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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.

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