|ACT I SCENE VI. Near the camp of Cominius.
Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire,
|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 charged 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
|May give you thankful sacrifice.
|[Enter a Messenger]
|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.
|Though thou speak'st truth,
|Methinks thou speak'st not well.
|How long is't since?
|Above an hour, my lord.
|'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
|How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
|And bring thy news so late?
|Spies of the Volsces
|Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
|Three or four miles about, else had I, sir,
|Half an hour since brought my report.
|That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods
|He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have
|Before-time seen him thus.
|[Within] Come I too late?
|The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour
|More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
|From every meaner man.
|Come I too late?
|Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
|But mantled in your own.
|O, let me clip ye
|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!
|Flower of warriors,
|How is it with Titus Lartius?
|As with a man busied about decrees:
|Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
|Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other;
|Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
|Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
|To let him slip at will.
|Where is that slave
|Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
|Where is he? call him hither.
|Let him alone;
|He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen,
|The common file--a plague! tribunes for them!--
|The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
|From rascals worse than they.
|But how prevail'd you?
|Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
|Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?
|If not, why cease you till you are so?
|We have at disadvantage fought and did
|Retire to win our purpose.
|How lies their battle? know you on which side
|They have placed their men of trust?
|As I guess, Marcius,
|Their bands i' the vaward are the Antiates,
|Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,
|Their very heart of hope.
|I do beseech you,
|By all the battles wherein we have fought,
|By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
|We have made to endure friends, that you directly
|Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
|And that you not delay the present, but,
|Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
|We prove this very hour.
|Though I could wish
|You were conducted to a gentle bath
|And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never
|Deny your asking: take your choice of those
|That best can aid your action.
|Those are they
|That most are willing. If any such be here--
|As it were sin to doubt--that love this painting
|Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear
|Lesser his person than an ill report;
|If any think brave death outweighs bad life
|And that his country's dearer than himself;
|Let him alone, or so many so minded,
|Wave thus, to express his disposition,
|And follow Marcius.
They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in
their arms, and cast up their caps
|O, me alone! make you a sword of me?
|If these shows be not outward, which of you
|But is four Volsces? none of you but is
|Able to bear against the great Aufidius
|A shield as hard as his. A certain number,
|Though thanks to all, must I select
|from all: the rest
|Shall bear the business in some other fight,
|As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march;
|And four shall quickly draw out my command,
|Which men are best inclined.
|March on, my fellows:
|Make good this ostentation, and you shall
|Divide in all with us.