previous next


Rome. A public place.

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.

He would not seem to know me.

Do you hear?

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.

Why, so: you have made good work!

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

To make coals cheap,—a noble memory!

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.

Very well:

Could he say less?

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.

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.

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.

No, I'll not meddle.

Pray you, go to him.

What should I do? (40)

Only make trial what your love can do

For Rome, towards Marcius.

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?

Yet your good will

Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure

As you intended well.

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.

You know the very road into his kindness,

And cannot lose your way.

Good faith, I'll prove him, 60

Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge

Of my success. Exit.

He'll never hear him.


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.

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 References (13 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: