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ACT V SCENE VI. The same. A street near the gate.
[Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants]
AUFIDIUSGo tell the lords o' the city I am here:
Deliver them this paper: having read it,
Bid them repair to the market place; where I,
Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse5
The city ports by this hath enter'd and
Intends to appear before the people, hoping
To purge herself with words: dispatch.
[Exeunt Attendants]
[Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' faction]
Most welcome!
First ConspiratorHow is it with our general?10
As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
And with his charity slain.
Second ConspiratorMost noble sir,
If you do hold the same intent wherein15
You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
Of your great danger.
AUFIDIUSSir, I cannot tell:
We must proceed as we do find the people.
Third ConspiratorThe people will remain uncertain whilst20
'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
Makes the survivor heir of all.
AUFIDIUSI know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd25
Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,
He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable and free.30
Third ConspiratorSir, his stoutness
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,--
AUFIDIUSThat I would have spoke of:
Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;35
Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men; served his designments40
In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
Which he did end all his; and took some pride
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
I seem'd his follower, not partner, and
He waged me with his countenance, as if45
I had been mercenary.
First ConspiratorSo he did, my lord:
The army marvell'd at it, and, in the last,
When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
For no less spoil than glory,--50
AUFIDIUSThere was it:
For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
Of our great action: therefore shall he die,55
And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
[ Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the People ]
First ConspiratorYour native town you enter'd like a post,
And had no welcomes home: but he returns,
Splitting the air with noise.
Second ConspiratorAnd patient fools,60
Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
With giving him glory.
Third ConspiratorTherefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself, or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your sword,65
Which we will second. When he lies along,
After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
His reasons with his body.
AUFIDIUSSay no more:
Here come the lords.70
[Enter the Lords of the city]
All The LordsYou are most welcome home.
AUFIDIUSI have not deserved it.
But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
What I have written to you?
LordsWe have.75
First LordAnd grieve to hear't.
What faults he made before the last, I think
Might have found easy fines: but there to end
Where he was to begin and give away
The benefit of our levies, answering us80
With our own charge, making a treaty where
There was a yielding,--this admits no excuse.
AUFIDIUSHe approaches: you shall hear him.
[ Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and colours; commoners being with him ]
CORIOLANUSHail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
No more infected with my country's love85
Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
Under your great command. You are to know
That prosperously I have attempted and
With bloody passage led your wars even to
The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home90
Do more than counterpoise a full third part
The charges of the action. We have made peace
With no less honour to the Antiates
Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,
Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,95
Together with the seal o' the senate, what
We have compounded on.
AUFIDIUSRead it not, noble lords;
But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
He hath abused your powers.100
CORIOLANUSTraitor! how now!
AUFIDIUSAy, traitor, Marcius!
AUFIDIUSAy, Marcius, Caius Marcius: dost thou think
I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name105
Coriolanus in Corioli?
You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously
He has betray'd your business, and given up,
For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,
I say 'your city,' to his wife and mother;110
Breaking his oath and resolution like
A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears
He whined and roar'd away your victory,
That pages blush'd at him and men of heart115
Look'd wondering each at other.
CORIOLANUSHear'st thou, Mars?
AUFIDIUSName not the god, thou boy of tears!
AUFIDIUSNo more.120
CORIOLANUSMeasureless liar, thou hast made my heart
Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave!
Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion--125
Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that
Must bear my beating to his grave--shall join
To thrust the lie unto him.
First LordPeace, both, and hear me speak.
CORIOLANUSCut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,130
Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
Alone I did it. Boy!135
AUFIDIUSWhy, noble lords,
Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
'Fore your own eyes and ears?
All ConspiratorsLet him die for't.140
All The People'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do it presently.' 'He kill'd
my son.' 'My daughter.' 'He killed my cousin
Marcus.' 'He killed my father.'
Second LordPeace, ho! no outrage: peace!
The man is noble and his fame folds-in145
This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.
CORIOLANUSO that I had him,
With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,150
To use my lawful sword!
AUFIDIUSInsolent villain!
All ConspiratorsKill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
[ The Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS: AUFIDIUS stands on his body ]
LordsHold, hold, hold, hold!
AUFIDIUSMy noble masters, hear me speak.155
First LordO Tullus,--
Second LordThou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
Third LordTread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
Put up your swords.
AUFIDIUSMy lords, when you shall know--as in this rage,160
Provoked by him, you cannot--the great danger
Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
To call me to your senate, I'll deliver
Myself your loyal servant, or endure165
Your heaviest censure.
First LordBear from hence his body;
And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
As the most noble corse that ever herald
Did follow to his urn.170
Second LordHis own impatience
Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it.
AUFIDIUSMy rage is gone;
And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.175
Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:
Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
Which to this hour bewail the injury,180
Yet he shall have a noble memory. Assist.
[ Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead march sounded ]

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