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Rome. A public place.
Enter MENENIUS with the two Tribunes of the people, SICINIUS and BRUTUS.

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

Good or bad?

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

Nature teaches beasts to know their

Pray you, who does the wolf love?

The lamb.

Ay, to devour him; as the hungry
plebeians would the noble Marcius. (12)

He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a

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

Well, sir.

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

He's poor in no one fault, but stored
with all (22)

Especially in pride.

And topping all others in boasting.

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?

Why, how are we censured?

Because you talk of pride now,—will
you not be angry? (30)

Well, well, sir, well.

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?

We do it not alone, sir.

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!

What then, sir?

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

Menenius, you are known well enough too. (51)

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 harm can your bisson
conspectuities glean out of this character, if
I be known well enough too?

Come, sir, come, we know you well

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. (90)

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

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 honorable 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
all your 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 (109)
do you follow your eyes so fast? (110)

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

Ha! Marcius coming home!

Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most
prosperous approbation.

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

Vol. Vir.
Nay, 'tis true.

Look, here's a letter from him: the
state hath another, his wife another; and, I
think, there's one at home for you. (121)

I will make my very house reel to-night:
a letter for me!

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

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 (131)
wounded. (132)

O, no, no, no.

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

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

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

Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

Titus Lartius writes, they fought together,
but Aufidius got off. (142)

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?

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. (152)

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

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

The gods grant them true!

True! pow, wow.

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?

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.

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

He had, before this last expedition,
twenty-five wounds upon him. (171)

Now it's twenty-seven: every gash
was an enemy's grave. A shout and flourish.
Hark! the trumpets.


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.

Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight (180)

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.


Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

No more of this; it does offend my heart:

Pray now, no more.

Look, sir, your mother!


You have, I know, petition'd all the gods

For my prosperity!Kneels.

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!

My gracious silence, hail!

Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,

That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,

Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,

And mothers that lack sons.

Now, the gods crown thee!

And live you yet? To Valeria

O my sweet lady, pardon.

I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:

And welcome, general, and ye 're welcome all. (200)

A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep

And I could laugh, I am light and heavy.


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.

Ever right.

Menenius ever, ever.

Give way there, and go on!

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.

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.

Know, good mother,

I had rather be their servant in my way

Than sway with them in theirs.

On, to the Capitol! Flourish. Cornets.
Exeunt in state, as before. Brutus and Sicinius come forward.

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 (231)

To win a vulgar station: our 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.

On the sudden,

I warrant him consul.

Then our office may,

During his power, go sleep.

He cannot temperately transport his honours

From where he should begin and end, but will

Lose those he hath won.

In that there's comfort.

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.

I heard him swear,

Were he to stand for consul, never would he

Appear i' the market-place nor on him put (250)

The napless vesture of humility;

Nor, showing, as the manner is, his wounds

To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

'Tis right.

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.

I wish no better

Than have him hold that purpose and to put it

In execution.

'Tis most like he will.

It shall be to him then as our good wills,

A sure destruction.

So it must fall out (260)

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.

This, as you say, suggested (270)

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 thought

That Marcius shall be consul:

I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and (279)

The blind to hear 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;

And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,

But hearts for the event.

Have with you. Exeunt.


The same. The Capitol.
Enter two Officers, to lay cushions.

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

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

First Off.
That's a brave fellow; but he's
vengeance proud, and loves not the common

Sec. Off.
Faith, there have 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 Off.
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
they 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.

Sec. Off.
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 all into their estimation
and report: but he hath so planted
his honors 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

First Off.
No more of him; he's a worthy
man: make way, they are coming. A sennet. Enter, with Lictors 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.

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 (50)

By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom

We met here both to thank and to remember

With honours like himself.

First Sen.
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.

We are convented

Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts (60)

Inclinable to honour and advance

The theme to our assembly.

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.

That's off, that's off;

I would you rather had been silent. Please you

To hear Cominius speak?

Most willingly;

But yet my caution was more pertinent

Than the rebuke you give it.

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 Sen.
Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear

What you have nobly done.

Your honours' pardon:

I had rather have my wounds to heal again

Than hear say how I got them.

Sir, I hope

My words disbench'd you not.

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.

Pray now, sit down.

I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun (80)

When the alarum were struck than idly sit

To hear my nothings monster'd. Exit.

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.

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, (90)

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: he 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, (101)

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 (110)

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 sudden re-inforcement struck

Corioli like a planet: now all's his:

When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce (120)

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.

Worthy man!

First Sen.
He cannot but with measure fit the honours

Which we devise him.

Our spoils he kick'd at,

And look'd upon things precious as they were (130)

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.

He's right noble:

Let him be call'd for.

First Sen.
Call Coriolanus.

He doth appear. Re-enter CORIOLANUS.

The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased

To make thee consul.

I do owe them still

My life and services.

It then remains

That you do speak to the people.

I do beseech you, (140)

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.

Sir, the people

Must have their voices; neither will they bate

One jot of ceremony.

Put them not to 't:

Pray you, go fit you to the customs and

Take to you, as your predecessors have,

Your honour with your form.

It is a part

That I shall blush in acting, and might well

Be taken from the people. (150)

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

Of their breath only!

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.

To Coriolanus come all joy and honour! Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but Sicinius and Brutus.

You see how he intends to use the people. (160)

May they perceive's intent! He will require them,

As if he did contemn what he requested

Should be in them to give.

Come, we'll inform them

Of our proceedings here: on the market-place,

I know, they do attend us. Exeunt.


The same. The Forum.
Enter seven or eight Citizens.

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

Sec. Cit.
We may, sir, if we will.

Third Cit.
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 Cit.
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 Cit.
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.

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

Third Cit.
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.

Sec. Cit.
Why that way?

Third Cit.
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.

Sec. Cit.
You are never without your
tricks: you may, you may. (40)

Third Cit.
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'll direct you how you shall
go by him.


Content, content. Exeunt citizens.

O sir, you are not right: have you not known

The worthiest men have done't?

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.'

O me, the gods! (61)

You must not speak of that: you must desire them

To think upon you.

Think upon me! hang 'em!

I would they would forget me, like the virtues

Which our divines lose by 'em.

You'll mar all:

I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,

In wholesome manner. Exit.

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, sir, of my standing here.

Third Cit.
We do, sir; tell us what hath
brought you to't. (71)

Mine own desert.

Sec. Cit.
Your own desert!

Ay, but not mine own desire.

Third Cit.
How not your own desire?

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

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

Well then, I pray, your price o' the
consulship? (81)

First Cit.
The price is to ask it kindly.

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?

Sec. Cit.
You shall ha't, worthy sir.

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

Third Cit.
But this is something odd.

Sec. Cit.
And 'twere to give again,—but 'tis
no matter. Exeunt the three Citizens. Re-enter two other Citizens.

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

Your enigma?

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

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

Fourth Cit.
You have received many
wounds for your country.

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

Both Cit.
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily! Exeunt.

Most sweet voices! (120)

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 this. I am half through; (131)

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 Cit.
He has done nobly, and cannot (140)
go without any honest man's voice. (141)

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

All Cit.
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul! Exeunt.

Worthy voices! Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS.

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.

Is this done? (150)

The custom of request you have discharged:

The people do admit you, and are summon'd

To meet anon, upon your approbation.

Where? at the senate-house?

There, Coriolanus.

May I change these garments?

You may, sir.

That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,

Repair to the senate-house.

I'll keep you company. Will you along ?

We stay here for the people.

Fare you well. Exeunt Coriolanus and Menenius.

He has it now, and by his looks methinks (160)

'Tis warm at's heart.

With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.

Will you dismiss the people? Re-enter Citizens.

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

First Cit.
He has our voices, sir.

We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

Sec. Cit.
Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,

He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.

Third Cit.

He flouted us downright.

First Cit.
No, 'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us. (170)

Sec. Cit.
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.

Why, so he did, I am sure.

No, no; no man saw 'em.

Third Cit.
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: (180)

Your most sweet voices: now you have left your voices,

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,

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.

Thus to have said, (199)

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.

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, (211)

When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies

No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry

Against the rectorship of judgement?

Have you

Ere now denied the asker? and now again

Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow

Your sued-for tongues?

Third Cit.
He's not confirm'd; we may deny him yet.

Sec. Cit.
And will deny him:

I'll have five hundred voices of that sound. (220)

First Cit.
I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.

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.

Let them assemble,

And on a safer judgement 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, (231)

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.


A fault on us, your tribunes; that we labour'd,

No impediment between, but that you must

Cast your election on him.

Say, you chose him

More after our commandment than as guided

By your own true affections, and that your minds,

Pre-occupied with what you rather must do (241)

Than what you should, made you against the grain

To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

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, (250)

That our best water brought by conduits hither;

And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,

Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,

Was his great ancestor.

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.

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. Exeunt Citizens.

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.

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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load focus Notes (Horace Howard Furness, Jr., A. B.; Litt. D.)
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