|ACT IV SCENE I. Rome. Before a gate of the city.
Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, MENENIUS,
COMINIUS, with the young Nobility of Rome
|Come, leave your tears: a brief farewell: the beast
|With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
|Where is your ancient courage? you were used
|To say extremity was the trier of spirits;
|That common chances common men could bear;
|That when the sea was calm all boats alike
|Show'd mastership in floating; fortune's blows,
|When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves
|A noble cunning: you were used to load me
|With precepts that would make invincible
|The heart that conn'd them.
|O heavens! O heavens!
|Nay! prithee, woman,--
|Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
|And occupations perish!
|What, what, what!
|I shall be loved when I am lack'd. Nay, mother.
|Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
|If you had been the wife of Hercules,
|Six of his labours you'ld have done, and saved
|Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,
|Droop not; adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother:
|I'll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,
|Thy tears are salter than a younger man's,
|And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime general,
|I have seen thee stem, and thou hast oft beheld
|Heart-hardening spectacles; tell these sad women
|'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
|As 'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
|My hazards still have been your solace: and
|Believe't not lightly--though I go alone,
|Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
|Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen--your son
|Will or exceed the common or be caught
|With cautelous baits and practise.
|My first son.
|Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
|With thee awhile: determine on some course,
|More than a wild exposture to each chance
|That starts i' the way before thee.
|O the gods!
|I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee
|Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
|And we of thee: so if the time thrust forth
|A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
|O'er the vast world to seek a single man,
|And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
|I' the absence of the needer.
|Fare ye well:
|Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
|Of the wars' surfeits, to go rove with one
|That's yet unbruised: bring me but out at gate.
|Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
|My friends of noble touch, when I am forth,
|Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
|While I remain above the ground, you shall
|Hear from me still, and never of me aught
|But what is like me formerly.
|As any ear can hear. Come, let's not weep.
|If I could shake off but one seven years
|From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
|I'ld with thee every foot.
|Give me thy hand: Come.