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Author: William Shakespeare
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Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)


895
Actus Secundus.
Enter Menenius with the two Tribunes of the
people, Sicinius & Brutus.
Men. The Agurer tels me, wee shall haue Newes to
night.
900Bru. Good or bad?
Men. Not according to the prayer of the people, for
they loue not Martius.
Sicin. Nature teaches Beasts to know their Friends.
Men. Pray you, who does the Wolfe loue?
905Sicin. The Lambe.
Men. I, to deuour him, as the hungry Plebeians would
the Noble Martius.
Bru. He's a Lambe indeed, that baes like a Beare.
Men. Hee's a Beare indeede, that liues like a Lambe.
910You two are old men, tell me one thing that I shall aske
you.
Both. Well sir.
Men. In what enormity is Martius poore in, that you
two haue not in abundance?
915Bru. He's poore in no one fault, but stor'd withall.
Sicin. Especially in Pride.
Bru. And topping all others in boasting.
Men. This is strange now: Do you two know, how
you are censured heere in the City, I mean of vs a'th' right
920hand File, do you?
Both. Why? how are we censur'd?
Men. Because you talke of Pride now, will you not
be angry.
Both. Well, well sir, well.
925Men. Why 'tis no great matter: for a very little theefe
of Occasion, will rob you of a great deale of Patience:
Giue your dispositions the reines, and bee angry at your
pleasures (at the least) if you take it as a pleasure to you, in
being so: you blame Martius for being proud.
930Brut. We do it not alone, sir.
Men. I know you can doe very little alone, for your
helpes are many, or else your actions would growe won-
drous single: your abilities are to Infant-like, for dooing
much alone. You talke of Pride: Oh, that you could turn
935your eyes toward the Napes of your neckes, and make
but an Interiour suruey of your good selues. Oh that you
could.
Both. What then sir?
Men. Why then you should discouer a brace of vn-
940meriting, proud, violent, testie Magistrates (alias Fooles)
as any in Rome.
Sicin. Menenius, you are knowne well enough too.
Men. I am knowne to be a humorous Patritian, and
one that loues a cup of hot Wine, with not a drop of alay-
945ing Tiber in't: Said, to be something imperfect in fauou-
ring the first complaint, hasty and Tinder-like vppon, to
triuiall motion: One, that conuerses more with the But-
tocke of the night, then with the forhead of the morning.
What I think, I vtter, and spend my malice in my breath.
950Meeting two such Weales men as you are (I cannot call
you Licurgusses,) if the drinke you giue me, touch my Pa-
lat aduersly, I make a crooked face at it, I can say, your
Worshippes haue deliuer'd the matter well, when I finde
the Asse in compound, with the Maior part of your sylla-
955bles. And though I must be content to beare with those,
that say you are reuerend graue men, yet they lye deadly,
that tell you haue good faces, if you see this in the Map
of my Microcosme, followes it that I am knowne well e-
nough too? What harme can your beesome Conspectui-
960ties gleane out of this Charracter, if I be knowne well e-
nough too.
Bru. Come sir come, we know you well enough.
Menen. You know neither mee, your selues, nor any
thing: you are ambitious, for poore knaues cappes and
965legges: you weare out a good wholesome Forenoone, in
hearing a cause betweene an Orendge wife, and a Forfet-
seller, and then reiourne the Controuersie of three-pence
to a second day of Audience. When you are hearing a
matter betweene party and party, if you chaunce to bee
970pinch'd with the Collicke, you make faces like Mum-
mers, set vp the bloodie Flagge against all Patience, and
in roaring for a Chamber-pot, dismisse the Controuersie
bleeding, the more intangled by your hearing: All the
peace you make in their Cause, is calling both the parties
975Knaues. You are a payre of strange ones.
Bru. Come, come, you are well vnderstood to bee a
perfecter gyber for the Table, then a necessary Bencher in
the Capitoll.
Men. Our very Priests must become Mockers, if they
980shall encounter such ridiculous Subiects as you are, when
you speake best vnto the purpose. It is not woorth the
wagging of your Beards, and your Beards deserue not so
honourable a graue, as to stuffe a Botchers Cushion, or to
be intomb'd in an Asses Packe-saddle; yet you must bee
985saying, Martius is proud: who in a cheape estimation, is
worth all your predecessors, since Deucalion, though per-
aduenture some of the best of 'em were hereditarie hang-
men. Godden to your Worships, more of your conuer-
sation would infect my Braine, being the Heardsmen of
990the Beastly Plebeans. I will be bold to take my leaue of
you.
Bru. and Scic. Aside.
Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria.
How now (my as faire as Noble) Ladyes, and the Moone
995were shee Earthly, no Nobler; whither doe you follow
your Eyes so fast?
Volum. Honorable Menenius, my Boy Martius appro-
ches: for the loue of Iuno let's goe.
Menen. Ha? Martius comming home?
1000Volum. I, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous
approbation.
Menen. Take my Cappe Iupiter, and I thanke thee:
hoo, Martius comming home?
2. Ladies. Nay, 'tis true.
1005Volum. Looke, here's a Letter from him, the State hath
another, his Wife another, and (I thinke) there's one at
home for you.
Menen. I will make my very house reele to night:
A Letter for me?
1010Virgil. Yes certaine, there's a Letter for you, I saw't.
Menen. A Letter for me? it giues me an Estate of se-
uen yeeres health; in which time, I will make a Lippe at
the Physician: The most soueraigne Prescription in Galen,
is but Emperickqutique; and to this Preseruatiue, of no
1015better report then a Horse-drench. Is he not wounded?
he was wont to come home wounded?
Virgil. Oh no, no, no.
Volum. Oh, he is wounded, I thanke the Gods for't.
Menen. So doe I too, if it be not too much: brings a
1020Victorie in his Pocket? the wounds become him.
Volum. On's Browes: Menenius, hee comes the third
time home with the Oaken Garland.
Menen. Ha's he disciplin'd Auffidius soundly?
Volum. Titus Lartius writes, they fought together, but
1025Auffidius got off.
Menen. And 'twas time for him too, Ile warrant him
that: and he had stay'd by him, I would not haue been so
fiddious'd, for all the Chests in Carioles, and the Gold
that's in them. Is the Senate possest of this?
1030Volum. Good Ladies let's goe. Yes, yes, yes: The
Senate ha's Letters from the Generall, wherein hee giues
my Sonne the whole Name of the Warre: he hath in this
action out-done his former deeds doubly.
Valer. In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.
1035Menen. Wondrous: I, I warrant you, and not with-
out his true purchasing.
Virgil. The Gods graunt them true.
Volum. True? pow waw.
Mene. True? Ile be sworne they are true: where is
1040hee wounded, God saue your good Worships? Martius
is comming home: hee ha's more cause to be prowd:
where is he wounded?
Volum. Ith' Shoulder, and ith' left Arme: there will be
large Cicatrices to shew the People, when hee shall stand
1045for his place: he receiued in the repulse of Tarquin seuen
hurts ith' Body.
Mene. One ith' Neck, and two ith' Thigh, there's nine
that I know.
Volum. Hee had, before this last Expedition, twentie
1050fiue Wounds vpon him.
Mene. Now it's twentie seuen; euery gash was an
Enemies Graue. Hearke, the Trumpets.
A showt, and flourish.
Volum. These are the Vshers of Martius:
1055Before him, hee carryes Noyse;
And behinde him, hee leaues Teares:
Death, that darke Spirit, in's neruie Arme doth lye,
Which being aduanc'd, declines, and then men dye.
A Sennet. Trumpets sound.
1060
Enter Cominius the Generall, and Titus Latius: be-
tweene them Coriolanus, crown'd with an Oaken
Garland, with Captaines and Soul-
diers, and a Herauld.
Herauld. Know Rome, that all alone Martius did fight
1065Within Corioles Gates: where he hath wonne,
With Fame, a Name to Martius Caius:
These in honor followes Martius Caius Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus.
Sound. Flourish.
1070All. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus.
Coriol. No more of this, it does offend my heart: pray
now no more.
Com. Looke, Sir, your Mother.
Coriol. Oh! you haue, I know, petition'd all the Gods
1075for my prosperitie.
Kneeles.
Volum. Nay, my good Souldier, vp:
My gentle Martius, worthy Caius,
And by deed-atchieuing Honor newly nam'd,
What is it (Coriolanus) must I call thee?
1080But oh, thy Wife.
Corio. My gracious silence, hayle:
Would'st thou haue laugh'd, had I come Coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah my deare,
Such eyes the Widowes in Carioles were,
1085And Mothers that lacke Sonnes.
Mene. Now the Gods Crowne thee.
Com. And liue you yet? Oh my sweet Lady, pardon.
Volum. I know not where to turne.
Oh welcome home: and welcome Generall,
1090And y'are welcome all.
Mene. A hundred thousand Welcomes:
I could weepe, and I could laugh,
I am light, and heauie; welcome:
A Curse begin at very root on's heart,
1095That is not glad to see thee.
Yon are three, that Rome should dote on:
Yet by the faith of men, we haue
Some old Crab-trees here at home,
That will not be grafted to your Rallish.
1100Yet welcome Warriors:
Wee call a Nettle, but a Nettle;
And the faults of fooles, but folly.
Com. Euer right.
Cor. Menenius, euer, euer.
1105Herauld. Giue way there, and goe on.
Cor. Your Hand, and yours?
Ere in our owne house I doe shade my Head,
The good Patricians must be visited,
From whom I haue receiu'd not onely greetings,
1110But with them, change of Honors.
Volum. I haue liued,
To see inherited my very Wishes,
And the Buildings of my Fancie:
Onely there's one thing wanting,
1115Which (I doubt not) but our Rome
Will cast vpon thee.
Cor. Know, good Mother,
I had rather be their seruant in my way,
Then sway with them in theirs.
1120Com. On, to the Capitall.
Flourish. Cornets.
Exeunt in State, as before.
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
sleepe.
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.
Exeunt.