Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of Coriolanus.
    I'th midd'st a th' body, idle and vnactiue,
    Still cubbording the Viand, neuer bearing
    Like labour with the rest, where th' other Instruments
    Did see, and heare, deuise, instruct, walke, feele,
    105And mutually participate, did minister
    Vnto the appetite; and affection common
    Of the whole body, the Belly answer'd.
    2. Cit. Well sir, what answer made the Belly.
    Men. Sir, I shall tell you with a kinde of Smile,
    110Which ne're came from the Lungs, but euen thus:
    For looke you I may make the belly Smile,
    As well as speake, it taintingly replyed
    To'th' discontented Members, the mutinous parts
    That enuied his receite: euen so most fitly,
    115As you maligne our Senators, for that
    They are not such as you.
    2. Cit. Your Bellies answer: What
    The Kingly crown'd head, the vigilant eye,
    The Counsailor Heart, the Arme our Souldier,
    120Our Steed the Legge, the Tongue our Trumpeter,
    With other Muniments and petty helpes
    In this our Fabricke, if that they---
    Men. What then? Fore me, this Fellow speakes.
    What then? What then?
    1252. Cit. Should by the Cormorant belly be restrain'd,
    Who is the sinke a th' body.
    Men. Well, what then?
    2. Cit. The former Agents, if they did complaine,
    What could the Belly answer?
    130Men. I will tell you,
    If you'l bestow a small (of what you haue little)
    Patience awhile; you'st heare the Bellies answer.
    2. Cit. Y'are long about it.
    Men. Note me this good Friend;
    135Your most graue Belly was deliberate,
    Not rash like his Accusers, and thus answered.
    True is it my Incorporate Friends (quoth he)
    That I receiue the generall Food at first
    Which you do liue vpon: and fit it is,
    140Because I am the Store-house, and the Shop
    Of the whole Body. But, if you do remember,
    I send it through the Riuers of your blood
    Euen to the Court, the Heart, to th' seate o'th' Braine,
    And through the Crankes and Offices of man,
    145The strongest Nerues, and small inferiour Veines
    From me receiue that naturall competencie
    Whereby they liue. And though that all at once
    (You my good Friends, this sayes the Belly) marke me.
    2. Cit. I sir, well, well.
    150Men. Though all at once, cannot
    See what I do deliuer out to each,
    Yet I can make my Awdit vp, that all
    From me do backe receiue the Flowre of all,
    And leaue me but the Bran. What say you too't?
    1552. Cit. It was an answer, how apply you this?
    Men. The Senators of Rome, are this good Belly,
    And you the mutinous Members: For examine
    Their Counsailes, and their Cares; disgest things rightly,
    Touching the Weale a'th Common, you shall finde
    160No publique benefit which you receiue
    But it proceeds, or comes from them to you,
    And no way from your selues. What do you thinke?
    You, the great Toe of this Assembly?
    2. Cit. I the great Toe? Why the great Toe?
    165Men. For that being one o'th lowest, basest, poorest
    Of this most wise Rebellion, thou goest formost:
    Thou Rascall, that art worst in blood to run,
    Lead'st first to win some vantage.
    But make you ready your stiffe bats and clubs,
    170Rome, and her Rats, are at the point of battell,
    The one side must haue baile.

    Enter Caius Martius.
    Hayle, Noble Martius.
    Mar. Thanks. What's the matter you dissentious rogues
    175That rubbing the poore Itch of your Opinion,
    Make your selues Scabs.
    2. Cit. We haue euer your good word.
    Mar. He that will giue good words to thee, wil flatter
    Beneath abhorring. What would you haue, you Curres,
    180That like nor Peace, nor Warre? The one affrights you,
    The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
    Where he should finde you Lyons, findes you Hares:
    Where Foxes, Geese you are: No surer, no,
    Then is the coale of fire vpon the Ice,
    185Or Hailstone in the Sun. Your Vertue is,
    To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,
    And curse that Iustice did it. Who deserues Greatnes,
    Deserues your Hate: and your Affections are
    A sickmans Appetite; who desires most that
    190Which would encrease his euill. He that depends
    Vpon your fauours, swimmes with finnes of Leade,
    And hewes downe Oakes, with rushes. Hang ye: trust ye?
    With euery Minute you do change a Minde,
    And call him Noble, that was now your Hate:
    195Him vilde, that was your Garland. What's the matter,
    That in these seuerall places of the Citie,
    You cry against the Noble Senate, who
    (Vnder the Gods) keepe you in awe, which else
    Would feede on one another? What's their seeking?
    200Men. For Corne at their owne rates, wherof they say
    The Citie is well stor'd.
    Mar. Hang 'em: They say?
    They'l sit by th' fire, and presume to know
    What's done i'th Capitoll: Who's like to rise,
    205Who thriues, & who declines: Side factions, & giue out
    Coniecturall Marriages, making parties strong,
    And feebling such as stand not in their liking,
    Below their cobled Shooes. They say ther's grain enough?
    Would the Nobility lay aside their ruth,
    210And let me vse my Sword, I'de make a Quarrie
    With thousands of these quarter'd slaues, as high
    As I could picke my Lance.
    Menen. Nay these are almost thoroughly perswaded:
    For though abundantly they lacke discretion
    215Yet are they passing Cowardly. But I beseech you,
    What sayes the other Troope?
    Mar. They are dissolu'd: Hang em;
    They said they were an hungry, sigh'd forth Prouerbes
    That Hunger-broke stone wals: that dogges must eate
    220That meate was made for mouths. That the gods sent not
    Corne for the Richmen onely: With these shreds
    They vented their Complainings, which being answer'd
    And a petition granted them, a strange one,
    To breake the heart of generosity,
    225And make bold power looke pale, they threw their caps
    As they would hang them on the hornes a'th Moone,
    Shooting their Emulation.
    Menen. What is graunted them?
    Mar. Fiue Tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms
    230Of their owne choice. One's Iunius Brutus,
    Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. Sdeath,