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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.

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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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