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A public Place in Rome.

Enter Menenius, Cominius, Sicinius, and Brutus, with others.


Men. NO, I'll not go: you hear, what he hath


Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him
In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him,
A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.

Com. He would not seem to know me.
Men. Do you hear?

Com. Yet one time he did call me by my name:
I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
He would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
"Till he had forg'd himself a name i' the fire
Of burning Rome.

Men. Why, so; you have made good work: A pair of tribunes, that have rack'd' for Rome, To make coals cheap: a noble memory 2!

Com. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon When least it was expected: he replied, It was a bare' petition of a state, To one whom they had punish'd. Men. Very well:

Could he say less?

Com. I offer'd to awaken his regard For his private friends: his answer to me was, He could not stay to pick them in a pile Of noisome, musty chaff: he said, 'twas folly, For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt, And still to nose the offence.

Men. No; I'll not meddle.

Sic. Pray you, go to him.
Men. What should I do?

Bru. Only make trial what your love can do For Rome, towards Marcius.

Men. Well, and say that Marcius

Men. For one poor grain or two?

I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
And this brave fellow too, we are the grains :
You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
Above the moon: We must be burnt for you. [aid]

Sic. Nay, pray, be patient: If you refuse your
In this so never-needed help, yet do not
Upbraid us with our distress. But sure, if you
Wouldbeyourcountry'spleader, yourgoodtongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countrymen.

Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
Unheard; what then?--
But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
With his unkindness? Say 't be so ?
Sic. Yet your good will


Must have that thanks from Rome, after the ineaAs you intended well.

Men. I'll undertake it:

I think he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip, 10 And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me. He was not taken well; he had not din'd: The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the morning, are unapt

To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd 15 These pipes, and these conveyances of our blood With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls [him Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch Till he be dieted to my request, And then I'll set upon him.


Bru. You know the very road into his kindness, And cannot lose your way.

Men. Good faith, I'll prove him,

Speed how it will. I shall ere long bave knowledge Of my success. [Exit.


Com. He'll never hear him.

Sic. Not?

Com. I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye Red as 'twould burn Rome: and his injury The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him: 30 Twas very faintly he said, Rise; dismiss'd me Thus, with his speechless hand: What he would do, He sent in writing after me; what he would not, Bound with an oath, to yield to his conditions: So that all hope is vain;

35 Unless his noble mother, and his wife, Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him


For mercy to his country-Therefore, let's hence, And with our fair entreaties haste them on.



The Volcian Camp.

Enter Menenius to the Watch, or Guard.

1 Watch. Stay: whence are you?


2 Watch. Stand, and go back. [your leave, Men. You guard like men; 'tis well: But, by I am an officer of state, and come

To speak with Coriolanus.

1 Watch. From whence?


Men. From Rome.

[our general

1 Watch. You may not pass, you must return; Will no more hear from thence.

2 Watch. You'll see your Rome cmbrac'd with fire, before

1 To rack means to harass by exactions.-The meaning is, You that have been such good stewards for the Roman people, as to get their houses burnt over their heads, to save them the expence of coals. 2 Memory for memorial. A bare petition means only a mere petition. 4 Dr. Johnson is of opinion, that here is a chasm.-The speaker's purpose seems to be this: To yield to his condition is ruin, and better cannot be obtained; sɔ that all hope is vain.


You'll speak with Coriolanus.
Men. Good my friends,

If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
And of his friends there, it is lots' to blanks,
My name hath touch'd your ears: it is Menenius. 5
i Watch. Be it so; go back: the virtue of your


Is not here passable.

Men. I tell thee, fellow,

Thy general is my lover: I have been
The book of his good acts, whence men have read
His fame unparallel'd, happily, amplified;
For I have ever verified my friends,

(Of whom he's chief) with all the size that verity Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes, Like to a bowl upon a subtle' ground,

I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing: Therefore, fellow,

I say, go, lest I let forth your half pint of blood; -back, that's the utmost of your having:-back. Men. Nay, but fellow, fellow,—

Enter Coriolanus, with Aufidius.
Cor. What's the matter?

Men. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you: you shall know now, that I am in estimation: you shall perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, by my entertainment with him, if thou stand'st not


I must have leave to pass.

- 1 Watch. 'Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf, as you have utter'd words in your own, you should not pass here: no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chastely Therefore, go back.

Men. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always factionary on the party of your general.

2 Watch. Howsoever you have been his liar, (as you say, you have) I am one that, telling 30 true under him, must say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back.

Men. Has he din'd, canst thou tell? for I would not speak with him 'till after dinner.

1 Watch. You are a Roman, are you? Men. I am as thy general is.

1 Watch. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have push'd out of your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, 40 think to front his revenges with the easy groans of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsy'd intercession of such a decay'd dotant as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to 45 flame in, with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceiv'd; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution: you are condemn'd, our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.


the state of hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship,and crueller in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee. The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father Menenius does! O, my son, my son! thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to thee: but being assur'd, none but myself could move thee, I have been blown out of your gates with sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. dregs of it upon this varlet here; this, who, like The good gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the a block, hath denied my access to thee. Cor. Away!



Men. How! away!

Cor. Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
Are servanted to others: Though I owe
My revenge properly, my remission lies

In Volcian breasts. That we have been familiar,
Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather
Than pity note how much.-Therefore be gone.
Mine ears against your suits are stronger, than
Your gates against my force. Yet, for I lov'd thee,
Take this along; I writ it for thy sake,


[Gives him a letter. And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius, I will not hear thee speak.-This man, Aufidius, Was my belov'd in Rome: yet thou behold'stAuf. You keep a constant temper. [Exeunt.

Manent the Guard, and Menenius.

1 Watch. Now, sir, is your nanie Menenius? 2 Watch. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: You know the way home again.

1 Watch. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your greatness back?

2 Watch. What cause, do you think, I have to


Men. Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would use me with estimation.

Men. I neither care for the world, nor your general: for such things as you, I can scarce think there's any, you are so slight. He that hath a will to die by himself, fears it not from another. Let

2 Watch. Come, my captain knows you not. Men. I mean, thy general.

1 Watch. My general cares not for you. Back,|55|your general do his worst. For you, be that you

A lot here is a prize. 2 Dr. Johnson explains this passage thus: To verify is to establish by testimony. One may say with propriety, he brought false witnesses to verify his title.-Shakspeare considered the word with his usual laxity, as importing rather testimony than truth, and only meant to say, I bore witness to my friends with all the size that verity would suffer. 3 Subtle means smooth, level. ✦ By virginal palms may be understood the holding up the hands in supplication. ' i. e. Though I have a peculiar right in revenge, in the power of forgiveness the Volcians are conjoined. Shent means shamed, disgraced, made ashamed of ourselves.


are, long; and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was said to, Away!


1 Watch. A noble fellow, I warrant him. 2 Watch. The worthy fellow is our general: He is the rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken. [Exeunt.


A Tent.

Enter Coriolanus and Aufidius.

Cor. We will before the walls of Rome to


Set down our host.-My partner in this action,
You must report to the Volcian lords, how plainly
I have borne this business.

Auf. Only their ends

You have respected; stopp'd your ears against
The general suit of Rome; never admitted
A private whisper, no, not with such friends
That thought them sure of you.

Cor. This last old man,


Of the deep duty more impression shew
Than that of common sons.

Vol. O, stand up blest!


Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint, 151 kneel before thee; and unproperly

Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome,
Lov'd me above the measure of a father;
Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge
Was to send him: for whose old love, I have
(Though I shew'd sourly to him) once more offer'd
The first conditions, which they did refuse,
And cannot now accept, to grace him only,
That thought he could do more; a very little
I have yielded too: Fresh embassies, and suits,
Nor from the state, nor private friends, hereafter
Will I lend ear to.-Ha! What shout is this?
[Shout within.)

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Even to a full disgrace.-Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, Forgive our Romans.-O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and by my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er since.-You gods! I prate,


And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted: Sink, my knee, i' the earth;

Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
20 Then let the pebbles on the hungry beech
Fillop the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun;
Murd'ring impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.
Vol. Thou art my warrior!



I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
[Pointing to Valeria.
Cor. The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome; chaste as the isicle
That's curdled by the frost from purest snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple: Dear Valeria!
Vol. This is a poor epitome of yours,
[Shewing young Marcius.
Which by the interpretation of full time
35 May shew like all yourself.
Cor. The god of soldiers,

With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness: that thou may'st


Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
In the same time 'tis made? I will not.-
Enter Virgilia, Volumnia, Valeria, young Mar-
cius, with Attendants, all in mourning.
My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mold
Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand
The grandchild to her blood. But, out, affection!
Ali bond and privilege of nature, break!
Let it be virtuous, to be obstinate.-
What is that curt'sy worth? or those dove's eyes,
Which can make gods forsworn?—I melt, and 45

am not

Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows;
As if Olympus to a mole-hill should
In supplication nod: and my young boy
Hath an aspect of intercession, which
Great Nature cries, Deny not.-Let the Volces
Plough Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never
Be such a gosling to obey instinct; but stand,
As if a man were author of himself,
And knew no other kin.

Virg. My lord and husband!

Cor. These eyes are not the samelwore in Rome. Virg. The sorrow, that delivers us thus chang'd, Makes you think so.

Cor. Like a dull actor now,

I have forgot my part, and I am out,

i.e. how openly.

Shew duty, as mistaken all the while [Kneels.
Between the child and parent.

Cor. What is this?

40 To shame invulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw3,
And saving those that eye thee!
Vol. Your knee, sirrah.

2 i. e. Juno.

Cor. That's my brave boy.

Vol. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,

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Vol. Oh, no more, no more!

You have said, you will not grant us any thing;
For we have nothing else to ask, but that
60 Which you deny already: Yet, we will ask;
That, if we fail in our request, the blame

i.e. every gust, every storm.


May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us. Cor. Aufidius, and you Volces, mark; for we'll Hear noughtfrom Romeinprivate.-Yourrequest? Vol. Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment

And state of bodies would bewray what life
We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself,
How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither: since that thy sight, which
[comforts, 10
Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with
'Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and


Which thou shalt thereby reap, is such a name, Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses; Whose chronicle thus writ,-"Themanwasnoble, "But with his last attempt he wip'd it out, 5 "Destroy'd his country, and his name remains "To the ensuing age,abhorr'd." Speak to me,son: Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour, To imitate the graces of the gods;

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air, And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt That should but rive an oak'. Why dost not speak? Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man Still to remember wrongs?-Daughter,speak you; He cares not for your weeping.-Speak thou, boy; 15 Perhaps, thy childishness will move him more Than can our reasons.-There is no man in the world [prate, More bound to his mother; yet here he lets me 'Like one i' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy 20 Shew'd thy dear mother any courtesy; [lite When she, (poor hen !) fond of no second brood, Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home, Loaden with honour. Say, my request's unjust, And spurn me back: But, if it be not so, 25 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, 30 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 us: This boy, that cannot tell what he would have, But kneels, and holds up hands, for fellowship, 35 Does reason our petition with more strength Than thou hast to deny 't.-Come, let us go: This fellow had a Volce to his mother; His wife is in Corioli, and this child


Like him by chance:-Yet give us our dispatch:

Making the mother, wife, and child, to sce
The son, the husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we,
Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st us
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
These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to shew 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.

Boy. He 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.

Virg. Ay, and mine,

That brought you forth this boy,to keep your name 40 I am hush'd until our city be afire,
Living to time.
And then I'll speak a little.
Cor. Mother, mother!-


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

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The end of war's uncertain; but this certain, That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit

Fol. Nay, go not from us thus.


If it were so, that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volces whom you serve, you might condemn 50 If not most mortal to him. But, let it come:-
As poisonous of your honour: No; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volces
May say, "This mercy we have shew'd;" the

Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,


[Holds hur by the hands, silent. What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope, 45 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,

I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my stead, say, would you have heard
A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?
Auf. I was mov'd withal.


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That is, constrains the eye to weep, and the heart to shake. 2 The meaning is, to threaten much, and yet be merciful. i. e. keeps me in a state of ignominy, talking to no purpose. Stand

i. e. argue for.

Stand to me in this cause.O mother! wife!
Auf. I am glad, thou hast set thy mercy and thy


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

Aside. 5
[The Ladies make signs to Coriolanus.
Cor. Ay, by-and-by;
But we will drink together; and you shall bear
[To Volumnia, Firgilia, &c.
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.



The Forum in Rome.

[Exeunt. 15

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 prevail with him. 25 But, I say, there is no hope in 't; our throats are sentenc'd, and stay upon execution.

Sic. Is 't possible, that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?

Men. There is difference between a grub, and 30 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.

Sic. He lov'd his mother dearly.

Men. Sadid he me: and he no more remembers 35 his mother now, than an eight-year old horse2. 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 pierce a corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his 40 hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done, is finish'd 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; and 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 banish'd him, we respected not them: and, he returning to break our necks,| they respect not us.

Enter another Messenger.

Enter a Messenger.
Mes.Sir,if you'd 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. What's the news?

Enter Menenius and Sicinius.


Men. See you yon coign o' the Capitol; yon 20 will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth, of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes, such as you,

A sea and land full: You have pray'd well to-day;
This morning, for ten thousand of your throats
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
[Sound still, with the shouts.
Sic. First, the gods bless you for your tidings :
Accept my thankfulness.
Mes. Sir, we have all great cause to give great

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[Trumpets, hautboys, drums beat, all together. The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes, Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans, Make the sun dance. Hark you! [A shout within. Men. This is good news:

Sic. They are near the city?
Mes. Almost at point to enter.

Sic. We'll meet them, and help the joy.[Exeunt. Enter two Senators, with the Ladies passing over the stage, &c. &c.

Sen. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome : .
Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before


Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother:
Cry,-Welcome, ladies, welcome!-
All. Welcome, ladies, welcome!

[A Flourish with drums and trumpets.



A public Place in Antium.
Enter Tullus Aufidius, with Attendants.
Auf. Go tell the lords of the city, I am here:
Deliver them this paper: having read it,
Bid them repair to the market-place; where I,
Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
Will youch the truth of it. He I accuse,
The city ports by this hath enter'd, and
Intends to appear before the people, hoping
To purge himself with words: Dispatch.-Most


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I will take advantage of this concession to restore myself to my former credit and power. Subintelligitur remembers his dam,

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