previous

ACT V


SCENE I

Rome. A public place.
Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINUS, BRUTUS, and others.

Men.
No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said

Which was sometime his general; who loved him

In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:

But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him;

A mile before his tent fall down, and knee

The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd

To hear Cominous speak, I'll keep at home.

Com.
He would not seem to know me.

Men.
Do you hear?

Com.
Yet one time did he call me by my name:

I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops

That we have bled together. Coriolanus

He would not answer to; forbad all names;

He was a kind of nothing, titleless,

Till he had forged himself a name o' the fire

Of burning Rome.

Men.
Why, so: you have made good work!

A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,

To make coals cheap,—a noble memory!

Com.
I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon

When it was less expected: he replied, (20)

It was a bare petition of a state

To one whom they had punish'd.

Men.
Very well:

Could he say less?

Com.
I offer'd to awaken his regard

For 's private friends: his answer to me was,

He could not stay to pick them in a pile

Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,

For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,

And still to nose the offence.

Men.
For one poor grain or two!

I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,

And this brave fellow too, we are the grains:

You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt

Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.

Sic.
Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your aid

In this so never-needed help, yet do not

Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you

Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,

More than the instant army we can make,

Might stop our countryman.

Men.
No, I'll not meddle.

Sic.
Pray you, go to him.

Men.
What should I do? (40)

Bru.
Only make trial what your love can do

For Rome, towards Marcius.

Men.
Well, and say that Marcius

Return me, as Cominius is return'd,

Unheard; what then?

But as a discontented friend, grief-shot

With his unkindness? say't be so?

Sic.
Yet your good will

Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure

As you intended well.

Men.
I'll undertake 't:

I think he'll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip

And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me. (50)

He was not taken well; he had not dined:

The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then

We pout upon the morning, are unapt

To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd

These pipes and these conveyances of our blood

With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls

Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him

Till he be dieted to my request,

And then I'll set upon him.

Bru.
You know the very road into his kindness,

And cannot lose your way.

Men.
Good faith, I'll prove him, 60

Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge

Of my success. Exit.


Com.
He'll never hear him.

Sic.
Not?

Com.
I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye

Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury

The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;

'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise;' dismiss'd me

Thus, with his speechless hand; what he would do,

He sent in writing after me; what he would not,

Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions: (70)

So that all hope is vain,

Unless his noble mother, and his wife;

Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him

For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,

And with our fair entreaties haste them on. Exeunt.


SCENE II

Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome. Two Sentinels on guard.
Enter to them, MENENIUS.

First Sen.
Stay: whence are you?

Sec. Sen.
Stand, and go back.

Men.
You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your leave,

I am an officer of state, and come

To speak with Coriolanus.

First Sen.
From whence?

Men.
From Rome.

First Sen.
You may not pass, you must return: our general

Will no more hear from thence.

Sec. Sen.
You'll see your Rome embraced with fire before

You'll speak with Coriolanus.

Men.
Good my friends,

If you have heard your general talk of Rome,

And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks,

My name hath touch'd your ears: it is Menenius.

First Sen.
Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name

Is not here passable.

Men.
I tell thee, fellow,

Thy general is my lover: I have been

The book of his good acts, whence men have read

His fame unparallel'd, haply amplified;

For I have ever verified my friends,

Of whom he's chief, with all the size that verity

Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes, (20)

Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground,

I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise

Have almost stamp'd the leasing: therefore, fellow,

I must have leave to pass.

First Sen.
Faith, sir, if you had told as
many lies in his behalf as you have uttered
words in your own, you should not pass here;
no, though it were as virtuous to lie as to live
chastely. Therefore, go back.

Men.
Prithee, fellow, remember my name
is Menenius, always factionary on the party of
your general. (32)

Sec. Sen.
Howsoever you have been his liar,
as you say you have, I am one that, telling
true under him, must say, you cannot pass.
Therefore, go back.

Men.
Hath he dined, canst thou tell? for

I would not speak with him till after dinner.

First Sen.
You are a Roman, are you? (39)

Men.
I am, as thy general is.

First Sen.
Then you should hate Rome, as
he does. Can you, when you have pushed out
your gates the very defender of them, and,
in a violent popular ignorance, given your
enemy your shield, think to front his revenges
with the easy groans of old women, the virginal
palms of your daughters, or with the
palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant
as you seem to be? Can you think to blow
out the intended fire your city is ready to
flame in, with such weak breath as this? No,
you are deceived; therefore, back to Rome,
and prepare for your execution: you are condemned,
our general has sworn you out of reprieve
and pardon.

Men.
Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were
here, he would use me with estimation.

First Sen.
Come, my captain knows you not.

Men.
I mean, thy general.

First Sen.
My general cares not for you.
Back, I say, go; lest I let forth your half-pint
of blood; back,—that's the utmost of your
having: back.

Men.
Nay, but, fellow, fellow— Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS.

Cor.
What's the matter?

Men.
Now, you companion, I'll say an
errand for you: you shall know now that I am
in estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack
guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus:
guess, but by my entertainment with
him, if thou standest not i' the state of hanging,
or of some death more long in spectatorship,
and crueller in suffering; behold now presently,
and swoon for what's to come upon
thee. [To Cor.] The glorious gods sit in
hourly synod about thy particular prosperity,
and love thee no worse than thy old father
Menenius does! O my son, my son! thou art
preparing fire for us; look thee, here's water
to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to
thee; but being assured none but myself could
move thee, I have been blown out of your
gates with sighs; and conjure thee to pardon
Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. The
good gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the
dregs of it upon this varlet here,—this, who,
like a block, hath denied my access to thee.

Cor.
Away!

Men.
How! away!

Cor.
Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs

Are servanted to others: though I owe (90)

My revenge properly, my remission lies

In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,

Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather

Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone.

Mine ears against your suits are stronger than

Your gates against my force. Yet, for I loved thee,

Take this along; I writ it for thy sake, Gives a letter.


And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius,

I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius,

Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st! (100)

Auf.
You keep a constant temper. Exeunt Coriolanus and Aufidius.


First Sen.
Now, sir, is your name Menenius ?

Sec. Sen.
'Tis a spell, you see, of much
power: you know the way home again.

First Sen.
Do you hear how we are shent
for keeping your greatness back?

Sec. Sen.
What cause, do you think, I have
to swoon?

Men.
I neither care for the world nor your
general: for such things as you, I can scarce
think there's any, ye're so slight. He that hath
a will to die by himself fears it not from another:
let your general do his worst. For you,
be that you are, long; and your misery increase
with your age! I say to you, as I was
said to, Away! Exit.

First Sen.
A noble fellow, I warrant him.

Sec. Sen.
The worthy fellow is our gen eral:
he's a rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken. Exeunt.


SCENE III

The tent of Coriolanus.
Enter CORIOLANUS, AUFIDIUS, and others.

Cor.
We will before the walls of Rome to-morrow

Set down our host. My partner in this action,

You must report to the Volscian lords, how plainly

I have borne this business.

Auf.
Only their ends

You have respected: stopp'd your ears against

The general suit of Rome; never admitted

A private whisper, no, not with such friends

That thought them sure of you.

Cor.
This last old man,

Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome, (10)

Loved me above the measure of a father;

Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge

Was to send him; for whose old love I have,

Though I show'd sourly to him, once more offer'd

The first conditions, which they did refuse

And cannot now accept; to grace him only

That thought he could do more, a very little

I have yielded to: fresh embassies and suits,

Nor from the state nor private friends, hereafter

Will I lend ear to. Ha! what shout is this? Shout within.
(20)

Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow

In the same time 'tis made? I will not. Enter, in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, leading young MARCIUS, VALERIA, and Attendants.


My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mould

Wherein this trunk was framed, and in her hand

The grandchild to her blood. But, out, affection!

All bond and privilege of nature, break!

Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.

What is that curt'sy worth? or those doves' eyes,

Which can make gods forsworn? I melt, and am not

Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows; (30)

As if Olympus to a molehill should

In supplication nod: and my young boy

Hath an aspect of intercession, which

Great nature cries 'Deny not.' Let the Volsces

Plough Rome, and harrow Italy: I'll never

Be such a gosling to obey instinct, but stand,

As if a man were author of himself

And knew no other kin.

Vir.
My lord and husband!

Cor.
These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.

Vir.
The sorrow that delivers us thus changed

Makes you think so. (40)

Cor.
Like a dull actor now,

I have forgot my part, and I am out,

Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,

Forgive my tyranny; but do not say

For that 'Forgive our Romans.' O, a kiss

Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!

Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss

I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip

Hath virgin'd it e'er since. You gods! I prate,

And the most noble mother of the world

Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i' the earth; Kneels.
(51)

Of thy deep duty more impression show

Than that of common sons.

Vol.
O, stand up blest!

Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,

I kneel before thee; and unproperly

Show duty, as mistaken all this while

Between the child and parent. Kneels.


Cor.
What is this?

Your knees to me? to your corrected son?

Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach

Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds

Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun;

Murdering impossibility, to make

What cannot be, slight work.

Vol.
Thou art my warrior;

I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?

Cor.
The noble sister of Publicola,

The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle

That's curdled by the frost from purest snow

And hangs on Dian's temple: dear Valeria!

Vol.
This is a poor epitome of yours,

Which by the interpretation of full time

May show like all yourself. (70)

Cor.
The god of soldiers,

With the consent of supreme Jove, inform

Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou mayst prove

To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars

Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,

And saving those that eye thee!

Vol.
Your knee, sirrah.

Cor.
That's my brave boy!

Vol.
Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,

Are suitors to you.

Cor.
I beseech you, peace:

Or, if you'ld ask, remember this before:

The thing I have forsworn to grant may never (81)

Be held by your denials. Do not bid me

Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate

Again with Rome's mechanics: tell me not

Wherein I seem unnatural: desire not

To allay my rages and revenges with

Your colder reasons.

Vol.
O, no more, no more!

You have said you will not grant us any thing;

For we have nothing else to ask, but that

Which you deny already: yet we will ask; (90)

That, if you fail in our request, the blame

May hang upon your hardness: therefore, hear us.

Cor.
Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for we'll

Hear nought from Rome in private. Your request?

Vol.
Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment

And state of bodies would bewray what life

We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself

How more unfortunate than all living women

Are we come hither: since that thy sight, which should

Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comforts, (100)

Constrains them weep and shake with fear and sorrow;

Making the mother, wife and child to see

The son, the husband and the father tearing

His country's bowels out. And to poor we

Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st us

Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort

That all but we enjoy; for how can we,

Alas, how can we for our country pray,

Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,

Whereto we are bound? alack, or we must lose

The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,

Our comfort in the country. We must find

An evident calamity, though we had

Our wish, which side should win: for either thou

Must, as a foreign recreant, be led

With manacles through our streets, or else

Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,

And bear the palm for having bravely shed

Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,

I purpose not to wait on fortune till (120)

These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee

Rather to show a noble grace to both parts

Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner

March to assault thy country than to tread—

Trust to 't, thou shalt not—on thy mother's womb,

That brought thee to this world.

Vir.
Ay, and mine,

That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name

Living to time.

Young Mar.
A' shall not tread on me;

I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.

Cor.
Not of a woman's tenderness to be,

Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.

I have sat too long. Rising.


Vol.
Nay, go not from us thus.

If it were so that our request did tend

To save the Romans, thereby to destroy

The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us,

As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit

Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volsces

May say 'This mercy we have show'd;' the Romans,

'This we received;' and each in either side

Give the all-hail to thee, and cry 'Be blest (140)

For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great son,

The end of war's uncertain, but this certain,

That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit

Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name,

Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses;

Whose chronicle thus writ: 'The man was noble,

But with his last attempt he wiped it out;

Destroy'd his country, and his name remains

To the ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me, son:

Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour, (150)

To imitate the graces of the gods;

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air,

And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt

That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak ?

Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man

Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you:

He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy:

Perhaps thy childishness will move him more

Than can our reasons. There's no man in the world

More bound to's mother; yet here he lets me prate (160)

Like one i' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life

Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,

When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,

Has cluck'd thee to the wars and safely home,

Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust,

And spurn me back: but if it be not so,

Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,

That thou restrain'st from me the duty which

To a mother's part belongs. He turns away:

Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.

To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride

Than pity to our prayers. Down: an end;

This is the last: so we will home to Rome,

And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold 's:

This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,

But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,

Does reason our petition with more strength

Than thou hast to deny't. Come, let us go:

This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;

His wife is in Corioli and his child

Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch: (181)

I am hush'd until our city be afire,

And then I'll speak a little. He holds her by the hand, silent.


Cor.
O mother, mother!

What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,

The gods look down, and this unnatural scene

They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!

You have won a happy victory to Rome;

But, for your son,—believe it, O, believe it,

Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,

If not most mortal to him. But, let come.

Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,

I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,

Were you in my stead, would you have heard

A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?

Auf.
I was moved withal.

Cor.
I dare be sworn you were:

And, sir, it is no little thing to make

Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,

What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part,

I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you,

Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife! (200)

Auf.
Aside
I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and thy honour

At difference in thee: out of that I'll work

Myself a former fortune. The Ladies make signs to Coriolanus.


Cor.
Ay, by and by; To Volumnia, Virgilia, &c.


But we will drink together; and you shall bear

A better witness back than words, which we,

On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd.

Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve

To have a temple built you: all the swords

In Italy, and her confederate arms, (209)

Could not have made this peace. Exeunt.


SCENE IV

Rome. A public place.
Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS.

Men.
See you yond coign o' the Capitol, yond corner-stone ?

Sic.
Why, what of that?

Men.
If it be possible for you to displace it
with your little finger, there is some hope the
ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may
prevail with him. But I say there is no hope
in't; our throats are sentenced and stay upon
execution.

Sic.
Is 't possible that so short a time can
alter the condition of a man? (11)

Men.
There is differency between a grub
and a butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub.
This Marcius is grown from man to dragon:
he has wings; he is more than a creeping thing.

Sic.
He loved his mother dearly.

Men.
So did he me: and he no more remembers
his mother now than an eight-year-old
horse. The tartness of his face sours ripe
grapes: when he walks, he moves like an engine,
and the ground shrinks before his treading:
he is able to pierce a corslet with his
eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery.
He sits in his state, as a thing made for
Alexander. What he bids be done is finished
with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god
but eternity and a heaven to throne in.

Sic.
Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.

Men.
I paint him in the character. Mark
what mercy his mother shall bring from him:
there is no more mercy in him than there is
milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city
find: and all this is long of you.

Sic.
The gods be good unto us!

Men.
No, in such a case the gods will not
be good unto us. When we banished him, we
respected not them; and, he returning to break
our necks, they respect not us. Enter a Messenger.

Mess.
Sir, if you 'ld save your life, fly to your house:

The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune

And hale him up and down, all swearing, if

The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,

They'll give him death by inches. Enter a second Messenger.


Sic.
What's the news?

Sec. Mess.
Good news, good news; the ladies have prevail'd,

The Volscians are dislodged, and Marcius gone:

A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,

No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.

Sic.
Friend,

Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain?

Sec. Mess.
As certain as I know the sun is fire: (49)

Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?

Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,

As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you! Trumpets; hautboys; drums beat; all together.


The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes,

Tabors and cymbals and the shouting Romans,

Make the sun dance. Hark you! A shout within.


Men.
This is good news:

I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia

Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,

A city full; of tribunes, such as you,

A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:

This morning for ten thousand of your throats

I'ld not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy! Music still, with shouts.


Sic.
First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,

Accept my thankfulness.

Sec. Mess.
Sir, we have all

Great cause to give great thanks.

Sic.
They are near the city?

Sec. Mess.
Almost at point to enter.

Sic.
We will meet them,

And help the joy. Exeunt.


SCENE V

The same. A street near the gate.
Enter two Senators with VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, &c., passing over the stage, follomed by Patricians, and others.

First Sen.
Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!

Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,

And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them:

Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,

Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;

Cry 'Welcome, ladies, welcome!'

All.

Welcome, ladies,

Welcome! A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt.


SCENE VI

Antium. A public place.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants.

Auf.
Go tell the lords o' the city I am here:

Deliver them this paper: having read it,

Bid them repair to the market-place; where I,

Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,

Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse

The city ports by this hath enter'd and

Intends to appear before the people, hoping

To purge himself with words: dispatch. Exeunt Attendants.
Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' faction.


Most welcome!

First Con.
How is it with our general? (10)

Auf.
Even so

As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,

And with his charity slain.

Sec. Con.
Most noble sir,

If you do hold the same intent wherein

You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you

Of your great danger.

Auf.
Sir, I cannot tell:

We must proceed as we do find the people.

Third Con.
The people will remain uncertain whilst

'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either

Makes the survivor heir of all.

Auf.
I know it; (20)

And my pretext to strike at him admits

A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd

Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,

He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,

Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,

He bow'd his nature, never known before

But to be rough, unswayable and free.

Third Con.
Sir, his stoutness

When he did stand for consul, which he lost

By lack of stooping,—

Auf.
That I would have spoke of;

Being banish'd for 't, he came unto my hearth;

Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;

Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way

In all his own desires; nay, let him choose

Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,

My best and freshest men; served his designments

In mine own person; holp to reap the fame

Which he did end all his; and took some pride

To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,

I seem'd his follower, not partner, and (40)

He waged me with his countenance, as if

I had been mercenary.

First Con.
So he did, my lord:

The army marvell'd at it, and, in the last,

When he had carried Rome and that we look'd

For no less spoil than glory,—

Auf.
There was it:

For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.

At a few drops of women's rheum, which are

As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour

Of our great action: therefore shall he die,

And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark! Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the People.
(50)

First Con.
Your native town you enter'd like a post,

And had no welcomes home; but he returns,

Splitting the air with noise.

Sec. Con.
And patient fools,

Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear

With giving him glory.

Third Con.
Therefore, at your vantage,

Ere he express himself, or move the people

With what he would say, let him feel your sword,

Which we will second. When he lies along,

After your way his tale pronounced shall bury

His reasons with his body.

Auf.
Say no more: (60)

Here come the lords. Enter the Lords of the city.


All the Lords.
You are most welcome home.

Auf.
I have not deserved it.

But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused

What I have written to you?

Lords.
We have.

First Lord.
And grieve to hear 't.

What faults he made before the last, I think

Might have found easy fines: but there to end

Where he was to begin and give away

The benefit of our levies, answering us

With our own charge, making a treaty where

There was a yielding,—this admits no excuse.

Auf.
He approaches: you shall hear him. Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and colours; Commoners being with him.


Cor.
Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,

No more infected with my country's love

Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting

Under your great command. You are to know

That prosperously I have attempted and

With bloody passage led your wars even to

The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home

Do more than counterpoise a full third part

The charges of the action. We have made peace (80)

With no less honour to the Antiates

Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,

Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,

Together with the seal o' the senate, what

We have compounded on.

Auf.
Read it not, noble lords;

But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree

He hath abused your powers.

Cor.
Traitor! how now!

Auf.
Ay, traitor, Marcius!

Cor.
Marcius!

Auf.
Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius: dost thou think

I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name (90)

Coriolanus in Corioli?

You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously

He has betray'd your business, and given up,

For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,

I say 'your city,' to his wife and mother;

Breaking his oath and resolution like

A twist of rotten silk, never admitting

Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears

He whined and roar'd away your victory,

That pages blush'd at him and men of heart

Look'd wondering each at other. (100)

Cor.
Hear'st thou, Mars?

Auf.
Name not the god, thou boy of tears!

Cor.
Ha!

Auf.
No more.

Cor.
Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart

Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave!

Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever

I was forced to scold. Your judgements, my grave lords,

Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion—

Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that

Must bear my beating to his grave—shall join (110)

To thrust the lie unto him.

First Lord.
Peace, both, and hear me speak.

Cor.
Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,

Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!

If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,

That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I

Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:

Alone I did it. Boy!

Auf.
Why, noble lords,

Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,

Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,

'Fore your own eyes and ears? (120)

All Consp.
Let him die for't.

All the people

'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do
it presently.' 'He killed my son.' 'My daughter.'
'He killed my cousin Marcus. 'He killed
my father.'

Sec. Lord.
Peace, ho! no outrage: peace!

The man is noble and his fame folds-in

This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us

Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,

And trouble not the peace.

Cor.
O that I had him, (130)

With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,

To use my lawful sword!

Auf.
Insolent villain!

All Consp.
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him! The Conspirators draw, and kill Coriolanus: Aufidius stands on his body.


Lords.
Hold, hold, hold, hold!

Auf.
My noble masters, hear me speak.

First Lord.
O Tullus,—

Sec. Lord.
Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.

Third Lord.
Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;

Put up your swords.

Auf.
My lords, when you shall know—as in this rage,

Provoked by him, you cannot—the great danger

Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice

That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours (141)

To call me to your senate, I'll deliver

Myself your loyal servant, or endure

Your heaviest censure.

First Lord.
Bear from hence his body;

And mourn you for him: let him be regarded

As the most noble corse that ever herald

Did follow to his urn.

Sec. Lord.
His own impatience

Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.

Let's make the best of it.

Auf.
My rage is gone;

And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.

Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.

Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:

Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he

Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,

Which to this hour bewail the injury,

Yet he shall have a noble memory.

Assist. Exeunt, bearing the body of Coriolanus. A dead march sounded.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

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.)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: