Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)


Actus Tertius.
Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, all the Gentry,
Cominius, Titus Latius, and other Senators.
Corio. Tullus Auffidius then had made new head.
1675Latius. He had, my Lord, and that it was which caus'd
Our swifter Composition.
Corio. So then the Volces stand but as at first,
Readie when time shall prompt them, to make roade
Vpon's againe.
1680Com. They are worne (Lord Consull) so,
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their Banners waue againe.
Corio. Saw you Auffidius?
Latius. On safegard he came to me, and did curse
1685Against the Volces, for they had so vildly
Yeelded the Towne: he is retyred to Antium.
Corio. Spoke he of me?
Latius. He did, my Lord.
Corio. How? what?
1690Latius. How often he had met you Sword to Sword:
That of all things vpon the Earth, he hated
Your person most: That he would pawne his fortunes
To hopelesse restitution, so he might
Be call'd your Vanquisher.
1695Corio. At Antium liues he?
Latius. At Antium.
Corio. I wish I had a cause to seeke him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
Enter Scicinius and Brutus.
1700Behold, these are the Tribunes of the People,
The Tongues o'th' Common Mouth. I do despise them:
For they doe pranke them in Authoritie,
Against all Noble sufferance.
Scicin. Passe no further.
1705Cor. Hah? what is that?
Brut. It will be dangerous to goe on--- No further.
Corio. What makes this change?
Mene. The matter?
Com. Hath he not pass'd the Noble, and the Common?
1710Brut. Cominius, no.
Corio. Haue I had Childrens Voyces?
Senat. Tribunes giue way, he shall to th'Market place.
Brut. The People are incens'd against him.
Scicin. Stop, or all will fall in broyle.
1715Corio. Are these your Heard?
Must these haue Voyces, that can yeeld them now,
And straight disclaim their toungs? what are your Offices?
You being their Mouthes, why rule you not their Teeth?
Haue you not set them on?
1720Mene. Be calme, be calme.
Corio. It is a purpos'd thing, and growes by Plot,
To curbe the will of the Nobilitie:
Suffer't, and liue with such as cannot rule,
Nor euer will be ruled.
1725Brut. Call't not a Plot:
The People cry you mockt them: and of late,
When Corne was giuen them gratis, you repin'd,
Scandal'd the Suppliants: for the People, call'd them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to Noblenesse.
1730Corio. Why this was knowne before.
Brut. Not to them all.
Corio. Haue you inform'd them sithence?
Brut. How? I informe them?
Com. You are like to doe such businesse.
1735Brut. Not vnlike each way to better yours.
Corio. Why then should I be Consull? by yond Clouds
Let me deserue so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow Tribune.
Scicin. You shew too much of that,
1740For which the People stirre: if you will passe
To where you are bound, you must enquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or neuer be so Noble as a Consull,
Nor yoake with him for Tribune.
1745Mene. Let's be calme.
Com. The People are abus'd: set on, this paltring
Becomes not Rome: nor ha's Coriolanus
Deseru'd this so dishonor'd Rub, layd falsely
I'th' plaine Way of his Merit.
1750Corio. Tell me of Corne: this was my speech,
And I will speak't againe.
Mene. Not now, not now.
Senat. Not in this heat, Sir, now.
Corio. Now as I liue, I will.
1755My Nobler friends, I craue their pardons:
For the mutable ranke-sented Meynie,
Let them regard me, as I doe not flatter,
And therein behold themselues: I say againe,
In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our Senate
1760The Cockle of Rebellion, Insolence, Sedition,
Which we our selues haue plowed for, sow'd, & scatter'd,
By mingling them with vs, the honor'd Number,
Who lack not Vertue, no, nor Power, but that
Which they haue giuen to Beggers.
1765Mene. Well, no more.
Senat. No more words, we beseech you.
Corio. How? no more?
As for my Country, I haue shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force: So shall my Lungs
1770Coine words till their decay, against those Meazels
Which we disdaine should Tetter vs, yet sought
The very way to catch them.
Bru. You speake a'th' people, as if you were a God,
To punish; Not a man, of their Infirmity.
1775Sicin. 'Twere well we let the people know't.
Mene. What, what? His Choller?
Cor. Choller? Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Ioue, 'twould be my minde.
Sicin. It is a minde that shall remain a poison
1780Where it is: not poyson any further.
Corio. Shall remaine?
Heare you this Triton of the Minnoues? Marke you
His absolute Shall?
Com. 'Twas from the Cannon.
1785Cor. Shall? O God! but most vnwise Patricians: why
You graue, but wreaklesse Senators, haue you thus
Giuen Hidra heere to choose an Officer,
That with his peremptory Shall, being but
The horne, and noise o'th' Monsters, wants not spirit
1790To say, hee'l turne your Current in a ditch,
And make your Channell his? If he haue power,
Then vale your Ignorance: If none, awake
Your dangerous Lenity: If you are Learn'd,
Be not as common Fooles; if you are not,
1795Let them haue Cushions by you. You are Plebeians,
If they be Senators: and they are no lesse,
When both your voices blended, the great'st taste
Most pallates theirs. They choose their Magistrate,
And such a one as he, who puts his Shall,
1800His popular Shall, against a grauer Bench
Then euer frown'd in Greece. By Ioue himselfe,
It makes the Consuls base; and my Soule akes
To know, when two Authorities are vp,
Neither Supreame; How soone Confusion
1805May enter 'twixt the gap of Both, and take
The one by th' other.
Com. Well, on to'th' Market place.
Corio. Who euer gaue that Counsell, to giue forth
The Corne a'th' Store-house gratis, as 'twas vs'd
1810Sometime in Greece.
Mene. Well, well, no more of that.
Cor. Thogh there the people had more absolute powre
I say they norisht disobedience: fed, the ruin of the State.
Bru. Why shall the people giue
1815One that speakes thus, their voyce?
Corio. Ile giue my Reasons,
More worthier then their Voyces. They know the Corne
Was not our recompence, resting well assur'd
They ne're did seruice for't; being prest to'th' Warre,
1820Euen when the Nauell of the State was touch'd,
They would not thred the Gates: This kinde of Seruice
Did not deserue Corne gratis. Being i'th' Warre,
There Mutinies and Reuolts, wherein they shew'd
Most Valour spoke not for them. Th'Accusation
1825Which they haue often made against the Senate,
All cause vnborne, could neuer be the Natiue
Of our so franke Donation. Well, what then?
How shall this Bosome-multiplied, digest
The Senates Courtesie? Let deeds expresse
1830What's like to be their words, We did request it,
We are the greater pole, and in true feare
They gaue vs our demands. Thus we debase
The Nature of our Seats, and make the Rabble
Call our Cares, Feares; which will in time
1835Breake ope the Lockes a'th' Senate, and bring in
The Crowes to pecke the Eagles.
Mene. Come enough.
Bru. Enough, with ouer measure.
Corio. No, take more.
1840What may be sworne by, both Diuine and Humane,
Seale what I end withall. This double worship,
Whereon part do's disdaine with cause, the other
Insult without all reason: where Gentry, Title, wisedom
Cannot conclude, but by the yea and no
1845Of generall Ignorance, it must omit
Reall Necessities, and giue way the while
To vnstable Slightnesse. Purpose so barr'd, it followes,
Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore beseech you,
You that will be lesse fearefull, then discreet,
1850That loue the Fundamentall part of State
More then you doubt the change on't: That preferre
A Noble life, before a Long, and Wish,
To iumpe a Body with a dangerous Physicke,
That's sure of death without it: at once plucke out
1855The Multitudinous Tongue, let them not licke
The sweet which is their poyson. Your dishonor
Mangles true iudgement, and bereaues the State
Of that Integrity which should becom't:
Not hauing the power to do the good it would
1860For th' ill which doth controul't.
Bru. Has said enough.
Sicin. Ha's spoken like a Traitor, and shall answer
As Traitors do.
Corio. Thou wretch, despight ore-whelme thee:
1865What should the people do with these bald Tribunes?
On whom depending, their obedience failes
To'th' greater Bench, in a Rebellion:
When what's not meet, but what must be, was Law,
Then were they chosen: in a better houre,
1870Let what is meet, be saide it must be meet,
And throw their power i'th' dust.
Bru. Manifest Treason.
Sicin. This a Consull? No.
Enter an Ædile.
1875Bru. The Ediles hoe: Let him be apprehended:
Sicin. Go call the people, in whose name my Selfe
Attach thee as a Traitorous Innouator:
A Foe to'th' publike Weale. Obey I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.
1880Corio. Hence old Goat.
All. Wee'l Surety him.
Com. Ag'd sir, hands off.
Corio. Hence rotten thing, or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy Garments.
1885Sicin. Helpe ye Citizens.
Enter a rabble of Plebeians with the Ædiles.
Mene. On both sides more respect.
Sicin. Heere's hee, that would take from you all your
power.
1890Bru. Seize him Ædiles.
All. Downe with him, downe with him.
2 Sen. Weapons, weapons, weapons:
They all bustle about Coriolanus.
Tribunes, Patricians, Citizens: what ho:
1895Sicinius, Brutus, Coriolanus, Citizens.
All. Peace, peace, peace, stay, hold, peace.
Mene. What is about to be? I am out of Breath,
Confusions neere, I cannot speake. You, Tribunes
To'th' people: Coriolanus, patience: Speak good Sicinius.
1900Scici. Heare me, People peace.
All. Let's here our Tribune: peace, speake, speake,
speake.
Scici. You are at point to lose your Liberties:
Martius would haue all from you; Martius,
1905Whom late you haue nam'd for Consull.
Mene. Fie, fie, fie, this is the way to kindle, not to
quench.
Sena. To vnbuild the Citie, and to lay all flat.
Scici. What is the Citie, but the People?
1910All. True, the People are the Citie.
Brut. By the consent of all, we were establish'd the
Peoples Magistrates.
All. You so remaine.
Mene. And so are like to doe.
1915Com. That is the way to lay the Citie flat,
To bring the Roofe to the Foundation,
And burie all, which yet distinctly raunges
In heapes, and piles of Ruine.
Scici. This deserues Death.
1920Brut. Or let vs stand to our Authoritie,
Or let vs lose it: we doe here pronounce,
Vpon the part o'th' People, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Martius is worthy
Of present Death.
1925Scici. Therefore lay hold of him:
Beare him to th'Rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.
Brut. Ædiles seize him.
All Ple. Yeeld Martius, yeeld.
1930Mene. Heare me one word, 'beseech you Tribunes,
heare me but a word.
Ædiles. Peace, peace.
Mene. Be that you seeme, truly your Countries friend,
And temp'rately proceed to what you would
1935Thus violently redresse.
Brut. Sir, those cold wayes,
That seeme like prudent helpes, are very poysonous,
Where the Disease is violent. Lay hands vpon him,
And beare him to the Rock.
Corio. drawes his Sword.
1940Corio. No, Ile die here:
There's some among you haue beheld me fighting,
Come trie vpon your selues, what you haue seene me.
Mene. Downe with that Sword, Tribunes withdraw
a while.
1945Brut. Lay hands vpon him.
Mene. Helpe Martius, helpe: you that be noble, helpe
him young and old.
All. Downe with him, downe with him.
Exeunt.
In this Mutinie, the Tribunes, the Ædiles, and the
1950
People are beat in.
Mene. Goe, get you to our House: be gone, away,
All will be naught else.
2. Sena. Get you gone.
Com. Stand fast, we haue as many friends as enemies.
1955Mene. Shall it be put to that?
Sena. The Gods forbid:
I prythee noble friend, home to thy House,
Leaue vs to cure this Cause.
Mene. For 'tis a Sore vpon vs,
1960You cannot Tent your selfe: be gone, 'beseech you.
Corio. Come Sir, along with vs.
Mene. I would they were Barbarians, as they are,
Though in Rome litter'd: not Romans, as they are not,
Though calued i'th' Porch o'th' Capitoll:
1965Be gone, put not your worthy Rage into your Tongue,
One time will owe another.
Corio. On faire ground, I could beat fortie of them.
Mene. I could my selfe take vp a Brace o'th' best of
them, yea, the two Tribunes.
1970Com. But now 'tis oddes beyond Arithmetick,
And Manhood is call'd Foolerie, when it stands
Against a falling Fabrick. Will you hence,
Before the Tagge returne? whose Rage doth rend
Like interrupted Waters, and o're-beare
1975What they are vs'd to beare.
Mene. Pray you be gone:
Ile trie whether my old Wit be in request
With those that haue but little: this must be patcht
With Cloth of any Colour.
1980Com. Nay, come away.
Exeunt Coriolanus and
Cominius.
Patri. This man ha's marr'd his fortune.
Mene. His nature is too noble for the World:
He would not flatter Neptune for his Trident,
1985Or Ioue, for's power to Thunder: his Heart's his Mouth:
What his Brest forges, that his Tongue must vent,
And being angry, does forget that euer
He heard the Name of Death.
A Noise within.
Here's goodly worke.
1990Patri. I would they were a bed.
Mene. I would they were in Tyber.
What the vengeance, could he not speake 'em faire?
Enter Brutus and Sicinius with the rabble againe.
Sicin. Where is this Viper,
1995That would depopulate the city, & be euery man himself
Mene. You worthy Tribunes.
Sicin. He shall be throwne downe the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands: he hath resisted Law,
And therefore Law shall scorne him further Triall
2000Then the seuerity of the publike Power,
Which he so sets at naught.
1 Cit. He shall well know the Noble Tribunes are
The peoples mouths, and we their hands.
All. He shall sure ont.
2005Mene. Sir, sir. Sicin. Peace.
Me. Do not cry hauocke, where you shold but hunt
With modest warrant.
Sicin. Sir, how com'st that you haue holpe
To make this rescue?
2010Mene. Heere me speake? As I do know
The Consuls worthinesse, so can I name his Faults.
Sicin. Consull? what Consull?
Mene. The Consull Coriolanus.
Bru. He Consull.
2015All. No, no, no, no, no.
Mene. If by the Tribunes leaue,
And yours good people,
I may be heard, I would craue a word or two,
The which shall turne you to no further harme,
2020Then so much losse of time.
Sic. Speake breefely then,
For we are peremptory to dispatch
This Viporous Traitor: to eiect him hence
Were but one danger, and to keepe him heere
2025Our certaine death: therefore it is decreed,
He dyes to night.
Menen. Now the good Gods forbid,
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserued Children, is enroll'd
2030In Ioues owne Booke, like an vnnaturall Dam
Should now eate vp her owne.
Sicin. He's a Disease that must be cut away.
Mene. Oh he's a Limbe, that ha's but a Disease
Mortall, to cut it off: to cure it, easie.
2035What ha's he done to Rome, that's worthy death?
Killing our Enemies, the blood he hath lost
(Which I dare vouch, is more then that he hath
By many an Ounce) he dropp'd it for his Country:
And what is left, to loose it by his Countrey,
2040Were to vs all that doo't, and suffer it
A brand to th' end a'th World.
Sicin. This is cleane kamme.
Brut. Meerely awry:
When he did loue his Country, it honour'd him.
2045Menen. The seruice of the foote
Being once gangren'd, is not then respected
For what before it was.
Bru. Wee'l heare no more:
Pursue him to his house, and plucke him thence,
2050Least his infection being of catching nature,
Spred further.
Menen. One word more, one word:
This Tiger-footed-rage, when it shall find
The harme of vnskan'd swiftnesse, will (too late)
2055Tye Leaden pounds too's heeles. Proceed by Processe,
Least parties (as he is belou'd) breake out,
And sacke great Rome with Romanes.
Brut. If it were so?
Sicin. What do ye talke?
2060Haue we not had a taste of his Obedience?
Our Ediles smot: our selues resisted: come.
Mene. Consider this: He ha's bin bred i'th' Warres
Since a could draw a Sword, and is ill-school'd
In boulted Language: Meale and Bran together
2065He throwes without distinction. Giue me leaue,
Ile go to him, and vndertake to bring him in peace,
Where he shall answer by a lawfull Forme
(In peace) to his vtmost perill.
1. Sen. Noble Tribunes,
2070It is the humane way: the other course
Will proue to bloody: and the end of it,
Vnknowne to the Beginning.
Sic. Noble Menenius, be you then as the peoples officer:
Masters, lay downe your Weapons.
2075Bru. Go not home.
Sic. Meet on the Market place: wee'l attend you there:
Where if you bring not Martius, wee'l proceede
In our first way.
Menen. Ile bring him to you.
2080Let me desire your company: he must come,
Or what is worst will follow.
Sena. Pray you let's to him.
Exeunt Omnes.