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CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS, TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of a noble Roman. the Volscians. Lieutenant to Aufidius. Conspirators with Aufidius. Citizen of Antium. Two Volscian Guards.
TITUS LARTIUS,Generals against
SICINIUS VELUTUS, Tribunes of
A Roman Herald.
VOLUMNIA, Mother to Coriolanus.
Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ediles, Lictors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attendants. SCENE, partly in Rome; and partly in the Territories of the Volscians and Antiates.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Romc. A Street.
Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens, with Staves, Clubs, and other Weapons.
1 Cit. Before we proceed any farther, hear me speak.
All. Speak, speak.
1 Cit. You are all resolved rather to die, than to famish?
All. Resolved, resolved.
1 Cit. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the
All. We know 't, we know 't.
1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we 'll have corn at our own price. Is 't a verdict?
All. No more talking on 't; let it be done. Away, away! 2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians good. What authority surfeits on, would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius? Against him first: he 's a very dog to the commonalty. Consider you what services he has done for his country? 1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for 't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can be content to say it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
1 Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations: he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o' the city is risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!
All. Come, come.
1 Cit. Soft! who comes here?
Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA.
Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
1 Cit. He's one honest enough: would, all the rest were so!
Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
2 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate: they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say, poor suitors have strong breaths: they shall know, we have strong arms too.
Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neigh
Will you undo yourselves?
2 Cit. We cannot, Sir; we are undone already.
The helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers,
2 Cit. Care for us? They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor. the wars eat us not up, they will; and there 's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you