Please wait

The text you requested is loading.
This shouldn't take more than a minute, depending on
the speed of your Internet connection.

progress graphic

Forever, and forever, farewell, Cassius!
If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;
If not, why then this parting was well made.

      — Julius Caesar, Act V Scene 1

Coriolanus

Act III

print/save print/save view

Scene 1. Rome. A street.

Scene 2. A room in CORIOLANUS’S house.

Scene 3. The same. The Forum.

---
       

Act III, Scene 1

Rome. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Cornets. Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, all the] [p]Gentry, COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators]

  • Coriolanus. Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?
  • Titus Lartius. He had, my lord; and that it was which caused
    Our swifter composition.
  • Coriolanus. So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
    Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road. 1730
    Upon's again.
  • Cominius. They are worn, lord consul, so,
    That we shall hardly in our ages see
    Their banners wave again.
  • Titus Lartius. On safe-guard he came to me; and did curse
    Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
    Yielded the town: he is retired to Antium.
  • Titus Lartius. 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 1745
    Be call'd your vanquisher.
  • Coriolanus. I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
    To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home. 1750
    [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. 1755
  • Cominius. Hath he not pass'd the noble and the common?
  • First Senator. Tribunes, give way; he shall to the market-place.
  • Coriolanus. Are these your herd?
    Must these have voices, that can yield them now
    And straight disclaim their tongues? What are 1770
    your offices?
    You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
    Have you not set them on?
  • Coriolanus. It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot, 1775
    To curb the will of the nobility:
    Suffer't, and live with such as cannot rule
    Nor ever will be ruled.
  • Junius Brutus. Call't not a plot:
    The people cry you mock'd them, and of late, 1780
    When corn was given them gratis, you repined;
    Scandal'd the suppliants for the people, call'd them
    Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
  • Coriolanus. Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
    Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
    Your fellow tribune.
  • Sicinius Velutus. You show too much of that
    For which the people stir: if you will pass 1795
    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.
  • Cominius. The people are abused; set on. This paltering
    Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
    Deserved this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
    I' the plain way of his merit.
  • Coriolanus. Tell me of corn! 1805
    This was my speech, and I will speak't again—
  • Coriolanus. Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,
    I crave their pardons: 1810
    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
    The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition, 1815
    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. 1820
  • Coriolanus. How! no more!
    As for my country I have shed my blood,
    Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs 1825
    Coin words till their decay against those measles,
    Which we disdain should tatter us, yet sought
    The very way to catch them.
  • Junius Brutus. You speak o' the people,
    As if you were a god to punish, not 1830
    A man of their infirmity.
  • Coriolanus. Choler! 1835
    Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
    By Jove, 'twould be my mind!
  • Sicinius Velutus. It is a mind
    That shall remain a poison where it is,
    Not poison any further. 1840
  • Coriolanus. Shall remain!
    Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you
    His absolute 'shall'?
  • Coriolanus. 'Shall'! 1845
    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 1850
    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,
    Be not as common fools; if you are not, 1855
    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,' 1860
    His popular 'shall' against a graver bench
    Than ever frown in Greece. By Jove himself!
    It makes the consuls base: and my soul aches
    To know, when two authorities are up,
    Neither supreme, how soon confusion 1865
    May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take
    The one by the other.
  • Cominius. Well, on to the market-place.
  • Coriolanus. Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
    The corn o' the storehouse gratis, as 'twas used 1870
    Sometime in Greece,—
  • Coriolanus. Though there the people had more absolute power,
    I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
    The ruin of the state. 1875
  • Junius Brutus. Why, shall the people give
    One that speaks thus their voice?
  • Coriolanus. I'll give my reasons,
    More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
    Was not our recompense, resting well assured 1880
    That 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 1885
    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?
    How shall this bisson multitude digest 1890
    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 1895
    Call our cares fears; which will in time
    Break ope the locks o' the senate and bring in
    The crows to peck the eagles.
  • Coriolanus. 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, 1905
    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, 1910
    Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you,—
    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 1915
    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 judgment and bereaves the state 1920
    Of that integrity which should become't,
    Not having the power to do the good it would,
    For the in which doth control't.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer 1925
    As traitors do.
  • Coriolanus. 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, 1930
    When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
    Then were they chosen: in a better hour,
    Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
    And throw their power i' the dust.
  • Junius Brutus. The aediles, ho!
    [Enter an AEdile]
    Let him be apprehended.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Go, call the people: 1940
    [Exit AEdile]
    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. 1945
  • Coriolanus. Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
    Out of thy garments. 1950
  • Sicinius Velutus. Help, ye citizens!
    [Enter a rabble of Citizens (Plebeians), with]
    the AEdiles]
  • Citizens. Down with him! down with him!
    [They all bustle about CORIOLANUS, crying]
    'Tribunes!' 'Patricians!' 'Citizens!' 'What, ho!'
    'Sicinius!' 'Brutus!' 'Coriolanus!' 'Citizens!' 1960
    'Peace, peace, peace!' 'Stay, hold, peace!'
  • Menenius Agrippa. What is about to be? I am out of breath;
    Confusion's near; I cannot speak. You, tribunes
    To the people! Coriolanus, patience! 1965
    Speak, good Sicinius.
  • Citizens. Let's hear our tribune: peace Speak, speak, speak.
  • Sicinius Velutus. You are at point to lose your liberties:
    CORIOLANUS would have all from you; CORIOLANUS, 1970
    Whom late you have named for consul.
  • Citizens. True,
    The people are the city.
  • Junius Brutus. By the consent of all, we were establish'd
    The people's magistrates.
  • Cominius. 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. 1985
  • Junius Brutus. 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, CORIOLANUS is worthy 1990
    Of present death.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Therefore lay hold of him;
    Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
    Into destruction cast him.
  • Menenius Agrippa. [To BRUTUS] Be that you seem, truly your 2000
    country's friend,
    And temperately proceed to what you would
    Thus violently redress.
  • Junius Brutus. Sir, those cold ways,
    That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous 2005
    Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him,
    And bear him to the rock.
  • Coriolanus. No, I'll die here.
    [Drawing his sword]
    There's some among you have beheld me fighting: 2010
    Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
  • Cominius. Help CORIOLANUS, help,
    You that be noble; help him, young and old! 2015
  • Citizens. Down with him, down with him!
    [In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the AEdiles, and the]
    People, are beat in]
  • Menenius Agrippa. Go, get you to your house; be gone, away!
    All will be naught else. 2020
  • Cominius. Stand fast;
    We have as many friends as enemies.
  • First Senator. The gods forbid! 2025
    I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
    Leave us to cure this cause.
  • Menenius Agrippa. For 'tis a sore upon us,
    You cannot tent yourself: be gone, beseech you.
  • Cominius. Come, sir, along with us. 2030
  • Coriolanus. 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—
  • Menenius Agrippa. Be gone;
    Put not your worthy rage into your tongue; 2035
    One time will owe another.
  • Coriolanus. On fair ground
    I could beat forty of them.
  • Cominius. I could myself
    Take up a brace o' the best of them; yea, the 2040
    two tribunes:
    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 2045
    Like interrupted waters and o'erbear
    What they are used to bear.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 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 2050
    With cloth of any colour.

[Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, and others]

  • Menenius Agrippa. His nature is too noble for the world: 2055
    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;
    And, being angry, does forget that ever
    He heard the name of death. 2060
    [A noise within]
    Here's goodly work!
  • Menenius Agrippa. I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance!
    Could he not speak 'em fair? 2065

[Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, with the rabble]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Where is this viper
    That would depopulate the city and
    Be every man himself?
  • Sicinius Velutus. 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. 2075
  • First Citizen. He shall well know
    The noble tribunes are the people's mouths,
    And we their hands.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
    With modest warrant.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Hear me speak:
    As I do know the consul's worthiness,
    So can I name his faults,—
  • Menenius Agrippa. 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 2095
    Than so much loss of time.
  • Sicinius Velutus. 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 2100
    Our certain death: therefore it is decreed
    He dies to-night.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Now the good gods forbid
    That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
    Towards her deserved children is enroll'd 2105
    In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam
    Should now eat up her own!
  • Menenius Agrippa. O, he's a limb that has but a disease;
    Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy. 2110
    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,
    By many an ounce—he dropp'd it for his country;
    And what is left, to lose it by his country, 2115
    Were to us all, that do't and suffer it,
    A brand to the end o' the world.
  • Junius Brutus. Merely awry: when he did love his country,
    It honour'd him. 2120
  • Menenius Agrippa. The service of the foot
    Being once gangrened, is not then respected
    For what before it was.
  • Junius Brutus. We'll hear no more.
    Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence: 2125
    Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
    Spread further.
  • Menenius Agrippa. One word more, one word.
    This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
    The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will too late 2130
    Tie leaden pounds to's heels. Proceed by process;
    Lest parties, as he is beloved, break out,
    And sack great Rome with Romans.
  • Sicinius Velutus. What do ye talk? 2135
    Have we not had a taste of his obedience?
    Our aediles smote? ourselves resisted? Come.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 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 2140
    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 Senator. Noble tribunes, 2145
    It is the humane way: the other course
    Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
    Unknown to the beginning.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Noble Menenius,
    Be you then as the people's officer. 2150
    Masters, lay down your weapons.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Meet on the market-place. We'll attend you there:
    Where, if you bring not CORIOLANUS, we'll proceed
    In our first way. 2155
  • Menenius Agrippa. I'll bring him to you.
    [To the Senators]
    Let me desire your company: he must come,
    Or what is worst will follow.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

A room in CORIOLANUS’S house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CORIOLANUS with Patricians]

  • Coriolanus. Let them puff all about mine ears, present me
    Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,
    Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock, 2165
    That the precipitation might down stretch
    Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
    Be thus to them.
  • Coriolanus. I muse my mother 2170
    Does not approve me further, who was wont
    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 2175
    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 2180
    The man I am.
  • Volumnia. O, sir, sir, sir,
    I would have had you put your power well on,
    Before you had worn it out.
  • Volumnia. You might have been enough the man you are,
    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. 2190

[Enter MENENIUS and Senators]

  • Menenius Agrippa. Come, come, you have been too rough, something
    too rough; 2195
    You must return and mend it.
  • First Senator. There's no remedy;
    Unless, by not so doing, our good city
    Cleave in the midst, and perish.
  • Volumnia. Pray, be counsell'd: 2200
    I have a heart as little apt as yours,
    But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
    To better vantage.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Well said, noble woman?
    Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that 2205
    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.
  • Coriolanus. For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
    Must I then do't to them?
  • Volumnia. You are too absolute; 2215
    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, 2220
    That they combine not there.
  • Volumnia. If it be honour in your wars to seem
    The same you are not, which, for your best ends, 2225
    You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse,
    That it shall hold companionship in peace
    With honour, as in war, since that to both
    It stands in like request?
  • Volumnia. 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 rooted in
    Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables 2235
    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
    The hazard of much blood. 2240
    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 2245
    How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,
    For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
    Of what that want might ruin.
  • Menenius Agrippa. Noble lady!
    Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so, 2250
    Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
    Of what is past.
  • Volumnia. 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— 2255
    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 2260
    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 2265
    Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
    As thou hast power and person.
  • Menenius Agrippa. This but done,
    Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
    For they have pardons, being ask'd, as free 2270
    As words to little purpose.
  • Volumnia. Prithee now,
    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. 2275

[Enter COMINIUS]

  • Cominius. 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.
  • Cominius. I think 'twill serve, if he
    Can thereto frame his spirit.
  • Volumnia. He must, and will
    Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.
  • Coriolanus. Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce? 2285
    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 CORIOLANUS, they to dust should grind it
    And throw't against the wind. To the market-place! 2290
    You have put me now to such a part which never
    I shall discharge to the life.
  • Cominius. Come, come, we'll prompt you.
  • Volumnia. I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
    My praises made thee first a soldier, so, 2295
    To have my praise for this, perform a part
    Thou hast not done before.
  • Coriolanus. Well, I must do't:
    Away, my disposition, and possess me
    Some harlot's spirit! my throat of war be turn'd, 2300
    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 2305
    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 2310
    A most inherent baseness.
  • Volumnia. 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 2315
    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.
  • Coriolanus. Pray, be content: 2320
    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; 2325
    Or never trust to what my tongue can do
    I' the way of flattery further.

[Exit]

  • Cominius. Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself 2330
    To answer mildly; for they are prepared
    With accusations, as I hear, more strong
    Than are upon you yet.
  • Coriolanus. The word is 'mildly.' Pray you, let us go:
    Let them accuse me by invention, I 2335
    Will answer in mine honour.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

The same. The Forum.

       
---

[Enter SICINIUS and BRUTUS]

  • Junius Brutus. 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. 2345
    [Enter an AEdile]
    What, will he come?
  • Aedile. With old Menenius, and those senators 2350
    That always favour'd him.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Have you a catalogue
    Of all the voices that we have procured
    Set down by the poll?
  • Aedile. I have; 'tis ready. 2355
  • Sicinius Velutus. Assemble presently the people hither;
    And when they bear me say 'It shall be so
    I' the right and strength o' the commons,' be it either 2360
    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.
  • Aedile. I shall inform them. 2365
  • Junius Brutus. 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.
  • Sicinius Velutus. Make them be strong and ready for this hint,
    When we shall hap to give 't them.
  • Junius Brutus. Go about it.
    [Exit AEdile]
    Put him to choler straight: he hath been used 2375
    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. 2380
  • Sicinius Velutus. Well, here he comes.
    [Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, and COMINIUS,]
    with Senators and Patricians]
  • Coriolanus. Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece 2385
    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! 2390

[Re-enter AEdile, with Citizens]

  • Aedile. List to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I say! 2395
  • Coriolanus. Shall I be charged no further than this present?
    Must all determine here?
  • Sicinius Velutus. I do demand, 2400
    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?
  • Menenius Agrippa. Lo, citizens, he says he is content:
    The warlike service he has done, consider; think
    Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
    Like graves i' the holy churchyard.
  • Coriolanus. Scratches with briers, 2410
    Scars to move laughter only.
  • Menenius Agrippa. 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, 2415
    But, as I say, such as become a soldier,
    Rather than envy you.
  • Coriolanus. What is the matter
    That being pass'd for consul with full voice, 2420
    I am so dishonour'd that the very hour
    You take it off again?
  • Sicinius Velutus. We charge you, that you have contrived to take 2425
    From Rome all season'd office and to wind
    Yourself into a power tyrannical;
    For which you are a traitor to the people.
  • Coriolanus. The fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the people!
    Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
    Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
    In thy hand clutch'd as many millions, in
    Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say 2435
    'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
    As I do pray the gods.
  • Citizens. To the rock, to the rock with him!
  • Sicinius Velutus. Peace! 2440
    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
    Those whose great power must try him; even this, 2445
    So criminal and in such capital kind,
    Deserves the extremest death.
  • Coriolanus. I know no further: 2455
    Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
    Vagabond exile, raying, pent to linger
    But with a grain a day, I would not buy
    Their mercy at the price of one fair word;
    Nor cheque my courage for what they can give, 2460
    To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'
  • Sicinius Velutus. 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 2465
    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
    And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
    Even from this instant, banish him our city, 2470
    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: 2475
    He's banish'd, and it shall be so.
  • Cominius. Hear me, my masters, and my common friends,—
  • Cominius. Let me speak:
    I have been consul, and can show for Rome 2480
    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 2485
    Speak that,—
  • Junius Brutus. There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
    As enemy to the people and his country:
    It shall be so. 2490
  • Citizens. It shall be so, it shall be so.
  • Coriolanus. 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; 2495
    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 2500
    Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
    Making not reservation of yourselves,
    Still your own foes, deliver you as most
    Abated captives to some nation
    That won you without blows! Despising, 2505
    For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
    There is a world elsewhere.
    [Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENENIUS, Senators,]
    and Patricians]
  • Aedile. The people's enemy is gone, is gone! 2510
  • Citizens. Our enemy is banish'd! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!

[Shouting, and throwing up their caps]

  • Sicinius Velutus. Go, see him out at gates, and follow him,
    As he hath followed you, with all despite;
    Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard 2515
    Attend us through the city.
  • Citizens. Come, come; let's see him out at gates; come.
    The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.

[Exeunt]

Plays + Sonnets + Poems + Concordance + Character Search + Advanced Search + About OSS