Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

Enter Coriolanus and Auffidius.
Corio. We will before the walls of Rome to morrow
Set downe our Hoast. My partner in this Action,
You must report to th' Volcian Lords, how plainly
3350I haue borne this Businesse.
Auf. Onely their ends you haue respected,
Stopt your eares against the generall suite of Rome:
Neuer admitted a priuat whisper, no not with such frends
That thought them sure of you.
3355Corio. This last old man,
Whom with a crack'd heart I haue sent to Rome,
Lou'd me, aboue the measure of a Father,
Nay godded me indeed. Their latest refuge
Was to send him: for whose old Loue I haue
3360(Though I shew'd sowrely to him) once more offer'd
The first Conditions which they did refuse,
And cannot now accept, to grace him onely,
That thought he could do more: A very little
I haue yeelded too. Fresh Embasses, and Suites,
3365Nor from the State, nor priuate friends heereafter
Will I lend eare to. Ha? what shout is this? Shout within
Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
In the same time 'tis made? I will not.
Enter Virgilia, Volumnia, Valeria, yong Martius,
3370with Attendants.
My wife comes formost, then the honour'd mould
Wherein this Trunke was fram'd, and in her hand
The Grandchilde to her blood. But out affection,
All bond and priuiledge of Nature breake;
3375Let it be Vertuous to be Obstinate.
What is that Curt'sie worth? Or those Doues eyes,
Which can make Gods forsworne? I melt, and am not
Of stronger earth then others: my Mother bowes,
As if Olympus to a Mole-hill should
3380In supplication Nod: and my yong Boy
Hath an Aspect of intercession, which
Great Nature cries, Deny not. Let the Volces
Plough Rome, and harrow Italy, Ile neuer
Be such a Gosling to obey instinct; but stand
3385As if a man were Author of himself, & knew no other kin
Virgil. My Lord and Husband.
Corio. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
Virg. The sorrow that deliuers vs thus chang'd,
Makes you thinke so.
3390Corio. Like a dull Actor now, I haue forgot my part,
And I am out, euen to a full Disgrace. Best of my Flesh,
Forgiue my Tyranny: but do not say,
For that forgiue our Romanes. O a kisse
Long as my Exile, sweet as my Reuenge!
3395Now by the iealous Queene of Heauen, that kisse
I carried from thee deare; and my true Lippe
Hath Virgin'd it ere since. You Gods, I pray,
And the most noble Mother of the world
Leaue vnsaluted: Sinke my knee i'th' earth,
3400Of thy deepe duty, more impression shew
Then that of common Sonnes.
Volum. Oh stand vp blest!
Whil'st with no softer Cushion then the Flint
I kneele before thee, and vnproperly
3405Shew duty as mistaken, all this while,
Betweene the Childe, and Parent.
Corio. What's this? your knees to me?
To your Corrected Sonne?
Then let the Pibbles on the hungry beach
3410Fillop the Starres: Then, let the mutinous windes
Strike the proud Cedars 'gainst the fiery Sun:
Murd'ring Impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight worke.
Volum. Thou art my Warriour, I hope to frame thee
3415Do you know this Lady?
Corio. The Noble Sister of Publicola;
The Moone of Rome: Chaste as the Isicle
That's curdied by the Frost, from purest Snow,
And hangs on Dians Temple: Deere Valeria.
3420Volum. This is a poore Epitome of yours,
Which by th' interpretation of full time,
May shew like all your selfe.
Corio. The God of Souldiers:
With the consent of supreame Ioue, informe
3425Thy thoughts with Noblenesse, that thou mayst proue
To shame vnvulnerable, and sticke i'th Warres
Like a great Sea-marke standing euery flaw,
And sauing those that eye thee.
Volum. Your knee, Sirrah.
3430Corio. That's my braue Boy.
Volum. Euen he, your wife, this Ladie, and my selfe,
Are Sutors to you.
Corio. I beseech you peace:
Or if you'ld aske, remember this before;
3435The thing I haue forsworne to graunt, may neuer
Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
Dismisse my Soldiers, or capitulate
Againe, with Romes Mechanickes. Tell me not
Wherein I seeme vnnaturall: Desire not t'allay
3440My Rages and Reuenges, with your colder reasons.
Volum. Oh no more, no more:
You haue said you will not grant vs any thing:
For we haue nothing else to aske, but that
Which you deny already: yet we will aske,
3445That if you faile in our request, the blame
May hang vpon your hardnesse, therefore heare vs.
Corio. Auffidius, and you Volces marke, for wee'l
Heare nought from Rome in priuate. Your request?
Volum. Should we be silent & not speak, our Raiment
3450And state of Bodies would bewray what life
We haue led since thy Exile. Thinke with thy selfe,
How more vnfortunate then all liuing women
Are we come hither; since that thy sight, which should
Make our eies flow with ioy, harts dance with comforts,
3455Constraines them weepe, and shake with feare & sorow,
Making the Mother, wife, and Childe to see,
The Sonne, the Husband, and the Father tearing
His Countries Bowels out; and to poore we
Thine enmities most capitall: Thou barr'st vs
3460Our prayers to the Gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enioy. For how can we?
Alas! how can we, for our Country pray?
Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory:
Whereto we are bound: Alacke, or we must loose
3465The Countrie our deere Nurse, or else thy person
Our comfort in the Country. We must finde
An euident Calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win. For either thou
Must as a Forraine Recreant be led
3470With Manacles through our streets, or else
Triumphantly treade on thy Countries ruine,
And beare the Palme, for hauing brauely shed
Thy Wife and Childrens blood: For my selfe, Sonne,
I purpose not to waite on Fortune, till
3475These warres determine: If I cannot perswade thee,
Rather to shew a Noble grace to both parts,
Then seeke the end of one; thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy Country, then to treade
(Trust too't, thou shalt not) on thy Mothers wombe
3480That brought thee to this world.
Virg. I, and mine, that brought you forth this boy,
To keepe your name liuing to time.
Boy. A shall not tread on me: Ile run away
Till I am bigger, but then Ile fight.
3485Corio. Not of a womans tendernesse to be,
Requires nor Childe, nor womans face to see:
I haue sate too long.
Volum. Nay, go not from vs thus:
If it were so, that our request did tend
3490To saue the Romanes, thereby to destroy
The Volces whom you serue, you might condemne vs
As poysonous of your Honour. No, our suite
Is that you reconcile them: While the Volces
May say, this mercy we haue shew'd: the Romanes,
3495This we receiu'd, and each in either side
Giue the All-haile to thee, and cry be Blest
For making vp this peace. Thou know'st (great Sonne)
The end of Warres vncertaine: but this certaine,
That if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
3500Which thou shalt thereby reape, is such a name
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with Curses:
Whose Chronicle thus writ, The man was Noble,
But with his last Attempt, he wip'd it out:
Destroy'd his Country, and his name remaines
3505To th' insuing Age, abhorr'd. Speake to me Son:
Thou hast affected the fiue straines of Honor,
To imitate the graces of the Gods.
To teare with Thunder the wide Cheekes a'th' Ayre,
And yet to change thy Sulphure with a Boult
3510That should but riue an Oake. Why do'st not speake?
Think'st thou it Honourable for a Nobleman
Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speake you:
He cares not for your weeping. Speake thou Boy,
Perhaps thy childishnesse will moue him more
3515Then can our Reasons. There's no man in the world
More bound to's Mother, yet heere he let's me prate
Like one i'th' Stockes. Thou hast neuer in thy life,
Shew'd thy deere Mother any curtesie,
When she (poore Hen) fond of no second brood,
3520Ha's clock'd thee to the Warres: and safelie home
Loden with Honor. Say my Request's vniust,
And spurne me backe: But, if it be not so
Thou art not honest, and the Gods will plague thee
That thou restrain'st from me the Duty, which
3525To a Mothers part belongs. He turnes away:
Down Ladies: let vs shame him with him with our knees
To his sur-name Coriolanus longs more pride
Then pitty to our Prayers. Downe: an end,
This is the last. So, we will home to Rome,
3530And dye among our Neighbours: Nay, behold's,
This Boy that cannot tell what he would haue,
But kneeles, and holds vp hands for fellowship,
Doe's reason our Petition with more strength
Then thou hast to deny't. Come, let vs go:
3535This Fellow had a Volcean to his Mother:
His Wife is in Corioles, and his Childe
Like him by chance: yet giue vs our dispatch:
I am husht vntill our City be afire, & then Ile speak a litle
Holds her by the hand silent.
3540Corio. O Mother, Mother!
What haue you done? Behold, the Heauens do ope,
The Gods looke downe, and this vnnaturall Scene
They laugh at. Oh my Mother, Mother: Oh!
You haue wonne a happy Victory to Rome.
3545But for your Sonne, beleeue it: Oh beleeue it,
Most dangerously you haue with him preuail'd,
If not most mortall to him. But let it come:
Auffidius, though I cannot make true Warres,
Ile frame conuenient peace. Now good Auffidius,
3550Were you in my steed, would you haue heard
A Mother lesse? or granted lesse Auffidius?
Auf. I was mou'd withall.
Corio. I dare be sworne you were:
And sir, it is no little thing to make
3555Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But (good sir)
What peace you'l make, aduise me: For my part,
Ile not to Rome, Ile backe with you, and pray you
Stand to me in this cause. Oh Mother! Wife!
Auf. I am glad thou hast set thy mercy, & thy Honor
3560At difference in thee: Out of that Ile worke
My selfe a former Fortune.
Corio. I by and by; But we will drinke together:
And you shall beare
A better witnesse backe then words, which we
3565On like conditions, will haue Counter-seal'd.
Come enter with vs: Ladies you deserue
To haue a Temple built you: All the Swords
In Italy, and her Confederate Armes
Could not haue made this peace.