Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)


The Tragedie of Coriolanus.
11
To gratifie his Noble seruice, that hath
Thus stood for his Countrey. Therefore please you,
Most reuerend and graue Elders, to desire
1250The present Consull, and last Generall,
In our well-found Successes, to report
A little of that worthy Worke, perform'd
By Martius Caius Coriolanus: whom
We met here, both to thanke, and to remember,
1255With Honors like himselfe.
1. Sen. Speake, good Cominius:
Leaue nothing out for length, and make vs thinke
Rather our states defectiue for requitall,
Then we to stretch it out. Masters a'th' People,
1260We doe request your kindest eares: and after
Your louing motion toward the common Body,
To yeeld what passes here.
Scicin. We are conuented vpon a pleasing Treatie, and
haue hearts inclinable to honor and aduance the Theame
1265of our Assembly.
Brutus. Which the rather wee shall be blest to doe, if
he remember a kinder value of the People, then he hath
hereto priz'd them at.
Menen. That's off, that's off: I would you rather had
1270been silent: Please you to heare Cominius speake?
Brutus. Most willingly: but yet my Caution was
more pertinent then the rebuke you giue it.
Menen. He loues your People, but tye him not to be
their Bed-fellow: Worthie Cominius speake.
1275
Coriolanus rises, and offers to goe away.
Nay, keepe your place.
Senat. Sit Coriolanus: neuer shame to heare
What you haue Nobly done.
Coriol. Your Honors pardon:
1280I had rather haue my Wounds to heale againe,
Then heare say how I got them.
Brutus. Sir, I hope my words dis-bench'd you not?
Coriol. No Sir: yet oft,
When blowes haue made me stay, I fled from words.
1285You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: but your People,
I loue them as they weigh---
Menen. Pray now sit downe.
Corio. I had rather haue one scratch my Head i'th' Sun,
When the Alarum were strucke, then idly sit
1290To heare my Nothings monster'd.
Exit Coriolanus
Menen. Masters of the People,
Your multiplying Spawne, how can he flatter?
That's thousand to one good one, when you now see
He had rather venture all his Limbes for Honor,
1295Then on ones Eares to heare it. Proceed Cominius.
Com. I shall lacke voyce: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be vtter'd feebly: it is held,
That Valour is the chiefest Vertue,
And most dignifies the hauer: if it be,
1300The man I speake of, cannot in the World
Be singly counter-poys'd. At sixteene yeeres,
When Tarquin made a Head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the marke of others: our then Dictator,
Whom with all prayse I point at, saw him fight,
1305When with his Amazonian Shinne he droue
The brizled Lippes before him: he bestrid
An o're-prest Roman, and i'th' Consuls view
Slew three Opposers: Tarquins selfe he met,
And strucke him on his Knee: in that dayes feates,
1310When he might act the Woman in the Scene,
He prou'd best man i'th' field, and for his meed
Was Brow-bound with the Oake. His Pupill age
Man-entred thus, he waxed like a Sea,
And in the brunt of seuenteene Battailes since,
1315He lurcht all Swords of the Garland: for this last,
Before, and in Corioles, let me say
I cannot speake him home: he stopt the flyers,
And by his rare example made the Coward
Turne terror into sport: as Weeds before
1320A Vessell vnder sayle, so men obey'd,
And fell below his Stem: his Sword, Deaths stampe,
Where it did marke, it tooke from face to foot:
He was a thing of Blood, whose euery motion
Was tim'd with dying Cryes: alone he entred
1325The mortall Gate of th' Citie, which he painted
With shunlesse destinie: aydelesse came off,
And with a sudden re-inforcement strucke
Carioles like a Planet: now all's his,
When by and by the dinne of Warre gan pierce
1330His readie sence: then straight his doubled spirit
Requickned what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the Battaile came he, where he did
Runne reeking o're the liues of men, as if 'twere
A perpetuall spoyle: and till we call'd
1335Both Field and Citie ours, he neuer stood
To ease his Brest with panting.
Menen. Worthy man.
Senat. He cannot but with measure fit the Honors
which we deuise him.
1340Com. Our spoyles he kickt at,
And look'd vpon things precious, as they were
The common Muck of the World: he couets lesse
Then Miserie it selfe would giue, rewards his deeds
With doing them, and is content
1345To spend the time, to end it.
Menen. Hee's right Noble, let him be call'd for.
Senat. Call Coriolanus.
Off. He doth appeare.

Enter Coriolanus.

1350Menen. The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd to make
thee Consull.
Corio. I doe owe them still my Life, and Seruices.
Menen. It then remaines, that you doe speake to the
People.
1355Corio. I doe beseech you,
Let me o're-leape that custome: for I cannot
Put on the Gowne, stand naked, and entreat them
For my Wounds sake, to giue their sufferage:
Please you that I may passe this doing.
1360Scicin. Sir, the People must haue their Voyces,
Neyther will they bate one iot of Ceremonie.
Menen. Put them not too't:
Pray you goe fit you to the Custome,
And take to you, as your Predecessors haue,
1365Your Honor with your forme.
Corio. It is a part that I shall blush in acting,
And might well be taken from the People.
Brutus. Marke you that.
Corio. To brag vnto them, thus I did, and thus
1370Shew them th' vnaking Skarres, which I should hide,
As if I had receiu'd them for the hyre
Of their breath onely.
Menen. Doe not stand vpon't:
We recommend to you Tribunes of the People
1375Our purpose to them, and to our Noble Consull
Wish we all Ioy, and Honor.
Senat. To