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ACT III


SCENE I

Rome. A street.
Cornets. Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, all the Gentry, COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators.

Cor.
Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?

Lart.
He had, my lord; and that it was which caused

Our swifter composition.

Cor.
So then the Volsces stand but as at first,

Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road

Upon's again.

Com.
They are worn, lord consul, so,

That we shall hardly in our ages see

Their banners wave again.

Cor.
Saw you Aufidius?

Lart.
On safe-guard he came to me; and did curse (10)

Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely

Yielded the town: he is retired to Antium.

Cor.
Spoke he of me?

Lart.
He did, my lord.

Cor.
How? what?

Lart.
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

Be call'd your vanquisher.

Cor.
At Antium lives he?

Lart.
At Antium.

Cor.
I wish I had a cause to seek him there,

To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home. Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS.


Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,

The tongues o' the common mouth: I do despise them;

For they do prank them in authority,

Against all noble sufferance.

Sic.
Pass no further.

Cor.
Ha! what is that?

Bru.
It will be dangerous to go on: no further.

Cor.
What makes this change?

Men.
The matter?

Com.
Hath he not pass'd the noble and the common?

Bru.
Cominius, no. (30)

Cor.
Have I had children's voices?

First Sen.
Tribunes, give way; he shall to the market-place.

Bru.
The people are incensed against him.

Sic.
Stop,

Or all will fall in broil.

Cor.
Are these your herd?

Must these have voices, that can yield them now

And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices?

You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?

Have you not set them on?

Men.
Be calm, be calm.

Cor.
It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,

To curb the will of the nobility: (40)

Suffer 't, and live with such as cannot rule

Nor ever will be ruled.

Bru.
Call't not a plot:

The people 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 to nobleness.

Cor.
Why, this was known before.

Bru.
Not to them all.

Cor.
Have you inform'd them sithence?

Bru.
How! I inform them!

Com.
You are like to do such business.

Bru.
Not unlike,

Each way, to better yours. (50)

Cor.
Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,

Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me

Your fellow tribune.

Sic.
You show too much of that

For 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 consul,

Nor yoke with him for tribune.

Men.
Let's be calm.

Com.
The people are abused; set on. This paltering

Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus (60)

Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely

I' the plain way of his merit.

Cor.
Tell me of corn

This was my speech, and I will speak 't again—

Men.
Not now, not now.

First Sen.
Not in this heat, sir, now.

Cor.
Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,

I crave their pardons:

For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them

Regard me as I do not flatter, and

Therein behold themselves: I say again,

In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate (70)

The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,

Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd, and scatter'd,

By mingling them with us, the honour'd number,

Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that

Which they have given to beggars.

Men.
Well, no more.

First Sen.
No more words, we beseech you.

Cor.
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 those measles,

Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought

The very way to catch them. (80)

Bru.
You speak o' the people,

As if you were a god to punish, not

A man of their infirmity.

Sic.
'Twere well

We let the people know't.

Men.
What, what? his choler?

Cor.
Choler!

Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,

By Jove! 'twould be my mind!

Sic.
It is a mind

That shall remain a poison where it is,

Not poison any further.

Cor.
Shall remain!

Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you (90)

His absolute 'shall'?

Com.
'Twas from the canon.

Cor.
'Shall'!

O good but most unwise patricians! why,

You grave but reckless senators, have you thus

Given Hydra here to choose an officer,

That with his peremptory 'shall,' being but

The horn and noise o' the monster's, wants not spirit

To say he'll turn your current in a ditch,

And make your channel his? If he have power,

Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake

Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn'd, (100)

Be not as common fools; if you are not,

Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,

If they be senators: and they are no less,

When, both your voices blended, the great'st taste

Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,

And such a one as he, who puts his 'shall,'

His popular 'shall,' against a graver bench

Than ever frown'd in Greece. By Jove himself!

It makes the consuls base: and my soul aches

To know, when two authorities are up, (110)

Neither supreme, how soon confusion

May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take

The one by the other.

Com.
Well, on to the market-place.

Cor.
Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth

The corn o' the storehouse gratis, as 'twas used

Sometime in Greece,—

Men.
Well, well, no more of that.

Cor.
Though there the people had more absolute power,

I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed

The ruin of the state.

Bru.
Why, shall the people give

One that speaks thus their voice?

Cor.
I'll give my reasons, (120)

More worthier than their voices. They know the corn

Was not our recompense, resting well assured

They 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: the accusation

Which they have often made against the senate,

All cause unborn, could never be the motive

Of our so frank donation. Well, what then? (131)

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.

Men.
Come, enough.

Bru.
Enough, with over-measure. (140)

Cor.
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,

Cannot conclude but by the yea and no

Of general ignorance,—it must omit

Real necessities, and give way the while

To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd, it follows,

Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you,— (150)

You that will be less fearful than discreet,

That love the fundamental part of state

More than you doubt the change on't, that prefer

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 judgement and bereaves the state

Of that integrity which should become't,

Not having the power to do the good it would,

For the ill which doth control't. (161)

Bru.
Has said enough.

Sic.
Has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer

As traitors do.

Cor.
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,

When what's not meet, but what must be was law,

Then were they chosen: in a better hour, (170)

Let what is meet be said it must be meet,

And throw their power i' the dust.

Bru.
Manifest treason!

Sic.
This a consul? no.

Bru.
The ædiles, ho! Enter an Ædile.


Let him be apprehended,

Sic.
Go, call the people: Exit Ædile
in whose name myself

Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,

A foe to the public weal: obey, I charge thee,

And follow to thine answer.

Cor.
Hence, old goat!

Senators, &c.

We'll surety him.

Com.
Aged sir, hands off.

Cor.
Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones (180)

Out of thy garments.

Sic.
Help, ye citizens! Enter a rabble of Citizens (Plebeians), with the Ædiles.


Men.
On both sides more respect.

Sic.
Here's he that would take from you all your power.

Bru.
Seize him, ædiles!

Citizens.
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!'

Men.
What is about to be? I am out of breath; (190)

Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You, tribunes

To the people! Coriolanus, patience!

Speak, good Sicinius.

Sic.
Hear me, people; peace!

Citizens.
Let's hear our tribune: peace! Speak; speak, speak.

Sic.
You are at point to lose your liberties:

Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,

Whom late you have named for consul.

Men.
Fie, fie, fie!

This is the way to kindle, not to quench.

First Sen.
To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.

Sic.
What is the city but the people?

Citizens.
True, (200)

The people are the city.

Bru.
By the consent of all, we were establish'd

The people's magistrates.

Citizens.
You so remain.

Men.
And so are like to do.

Com.
That is the way to lay the city flat;

To bring the roof to the foundation,

And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,

In heaps and piles of ruin.

Sic.
This deserves death.

Bru.
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.

Sic.
Therefore lay hold of him;

Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence

Into destruction cast him.

Bru.
Ædiles, seize him!

Citizens.
Yield, Marcius, yield!

Men.
Hear me one word;

Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.

Æd.
Peace, peace!

Men.
To Brutus
Be that you seem, truly your country's friend,

And temperately proceed to what you would

Thus violently redress. (220)

Bru.
Sir, those cold ways,

That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous

Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him,

And bear him to the rock.

Cor.
No, I'll die here. Drawing his sword.


There's some among you have beheld me fighting:

Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.

Men.
Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.

Bru.
Lay hands upon him.

Men.
Help Marcius, help,

You that be noble; help him, young and old!

Citizens.
Down with him, down with himl In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the Ædiles, and the People, are beat in.


Men.
Go, get you to your house; be gone, away!

All will be naught else.

Sec. Sen.
Get you gone.

Com.
Stand fast;

We have as many friends as enemies.

Men.
Shall it be put to that?

First Sen.
The gods forbid!

I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;

Leave us to cure this cause.

Men.
For 'tis a sore upon us,

You cannot tent yourself: be gone, beseech you.

Com.
Come, sir, along with us.

Cor.
I would they were barbarians—as they are,

Though in Rome litter'd—not Romans—as they are not,

Though calved i' the porch o' the Capitol— (240)

Men.
Be gone;

Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;

One time will owe another.

Cor.
On fair ground

I could beat forty of them.

Men.
I could myself

Take up a brace o' the best of them; yea, the two tribunes.

Com.
But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic;

And manhood is call'd foolery, when it stands

Against a falling fabric. Will you hence,

Before the tag return? whose rage doth rend

Like interrupted waters and o'erbear

What they are used to bear. (250)

Men.
Pray you, be gone:

I'll try whether my old wit be in request

With those that have but little: this must be patch'd

With cloth of any colour.

Com.
Nay, come away. Exeunt Coriolanus, Cominius, and others.


A Patrician.
This man has marr'd his fortune.

Men.
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; (259)

And, being angry, does forget that ever

He heard the name of death.A noise within.


Here's goodly work!

Sec. Pat.
I would they were a-bed!

Men.
I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance!

Could he not speak 'em fair? Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, with the rabble.


Sic.
Where is this viper

That would depopulate the city and

Be every man himself?

Men.
You worthy tribunes,—

Sic.
He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock

With rigorous hands: he hath resisted law,

And therefore law shall scorn him further trial

Than the severity of the public power

Which he so sets at nought. (270)

First Cit.
He shall well know

The noble tribunes are the people's mouths,

And we their hands.

Citizens.
He shall, sure on't.

Men.
Sir, sir,—

Sic.
Peace!

Men.
Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt

With modest warrant.

Sic.
Sir, how comes't that you

Have holp to make this rescue?

Men.
Hear me speak:

As I do know the consul's worthiness,

So can I name his faults,—

Sic.
Consul! what consul?

Men.
The consul Coriolanus. (280)

Bru.
He consul!

Citizens.
No, no, no, no, no.

Men.
If, by the tribunes' leave, and yours, good people,

I may be heard, I would crave a word or two;

The which shall turn you to no further harm

Than so much loss of time.

Sic.
Speak briefly then;

For we are peremptory to dispatch

This viperous traitor: to eject him hence

Were but one danger, and to keep him here

Our certain death: therefore it is decreed

He dies to-night. (290)

Men.
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!

Sic.
He's a disease that must be cut away.

Men.
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, (301)

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,

A brand to the end o' the world.

Sic.
This is clean kam.

Bru.
Merely awry: when he did love his country,

It honour'd him.

Men.
The service of the foot

Being once gangrened, is not then respected

For what before it was.

Bru.
We'll hear no more.

Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence; (310)

Lest his infection, being of catching nature,

Spread further.

Men.
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.

Bru.
If it were so,—

Sic.
What do ye talk?

Have we not had a taste of his obedience?

Our ædiles smote? ourselves resisted? Come. (320)

Men.
Consider this: he has been bred i' the wars

Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school'd

In bolted language; meal and bran together

He throws without distinction. Give me leave,

I'll go to him, and undertake to bring him

Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,

In peace, to his utmost peril.

First Sen.
Noble tribunes,

It is the humane way: the other course

Will prove too bloody, and the end of it

Unknown to the beginning.

Sic.
Noble Menenius, (330)

Be you then as the people's officer.

Masters, lay down your weapons.

Bru.
Go not home.

Sic.
Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there:

Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed

In our first way,

Men.
I'll bring him to you. To the Senators


Let me desire your company: he must come,

Or what is worst will follow.

First Sen.
Pray you, let's to him. Exeunt.


SCENE II

A room in Coriolanus's house.
Enter CORIOLANUS with Patricians.

Cor.
Let them pull all about mine ears, present me

Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,

Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,

That the precipitation might down stretch

Below the beam of sight, yet will I still

Be thus to them.

A Patrician.
You do the nobler.

Cor.
I muse my mother

Does not approve me further, who was wont (9)

To call them woollen vassals, things created

To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads

In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,

When one but of my ordinance stood up

To speak of peace or war. Enter VOLUMNIA.


I talk of you:

Why did you wish me milder? would you have me

False to my nature? Rather say I play

The man I am.

Vol.
O, sir, sir, sir,

I would have had you put your power well on,

Before you had worn it out.

Cor.
Let go.

Vol.
You might have been enough the man you are, (20)

With striving less to be so: lesser had been

The thwartings of your dispositions, if

You had not show'd them how ye were disposed

Ere they lack'd power to cross you.

Cor.
Let them hang.

A Patrician.
Ay, and burn too. Enter MENENIUS and Senators.


Men.
Come, come, you have been too rough, something too rough;

You must return and mend it.

First Sen.
There's no remedy;

Unless, by not so doing, our good city

Cleave in the midst, and perish.

Vol.
Pray, be counsell'd:

I have a heart as little apt as yours, (30)

But yet a brain that leads my use of anger

To better vantage.

Men.
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.

Cor.
What must I do?

Men.
Return to the tribunes.

Cor.
Well, what then? what then?

Men.
Repent what you have spoke.

Cor.
For them! I cannot do it to the gods;

Must I then do't to them?

Vol.
You are too absolute;

Though therein you can never be too noble,

But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,

Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends,

I' the war do grow together: grant that, and tell me,

In peace what each of them by the other lose,

That they combine not there.

Cor.
Tush, tush!

Men.
A good demand.

Vol.
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 (50)

With honour, as in war, since that to both

It stands in like request?

Cor.
Why force you this?

Vol.
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 roted in

Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables

Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.

Now, this no more dishonours you at all

Than to take in a town with gentle words,

Which else would put you to your fortune and (61)

The hazard of much blood.

I would dissemble with my nature where

My 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 general louts

How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,

For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard

Of what that want might ruin.

Men.
Noble lady!

Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so, (71)

Not what is dangerous present, but the loss

Of what is past.

Vol.
I prithee now, my son,

Go to 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 stout heart,

Now humble as the ripest mulberry (80)

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.

Men.
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 purpose.

Vol.
Prithee now, (90)

Go, and be ruled: although I know thou hadst rather

Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf

Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius. Enter COMINIUS.


Com.
I have been i' the market-place; and, sir, 'tis fit,

You make strong party, or defend yourself

By calmness or by absence: all's in anger.

Men.
Only fair speech.

Com.
I think 'twill serve, if he

Can thereto frame his spirit.

Vol.
He must, and will.

Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.

Cor.
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 marketplace!

You have put me now to such a part which never

I shall discharge to the life.

Com.
Come, come, we'll prompt you.

Vol.
I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said

My praises made thee first a soldier, so,

To have my praise for this, perform a part

Thou hast not done before.

Cor.
Well, I must do't: (111)

Away, my 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 voice

That babies lulls asleep! the smiles of knaves

Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up

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

A most inherent baseness.

Vol.
At thy choice, then:

To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour

Than thou of them. Come all to ruin; let

Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear

Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death

With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list.

Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me,

But owe thy pride thyself. (130)

Cor.
Pray, be content:

Mother, I 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 going:

Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul;

Or never trust to what my tongue can do

I' the way of flattery further.

Vol.
Do your will. Exit.


Com.
Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself

To answer mildly; for they are prepared (140)

With accusations, as I hear, more strong

Than are upon you yet.

Cor.
The word is 'mildly.' Pray you, let us go:

Let them accuse me by invention, I

Will answer in mine honour.

Men.
Ay, but mildly.

Cor.
Well, mildly be it then. Mildly! Exeunt.


SCENE III

The same. The Forum.
Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS.

Bru.
In this point charge him home, that he affects

Tyrannical power: if he evade us there,

Enforce him with his envy to the people,

And that the spoil got on the Antiates

Was ne'er distributed. Enter an Ædile.


What, will he come?

Æd.
He's coming.

Bru.
How accompanied?

Æd.
With old Menenius, and those senators

That always favour'd him.

Sic.
Have you a catalogue

Of all the voices that we have procured (10)

Set down by the poll?

Æd.
I have; 'tis ready.

Sic.
Have you collected them by tribes?

Æd.
I have.

Sic.
Assemble presently the people hither;

And when they hear me say 'It shall be so

I' the right and strength o' the commons,' be it either

For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them,

If I say fine, cry 'Fine;' if death, cry 'Death.'

Insisting on the old prerogative

And power i' the truth o' the cause.

Æd.
I shall inform them.

Bru.
And when such time they have begun to cry,

Let them not cease, but with a din confused

Enforce the present execution

Of what we chance to sentence.

Æd.
Very well.

Sic.
Make them be strong and ready for this hint,

When we shall hap to give 't them.

Bru.
Go about it. Exit Ædile.


Put him to choler straight: he hath been used

Ever to conquer, and to have his worth

Of contradiction: being once chafed, he cannot

Be rein'd again to temperance; then he speaks

What's in his heart; and that is there which looks

With us to break his neck. (30)

Sic.
Well, here he comes. Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, and COMINIUS, with Senators and Patricians.


Men.
Calmly, I do beseech you.

Cor.
Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece

Will bear the knave by the volume. The honour'd gods

Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of justice

Supplied with worthy men! plant love among 's!

Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,

And not our streets with war!

First Sen.
Amen, amen.

Men.
A noble wish. Re-enter Ædile, with Citizens.


Sic.
Draw near, ye people. (40)

Æd.
List to your tribunes. Audience! peace, I say!

Cor.
First, hear me speak.

Both Tri.
Well, say. Peace, ho!

Cor.
Shall I be charged no further than this present?

Must all determine here?

Sic.
I do demand,

If you submit you to the people's voices,

Allow their officers and are content

To suffer lawful censure for such faults

As shall be proved upon you?

Cor.
I am content.

Men.
Lo, citizens, he says he is content:

The warlike service he has done, consider; think (50)

Upon the wounds his body bears, which show

Like graves i' the holy churchyard.

Cor.
Scratches with briers,

Scars to move laughter only.

Men.
Consider further,

That when he speaks not like a citizen,

You find him like a soldier: do not take

His rougher accents for malicious sounds,

But, as I say, such as become a soldier,

Rather than envy you.

Com.
Well, well, no more.

Cor.
What is the matter

That being pass'd for consul with full voice, (60)

I am so dishonour'd that the very hour

You take it off again?

Sic.
Answer to us.

Cor.
Say, then: 'tis true, I ought so.

Sic.
We charge you, that you have contrived to take

From Rome all season'd office and to wind

Yourself into a power tyrannical;

For which you are a traitor to the people.

Cor.
How! traitor!

Men.
Nay, temperately; your promise.

Cor.
The fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the people!

Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!

Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths, (71)

In thy hands clutch'd as many millions, in

Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say

'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free

As I do pray the gods.

Sic.
Mark you this, people?

Citizens.
To the rock, to the rock with him!

Sic.
Peace!

We need not put new matter to his charge:

What you have seen him do and heard him speak,

Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,

Opposing laws with strokes and here defying (80)

Those whose great power must try him; even this,

So criminal and in such capital kind,

Deserves the extremest death.

Bru.
But since he hath

Served well for Rome,—

Cor.
What do you prate of service?

Bru.
I talk of that, that know it.

Cor.
You?

Men.
Is this the promise that you made your mother?

Com.
Know, I pray you,—

Cor.
I'll know no further:

Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,

Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger (90)

But with a grain a day, I would not buy

Their mercy at the price of one fair word;

Nor check my courage for what they can give,

To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'

Sic.
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 at last

Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence

Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers

That do distribute it; in the name o' the people (100)

And in the power of us the tribunes, we,

Even from this instant, banish him our city,

In peril of precipitation

From off the rock Tarpeian never more

To enter our Rome gates: i' the people's name,

I say it shall be so.

Citizens.
It shall be so, it shall be so; let him away:

He 's banish'd, and it shall be so.

Com.
Hear me, my masters, and my common friends,—

Sic.
He's sentenced; no more hearing.

Com.
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 tender,

More holy and profound, than mine own life,

My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase,

And treasure of my loins; then if I would

Speak that,—

Sic.
We know your drift: speak what?

Bru.
There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,

As enemy to the people and his country:

It shall be so.

Citizens.
It shall be so, it shall be so. (120)

Cor.
You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate

As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize

As the dead carcasses of unburied men

That do corrupt my air, I banish you;

And here remain with your uncertainty!

Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!

Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,

Fan you into despair! Have the power still

To banish your defenders; till at length

Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels, (130)

Making not reservation of yourselves,

Still your own foes, deliver you as most

Abated captives to some nation

That won you without blows! Despising,

For you, the city, thus I turn my back:

There is a world elsewhere. Exeunt Coriolanus, Cominius, Menenius, Senators, and Patricians.


Æd.
The people's enemy is gone, is gone!

Citizens.
Our enemy is banish'd! he is gone! Hoo! hoo! Shouting, and throwing up their caps.


Sic.
Go, see him out at gates, and follow him,

As he hath follow'd you, with all despite; (140)

Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard

Attend us through the city.

Citizens.
Come, come; let's see him out at gates; come.

The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come. Exeunt.

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