Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

Enter Cominius as it were in retire, with soldiers.
Com. Breath you my friends, wel fought, we are come
605Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Nor Cowardly in retyre: Beleeue me Sirs,
We shall be charg'd againe. Whiles we haue strooke
By Interims and conueying gusts, we haue heard
The Charges of our Friends. The Roman Gods,
610Leade their successes, as we wish our owne,
That both our powers, with smiling Fronts encountring,
May giue you thankfull Sacrifice. Thy Newes?
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. The Cittizens of Corioles haue yssued,
615And giuen to Lartius and to Martius Battaile:
I saw our party to their Trenches driuen,
And then I came away.
Com. Though thou speakest truth,
Me thinkes thou speak'st not well. How long is't since?
620Mes. Aboue an houre, my Lord.
Com. 'Tis not a mile: briefely we heard their drummes.
How could'st thou in a mile confound an houre,
And bring thy Newes so late?
Mes. Spies of the Volces
625Held me in chace, that I was forc'd to wheele
Three or foure miles about, else had I sir
Halfe an houre since brought my report.
Enter Martius.
Com. Whose yonder,
630That doe's appeare as he were Flead? O Gods,
He has the stampe of Martius, and I haue
Before time seene him thus.
Mar. Come I too late?
Com. The Shepherd knowes not Thunder frō a Taber,
635More then I know the sound of Martius Tongue
From euery meaner man.
Martius. Come I too late?
Com. I, if you come not in the blood of others,
But mantled in your owne.
640Mart. Oh! let me clip ye
In Armes as sound, as when I woo'd in heart;
As merry, as when our Nuptiall day was done,
And Tapers burnt to Bedward.
Com. Flower of Warriors, how is't with Titus Lartius?
645Mar. As with a man busied about Decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile,
Ransoming him, or pittying, threatning th' other;
Holding Corioles in the name of Rome,
Euen like a fawning Grey-hound in the Leash,
650To let him slip at will.
Com. Where is that Slaue
Which told me they had beate you to your Trenches?
Where is he? Call him hither.
Mar. Let him alone,
655He did informe the truth: but for our Gentlemen,
The common file, (a plague-Tribunes for them)
The Mouse ne're shunn'd the Cat, as they did budge
From Rascals worse then they.
Com. But how preuail'd you?
660Mar. Will the time serue to tell, I do not thinke:
Where is the enemy? Are you Lords a'th Field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?
Com. Martius, we haue at disaduantage fought,
And did retyre to win our purpose.
665Mar. How lies their Battell? Know you on wt side
They haue plac'd their men of trust?
Com. As I guesse Martius,
Their Bands i'th Vaward are the Antients
Of their best trust: O're them Auffidious,
670Their very heart of Hope.
Mar. I do beseech you,
By all the Battailes wherein we haue fought,
By th' Blood we haue shed together,
By th' Vowes we haue made
675To endure Friends, that you directly set me
Against Affidious, and his Antiats,
And that you not delay the present (but
Filling the aire with Swords aduanc'd) and Darts,
We proue this very houre.
680Com. Though I could wish,
You were conducted to a gentle Bath,
And Balmes applyed to you, yet dare I neuer
Deny your asking, take your choice of those
That best can ayde your action.
685Mar. Those are they
That most are willing; if any such be heere,
(As it were sinne to doubt) that loue this painting
Wherein you see me smear'd, if any feare
Lessen his person, then an ill report:
690If any thinke, braue death out-weighes bad life,
And that his Countries deerer then himselfe,
Let him alone: Or so many so minded,
Waue thus to expresse his disposition,
And follow Martius.
They all shout and waue their swords, take him vp in their
Armes, and cast vp their Caps.
Oh me alone, make you a sword of me:
If these shewes be not outward, which of you
But is foure Volces? None of you, but is
700Able to beare against the great Auffidious
A Shield, as hard as his. A certaine number
(Though thankes to all) must I select from all:
The rest shall beare the businesse in some other fight
(As cause will be obey'd:) please you to March,
705And foure shall quickly draw out my Command,
Which men are best inclin'd.
Com. March on my Fellowes:
Make good this ostentation, and you shall
Diuide in all, with vs.