Act II, Scene 3
Rome. The forum.
- Enter seven or eight Roman Citizens.
First Roman Citizen1
- Once if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.
Second Roman Citizen2
- We may, sir, if we will.
Third Roman Citizen3 - 11
- We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that
- we have no power to do; for if he show us his wounds and
- tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those
- wounds and speak for them; so, if he tell us his noble
- deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them.
- Ingratitude is monstrous, and for the multitude to be
- ingrateful were to make a monster of the multitude; of the
- which we being members, should bring ourselves to be
- monstrous members.
First Roman Citizen12 - 14
- And to make us no better thought of, a little help will
- serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he himself stuck
- not to call us the many-headed multitude.
Third Roman Citizen15 - 20
- We have been call’d so of many, not that our heads are some
- brown, some black, some abram, some bald, but that our wits
- are so diversely color’d; and truly I think if all our wits
- were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west,
- north, south, and their consent of one direct way should be
- at once to all the points a’ th’ compass.
Second Roman Citizen21
- Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would fly?
Third Roman Citizen22 - 24
- Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man’s will;
- ’tis strongly wadg’d up in a block-head; but if it were at
- liberty, ’twould sure southward.
Second Roman Citizen25
- Why that way?
Third Roman Citizen26 - 28
- To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts melted away
- with rotten dews, the fourth would return for conscience’
- sake to help to get thee a wife.
Second Roman Citizen29
- You are never without your tricks; you may, you may.
Third Roman Citizen30 - 39
- Are you all resolv’d to give your voices? But that’s no
- matter, the greater part carries it, I say. If he would
- incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.
- Enter Coriolanus in a gown of humility, with Menenius.
- Here he comes, and in the gown of humility, mark his
- behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to come by
- him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and by threes. He’s
- to make his requests by particulars, wherein every one of us
- has a single honor, in giving him our own voices with our
- own tongues; therefore follow me, and I’ll direct you how
- you shall go by him.
All Roman Citizens40
- Content, content.
- Exeunt Roman Citizens.
Menenius41 - 42
- O sir, you are not right. Have you not known
- The worthiest men have done’t?
Coriolanus43 - 48
- What must I say?
- “I pray, sir”—Plague upon’t! I cannot bring
- My tongue to such a pace. “Look, sir, my wounds!
- I got them in my country’s service, when
- Some certain of your brethren roar’d, and ran
- From th’ noise of our own drums.”
Menenius49 - 51
- O me, the gods!
- You must not speak of that. You must desire them
- To think upon you.
Coriolanus52 - 54
- Think upon me? Hang ’em,
- I would they would forget me, like the virtues
- Which our divines lose by ’em.
Menenius55 - 57
- You’ll mar all.
- I’ll leave you. Pray you speak to ’em, I pray you,
- In wholesome manner.
- Enter three of the Citizens.
Coriolanus58 - 60
- Bid them wash their faces,
- And keep their teeth clean. So, here comes a brace.—
- You know the cause, sir, of my standing here.
Third Roman Citizen61
- We do, sir, tell us what hath brought you to’t.
- Mine own desert.
Second Roman Citizen63
- Your own desert!
- Ay, not mine own desire.
Third Roman Citizen65
- How, not your own desire?
Coriolanus66 - 67
- No, sir, ’twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor with
Third Roman Citizen68 - 69
- You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to gain by
- Well then, I pray, your price a’ th’ consulship?
First Roman Citizen71
- The price is, to ask it kindly.
Coriolanus72 - 74
- Kindly, sir, I pray let me ha’t. I have wounds to show you,
- which shall be yours in private. Your good voice, sir, what
- say you?
Second Roman Citizen75
- You shall ha’t, worthy sir.
Coriolanus76 - 77
- A match, sir. There’s in all two worthy voices begg’d. I
- have your alms, adieu.
Third Roman Citizen78
- But this is something odd.
Second Roman Citizen79
- And ’twere to give again—but ’tis no matter.
- Exeunt Citizens.
- Enter Fourth and Fifth Citizens.
Coriolanus80 - 81
- Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices
- that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
Fourth Roman Citizen82 - 83
- You have deserv’d nobly of your country, and you have not
- deserv’d nobly.
- Your enigma?
Fourth Roman Citizen85 - 86
- You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have been a rod
- to her friends; you have not indeed lov’d the common people.
Coriolanus87 - 95
- You should account me the more virtuous that I have not been
- common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother,
- the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; ’tis a
- condition they account gentle. And since the wisdom of their
- choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will
- practice the insinuating nod and be off to them most
- counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
- bewitchment of some popular man, and give it bountiful to
- the desirers. Therefore beseech you I may be consul.
Fifth Roman Citizen96 - 97
- We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our
- voices heartily.
Fourth Roman Citizen98
- You have receiv’d many wounds for your country.
Coriolanus99 - 100
- I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I will
- make much of your voices, and so trouble you no farther.
Both Fourth and Fifth Roman Citizens101
- The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!
- Exeunt Citizens.
Coriolanus102 - 121
- Most sweet voices!
- Better it is to die, better to starve,
- Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
- Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here
- To beg of Hob and Dick, that does appear,
- Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to’t.
- What custom wills, in all things should we do’t,
- The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
- And mountainous error be too highly heap’d
- For truth to o’erpeer. Rather than fool it so,
- Let the high office and the honor go
- To one that would do thus. I am half through:
- The one part suffered, the other will I do.
- Enter three Citizens more.
- Here come more voices.—
- Your voices? For your voices I have fought;
- Watch’d for your voices; for your voices bear
- Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
- I have seen, and heard of; for your voices have
- Done many things, some less, some more. Your voices?
- Indeed I would be consul.
Sixth Roman Citizen122 - 123
- He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest man’s
Seventh Roman Citizen124 - 125
- Therefore let him be consul. The gods give him joy, and make
- him good friend to the people!
All Roman Citizens126
- Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!
- Exeunt Citizens.
- Worthy voices!
- Enter Menenius with Brutus and Sicinius.
Menenius128 - 131
- You have stood your limitation, and the tribunes
- Endue you with the people’s voice. Remains
- That, in th’ official marks invested, you
- Anon do meet the Senate.
- Is this done?
Sicinius Velutus133 - 135
- The custom of request you have discharg’d.
- The people do admit you and are summon’d
- To meet anon, upon your approbation.
- Where? At the Senate-house?
- There, Coriolanus.
- May I change these garments?
- You may, sir.
Coriolanus140 - 141
- That I’ll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
- Repair to th’ Senate-house.
- I’ll keep you company. Will you along?
- We stay here for the people.
Sicinius Velutus144 - 146
- Fare you well.
- Exeunt Coriolanus and Menenius.
- He has it now; and by his looks, methinks,
- ’Tis warm at ’s heart.
Brutus147 - 148
- With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
- Will you dismiss the people?
- Enter the Plebeians.
- How now, my masters, have you chose this man?
First Roman Citizen150
- He has our voices, sir.
- We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.
Second Roman Citizen152 - 153
- Amen, sir. To my poor unworthy notice,
- He mock’d us when he begg’d our voices.
Third Roman Citizen154 - 155
- He flouted us downright.
First Roman Citizen156
- No, ’tis his kind of speech, he did not mock us.
Second Roman Citizen157 - 159
- Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
- He us’d us scornfully. He should have show’d us
- His marks of merit, wounds receiv’d for ’s country.
- Why, so he did, I am sure.
All Roman Citizens161
- No, no; no man saw ’em.
Third Roman Citizen162 - 169
- He said he had wounds, which he could show in private;
- And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
- “I would be consul,” says he; “aged custom,
- But by your voices, will not so permit me;
- Your voices therefore.” When we granted that,
- Here was “I thank you for your voices, thank you,
- Your most sweet voices. Now you have left your voices,
- I have no further with you.” Was not this mockery?
Sicinius Velutus170 - 172
- Why either were you ignorant to see’t,
- Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
- To yield your voices?
Brutus173 - 187
- Could you not have told him
- As you were lesson’d: when he had no power,
- But was a petty servant to the state,
- He was your enemy, ever spake against
- Your liberties and the charters that you bear
- I’ th’ body of the weal; and now, arriving
- A place of potency and sway o’ th’ state,
- If he should still malignantly remain
- Fast foe to th’ plebeii, your voices might
- Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
- That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
- Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
- Would think upon you for your voices, and
- Translate his malice towards you into love,
- Standing your friendly lord.
Sicinius Velutus188 - 197
- Thus to have said,
- As you were fore-advis’d, had touch’d his spirit
- And tried his inclination; from him pluck’d
- Either his gracious promise, which you might,
- As cause had call’d you up, have held him to;
- Or else it would have gall’d his surly nature,
- Which easily endures not article
- Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
- You should have ta’en th’ advantage of his choler,
- And pass’d him unelected.
Brutus198 - 204
- Did you perceive
- He did solicit you in free contempt
- When he did need your loves; and do you think
- That his contempt shall not be bruising to you
- When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
- No heart among you? Or had you tongues to cry
- Against the rectorship of judgement?
Sicinius Velutus205 - 208
- Have you
- Ere now denied the asker; and now again,
- Of him that did not ask but mock, bestow
- Your su’d-for tongues?
Third Roman Citizen209
- He’s not confirm’d, we may deny him yet.
Second Roman Citizen210 - 211
- And will deny him.
- I’ll have five hundred voices of that sound.
First Roman Citizen212
- I twice five hundred, and their friends to piece ’em.
Brutus213 - 217
- Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends
- They have chose a consul that will from them take
- Their liberties, make them of no more voice
- Than dogs, that are as often beat for barking
- As therefore kept to do so.
Sicinius Velutus218 - 227
- Let them assemble;
- And on a safer judgment all revoke
- Your ignorant election. Enforce his pride,
- And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
- With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
- How in his suit he scorn’d you; but your loves,
- Thinking upon his services, took from you
- Th’ apprehension of his present portance,
- Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
- After the inveterate hate he bears you.
Brutus228 - 231
- A fault on us, your tribunes, that we labor’d
- (No impediment between) but that you must
- Cast your election on him.
Sicinius Velutus232 - 237
- Say you chose him
- More after our commandment than as guided
- By your own true affections, and that your minds,
- Preoccupied with what you rather must do
- Than what you should, made you against the grain
- To voice him consul. Lay the fault on us.
Brutus238 - 248
- Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you,
- How youngly he began to serve his country,
- How long continued, and what stock he springs of—
- The noble house o’ th’ Martians; from whence came
- That Ancus Martius, Numa’s daughter’s son,
- Who after great Hostilius here was king;
- Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
- That our best water brought by conduits hither,
- And Censorinus that was so surnam’d,
- And nobly named so, twice being censor,
- Was his great ancestor.
Sicinius Velutus249 - 255
- One thus descended,
- That hath beside well in his person wrought
- To be set high in place, we did commend
- To your remembrances; but you have found,
- Scaling his present bearing with his past,
- That he’s your fixed enemy, and revoke
- Your sudden approbation.
Brutus256 - 259
- Say you ne’er had done’t
- (Harp on that still) but by our putting on;
- And presently, when you have drawn your number,
- Repair to th’ Capitol.
Plebeians260 - 261
- We will so. Almost all
- Repent in their election.
- Exeunt Plebeians.
Brutus262 - 267
- Let them go on;
- This mutiny were better put in hazard
- Than stay, past doubt, for greater.
- If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
- With their refusal, both observe and answer
- The vantage of his anger.
Sicinius Velutus268 - 271
- To th’ Capitol, come.
- We will be there before the stream o’ th’ people;
- And this shall seem, as partly ’tis, their own,
- Which we have goaded onward.