Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

The Tragedie of Coriolanus.

Enter Brutus and Scicinius.

Bru. All tongues speake of him, and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him. Your pratling Nurse
1125Into a rapture lets her Baby crie,
While she chats him: the Kitchin Malkin pinnes
Her richest Lockram 'bout her reechie necke,
Clambring the Walls to eye him:
Stalls, Bulkes, Windowes, are smother'd vp,
1130Leades fill'd, and Ridges hors'd
With variable Complexions; all agreeing
In earnestnesse to see him: seld-showne Flamins
Doe presse among the popular Throngs, and puffe
To winne a vulgar station: our veyl'd Dames
1135Commit the Warre of White and Damaske
In their nicely gawded Cheekes, to th'wanton spoyle
Of Phoebus burning Kisses: such a poother,
As if that whatsoeuer God, who leades him,
Were slyly crept into his humane powers,
1140And gaue him gracefull posture.
Scicin. On the suddaine, I warrant him Consull.
Brutus. Then our Office may, during his power, goe
Scicin. He cannot temp'rately transport his Honors,
1145From where he should begin, and end, but will
Lose those he hath wonne.
Brutus. In that there's comfort.
Scici. Doubt not,
The Commoners, for whom we stand, but they
1150Vpon their ancient mallice, will forget
With the least cause, these his new Honors,
Which that he will giue them, make I as little question,
As he is prowd to doo't.
Brutus. I heard him sweare,
1155Were he to stand for Consull, neuer would he
Appeare i'th' Market place, nor on him put
The Naples Vesture of Humilitie,
Nor shewing (as the manner is) his Wounds
To th' People, begge their stinking Breaths.
1160Scicin. 'Tis right.
Brutus. It was his word:
Oh he would misse it, rather then carry it,
But by the suite of the Gentry to him,
And the desire of the Nobles.
1165Scicin. I wish no better, then haue him hold that pur-
pose, and to put it in execution.
Brutus. 'Tis most like he will.
Scicin. It shall be to him then, as our good wills; a
sure destruction.
1170Brutus. So it must fall out
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
Haue made them Mules, silenc'd their Pleaders,
1175And dispropertied their Freedomes; holding them,
In humane Action, and Capacitie,
Of no more Soule, nor fitnesse for the World,
Then Cammels in their Warre, who haue their Prouand
Onely for bearing Burthens, and sore blowes
1180For sinking vnder them.
Scicin. This (as you say) suggested,
At some time, when his soaring Insolence
Shall teach the People, which time shall not want,
If he be put vpon't, and that's as easie,
1185As to set Dogges on Sheepe, will be his fire
To kindle their dry Stubble: and their Blaze
Shall darken him for euer.

Enter a Messenger.

Brutus. What's the matter?
1190Mess. You are sent for to the Capitoll:
'Tis thought, that Martius shall be Consull:
I haue seene the dumbe men throng to see him,
And the blind to heare him speak: Matrons flong Gloues,
Ladies and Maids their Scarffes, and Handkerchers,
1195Vpon him as he pass'd: the Nobles bended
As to Ioues Statue, and the Commons made
A Shower, and Thunder, with their Caps, and Showts:
I neuer saw the like.
Brutus. Let's to the Capitoll,
1200And carry with vs Eares and Eyes for th' time,
But Hearts for the euent.
Scicin. Haue with you.

Enter two Officers, to lay Cushions, as it were,
in the Capitoll.

12051. Off. Come, come, they are almost here: how many
stand for Consulships?
2. Off. Three, they say: but 'tis thought of euery one,
Coriolanus will carry it.
1. Off. That's a braue fellow: but hee's vengeance
1210prowd, and loues not the common people.
2. Off. 'Faith, there hath beene many great men that
haue flatter'd the people, who ne're loued them; and there
be many that they haue loued, they know not wherefore:
so that if they loue they know not why, they hate vpon
1215no better a ground. Therefore, for Coriolanus neyther to
care whether they loue, or hate him, manifests the true
knowledge he ha's in their disposition, and out of his No-
ble carelesnesse lets them plainely see't.
1. Off. If he did not care whether he had their loue, or
1220no, hee waued indifferently, 'twixt doing them neyther
good, nor harme: but hee seekes their hate with greater
deuotion, then they can render it him; and leaues nothing
vndone, that may fully discouer him their opposite. Now
to seeme to affect the mallice and displeasure of the Peo-
1225ple, is as bad, as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for
their loue.
2. Off. Hee hath deserued worthily of his Countrey,
and his assent is not by such easie degrees as those, who
hauing beene supple and courteous to the People, Bon-
1230netted, without any further deed, to haue them at all into
their estimation, and report: but hee hath so planted his
Honors in their Eyes, and his actions in their Hearts, that
for their Tongues to be silent, and not confesse so much,
were a kinde of ingratefull Iniurie: to report otherwise,
1235were a Mallice, that giuing it selfe the Lye, would plucke
reproofe and rebuke from euery Eare that heard it.
1. Off. No more of him, hee's a worthy man: make
way, they are comming.

A Sennet. Enter the Patricians, and the Tribunes of
1240the People, Lictors before them: Coriolanus, Mene-
nius, Cominius the Consul: Scicinius and Brutus
take their places by themselues: Corio-
lanus stands.

Menen. Hauing determin'd of the Volces,
1245And to send for Titus Lartius: it remaines,
As the maine Point of this our after-meeting,