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Coriolanus: Act II, Scene 1

Coriolanus
Act II, Scene 1

Scene 1

Rome. A public place.

  1. Enter Menenius with the two tribunes of the people, Sicinius
  2. and Brutus.

Menenius

1
  1. The augurer tells me we shall have news tonight.

Brutus

2
  1. Good or bad?

Menenius

3 - 4
  1. Not according to the prayer of the people, for they love not
  2. Martius.

Sicinius Velutus

5
  1. Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

Menenius

6
  1. Pray you, who does the wolf love?

Sicinius Velutus

7
  1. The lamb.

Menenius

8 - 9
  1. Ay, to devour him, as the hungry plebeians would the noble
  2. Martius.

Brutus

10
  1. He’s a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.

Menenius

11 - 12
  1. He’s a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two are old
  2. men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.

Both Menenius and Brutus

13
  1. Well, sir.

Menenius

14 - 15
  1. In what enormity is Martius poor in, that you two have not
  2. in abundance?

Brutus

16
  1. He’s poor in no one fault, but stor’d with all.

Sicinius Velutus

17
  1. Especially in pride.

Brutus

18
  1. And topping all others in boasting.

Menenius

19 - 21
  1. This is strange now. Do you two know how you are censur’d
  2. here in the city, I mean of us a’ th’ right-hand file? Do
  3. you?

Both Menenius and Brutus

22
  1. Why? How are we censur’d?

Menenius

23
  1. Because you talk of pride nowwill you not be angry?

Both Menenius and Brutus

24
  1. Well, well, sir, well.

Menenius

25 - 29
  1. Why, ’tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
  2. occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience. Give your
  3. dispositions the reins and be angry at your pleasures; at
  4. the least, if you take it as a pleasure to you in being so.
  5. You blame Martius for being proud?

Brutus

30
  1. We do it not alone, sir.

Menenius

31 - 36
  1. I know you can do very little alone, for your helps are
  2. many, or else your actions would grow wondrous single; your
  3. abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone. You talk
  4. of pride: O that you could turn your eyes toward the napes
  5. of your necks and make but an interior survey of your good
  6. selves! O that you could!

Both Menenius and Brutus

37
  1. What then, sir?

Menenius

38 - 39
  1. Why then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud,
  2. violent, testy magistrates (alias fools) as any in Rome.

Sicinius Velutus

40
  1. Menenius, you are known well enough too.

Menenius

41 - 57
  1. I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a
  2. cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tiber in’t; said
  3. to be something imperfect in favoring the first complaint,
  4. hasty and tinder-like upon too trivial motion; one that
  5. converses more with the buttock of the night than with the
  6. forehead of the morning. What I think, I utter, and spend my
  7. malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as you are (I
  8. cannot call you Lycurguses), if the drink you give me touch
  9. my palate adversely, I make a crooked face at it. I cannot
  10. say your worships have deliver’d the matter well, when I
  11. find the ass in compound with the major part of your
  12. syllables; and though I must be content to bear with those
  13. that say you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly
  14. that tell you have good faces. If you see this in the map of
  15. my microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough too?
  16. What harm can your beesom conspectuities glean out of this
  17. character, if I be known well enough too?

Brutus

58
  1. Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

Menenius

59 - 70
  1. You know neither me, yourselves, nor any thing. You are
  2. ambitious for poor knaves’ caps and legs. You wear out a
  3. good wholesome forenoon in hearing a cause between an
  4. orange-wife and a forset-seller, and then rejourn the
  5. controversy of threepence to a second day of audience. When
  6. you are hearing a matter between party and party, if you
  7. chance to be pinch’d with the colic, you make faces like
  8. mummers, set up the bloody flag against all patience, and in
  9. roaring for a chamber-pot, dismiss the controversy bleeding,
  10. the more entangled by your hearing. All the peace you make
  11. in their cause is calling both the parties knaves. You are a
  12. pair of strange ones.

Brutus

71 - 72
  1. Come, come, you are well understood to be a perfecter giber
  2. for the table than a necessary bencher in the Capitol.

Menenius

73 - 86
  1. Our very priests must become mockers if they shall encounter
  2. such ridiculous subjects as you are. When you speak best
  3. unto the purpose, it is not worth the wagging of your
  4. beards, and your beards deserve not so honorable a grave as
  5. to stuff a botcher’s cushion, or to be entomb’d in an ass’s
  6. pack-saddle. Yet you must be saying Martius is proud; who,
  7. in a cheap estimation, is worth all your predecessors since
  8. Deucalion, though peradventure some of the best of ’em were
  9. hereditary hangmen. God-den to your worships; more of your
  10. conversation would infect my brain, being the herdsmen of
  11. the beastly plebeians. I will be bold to take my leave of
  12. you.
  13. Brutus and Sicinius go aside.
  14. Enter Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria.
  15. How now, my as fair as noble ladiesand the moon, were she
  16. earthly, no noblerwhither do you follow your eyes so fast?

Volumnia

87 - 88
  1. Honorable Menenius, my boy Martius approaches. For the love
  2. of Juno, let’s go.

Menenius

89
  1. Ha? Martius coming home?

Volumnia

90
  1. Ay, worthy Menenius, and with most prosperous approbation.

Menenius

91 - 92
  1. Take my cap, Jupiter,
  2. Tosses it up
  3. and I thank thee. Hoo! Martius coming home?

Both Virgilia and Valeria

93
  1. Nay, ’tis true.

Volumnia

94 - 95
  1. Look, here’s a letter from him; the state hath another, his
  2. wife another, and, I think, there’s one at home for you.

Menenius

96
  1. I will make my very house reel tonight. A letter for me?

Virgilia

97
  1. Yes certain, there’s a letter for you, I saw’t.

Menenius

98 - 103
  1. A letter for me! It gives me an estate of seven years’
  2. health, in which time I will make a lip at the physician.
  3. The most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutic,
  4. and, to this preservative, of no better report than a
  5. horse-drench. Is he not wounded? He was wont to come home
  6. wounded.

Virgilia

104
  1. O no, no, no.

Volumnia

105
  1. O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for’t.

Menenius

106 - 107
  1. So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings ’a victory in his
  2. pocket? The wounds become him.

Volumnia

108 - 109
  1. On ’s brows. Menenius, he comes the third time home with the
  2. oaken garland.

Menenius

110
  1. Has he disciplin’d Aufidius soundly?

Volumnia

111 - 112
  1. Titus Lartius writes they fought together, but Aufidius got
  2. off.

Menenius

113 - 116
  1. And ’twas time for him too, I’ll warrant him that; and he
  2. had stay’d by him, I would not have been so fidius’d for all
  3. the chests in Corioles, and the gold that’s in them. Is the
  4. Senate possess’d of this?

Volumnia

117 - 120
  1. Good ladies, let’s go.—Yes, yes, yes; the Senate has letters
  2. from the general, wherein he gives my son the whole name of
  3. the war. He hath in this action outdone his former deeds
  4. doubly.

Valeria

121
  1. In troth, there’s wondrous things spoke of him.

Menenius

122 - 123
  1. Wondrous! Ay, I warrant you, and not without his true
  2. purchasing.

Virgilia

124
  1. The gods grant them true!

Volumnia

125
  1. True? Pow, waw.

Menenius

126 - 128
  1. True? I’ll be sworn they are true. Where is he wounded?
  2. To the Tribunes.
  3. God save your good worships! Martius is coming home; he has
  4. more cause to be proud.—Where is he wounded?

Volumnia

129 - 132
  1. I’ th’ shoulder and i’ th’ left arm. There will be large
  2. cicatrices to show the people, when he shall stand for his
  3. place. He receiv’d in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts i’
  4. th’ body.

Menenius

133 - 134
  1. One i’ th’ neck, and two i’ th’ thighthere’s nine that I
  2. know.

Volumnia

135 - 136
  1. He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five wounds upon
  2. him.

Menenius

137 - 138
  1. Now it’s twenty-seven; every gash was an enemy’s grave.
  2. A shout and flourish.
  3. Hark, the trumpets.

Volumnia

139 - 142
  1. These are the ushers of Martius: before him he carries
  2. noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
  3. Death, that dark spirit, in ’s nervy arm doth lie,
  4. Which, being advanc’d, declines, and then men die.
  1. A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter Cominius the General, and
  2. Titus Lartius; between them, Coriolanus, crown’d with an
  3. oaken garland; with Captains and Soldiers and a Roman
  4. Herald.

Roman Herald

143 - 147
  1. Know, Rome, that all alone Martius did fight
  2. Within Corioles gates; where he hath won,
  3. With fame, a name to Martius Caius; these
  4. In honor follows Coriolanus.
  5. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
  1. Sound. Flourish.

All

148
  1. Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

Coriolanus

149 - 150
  1. No more of this, it does offend my heart;
  2. Pray now, no more.

Cominius

151
  1.                    Look, sir, your mother!

Coriolanus

152 - 154
  1.                         O!
  2. You have, I know, petition’d all the gods
  3. For my prosperity!
  1. Kneels.

Volumnia

155 - 159
  1.                    Nay, my good soldier, up;
  2. My gentle Martius, worthy Caius, and
  3. By deed-achieving honor newly nam’d
  4. What is it?—Coriolanus must I call thee?—
  5. But O, thy wife!

Coriolanus

160 - 164
  1.                  My gracious silence, hail!
  2. Wouldst thou have laugh’d had I come coffin’d home,
  3. That weep’st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,
  4. Such eyes the widows in Corioles wear,
  5. And mothers that lack sons.

Menenius

165
  1.                             Now the gods crown thee!

Coriolanus

166 - 167
  1. And live you yet?
  2. To Valeria.
  3.                   O my sweet lady, pardon.

Volumnia

168 - 169
  1. I know not where to turn. O, welcome home;
  2. And welcome, general, and y’ are welcome all.

Menenius

170 - 178
  1. A hundred thousand welcomes! I could weep,
  2. And I could laugh; I am light, and heavy. Welcome!
  3. A curse begin at very root on ’s heart,
  4. That is not glad to see thee! You are three
  5. That Rome should dote on; yet, by the faith of men,
  6. We have some old crab-trees here at home that will not
  7. Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors;
  8. We call a nettle but a nettle, and
  9. The faults of fools but folly.

Cominius

179
  1.                                Ever right.

Coriolanus

180
  1. Menenius, ever, ever.

Roman Herald

181
  1. Give way there, and go on!

Coriolanus

182 - 186
  1. To Volumnia and Virgilia.
  2. Your hand, and yours!
  3. Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
  4. The good patricians must be visited,
  5. From whom I have receiv’d not only greetings,
  6. But with them change of honors.

Volumnia

187 - 191
  1.                                 I have lived
  2. To see inherited my very wishes
  3. And the buildings of my fancy; only
  4. There’s one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
  5. Our Rome will cast upon thee.

Coriolanus

192 - 194
  1.                               Know, good mother,
  2. I had rather be their servant in my way
  3. Than sway with them in theirs.

Cominius

195
  1.                                On, to the Capitol!
  1. Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before.
  1. Brutus and Sicinius come forward.

Brutus

196 - 212
  1. All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
  2. Are spectacled to see him. Your prattling nurse
  3. Into a rapture lets her baby cry
  4. While she chats him; the kitchen malkin pins
  5. Her richest lockram ’bout her reechy neck,
  6. Clamb’ring the walls to eye him; stalls, bulks, windows
  7. Are smother’d up, leads fill’d, and ridges hors’d
  8. With variable complexions, all agreeing
  9. In earnestness to see him. Seld-shown flamens
  10. Do press among the popular throngs, and puff
  11. To win a vulgar station; our veil’d dames
  12. Commit the war of white and damask in
  13. Their nicely gawded cheeks to th’ wanton spoil
  14. Of Phoebus’ burning kissessuch a pother
  15. As if that whatsoever god who leads him
  16. Were slyly crept into his human powers,
  17. And gave him graceful posture.

Sicinius Velutus

213 - 214
  1.                                On the sudden,
  2. I warrant him consul.

Brutus

215 - 216
  1.                       Then our office may,
  2. During his power, go sleep.

Sicinius Velutus

217 - 219
  1. He cannot temp’rately transport his honors
  2. From where he should begin and end, but will
  3. Lose those he hath won.

Brutus

220
  1.                         In that there’s comfort.

Sicinius Velutus

221 - 226
  1.                          Doubt not
  2. The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
  3. Upon their ancient malice will forget
  4. With the least cause these his new honors, which
  5. That he will give them make I as little question
  6. As he is proud to do’t.

Brutus

227 - 232
  1.                         I heard him swear,
  2. Were he to stand for consul, never would he
  3. Appear i’ th’ market-place, nor on him put
  4. The napless vesture of humility,
  5. Nor, showing (as the manner is) his wounds
  6. To th’ people, beg their stinking breaths.

Sicinius Velutus

233
  1.                                            ’Tis right.

Brutus

234 - 236
  1. It was his word. O, he would miss it rather
  2. Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him
  3. And the desire of the nobles.

Sicinius Velutus

237 - 239
  1.                               I wish no better
  2. Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
  3. In execution.

Brutus

240
  1.               ’Tis most like he will.

Sicinius Velutus

241 - 242
  1. It shall be to him then as our good wills:
  2. A sure destruction.

Brutus

243 - 253
  1.                     So it must fall out
  2. To him, or our authorities, for an end.
  3. We must suggest the people in what hatred
  4. He still hath held them; that to ’s power he would
  5. Have made them mules, silenc’d their pleaders, and
  6. Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them,
  7. In human action and capacity,
  8. Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
  9. Than camels in their war, who have their provand
  10. Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
  11. For sinking under them.

Sicinius Velutus

254 - 260
  1.                         This, as you say, suggested
  2. At some time when his soaring insolence
  3. Shall teach the peoplewhich time shall not want,
  4. If he be put upon’t, and that’s as easy
  5. As to set dogs on sheepwill be his fire
  6. To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
  7. Shall darken him forever.
  1. Enter Third Messenger.

Brutus

261
  1.                           What’s the matter?

Third Messenger

262 - 270
  1. You are sent for to the Capitol. ’Tis thought
  2. That Martius shall be consul.
  3. I have seen the dumb men throng to see him, and
  4. The blind to hear him speak. Matrons flung gloves,
  5. Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
  6. Upon him as he pass’d; the nobles bended,
  7. As to Jove’s statue, and the commons made
  8. A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts.
  9. I never saw the like.

Brutus

271 - 273
  1.                       Let’s to the Capitol,
  2. And carry with us ears and eyes for th’ time,
  3. But hearts for the event.

Sicinius Velutus

274
  1.                           Have with you.
  1. Exeunt.
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