Act I, Scene 3
Rome. A room in Martius Coriolanus’ house.
- Enter Volumnia and Virgilia, mother and wife to Martius;
- they set them down on two low stools and sew.
Volumnia1 - 15
- I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself in a more
- comfortable sort. If my son were my husband, I should
- freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honor than
- in the embracements of his bed where he would show most
- love. When yet he was but tender-bodied and the only son of
- my womb; when youth with comeliness pluck’d all gaze his
- way; when for a day of kings’ entreaties a mother should not
- sell him an hour from her beholding; I, considering how
- honor would become such a person, that it was no better than
- picture-like to hang by th’ wall, if renown made it not
- stir, was pleas’d to let him seek danger where he was like
- to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him, from whence he
- return’d, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I
- sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child
- than now in first seeing he had prov’d himself a man.
- But had he died in the business, madam, how then?
Volumnia17 - 22
- Then his good report should have been my son; I therein
- would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely; had I a
- dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than
- thine and my good Martius, I had rather had eleven die nobly
- for their country than one voluptuously surfeit out of
- Enter a Gentlewoman.
- Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
- Beseech you give me leave to retire myself.
Volumnia25 - 34
- Indeed you shall not.
- Methinks I hear hither your husband’s drum;
- See him pluck Aufidius down by th’ hair;
- As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.
- Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
- “Come on, you cowards, you were got in fear,
- Though you were born in Rome!” His bloody brow
- With his mail’d hand then wiping, forth he goes,
- Like to a harvest-man that’s task’d to mow
- Or all or lose his hire.
- His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!
Volumnia36 - 41
- Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
- Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
- When she did suckle Hector, look’d not lovelier
- Than Hector’s forehead when it spit forth blood
- At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria
- We are fit to bid her welcome.
- Exit Gentlewoman.
- Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
Volumnia43 - 44
- He’ll beat Aufidius’ head below his knee,
- And tread upon his neck.
- Enter Valeria with an Usher and a Gentlewoman.
- My ladies both, good day to you.
- Sweet madam.
- I am glad to see your ladyship.
Valeria48 - 50
- How do you both? You are manifest house-keepers. What are
- you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your
- little son?
- I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.
Volumnia52 - 53
- He had rather see the swords and hear a drum than look upon
- his schoolmaster.
Valeria54 - 61
- A’ my word, the father’s son. I’ll swear ’tis a very pretty
- boy. A’ my troth, I look’d upon him a’ We’n’sday half an
- hour together; h’as such a confirm’d countenance. I saw him
- run after a gilded butterfly, and when he caught it, he let
- it go again, and after it again, and over and over he comes,
- and up again; catch’d it again: or whether his fallen rag’d
- him, or how ’twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it. O, I
- warrant, how he mammock’d it!
- One on ’s father’s moods.
- Indeed la, ’tis a noble child.
- A crack, madam.
Valeria65 - 66
- Come, lay aside your stitchery, I must have you play the
- idle huswife with me this afternoon.
- No, good madam, I will not out of doors.
- Not out of doors?
- She shall, she shall.
Virgilia70 - 71
- Indeed no, by your patience; I’ll not over the threshold
- till my lord return from the wars.
Valeria72 - 73
- Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably. Come, you must
- go visit the good lady that lies in.
Virgilia74 - 75
- I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my
- prayers; but I cannot go thither.
- Why, I pray you?
- ’Tis not to save labor, nor that I want love.
Valeria78 - 82
- You would be another Penelope: yet they say, all the yarn
- she spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fill Ithaca full of
- moths. Come, I would your cambric were sensible as your
- finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you
- shall go with us.
- No, good madam, pardon me, indeed I will not forth.
Valeria84 - 85
- In truth la, go with me, and I’ll tell you excellent news of
- your husband.
- O, good madam, there can be none yet.
Valeria87 - 88
- Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him
- last night.
- Indeed, madam?
Valeria90 - 96
- In earnest, it’s true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it
- is: the Volsces have an army forth; against whom Cominius
- the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power. Your
- lord and Titus Lartius are set down before their city
- Corioles; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it
- brief wars. This is true, on mine honor, and so I pray go
- with us.
Virgilia97 - 98
- Give me excuse, good madam, I will obey you in every thing
Volumnia99 - 100
- Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our
- better mirth.
Valeria101 - 103
- In troth, I think she would. Fare you well then. Come, good
- sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy solemnness out a’
- door, and go along with us.
Virgilia104 - 105
- No, at a word, madam; indeed I must not.
- I wish you much mirth.
- Well, then farewell.
- Exeunt Ladies with Usher.