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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.

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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.

2 Cit.

Cor. A match, sir :

There is in all two worthy voices begg'd:-
I have your alms; adieu.
1 Cit.

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!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this wolfish gown 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 heap'd
For truth to over-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.
Enter three other Citizens.

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
Indeed, I would be consul.
[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,
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

[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?

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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?

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-advis'd, had touch'd his spirit,
And try'd 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.

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?


Have you,

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

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2 Cit. And will deny him,

I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.
1 Cit. I twice five hundred, and their friends to
piece 'em.
Bru. Get you hence instantly; and tell those
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 gibingly, ungravely he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.


A fault on us, your tribunes; that we labour'd
(No impediment between) but that you must
your election on him.
Say, you chose him
More after our commandment, than as guided
By your own true affections; and that, your minds
Pre-occupy'd with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul: Lay the fault on us.

Bru. Ay, spare us not. Say, we read lectures to

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Behold! these are the tribunes of the people,
The tongues o'the common mouth. I do despise
For they do prank them in authority,
Against all noble sufferance.



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.
Cor. Have you inform'd them since?
How! I inform them!
Cor. You are like to do such business.
Not unlike,

Each way, to better yours.
Cor. Why then should I be consul? By yon
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow-tribune.

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 ;
Or never be so noble as a consul,

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
Deserv'd this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely
I'the plain way of his merit.

Not in this heat, sir, now.

let them

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.
1 Sen. No more words, we beseech you.
How! no more?

As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
Coin words till their decay, against those meazels,
Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.

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.

'Twere well,

Cor. Choler!

What, what? his choler?

Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my mind.
It is a mind,
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.



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,
You grave, but reckless senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
That with his peremptory shall, being but
The horn and noise o'the monsters, wants not spirit
To say, he'll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power,
Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,
When both your voices blended, the greatest taste
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate;
And such a one as he, who puts his shall,
His popular shall, against a graver bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece! By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base and my soul aches,
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take
The one by the other.


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,

Well, well, no more of that.
Cor. (Though there the people had more abso-
lute power,)

I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.

Why, shall the people give
One, that speaks thus, their voice?

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,
Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they shew'd
Most valour, spoke not for them: The accusation,
Which they have often made against the senate,
All cause unborn, could never be the native
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bosom multiplied digest
The senate's courtesy? Let deeds express
What's like to be their words:-We did request it;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
They gave us our demands :-Thus we debase
The nature of our seats, and make the rabble
Call our cares, fears: which will in time break ope
The locks o'the senate, and bring in the crows
To peck the eagles.-


Come, enough.
Bru. Enough, with over-measure.
No, take more:
What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal!-This double worship,-
Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wis-
Cannot conclude, but by the yea and no [dom,
Of general ignorance,-it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd, it follows,
Nothing is done to purpose: Therefore, beseech


You that will be less fearful than discreet;
That love the fundamental part of state,
More than you doubt the change of't; that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish
To jump a body with a dangerous physic,
That's sure of death without it,-at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue, let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become it;
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For the ill which doth control it.

He has said enough.


Sic. He has spoken like a traitor, and shall anAs traitors do. [swer

Cor. Thou wretch! despite o'erwhelm thee!-
What should the people do with these bald tribunes?
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To the greater bench: In a rebellion,
When what's not meet, but what must be, was law,
Then were they chosen; in a better hour,
Let what is meet, be said it must be meet,
And throw their power i' the dust.

Confusion's near: I cannot speak :-You, tribunes
To the people, Coriolanus, patience :—
Speak, good Sicinius.


Hear me, people;-Peace. Cit. Let's hear our tribune:-Peace. Speak, speak, speak.

Sic. You are at point to lose your liberties:
Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,
Whom late you have nam'd for consul.


Bru. Manifest treason.

This a consul? no.
Bru. The Ediles, ho!-Let him be apprehended.
Sic. Go, call the people; [Exit Brutus.] in whose
name, myself
Attach thee, as a traitorous innovator,
A foe to the public weal: Obey, I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.

Hence, old goat!
Sen. & Pat. We'll surety him.
Aged sir, hands off.
Cor. Hence, rotten thing, or I shall shake thy
Out of thy garments.



Fy, fy, fy!

This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
1 Sen. To unbuild the city, and to lay all flat.
Sic. What is the city, but the people?



The people are the city.

Bru. By the consent of all, we were establish'd The people's magistrates.


You so remain.
Men. And so are like to do.

Cor. That is the way to lay the city flat;
To bring the roof to the foundation;
And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
In heaps and piles of ruin.

This deserves death.
Bru. Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it :-We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o'the people, in whose power
We were elected their's, Marcius is worthy
Of present death.

Therefore, lay hold of him;
Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.

Bru. Lay hands upon him.
Help, help, Marcius! help,
You that be noble; help him, young, and old!
Cit. Down with him, down with him!

(In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the Ædiles,
and the people, are all beat in.)
Men. Go, get you to your house; be gone, away,
All will be naught else.

Get you gone.

Stand fast;

2 Sen.
We have as many friends as enemies.
Men. Shall it be put to that?

1 Sen.
The gods forbid !
I pr'ythee, noble friend, home to thy house;
Leave us to cure this cause.


Help, ye citizens.
For tis a sore upon us,
Re-enter BRUTUS, with the Ediles, and a rabble of You cannot tent yourself: Begone, 'beseech you.
Com. Come, sir, along with us.

Men. On both sides more respect.
Here's he, that would
Take from you all your power.

Cor. I would they were barbarians, (as they are,
Though in Rome litter'd,) not Romans, (as they
are not,
Though calv'd i' the porch of the Capitol,)—


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!

2 Sen.

Cit. Peace, peace, peace; stay, hold, peace!
Men. What is about to be?-I am out of breath;

Ediles, seize him.
Cit. Yield, Marcius, yield.

Hear me one word.
Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.
Ed. Peace, peace.

Men. Be that you seem, truly your country's
And temperately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redress.


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.

Be gone;
Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;
One time will owe another.

On fair ground,

I could myself

Take up a brace of the best of them; yea, the two



I could beat forty of them.

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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,


Men. Do not cry, havock, where you should but
With modest warrant.
Sir, how comes it, that you
Have holp to make this rescue?


As I do know the consul's worthiness

So can I name his faults:

Hear me speak:


Consul!-what consul?

Men. The consul Coriolanus.

He a consul!

Cit. No, no, no, no, no.
Men. If, by the tribunes' leave, and yours, good


I may be heard, I'd crave a word or two;
The which shall turn you to no further harm,
Than so much loss of time.

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
In boulted language; meal and bran together
He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
I'll go to him, and undertake to bring him
Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,
(In peace) to his utmost peril.

1 Sen.
Noble tribunes,
It is the humane way: the other course
Will prove too bloody; and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.

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;
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.


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,
Before you had worn it out.

Let go.


Vol. You might have been enough the man you


With striving less to be so: Lesser had been
The thwartings of your dispositions, if

You had not shew'd them how you were dispos'd,

Ere they lack'd power to cross you.


Let them hang.

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