have
I have no
further with you.' Was not this mockery?
Why either were you ignorant to see't,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?
Could you not have told him
As you were lesson'd, when he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
was your enemy, ever spake against
Your liberties and
the charters that you bear
I' the body of the weal; and
A place of potency and sway o' the
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
Would think upon you for your voices and
Translate his malice towards you into love,
Standing your friendly lord.
Thus to have said,
were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
And tried his
inclination; from him pluck'd
Either his gracious
promise, which you might,
As cause had call'd you up,
have held him to
Or else it would have gall'd his surly
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
And pass'd him unelected.
Did you perceive
solicit you in free contempt
When he did need your
loves, and do you think
That his contempt shall not be
bruising to you,
When he hath power to crush? Why, had
No heart among you? or had you tongues to
Against the rectorship of
Ere now denied the
asker? and now again
Of him that did not ask, but mock,
Your sued-for tongues?
He's not confirm'd; we may deny him
And will deny him:
have five hundred voices of that sound.
I twice five hundred and their friends to piece
Get you hence instantly, and tell those
They have chose a consul that will from them
Their liberties; make them of no more
Than dogs that are as often beat for
As therefore kept to do
Let them assemble,
And on a
safer judgment all revoke
Your ignorant election;
enforce his pride,
And his old hate unto you; besides,
With what contempt he wore the humble
How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your
Thinking upon his services, took from
The apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.
A fault on us, your
tribunes; that we laboured,
No impediment between, but
that you must
Cast your election on
Say, you chose him
after our commandment than as guided
By your own true
affections, and that your minds,
Preoccupied with what
you rather must do
Than what you should, made you
against the grain
To voice him consul: lay the fault on
Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to
How youngly he began to serve his
How long continued, and what stock he springs
The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence
That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's
Who, after great Hostilius, here was
Of the same house Publius and Quintus
That our beat water brought by conduits
And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
Was his great ancestor.
One thus descended,
hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high
in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you
Scaling his present bearing with his
That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.
Say, you ne'er had done't--
Harp on that still--but by our putting on;
And presently, when you have drawn your number,
Repair to the Capitol.
We will so: almost all
Repent in their election.
Let them go on;
were better put in hazard,
Than stay, past doubt, for
If, as his nature is, he fall in
With their refusal, both observe and
The vantage of his anger.
To the Capitol, come:
will be there before the stream o' the people;
shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
Which we have
SCENE I. Rome. A street.
Cornets. Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, all the Gentry, COMINIUS,
TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators
Tullus Aufidius then had made new
He had, my lord; and that it was which
Our swifter composition.
So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road.
They are worn, lord consul, so,
That we shall hardly in our ages see
banners wave again.
Saw you Aufidius?
On safe-guard he came to me; and did
Against the Volsces, for they had so
Yielded the town: he is retired to
Spoke he of me?
He did, my lord.
How often he had met you, sword to sword;
That of all things upon the earth he hated
Your person most, that he would pawn his fortunes
To hopeless restitution, so he might
call'd your vanquisher.
At Antium lives he?
I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUSBehold, these are the
tribunes of the people,
The tongues o' the common mouth:
I do despise them;
For they do prank them in
Against all noble
Pass no further.
Ha! what is that?
It will be dangerous to go on: no
What makes this change?
Hath he not pass'd the noble and the
Have I had children's voices?
Tribunes, give way; he shall to the
The people are incensed against
Or all will fall in
Are these your herd?
these have voices, that can yield them now
disclaim their tongues? What are
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?
Be calm, be calm.
It is a purposed thing, and grows by
To curb the will of the nobility:
Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
Nor ever will be ruled.
Call't not a plot:
cry you mock'd them, and of late,
When corn was given
them gratis, you repined;
Scandal'd the suppliants for
the people, call'd them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes
Why, this was known before.
Not to them all.
Have you inform'd them
How! I inform them!
You are like to do such
Each way, to
Why then should I be consul? By yond
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make
Your fellow tribune.
You show too much of that
which the people stir: if you will pass
To where you are
bound, you must inquire your way,
Which you are out of,
with a gentler spirit,
Or never be so noble as a
Nor yoke with him for
Let's be calm.
The people are abused; set on. This
Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
I' the plain way of his merit.
Tell me of corn!
This was my
speech, and I will speak't again--
Not now, not now.
Not in this heat, sir, now.
Now, as I live, I will. My nobler
I crave their pardons:
For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
behold themselves: I say again,
In soothing them, we
nourish 'gainst our senate
The cockle of rebellion,
Which we ourselves have plough'd
mingling them with us, the honour'd number,
Who lack not
virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to
Well, no more.
No more words, we beseech you.
How! no more!
As for my
country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force,
so shall my lungs
Coin words till their decay against
Which we disdain should tatter us, yet
The very way to catch them.
You speak o' the people,
if you were a god to punish, not
A man of their
We let the
What, what? his choler?
Were I as patient
as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my
It is a mind
remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any
Hear you this
Triton of the minnows? mark you
'Twas from the canon.
O good but most
unwise patricians! why,
You grave but reckless
senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an
That with his peremptory 'shall,' being
The horn and noise o' the monster's, wants not
To say he'll turn your current in a
And make your channel his? If he have
Then vail your ignorance; if none,
Your dangerous lenity. If you are
Be not as common fools; if you are
Let them have cushions by you. You are
If they be senators: and they are no
When, both your voices blended, the great'st
Most palates theirs. They choose their
And such a one as he, who puts his
His popular 'shall' against a graver
Than ever frown in Greece. By Jove
It makes the consuls base: and my soul
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
The one by the
Well, on to the market-place.
Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
The corn o' the storehouse gratis, as 'twas used
Sometime in Greece,--
Well, well, no more of that.
Though there the people had more absolute
I say, they nourish'd disobedience,
The ruin of the state.
Why, shall the people give
One that speaks thus their voice?
I'll give my reasons,
worthier than their voices. They know the corn
our recompense, resting well assured
That ne'er did
service for't: being press'd to the war,
Even when the
navel of the state was touch'd,
They would not thread
the gates. This kind of service
Did not deserve corn
gratis. Being i' the war
Their mutinies and revolts,
wherein they show'd
Most valour, spoke not for them:
Which they have often made against the
All cause unborn, could never be the
Of our so frank donation. Well, what
How shall this bisson multitude digest
The senate's courtesy? Let deeds express
What's like to be their words: 'we did request it;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
They gave us our demands.' Thus we debase
The nature of our seats and make the rabble
Call our cares fears; which will in time
Break ope the locks o' the senate and bring in
The crows to peck the eagles.
Enough, with over-measure.
No, take more:
What may be
sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end
withal! This double worship,
Where one part does
disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all
reason, where gentry, title, wisdom,
but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance,--it must
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd,
Nothing is done to purpose.
Therefore, beseech you,--
You that will be less fearful
That love the fundamental part of
More than you doubt the change on't, that
A noble life before a long, and wish
To jump a body with a dangerous physic
That's sure of death without it, at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become't,
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For the in which doth control't.
Has said enough.
Has spoken like a traitor, and shall
As traitors do.
Thou wretch, despite o'erwhelm thee!
What should the people do with these bald tribunes?
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To the greater bench: in a rebellion,
what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
they chosen: in a better hour,
Let what is meet be said
it must be meet,
And throw their power i' the
This a consul? no.
The aediles, ho!
Enter an AEdileLet him be
Go, call the people:
Exit AEdilein whose name myself
Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
foe to the public weal: obey, I charge thee,
to thine answer.
Hence, old goat!
& C We'll surety him.
Aged sir, hands off.
Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy
Out of thy garments.
Help, ye citizens!
Enter a rabble of Citizens (Plebeians), with the
On both sides more respect.
Here's he that would take from you all your
Seize him, AEdiles!
Down with him! down with him!
Senators, & C Weapons, weapons, weapons!
They all bustle about CORIOLANUS, crying'Tribunes!' 'Patricians!' 'Citizens!' 'What, ho!'
'Sicinius!' 'Brutus!' 'Coriolanus!' 'Citizens!'
'Peace, peace, peace!' 'Stay, hold, peace!'
What is about to be? I am out of breath;
Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You, tribunes
To the people! Coriolanus, patience!
Speak, good Sicinius.
Hear me, people; peace!
Let's hear our tribune: peace Speak, speak,
You are at point to lose your liberties:
Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,
Whom late you have named for consul.
Fie, fie, fie!
This is the
way to kindle, not to quench.
To unbuild the city and to lay all
What is the city but the
The people are the
By the consent of all, we were
You so remain.
And so are like to do.
That is the way to lay the city flat;
To bring the roof to the foundation,
bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
In heaps and
piles of ruin.
This deserves death.
Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o' the people, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Marcius is worthy
Of present death.
Therefore lay hold of him;
Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.
AEdiles, seize him!
Yield, Marcius, yield!
Hear me one word;
you, tribunes, hear me but a word.
[To BRUTUS] Be that you seem, truly your
And temperately proceed
to what you would
Sir, those cold ways,
seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
disease is violent. Lay hands upon him,
And bear him to
No, I'll die here.
Drawing his swordThere's some among you have
beheld me fighting:
Come, try upon yourselves what you
have seen me.
Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw
Lay hands upon him.
Help Marcius, help,
that be noble; help him, young and old!
Down with him, down with him!
In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the AEdiles, and the People, are beat
Go, get you to your house; be gone,
All will be naught else.
Get you gone.
We have as many
friends as enemies.
Sham it be put to that?
The gods forbid!
noble friend, home to thy house;
Leave us to cure this
For 'tis a sore upon us,
You cannot tent yourself: be gone, beseech
Come, sir, along with us.
I would they were barbarians--as they
Though in Rome litter'd--not Romans--as they are
Though calved i' the porch o' the
Put not your
worthy rage into your tongue;
One time will owe
On fair ground
I could beat
forty of them.
I could myself
Take up a
brace o' the best of them; yea, the
But now 'tis odds beyond
And manhood is call'd foolery, when it
Against a falling fabric. Will you
Before the tag return? whose rage doth
Like interrupted waters and o'erbear
What they are used to bear.
Pray you, be gone:
whether my old wit be in request
With those that have
but little: this must be patch'd
With cloth of any
Nay, come away.
Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, and others
This man has marr'd his
His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for's power to thunder. His heart's his mouth:
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
And, being angry, does forget that ever
heard the name of death.
A noise withinHere's goodly
I would they were abed!
I would they were in Tiber! What the
Could he not speak 'em fair?
Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, with the rabble
Where is this viper
would depopulate the city and
Be every man
You worthy tribunes,--
He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian
With rigorous hands: he hath resisted
And therefore law shall scorn him further
Than the severity of the public power
Which he so sets at nought.
He shall well know
noble tribunes are the people's mouths,
And we their
He shall, sure on't.
Do not cry havoc, where you should but
With modest warrant.
Sir, how comes't that you
Have holp to make this rescue?
Hear me speak:
As I do know
the consul's worthiness,
So can I name his
Consul! what consul?
The consul Coriolanus.
No, no, no, no, no.
If, by the tribunes' leave, and yours, good
I may be heard, I would crave a word or
The which shall turn you to no further
Than so much loss of time.
Speak briefly then;
are peremptory to dispatch
This viperous traitor: to
eject him hence
Were but one danger, and to keep him
Our certain death: therefore it is
He dies to-night.
Now the good gods forbid
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserved children is enroll'd
In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam
Should now eat up her own!
He's a disease that must be cut
O, he's a limb that has but a disease;
Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
What has he done to Rome that's worthy death?
Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost--
Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath,
By many an ounce--he dropp'd it for his country;
And what is left, to lose it by his country,
Were to us all, that do't and suffer it,
brand to the end o' the world.
This is clean kam.
Merely awry: when he did love his
It honour'd him.
The service of the foot
Being once gangrened, is not then respected
For what before it was.
We'll hear no more.
him to his house, and pluck him thence:
infection, being of catching nature,
One word more, one word.
This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will too late
Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process;
Lest parties, as he is beloved, break out,
And sack great Rome with Romans.
If it were so,--
What do ye talk?
not had a taste of his obedience?
Our aediles smote?
ourselves resisted? Come.
Consider this: he has been bred i' the
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill
In bolted language; meal and bran
He throws without distinction. Give me
I'll go to him, and undertake to bring
Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,
In peace, to his utmost peril.
It is the
humane way: the other course
Will prove too bloody, and
the end of it
Unknown to the
Be you then
as the people's officer.
Masters, lay down your
Go not home.
Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you
Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll
In our first way.
I'll bring him to you.
To the SenatorsLet me desire your company: he
Or what is worst will
Pray you, let's to him.
SCENE II. A room in CORIOLANUS'S house.
Enter CORIOLANUS with Patricians
Let them puff all about mine ears, present
Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,
Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,
the precipitation might down stretch
Below the beam of
sight, yet will I still
Be thus to
You do the nobler.
I muse my mother
approve me further, who was wont
To call them woollen
vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats, to
show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still and
When one but of my ordinance stood up
To speak of peace or war.
Enter VOLUMNIAI talk of you:
Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
man I am.
O, sir, sir, sir,
have had you put your power well on,
Before you had worn
You might have been enough the man you
With striving less to be so; lesser had
The thwartings of your dispositions, if
You had not show'd them how ye were disposed
Ere they lack'd power to cross you.
Let them hang.
Ay, and burn too.
Enter MENENIUS and Senators
Come, come, you have been too rough,
return and mend it.
There's no remedy;
not so doing, our good city
Cleave in the midst, and
Pray, be counsell'd:
I have a
heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads
my use of anger
To better vantage.
Well said, noble woman?
Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that
The violent fit o' the time craves it as physic
For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
Which I can scarcely bear.
What must I do?
Return to the tribunes.
Well, what then? what then?
Repent what you have spoke.
For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
Must I then do't to them?
You are too absolute;
therein you can never be too noble,
But when extremities
speak. I have heard you say,
Honour and policy, like
I' the war do grow together: grant
that, and tell me,
In peace what each of them by the
That they combine not
A good demand.
If it be honour in your wars to seem
The same you are not, which, for your best ends,
You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse,
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honour, as in war, since that to both
It stands in like request?
Why force you this?
Because that now it lies you on to speak
To the people; not by your own instruction,
Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but rooted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
this no more dishonours you at all
Than to take in a
town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so
in honour: I am in this,
Your wife, your son, these
senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our
How you can frown than spend a fawn upon
For the inheritance of their loves and
Of what that want might
Come, go with us;
speak fair: you may salve so,
Not what is dangerous
present, but the loss
Of what is
I prithee now, my son,
them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having
stretch'd it--here be with them--
Thy knee bussing the
stones--for in such business
Action is eloquence, and
the eyes of the ignorant
More learned than the
ears--waving thy head,
Which often, thus, correcting thy
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.
This but done,
Even as she
speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have
pardons, being ask'd, as free
As words to little
Go, and be
ruled: although I know thou hadst rather
enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower. Here
I have been i' the market-place; and, sir,'tis
You make strong party, or defend yourself
By calmness or by absence: all's in anger.
Only fair speech.
I think 'twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.
He must, and will
now, say you will, and go about it.
Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce?
Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't:
Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
This mould of Marcius, they to dust should grind it
And throw't against the wind. To the market-place!
You have put me now to such a part which never
I shall discharge to the life.
Come, come, we'll prompt you.
I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast
My praises made thee first a soldier,
To have my praise for this, perform a
Thou hast not done before.
Well, I must do't:
disposition, and possess me
Some harlot's spirit! my
throat of war be turn'd,
Which quired with my drum,
into a pipe
Small as an eunuch, or the virgin
That babies lulls asleep! the smiles of
Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take
The glasses of my sight! a beggar's tongue
Make motion through my lips, and my arm'd knees,
Who bow'd but in my stirrup, bend like his
That hath received an alms! I will not do't,
Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth
And by my body's action teach my mind
most inherent baseness.
At thy choice, then:
of thee, it is my more dishonour
Than thou of them.
Come all to ruin; let
Thy mother rather feel thy pride
Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou
Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from
But owe thy pride thyself.
Pray, be content:
am going to the market-place;
Chide me no more. I'll
mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and
come home beloved
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am
Commend me to my wife. I'll return
Or never trust to what my tongue can
I' the way of flattery further.
Do your will.
Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm
To answer mildly; for they are
With accusations, as I hear, more
Than are upon you yet.
The word is 'mildly.' Pray you, let us
Let them accuse me by invention, I
Will answer in mine honour.
Ay, but mildly.
Well, mildly be it then. Mildly!
SCENE III. The same. The Forum.
Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS
In this point charge him home, that he
Tyrannical power: if he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people,
that the spoil got on the Antiates
Enter an AEdileWhat, will he
With old Menenius, and those senators
That always favour'd him.
Have you a catalogue
the voices that we have procured
Set down by the
I have; 'tis ready.
Have you collected them by
Assemble presently the people hither;
And when they bear me say 'It shall be so
the right and strength o' the commons,' be it either
death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
If I say
fine, cry 'Fine;' if death, cry 'Death.'
the old prerogative
And power i' the truth o' the
I shall inform them.
And when such time they have begun to
Let them not cease, but with a din
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.
Make them be strong and ready for this
When we shall hap to give 't
Go about it.
Exit AEdilePut him to choler straight: he hath
Ever to conquer, and to have his
Of contradiction: being once chafed, he
Be rein'd again to temperance; then he
What's in his heart; and that is there which
With us to break his neck.
Well, here he comes.
Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, and COMINIUS, with Senators and
Calmly, I do beseech you.
Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest
Will bear the knave by the volume. The honour'd
Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of
Supplied with worthy men! plant love among
Throng our large temples with the shows of
And not our streets with
A noble wish.
Re-enter AEdile, with Citizens
Draw near, ye people.
List to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I
First, hear me speak.
Well, say. Peace, ho!
Shall I be charged no further than this
Must all determine here?
I do demand,
If you submit
you to the people's voices,
Allow their officers and are
To suffer lawful censure for such
As shall be proved upon you?
I am content.
Lo, citizens, he says he is content:
The warlike service he has done, consider; think
Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i' the holy churchyard.
Scratches with briers,
to move laughter only.
he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a
soldier: do not take
His rougher accents for malicious
But, as I say, such as become a
Rather than envy you.
Well, well, no more.
What is the matter
pass'd for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour'd
that the very hour
You take it off
Answer to us.
Say, then: 'tis true, I ought
We charge you, that you have contrived to
From Rome all season'd office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
you are a traitor to the people.
Nay, temperately; your
The fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the
Call me their traitor! Thou injurious
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand
In thy hand clutch'd as many millions,
Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.
Mark you this, people?
To the rock, to the rock with
We need not put new
matter to his charge:
What you have seen him do and
heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing
Opposing laws with strokes and here
Those whose great power must try him; even
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves the extremest death.
But since he hath
well for Rome,--
What do you prate of service?
I talk of that, that know it.
Is this the promise that you made your
Know, I pray you,--
I know no further:
pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
raying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would
Their mercy at the price of one fair
Nor cheque my courage for what they can
To have't with saying 'Good
For that he has,
As much as
in him lies, from time to time
Envied against the
people, seeking means
To pluck away their power, as now
Given hostile strokes, and that not in the
Of dreaded justice, but on the
That do distribute it; in the name o' the
And in the power of us the tribunes,
Even from this instant, banish him our
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian never more
enter our Rome gates: i' the people's name,
I say it
shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be so; let him
He's banish'd, and it shall be
Hear me, my masters, and my common
He's sentenced; no more
Let me speak:
I have been
consul, and can show for Rome
Her enemies' marks upon
me. I do love
My country's good with a respect more
More holy and profound, than mine own
My dear wife's estimate, her womb's
And treasure of my loins; then if I
We know your drift: speak
There's no more to be said, but he is
As enemy to the people and his
It shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be
You common cry of curs! whose breath I
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble
rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of
Fan you into despair! Have the power
To banish your defenders; till at
Your ignorance, which finds not till it
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I
turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENENIUS, Senators, and
The people's enemy is gone, is
Our enemy is banish'd! he is gone! Hoo!
Shouting, and throwing up their caps
Go, see him out at gates, and follow
As he hath followed you, with all
Give him deserved vexation. Let a
Attend us through the city.
Come, come; let's see him out at gates;
The gods preserve our noble tribunes!
SCENE I. Rome. Before a gate of the city.
Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, MENENIUS, COMINIUS, with
the young Nobility of Rome
Come, leave your tears: a brief farewell: the
With many heads butts me away. Nay,
Where is your ancient courage? you were
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
heart that conn'd them.
O heavens! O heavens!
Nay! prithee, woman,--
Now the red pestilence strike all trades in
And occupations perish!
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
Six of his labours you'ld have done, and
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,
'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
still have been your solace: and
lightly--though I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon,
that his fen
Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than
Will or exceed the common or be
With cautelous baits and
My first son.
thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee awhile: determine
on some course,
More than a wild exposture to each
That starts i' the way before
O the gods!
I'll follow thee a month, devise with
Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of
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
the absence of the needer.
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,
My friends of noble touch, when I am
Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you,
While I remain above the ground, you
Hear from me still, and never of me
But what is like me formerly.
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
I'ld with thee every
Give me thy hand: Come.
SCENE II. The same. A street near the gate.
Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an AEdile
Bid them all home; he's gone, and we'll no
The nobility are vex'd, whom we see have
In his behalf.
Now we have shown our power,
Let us seem humbler after it is done
it was a-doing.
Bid them home:
Say their great
enemy is gone, and they
Stand in their ancient
Dismiss them home.
Exit AEdileHere comes his
Let's not meet her.
They say she's mad.
They have ta'en note of us: keep on your
Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and MENENIUS
O, ye're well met: the hoarded plague o' the
Requite your love!
Peace, peace; be not so loud.
If that I could for weeping, you should
Nay, and you shall hear some.
To BRUTUSWill you be gone?
[To SICINIUS] You shall stay too: I would I had the
To say so to my husband.
Are you mankind?
Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this
Was not a man my father? Hadst thou
To banish him that struck more blows for
Than thou hast spoken words?
O blessed heavens!
More noble blows than ever thou wise
And for Rome's good. I'll tell thee what; yet
Nay, but thou shalt stay too: I would my
Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
His good sword in his hand.
He'ld make an end
of thy posterity.
Bastards and all.
the wounds that he does bear for Rome!
Come, come, peace.
I would he had continued to his country
As he began, and not unknit himself
noble knot he made.
I would he had.
'I would he had'! 'Twas you incensed the
Cats, that can judge as fitly of his
As I can of those mysteries which heaven
Will not have earth to know.
Pray, let us go.
Now, pray, sir, get you gone:
You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:--
As far as doth the Capitol exceed
meanest house in Rome, so far my son--
husband here, this, do you see--
Whom you have banish'd,
does exceed you all.
Well, well, we'll leave you.
Why stay we to be baited
one that wants her wits?
Take my prayers with you.
Exeunt TribunesI would the gods had nothing else
But to confirm my curses! Could I meet
But once a-day, it would unclog my heart
Of what lies heavy to't.
You have told them home;
by my troth, you have cause. You'll sup with me?
Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself,
And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let's go:
Leave this faint puling and lament as I do,
In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.
Fie, fie, fie!
SCENE III. A highway between Rome and Antium.
Enter a Roman and a Volsce, meeting
I know you well, sir, and you know
me: your name, I think, is Adrian.
It is so, sir: truly, I have forgot
I am a Roman; and my services are,
as you are, against 'em: know you me yet?
The same, sir.
You had more beard when I last saw you; but
favour is well approved by your tongue. What's
news in Rome? I have a note from the Volscian
to find you out there: you have well saved me
There hath been in Rome strange insurrections;
people against the senators, patricians, and
Hath been! is it ended, then? Our state thinks
so: they are in a most warlike preparation,
hope to come upon them in the heat of their
The main blaze of it is past, but a small
would make it flame again: for the nobles
so to heart the banishment of that
Coriolanus, that they are in a ripe aptness to
all power from the people and to pluck from
their tribunes for ever. This lies glowing, I
tell you, and is almost mature for the
You will be welcome with this intelligence,
The day serves well for them now. I have heard
said, the fittest time to corrupt a man's wife
when she's fallen out with her husband. Your
Tullus Aufidius will appear well in these wars,
great opposer, Coriolanus, being now in no
of his country.
He cannot choose. I am most fortunate,
accidentally to encounter you: you have ended
business, and I will merrily accompany you
I shall, between this and supper, tell you
strange things from Rome; all tending to the good
their adversaries. Have you an army ready, say
A most royal one; the centurions and their
distinctly billeted, already in the
and to be on foot at an hour's
I am joyful to hear of their readiness, and am
man, I think, that shall set them in present
So, sir, heartily well met, and most glad of
You take my part from me, sir; I have the most
to be glad of yours.
Well, let us go together.
SCENE IV. Antium. Before Aufidius's house.
Enter CORIOLANUS in mean apparel, disguised and muffled
A goodly city is this Antium. City,
'Tis I that made thy widows: many an heir
these fair edifices 'fore my wars
Have I heard groan and
drop: then know me not,
Lest that thy wives with spits
and boys with stones
In puny battle slay me.
Enter a CitizenSave you, sir.
Direct me, if it be your will,
Where great Aufidius lies: is he in Antium?
He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
At his house this night.
Which is his house, beseech
This, here before you.
Thank you, sir: farewell.
Exit CitizenO world, thy slippery turns! Friends
now fast sworn,
Whose double bosoms seem to wear one
Whose house, whose bed, whose meal, and
Are still together, who twin, as 'twere, in
Unseparable, shall within this hour,
On a dissension of a doit, break out
bitterest enmity: so, fellest foes,
Whose passions and
whose plots have broke their sleep,
To take the one the
other, by some chance,
Some trick not worth an egg,
shall grow dear friends
And interjoin their issues. So
My birth-place hate I, and my love's
This enemy town. I'll enter: if he slay
He does fair justice; if he give me way,
I'll do his country service.
SCENE V. The same. A hall in Aufidius's house.
Music within. Enter a Servingman
Wine, wine, wine! What service
is here! I think our fellows are asleep.
Enter a second Servingman
Where's Cotus? my master calls
for him. Cotus!
A goodly house: the feast smells well; but
Appear not like a guest.
Re-enter the first Servingman
What would you have, friend? whence are
Here's no place for you: pray, go to the
I have deserved no better entertainment,
In being Coriolanus.
Re-enter second Servingman
Whence are you, sir? Has the porter his eyes in
head; that he gives entrance to such
Pray, get you out.
Away! get you away.
Now thou'rt troublesome.
Are you so brave? I'll have you talked with
Enter a third Servingman. The first meets him
What fellow's this?
A strange one as ever I looked on: I cannot get
out of the house: prithee, call my master to
What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you,
Let me but stand; I will not hurt your
What are you?
A marvellous poor one.
True, so I am.
Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some
station; here's no place for you; pray you, avoid:
Follow your function, go, and batten on cold
Pushes him away
What, you will not? Prithee, tell my master what
strange guest he has here.
And I shall.
Where dwellest thou?
Under the canopy.
Under the canopy!
I' the city of kites and
I' the city of kites and crows! What an ass it
Then thou dwellest with daws
No, I serve not thy master.
How, sir! do you meddle with my
Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with
mistress. Thou pratest, and pratest; serve with
Beats him away. Exit third Servingman
Enter AUFIDIUS with the second Servingman
Where is this fellow?
Here, sir: I'ld have beaten him like a dog, but
disturbing the lords within.
Whence comest thou? what wouldst thou? thy
Why speak'st not? speak, man: what's thy
UnmufflingNot yet thou knowest me, and, seeing
me, dost not
Think me for the man I am,
Commands me name myself.
What is thy name?
A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
And harsh in sound to thine.
Say, what's thy name?
hast a grim appearance, and thy face
Bears a command
in't; though thy tackle's torn.
Thou show'st a noble
vessel: what's thy name?
Prepare thy brow to frown: know'st
thou me yet?
I know thee not: thy name?
My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname, Coriolanus: the painful service,
The extreme dangers and the drops of blood
Shed for my thankless country are requited
But with that surname; a good memory,
witness of the malice and displeasure
shouldst bear me: only that name remains;
and envy of the people,
Permitted by our dastard nobles,
Have all forsook me, hath devour'd the
And suffer'd me by the voice of slaves to
Whoop'd out of Rome. Now this extremity
Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope--
Mistake me not--to save my life, for if
had fear'd death, of all the men i' the world
have 'voided thee, but in mere spite,
To be full quit of
those my banishers,
Stand I before thee here. Then if
A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt
Thine own particular wrongs and stop those
Of shame seen through thy country, speed
And make my misery serve thy
turn: so use it
That my revengeful services may
As benefits to thee, for I will fight
Against my canker'd country with the spleen
Of all the under fiends. But if so be
darest not this and that to prove more fortunes
tired, then, in a word, I also am
Longer to live most
weary, and present
My throat to thee and to thy ancient
Which not to cut would show thee but a
Since I have ever follow'd thee with
Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's
And cannot live but to thy shame,
It be to do thee service.
O Marcius, Marcius!
word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
of ancient envy. If Jupiter
Should from yond cloud
speak divine things,
And say 'Tis true,' I'ld not
believe them more
Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me
Mine arms about that body, where
My grained ash an hundred times hath
And scarr'd the moon with splinters: here I
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy
valour. Know thou first,
I loved the maid I married;
Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee
Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt
Than when I first my wedded mistress
Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars! I tell
We have a power on foot; and I had
Once more to hew thy target from thy
Or lose mine arm fort: thou hast beat me
Twelve several times, and I have nightly
Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and
We have been down together in my sleep,
Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat,
And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Marcius,
Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that
Thou art thence banish'd, we would muster all
From twelve to seventy, and pouring war
Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
bold flood o'er-bear. O, come, go in,
And take our
friendly senators by the hands;
Who now are here,
taking their leaves of me,
Who am prepared against your
Though not for Rome
You bless me, gods!
Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt
The leading of thine own revenges, take
The one half of my commission; and set down--
As best thou art experienced, since thou know'st
Thy country's strength and weakness,--thine own ways;
Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
Or rudely visit them in parts remote,
fright them, ere destroy. But come in:
Let me commend
thee first to those that shall
Say yea to thy desires.
A thousand welcomes!
And more a friend than e'er an
Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand: most
Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. The two Servingmen come
Here's a strange alteration!
By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him
a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made
false report of him.
What an arm he has! he turned me about with
finger and his thumb, as one would set up a
Nay, I knew by his face that there was something
him: he had, sir, a kind of face,
cannot tell how to term
He had so; looking as it were--would I were
but I thought there was more in him than I
So did I, I'll be sworn: he is simply the
man i' the world.
I think he is: but a greater soldier than he you
Who, my master?
Nay, it's no matter for that.
Worth six on him.
Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be
Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say
for the defence of a town, our general is
Ay, and for an assault too.
Re-enter third Servingman
O slaves, I can tell you news,-- news, you
First Servingman Second Servingman
What, what, what? let's
I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had
lieve be a condemned man.
First Servingman Second
Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our
Why do you say 'thwack our general
I do not say 'thwack our general;' but he was
good enough for him.
Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever
hard for him; I have heard him say so
He was too hard for him directly, to say the
on't: before Corioli he scotched him and
him like a carbon ado.
An he had been cannibally given, he might
broiled and eaten him too.
But, more of thy news?
Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were
and heir to Mars; set at upper end o' the table;
question asked him by any of the senators, but
stand bald before him: our general himself makes
mistress of him: sanctifies himself with's hand
turns up the white o' the eye to his discourse.
the bottom of the news is that our general is cut
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 sowl the porter of Rome gates by the ears: he
will mow all down before him, and leave his passage
And he's as like to do't as any man I can
Do't! he will do't; for, look you, sir, he has
many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as
were, durst not, look you, sir, show themselves,
we term it, his friends whilst he's in
Directitude! what's that?
But when they shall see, sir, his crest up
and the man in blood, they will out of
burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all
But when goes this forward?
To-morrow; to-day; presently; you shall have
drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were,
parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere
wipe their lips.
Why, then we shall have a stirring world
This peace is nothing, but to rust iron,
tailors, and breed
Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far
day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible,
full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy,
mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of
bastard children than war's a destroyer of
'Tis so: and as war, in some sort, may be said
be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is
great maker of cuckolds.
Ay, and it makes men hate one
Reason; because they then less need one
The wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as
as Volscians. They are rising, they are
In, in, in, in!
SCENE VI. Rome. A public place.
Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS
We hear not of him, neither need we fear
His remedies are tame i' the present peace
And quietness of the people, which before
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 with in their shops and
About their functions
We stood to't in good time.
Enter MENENIUSIs this
'Tis he,'tis he: O, he is grown most kind of
Hail to you both!
Is not much
miss'd, but with his friends:
The commonwealth doth
stand, and so would do,
Were he more angry at
All's well; and might have been much better,
He could have temporized.
Where is he, hear you?
Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his
Hear nothing from him.
Enter three or four Citizens
The gods preserve you both!
God-den, our neighbours.
God-den to you all, god-den to you
Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our
Are bound to pray for you
Live, and thrive!
Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish'd
Had loved you as we did.
Now the gods keep you!
This is a happier and more comely time
Than when these fellows ran about the streets,
Caius Marcius was
officer i' the war; but insolent,
O'ercome with pride,
ambitious past all thinking,
And affecting one sole throne,
I think not so.
We should by this, to all our
If he had gone forth consul, found it
The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.
Enter an AEdile
There is a
slave, whom we have put in prison,
Reports, the Volsces
with two several powers
Are enter'd in the Roman
And with the deepest malice of the
Destroy what lies before 'em.
of our Marcius' banishment,
Thrusts forth his horns
again into the world;
Which were inshell'd when Marcius
stood for Rome,
And durst not once peep
Come, what talk you
Go see this rumourer whipp'd. It cannot
The Volsces dare break with us.
We have record
that very well it can,
And three examples of the like
Within my age. But reason with the
Before you punish him, where he heard
Lest you shall chance to whip your
And beat the messenger who bids
Of what is to be dreaded.
Tell not me:
I know this
Enter a Messenger
The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the senate-house: some news is come
That turns their countenances.
'Tis this slave;--
him, 'fore the people's eyes:--his raising;
Yes, worthy sir,
report is seconded; and more,
More fearful, is
What more fearful?
It is spoke freely out of many mouths--
How probable I do not know--that Marcius,
Join'd with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
And vows revenge as spacious as between
young'st and oldest thing.
This is most likely!
Raised only, that the weaker sort may
Good Marcius home again.
The very trick on't.
This is unlikely:
Aufidius can no more atone
Enter a second Messenger
You are sent for to the senate:
A fearful army, led by Caius Marcius
Associated with Aufidius, rages
territories; and have already
O'erborne their way,
consumed with fire, and took
What lay before
O, you have made good work!
What news? what news?
You have holp to ravish your own daughters
To melt the city leads upon your pates,
To see your wives dishonour'd to your
What's the news? what's the
Your temples burned in their cement, and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
Into an auger's bore.
Pray now, your news?
have made fair work, I fear me.--Pray, your news?--
Marcius should be join'd with Volscians,--
He is their god: he
leads them like a thing
Made by some other deity than
That shapes man better; and they follow
Against us brats, with no less
Than boys pursuing summer
Or butchers killing
You have made good work,
You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much
on the voice of occupation and
He will shake
about your ears.
Did shake down
You have made fair
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
mock'd for valiant ignorance,
And perish constant
fools. Who is't can blame him?
Your enemies and his
find something in him.
We are all undone, unless
The noble man have mercy.
Who shall ask it?
tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
pity of him as the wolf
Does of the shepherds: for his
best friends, if they
Should say 'Be good to Rome,'
they charged him even
As those should do that had
deserved his hate,
And therein show'd like
If he were
putting to my house the brand
That should consume it, I
have not the face
To say 'Beseech you, cease.' You have
made fair hands,
You and your crafts! you have crafted
You have brought
trembling upon Rome, such as was never
So incapable of
Say not we brought it.
How! Was it we? we loved him but, like
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your
Who did hoot him out o' the
But I fear
They'll roar him
in again. Tullus Aufidius,
The second name of men,
obeys his points
As if he were his officer:
Is all the policy, strength and
That Rome can make against them.
Enter a troop of Citizens
Here come the clusters.
is Aufidius with him? You are they
That made the air
unwholesome, when you cast
Your stinking greasy caps in
Coriolanus' exile. Now he's
And not a hair upon a soldier's head
Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs
As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter;
if he could burn us all into one coal,
have deserved it.
Faith, we hear fearful news.
For mine own part,
said, banish him, I said 'twas pity.
And so did I.
And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did
many of us: that we did, we did for the best;
though we willingly consented to his banishment,
it was against our will.
Ye re goodly things, you
You have made
you and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?
O, ay, what else?
Exeunt COMINIUS and MENENIUS
Go, masters, get you home; be not
These are a side that would be glad to
This true which they so seem to fear. Go
And show no sign of fear.
The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's
I ever said we were i' the wrong when we
So did we all. But, come, let's home.
I do not like this news.
Let's to the Capitol. Would half my
Would buy this for a lie!
Pray, let us go.
SCENE VII. A camp, at a small distance from Rome.
Enter AUFIDIUS and his Lieutenant
Do they still fly to the Roman?
I do not know what witchcraft's in him,
Your soldiers use him as the grace 'fore
Their talk at table, and their thanks at
And you are darken'd in this action, sir,
Even by your own.
I cannot help it now,
by using means, I lame the foot
Of our design. He bears
himself more proudlier,
Even to my person, than I
thought he would
When first I did embrace him: yet his
In that's no changeling; and I must
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
To him had left it solely.
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
the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly.
shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
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
Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry
All places yield to him ere he sits down;
And the nobility of Rome are his:
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
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes
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
happy man; whether defect of judgment,
To fail in the
disposing of those chances
Which he was lord of; or
Not to be other than one thing, not
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,
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
And power, unto itself most
Hath not a tomb so evident as a
To extol what it hath done.
One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights falter, strengths 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
No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath
Which was sometime his general; who loved
In a most dear particular. He call'd me
But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd
A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
He would not seem to know me.
Do you hear?
Yet one time he did call me by my name:
I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of
Till he had forged himself a name o'
Of burning Rome.
Why, so: you have made good work!
A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
To make coals cheap,--a noble memory!
I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
When it was less expected: he replied,
was a bare petition of a state
To one whom they had
Could he say
I offer'd to awaken his regard
For's private friends: his answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
For one poor
grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And still to nose the
For one poor grain or two!
am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
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.
Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your
In this so never-needed help, yet do not
Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you
Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.
No, I'll not meddle.
Pray you, go to him.
What should I do?
Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome, towards Marcius.
Well, and say that Marcius
Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
But as a discontented friend,
With his unkindness? say't be
Yet your good will
that thanks from Rome, after the measure
As you intended
I'll undertake 't:
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 dined:
The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold,
We pout upon the morning, are unapt
To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
These and these conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him
Till he be dieted to my request,
I'll set upon him.
You know the very road into his kindness,
And cannot lose your way.
Good faith, I'll prove him,
Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
Of my success.
He'll never hear him.
I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury
gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
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;
as I hear, mean to solicit him
For mercy to his country.
Therefore, let's hence,
And with our fair entreaties
haste them on.
SCENE II. Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome.
Two Sentinels on guard.
Enter to them, MENENIUS
Stay: whence are you?
Stand, and go back.
You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your
I am an officer of state, and come
To speak with Coriolanus.
You may not pass, you must return: our
Will no more hear from
You'll see your Rome embraced with fire
You'll speak with
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.
Be it so; go back: the virtue of your
Is not here passable.
I tell thee, fellow,
general is my lover: I have been
The book of his good
acts, whence men have read
His name unparallel'd, haply
For I have ever verified my
Of whom he's chief, with all the size that
Would without lapsing suffer: nay,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle
I have tumbled past the throw; and in his
Have almost stamp'd the leasing: therefore,
I must have leave to pass.
Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in
behalf as you have uttered words in your own,
should not pass here; no, though it were as
to lie as to live chastely. Therefore, go
Prithee, fellow, remember my name is
always factionary on the party of your
Howsoever you have been his liar, as you say
have, I am one that, telling true under him,
say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go
Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would
speak with him till after
You are a Roman, are you?
I am, as thy general is.
Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can
when you have pushed out your gates the
defender of them, and, in a violent
ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think
front his revenges with the easy groans of
women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or
the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant
you seem to be? Can you think to blow out
intended fire your city is ready to flame in,
such weak breath as this? No, you are
therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for
execution: you are condemned, our general has
you out of reprieve and
Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he
use me with estimation.
Come, my captain knows you
I mean, thy general.
My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go;
I let forth your half-pint of blood;
the utmost of your having:
Nay, but, fellow, fellow,--
Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS
What's the matter?
Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for
You shall know now that I am in estimation; you
perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me
my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my
with him, if thou standest not i' the
hanging, or of some death more long
spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold
presently, and swoon for what's to come upon
To CORIOLANUSThe glorious gods sit in hourly
synod about thy
particular prosperity, and love thee no
thy old father Menenius does! O my son, my
thou art preparing fire for us; look thee,
water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come
thee; but being assured none but myself could
thee, I have been blown out of your gates
sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and
petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage
wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this
here,--this, who, like a block, hath denied
access to thee.
Wife, mother, child, I know not. My
Are servanted to others: though I owe
My revenge properly, my remission lies
Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
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 loved thee,
Take this along; I writ it for thy
Gives a letterAnd would have rent it. Another
I will not hear thee speak. This man,
Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou
You keep a constant temper.
Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS
Now, sir, is your name
'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know
way home again.
Do you hear how we are shent for keeping
What cause, do you think, I have to
I neither care for the world nor your general:
such things as you, I can scarce think there's
ye're so slight. He that hath a will to die
himself fears it not from another: let your
do his worst. For you, be that you are, long;
your misery increase with your age! I say to
as I was said to, Away!
A noble fellow, I warrant
The worthy fellow is our general: he's the rock,
oak not to be wind-shaken.
SCENE III. The tent of Coriolanus.
Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others
We will before the walls of Rome tomorrow
Set down our host. My partner in this action,
You must report to the Volscian lords, how plainly
I have borne this business.
Only their ends
respected; stopp'd your ears against
The general suit of
Rome; never admitted
A private whisper, no, not with such
That thought them sure of
This last old man,
a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome,
Loved me above the
measure of a father;
Nay, godded me, indeed. Their
Was to send him; for whose old love I
Though I show'd sourly to him, once more
The first conditions, which they did
And cannot now accept; to grace him
That thought he could do more, a very
I have yielded to: fresh embassies and
Nor from the state nor private friends,
Will I lend ear to. Ha! what shout is
Shout withinShall I be tempted to infringe my
In the same time 'tis made? I will not.
Enter in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, leading young MARCIUS,
VALERIA, and AttendantsMy wife comes foremost; then the
Wherein this trunk was framed, and in her
The grandchild to her blood. But, out,
All bond and privilege of nature,
Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.
What is that curt'sy worth? or those doves' 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
supplication nod: and my young boy
Hath an aspect of
Great nature cries 'Deny not.' let
Plough Rome and harrow Italy: I'll
Be such a gosling to obey instinct, but
As if a man were author of himself
And knew no other kin.
My lord and husband!
These eyes are not the same I wore in
The sorrow that delivers us thus changed
Makes you think so.
Like a dull actor now,
forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace.
Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not
For that 'Forgive our Romans.' O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
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
Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i' the
KneelsOf thy deep duty more impression
Than that of common sons.
O, stand up blest!
with no softer cushion than the flint,
I kneel before
thee; and unproperly
Show duty, as mistaken all this
Between the child and parent.
What is this?
Your knees to
me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.
Thou art my warrior;
to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
That's curdied by the frost from purest snow
And hangs on Dian's temple: dear Valeria!
This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
show like all yourself.
The god of soldiers,
consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with
nobleness; that thou mayst prove
To shame unvulnerable,
and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing
And saving those that eye
Your knee, sirrah.
That's my brave boy!
Even he, your wife, this lady, and
Are suitors to you.
I beseech you, peace:
you'ld ask, remember this before:
The thing 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
my rages and revenges with
O, no more, no more!
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
May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear
Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for
Hear nought from Rome in private. Your
Should we be silent and not speak, our
And state of bodies would bewray what
We have led since thy exile. Think with
How more unfortunate than all living
Are we come hither: since that thy
eyes flow with joy, hearts dance
Constrains them weep and shake with fear and
Making the mother, wife and child to
The son, the husband and the father
His country's bowels out. And to poor
Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st
Our prayers to the gods, which is a
That all but we enjoy; for how can
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
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
And bear the palm for having bravely
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself,
I purpose not to wait on fortune till
These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to show 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 mine,
you forth this boy, to keep your name
A' shall not tread on me;
I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll
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
save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volsces whom
you serve, you might condemn us,
As poisonous of your
honour: no; our suit
Is that you reconcile them: while
May say 'This mercy we have show'd;' the
'This we received;' and each in either
Give the all-hail to thee and cry 'Be
For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great
The end of war's uncertain, but this
That, if thou conquer Rome, the
Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with
Whose chronicle thus writ: 'The man was
But with his last attempt he wiped it
Destroy'd his country, and his name
To the ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me,
Thou hast affected the fine strains of
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's no man in the world
More bound to 's mother; yet here he lets me prate
Like one i' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,
she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
thee to the wars and safely home,
Loaden with honour.
Say my request's unjust,
And spurn me back: but if it
be not so,
Thou art not honest; and the gods will
That thou restrain'st from me the duty
To a mother's part belongs. He turns
Down, ladies; let us shame him with our
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more
Than pity to our prayers. Down: an end;
This is the last: so we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold 's:
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have
But kneels and holds up bands 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
him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch:
I am hush'd
until our city be a-fire,
And then I'll speak a
He holds her by the hand, silent
O mother, mother!
you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
The gods look
down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my
mother, mother! O!
You have won a happy victory to
But, for your son,--believe it, O, believe
Most dangerously you have with him
If not most mortal to him. But, let it
Aufidius, though I cannot make true
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good
Were you in my stead, would you have
A mother less? or granted less,
I was moved withal.
I dare be sworn you were:
And, sir, it is no little thing to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part,
I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you,
Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife!
[Aside] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy
At difference in
thee: out of that I'll work
Myself a former
The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS
Ay, by and by;
To VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, & cBut we will drink
together; and you shall bear
A better witness back than
words, which we,
On like conditions, will have
Come, enter with us. Ladies, you
To have a temple built you: all the
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace.
SCENE IV. Rome. A public place.
Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS
See you yond coign o' the Capitol, yond
Why, what of that?
If it be possible for you to displace it with
little finger, there is some hope the ladies
Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with
But I say there is no hope in't: our throats
sentenced and stay upon
Is't possible that so short a time can alter
condition of a man!
There is differency between a grub and a
yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius
from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more
He loved his mother dearly.
So did he me: and he no more remembers his
now than an eight-year-old horse. The
of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks,
moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks
his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet
his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is
battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made
Alexander. What he bids be done is finished
his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but
and a heaven to throne in.
Yes, mercy, if you report him
I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy
mother shall bring from him: there is no more
in him than there is milk in a male tiger;
shall our poor city find: and all this is long
The gods be good unto us!
No, in such a case the gods will not be good
us. When we banished him, we respected not
and, he returning to break our necks, they respect
Enter a Messenger
Sir, if you'ld save your life, fly to your
The plebeians have got your
And hale him up and down, all swearing,
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.
Enter a second Messenger
What's the news?
Good news, good news; the ladies have
The Volscians are dislodged, and Marcius
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.
Art thou certain this
is true? is it most certain?
As certain as I know the sun is fire:
Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,
As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you!
Trumpets; hautboys; drums beat; all togetherThe
trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes,
cymbals and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance.
A shout within
This is good news:
I will go
meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls,
A city full; of tribunes, such as
A sea and land full. You have pray'd well
This morning for ten thousand of your
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they
Music still, with shouts
First, the gods bless you for your tidings;
Accept my thankfulness.
Sir, we have all
to give great thanks.
They are near the city?
Almost at point to enter.
We will meet them,
SCENE V. The same. A street near the gate.
Enter two Senators with VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, & c.
passing over the stage, followed by Patricians and others
Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!
Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them:
Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
'Welcome, ladies, welcome!'
Welcome, ladies, Welcome!
A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt
SCENE VI. Antium. A public place.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants
Go tell the lords o' the city I am here:
Deliver them this paper: having read it,
them repair to the market place; where I,
Even in theirs
and in the commons' ears,
Will vouch the truth of it. Him
The city ports by this hath enter'd
Intends to appear before the people, hoping
To purge herself with words: dispatch.
Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' factionMost welcome!
How is it with our general?
As with a man by his
own alms empoison'd,
And with his charity
Most noble sir,
If you do
hold the same intent wherein
You wish'd us parties,
we'll deliver you
Of your great
Sir, I cannot tell:
proceed as we do find the people.
The people will remain uncertain whilst
'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
Makes the survivor heir of all.
I know it;
And my pretext to
strike at him admits
A good construction. I raised him,
and I pawn'd
Mine honour for his truth: who being so
He water'd his new plants with dews of
Seducing so my friends; and, to this
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable and free.
Sir, his stoutness
did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of
That I would have spoke of:
Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men; served his designments
In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
Which he did end all his; and took some pride
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
I seem'd his follower, not partner, and
waged me with his countenance, as if
I had been
So he did, my lord:
marvell'd at it, and, in the last,
When he had carried
Rome and that we look'd
For no less spoil than
There was it:
For which my
sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
At a few drops of
women's rheum, which are
As cheap as lies, he sold the
blood and labour
Of our great action: therefore shall he
And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the
Your native town you enter'd like a post,
And had no welcomes home: but he returns,
Splitting the air with noise.
And patient fools,
children he hath slain, their base throats tear
giving him glory.
Therefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself, or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
Which we will second. When he lies along,
After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
His reasons with his body.
Say no more:
Here come the
Enter the Lords of the city
You are most welcome home.
I have not deserved it.
worthy lords, have you with heed perused
What I have
written to you?
And grieve to hear't.
faults he made before the last, I think
Might have found
easy fines: but there to end
Where he was to begin and
The benefit of our levies, answering
With our own charge, making a treaty where
There was a yielding,--this admits no excuse.
He approaches: you shall hear him.
Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and colours; commoners being with
Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
No more infected with my country's love
when I parted hence, but still subsisting
great command. You are to know
That prosperously I have
With bloody passage led your wars even
The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought
Do more than counterpoise a full third
The charges of the action. We have made
With no less honour to the Antiates
Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,
Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,
Together with the seal o' the senate, what
We have compounded on.
Read it not, noble lords;
tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
He hath abused
Traitor! how now!
Ay, traitor, Marcius!
Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius: dost thou
I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n
Coriolanus in Corioli?
lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously
betray'd your business, and given up,
For certain drops
of salt, your city Rome,
I say 'your city,' to his wife
Breaking his oath and resolution
A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears
He whined and roar'd away your victory,
That pages blush'd at him and men of heart
Look'd wondering each at other.
Hear'st thou, Mars?
Name not the god, thou boy of
Measureless liar, thou hast made my
Too great for what contains it. Boy! O
Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that
I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave
Must give this cur the lie: and his own
Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him;
Must bear my beating to his grave--shall
To thrust the lie unto him.
Peace, both, and hear me
Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
I did it. Boy!
Why, noble lords,
be put in mind of his blind fortune,
Which was your
shame, by this unholy braggart,
'Fore your own eyes and
Let him die for't.
All The People
'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do it presently.' 'He
my son.' 'My daughter.' 'He killed my
Marcus.' 'He killed my
Peace, ho! no outrage: peace!
The man is noble and his fame folds-in
This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.
O that I had him,
Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
The Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS: AUFIDIUS stands on his
Hold, hold, hold, hold!
My noble masters, hear me
Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will
Tread not upon him. Masters all, be
Put up your swords.
My lords, when you shall know--as in this
Provoked by him, you cannot--the great
Which this man's life did owe you, you'll
That he is thus cut off. Please it your
To call me to your senate, I'll
Myself your loyal servant, or endure
Your heaviest censure.
Bear from hence his body;
And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
As the most noble corse that ever herald
Did follow to his urn.
His own impatience
from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the
best of it.
My rage is gone;
And I am
struck with sorrow. Take him up.
Help, three o' the
chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
Beat thou the drum,
that it speak mournfully:
Trail your steel pikes.
Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many
Which to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet he shall have a noble memory. Assist.
Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead march