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Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy; for how can we,
Alas, how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound? alack, or we must lose
The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had

Our wish, which side should win for either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led

With manacles thorough our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
And bear the palm for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood.

For myself, son,

I purpose not to wait on fortune till

ΙΙΟ

These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee 120 Rather to show a noble grace to both parts

Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner

March to assault thy country than to tread—

Trust to 't, thou shalt not-on thy mother's womb,
That brought thee to this world.

Vir.

Ay, and mine,

That brought you forth this boy, to keep your

name

Living to time.

Young Mar.

A' shall not tread on me;

I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
Cor. Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
I have sat too long.

Vol.

130

[Rising.

Nay, go not from us thus.

If it were so that our request did tend

To save the Romans, thereby to destroy

The Volsces whom you serve, you might con

demn us,

120. determine, are decided or ended.

As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
May say 'This mercy we have show'd;' the
Romans,

'This we received;' and each in either side
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry 'Be blest
For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great
son,

end of war's uncertain, but this certain,
if thou conquer Rome, the benefit,
hou shalt thereby reap is such a name,
etition will be dogg'd with curses;
cle thus writ: The man was noble,
ttempt he wiped it out;

v, and his name remains
horr'd.' Speak to me, son:
Gne strains of honour,

[graphic]

And spurn me back: 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
To a mother's part belongs. He turns away:
Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride
Than pity to our prayers.
Down: an end;
This is the last: so we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours.

Nay, behold's:

This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny 't. Come, let us go:
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli and his child

170

Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch: 180 I am hush'd until our city be afire,

And then I'll speak a little.

[He holds her by the

hand, silent.

O mother, mother!

Cor.
What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
You have won a happy victory to Rome;
But, for your son, believe it, O, believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
If not most mortal to him. But, let it come.
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my stead, would you have heard
A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?
Auf. I was moved withal.

Cor.

I dare be sworn you were:

And, sir, it is no little thing to make

Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
What peace you 'll make, advise me: for my part,

190

I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray you, Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife!

Auf. [Aside.] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy

and thy honour

At difference in thee: out of that I'll work
Myself a former fortune.

Cor.

[The Ladies make signs to Coriolanus.
Ay, by and by;
[To Volumnia, Virgilia, etc.
But we will drink together; and you shall bear
A better witness back than words, which we,
On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd.
Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
To have a temple built you: all the swords
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV. Rome. A public place.

Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS.

Men. See you yon coign o' the Capitol, yon corner-stone?

Sic. Why, what of that?

Men. If it be possible for you to displace it with your little finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may preI'vail with him. But I say there is no hope in 't: our throats are sentenced and stay upon execution. Sic. Is 't possible that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?

Men. There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a creeping thing.

200

ΤΟ

Sic. He loved his mother dearly.

Men. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before his treading: he is able to 20 pierce a corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity and a heaven to throne in.

Sic. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.

Men. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find: and all this is long of you.

Sic. The gods be good unto us!

Men. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us. When we banished him, we respected not them; and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Sir, if you'ld save your life, fly to your
house:

The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune
And hale him up and down, all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.

Sic.

Enter a second Messenger.

What's the news?

23. made for, meant to represent.

30

40

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