Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

The Tragedy of Coriolanus.

Actus Primus. Scœna Prima.

Enter a Company of Mutinous Citizens, with Staues,
Clubs, and other weapons.

1. Citizen.
5BEfore we proceed any further, heare me speake.
All. Speake, speake.
1. Cit. You are all resolu'd rather to dy then
to famish?
All. Resolu'd, resolu'd.
101. Cit. First you know, Caius Martius is chiefe enemy
to the people.
All. We know't, we know't.
1. Cit. Let vs kill him, and wee'l haue Corne at our own
price. Is't a Verdict?
15All. No more talking on't; Let it be done, away, away
2. Cit. One word, good Citizens.
1. Cit. We are accounted poore Citizens, the Patri-
cians good: what Authority surfets one, would releeue
vs. If they would yeelde vs but the superfluitie while it
20were wholsome, wee might guesse they releeued vs hu-
manely: But they thinke we are too deere, the leannesse
that afflicts vs, the obiect of our misery, is as an inuento-
ry to particularize their abundance, our sufferance is a
gaine to them. Let vs reuenge this with our Pikes, ere
25we become Rakes. For the Gods know, I speake this in
hunger for Bread, not in thirst for Reuenge.
2. Cit. Would you proceede especially against Caius
All. Against him first: He's a very dog to the Com-
2. Cit. Consider you what Seruices he ha's done for his
1. Cit. Very well, and could bee content to giue him
good report for't, but that hee payes himselfe with bee-
35ing proud.
All. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1. Cit. I say vnto you, what he hath done Famouslie,
he did it to that end: though soft conscienc'd men can be
content to say it was for his Countrey, he did it to please
40his Mother, and to be partly proud, which he is, euen to
the altitude of his vertue.
2. Cit. What he cannot helpe in his Nature, you ac-
count a Vice in him: You must in no way say he is co-
451. Cit. If I must not, I neede not be barren of Accusa-
tions he hath faults (with surplus) to tyre in repetition.
Showts within.
What showts are these? The other side a'th City is risen:
why stay we prating heere? To th' Capitoll.
50All. Come, come.
1 Cit. Soft, who comes heere?
Enter Menenius Agrippa.
2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that hath al-
wayes lou'd the people.
551 Cit. He's one honest enough, wold al the rest wer so.
Men. What work's my Countrimen in hand?
Where go you with Bats and Clubs? The matter
Speake I pray you.
2 Cit. Our busines is not vnknowne to th' Senat, they
60haue had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, wt
now wee'l shew em in deeds: they say poore Suters haue
strong breaths, they shal know we haue strong arms too.
Menen. Why Masters, my good Friends, mine honest
Neighbours, will you vndo your selues?
652 Cit. We cannot Sir, we are vndone already.
Men. I tell you Friends, most charitable care
Haue the Patricians of you for your wants.
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the Heauen with your staues, as lift them
70Against the Roman State, whose course will on
The way it takes: cracking ten thousand Curbes
Of more strong linke assunder, then can euer
Appeare in your impediment. For the Dearth,
The Gods, not the Patricians make it, and
75Your knees to them (not armes) must helpe. Alacke,
You are transported by Calamity
Thether, where more attends you, and you slander
The Helmes o'th State; who care for you like Fathers,
When you curse them, as Enemies.
802 Cit. Care for vs? True indeed, they nere car'd for vs
yet. Suffer vs to famish, and their Store-houses cramm'd
with Graine: Make Edicts for Vsurie, to support Vsu-
rers; repeale daily any wholsome Act established against
the rich, and prouide more piercing Statutes daily, to
85chaine vp and restraine the poore. If the Warres eate vs
not vppe, they will; and there's all the loue they beare
Menen. Either you must
Confesse your selues wondrous Malicious,
90Or be accus'd of Folly. I shall tell you
A pretty Tale, it may be you haue heard it,
But since it serues my purpose, I will venture
To scale't a little more.
2 Citizen. Well,
95Ile heare it Sir: yet you must not thinke
To fobbe off our disgrace with a tale:
But and't please you deliuer.
Men. There was a time, when all the bodies members
Rebell'd against the Belly; thus accus'd it:
100That onely like a Gulfe it did remaine