|ACT II SCENE I. Rome. A public place.
Enter MENENIUS with the two Tribunes of the people,
SICINIUS and BRUTUS.
|The augurer tells me we shall have news to-night.
|Good or bad?
|Not according to the prayer of the people, for they
|love not Marcius.
|Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
|Pray you, who does the wolf love?
|Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the
|He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.
|He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two
|are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.
|In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you two
|have not in abundance?
|He's poor in no one fault, but stored with all.
|Especially in pride.
|And topping all others in boasting.
|This is strange now: do you two know how you are
|censured here in the city, I mean of us o' the
|right-hand file? do you?
|Why, how are we censured?
|Because you talk of pride now,--will you not be angry?
|Well, well, sir, well.
|Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
|occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience:
|give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at
|your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a
|pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius for
|We do it not alone, sir.
|I know you can do very little alone; for your helps
|are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous
|single: your abilities are too infant-like for
|doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you
|could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
|and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
|O that you could!
|What then, sir?
|Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
|proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as
|any in Rome.
|Menenius, you are known well enough too.
|I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
|loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
|Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect in
|favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like
|upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
|with the buttock of the night than with the forehead
|of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my
|malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as
|you are--I cannot call you Lycurguses--if the drink
|you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a
|crooked face at it. I can't say your worships have
|delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in
|compound with the major part of your syllables: and
|though I must be content to bear with those that say
|you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that
|tell you you have good faces. If you see this in
|the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
|well enough too? what barm can your bisson
|conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
|known well enough too?
|Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
|You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing. You
|are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs: you
|wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a
|cause between an orange wife and a fosset-seller;
|and then rejourn the controversy of three pence to a
|second day of audience. When you are hearing a
|matter between party and party, if you chance to be
|pinched with the colic, you make faces like
|mummers; set up the bloody flag against all
|patience; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
|dismiss the controversy bleeding the more entangled
|by your hearing: all the peace you make in their
|cause is, calling both the parties knaves. You are
|a pair of strange ones.
|Come, come, you are well understood to be a
|perfecter giber for the table than a necessary
|bencher in the Capitol.
|Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
|encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When
|you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the
|wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not
|so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's
|cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's pack-
|saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud;
|who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors
|since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the
|best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to
|your worships: more of your conversation would
|infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly
|plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.
|[BRUTUS and SICINIUS go aside]
|[Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and VALERIA]
|How now, my as fair as noble ladies,--and the moon,
|were she earthly, no nobler,--whither do you follow
|your eyes so fast?
|Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for
|the love of Juno, let's go.
|Ha! Marcius coming home!
|Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous
|Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
|Marcius coming home!
|Look, here's a letter from him: the state hath
|another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one
|at home for you.
|I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for
|Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw't.
|A letter for me! it gives me an estate of seven
|years' health; in which time I will make a lip at
|the physician: the most sovereign prescription in
|Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative,
|of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
|not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.
|O, no, no, no.
|O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for't.
|So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a'
|victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.
|On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
|with the oaken garland.
|Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?
|Titus Lartius writes, they fought together, but
|Aufidius got off.
|And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that:
|an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so
|fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold
|that's in them. Is the senate possessed of this?
|Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes; the senate
|has letters from the general, wherein he gives my
|son the whole name of the war: he hath in this
|action outdone his former deeds doubly
|In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.
|Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
|The gods grant them true!
|True! pow, wow.
|True! I'll be sworn they are true.
|Where is he wounded?
|[To the Tribunes]
|God save your good worships! Marcius is coming
|home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?
|I' the shoulder and i' the left arm there will be
|large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall
|stand for his place. He received in the repulse of
|Tarquin seven hurts i' the body.
|One i' the neck, and two i' the thigh,--there's
|nine that I know.
|He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
|wounds upon him.
|Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.
|[A shout and flourish]
|Hark! the trumpets.
|These are the ushers of Marcius: before him he
|carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
|Death, that dark spirit, in 's nervy arm doth lie;
|Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.
A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the
general, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them, CORIOLANUS,
crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and
Soldiers, and a Herald
|Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
|Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,
|With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
|In honour follows Coriolanus.
|Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
|Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
|No more of this; it does offend my heart:
|Pray now, no more.
|Look, sir, your mother!
|You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
|For my prosperity!
|Nay, my good soldier, up;
|My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
|By deed-achieving honour newly named,--
|What is it?--Coriolanus must I call thee?--
|But O, thy wife!
|My gracious silence, hail!
|Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
|That weep'st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear,
|Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
|And mothers that lack sons.
|Now, the gods crown thee!
|And live you yet?
|O my sweet lady, pardon.
|I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
|And welcome, general: and ye're welcome all.
|A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
|And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
|A curse begin at very root on's heart,
|That is not glad to see thee! You are three
|That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,
|We have some old crab-trees here
|at home that will not
|Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors:
|We call a nettle but a nettle and
|The faults of fools but folly.
|Menenius ever, ever.
|Give way there, and go on!
|[To VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA] Your hand, and yours:
|Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
|The good patricians must be visited;
|From whom I have received not only greetings,
|But with them change of honours.
|I have lived
|To see inherited my very wishes
|And the buildings of my fancy: only
|There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
|Our Rome will cast upon thee.
|Know, good mother,
|I had rather be their servant in my way,
|Than sway with them in theirs.
|On, to the Capitol!
Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before.
BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward
|All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
|Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
|Into a rapture lets her baby cry
|While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
|Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
|Clambering the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks, windows,
|Are smother'd up, leads fill'd, and ridges horsed
|With variable complexions, all agreeing
|In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
|Do press among the popular throngs and puff
|To win a vulgar station: or veil'd dames
|Commit the war of white and damask in
|Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the wanton spoil
|Of Phoebus' burning kisses: such a pother
|As if that whatsoever god who leads him
|Were slily crept into his human powers
|And gave him graceful posture.
|On the sudden,
|I warrant him consul.
|Then our office may,
|During his power, go sleep.
|He cannot temperately transport his honours
|From where he should begin and end, but will
|Lose those he hath won.
|In that there's comfort.
|The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
|Upon their ancient malice will forget
|With the least cause these his new honours, which
|That he will give them make I as little question
|As he is proud to do't.
|I heard him swear,
|Were he to stand for consul, never would he
|Appear i' the market-place nor on him put
|The napless vesture of humility;
|Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
|To the people, beg their stinking breaths.
|It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
|Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
|And the desire of the nobles.
|I wish no better
|Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
|'Tis most like he will.
|It shall be to him then as our good wills,
|A sure destruction.
|So it must fall out
|To him or our authorities. For an end,
|We must suggest the people in what hatred
|He still hath held them; that to's power he would
|Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders and
|Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them,
|In human action and capacity,
|Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
|Than camels in the war, who have their provand
|Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
|For sinking under them.
|This, as you say, suggested
|At some time when his soaring insolence
|Shall touch the people--which time shall not want,
|If he be put upon 't; and that's as easy
|As to set dogs on sheep--will be his fire
|To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
|Shall darken him for ever.
|[Enter a Messenger]
|What's the matter?
|You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
|That Marcius shall be consul:
|I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
|The blind to bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
|Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
|Upon him as he pass'd: the nobles bended,
|As to Jove's statue, and the commons made
|A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts:
|I never saw the like.
|Let's to the Capitol;
|And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
|But hearts for the event.
|Have with you.