|ACT II SCENE III. The same. The Forum.
|[Enter seven or eight Citizens]
|Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.
|We may, sir, if we will.
|We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
|power that we have no power to do; for if he show us
|his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
|tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if
|he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
|our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
|monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful,
|were to make a monster of the multitude: of the
|which we being members, should bring ourselves to be
|And to make us no better thought of, a little help
|will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he
|himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.
|We have been called so of many; not that our heads
|are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald,
|but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and
|truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of
|one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south,
|and their consent of one direct way should be at
|once to all the points o' the compass.
|Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would
|Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
|will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but
|if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.
|Why that way?
|To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts
|melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return
|for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.
|You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.
|Are you all resolved to give your voices? But
|that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I
|say, if he would incline to the people, there was
|never a worthier man.
|[Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility, with MENENIUS]
|Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
|behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
|come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and
|by threes. He's to make his requests by
|particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
|honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
|tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
|you shall go by him.
|O sir, you are not right: have you not known
|The worthiest men have done't?
|What must I say?
|'I Pray, sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring
|My tongue to such a pace:--'Look, sir, my wounds!
|I got them in my country's service, when
|Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran
|From the noise of our own drums.'
|O me, the gods!
|You must not speak of that: you must desire them
|To think upon you.
|Think upon me! hang 'em!
|I would they would forget me, like the virtues
|Which our divines lose by 'em.
|You'll mar all:
|I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
|In wholesome manner.
|Bid them wash their faces
|And keep their teeth clean.
|[Re-enter two of the Citizens]
|So, here comes a brace.
|[Re-enter a third Citizen]
|You know the cause, air, of my standing here.
|We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.
|Mine own desert.
|Your own desert!
|Ay, but not mine own desire.
|How not your own desire?
|No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble the
|poor with begging.
|You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
|gain by you.
|Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?
|The price is to ask it kindly.
|Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to
|show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
|good voice, sir; what say you?
|You shall ha' it, worthy sir.
|A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices
|begged. I have your alms: adieu.
|But this is something odd.
|An 'twere to give again,--but 'tis no matter.
|[Exeunt the three Citizens]
|[Re-enter two other Citizens]
|Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
|voices that I may be consul, I have here the
|You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
|have not deserved nobly.
|You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
|been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
|the common people.
|You should account me the more virtuous that I have
|not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
|sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
|estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account
|gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
|rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
|the insinuating nod and be off to them most
|counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
|bewitchment of some popular man and give it
|bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
|I may be consul.
|We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
|you our voices heartily.
|You have received many wounds for your country.
|I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
|will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
|The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
|Most sweet voices!
|Better it is to die, better to starve,
|Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
|Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
|To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
|Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't:
|What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
|The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
|And mountainous error be too highly heapt
|For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
|Let the high office and the honour go
|To one that would do thus. I am half through;
|The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.
|[Re-enter three Citizens more]
|Here come more voices.
|Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
|Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices bear
|Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
|I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
|Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
|Indeed I would be consul.
|He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
|Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,
|and make him good friend to the people!
|Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!
|[Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS]
|You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
|Endue you with the people's voice: remains
|That, in the official marks invested, you
|Anon do meet the senate.
|Is this done?
|The custom of request you have discharged:
|The people do admit you, and are summon'd
|To meet anon, upon your approbation.
|Where? at the senate-house?
|May I change these garments?
|You may, sir.
|That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
|Repair to the senate-house.
|I'll keep you company. Will you along?
|We stay here for the people.
|Fare you well.
|[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS]
|He has it now, and by his looks methink
|'Tis warm at 's heart.
|With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
|will you dismiss the people?
|How now, my masters! have you chose this man?
|He has our voices, sir.
|We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.
|Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
|He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.
|He flouted us downright.
|No,'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.
|Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
|He used us scornfully: he should have show'd us
|His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.
|Why, so he did, I am sure.
|No, no; no man saw 'em.
|He said he had wounds, which he could show
|And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
|'I would be consul,' says he: 'aged custom,
|But by your voices, will not so permit me;
|Your voices therefore.' When we granted that,
|Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank you:
|Your most sweet voices: now you have left
|I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?
|Why either were you ignorant to see't,
|Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
|To yield your voices?
|Could you not have told him
|As you were lesson'd, when he had no power,
|But was a petty servant to the state,
|He was your enemy, ever spake against
|Your liberties and the charters that you bear
|I' the body of the weal; and now, arriving
|A place of potency and sway o' the state,
|If he should still malignantly remain
|Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
|Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
|That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
|Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
|Would think upon you for your voices and
|Translate his malice towards you into love,
|Standing your friendly lord.
|Thus to have said,
|As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
|And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd
|Either his gracious promise, which you might,
|As cause had call'd you up, have held him to
|Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
|Which easily endures not article
|Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
|You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
|And pass'd him unelected.
|Did you perceive
|He did solicit you in free contempt
|When he did need your loves, and do you think
|That his contempt shall not be bruising to you,
|When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
|No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
|Against the rectorship of judgment?
|Ere now denied the asker? and now again
|Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow
|Your sued-for tongues?
|He's not confirm'd; we may deny him yet.
|And will deny him:
|I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
|I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.
|Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
|They have chose a consul that will from them take
|Their liberties; make them of no more voice
|Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
|As therefore kept to do so.
|Let them assemble,
|And on a safer judgment all revoke
|Your ignorant election; enforce his pride,
|And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
|With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
|How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves,
|Thinking upon his services, took from you
|The apprehension of his present portance,
|Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
|After the inveterate hate he bears you.
|A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
|No impediment between, but that you must
|Cast your election on him.
|Say, you chose him
|More after our commandment than as guided
|By your own true affections, and that your minds,
|Preoccupied with what you rather must do
|Than what you should, made you against the grain
|To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.
|Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
|How youngly he began to serve his country,
|How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
|The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence came
|That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son,
|Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
|Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
|That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
|Was his great ancestor.
|One thus descended,
|That hath beside well in his person wrought
|To be set high in place, we did commend
|To your remembrances: but you have found,
|Scaling his present bearing with his past,
|That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
|Your sudden approbation.
|Say, you ne'er had done't--
|Harp on that still--but by our putting on;
|And presently, when you have drawn your number,
|Repair to the Capitol.
|We will so: almost all
|Repent in their election.
|Let them go on;
|This mutiny were better put in hazard,
|Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
|If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
|With their refusal, both observe and answer
|The vantage of his anger.
|To the Capitol, come:
|We will be there before the stream o' the people;
|And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
|Which we have goaded onward.