Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Coriolanus with Nobles.
Corio. Let them pull all about mine eares, present me
2085Death on the Wheele, or at wilde Horses heeles,
Or pile ten hilles on the Tarpeian Rocke,
That the precipitation might downe stretch
Below the beame of sight; yet will I still
Be thus to them.
2090
Enter Volumnia.
Noble. You do the Nobler.
Corio. I muse my Mother
Do's not approue me further, who was wont
To call them Wollen Vassailes, things created
2095To buy and sell with Groats, to shew bare heads
In Congregations, to yawne, be still, and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood vp
To speake of Peace, or Warre. I talke of you,
Why did you wish me milder? Would you haue me
2100False to my Nature? Rather say, I play
The man I am.
Volum. Oh sir, sir, sir,
I would haue had you put your power well on
Before you had worne it out.
2105Corio. Let go.
Vol. You might haue beene enough the man you are,
With striuing lesse to be so: Lesser had bin
The things of your dispositions, if
You had not shew'd them how ye were dispos'd
2110Ere they lack'd power to crosse you.
Corio. Let them hang.
Volum. I, and burne too.
Enter Menenius with the Senators.
Men. Come, come, you haue bin too rough, somthing
2115too rough: you must returne, and mend it.
Sen. There's no remedy,
Vnlesse by not so doing, our good Citie
Cleaue in the midd'st, and perish.
Volum. Pray be counsail'd;
2120I haue a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a braine, that leades my vse of Anger
To better vantage.
Mene. Well said, Noble woman:
Before he should thus stoope to'th' heart, but that
2125The violent fit a'th' time craues it as Physicke
For the whole State; I would put mine Armour on,
Which I can scarsely beare.
Corio. What must I do?
Mene. Returne to th' Tribunes.
2130Corio. Well, what then? what then?
Mene. Repent, what you haue spoke.
Corio. For them, I cannot do it to the Gods,
Must I then doo't to them?
Volum. You are too absolute,
2135Though therein you can neuer be too Noble,
But when extremities speake. I haue heard you say,
Honor and Policy, like vnseuer'd Friends,
I'th' Warre do grow together: Grant that, and tell me
In Peace, what each of them by th' other loose,
2140That they combine not there?
Corio. Tush, tush.
Mene. A good demand.
Volum. If it be Honor in your Warres, to seeme
The same you are not, which for your best ends
2145You adopt your policy: How is it lesse or worse
That it shall hold Companionship in Peace
With Honour, as in Warre; since that to both
It stands in like request.
Corio. Why force you this?
2150Volum. Because, that
Now it lyes you on to speake to th' people:
Not by your owne instruction, nor by'th' matter
Which your heart prompts you, but with such words
That are but roated in your Tongue;
2155Though but Bastards, and Syllables
Of no allowance, to your bosomes truth.
Now, this no more dishonors you at all,
Then to take in a Towne with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune, and
2160The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my Nature, where
My Fortunes and my Friends at stake, requir'd
I should do so in Honor. I am in this
Your Wife, your Sonne: These Senators, the Nobles,
2165And you, will rather shew our generall Lowts,
How you can frowne, then spend a fawne vpon 'em,
For the inheritance of their loues, and safegard
Of what that want might ruine.
Menen. Noble Lady,
2170Come goe with vs, speake faire: you may salue so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the losse
Of what is past.
Volum. I pry thee now, my Sonne,
Goe to them, with this Bonnet in thy hand,
2175And thus farre hauing stretcht it (here be with them)
Thy Knee bussing the stones: for in such businesse
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th' ignorant
More learned then the eares, wauing thy head,
Which often thus correcting thy stout heart,
2180Now humble as the ripest Mulberry,
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their Souldier, and being bred in broyles,
Hast not the soft way, which thou do'st confesse
Were fit for thee to vse, as they to clayme,
2185In asking their good loues, but thou wilt frame
Thy selfe (forsooth) hereafter theirs so farre,
As thou hast power and person.
Menen. This but done,
Euen as she speakes, why their hearts were yours:
2190For they haue Pardons, being ask'd, as free,
As words to little purpose.
Volum. Prythee now,
Goe, and be rul'd: although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine Enemie in a fierie Gulfe,
2195Then flatter him in a Bower.
Enter Cominius.
Here is Cominius.
Com. I haue beene i'th' Market place: and Sir 'tis fit
You make strong partie, or defend your selfe
By calmenesse, or by absence: all's in anger.
2200Menen. Onely faire speech.
Com. I thinke 'twill serue, if he can thereto frame his
spirit.
Volum. He must, and will:
Prythee now say you will, and goe about it.
2205Corio. Must I goe shew them my vnbarb'd Sconce?
Must I with my base Tongue giue to my Noble Heart
A Lye, that it must beare well? I will doo't:
Yet were there but this single Plot, to loose
This Mould of Martius, they to dust should grinde it,
2210And throw't against the Winde. To th' Market place:
You haue put me now to such a part, which neuer
I shall discharge to th' Life.
Com. Come, come, wee'le prompt you.
Volum. I prythee now sweet Son, as thou hast said
2215My praises made thee first a Souldier; so
To haue my praise for this, performe a part
Thou hast not done before.
Corio. Well, I must doo't:
Away my disposition, and possesse me
2220Some Harlots spirit: My throat of Warre be turn'd,
Which quier'd with my Drumme into a Pipe,
Small as an Eunuch, or the Virgin voyce
That Babies lull a-sleepe: The smiles of Knaues
Tent in my cheekes, and Schoole-boyes Teares take vp
2225The Glasses of my sight: A Beggars Tongue
Make motion through my Lips, and my Arm'd knees
Who bow'd but in my Stirrop, bend like his
That hath receiu'd an Almes. I will not doo't,
Least I surcease to honor mine owne truth,
2230And by my Bodies action, teach my Minde
A most inherent Basenesse.
Volum. At thy choice then:
To begge of thee, it is my more dis-honor,
Then thou of them. Come all to ruine, let
2235Thy Mother rather feele thy Pride, then feare
Thy dangerous Stoutnesse: for I mocke at death
With as bigge heart as thou. Do as thou list,
Thy Valiantnesse was mine, thou suck'st it from me:
But owe thy Pride thy selfe.
2240Corio. Pray be content:
Mother, I am going to the Market place:
Chide me no more. Ile Mountebanke their Loues,
Cogge their Hearts from them, and come home belou'd
Of all the Trades in Rome. Looke, I am going:
2245Commend me to my Wife, Ile returne Consull,
Or neuer trust to what my Tongue can do
I'th way of Flattery further.
Volum. Do your will.
Exit Volumnia
Com. Away, the Tribunes do attend you: arm your self
2250To answer mildely: for they are prepar'd
With Accusations, as I heare more strong
Then are vpon you yet.
Corio. The word is, Mildely. Pray you let vs go,
Let them accuse me by inuention: I
2255Will answer in mine Honor.
Menen. I, but mildely.
Corio. Well mildely be it then, Mildely.
Exeunt.