Study Guide

Coriolanus

by William Shakespeare

Coriolanus eText - Act II

Act II

Act II, Scene 1

ACT II.

SCENE I. Rome. A public place

[Enter MENENIUS, SICINIUS, and BRUTUS.]

MENENIUS.
The augurer tells me we shall have news tonight.

BRUTUS.
Good or bad?

MENENIUS.
Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love not
Marcius.

SICINIUS.
Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

MENENIUS.
Pray you, who does the wolf love?

SICINIUS.
The lamb.

MENENIUS.
Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians would the noble
Marcius.

BRUTUS.
He's a lamb indeed, that baas like a bear.

MENENIUS.
He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two are old men:
tell me one thing that I shall ask you.

BOTH TRIBUNES.
Well, sir.

MENENIUS.
In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you two have not
in abundance?

BRUTUS.
He's poor in no one fault, but stored with all.

SICINIUS.
Especially in pride.

BRUTUS.
And topping all others in boasting.

MENENIUS.
This is strange now: do you two know how you are censured here in
the city, I mean of us o' the right-hand file? Do you?

BOTH TRIBUNES.
Why, how are we censured?

MENENIUS.
Because you talk of pride now,--will you not be angry?

BOTH TRIBUNES.
Well, well, sir, well.

MENENIUS.
Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of occasion
will rob you of a great deal of patience: give your dispositions
the reins, and be angry at your pleasures; at the least, if you
take it as a pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius for
being proud?

BRUTUS.
We do it not alone, sir.

MENENIUS.
I know you can do very little alone; for your helps are many, or
else your actions would grow wondrous single: your abilities are
too infant-like for doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that
you could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks, and make
but an interior survey of your good selves! O that you could!

BOTH TRIBUNES.
What then, sir?

MENENIUS.
Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud,
violent, testy magistrates,--alias fools,--as any in Rome.

SICINIUS.
Menenius, you are known well enough too.

MENENIUS.
I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a cup
of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tiber in't; said to
be something imperfect in favouring the first complaint, hasty
and tinder-like upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
with the buttock of the night than with the forehead of the
morning. What I think I utter, and spend my malice in my breath.
Meeting two such wealsmen as you are,--I cannot call you
Lycurguses,--if the drink you give me touch my palate adversely,
I make a crooked face at it. I cannot say your worships have
delivered the matter well when I find the ass in compound with
the major part of your syllables; and though I must be content to
bear with those that say you are reverend grave men, yet they lie
deadly that tell you have good faces. If you see this in the map
of my microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough too? What
harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this character,
if I be known well enough too?

BRUTUS.
Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

MENENIUS.
You know neither me, yourselves, nor anything. You are ambitious
for poor knaves' caps and legs; you wear out a good wholesome
forenoon in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and a
fosset-seller, and then rejourn the controversy of threepence
to a second day of audience.--When you are hearing a matter
between party and party, if you chance to be pinched with the
colic, you make faces like mummers, set up the bloody flag
against all patience, and, in roaring for a chamber-pot, dismiss
the controversy bleeding, the more entangled by your hearing: all
the peace you make in their cause is calling both the parties
knaves. You are a pair of strange ones.

BRUTUS.
Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber
for the table than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.

MENENIUS.
Our very priests must become mockers if they shall encounter such
ridiculous subjects as you are. When you speak best unto the
purpose, it is not worth the wagging of your beards; and your
beards deserve not so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's
cushion or to be entombed in an ass's pack-saddle. Yet you must
be saying, Marcius is proud; who, in a cheap estimation, is worth
all your predecessors since Deucalion; though peradventure some
of the best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to your
worships: more of your conversation would infect my brain, being
the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians: I will be bold to take my
leave of you.

[BRUTUS and SICINIUS retire.]

[Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, &c.]

How now, my as fair as noble ladies,--and the moon, were she
earthly, no nobler,--whither do you follow your eyes so fast?

VOLUMNIA.
Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for the love of
Juno, let's go.

MENENIUS.
Ha! Marcius coming home!

VOLUMNIA.
Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous approbation.

MENENIUS.
Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee.--Hoo! Marcius coming
home!

VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA.
Nay, 'tis true.

VOLUMNIA.
Look, here's a letter from him: the state hath another,
his wife another; and I think there's one at home for you.

MENENIUS.
I will make my very house reel to-night.--A letter for me?

VIRGILIA.
Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw it.

MENENIUS.
A letter for me! It gives me an estate of seven years'
health; in which time I will make a lip at the physician: the
most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutic, and, to
this preservative, of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.

VIRGILIA.
O, no, no, no.

VOLUMNIA.
O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for't.

MENENIUS.
So do I too, if it be not too much.--Brings a victory in
his pocket?--The wounds become him.

VOLUMNIA.
On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home with the oaken
garland.

MENENIUS.
Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

VOLUMNIA.
Titus Lartius writes,--they fought together, but Aufidius
got off.

MENENIUS.
And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that: an he
had stayed by him, I would not have been so fidiused for all the
chests in Corioli and the gold that's in them. Is the Senate
possessed of this?

VOLUMNIA.
Good ladies, let's go.--Yes, yes, yes; the Senate has letters
from the general, wherein he gives my son the whole name of the
war: he hath in this action outdone his former deeds doubly.

VALERIA.
In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.

MENENIUS.
Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his true purchasing.

VIRGILIA.
The gods grant them true!

VOLUMNIA.
True! pow, wow.

MENENIUS.
True! I'll be sworn they are true. Where is he wounded?--[To the
TRIBUNES, who come forward.] God save your good worships! Marcius
is coming home; he has more cause to be proud.--Where is he
wounded?

VOLUMNIA.
I' the shoulder and i' the left arm; there will be large
cicatrices to show the people when he shall stand for his place.
He received in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts i' the body.

MENENIUS.
One i' the neck and two i' the thigh,--there's nine that I
know.

VOLUMNIA.
He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five wounds upon him.

MENENIUS.
Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.
[A shout and flourish.]
Hark! the trumpets.

VOLUMNIA.
These are the ushers of Marcius: before him
He carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears;
Death, that dark spirit, in's nervy arm doth lie;
Which, being advanc'd, declines, and then men die.

[A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS and TITUS LARTIUS;
between them, CORIOLANUS, crowned with an oaken garland; with
CAPTAINS and Soldiers and a HERALD.]

HERALD.
Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,
With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
In honour follows Coriolanus:--
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

[Flourish.]

ALL.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

CORIOLANUS.
No more of this, it does offend my heart;
Pray now, no more.

COMINIUS.
Look, sir, your mother!

CORIOLANUS.
O,
You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
For my prosperity!

[Kneels.]

VOLUMNIA.
Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly nam'd,--
What is it?--Coriolanus must I call thee?
But, O, thy wife!

CORIOLANUS.
My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
That weep'st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
And mothers that lack sons.

MENENIUS.
Now the gods crown thee!

CORIOLANUS.
And live you yet? [To VALERIA]--O my sweet lady, pardon.

VOLUMNIA.
I know not where to turn.--O, welcome home;--and welcome,
general;--and you are welcome all.

MENENIUS.
A hundred thousand welcomes.--I could weep
And I could laugh; I am light and heavy.--Welcome:
A curse begin at very root on's heart
That is not glad to see thee!--You are three
That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,
We have some old crab trees here at home that will not
Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors.
We call a nettle but a nettle; and
The faults of fools but folly.

COMINIUS.
Ever right.

CORIOLANUS.
Menenius ever, ever.

HERALD.
Give way there, and go on!

CORIOLANUS.
[To his wife and mother.] Your hand, and yours:
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have receiv'd not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.

VOLUMNIA.
I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes,
And the buildings of my fancy; only
There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.

CORIOLANUS.
Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way
Than sway with them in theirs.

COMINIUS.
On, to the Capitol.

[Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before. The tribunes
remain.]

BRUTUS.
All tongues speak of him and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
Into a rapture lets her baby cry
While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
Clamb'ring the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks, windows,
Are smother'd up, leads fill'd and ridges hors'd
With variable complexions; all agreeing
In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
Do press among the popular throngs, and puff
To win a vulgar station: our veil'd dames
Commit the war of white and damask, in
Their nicely gawded cheeks, to the wanton spoil
Of Phoebus' burning kisses; such a pother,
As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers,
And gave him graceful posture.

SICINIUS.
On the sudden
I warrant him consul.

BRUTUS.
Then our office may
During his power go sleep.

SICINIUS.
He cannot temp'rately transport his honours
From where he should begin and end; but will
Lose those he hath won.

BRUTUS.
In that there's comfort.

SICINIUS.
Doubt not the commoners, for whom we stand,
But they, upon their ancient malice will forget,
With the least cause these his new honours; which
That he will give them make as little question
As he is proud to do't.

BRUTUS.
I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i' the market-place, nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility;
Nor, showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

SICINIUS.
'Tis right.

BRUTUS.
It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
And the desire of the nobles.

SICINIUS.
I wish no better
Than have him hold that purpose, and to put it
In execution.

BRUTUS.
'Tis most like he will.

SICINIUS.
It shall be to him then, as our good wills,
A sure destruction.

BRUTUS.
So it must fall out
To him or our authorities. For an end,
We must suggest the people in what hatred
He still hath held them; that to's power he would
Have made them mules, silenc'd their pleaders, and
Dispropertied their freedoms; holding them,
In human action and capacity,
Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
Than camels in their war; who have their provand
Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
For sinking under them.

SICINIUS.
This, as you say, suggested
At some time when his soaring insolence
Shall touch the people,--which time shall not want,
If it be put upon't; and that's as easy
As to set dogs on sheep,--will be his fire
To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
Shall darken him for ever.

[Enter A MESSENGER.]

BRUTUS.
What's the matter?

MESSENGER.
You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis thought
That Marcius shall be consul:
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him, and
The blind to hear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he pass'd; the nobles bended
As to Jove's statue; and the commons made
A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts:
I never saw the like.

BRUTUS.
Let's to the Capitol;
And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
But hearts for the event.

SICINIUS.
Have with you.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 2

SCENE II. Rome. The Capitol.

[Enter two OFFICERS, to lay cushions.]

FIRST OFFICER.
Come, come; they are almost here. How many stand for consulships?

SECOND OFFICER.
Three, they say; but 'tis thought of every one Coriolanus will
carry it.

FIRST OFFICER.
That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud and loves not the
common people.

SECOND OFFICER.
Faith, there have been many great men that have flattered the
people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many that they have
loved, they know not wherefore; so that, if they love they know
not why, they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for
Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate him
manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition; and,
out of his noble carelessness, lets them plainly see't.

FIRST OFFICER.
If he did not care whether he had their love or no, he waved
indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good nor harm; but he
seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can render it
him; and leaves nothing undone that may fully discover him their
opposite. Now to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of the
people is as bad as that which he dislikes,--to flatter them for
their love.

SECOND OFFICER.
He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his ascent is not
by such easy degrees as those who, having been supple and
courteous to the people, bonnetted, without any further deed to
have them at all, into their estimation and report: but he hath
so planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions in their
hearts, that for their tongues to be silent, and not confess
so much, were a kind of ingrateful injury; to report otherwise
were a malice that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof
and rebuke from every ear that heard it.

FIRST OFFICER.
No more of him; he is a worthy man.: make way, they are coming.

[A sennet. Enter, with Lictors before them, COMINIUS the Consul,
MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators, SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators

take their places; the Tribunes take theirs also by themselves.]

MENENIUS.
Having determined of the Volsces, and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
As the main point of this our after-meeting,
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country: therefore please you,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul, and last general
In our well-found successes, to report
A little of that worthy work perform'd
By Caius Marcius Coriolanus; whom
We met here both to thank and to remember
With honours like himself.

FIRST SENATOR.
Speak, good Cominius:
Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
Rather our state's defective for requital
Than we to stretch it out.--Masters o' the people,
We do request your kindest ears; and, after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.

SICINIUS.
We are convented
Upon a pleasing treaty; and have hearts
Inclinable to honour and advance
The theme of our assembly.

BRUTUS.
Which the rather
We shall be bless'd to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto priz'd them at.

MENENIUS.
That's off, that's off;
I would you rather had been silent. Please you
To hear Cominius speak?

BRUTUS.
Most willingly.
But yet my caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give it.

MENENIUS.
He loves your people;
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.--
Worthy Cominius, speak.

[CORIOLANUS rises, and offers to go away.]

Nay, keep your place.

FIRST SENATOR.
Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.

CORIOLANUS.
Your Honours' pardon:
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.

BRUTUS.
Sir, I hope
My words disbench'd you not.

CORIOLANUS.
No, sir; yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: but your people,
I love them as they weigh.

MENENIUS.
Pray now, sit down.

CORIOLANUS.
I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun
When the alarum were struck, than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster'd.

[Exit.]

MENENIUS.
Masters o' the people,
Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter,--
That's thousand to one good one,--when you now see
He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
Than one on's ears to hear it?--Proceed, Cominius.

COMINIUS.
I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be utter'd feebly.--It is held
That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
The man I speak of cannot in the world
Be singly counterpois'd. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others; our then dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him: he bestrid
An o'erpress'd Roman and i' the consul's view
Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met,
And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea;
And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers;
And by his rare example made the coward
Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
A vessel under sail, so men obey'd,
And fell below his stem: his sword,--death's stamp,--
Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd
The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden re-enforcement struck
Corioli like a planet. Now all's his:
When, by and by, the din of war 'gan pierce
His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
Re-quick'ned what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he; where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd
Both field and city ours he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.

MENENIUS.
Worthy man!

FIRST SENATOR.
He cannot but with measure fit the honours
Which we devise him.

COMINIUS.
Our spoils he kick'd at;
And looked upon things precious as they were
The common muck of the world: he covets less
Than misery itself would give; rewards
His deeds with doing them; and is content
To spend the time to end it.

MENENIUS.
He's right noble:
Let him be call'd for.

FIRST SENATOR.
Call Coriolanus.

OFFICER.
He doth appear.

[Re-enter CORIOLANUS.]

MENENIUS.
The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas'd
To make thee consul.

CORIOLANUS.
I do owe them still
My life and services.

MENENIUS.
It then remains
That you do speak to the people.

CORIOLANUS.
I do beseech you
Let me o'erleap that custom; for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them,
For my wounds' sake to give their suffrage: please you
That I may pass this doing.

SICINIUS.
Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.

MENENIUS.
Put them not to't:--
Pray you, go fit you to the custom; and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.

CORIOLANUS.
It is a part
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.

BRUTUS.
Mark you that?

CORIOLANUS.
To brag unto them,--thus I did, and thus;--
Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had receiv'd them for the hire
Of their breath only!

MENENIUS.
Do not stand upon't.--
We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
Our purpose to them;--and to our noble consul
Wish we all joy and honour.

SENATORS.
To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!

[Flourish. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS.]

BRUTUS.
You see how he intends to use the people.

SICINIUS.
May they perceive's intent! He will require them
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.

BRUTUS.
Come, we'll inform them
Of our proceedings here: on the market-place
I know they do attend us.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 3

SCENE III. Rome. The Forum.

[Enter several citizens.]

FIRST CITIZEN.
Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.

SECOND CITIZEN.
We may, sir, if we will.

THIRD CITIZEN.
We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we
have no power to do: for if he show us his wounds and tell us his
deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds and speak for
them; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous: and for
the multitude to be ingrateful were to make a monster of the
multitude; of the which we being members, should bring ourselves
to be monstrous members.

FIRST CITIZEN.
And to make us no better thought of, a little help will serve;
for once we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck not to call
us the many-headed multitude.

THIRD CITIZEN.
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.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would fly?

THIRD CITIZEN.
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.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Why that way?

THIRD CITIZEN.
To lose itself in a fog; where being three parts melted away with
rotten dews, the fourth would return for conscience' sake, to
help to get thee a wife.

SECOND CITIZEN.
You are never without your tricks:--you may, you may.

THIRD CITIZEN.
Are you all resolved to give your voices? But that's no matter,
the greater part carries it. I say, if he would incline to the
people, there was never a worthier man. Here he comes, and in the
gown of humility. Mark his behaviour. We are not to stay all
together, but to come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos,
and by threes. He's to make his requests by particulars, wherein
every one of us has a single honour, in giving him our own voices
with our own tongues; therefore follow me, and I'll direct you
how you shall go by him.

ALL.
Content, content.

[Exeunt.]

[Enter CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS.]

MENENIUS.
O sir, you are not right; have you not known
The worthiest men have done't!

CORIOLANUS.
What must I say?--
'I pray, sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring
My tongue to such a pace.--'Look, sir,--my wounds;--
I got them in my country's service, when
Some certain of your brethren roar'd, and ran
From the noise of our own drums.'

MENENIUS.
O me, the gods!
You must not speak of that: you must desire them
To think upon you.

CORIOLANUS.
Think upon me! Hang 'em!
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by 'em.

MENENIUS.
You'll mar all:
I'll leave you. Pray you speak to 'em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.

CORIOLANUS.
Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean.

[Exit MENENIUS.]

So, here comes a brace:

[Re-enter two citizens.]

You know the cause, sirs, of my standing here.

FIRST CITIZEN.
We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.

CORIOLANUS.
Mine own desert.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Your own desert?

CORIOLANUS.
Ay, not mine own desire.

FIRST CITIZEN.
How! not your own desire!

CORIOLANUS.
No, sir, 'twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor with
begging.

FIRST CITIZEN.
You must think, if we give you anything, we hope to gain by you.

CORIOLANUS.
Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?

FIRST CITIZEN.
The price is to ask it kindly.

CORIOLANUS.
Kindly! sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to show you,
which shall be yours in private.--Your good voice, sir; what
say you?

SECOND CITIZEN.
You shall ha' it, worthy sir.

CORIOLANUS.
A match, sir.--There's in all two worthy voices begg'd.--I have
your alms: adieu.

FIRST CITIZEN.
But this is something odd.

SECOND CITIZEN.
An 'twere to give again,-- but 'tis no matter.

[Exeunt two citizens.]

[Re-enter other two citizens.]

CORIOLANUS.
Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices that I
may be consul, I have here the customary gown.

THIRD CITIZEN.
You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not
deserved nobly.

CORIOLANUS.
Your enigma?

THIRD CITIZEN.
You have been a scourge to her enemies; you have been a rod to
her friends: you have not indeed loved the common people.

CORIOLANUS.
You should account me the more virtuous, that I have not been
common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother, the
people, to earn a 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.

FOURTH CITIZEN.
We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices
heartily.

THIRD CITIZEN.
You have received many wounds for your country.

CORIOLANUS.
I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I will make
much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

BOTH CITIZENS.
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!

[Exeunt citizens.]

CORIOLANUS.
Most sweet voices!--
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this wolvish toge 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 o'erpeer. 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.
Here come more voices.

[Re-enter other three citizens.]

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 voices:
Indeed, I would be consul.

FIFTH CITIZEN.
He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest man's voice.

SIXTH CITIZEN.
Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy, and make him
good friend to the people!

ALL THREE CITIZENS.
Amen, amen.--God save thee, noble consul!

[Exeunt.]

CORIOLANUS.
Worthy voices!

[Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS.]

MENENIUS.
You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice:--remains
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

CORIOLANUS.
Is this done?

SICINIUS.
The custom of request you have discharg'd:
The people do admit you; and are summon'd
To meet anon, upon your approbation.

CORIOLANUS.
Where? at the senate-house?

SICINIUS.
There, Coriolanus.

CORIOLANUS.
May I change these garments?

SICINIUS.
You may, sir.

CORIOLANUS.
That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
Repair to the senate-house.

MENENIUS.
I'll keep you company.--Will you along?

BRUTUS.
We stay here for the people.

SICINIUS.
Fare you well.

[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS.]

He has it now; and by his looks methinks
'Tis warm at his heart.

BRUTUS.
With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
Will you dismiss the people?

[Re-enter citizens.]

SICINIUS.
How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

FIRST CITIZEN.
He has our voices, sir.

BRUTUS.
We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Amen, sir:--to my poor unworthy notice,
He mocked us when he begg'd our voices.

THIRD CITIZEN.
Certainly;
He flouted us downright.

FIRST CITIZEN.
No, 'tis his kind of speech,--he did not mock us.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
He us'd us scornfully: he should have show'd us
His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.

SICINIUS.
Why, so he did, I am sure.

CITIZENS.
No, no; no man saw 'em.

THIRD CITIZEN.
He said he had wounds, which he could show 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,--
Your most sweet voices:--now you have left your voices
I have no further with you:'--was not this mockery?

SICINIUS.
Why either were you ignorant to see't?
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?

BRUTUS.
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.

SICINIUS.
Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advis'd, had touch'd his spirit
And tried 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.

BRUTUS.
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 bruising 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?

SICINIUS.
Have you
Ere now denied the asker, and now again,
Of him that did not ask but mock, bestow
Your su'd-for tongues?

THIRD CITIZEN.
He's not confirm'd: we may deny him yet.

SECOND CITIZEN.
And will deny him:
I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.

FIRST CITIZEN.
I twice five hundred, and their friends to piece 'em.

BRUTUS.
Get you hence instantly; and tell those friends
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.

SICINIUS.
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
Th' apprehension of his present portance,
Which, most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.

BRUTUS.
Lay
A fault on us, your tribunes; that we labour'd,--
No impediment between,--but that you must
Cast your election on him.

SICINIUS.
Say you chose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections; and that your minds,
Pre-occupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul. Lay the fault on us.

BRUTUS.
Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you,
How youngly he began to serve his country,
How long continued: and what stock he springs of--
The noble house o' the Marcians; from whence came
That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son,
Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our best water brought by conduits hither;
And Censorinus, darling of the people,
And nobly nam'd so, twice being censor,
Was his great ancestor.

SICINIUS.
One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you have found,
Scaling his present bearing with his past,
That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.

BRUTUS.
Say you ne'er had done't,--
Harp on that still,--but by our putting on:
And presently when you have drawn your number,
Repair to the Capitol.

CITIZENS.
We will so; almost all
Repent in their election.

[Exeunt.]

BRUTUS.
Let them go on;
This mutiny were better put in hazard
Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusal, both observe and answer
The vantage of his anger.

SICINIUS.
To the Capitol,
Come: we will be there before the stream o' the people;
And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
Which we have goaded onward.

[Exeunt.]