Act II, Scene 1
Rome. A public place.
- Enter Menenius with the two tribunes of the people, Sicinius
- and Brutus.
- The augurer tells me we shall have news tonight.
- Good or bad?
Menenius3 - 4
- Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love not
- Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.
- Pray you, who does the wolf love?
- The lamb.
Menenius8 - 9
- Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians would the noble
- He’s a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.
Menenius11 - 12
- 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 Menenius and Brutus13
- Well, sir.
Menenius14 - 15
- In what enormity is Martius poor in, that you two have not
- in abundance?
- He’s poor in no one fault, but stor’d with all.
- Especially in pride.
- And topping all others in boasting.
Menenius19 - 21
- This is strange now. Do you two know how you are censur’d
- here in the city, I mean of us a’ th’ right-hand file? Do
Both Menenius and Brutus22
- Why? How are we censur’d?
- Because you talk of pride now—will you not be angry?
Both Menenius and Brutus24
- Well, well, sir, well.
Menenius25 - 29
- 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 Martius for being proud?
- We do it not alone, sir.
Menenius31 - 36
- 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 Menenius and Brutus37
- What then, sir?
Menenius38 - 39
- Why then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud,
- violent, testy magistrates (alias fools) as any in Rome.
- Menenius, you are known well enough too.
Menenius41 - 57
- 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 favoring 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 deliver’d 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 beesom conspectuities glean out of this
- character, if I be known well enough too?
- Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.
Menenius59 - 70
- You know neither me, yourselves, nor any thing. 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 forset-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 pinch’d 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.
Brutus71 - 72
- Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber
- for the table than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.
Menenius73 - 86
- 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 honorable a grave as
- to stuff a botcher’s cushion, or to be entomb’d in an ass’s
- pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying Martius 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
- Brutus and Sicinius go aside.
- Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria.
- How now, my as fair as noble ladies—and the moon, were she
- earthly, no nobler—whither do you follow your eyes so fast?
Volumnia87 - 88
- Honorable Menenius, my boy Martius approaches. For the love
- of Juno, let’s go.
- Ha? Martius coming home?
- Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous approbation.
Menenius91 - 92
- Take my cap, Jupiter,
- Tosses it up
- and I thank thee. Hoo! Martius coming home?
Both Virgilia and Valeria93
- Nay, ’tis true.
Volumnia94 - 95
- Look, here’s a letter from him; the state hath another, his
- wife another, and, I think, there’s one at home for you.
- I will make my very house reel tonight. A letter for me?
- Yes certain, there’s a letter for you, I saw’t.
Menenius98 - 103
- 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
- O no, no, no.
- O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for’t.
Menenius106 - 107
- So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings ’a victory in his
- pocket? The wounds become him.
Volumnia108 - 109
- On ’s brows. Menenius, he comes the third time home with the
- oaken garland.
- Has he disciplin’d Aufidius soundly?
Volumnia111 - 112
- Titus Lartius writes they fought together, but Aufidius got
Menenius113 - 116
- And ’twas time for him too, I’ll warrant him that; and he
- had stay’d by him, I would not have been so fidius’d for all
- the chests in Corioles, and the gold that’s in them. Is the
- Senate possess’d of this?
Volumnia117 - 120
- 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
- In troth, there’s wondrous things spoke of him.
Menenius122 - 123
- Wondrous! Ay, I warrant you, and not without his true
- The gods grant them true!
- True? Pow, waw.
Menenius126 - 128
- True? I’ll be sworn they are true. Where is he wounded?
- To the Tribunes.
- God save your good worships! Martius is coming home; he has
- more cause to be proud.—Where is he wounded?
Volumnia129 - 132
- I’ th’ shoulder and i’ th’ left arm. There will be large
- cicatrices to show the people, when he shall stand for his
- place. He receiv’d in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts i’
- th’ body.
Menenius133 - 134
- One i’ th’ neck, and two i’ th’ thigh—there’s nine that I
Volumnia135 - 136
- He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five wounds upon
Menenius137 - 138
- Now it’s twenty-seven; every gash was an enemy’s grave.
- A shout and flourish.
- Hark, the trumpets.
Volumnia139 - 142
- These are the ushers of Martius: 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 the General, and
- Titus Lartius; between them, Coriolanus, crown’d with an
- oaken garland; with Captains and Soldiers and a Roman
Roman Herald143 - 147
- Know, Rome, that all alone Martius did fight
- Within Corioles gates; where he hath won,
- With fame, a name to Martius Caius; these
- In honor follows Coriolanus.
- Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
- Sound. Flourish.
- Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
Coriolanus149 - 150
- No more of this, it does offend my heart;
- Pray now, no more.
- Look, sir, your mother!
Coriolanus152 - 154
- You have, I know, petition’d all the gods
- For my prosperity!
Volumnia155 - 159
- Nay, my good soldier, up;
- My gentle Martius, worthy Caius, and
- By deed-achieving honor newly nam’d—
- What is it?—Coriolanus must I call thee?—
- But O, thy wife!
Coriolanus160 - 164
- 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 Corioles wear,
- And mothers that lack sons.
- Now the gods crown thee!
Coriolanus166 - 167
- And live you yet?
- To Valeria.
- O my sweet lady, pardon.
Volumnia168 - 169
- I know not where to turn. O, welcome home;
- And welcome, general, and y’ are welcome all.
Menenius170 - 178
- 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.
- Ever right.
- Menenius, ever, ever.
- Give way there, and go on!
Coriolanus182 - 186
- To Volumnia and Virgilia.
- 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 honors.
Volumnia187 - 191
- 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.
Coriolanus192 - 194
- Know, good mother,
- I had rather be their servant in my way
- Than sway with them in theirs.
- On, to the Capitol!
- Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before.
- Brutus and Sicinius come forward.
Brutus196 - 212
- 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 th’ wanton spoil
- Of Phoebus’ burning kisses—such a pother
- As if that whatsoever god who leads him
- Were slyly crept into his human powers,
- And gave him graceful posture.
Sicinius Velutus213 - 214
- On the sudden,
- I warrant him consul.
Brutus215 - 216
- Then our office may,
- During his power, go sleep.
Sicinius Velutus217 - 219
- He cannot temp’rately transport his honors
- From where he should begin and end, but will
- Lose those he hath won.
- In that there’s comfort.
Sicinius Velutus221 - 226
- Doubt not
- The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
- Upon their ancient malice will forget
- With the least cause these his new honors, which
- That he will give them make I as little question
- As he is proud to do’t.
Brutus227 - 232
- I heard him swear,
- Were he to stand for consul, never would he
- Appear i’ th’ market-place, nor on him put
- The napless vesture of humility,
- Nor, showing (as the manner is) his wounds
- To th’ people, beg their stinking breaths.
- ’Tis right.
Brutus234 - 236
- 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 Velutus237 - 239
- I wish no better
- Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
- In execution.
- ’Tis most like he will.
Sicinius Velutus241 - 242
- It shall be to him then as our good wills:
- A sure destruction.
Brutus243 - 253
- 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 Velutus254 - 260
- This, as you say, suggested
- At some time when his soaring insolence
- Shall teach the people—which time shall not want,
- If he 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 forever.
- Enter Third Messenger.
- What’s the matter?
Third Messenger262 - 270
- You are sent for to the Capitol. ’Tis thought
- That Martius 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.
Brutus271 - 273
- Let’s to the Capitol,
- And carry with us ears and eyes for th’ time,
- But hearts for the event.
- Have with you.