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Coriolanus: Act I, Scene 3

Coriolanus
Act I, Scene 3

Rome. A room in Martius Coriolanus’ house.

  1. Enter Volumnia and Virgilia, mother and wife to Martius;
  2. they set them down on two low stools and sew.

Volumnia

1 - 15
  1. I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself in a more
  2. comfortable sort. If my son were my husband, I should
  3. freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honor than
  4. in the embracements of his bed where he would show most
  5. love. When yet he was but tender-bodied and the only son of
  6. my womb; when youth with comeliness pluck’d all gaze his
  7. way; when for a day of kings’ entreaties a mother should not
  8. sell him an hour from her beholding; I, considering how
  9. honor would become such a person, that it was no better than
  10. picture-like to hang by th’ wall, if renown made it not
  11. stir, was pleas’d to let him seek danger where he was like
  12. to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him, from whence he
  13. return’d, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I
  14. sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child
  15. than now in first seeing he had prov’d himself a man.

Virgilia

16
  1. But had he died in the business, madam, how then?

Volumnia

17 - 22
  1. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein
  2. would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely; had I a
  3. dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than
  4. thine and my good Martius, I had rather had eleven die nobly
  5. for their country than one voluptuously surfeit out of
  6. action.
  1. Enter a Gentlewoman.

Gentlewoman

23
  1. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.

Virgilia

24
  1. Beseech you give me leave to retire myself.

Volumnia

25 - 34
  1. Indeed you shall not.
  2. Methinks I hear hither your husband’s drum;
  3. See him pluck Aufidius down by th’ hair;
  4. As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.
  5. Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
  6. Come on, you cowards, you were got in fear,
  7. Though you were born in Rome!” His bloody brow
  8. With his mail’d hand then wiping, forth he goes,
  9. Like to a harvest-man that’s task’d to mow
  10. Or all or lose his hire.

Virgilia

35
  1. His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!

Volumnia

36 - 41
  1. Away, you fool! It more becomes a man
  2. Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
  3. When she did suckle Hector, look’d not lovelier
  4. Than Hector’s forehead when it spit forth blood
  5. At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria
  6. We are fit to bid her welcome.
  1. Exit Gentlewoman.

Virgilia

42
  1. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!

Volumnia

43 - 44
  1. He’ll beat Aufidius’ head below his knee,
  2. And tread upon his neck.
  1. Enter Valeria with an Usher and a Gentlewoman.

Valeria

45
  1. My ladies both, good day to you.

Volumnia

46
  1. Sweet madam.

Virgilia

47
  1. I am glad to see your ladyship.

Valeria

48 - 50
  1. How do you both? You are manifest house-keepers. What are
  2. you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your
  3. little son?

Virgilia

51
  1. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

Volumnia

52 - 53
  1. He had rather see the swords and hear a drum than look upon
  2. his schoolmaster.

Valeria

54 - 61
  1. A’ my word, the father’s son. I’ll swear ’tis a very pretty
  2. boy. A’ my troth, I look’d upon him a’ We’n’sday half an
  3. hour together; h’as such a confirm’d countenance. I saw him
  4. run after a gilded butterfly, and when he caught it, he let
  5. it go again, and after it again, and over and over he comes,
  6. and up again; catch’d it again: or whether his fallen rag’d
  7. him, or how ’twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it. O, I
  8. warrant, how he mammock’d it!

Volumnia

62
  1. One on ’s father’s moods.

Valeria

63
  1. Indeed la, ’tis a noble child.

Virgilia

64
  1. A crack, madam.

Valeria

65 - 66
  1. Come, lay aside your stitchery, I must have you play the
  2. idle huswife with me this afternoon.

Virgilia

67
  1. No, good madam, I will not out of doors.

Valeria

68
  1. Not out of doors?

Volumnia

69
  1. She shall, she shall.

Virgilia

70 - 71
  1. Indeed no, by your patience; I’ll not over the threshold
  2. till my lord return from the wars.

Valeria

72 - 73
  1. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably. Come, you must
  2. go visit the good lady that lies in.

Virgilia

74 - 75
  1. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my
  2. prayers; but I cannot go thither.

Volumnia

76
  1. Why, I pray you?

Virgilia

77
  1. ’Tis not to save labor, nor that I want love.

Valeria

78 - 82
  1. You would be another Penelope: yet they say, all the yarn
  2. she spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fill Ithaca full of
  3. moths. Come, I would your cambric were sensible as your
  4. finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you
  5. shall go with us.

Virgilia

83
  1. No, good madam, pardon me, indeed I will not forth.

Valeria

84 - 85
  1. In truth la, go with me, and I’ll tell you excellent news of
  2. your husband.

Virgilia

86
  1. O, good madam, there can be none yet.

Valeria

87 - 88
  1. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him
  2. last night.

Virgilia

89
  1. Indeed, madam?

Valeria

90 - 96
  1. In earnest, it’s true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it
  2. is: the Volsces have an army forth; against whom Cominius
  3. the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power. Your
  4. lord and Titus Lartius are set down before their city
  5. Corioles; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it
  6. brief wars. This is true, on mine honor, and so I pray go
  7. with us.

Virgilia

97 - 98
  1. Give me excuse, good madam, I will obey you in every thing
  2. hereafter.

Volumnia

99 - 100
  1. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our
  2. better mirth.

Valeria

101 - 103
  1. In troth, I think she would. Fare you well then. Come, good
  2. sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy solemnness out a’
  3. door, and go along with us.

Virgilia

104 - 105
  1. No, at a word, madam; indeed I must not.
  2. I wish you much mirth.

Valeria

106
  1. Well, then farewell.
  1. Exeunt Ladies with Usher.
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