Page images

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, sayt, would you have heard
A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?

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

Auf. 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.1


[Aside. [The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS. Ay, by and by;

[To VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, &c. 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 2: all the swords In Italy, and her confederate arms,

Could not have made this peace.


+ "say" is omitted by Mr. Malone, who considers heard as a dissyllable.


— a former fortune.] i. e restore myself to my former credit and power.

To have a temple built you:] Plutarch informs us, that a temple dedicated to the Fortune of the Ladies, was built on this occasion by order of the senate.


Rome. A publick Place.


Men. See you yond' coign o'the Capitol; yond' 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 prevail 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.

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 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;


stay upon execution.] i. e. stay but for it.

↑ He sits in his state, &c.] His state means his chair of state.

[ocr errors]

that shall our poor city find: and all this is 'long of


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'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.


Enter another Messenger.
What's the news?
Mess. Good news, good news; - The ladies have

The Volces are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.


Friend, Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain ? Mess. As certain, as I know the sun is fire: Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it? Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide, As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you; [Trumpets and Hautboys sounded, and Drums beaten, all together. Shouting also within. The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes, Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans, Make the sun dance. Hark you! [Shouting again. This is good news:


I 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!

[Shouting and Musick. Sic. First, the gods bless you for their tidings: next, Accept my thankfulness.

Great cause to give great thanks.


Sir, we have all

Mess. Almost at point to enter.

And help the joy.

They are near the city?

Enter the Ladies, accompanied by Senators, Patricians, and People. They pass over the Stage.

All. Welcome!

We will meet them, [Going.

1 Sen. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome:

Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,

And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them: Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,

Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
Cry, Welcome, ladies, welcome! -

Welcome, ladies!

[A Flourish with Drums and Trumpets. [Exeunt.


Antium. A publick Place.

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 vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse,
The city ports by this hath enter'd, and

Intends to appear before the people, hoping
To purge himself with words: Despatch.

[Exeunt Attendants.

Enter Three or Four Conspirators of Aufidius' Faction.

Most welcome!

1 Con. How is it with our general? Auf.

Even so,

As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
And with his charity slain.

2 Con.
Most noble sir,
If you do hold the same intent wherein
You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
Of your great danger.

Sir, I cannot tell;
We must proceed, as we do find the people.

3 Con. The people will remain uncertain, whilst 'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either Makes the survivor heir of all.


I know it;

And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd
Mine honour for his truth: Who being so heighten'd,
He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends: and, to this end,
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable, and free.

3 Con. Sir, his stoutness,

When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,
That I would have spoke of:
Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men; serv'd his designments

« PreviousContinue »