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  • 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
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    Coriolanus (Folio 1, 1623)

    Enter two Officers, to lay Cushions, as it were,
    in the Capitoll.
    12051. Off. Come, come, they are almost here: how many
    stand for Consulships?
    2. Off. Three, they say: but 'tis thought of euery one,
    Coriolanus will carry it.
    1. Off. That's a braue fellow: but hee's vengeance
    1210prowd, and loues not the common people.
    2. Off. 'Faith, there hath beene many great men that
    haue flatter'd the people, who ne're loued them; and there
    be many that they haue loued, they know not wherefore:
    so that if they loue they know not why, they hate vpon
    1215no better a ground. Therefore, for Coriolanus neyther to
    care whether they loue, or hate him, manifests the true
    knowledge he ha's in their disposition, and out of his No-
    ble carelesnesse lets them plainely see't.
    1. Off. If he did not care whether he had their loue, or
    1220no, hee waued indifferently, 'twixt doing them neyther
    good, nor harme: but hee seekes their hate with greater
    deuotion, then they can render it him; and leaues nothing
    vndone, that may fully discouer him their opposite. Now
    to seeme to affect the mallice and displeasure of the Peo-
    1225ple, is as bad, as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for
    their loue.
    2. Off. Hee hath deserued worthily of his Countrey,
    and his assent is not by such easie degrees as those, who
    hauing beene supple and courteous to the People, Bon-
    1230netted, without any further deed, to haue them at all into
    their estimation, and report: but hee hath so planted his
    Honors in their Eyes, and his actions in their Hearts, that
    for their Tongues to be silent, and not confesse so much,
    were a kinde of ingratefull Iniurie: to report otherwise,
    1235were a Mallice, that giuing it selfe the Lye, would plucke
    reproofe and rebuke from euery Eare that heard it.
    1. Off. No more of him, hee's a worthy man: make
    way, they are comming.
    A Sennet. Enter the Patricians, and the Tribunes of
    1240the People, Lictors before them: Coriolanus, Mene-
    nius, Cominius the Consul: Scicinius and Brutus
    take their places by themselues: Corio-
    lanus stands.
    Menen. Hauing determin'd of the Volces,
    1245And to send for Titus Lartius: it remaines,
    As the maine Point of this our after-meeting,
    The Tragedie of Coriolanus. 11
    To gratifie his Noble seruice, that hath
    Thus stood for his Countrey. Therefore please you,
    Most reuerend and graue Elders, to desire
    1250The present Consull, and last Generall,
    In our well-found Successes, to report
    A little of that worthy Worke, perform'd
    By Martius Caius Coriolanus: whom
    We met here, both to thanke, and to remember,
    1255With Honors like himselfe.
    1. Sen. Speake, good Cominius:
    Leaue nothing out for length, and make vs thinke
    Rather our states defectiue for requitall,
    Then we to stretch it out. Masters a'th' People,
    1260We doe request your kindest eares: and after
    Your louing motion toward the common Body,
    To yeeld what passes here.
    Scicin. We are conuented vpon a pleasing Treatie, and
    haue hearts inclinable to honor and aduance the Theame
    1265of our Assembly.
    Brutus. Which the rather wee shall be blest to doe, if
    he remember a kinder value of the People, then he hath
    hereto priz'd them at.
    Menen. That's off, that's off: I would you rather had
    1270been silent: Please you to heare Cominius speake?
    Brutus. Most willingly: but yet my Caution was
    more pertinent then the rebuke you giue it.
    Menen. He loues your People, but tye him not to be
    their Bed-fellow: Worthie Cominius speake.
    1275 Coriolanus rises, and offers to goe away.
    Nay, keepe your place.
    Senat. Sit Coriolanus: neuer shame to heare
    What you haue Nobly done.
    Coriol. Your Honors pardon:
    1280I had rather haue my Wounds to heale againe,
    Then heare say how I got them.
    Brutus. Sir, I hope my words dis-bench'd you not?
    Coriol. No Sir: yet oft,
    When blowes haue made me stay, I fled from words.
    1285You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: but your People,
    I loue them as they weigh---
    Menen. Pray now sit downe.
    Corio. I had rather haue one scratch my Head i'th' Sun,
    When the Alarum were strucke, then idly sit
    1290To heare my Nothings monster'd. Exit Coriolanus
    Menen. Masters of the People,
    Your multiplying Spawne, how can he flatter?
    That's thousand to one good one, when you now see
    He had rather venture all his Limbes for Honor,
    1295Then on ones Eares to heare it. Proceed Cominius.
    Com. I shall lacke voyce: the deeds of Coriolanus
    Should not be vtter'd feebly: it is held,
    That Valour is the chiefest Vertue,
    And most dignifies the hauer: if it be,
    1300The man I speake of, cannot in the World
    Be singly counter-poys'd. At sixteene yeeres,
    When Tarquin made a Head for Rome, he fought
    Beyond the marke of others: our then Dictator,
    Whom with all prayse I point at, saw him fight,
    1305When with his Amazonian Shinne he droue
    The brizled Lippes before him: he bestrid
    An o're-prest Roman, and i'th' Consuls view
    Slew three Opposers: Tarquins selfe he met,
    And strucke him on his Knee: in that dayes feates,
    1310When he might act the Woman in the Scene,
    He prou'd best man i'th' field, and for his meed
    Was Brow-bound with the Oake. His Pupill age
    Man-entred thus, he waxed like a Sea,
    And in the brunt of seuenteene Battailes since,
    1315He lurcht all Swords of the Garland: for this last,
    Before, and in Corioles, let me say
    I cannot speake him home: he stopt the flyers,
    And by his rare example made the Coward
    Turne terror into sport: as Weeds before
    1320A Vessell vnder sayle, so men obey'd,
    And fell below his Stem: his Sword, Deaths stampe,
    Where it did marke, it tooke from face to foot:
    He was a thing of Blood, whose euery motion
    Was tim'd with dying Cryes: alone he entred
    1325The mortall Gate of th' Citie, which he painted
    With shunlesse destinie: aydelesse came off,
    And with a sudden re-inforcement strucke
    Carioles like a Planet: now all's his,
    When by and by the dinne of Warre gan pierce
    1330His readie sence: then straight his doubled spirit
    Requickned what in flesh was fatigate,
    And to the Battaile came he, where he did
    Runne reeking o're the liues of men, as if 'twere
    A perpetuall spoyle: and till we call'd
    1335Both Field and Citie ours, he neuer stood
    To ease his Brest with panting.
    Menen. Worthy man.
    Senat. He cannot but with measure fit the Honors
    which we deuise him.
    1340Com. Our spoyles he kickt at,
    And look'd vpon things precious, as they were
    The common Muck of the World: he couets lesse
    Then Miserie it selfe would giue, rewards his deeds
    With doing them, and is content
    1345To spend the time, to end it.
    Menen. Hee's right Noble, let him be call'd for.
    Senat. Call Coriolanus.
    Off. He doth appeare.
    Enter Coriolanus.
    1350Menen. The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd to make
    thee Consull.
    Corio. I doe owe them still my Life, and Seruices.
    Menen. It then remaines, that you doe speake to the
    1355Corio. I doe beseech you,
    Let me o're-leape that custome: for I cannot
    Put on the Gowne, stand naked, and entreat them
    For my Wounds sake, to giue their sufferage:
    Please you that I may passe this doing.
    1360Scicin. Sir, the People must haue their Voyces,
    Neyther will they bate one iot of Ceremonie.
    Menen. Put them not too't:
    Pray you goe fit you to the Custome,
    And take to you, as your Predecessors haue,
    1365Your Honor with your forme.
    Corio. It is a part that I shall blush in acting,
    And might well be taken from the People.
    Brutus. Marke you that.
    Corio. To brag vnto them, thus I did, and thus
    1370Shew them th' vnaking Skarres, which I should hide,
    As if I had receiu'd them for the hyre
    Of their breath onely.
    Menen. Doe not stand vpon't:
    We recommend to you Tribunes of the People
    1375Our purpose to them, and to our Noble Consull
    Wish we all Ioy, and Honor.
    Senat. To
    12The Tragedie of Coriolanus.
    Senat. To Coriolanus come all ioy and Honor.
    Flourish Cornets.
    Then Exeunt. Manet Sicinius and Brutus.
    1380Bru. You see how he intends to vse the people.
    Scicin. May they perceiue's intent: he wil require them
    As if he did contemne what he requested,
    Should be in them to giue.
    Bru. Come, wee'l informe them
    1385Of our proceedings heere on th' Market place,
    I know they do attend vs.