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Author: William Shakespeare
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Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter seuen or eight Citizens.
1. Cit. Once if he do require our voyces, wee ought
not to deny him.
13902. Cit. We may Sir if we will.
3. Cit. We haue power in our selues to do it, but it is
a power that we haue no power to do: For, if hee shew vs
his wounds, and tell vs his deeds, we are to put our ton-
gues into those wounds, and speake for them: So if he tel
1395vs his Noble deeds, we must also tell him our Noble ac-
ceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous, and for the
multitude to be ingratefull, were to make a Monster of
the multitude; of the which, we being members, should
bring our selues to be monstrous members.
14001. Cit. And to make vs no better thought of a little
helpe will serue: for once we stood vp about the Corne,
he himselfe stucke not to call vs the many-headed Multi-
tude.
3. Cit. We haue beene call'd so of many, not that our
1405heads are some browne, some blacke, some Abram, some
bald; but that our wits are so diuersly Coulord; and true-
ly I thinke, if all our wittes were to issue out of one Scull,
they would flye East, West, North, South, and their con-
sent of one direct way, should be at once to all the points
1410a'th Compasse.
2. Cit. Thinke you so? Which way do you iudge my
wit would flye.
3. Cit. Nay your wit will not so soone out as another
mans will, 'tis strongly wadg'd vp in a blocke-head: but
1415if it were at liberty, 'twould sure Southward.
2 Cit. Why that way?
3 Cit. To loose it selfe in a Fogge, where being three
parts melted away with rotten Dewes, the fourth would
returne for Conscience sake, to helpe to get thee a Wife.
14202 Cit. You are neuer without your trickes, you may,
you may.
3 Cit. Are you all resolu'd to giue your voyces? But
that's no matter, the greater part carries it, I say. If hee
would incline to the people, there was neuer a worthier
1425man.
Enter Coriolanus in a gowne of Humility, with
Menenius.
Heere he comes, and in the Gowne of humility, marke
his behauiour: we are not to stay altogether, but to come
1430by him where he stands, by ones, by twoes, & by threes.
He's to make his requests by particulars, wherein euerie
one of vs ha's a single Honor, in giuing him our own voi-
ces with our owne tongues, therefore follow me, and Ile
direct you how you shall go by him.
1435All. Content, content.
Men. Oh Sir, you are not right: haue you not knowne
The worthiest men haue done't?
Corio. What must I say, I pray Sir?
Plague vpon't, I cannot bring
1440My tongue to such a pace. Looke Sir, my wounds,
I got them in my Countries Seruice, when
Some certaine of your Brethren roar'd, and ranne
From th' noise of our owne Drummes.
Menen. Oh me the Gods, you must not speak of that,
1445You must desire them to thinke vpon you.
Coriol. Thinke vpon me? Hang 'em,
I would they would forget me, like the Vertues
Which our Diuines lose by em.
Men. You'l marre all,
1450Ile leaue you: Pray you speake to em, I pray you
In wholsome manner.
Exit
Enter three of the Citizens.
Corio. Bid them wash their Faces,
And keepe their teeth cleane: So, heere comes a brace,
1455You know the cause (Sir) of my standing heere.
3 Cit. We do Sir, tell vs what hath brought you too't.
Corio. Mine owne desert.
2 Cit. Your owne desert.
Corio. I, but mine owne desire.
14603 Cit. How not your owne desire?
Corio. No Sir, 'twas neuer my desire yet to trouble the
poore with begging.
3 Cit. You must thinke if we giue you any thing, we
hope to gaine by you.
1465Corio. Well then I pray, your price a'th' Consulship.
1 Cit. The price is, to aske it kindly.
Corio. Kindly sir, I pray let me ha't: I haue wounds to
shew you, which shall bee yours in priuate: your good
voice Sir, what say you?
14702 Cit. You shall ha't worthy Sir.
Corio. A match Sir, there's in all two worthie voyces
begg'd: I haue your Almes, Adieu.
3 Cit. But this is something odde.
2 Cit. And 'twere to giue againe: but 'tis no matter.
1475
Exeunt. Enter two other Citizens.
Coriol. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune
of your voices, that I may bee Consull, I haue heere the
Customarie Gowne.
1. You haue deserued Nobly of your Countrey, and
1480you haue not deserued Nobly.
Coriol. Your Ænigma.
1. You haue bin a scourge to her enemies, you haue
bin a Rod to her Friends, you haue not indeede loued the
Common people.
1485Coriol. You should account mee the more Vertuous,
that I haue not bin common in my Loue, I will sir flatter
my sworne Brother the people to earne a deerer estima-
tion of them, 'tis a condition they account gentle: & since
the wisedome of their choice, is rather to haue my Hat,
1490then my Heart, I will practice the insinuating nod, and be
off to them most counterfetly, that is sir, I will counter-
fet the bewitchment of some popular man, and giue it
bountifull to the desirers: Therefore beseech you, I may
be Consull.
14952. Wee hope to finde you our friend: and therefore
giue you our voices heartily.
1. You haue receyued many wounds for your Coun-
trey.
Coriol. I wil not Seale your knowledge with shewing
1500them. I will make much of your voyces, and so trouble
you no farther.
Both. The Gods giue you ioy Sir heartily.
Coriol. Most sweet Voyces:
Better it is to dye, better to sterue,
1505Then craue the higher, which first we do deserue.
Why in this Wooluish tongue should I stand heere,
To begge of Hob and Dicke, that does appeere
Their needlesse Vouches: Custome calls me too't.
What Custome wills in all things, should we doo't?
1510The Dust on antique Time would lye vnswept,
And mountainous Error be too highly heapt,
For Truth to o're-peere. Rather then foole it so,
Let the high Office and the Honor go
To one that would doe thus. I am halfe through,
1515The one part suffered, the other will I doe.
Enter three Citizens more.
Here come moe Voyces.
Your Voyces? for your Voyces I haue fought,
Watcht for your Voyces: for your Voyces, beare
1520Of Wounds, two dozen odde: Battailes thrice six
I haue seene, and heard of: for your Voyces,
Haue done many things, some lesse, some more:
Your Voyces? Indeed I would be Consull.
1. Cit. Hee ha's done Nobly, and cannot goe without
1525any honest mans Voyce.
2. Cit. Therefore let him be Consull: the Gods giue him
ioy, and make him good friend to the People.
All. Amen, Amen. God saue thee, Noble Consull.
Corio. Worthy Voyces.
1530
Enter Menenius, with Brutus and Scicinius.
Mene. You haue stood your Limitation:
And the Tribunes endue you with the Peoples Voyce,
Remaines, that in th' Officiall Markes inuested,
You anon doe meet the Senate.
1535Corio. Is this done?
Scicin. The Custome of Request you haue discharg'd:
The People doe admit you, and are summon'd
To meet anon, vpon your approbation.
Corio. Where? at the Senate-house?
1540Scicin. There, Coriolanus.
Corio. May I change these Garments?
Scicin. You may, Sir.
Cori. That Ile straight do: and knowing my selfe again,
Repayre to th'Senate-
1545house.
Mene. Ile keepe you company. Will you along?
Brut. We stay here for the People.
Scicin. Fare you well.
Exeunt Coriol. and Mene.
He ha's it now: and by his Lookes, me thinkes,
'Tis warme at's heart.
1550Brut. With a prowd heart he wore his humble Weeds:
Will you dismisse the People?
Enter the Plebeians.
Scici. How now, my Masters, haue you chose this man?
1. Cit. He ha's our Voyces, Sir.
1555Brut. We pray the Gods, he may deserue your loues.
2. Cit. Amen, Sir: to my poore vnworthy notice,
He mock'd vs, when he begg'd our Voyces.
3. Cit. Certainely, he flowted vs downe-right.
1. Cit. No, 'tis his kind of speech, he did not mock vs.
15602. Cit. Not one amongst vs, saue your selfe, but sayes
He vs'd vs scornefully: he should haue shew'd vs
His Marks of Merit, Wounds receiu'd for's Countrey.
Scicin. Why so he did, I am sure.
All. No, no: no man saw 'em.
15653. Cit. Hee said hee had Wounds,
Which he could shew in priuate:
And with his Hat, thus wauing it in scorne,
I would be Consull, sayes he: aged Custome,
But by your Voyces, will not so permit me.
1570Your Voyces therefore: when we graunted that,
Here was, I thanke you for your Voyces, thanke you
Your most sweet Voyces: now you haue left your Voyces,
I haue no further with you. Was not this mockerie?
Scicin. Why eyther were you ignorant to see't?
1575Or seeing it, of such Childish friendlinesse,
To yeeld your Voyces?
Brut. Could you not haue told him,
As you were lesson'd: When he had no Power,
But was a pettie seruant to the State,
1580He was your Enemie, euer spake against
Your Liberties, and the Charters that you beare
I'th' Body of the Weale: and now arriuing
A place of Potencie, and sway o'th' State,
If he should still malignantly remaine
1585Fast Foe to th'Plebeij, your Voyces might
Be Curses to your selues. You should haue said,
That as his worthy deeds did clayme no lesse
Then what he stood for: so his gracious nature
Would thinke vpon you, for your Voyces,
1590And translate his Mallice towards you, into Loue,
Standing your friendly Lord.
Scicin. Thus to haue said,
As you were fore-aduis'd, had toucht his Spirit,
And try'd his Inclination: from him pluckt
1595Eyther his gracious Promise, which you might
As cause had call'd you vp, haue held him to;
Or else it would haue gall'd his surly nature,
Which easily endures not Article,
Tying him to ought, so putting him to Rage,
1600You should haue ta'ne th' aduantage of his Choller,
And pass'd him vnelected.
Brut. Did you perceiue,
He did sollicite you in free Contempt,
When he did need your Loues: and doe you thinke,
1605That his Contempt shall not be brusing to you,
When he hath power to crush? Why, had your Bodyes
No Heart among you? Or had you Tongues, to cry
Against the Rectorship of Iudgement?
Scicin. Haue you, ere now, deny'd the asker:
1610And now againe, of him that did not aske, but mock,
Bestow your su'd-for Tongues?
3. Cit. Hee's not confirm'd, we may deny him yet.
2. Cit. And will deny him:
Ile haue fiue hundred Voyces of that sound.
16151. Cit. I twice fiue hundred, & their friends, to piece 'em.
Brut. Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
They haue chose a Consull, that will from them take
Their Liberties, make them of no more Voyce
Then Dogges, that are as often beat for barking,
1620As therefore kept to doe so.
Scici. Let them assemble: and on a safer Iudgement,
All reuoke your ignorant election: Enforce his Pride,
And his old Hate vnto you: besides, forget not
With what Contempt he wore the humble Weed,
1625How in his Suit he scorn'd you: but your Loues,
Thinking vpon his Seruices, tooke from you
Th' apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, vngrauely, he did fashion
After the inueterate Hate he beares you.
1630Brut. Lay a fault on vs, your Tribunes,
That we labour'd (no impediment betweene)
But that you must cast your Election on him.
Scici. Say you chose him, more after our commandment,
Then as guided by your owne true affections, and that
1635Your Minds pre-occupy'd with what you rather must do,
Then what you should, made you against the graine
To Voyce him Consull. Lay the fault on vs.
Brut. I, spare vs not: Say, we read Lectures to you,
How youngly he began to serue his Countrey,
1640How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
The Noble House o'th' Martians: from whence came
That Ancus Martius, Numaes Daughters Sonne:
Who after great Hostilius here was King,
Of the same House Publius and Quintus were,
1645That our best Water, brought by Conduits hither,
And Nobly nam'd, so twice being Censor,
Was his great Ancestor.
Scicin. One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought,
1650To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you haue found,
Skaling his present bearing with his past,
That hee's your fixed enemie; and reuoke
Your suddaine approbation.
1655Brut. Say you ne're had don't,
(Harpe on that still) but by our putting on:
And presently, when you haue drawne your number,
Repaire to th'Capitoll.
All. We will so: almost all repent in their election.
1660
Exeunt Plebeians.
Brut. Let them goe on:
This Mutinie were better put in hazard,
Then stay past doubt, for greater:
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
1665With their refusall, both obserue and answer
The vantage of his anger.
Scicin. To th'Capitoll, come:
We will be there before the streame o'th' People:
And this shall seeme, as partly 'tis, their owne,
1670Which we haue goaded on-ward.
Exeunt.