Page images
PDF
EPUB

Come on, you cowards, you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome: His bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes;
Like to a harvest-man, that's task'd to mow
Or all, or lose his hire.

Vir. His bloody brow! O, Jupiter, no blood! Vol. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man, Than gilt his trophy: The breasts of Hecuba, When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier Than Hector's forehead, when it spit forth blood At Grecian swords contending.-Tell Valeria, We are fit to bid her welcome.

[Exit GENT.

Vir. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius! Vol. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee And tread upon his neck.

Re-enter GENTLEWOMAN, with VALERIA and her USHER. Val. My ladies both, good day to you.

Vol. Sweet Madam,

Vir. No, good Madam; I will not out

Val. Not out of doors!

Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.

Val. How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers. What, are you sewing here! A fine spot, * in good faith.—How does your little son ?

Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good Madam. Vol. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than look upon his school-master.

Val. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear, 'tis a very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o' Wednesday half an hour together: he has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth, and tear it; O, I warrant, how he mammocked † it!

Vol. One of his father's moods.

Val. Indeed la, 'tis a noble child.

Vir. A crack, Madam.

Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle huswife with me this afternoon.

doors.

Vol. She shall, she shall.

Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience: I will not over the threshold, till my lord return from the wars.

Val. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably; Come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.

Vir. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

Vol. Why, I pray you?

Vir. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.

Val. You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all the yarn she spun, in Ulysses' absence, did but fill Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would, your cambric were sensible as your

* Piece (of work).

† Tore.

Lively boy.

finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.

Vir. No, good Madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth. Val. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.

Vir. O, good Madam, there can be none yet.

Val. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him last night.

Vir. Indeed, Madam?

Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is:-The Volces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power; your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief* wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.

Vir. Give me excuse, good Madam; I will obey you in everything hereafter.

Vol. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our better mirth.

Val. In troth I think, she would:-Fare you well then.Come, good sweet lady,-Pr'ythee Virgilia, turn thy solemnness out o'door, and go along with us.

Vir. No: at a word, Madam; indeed, I must not. I wish you much mirth.

Val. Well, then farewell.

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.-Before Corioli.

Enter, with drums and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Officers and Soldiers. To them a MESSENGER.

Mar. Yonder comes news:-A wager, they have met.
Lart. My horse to yours, no.

Mar. "Tis done.

Lart. Agreed.

Mar. Say, has our general met the enemy?

Mess. They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.

Lart. So, the good horse is mine.

Mar. I'll buy him of you.

Lart. No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him, I will, For half a hundred years.-Summon the town.

Mar. How far off lie the armies?

Mess. Within this mile and half.

Mar. Then shall we hear their larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I pr'ythee make us quick in work:
That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded + friends !-Come, blow thy blast.

They sound a parley.—Enter, on the walls, some SENATORS, and others. Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he, That's lesser than a little. Hark, our drums [Alarums afar off. Are bringing forth our youth: We'll break our walls, Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,

* Short.

+ In the field of battle.

Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves. Hark you, far off; [Other Alarums.
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.

Mar. O, they are at it!

Lart. Their noise be our instruction.-Ladders, ho!
The VOLCES enter and pass over the stage.

Mar. They fear us not, but issue forth their city.

Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields.-Advance, brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,

Which makes me sweat with wrath.-Come on, my fellows;
He that retires, I'll take him for a Volce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

Alarum, and exeunt ROMANS and VOLCES, fighting. The ROMANS are beaten back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS.

Mar. All the contagion of the south light on you.
You shames of Rome! you herd of Boils and plagues
Plaster you o'er; that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! you souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat? Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red and faces pale

With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe,

And make my wars on you: look to 't: Come on;
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.

Another alarum. The VOLCES and ROMANS re-enter, and the fight is renewed. The VOLCES retire into Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the gates.

So, now the gates are ope :-Now prove good seconds:
"Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.

[He enters the gates, and is shut in.

1 Sol. Fool-hardiness; not I. 2 Sol. Nor I.

3 Sol. See, they

Have shut him in.

All. To the pot, I warrant him.

Enter TITUS LARTIUS.

Lart. What is become of Marcius?
All. Slain, Sir, doubtless.

1 Sol. Following the flyers at the very heels,
With them he enters: who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd-to their gates; he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.

Lart. O noble fellow !

VOL. III.

2 K

[Alarum continues.

Who, sensible,* outdares his senseless sword,

And, when it bows, † stands up! Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle, entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

Re-enter MARCIUS bleeding, assaulted by the enemy. 1 Sol. Look, Sir.

Lart. "Tis Marcius:

Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.

[They fight, and all enter the city.

SCENE V-Within the town. A street.
Enter certain ROMANS, with spoils.

1 Rom. This I will carry to Rome.

2 Rom. And I this.

3 Rom. A murrain on't! I took this for silver.

[Alarum continues still afar off.

Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS, with a trumpet.
Mar. See here these movers, that do prize their hours
At a crack'd drachma! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Irons of doit, doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
Ere yet the flight be done, pack up :-Down with them.-
And hark, what noise the general makes!-To him:
There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius,
Piercing our Romans: Then, valiant Titus, take
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.

Lart. Worthy Sir, thou bleed'st;

Thy exercise hath been too violent for

A second course of fight.

Mar. Sir, praise me not:

My work hath yet not warm'd me: Fare you well.
The blood I drop is rather physical

Than dangerous to me; To Aufidius thus

I will appear, and fight.

Lart. Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms
Misguide thy opposer's swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!

Mar. Thy friend no less

Than those she placeth highest! So farewell.
Lart. Thou worthiest Marcius!-

Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers of the town,
Where they shall know our mind. Away.
† Bends.

*Having sensation.

[Exit MARCIUS.

[Exeunt.

A Roman coin.

SCENE VI.-Near the camp of COMINIUS.

Enter COMINIUS and forces retreating.

Com. Breathe you, my friends; well fought, we are come off
Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, Sirs,
We shall be charg'd again. Whiles we have struck,
By interims, and conveying gusts, we have heard
The charges of our friends:-Ye Roman gods,
Lead their successes as we wish our own;

That both our powers, with smiling fronts encountering,

Enter a MESSENGER.

May give you thankful sacrifice!-Thy news?
Mess. The citizens of Corioli have issued,
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle:
I saw our party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.

How long is❜t since ?

Com. Though thou speak'st truth,
Methinks thou speak'st not well.
Mess. Above an hour, my lord.
Com. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
How could'st thou in a mile confound* an hour.
And bring thy news so late?

Mess. Spies of the Volces

Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Three or four miles about; else had I, Sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.

Enter MARCIUS.

Com. Who's yonder,

That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods!
He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have
Beforetime seen him thus.

Mar. Come I too late?

Com. The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabor,
More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
From every meaner man's.

Mar. Come I too late?

Com. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others, But mantled in your own.

Mar. O let me clip you

In arms as sound, as when I woo'd; in heart
As merry, as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn'd to bedward.

Com. Flower of warriors,

How is't with Titus Lartius?

Mar. As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threat'ning the other:
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
To let him slip at will.

* Expend.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »