Act V, Scene 3
The tent of Coriolanus.
- Enter Coriolanus and Aufidius with others.
Coriolanus1 - 4
- We will before the walls of Rome tomorrow
- Set down our host. My partner in this action,
- You must report to th’ Volscian lords, how plainly
- I have borne this business.
Aufidius5 - 9
- Only their ends
- You have respected; stopp’d your ears against
- The general suit of Rome; never admitted
- A private whisper, no, not with such friends
- That thought them sure of you.
Coriolanus10 - 40
- This last old man,
- Whom with a crack’d heart I have sent to Rome,
- Lov’d me above the measure of a father,
- Nay, godded me indeed. Their latest refuge
- Was to send him; for whose old love I have
- (Though I show’d sourly to him) once more offer’d
- The first conditions, which they did refuse
- And cannot now accept, to grace him only
- That thought he could do more: a very little
- I have yielded to. Fresh embassies and suits,
- Nor from the state nor private friends, hereafter
- Will I lend ear to.
- Shout within.
- Ha? What shout is this?
- Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
- In the same time ’tis made? I will not.
- Enter in mourning habits Virgilia, Volumnia, Valeria, young
- Martius, with Attendants.
- My wife comes foremost; then the honor’d mould
- Wherein this trunk was fram’d, and in her hand
- The grandchild to her blood. But out, affection,
- All bond and privilege of nature, break!
- Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.
- What is that curtsy worth? Or those doves’ eyes,
- Which can make gods forsworn? I melt, and am not
- Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows,
- As if Olympus to a molehill should
- In supplication nod; and my young boy
- Hath an aspect of intercession, which
- Great Nature cries, “Deny not.” Let the Volsces
- Plough Rome and harrow Italy, I’ll never
- Be such a gosling to obey instinct, but stand
- As if a man were author of himself,
- And knew no other kin.
- My lord and husband!
- These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
Virgilia43 - 44
- The sorrow that delivers us thus chang’d
- Makes you think so.
Coriolanus45 - 57
- Like a dull actor now
- I have forgot my part, and I am out,
- Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
- Forgive my tyranny; but do not say
- For that, “Forgive our Romans.” O, a kiss
- Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
- Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
- I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
- Hath virgin’d it e’er since. You gods, I prate,
- And the most noble mother of the world
- Leave unsaluted. Sink, my knee, i’ th’ earth;
- Of thy deep duty more impression show
- Than that of common sons.
Volumnia58 - 62
- O, stand up blest!
- Whilst with no softer cushion than the flint
- I kneel before thee, and unproperly
- Show duty as mistaken all this while
- Between the child and parent.
Coriolanus63 - 69
- What’s this?
- Your knees to me? To your corrected son?
- Raises her.
- Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
- Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
- Strike the proud cedars ’gainst the fiery sun,
- Murd’ring impossibility, to make
- What cannot be, slight work.
Volumnia70 - 71
- Thou art my warrior,
- I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?
Coriolanus72 - 75
- The noble sister of Publicola,
- The moon of Rome, chaste as the icicle
- That’s curdied by the frost from purest snow
- And hangs on Dian’s temple—dear Valeria!
Volumnia76 - 78
- This is a poor epitome of yours,
- Which by th’ interpretation of full time
- May show like all yourself.
Coriolanus79 - 84
- The god of soldiers,
- With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
- Thy thoughts with nobleness, that thou mayst prove
- To shame unvulnerable, and stick i’ th’ wars
- Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
- And saving those that eye thee!
- Your knee, sirrah.
- That’s my brave boy!
Volumnia87 - 88
- Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself
- Are suitors to you.
Coriolanus89 - 97
- I beseech you peace;
- Or, if you’ld ask, remember this before:
- The thing I have forsworn to grant may never
- Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
- Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
- Again with Rome’s mechanics. Tell me not
- Wherein I seem unnatural; desire not
- T’ allay my rages and revenges with
- Your colder reasons.
Volumnia98 - 103
- O, no more, no more!
- You have said you will not grant us any thing;
- For we have nothing else to ask but that
- Which you deny already. Yet we will ask,
- That, if you fail in our request, the blame
- May hang upon your hardness, therefore hear us.
Coriolanus104 - 106
- Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark, for we’ll
- Hear nought from Rome in private.
- Your request?
Volumnia107 - 138
- Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment
- And state of bodies would bewray what life
- We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself
- How more unfortunate than all living women
- Are we come hither; since that thy sight, which should
- Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comforts,
- Constrains them weep and shake with fear and sorrow,
- Making the mother, wife, and child to see
- The son, the husband, and the father tearing
- His country’s bowels out. And to poor we
- Thine enmity’s most capital; thou barr’st us
- Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
- That all but we enjoy. For how can we,
- Alas! How can we, for our country pray,
- Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
- Whereto we are bound? Alack, or we must lose
- The country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,
- Our comfort in the country. We must find
- An evident calamity, though we had
- Our wish, which side should win; for either thou
- Must as a foreign recreant be led
- With manacles through our streets, or else
- Triumphantly tread on thy country’s ruin,
- And bear the palm for having bravely shed
- Thy wife and children’s blood. For myself, son,
- I purpose not to wait on fortune till
- These wars determine. If I cannot persuade thee
- Rather to show a noble grace to both parts
- Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
- March to assault thy country than to tread
- (Trust to’t, thou shalt not) on thy mother’s womb
- That brought thee to this world.
Virgilia139 - 141
- Ay, and mine,
- That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name
- Living to time.
Boy142 - 143
- ’A shall not tread on me;
- I’ll run away till I am bigger, but then I’ll fight.
Coriolanus144 - 146
- Not of a woman’s tenderness to be,
- Requires nor child nor woman’s face to see.
- I have sate too long.
Volumnia147 - 198
- Nay, go not from us thus.
- If it were so that our request did tend
- To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
- The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us,
- As poisonous of your honor. No, our suit
- Is that you reconcile them: while the Volsces
- May say, “This mercy we have show’d,” the Romans,
- “This we receiv’d”; and each in either side
- Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, “Be blest
- For making up this peace!” Thou know’st, great son,
- The end of war’s uncertain; but this certain,
- That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
- Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name
- Whose repetition will be dogg’d with curses;
- Whose chronicle thus writ: “The man was noble,
- But with his last attempt he wip’d it out,
- Destroy’d his country, and his name remains
- To th’ ensuing age abhorr’d.” Speak to me, son.
- Thou hast affected the fine strains of honor,
- To imitate the graces of the gods:
- To tear with thunder the wide cheeks a’ th’ air,
- And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
- That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
- Think’st thou it honorable for a noble man
- Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you;
- He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy;
- Perhaps thy childishness will move him more
- Than can our reasons. There’s no man in the world
- More bound to ’s mother, yet here he lets me prate
- Like one i’ th’ stocks.—Thou hast never in thy life
- Show’d thy dear mother any courtesy,
- When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
- Has cluck’d thee to the wars, and safely home
- Loaden with honor. Say my request’s unjust,
- And spurn me back; but if it be not so,
- Thou art not honest, and the gods will plague thee
- That thou restrain’st from me the duty which
- To a mother’s part belongs.—He turns away.
- Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.
- To his surname Coriolanus ’longs more pride
- Than pity to our prayers. Down! An end,
- This is the last. So, we will home to Rome,
- And die among our neighbors.—Nay, behold ’s!
- This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
- But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,
- Does reason our petition with more strength
- Than thou hast to deny’t.—Come, let us go.
- This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
- His wife is in Corioles, and his child
- Like him by chance.—Yet give us our dispatch.
- I am hush’d until our city be afire,
- And then I’ll speak a little.
- Coriolanus holds her by the hand, silent.
Coriolanus199 - 210
- O mother, mother!
- What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,
- The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
- They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
- You have won a happy victory to Rome;
- But, for your son, believe it—O, believe it—
- Most dangerously you have with him prevail’d,
- If not most mortal to him. But let it come.
- Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
- I’ll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
- Were you in my stead, would you have heard
- A mother less? Or granted less, Aufidius?
- I was mov’d withal.
Coriolanus212 - 217
- I dare be sworn you were;
- And, sir, it is no little thing to make
- Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
- What peace you’ll make, advise me. For my part,
- I’ll not to Rome, I’ll back with you, and pray you
- Stand to me in this cause.—O mother! Wife!
Aufidius218 - 220
- I am glad thou hast set thy mercy and thy honor
- At difference in thee. Out of that I’ll work
- Myself a former fortune.
Coriolanus221 - 228
- To Volumnia, Virgilia, etc.
- Ay, by and by;
- But we will drink together; and you shall bear
- A better witness back than words, which we,
- On like conditions, will have counter-seal’d.
- Come enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
- To have a temple built you. All the swords
- In Italy, and her confederate arms,
- Could not have made this peace.