Act III, Scene 1
Rome. A street.
- Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, all the Gentry,
- Cominius, Titus Lartius, and other Senators.
- Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?
Lartius2 - 3
- He had, my lord, and that it was which caus’d
- Our swifter composition.
Coriolanus4 - 6
- So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
- Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road
- Upon ’s again.
Cominius7 - 9
- They are worn, Lord Consul, so
- That we shall hardly in our ages see
- Their banners wave again.
- Saw you Aufidius?
Lartius11 - 13
- On safeguard he came to me, and did curse
- Against the Volsces for they had so vildly
- Yielded the town. He is retired to Antium.
- Spoke he of me?
- He did, my lord.
- How? What?
Lartius17 - 21
- How often he had met you, sword to sword;
- That of all things upon the earth he hated
- Your person most; that he would pawn his fortunes
- To hopeless restitution, so he might
- Be call’d your vanquisher.
- At Antium lives he?
- At Antium.
Coriolanus24 - 29
- I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
- To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.
- Enter Sicinius and Brutus.
- Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,
- The tongues o’ th’ common mouth. I do despise them!
- For they do prank them in authority,
- Against all noble sufferance.
- Pass no further.
- Hah? What is that?
- It will be dangerous to go on—no further.
- What makes this change?
- The matter?
- Hath he not pass’d the noble and the common?
- Cominius, no.
- Have I had children’s voices?
First Roman Senator38
- Tribunes, give way, he shall to th’ market-place.
- The people are incens’d against him.
Sicinius Velutus40 - 41
- Or all will fall in broil.
Coriolanus42 - 46
- Are these your herd?
- Must these have voices, that can yield them now,
- And straight disclaim their tongues? What are your offices?
- You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
- Have you not set them on?
- Be calm, be calm.
Coriolanus48 - 51
- It is a purpos’d thing, and grows by plot,
- To curb the will of the nobility.
- Suffer’t, and live with such as cannot rule,
- Nor ever will be ruled.
Brutus52 - 56
- Call’t not a plot.
- The people cry you mock’d them; and of late,
- When corn was given them gratis, you repin’d,
- Scandall’d the suppliants for the people, call’d them
- Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.
- Why, this was known before.
- Not to them all.
- Have you inform’d them sithence?
- How? I inform them?
- You are like to do such business.
Brutus62 - 63
- Not unlike
- Each way to better yours.
Coriolanus64 - 66
- Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
- Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
- Your fellow tribune.
Sicinius Velutus67 - 72
- You show too much of that
- For which the people stir. If you will pass
- To where you are bound, you must inquire your way,
- Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
- Or never be so noble as a consul,
- Nor yoke with him for tribune.
- Let’s be calm.
Cominius74 - 77
- The people are abus’d, set on. This palt’ring
- Becomes not Rome; nor has Coriolanus
- Deserv’d this so dishonor’d rub, laid falsely
- I’ th’ plain way of his merit.
Coriolanus78 - 79
- Tell me of corn!
- This was my speech, and I will speak’t again—
- Not now, not now.
First Roman Senator81
- Not in this heat, sir, now.
Coriolanus82 - 92
- Now, as I live, I will.
- My nobler friends, I crave their pardons.
- For the mutable, rank-scented meiny, let them
- Regard me as I do not flatter, and
- Therein behold themselves. I say again,
- In soothing them we nourish ’gainst our Senate
- The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
- Which we ourselves have plough’d for, sow’d, and scatter’d,
- By mingling them with us, the honor’d number,
- Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
- Which they have given to beggars.
- Well, no more.
First Roman Senator94
- No more words, we beseech you.
Coriolanus95 - 100
- How? No more?
- As for my country I have shed my blood,
- Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
- Coin words till their decay against those measles
- Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
- The very way to catch them.
Brutus101 - 103
- You speak a’ th’ people
- As if you were a god, to punish; not
- A man of their infirmity.
Sicinius Velutus104 - 105
- ’Twere well
- We let the people know’t.
- What, what? His choler?
Coriolanus107 - 109
- Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
- By Jove, ’twould be my mind!
Sicinius Velutus110 - 112
- It is a mind
- That shall remain a poison where it is;
- Not poison any further.
Coriolanus113 - 115
- Shall remain?
- Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you
- His absolute “shall”?
- ’Twas from the canon.
Coriolanus117 - 139
- O good but most unwise patricians! Why,
- You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
- Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
- That with his peremptory “shall,” being but
- The horn and noise o’ th’ monster’s, wants not spirit
- To say he’ll turn your current in a ditch,
- And make your channel his? If he have power,
- Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
- Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn’d,
- Be not as common fools; if you are not,
- Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
- If they be senators; and they are no less,
- When, both your voices blended, the great’st taste
- Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,
- And such a one as he, who puts his ’shall,’
- His popular ‘shall,’ against a graver bench
- Than ever frown’d in Greece. By Jove himself,
- It makes the consuls base; and my soul aches
- To know, when two authorities are up,
- Neither supreme, how soon confusion
- May enter ’twixt the gap of both, and take
- The one by th’ other.
- Well, on to th’ market-place.
Coriolanus141 - 143
- Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
- The corn a’ th’ store-house gratis, as ’twas us’d
- Sometime in Greece—
- Well, well, no more of that.
Coriolanus145 - 147
- Though there the people had more absolute pow’r,
- I say they nourish’d disobedience, fed
- The ruin of the state.
Brutus148 - 149
- Why shall the people give
- One that speaks thus their voice?
Coriolanus150 - 170
- I’ll give my reasons,
- More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
- Was not our recompense, resting well assur’d
- They ne’er did service for’t; being press’d to th’ war,
- Even when the navel of the state was touch’d,
- They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
- Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i’ th’ war,
- Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show’d
- Most valor, spoke not for them. Th’ accusation
- Which they have often made against the Senate,
- All cause unborn, could never be the native
- Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
- How shall this bosom multiplied digest
- The Senate’s courtesy? Let deeds express
- What’s like to be their words: “We did request it,
- We are the greater poll, and in true fear
- They gave us our demands.” Thus we debase
- The nature of our seats and make the rabble
- Call our cares fears; which will in time
- Break ope the locks a’ th’ Senate, and bring in
- The crows to peck the eagles.
- Come, enough.
- Enough, with over-measure.
Coriolanus173 - 194
- No, take more!
- What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
- Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
- Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
- Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wisdom,
- Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
- Of general ignorance—it must omit
- Real necessities, and give way the while
- To unstable slightness. Purpose so barr’d, it follows
- Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore beseech you—
- You that will be less fearful than discreet;
- That love the fundamental part of state
- More than you doubt the change on’t; that prefer
- A noble life before a long, and wish
- To jump a body with a dangerous physic
- That’s sure of death without it—at once pluck out
- The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
- The sweet which is their poison. Your dishonor
- Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state
- Of that integrity which should become’t;
- Not having the power to do the good it would,
- For th’ ill which doth control’t.
- H’as said enough.
Sicinius Velutus196 - 197
- H’as spoken like a traitor, and shall answer
- As traitors do.
Coriolanus198 - 205
- Thou wretch, despite o’erwhelm thee!
- What should the people do with these bald tribunes?
- On whom depending, their obedience fails
- To th’ greater bench. In a rebellion,
- When what’s not meet, but what must be, was law,
- Then were they chosen; in a better hour,
- Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
- And throw their power i’ th’ dust.
- Manifest treason!
- This a consul? No!
Brutus208 - 209
- The aediles ho!
- Enter Aediles.
- Let him be apprehended.
Sicinius Velutus210 - 214
- Go call the people
- Exit Aediles.
- in whose name myself
- Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
- A foe to th’ public weal. Obey, I charge thee,
- And follow to thine answer.
- Hence, old goat!
- We’ll surety him.
- Ag’d sir, hands off.
Coriolanus218 - 219
- Hence, rotten thing! Or I shall shake thy bones
- Out of thy garments.
- Help, ye citizens!
- Enter a rabble of Plebeians with the Aediles.
- On both sides more respect.
- Here’s he that would take from you all your power.
- Seize him, aediles!
- Down with him, down with him!
Second Roman Senator225
- Weapons, weapons, weapons!
- They all bustle about Coriolanus.
Plebeians226 - 228
- Tribunes!—Patricians!—Citizens!—What ho!—
- Peace, peace, peace!—Stay, hold, peace!
Menenius229 - 232
- What is about to be? I am out of breath,
- Confusion’s near, I cannot speak. You, tribunes
- To th’ people! Coriolanus, patience!
- Speak, good Sicinius.
- Hear me, people, peace!
- Let’s hear our tribune; peace! Speak, speak, speak!
Sicinius Velutus235 - 237
- You are at point to lose your liberties.
- Martius would have all from you; Martius,
- Whom late you have nam’d for consul.
Menenius238 - 239
- Fie, fie, fie!
- This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
First Roman Senator240
- To unbuild the city, and to lay all flat.
- What is the city but the people?
Plebeians242 - 243
- The people are the city.
Brutus244 - 245
- By the consent of all, we were establish’d
- The people’s magistrates.
- You so remain.
- And so are like to do.
Cominius248 - 251
- That is the way to lay the city flat,
- To bring the roof to the foundation,
- And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
- In heaps and piles of ruin.
- This deserves death.
Brutus253 - 257
- Or let us stand to our authority,
- Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
- Upon the part o’ th’ people, in whose power
- We were elected theirs, Martius is worthy
- Of present death.
Sicinius Velutus258 - 260
- Therefore lay hold of him;
- Bear him to th’ rock Tarpeian, and from thence
- Into destruction cast him.
- Aediles, seize him!
- Yield, Martius, yield!
Menenius263 - 264
- Hear me one word,
- Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.
- Peace, peace!
Menenius266 - 268
- To Brutus.
- Be that you seem, truly your country’s friend,
- And temp’rately proceed to what you would
- Thus violently redress.
Brutus269 - 272
- Sir, those cold ways,
- That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
- Where the disease is violent.—Lay hands upon him,
- And bear him to the rock.
- Coriolanus draws his sword.
Coriolanus273 - 275
- No, I’ll die here.
- There’s some among you have beheld me fighting;
- Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.
- Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw a while.
- Lay hands upon him.
Menenius278 - 279
- Help Martius, help!
- You that be noble, help him, young and old!
- Down with him, down with him!
- In this mutiny the Tribunes, the Aediles, and the People are
- beat in and exeunt.
Menenius281 - 282
- To Coriolanus.
- Go, get you to your house; be gone, away!
- All will be naught else.
Second Roman Senator283
- Get you gone.
Coriolanus284 - 285
- Stand fast,
- We have as many friends as enemies.
- Shall it be put to that?
First Roman Senator287 - 289
- The gods forbid!
- I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
- Leave us to cure this cause.
Menenius290 - 291
- For ’tis a sore upon us
- You cannot tent yourself. Be gone, beseech you.
- Come, sir, along with us.
Coriolanus293 - 295
- I would they were barbarians, as they are,
- Though in Rome litter’d; not Romans, as they are not,
- Though calved i’ th’ porch o’ th’ Capitol!
Menenius296 - 298
- Be gone!
- Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;
- One time will owe another.
Coriolanus299 - 300
- On fair ground
- I could beat forty of them.
Menenius301 - 302
- I could myself
- Take up a brace o’ th’ best of them, yea, the two tribunes.
Cominius303 - 308
- But now ’tis odds beyond arithmetic,
- And manhood is call’d foolery when it stands
- Against a falling fabric. Will you hence
- Before the tag return, whose rage doth rend
- Like interrupted waters, and o’erbear
- What they are us’d to bear?
Menenius309 - 312
- Pray you be gone.
- I’ll try whether my old wit be in request
- With those that have but little. This must be patch’d
- With cloth of any color.
- Nay, come away.
- Exeunt Coriolanus and Cominius with others.
- This man has marr’d his fortune.
Menenius315 - 321
- His nature is too noble for the world;
- He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
- Or Jove for’s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth;
- What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent,
- And, being angry, does forget that ever
- He heard the name of death.
- A noise within.
- Here’s goodly work!
- I would they were a-bed!
Menenius323 - 324
- I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance,
- Could he not speak ’em fair?
- Enter Brutus and Sicinius with the rabble again.
Sicinius Velutus325 - 327
- Where is this viper
- That would depopulate the city and
- Be every man himself?
- You worthy tribunes—
Sicinius Velutus329 - 333
- He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
- With rigorous hands. He hath resisted law,
- And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
- Than the severity of the public power,
- Which he so sets at nought.
First Roman Citizen334 - 336
- He shall well know
- The noble tribunes are the people’s mouths,
- And we their hands.
- He shall, sure on’t.
- Sir, sir—
Menenius340 - 341
- Do not cry havoc where you should but hunt
- With modest warrant.
Sicinius Velutus342 - 343
- Sir, how comes’t that you
- Have holp to make this rescue?
Menenius344 - 346
- Hear me speak!
- As I do know the consul’s worthiness,
- So can I name his faults.
- Consul? What consul?
- The consul Coriolanus.
- He consul!
- No, no, no, no, no.
Menenius351 - 354
- If, by the tribunes’ leave, and yours, good people,
- I may be heard, I would crave a word or two,
- The which shall turn you to no further harm
- Than so much loss of time.
Sicinius Velutus355 - 360
- Speak briefly then,
- For we are peremptory to dispatch
- This viperous traitor. To eject him hence
- Were but one danger, and to keep him here
- Our certain death; therefore it is decreed
- He dies tonight.
Menenius361 - 365
- Now the good gods forbid
- That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
- Towards her deserved children is enroll’d
- In Jove’s own book, like an unnatural dam
- Should now eat up her own!
- He’s a disease that must be cut away.
Menenius367 - 375
- O, he’s a limb that has but a disease:
- Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
- What has he done to Rome that’s worthy death?
- Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost
- (Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath
- By many an ounce) he dropp’d it for his country;
- And what is left, to lose it by his country
- Were to us all that do’t and suffer it
- A brand to th’ end a’ th’ world.
- This is clean kam.
Brutus377 - 378
- Merely awry. When he did love his country,
- It honor’d him.
Menenius379 - 381
- The service of the foot,
- Being once gangren’d, is not then respected
- For what before it was.
Brutus382 - 385
- We’ll hear no more.
- Pursue him to his house and pluck him thence,
- Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
- Spread further.
Menenius386 - 391
- One word more, one word:
- This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
- The harm of unscann’d swiftness, will (too late)
- Tie leaden pounds to ’s heels. Proceed by process,
- Lest parties (as he is belov’d) break out,
- And sack great Rome with Romans.
- If it were so—
Sicinius Velutus393 - 395
- What do ye talk?
- Have we not had a taste of his obedience—
- Our aediles smote, ourselves resisted? Come.
Menenius396 - 402
- Consider this: he has been bred i’ th’ wars
- Since ’a could draw a sword, and is ill school’d
- In bolted language; meal and bran together
- He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
- I’ll go to him, and undertake to bring him
- Where he shall answer, by a lawful form
- (In peace), to his utmost peril.
First Roman Senator403 - 406
- Noble tribunes,
- It is the humane way. The other course
- Will prove too bloody; and the end of it
- Unknown to the beginning.
Sicinius Velutus407 - 409
- Noble Menenius,
- Be you then as the people’s officer.
- Masters, lay down your weapons.
- Go not home.
Sicinius Velutus411 - 413
- Meet on the market-place. We’ll attend you there;
- Where if you bring not Martius, we’ll proceed
- In our first way.
Menenius414 - 416
- I’ll bring him to you.
- To the Senators.
- Let me desire your company. He must come,
- Or what is worst will follow.
First Roman Senator417
- Pray you let’s to him.
- Exeunt omnes.