|ACT III SCENE II. A room in Coriolanus's house.
|[Enter CORIOLANUS with Patricians]
|Let them puff all about mine ears, present me
|Death on the wheel or at wild horses' heels,
|Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,
|That the precipitation might down stretch
|Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
|Be thus to them.
|You do the nobler.
|I muse my mother
|Does not approve me further, who was wont
|To call them woollen vassals, things created
|To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads
|In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,
|When one but of my ordinance stood up
|To speak of peace or war.
|I talk of you:
|Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
|False to my nature? Rather say I play
|The man I am.
|O, sir, sir, sir,
|I would have had you put your power well on,
|Before you had worn it out.
|You might have been enough the man you are,
|With striving less to be so; lesser had been
|The thwartings of your dispositions, if
|You had not show'd them how ye were disposed
|Ere they lack'd power to cross you.
|Let them hang.
|Ay, and burn too.
|[Enter MENENIUS and Senators]
|Come, come, you have been too rough, something
|You must return and mend it.
|There's no remedy;
|Unless, by not so doing, our good city
|Cleave in the midst, and perish.
|Pray, be counsell'd:
|I have a heart as little apt as yours,
|But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
|To better vantage.
|Well said, noble woman?
|Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that
|The violent fit o' the time craves it as physic
|For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
|Which I can scarcely bear.
|What must I do?
|Return to the tribunes.
|Well, what then? what then?
|Repent what you have spoke.
|For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
|Must I then do't to them?
|You are too absolute;
|Though therein you can never be too noble,
|But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,
|Honour and policy, like unsever'd friends,
|I' the war do grow together: grant that, and tell me,
|In peace what each of them by the other lose,
|That they combine not there.
|A good demand.
|If it be honour in your wars to seem
|The same you are not, which, for your best ends,
|You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse,
|That it shall hold companionship in peace
|With honour, as in war, since that to both
|It stands in like request?
|Why force you this?
|Because that now it lies you on to speak
|To the people; not by your own instruction,
|Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you,
|But with such words that are but rooted in
|Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
|Of no allowance to your bosom's truth.
|Now, this no more dishonours you at all
|Than to take in a town with gentle words,
|Which else would put you to your fortune and
|The hazard of much blood.
|I would dissemble with my nature where
|My fortunes and my friends at stake required
|I should do so in honour: I am in this,
|Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
|And you will rather show our general louts
|How you can frown than spend a fawn upon 'em,
|For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
|Of what that want might ruin.
|Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so,
|Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
|Of what is past.
|I prithee now, my son,
|Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
|And thus far having stretch'd it--here be with them--
|Thy knee bussing the stones--for in such business
|Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant
|More learned than the ears--waving thy head,
|Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,
|Now humble as the ripest mulberry
|That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
|Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
|Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
|Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
|In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
|Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
|As thou hast power and person.
|This but done,
|Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
|For they have pardons, being ask'd, as free
|As words to little purpose.
|Go, and be ruled: although I know thou hadst rather
|Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
|Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius.
|I have been i' the market-place; and, sir,'tis fit
|You make strong party, or defend yourself
|By calmness or by absence: all's in anger.
|Only fair speech.
|I think 'twill serve, if he
|Can thereto frame his spirit.
|He must, and will
|Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.
|Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce?
|Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
|A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do't:
|Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
|This mould of Marcius, they to dust should grind it
|And throw't against the wind. To the market-place!
|You have put me now to such a part which never
|I shall discharge to the life.
|Come, come, we'll prompt you.
|I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
|My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
|To have my praise for this, perform a part
|Thou hast not done before.
|Well, I must do't:
|Away, my disposition, and possess me
|Some harlot's spirit! my throat of war be turn'd,
|Which quired with my drum, into a pipe
|Small as an eunuch, or the virgin voice
|That babies lulls asleep! the smiles of knaves
|Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take up
|The glasses of my sight! a beggar's tongue
|Make motion through my lips, and my arm'd knees,
|Who bow'd but in my stirrup, bend like his
|That hath received an alms! I will not do't,
|Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth
|And by my body's action teach my mind
|A most inherent baseness.
|At thy choice, then:
|To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
|Than thou of them. Come all to ruin; let
|Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
|Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
|With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list
|Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me,
|But owe thy pride thyself.
|Pray, be content:
|Mother, I am going to the market-place;
|Chide me no more. I'll mountebank their loves,
|Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
|Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going:
|Commend me to my wife. I'll return consul;
|Or never trust to what my tongue can do
|I' the way of flattery further.
|Do your will.
|Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself
|To answer mildly; for they are prepared
|With accusations, as I hear, more strong
|Than are upon you yet.
|The word is 'mildly.' Pray you, let us go:
|Let them accuse me by invention, I
|Will answer in mine honour.
|Ay, but mildly.
|Well, mildly be it then. Mildly!