The Tragedy of Coriolanus, by William Shakespeare

Act II

Scene I. Rome. A public place.

Enter Menenius with the two Tribunes of the people, Sicinius and Brutus.

Menenius

The augurer tells me we shall have news to-night.

Brutus

Good or bad?

Menenius

Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love not Marcius.

Sicinius

Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

Menenius

Pray you, who does the wolf love?

Sicinius

The lamb.

Menenius

Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the noble Marcius.

Brutus

He’s a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.

Menenius

He’s a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.

Both

Well, sir.

Menenius

In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you two have not in abundance?

Brutus

He’s poor in no one fault, but stored with all.

Sicinius

Especially in pride.

Brutus

And topping all others in boasting.

Menenius

This is strange now: do you two know how you are censured here in the city, I mean of us o’ the right-hand file? do you?

Both

Why, how are we censured?

Menenius

Because you talk of pride now — will you not be angry?

Both

Well, well, sir, well.

Menenius

Why, ’tis no great matter; for a very little thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience: give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius for being proud?

Brutus

We do it not alone, sir.

Menenius

I know you can do very little alone; for your helps are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous single: your abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves! O that you could!

Brutus

What then, sir?

Menenius

Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as any in Rome.

Sicinius

Menenius, you are known well enough too.

Menenius

I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tiber in’t; said to be something imperfect in favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like upon too trivial motion; one that converses more with the buttock of the night than with the forehead of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as you are — I cannot call you Lycurguses — if the drink you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I can’t say your worships have delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables: and though I must be content to bear with those that say you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that tell you you have good faces. If you see this in the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough too? what barm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be known well enough too?

Brutus

Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

Menenius

You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing. You are ambitious for poor knaves’ caps and legs: you wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a cause between an orange wife and a fosset-seller; and then rejourn the controversy of three pence to a second day of audience. When you are hearing a matter between party and party, if you chance to be 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.

Brutus

Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber for the table than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.

Menenius

Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher’s cushion, or to be entombed in an ass’s pack- saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud; who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the best of ’em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to your worships: more of your conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.

Brutus and Sicinius go aside

Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria

How now, my as fair as noble ladies — and the moon, were she earthly, no nobler — whither do you follow your eyes so fast?

Volumnia

Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the love of Juno, let’s go.

Menenius

Ha! Marcius coming home!

Volumnia

Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous approbation.

Menenius

Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
Marcius coming home!

Volumnia

Virgilia

Nay,’tis true.

Volumnia

Look, here’s a letter from him: the state hath another, his wife another; and, I think, there’s one at home for you.

Menenius

I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for me!

Virgilia

Yes, certain, there’s a letter for you; I saw’t.

Menenius

A letter for me! it gives me an estate of seven years’ health; in which time I will make a lip at the physician: the most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative, of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.

Virgilia

O, no, no, no.

Volumnia

O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for’t.

Menenius

So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a’ victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.

Volumnia

On’s brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home with the oaken garland.

Menenius

Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

Volumnia

Titus Lartius writes, they fought together, but
Aufidius got off.

Menenius

And ’twas time for him too, I’ll warrant him that: an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold that’s in them. Is the senate possessed of this?

Volumnia

Good ladies, let’s go. Yes, yes, yes; the senate has letters from the general, wherein he gives my son the whole name of the war: he hath in this action outdone his former deeds doubly

Valeria

In troth, there’s wondrous things spoke of him.

Menenius

Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his true purchasing.

Virgilia

The gods grant them true!

Volumnia

True! pow, wow.

Menenius

True! I’ll be sworn they are true.
Where is he wounded?

To the Tribunes

God save your good worships! Marcius is coming home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?

Volumnia

I’ the shoulder and i’ the left arm there will be large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall stand for his place. He received in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts i’ the body.

Menenius

One i’ the neck, and two i’ the thigh — there’s nine that I know.

Volumnia

He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five wounds upon him.

Menenius

Now it’s twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy’s grave.

A shout and flourish

Hark! the trumpets.

Volumnia

These are the ushers of Marcius: before him he carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
Death, that dark spirit, in ’s nervy arm doth lie;
Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.

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

Herald

Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,
With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
In honour follows Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

Flourish

All

Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

Coriolanus

No more of this; it does offend my heart:
Pray now, no more.

Cominius

  Look, sir, your mother!

Coriolanus

O,
You have, I know, petition’d all the gods
For my prosperity!

Kneels

Volumnia

  Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly named —
What is it? — Coriolanus must I call thee? —
But O, thy wife!

Coriolanus

  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,
And mothers that lack sons.

Menenius

Now, the gods crown thee!

Coriolanus

And live you yet?

To Valeria

O my sweet lady, pardon.

Volumnia

I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
And welcome, general: and ye’re welcome all.

Menenius

A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
A curse begin at very root on’s heart,
That is not glad to see thee! You are three
That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,
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 nettle and
The faults of fools but folly.

Cominius

Ever right.

Coriolanus

Menenius ever, ever.

Herald

Give way there, and go on!

Coriolanus

[To Volumnia and Virgilia] Your hand, and yours:
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have received not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.

Volumnia

I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy: only
There’s one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.

Coriolanus

Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way,
Than sway with them in theirs.

Cominius

On, to the Capitol!

Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before. Brutus and Sicinius come forward

Brutus

All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
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, windows,
Are smother’d up, leads fill’d, and ridges horsed
With variable complexions, all agreeing
In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
Do press among the popular throngs and puff
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
And gave him graceful posture.

Sicinius

On the sudden,
I warrant him consul.

Brutus

Then our office may,
During his power, go sleep.

Sicinius

He cannot temperately transport his honours
From where he should begin and end, but will
Lose those he hath won.

Brutus

In that there’s comfort.

Sicinius

Doubt not
The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
Upon their ancient malice will forget
With the least cause these his new honours, which
That he will give them make I as little question
As he is proud to do’t.

Brutus

I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i’ the market-place nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility;
Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

Sicinius

’Tis right.

Brutus

It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
And the desire of the nobles.

Sicinius

I wish no better
Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
In execution.

Brutus

’Tis most like he will.

Sicinius

It shall be to him then as our good wills,
A sure destruction.

Brutus

So it must fall out
To him 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, holding them,
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.

Sicinius

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

Brutus

What’s the matter?

Messenger

You are sent for to the Capitol. ’Tis thought
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.

Brutus

Let’s to the Capitol;
And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
But hearts for the event.

Sicinius

Have with you.

Exeunt

Scene II. The same. The Capitol.

Enter two Officers, to lay cushions

First Officer

Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand for consulships?

Second Officer

Three, they say: but ’tis thought of every one
Coriolanus will carry it.

First Officer

That’s a brave fellow; but he’s vengeance proud, and loves not the common people.

Second Officer

Faith, there had been many great men that have flattered the people, who ne’er loved them; and there be many that they have loved, they know not wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate him manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets them plainly see’t.

First Officer

If he did not care whether he had their love or no, he waved indifferently ’twixt doing them neither good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater devotion than can render it him; and leaves nothing undone that may fully discover him their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.

Second Officer

He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who, having been supple and courteous to the people, bonneted, without any further deed to have them at an into their estimation and report: but he hath so planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions in their hearts, that for their tongues to be silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.

First Officer

No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, they are coming.

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 stands

Menenius

Having determined of the Volsces and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
As the main point of this our after-meeting,
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country: therefore, please you,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul, and last general
In our well-found successes, to report
A little of that worthy work perform’d
By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom
We met here both to thank and to remember
With honours like himself.

First Senator

Speak, good Cominius:
Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
Rather our state’s defective for requital
Than we to stretch it out.

To the Tribunes

Masters o’ the people,
We do request your kindest ears, and after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.

Sicinius

We are convented
Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
Inclinable to honour and advance
The theme of our assembly.

Brutus

Which the rather
We shall be blest to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto prized them at.

Menenius

That’s off, that’s off;
I would you rather had been silent. Please you
To hear Cominius speak?

Brutus

Most willingly;
But yet my caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give it.

Menenius

He loves your people
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
Worthy Cominius, speak.

Coriolanus offers to go away

Nay, keep your place.

First Senator

Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.

Coriolanus

Your horror’s pardon:
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.

Brutus

Sir, I hope
My words disbench’d you not.

Coriolanus

No, sir: yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but your people,
I love them as they weigh.

Menenius

Pray now, sit down.

Coriolanus

I had rather have one scratch my head i’ the sun
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster’d.

Exit

Menenius

Masters of the people,
Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter —
That’s thousand 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? Proceed, Cominius.

Cominius

I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be utter’d feebly. It is held
That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
The man I speak of cannot in the world
Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
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,
And 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 coward
Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
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.

Menenius

Worthy man!

First Senator

He cannot but with measure fit the honours
Which we devise him.

Cominius

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
His deeds with doing them, and is content
To spend the time to end it.

Menenius

He’s right noble:
Let him be call’d for.

First Senator

Call Coriolanus.

Officer

He doth appear.

Re-enter Coriolanus

Menenius

The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.

Coriolanus

I do owe them still
My life and services.

Menenius

It then remains
That you do speak to the people.

Coriolanus

I do beseech you,
Let me 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 doing.

Sicinius

Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.

Menenius

Put them not to’t:
Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.

Coriolanus

It is apart
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.

Brutus

Mark you that?

Coriolanus

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
Of their breath only!

Menenius

Do not stand upon’t.
We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul
Wish we all joy and honour.

Senators

To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!

Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but Sicinius and Brutus

Brutus

You see how he intends to use the people.

Sicinius

May they perceive’s intent! He will require them,
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.

Brutus

Come, we’ll inform them
Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
I know, they do attend us.

Exeunt

Scene III. The same. The Forum.

Enter seven or eight Citizens

First Citizen

Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.

Second Citizen

We may, sir, if we will.

Third Citizen

We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do; for if he show us his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude: of the which we being members, should bring ourselves to be monstrous members.

First Citizen

And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.

Third Citizen

We have been called so of many; not that our heads are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald, but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south, and their consent of one direct way should be at once to all the points o’ the compass.

Second Citizen

Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would fly?

Third Citizen

Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man’s will;’tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but if it were at liberty, ’twould, sure, southward.

Second Citizen

Why that way?

Third Citizen

To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.

Second Citizen

You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.

Third Citizen

Are you all resolved to give your voices? But that’s no matter, the greater part carries it. I say, if he would incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.

Enter Coriolanus in a gown of humility, with Menenius

Here 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.

All

Content, content.

Exeunt Citizens

Menenius

O sir, you are not right: have you not known
The worthiest men have done’t?

Coriolanus

What must I say?
‘I Pray, sir’— Plague upon’t! I cannot bring
My tongue to such a pace:—‘Look, sir, my wounds!
I got them in my country’s service, when
Some certain of your brethren roar’d and ran
From the noise of our own drums.’

Menenius

O me, the gods!
You must not speak of that: you must desire them
To think upon you.

Coriolanus

  Think upon me! hang ’em!
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by ’em.

Menenius

You’ll mar all:
I’ll leave you: pray you, speak to ’em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.

Exit

Coriolanus

Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean.

Re-enter two of the Citizens

So, here comes a brace.

Re-enter a third Citizen

You know the cause, air, of my standing here.

Third Citizen

We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to’t.

Coriolanus

Mine own desert.

Second Citizen

Your own desert!

Coriolanus

Ay, but not mine own desire.

Third Citizen

How not your own desire?

Coriolanus

No, sir,’twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor with begging.

Third Citizen

You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to gain by you.

Coriolanus

Well then, I pray, your price o’ the consulship?

First Citizen

The price is to ask it kindly.

Coriolanus

Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha’t: I have wounds to show you, which shall be yours in private. Your good voice, sir; what say you?

Second Citizen

You shall ha’ it, worthy sir.

Coriolanus

A match, sir. There’s in all two worthy voices begged. I have your alms: adieu.

Third Citizen

But this is something odd.

Second Citizen

An ’twere to give again — but ’tis no matter.

Exeunt the three Citizens

Re-enter two other Citizens

Coriolanus

Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.

Fourth Citizen

You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.

Coriolanus

Your enigma?

Fourth Citizen

You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved the common people.

Coriolanus

You should account me the more virtuous that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my 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.

Fifth Citizen

We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.

Fourth Citizen

You have received many wounds for your country.

Coriolanus

I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

Both Citizens

The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!

Exeunt

Coriolanus

Most sweet voices!
Better 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 appear,
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to’t:
What custom wills, in all things should we do’t,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
And mountainous error be too highly heapt
For truth to o’er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
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 more

Here come more voices.
Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
Watch’d for your voices; for Your voices bear
Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
Indeed I would be consul.

Sixth Citizen

He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest man’s voice.

Seventh Citizen

Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy, and make him good friend to the people!

All Citizens

Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!

Exeunt

Coriolanus

Worthy voices!

Re-enter Menenius, with Brutus and Sicinius

Menenius

You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
Endue you with the people’s voice: remains
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

Coriolanus

Is this done?

Sicinius

The custom of request you have discharged:
The people do admit you, and are summon’d
To meet anon, upon your approbation.

Coriolanus

Where? at the senate-house?

Sicinius

There, Coriolanus.

Coriolanus

May I change these garments?

Sicinius

You may, sir.

Coriolanus

That I’ll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
Repair to the senate-house.

Menenius

I’ll keep you company. Will you along?

Brutus

We stay here for the people.

Sicinius

Fare you well.

Exeunt Coriolanus and Menenius

He has it now, and by his looks methink
’Tis warm at ’s heart.

Brutus

With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds. will you dismiss the people?

Re-enter Citizens

Sicinius

How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

First Citizen

He has our voices, sir.

Brutus

We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

Second Citizen

Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
He mock’d us when he begg’d our voices.

Third Citizen

Certainly
He flouted us downright.

First Citizen

No,’tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.

Second Citizen

Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
He used us scornfully: he should have show’d us
His marks of merit, wounds received for’s country.

Sicinius

Why, so he did, I am sure.

Citizens

No, no; no man saw ’em.

Third Citizen

He said he had wounds, which he could show in private;
And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
‘I would be consul,’ says he: ‘aged custom,
But by your voices, will not so permit me;
Your voices therefore.’ When we granted that,
Here was ‘I thank you for your voices: thank you:
Your most sweet voices: now you have left your voices,
I have no further with you.’ Was not this mockery?

Sicinius

Why either were you ignorant to see’t,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?

Brutus

Could you not have told him
As you were lesson’d, when he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy, ever spake against
Your liberties and the charters that you bear
I’ the body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o’ the state,
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.

Sicinius

Thus to have said,
As you 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 nature,
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.

Brutus

Did you perceive
He did 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 your bodies
No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
Against the rectorship of judgment?

Sicinius

Have you
Ere now denied the asker? and now again
Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow
Your sued-for tongues?

Third Citizen

He’s not confirm’d; we may deny him yet.

Second Citizen

And will deny him:
I’ll have five hundred voices of that sound.

First Citizen

I twice five hundred and their friends to piece ’em.

Brutus

Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
They have chose a consul that will from them take
Their liberties; make them of no more voice
Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
As therefore kept to do so.

Sicinius

Let them assemble,
And on a safer judgment all revoke
Your ignorant election; enforce his pride,
And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
How in his suit he scorn’d you; but your loves,
Thinking upon his services, took from you
The apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.

Brutus

Lay
A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
No impediment between, but that you must
Cast your election on him.

Sicinius

Say, you chose him
More 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 us.

Brutus

Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
How youngly he began to serve his country,
How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
The noble house o’ the Marcians, from whence came
That Ancus Marcius, Numa’s daughter’s son,
Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
Was his great ancestor.

Sicinius

One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you have found,
Scaling his present bearing with his past,
That he’s your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.

Brutus

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.

All

We will so: almost all
Repent in their election.

Exeunt Citizens

Brutus

Let them go on;
This mutiny were better put in hazard,
Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusal, both observe and answer
The vantage of his anger.

Sicinius

To the Capitol, come:
We will be there before the stream o’ the people;
And this shall seem, as partly ’tis, their own,
Which we have goaded onward.

Exeunt

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29