Act II, Scene 2
Rome. The capitol.
- Enter two Officers to lay cushions, as it were in the
First Officer1 - 2
- Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand for
Second Officer3 - 4
- Three, they say; but ’tis thought of every one Coriolanus
- will carry it.
First Officer5 - 6
- That’s a brave fellow; but he’s vengeance proud, and loves
- not the common people.
Second Officer7 - 14
- Faith, there hath been many great men that have flatter’d
- the people, who ne’er lov’d them; and there be many that
- they have lov’d, they know not wherefore; so that, if they
- love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground.
- Therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether they love
- or hate him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
- disposition, and out of his noble carelessness lets them
- plainly see’t.
First Officer15 - 21
- If he did not care whether he had their love or no, he wav’d
- indifferently ’twixt doing them neither good nor harm; but
- he seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can
- render it him, and leaves nothing undone that may fully
- discover him their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the
- malice and displeasure of the people is as bad as that which
- he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
Second Officer22 - 30
- He hath deserv’d worthily of his country, and his ascent is
- not by such easy degrees as those who, having been supple
- and courteous to the people, bonneted, without any further
- deed to have them at all into their estimation and report.
- But he hath so planted his honors in their eyes and his
- actions in their hearts that for their tongues to be silent
- and not confess so much were a kind of ingrateful injury; to
- report otherwise were a malice that, giving itself the lie,
- would pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.
First Officer31 - 32
- No more of him, he’s a worthy man. Make way, they are
- A sennet. Enter the Patricians and the Tribunes of the
- people (Sicinius and Brutus), Lictors before them;
- Coriolanus, Menenius, Cominius the Consul.
- Sicinius and Brutus take their places by themselves.
- Coriolanus stands.
Menenius33 - 44
- Having determin’d of the Volsces and
- To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
- As the main point of this our after-meeting,
- To gratify his noble service that
- Hath thus stood for his country; therefore please you,
- Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
- The present consul and last general
- In our well-found successes, to report
- A little of that worthy work perform’d
- By Martius Caius Coriolanus, whom
- We met here both to thank and to remember
- With honors like himself.
- Coriolanus sits.
First Roman Senator45 - 52
- Speak, good Cominius:
- Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
- Rather our state’s defective for requital
- Than we to stretch it out.
- To the Tribunes.
- Masters a’ th’ people,
- We do request your kindest ears, and after,
- Your loving motion toward the common body
- To yield what passes here.
Sicinius Velutus53 - 56
- We are convented
- Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
- Inclinable to honor and advance
- The theme of our assembly.
Brutus57 - 60
- Which the rather
- We shall be blest to do, if he remember
- A kinder value of the people than
- He hath hereto priz’d them at.
Menenius61 - 63
- That’s off, that’s off;
- I would you rather had been silent. Please you
- To hear Cominius speak?
Brutus64 - 66
- Most willingly;
- But yet my caution was more pertinent
- Than the rebuke you give it.
Menenius67 - 70
- He loves your people,
- But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
- Worthy Cominius, speak.
- Coriolanus rises and offers to go away.
- Nay, keep your place.
First Roman Senator71 - 72
- Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
- What you have nobly done.
Coriolanus73 - 75
- Your honors’ pardon;
- I had rather have my wounds to heal again
- Than hear say how I got them.
Brutus76 - 77
- Sir, I hope
- My words disbench’d you not?
Coriolanus78 - 81
- No, sir; yet oft,
- When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
- You sooth’d not, therefore hurt not; but your people,
- I love them as they weigh—
- Pray now, sit down.
Coriolanus83 - 85
- I had rather have one scratch my head i’ th’ sun
- When the alarum were struck than idly sit
- To hear my nothings monster’d.
- Exit Coriolanus.
Menenius86 - 90
- Masters of the people,
- Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter—
- That’s thousand to one good one—when you now see
- He had rather venture all his limbs for honor
- Than one on ’s ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.
Cominius91 - 131
- I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
- Should not be utter’d feebly. It is held
- That valor is the chiefest virtue, and
- Most dignifies the haver; if it be,
- The man I speak of cannot in the world
- Be singly counterpois’d. At sixteen years,
- When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
- Beyond the mark of others. Our then dictator,
- Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
- When with his Amazonian chin he drove
- The bristled lips before him. He bestrid
- An o’erpress’d Roman, and i’ th’ consul’s view
- Slew three opposers. Tarquin’s self he met,
- And struck him on his knee. In that day’s feats,
- When he might act the woman in the scene,
- He prov’d best man i’ th’ field, and for his meed
- Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
- Man-ent’red thus, he waxed like a sea,
- And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
- He lurch’d all swords of the garland. For this last,
- Before and in Corioles, let me say,
- I cannot speak him home. He stopp’d the fliers,
- And by his rare example made the coward
- Turn terror into sport; as weeds before
- A vessel under sail, so men obey’d
- And fell below his stem. His sword, death’s stamp,
- Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
- He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
- Was tim’d with dying cries. Alone he ent’red
- The mortal gate of th’ city, which he painted
- With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
- And with a sudden reinforcement struck
- Corioles like a planet. Now all’s his,
- When by and by the din of war ’gan pierce
- His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
- Requick’ned what in flesh was fatigate,
- And to the battle came he, where he did
- Run reeking o’er the lives of men, as if
- ’Twere a perpetual spoil; and till we call’d
- Both field and city ours, he never stood
- To ease his breast with panting.
- Worthy man!
First Roman Senator133 - 134
- He cannot but with measure fit the honors
- Which we devise him.
Cominius135 - 140
- Our spoils he kick’d at,
- And look’d upon things precious as they were
- The common muck of the world. He covets less
- Than misery itself would give, rewards
- His deeds with doing them, and is content
- To spend the time to end it.
Menenius141 - 142
- He’s right noble.
- Let him be call’d for.
First Roman Senator143
- Call Coriolanus.
- He doth appear.
- Enter Coriolanus.
Menenius145 - 146
- The Senate, Coriolanus, are well pleas’d
- To make thee consul.
Coriolanus147 - 148
- I do owe them still
- My life and services.
Menenius149 - 150
- It then remains
- That you do speak to the people.
Coriolanus151 - 155
- I do beseech you,
- Let me o’erleap that custom; for I cannot
- Put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them
- For my wounds’ sake to give their suffrage. Please you
- That I may pass this doing.
Sicinius Velutus156 - 158
- Sir, the people
- Must have their voices; neither will they bate
- One jot of ceremony.
Menenius159 - 162
- Put them not to’t.
- Pray you go fit you to the custom, and
- Take to you, as your predecessors have,
- Your honor with your form.
Coriolanus163 - 165
- It is a part
- That I shall blush in acting, and might well
- Be taken from the people.
- Mark you that.
Coriolanus167 - 170
- To brag unto them, “Thus I did, and thus!”
- Show them th’ unaching scars which I should hide,
- As if I had receiv’d them for the hire
- Of their breath only!
Menenius171 - 174
- Do not stand upon’t.
- We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
- Our purpose to them, and to our noble consul
- Wish we all joy and honor.
- To Coriolanus come all joy and honor!
- Flourish cornets. Then exeunt. Manent Sicinius and Brutus.
- You see how he intends to use the people.
Sicinius Velutus177 - 179
- May they perceive ’s intent! He will require them
- As if he did contemn what he requested
- Should be in them to give.
Brutus180 - 182
- Come, we’ll inform them
- Of our proceedings here on th’ market-place;
- I know they do attend us.