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1 Cit. And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve: for once, when we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.
3 Cit. 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.
2 Cit. Think you so? Which way, do you judge, my wit would fly?
3 Cit. 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.
Enter two Citizens.
Bid them wash their faces, And keep their teeth clean.-So, here comes a
You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
1 Cit. We do, sir; tell us what hath brought Cor. Mine own desert. [you to't. 2 Cit. Your own desert? Cor. Ay, not
How! not your own desire?
Mine own desire. 1 Cit.
Cor. No, sir: 'Twas never my desire yet, To trouble the poor with begging.
1 Cit. You must think, if we give you any thing, We hope to gain by you.
[ship? Cor. Well then, I pray, your price o'the consul1 Cit. The price is, sir, to ask it kindly. Cor. Kindly? Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to shew you, Which shall be yours in private.-Your good What say you? [voice, sir; You shall have it, worthy sir.
Cor. A match, sir :
There is in all two worthy voices begg'd:-
But this is something odd. 2 Cit. An 'twere to give again.-But 'tis no [Exeunt.
Enter two other Citizens.
Cor. Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices, that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
3 Cit. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.
Cor. Your enigma?
3 Cit. You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod to her friends; you have not, indeed, loved the common people.
Cor. You should account me the more virtuous, sir, flatter my sworn brother the people, to earn a that I have not been common in my love. I will, 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 bountifully to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may be consul.
4 Cit. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.
3 Cit. You have received many wounds for your country.
Cor. I will not seal your knowledge with shewing them. I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
Both Cit. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
Cor. Most sweet voices!
Here come more voices,—
5 Cit. He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest man's voice.
6 Cit. Therefore let him be consul: The gods give him joy, and make him good friend to the people!
All. Amen, amen.—
God save thee, noble consul!
Men. You have stood your limitation; and the
Endue you with the people's voice: Remains,
[Exeunt Citizens. Worthy voices!
Is this done?
Sic. The custom of request you have discharg'd: The people do admit you; and are summon'd To meet anon, upon your approbation. Cor. Where? at the senate-house? Sic. There, Coriolanus. Cor. May I then change these garments?
says, He us'd us scornfully: he should have shew'd us His marks of merit, wounds receiv'd for his Sic. Why, so he did, I am sure. [country. Cit. No; no man saw 'em. (Several speak.) 3 Cit. He said, he had wounds, which he could shew in private;
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,[voices, Your most sweet voices:-now you have left your I have no further with you :-Was not this mockery?
Sic. Why, either, you were ignorant to see't; Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness To yield your voices?
He was your enemy; ever spake against
Thus to have said,
Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
Bru. 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 braising 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, deny'd the asker? and, now again, On him, that did not ask, but mock, bestow Your su'd-for tongues!
3 Cit. He's not confirm'd, we may deny him
2 Cit. And will deny him,
I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
A fault on us, your tribunes; that we labour'd
Bru. Ay, spare us not. Say, we read lectures to
Behold! these are the tribunes of the people,
Pass no further.
Cor. Ha! What is that?
It will be dangerous to
Go on: no further.
What makes this change?
The matter? Com. Hath he not pass'd the nobles, and the comBru. Cominius, no. Cor.
[mons? Have I had children's voices? 1 Sen. Tribunes, give way; he shall to the market-place.
Bru. The people are incens'd against him. Sic.
Or all will fall in broil.
Are these your herd?— Must these have voices, that can yield them now, And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices? [teeth?
You being their mouths, why rule you not their Have you not set them on?
Be calm, be calm. Cor. It is a purpos'd thing, and grows by plot, To curb the will of the nobility: Suffer it, and live with such as cannot rule, Nor ever will be rul'd.
Call't not a plot: The people cry, you mock'd them; and, of late, When corn was given them gratis, you repin'd; Scandal'd the suppliants for the people; call'd them Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness. Cor. Why, this was known before. Bru.
Not to them all.
Each way, to better yours.
Sic. You shew too much of that, For which the people stir: If you will pass To where you are bound, you must inquire your
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit ;
Nor yoke with him for tribune.
Let's be calm. Com. The people are abus'd:-Set on. This palt'ring
Becomes not Rome; nor has Coriolanus
Not in this heat, sir, now.
1 Sen. Cor. Now, as I live, I will.-My nobler friends, I crave their pardons : For the mutable, rank-scented many, Regard me as I do not flatter, and Therein behold themselves: I say again, In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition, Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd and scatter'd,
Cor. Tell me of corn! This was my speech, and I will speak't again ;Men. Not now, not now.
By mingling them with us, the honour'd number; Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that Which they have given to beggars.
Well, no more.
As for my country I have shed my blood,
Bru. You speak o'the people, As if you were a god to punish, not A man of their infirmity. Sic. We let the people know't. Men.
What, what? his choler?
Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
Shall remain! Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you His absolute shall? "Twas from the canon.
O good, but most unwise patricians, why,
Well-on to the market-place. Cor. Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth The corn o'the store-house gratis, as twas us'd Sometime in Greece,
I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
I'll give my reasons, More worthier than their voices. They know, the
Was not our recompence; resting well assur'd They ne'er did service for't: Being press'd to the
war, Even when the navel of the state was touch'd, They would not thread the gates: this kind of
Did not deserve corn gratis: being i'the war,
You that will be less fearful than discreet;
He has said enough.
Sic. He has spoken like a traitor, and shall anAs traitors do. [swer
Cor. Thou wretch! despite o'erwhelm thee!-
Confusion's near: I cannot speak :-You, tribunes
Hear me, people;-Peace. Cit. Let's hear our tribune:-Peace. Speak, speak, speak.
Sic. You are at point to lose your liberties:
Bru. Manifest treason.
Fy, fy, fy!
This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
The people are the city.
Bru. By the consent of all, we were establish'd The people's magistrates.
You so remain.
Cor. That is the way to lay the city flat;
Bru. Lay hands upon him.
(In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the Ædiles,
Get you gone.
Help, ye citizens.
Cor. I would they were barbarians, (as they are,
Seize him, Ædiles. Cit. Down with him! down with him! (Several speak.) Weapons, weapons, weapons! (They all bustle about Coriolanus.) Tribunes, patricians, citizens!-what, ho!Sicinus, Brutus, Coriolanus, citizens!
Cit. Peace, peace, peace; stay, hold, peace!
Hear me one word.
And bear him to the rock.
Sir, those cold ways, That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous Where the disease is violent:-Lay hands upon [him, No; I'll die here. (Drawing his sword.) There's some among you have beheld me fighting; Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me. Men. Down with that sword;-Tribunes, withdraw a while.
On fair ground,
I could myself
Take up a brace of the best of them; yea, the two
I could beat forty of them.
Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, with the rabble. Sic. Where is this viper, That would depopulate the city, and Be every man himself?
You worthy tribunes,Sic. He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock With rigorous hands; he hath resisted law, And therefore law shall scorn him further trial Than the severity of the public power, Which he so sets at nought.
1 Cit. He shall well know, The noble tribunes are the people's mouths, And we their hands.
He shall, sure on't.
(Several speak together.) Sir,
As I do know the consul's worthiness
So can I name his faults:
Hear me speak:
Men. The consul Coriolanus.
He a consul!
Cit. No, no, no, no, no.
I may be heard, I'd crave a word or two;
Sic. Speak briefly then; For we are peremptory, to despatch This viperous traitor: to eject him hence, Were but one danger; and, to keep him here, Our certain death; therefore it is decreed, He dies to-night.
Sic. This is clean kam' Bru. Merely awry: When he did love his counIt honour'd him. [try, Men. The service of the foot Being once gangren'd, is not then respected For what before it was? Bru. We'll hear no more :Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence; Lest his infection, being of catching nature, Spread further.
Men. One word more, one word. This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find The harm of unscann'd swiftness, will, too late, Tie leaden pounds to his heels. Proceed by proLest parties (as he is belov'd) break out, [cess; And sack great Rome with Romans. If it were so,
Men. Now the good gods forbid, That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude Towards her deserved children is enroll'd In Jove's own book, like an unnatural dam, Should now eat up her own!
Sic. He's a disease that must be cut away. Men. O, he's a limb, that has but a disease; Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy. What has he done to Rome, that's worthy death? Killing our enemies? The blood he hath lost, (Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath, By many an ounce,) he dropp'd it for his country: And, what is left, to lose it by his country, Were to us all, that do't, and suffer it, A brand to the end o'the world.
Sic. What do ye talk? Have we not had a taste of his obedience? Our Ediles smote? ourselves resisted?-Come:Men. Consider this ;-He has been bred i' the
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school'd
Sic. Noble Menenius, Be you then as the people's officer:Masters, lay down your weapons. Bru. Go not home. Sic. Meet on the market-place:-We'll attend you there: Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed In our first way. Men. I'll bring him to you:Let me desire your company. (To the Senators.) He must come,
Or what is worst will follow. 1 Sen.
Pray you, let's to him. [Exeunt.
SCENE II-A Room in CORIOLANUS'S House. Enter CORIOLANUS and Patricians.
Cor. Let them pull all about mine ears; present
Death on the wheel, or at wild horses' heels;
Be thus to them.
1 Pat. You do the nobler. Cor. 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 shew 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;
(To Volumnia.) 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,
Vol. You might have been enough the man you
With striving less to be so: Lesser had been
You had not shew'd them how you were dispos'd,
Ere they lack'd power to cross you.
Let them hang.