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Only their ends


Men. Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you: you shall know now that I am in esti-You have respected; stopp'd your ears against mation; you shall perceive that a Jack guardant The general suit of Rome; never admitted cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, A private whisper, no, not with such friends but by my entertainment with him, if thou That thought them sure of you. standest not i' the state of hanging, or of some Cor. This last old man, death more long in spectatorship, and crueller Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome, in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon Loved me above the measure of a father; for what's to come upon thee. [To Cor.] The Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy par- Was to send him; for whose old love I have, ticular prosperity, and love thee no worse than Though I show'd sourly to him, once more thy old father Menenius does! O my son, my offer'd son! thou art preparing fire for us; look thee, The first conditions, which they did refuse here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved And cannot now accept; to grace him only to come to thee; but being assured none but That thought he could do more, a very little myself could move thee, I have been blown out I have yielded to: fresh embassies and suits, of your gates with sighs; and conjure thee to Nor from the state nor private friends, hereafter pardon Rome, and thy petitionary countrymen. Will I lend ear to. Ha what shout is this? The good gods assuage thy wrath, and turn the [Shout within. dregs of it upon this varlet here,-this, who, like Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow a block, hath denied my access to thee. In the same time 'tis made? I will not. Cor. Away! Enter, in mourning habits, VIRGILIA, VoLUMNIA, leading young MARCIUS, VALERIA, and Attendants.

Men. How! away!

Cor. Wife, mother, child, I know not.

Are servanted to others: though I owe
My revenge properly, my remission lies



In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather
Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone.
Mine ears against your suits are stronger than
Your gates against my force. Yet, for I loved

Take this along; I writ it for thy sake,

[Gives a letter. And would have sent it. Another word, Menenius, I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius, Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st! Auf. You keep a constant temper.


[Exeunt Coriolanus and Aufidius. First Sen. Now, sir, is your name Menenius? Sec. Sen. 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know the way home again.

First Sen. Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your greatness back?

Sec. Sen. What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?

Men. I neither care for the world nor your general: for such things as you, I can scarce think there's any, ye're so slight. He that hath a will to die by himself fears it not from another: let your general do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was said to, Away! [Exit. First Sen. A noble fellow, I warrant him.


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My lord and husband!
These eyes are not the same I wore
in Rome.
Vir. The sorrow that delivers us thus changed
Makes you think so.

Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say
For that 'Forgive our Romans.' Ó, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip


Hath virgin'd it e'er since. You gods! I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i' the earth; 50


Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
O, stand up blest!
Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,
I kneel before thee; and unproperly
Show duty, as mistaken all this while
Between the child and parent.
What is this?
Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun; 60
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.

Thou art my warrior;
I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
Cor. The noble sister of Publicola,
The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
That's curdied by the frost from purest snow
And hangs on Dian's temple: dear Valeria!
Vol. This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
May show like all yourself.

Cor. The god of soldiers, 70 With the consent of supreme Jove, inform Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou mayst

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The son, the husband and the father tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we
Thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy; for how can we,
Alas, how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound? alack, or we must lose
The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win: for either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led


With manacles thorough our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
And bear the palm for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood.
For myself, son,


I purpose not to wait on fortune till
These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to show a noble grace to both parts
Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country than to tread-
Trust to 't, thou shalt not-on thy mother's womb,
That brought thee to this world.
Ay, and mine,
That brought you forth this boy, to keep your


Living to time.

Young Mar. A' shall not tread on me; I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight. Cor. Not of a woman's tenderness to be; Requires nor child nor woman's face to see. I have sat too long.




Nay, go not from us thus.
If it were so that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volsces whom you serve, you might con-
demn us,

As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
May say 'This mercy we have show'd;' the

'This we received;' and each in either side
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry 'Be blest
For making up this peace!' Thou know'st, great



The end of war's uncertain, but this certain,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name,
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses;
Whose chronicle thus writ: "The man was noble,
But with his last attempt he wiped it out;
Destroy'd his country, and his name remains
To the ensuing age abhorr'd.' Speak to me, son:
Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods;
To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not


Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you :
He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy:
Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons. There's no man in the


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Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy,

When she, poer hen, fond of no second brood, Has cluck'd thee to the wars and safely home, Loaden with honour. Say my request 's unjust, And spurn me back: but if it be not so,

Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,

That thou restrain'st from me the duty which
To a mother's part belongs. He turns away:
Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride 170
Than pity to our prayers. Down: an end;
This is the last: so we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold's:
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny 't. Come, let us go:
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli and his child
Like him by chance. Yet give us our dispatch:
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little. [He holds her by the
hand, silent.
O mother, mother!
Behold, the heavens do


What have you done?



The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
You have won a happy victory to Rome;
But, for your son,-believe it, O, believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
If not most mortal to him. But, let it come.
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were in my stead, would you have heard
A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?
Auf. I was moved withal.



I dare be sworn you were: And, sir, it is no little thing to make

Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir, What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part, I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you; and pray


Stand to me in this cause. O mother! wife! Auf. [Aside.] I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and thy honour

At difference in thee; out of that I'll work
Myself a former fortune.



[The Ladies make signs to Coriolanus. Ay, by and by;

[To Volumnia, Virgilia, &c. But we will drink together; and you shall bear A better witness back than words, which we, On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd. Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve To have a temple built you: all the swords In Italy, and her confederate arms, Could not have made this peace.

vail with him. But I say there is no hope in't: our throats are sentenced and stay upon execution. Sic. Is't possible that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?


Men. There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a creeping thing.

Sic. He loved his mother dearly.

Men. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity and a heaven to throne in.

Sic. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.

Men. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find: and all this is long of you.

Sic. The gods be good unto us!

Men. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us. When we banished him, we respected not them; and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.

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What's the news?
Sec. Mess. Good news, good news; the ladies
have prevail'd,

The Volscians are dislodged, and Marcius gone:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.

Friend, Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain? Sec. Mess. As certain as I know the sun is fire: Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it? 49

Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide, As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you! [Trumpets; hautboys; drums beat; all together. The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes, [Exeunt. 209 Tabors and cymbals and the shouting Romans, Make the sun dance. Hark you!

SCENE IV. Rome. A public place.


Men. See you yon coign o' the Capitol, yon corner-stone?

Sic. Why, what of that?

Men. If it be possible for you to displace it with your little finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may pre


[A shout within. This is good news:

I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes, such as you,
A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
This morning for ten thousand of your throats 59
I'ld not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
[Music still, with shouts.

Sic. First, the gods bless you for your tidings; Being banish'd for 't, he came unto my hearth; 30 next,

Accept my thankfulness.

Sir, we have all

Sec. Mess. Great cause to give great thanks.


And help the joy.

They are near the city? Sec. Mess. Almost at point to enter. Sic. We will meet them, [Exeunt. SCENE V. The same. A street near the gate. Enter two Senators with VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, VALERIA, &c. passing over the stage, followed by Patricians, and others.

First Sen. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!

Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before

Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
Cry Welcome, ladies, welcome !'


All. Welcome!

Welcome, ladies, [A flourish with drums and trumpets. Exeunt.

SCENE VI. Antium. A public place. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants. Auf. Go 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 accuse The city ports by this hath enter'd and Intends to appear before the people, hoping To purge himself with words: dispatch. [Exeunt Attendants. Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS'

Most welcome!


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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 designments
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 if
I had been mercenary.
First Con.

So 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,—


There 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, And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark! [Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the People. First Con. Your native town you enter'd like a post, And had no welcomes home; but he returns, Splitting the air with noise.

Sec. Con.

And patient fools,


Whose children he hath slain, their base throats

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All the Lords. You are most welcome home.
I have not deserved it.
10 But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
What I have written to you?

Auf. We must proceed as we do find the people. Third Con. The people will remain uncertain whilst

'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either Makes the survivor heir of all.


I know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd
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.
Third Con. Sir, his stoutness

When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,—


That I would have spoke of:

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And 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 us
With our own charge, making a treaty where
There was a yielding, this admits no excuse.
Auf. He approaches: you shall hear him. 70
Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and
colours; Commoners being with him.
Cor. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
No more infected with my country's love
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

Do more than counterpoise a full third part
The charges of the action. We have made peace
With no less honour to the Antiates


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Auf Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius: dost thou think

I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
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;
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 heart
Look'd wondering each at other.


Hear'st thou, Mars? 100
Auf Name not the god, thou boy of tears!

Auf. No more.


Cor. Measureless 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 judgements, my
grave lords,

Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion-
Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that
Must bear my beating to his grave-shall join
To thrust the lie unto him.

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First Lord. Peace, both, and hear me speak. Cor. Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads, Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound! If 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!


Why, 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 Consp.

Let him die for't. 120

All the people. Tear him to presently.' 'He killed my son. 'He killed my cousin Marcus.' father.'


pieces.' 'Do it 'My daughter.' 'He killed my


Sec. Lord. Peace, ho! no outrage: peace! The man is noble and his fame folds-in This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius, And trouble not the peace. O that I had him, With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe, To use my lawful sword! Auf. All Consp. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him! [The Conspirators draw, and kill Coriolanus: Aufidius stands on his body. Lords. Hold, hold, hold, hold! Auf. My noble masters, hear me speak. First Lord.

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Sec. Lord.

His own impatience Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame. Let's make the best of it. Auf. My rage is gone; And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up. 149 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, Yet he shall have a noble memory.

Assist. [Exeunt, bearing the body of Coriolanus. A dead march sounded.

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