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But I fear

They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
The second name of men, obeys his points
As if he were his officer: desperation
Is all the policy, strength and defence,
That Rome can make against them.


Enter a troop of Citizens.

Here come the clusters.

And is Aufidius with him? You are they

That made the air unwholesome, when you cast
Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at
Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming;
And not a hair upon a soldier's head

Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs
As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter;
If he could burn us all into one coal,

We have deserved it.

Citizens. Faith, we hear fearful news.
First Cit.

For mine own part,

When I said, banish him, I said, 'twas pity.

Sec. Cit. And so did I.

Third Cit. And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very many of us: that we did, we did for the best; and though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our will.

Com. Ye're goodly things, you voices?

Good work, you and your cry!

Capitol ?

Com. O, ay, what else?

You have made

Shall's to the

[Exeunt Cominius and Menenius.

Sic. Go, masters, get you home; be not dis





These are a side that would be glad to have
This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
And show no sign of fear.

First Cit. The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. I ever said we were i' the wrong when we banished him.

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Enter AUFIDIUS and his Lieutenant.

Auf. Do they still fly to the Roman?

Lieu. I do not know what witchcraft's in him,

Your soldiers use him as the grace 'fore meat,
Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;

And you are darken'd in this action, sir,
Even by your own.

I cannot help it now,
Unless, by using means, I lame the foot

Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
Even to my person, than I thought he would
When first I did embrace him: yet his nature
In that's no changeling; and I must excuse
What cannot be amended.



Yet I wish, sir,

I mean for your particular,—you had not
Join'd in commission with him; but either
Had borne the action of yourself, or else
To him had left it solely.

Auf. I understand thee well; and be thou sure,
When he shall come to his account, he knows not
What I can urge against him. Although it seems,
And so he thinks, and is no less apparent
To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly,
And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon
As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
That which shall break his neck or hazard mine,
Whene'er we come to our account.

Lieu. Sir, I beseech you, think you he'll carry

Auf. All places yield to him ere he sits down ;
And the nobility of Rome are his :

The senators and patricians love him too:
The tribunes are no soldiers; and their people
Will be as rash in the

To expel him thence.

repeal, as hasty

I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.

A noble servant to them;

First he was

but he could not

Carry his honours even whether 'twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints

The happy man; whether defect of judgement,
To fail in the disposing of those chances
Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
Not to be other than one thing, not moving

34. As is the osprey to the fish. Fish are said to turn on their backs at the sight of the osprey, 'subdued ere they are touched';



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From the casque to the cushion, but commanding


Even with the same austerity and garb

As he controll'd the war; but one of these-
As he hath spices of them all, not all,

For I dare so far free him-made him fear'd,
So hated, and so banish'd; but he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance. So our virtues
Lie in the interpretation of the time:

And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair

To extol what it hath done.

One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail; Rights by rights falter, strengths by strengths do fail. Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine, Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine. [Exeunt.



SCENE I. Rome. A public place.


Men. No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said Which was sometime his general, who loved him

49-53. our virtues lie, etc.; our reputation for virtue is in the hands of our contemporaries; and power, confident of its own merits, has no more obvious road to ruin than by proclaiming them.


This I think the clear
But some commentators

prefer to understand the whole as a tribute to Coriolanus, taking tomb' in the sense of 'monument.'

55. falter. So Dyce for the unintelligible 'fouler' of Ff. The emendation cannot be called certain,


In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him
A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
Com. He would not seem to know me.


Do you hear?
Com. Yet one time he did call me by my name :
I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
He would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titleless,

Till he had forged himself a name o' the fire
Of burning Rome.

Men. Why, so you have made good work!
A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
To make coals cheap: a noble memory!

Com. I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
When it was less expected: he replied,

It was a bare petition of a state

To one whom they had punish'd.


Could he say less?

Very well:

Com. I offer'd to awaken his regard
For's private friends: his answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And still to nose the offence.

For one poor grain or two!
I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
And this brave fellow too, we are the grains :
You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt

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bare petition, a request unaccompanied by any promise of atonement or restitution

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