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Which can make gods forsworn ?-I melt, and Of thy deep duty more impression show am not
Than that of common sons. Of stronger earth than others.— My mother bows ; VOL.
bless'd: As if Olympus to a molehill should
Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint, In supplication nod; and my young boy
I kneel before thee; and unproperly Hath an aspect of intercession, which
Show duty, as mistaken all this while Great nature cries, Deny not.—Let the Volsces Between the child and parent.
[Kneels. Plough Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never
What is this? Be such a gosling to obey instinct ; but stand, Your knees to me? to your corrected son ? As if a man were author of himself,
Then let the pebbles on the hungry“ beach And knew no other kin.
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds VIRG.
My lord and husband ! Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun ; Cor. These eyes are not the same I wore in Murd’ring impossibility, to make Rome.
What cannot be, slight work. VIRG. The sorrow that delivers us thus chang'd VOL.
Thou art my warrior; Makes you
I holp* to frame thee.—Do you know this lady? COR. Like a dull actor now,
Con. The noble sister of Publicola, I have forgot my part, and I am out,
The moon of Rome; chaste as the icicle, Even to a full disgrace.—Best of my flesh, That's curded by the frost from purest snow, Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
And hangs on Dian's temple :—dear Valeria ! For that, Forgive our Romans.-0, a kiss
Vol. This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
The god of soldiers, Hath virgin'd it e'er since.—You gods ! I prate,* With the consent of supreme Jove, inform And the most noble mother of the world
Thy thoughts with nobleness, that thou mayst Leave unsaluted : sink, my knee, i' the earth ;
prove [Kneels. To shame unvulnerable, and stick i’ the wars
(*) Old text, pray, corrected by Theobald. - the hungry beach-] The sterile, unprolific beach; or as
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw, Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son, And saving those that eye thee!
purpose not to wait on fortune till VOL.
Your knee, sirrah. These wars determine : if I cannot persuade thee Cor. That's my brave boy !
Rather to show a noble grace to both parts,
March to assault thy country, than to tread
(Trust to't, thou shalt not) on thy mother's womb, Or, if you'd ask, remember this before,- That brought thee to this world. The things * I have forsworn to grant may never
Ay, and mine, Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
That brought you forth this boy, to keep your Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate Again with Rome's mechanics : tell me not Living to time. Wherein I seem unnatural : desire not
'A shall not tread on me ; To allay my rages and revenges with
I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight. Your colder reasons.
Cor. Not of a woman's tenderness to be, VOL.
0, no more, no more ! Requires nor child nor woman's face to see. You have said you will not grant us anything ; I have sat too long.
[Rising For we have nothing else to ask, but that
, go not from us thus, Which you deny already : yet we will ask ; If it were so that our request did tend That, if
you fail in our request,“ the blame To save the Romans, thereby to destroy May hang upon your hardness : therefore hear us.
The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn Cor. Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for
As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit Hear nought from Rome in private.-Your re- Is, that you reconcile them : while the Volsces quest?
May say, This mercy we have show'd ; the Vol. Should we be silent and not speak, our
This we receiv'd ; and each in either side And state of bodies would bewray what life Give the All-hail to thee, and cry, Be bless'd We have led since thy exíle. Think with thyself, For making up this peace! Thou know'st, great How more unfortunate than all living women
son, Are we come hither: since that thy sight, which The end of war's uncertain ; but this certain, should
That if thou conquer Rome, the benefit Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name, comforts,
Whose repetition will be dogg’d with curses ; Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and Whose chronicle thus writ,—The man was noble, sorrow;
But with his last attempt he wip'd it out ; Making the mother, wife, and child, to see Destroy'd his country; and his name remains The son, the husband, and the father, tearing To the ensuing age abhorrd. Speak to me, son : His country's bowels out. And to poor we Thou hast affected the fine* strains of honour, Thine enmity's most capital: thou barrest us To imitate the graces of the gods; Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air, That all but we enjoy ; for how can we,
And yet to charget thy sulphur with a bolt Alas ! how can we for our country pray,
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak ? Whereto we are bound,—together with thy victory, Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man Whereto we are bound ? Alack! or we must lose Still to remember wrongs ?—Daughter, speak you ; The country, our dear nurse ; or else thy person, He cares not for your weeping.--Speak thou, boy ; Our comfort in the country. We must find Perhaps thy childishness will move him more An evident calamity, though we had
Than can our reasons.—There's no man in the Our wish, which side should win ; for either thou
world Must, as a foreign recreant, be led
More bound to 's mother; yet here he lets me With manacles through our streets, or else
prate Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
Like one i’ the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life And bear the palm for having bravely shed Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy ;
(*) Old text, thing. a That, if you fail in our request,-) If you fail to grant what we require. Pope and Mr. Collier's annotator read," - if we fail," &c.
b An evident calamity,-) An inevitable calamity. So in Act
(*) Old text, five.
(+) Old text, change. IV. Sc. 7,
When she, (poor hen !) fond of no second brood,
SCENE IV.-Rome. A Public Place. Loaden with honour. Say my request's unjust, and spurn me back: but, if it be not so,
Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS. Thou art not honest, and the gods will plague thee,
Men. See you yond coign o' the Capitol,That thou restrain'st from me the duty, which
yond corner-stone ? To a mother's part belongs.—He turns away:
Sic. Why, what of that? Down, ladies ! let us shame him with our knees.
MEN. If it be possible for you to displace it To his surname Coriolanus ’longs more pride,
with your little finger, there is some hope the Than pity to our prayers. Down ! an end :
ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may preThis is the last. So, we will home to Rome,
vail with him. But I say there is no hope in 't ; And die among our neighbours.--Nay, behold 's;
our throats are sentenced, and stay upon execution. This boy that cannot tell what he would have,
Sic. Is 't possible that so short a time can alter But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship, the condition of a man ? Does reason our petition with more strength
Men. There is differency between a grub and a Than thou hast to deny't.—Come, let us go :
butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
Marcius is grown from man to dragon : he has His wife is in Corioli, and his child
wings; he's more than a creeping thing. Like him by chance.—Yet give us our dispatch : Sic. He loved his mother dearly. I am hush'd until our city be a-fire,
MEN. So did he me: and he no more rememAnd then I'll speak a little.
bers his mother now than an eight-year-old horse. CoR. [After holding VOLUMNIA by the hand,
The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes : when silent.] O mother, mother!
he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground What have you done ?-Behold! the heavens do
shrinks before his treading: he is able to pierce a ope,
corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing They laugh at.—0, my mother, mother! O!
made for Alexander. What he bids be done, is You have won a happy victory to Rome ;
finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a But, for your son,-believe it, 0, believe it,
god but eternity, and a heaven to throne in. Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
Sic. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly. If not most mortal(1) to him! But, let it come.
MEN. I paint him in the character. Mark Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars, I'll franie convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius, there is no more mercy in him than there is milk
what mercy his mother shall bring from him : Were you in my stead, would you have heard
in a male tiger ; that shall our poor city find : and A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius ? all this is ’long of you. AUF. I was mov'd withal.
Sic. The gods be good unto us!
MEN. No, in such a case the gods will not be And, sir, it is no little thing to make
good unto us. When we banished him, we reMine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
spected not them; and, he returning to break our What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part,
necks, they respect not us. I'll not to Rome, I'll back with
Enter a Messenger. AUF. [Aside.] I am glad, thou hast set thy
Mess. Sir, if you 'd save your life, fly to your mercy and thy honour
house: At difference in thee: out of that I'll work Myself a former fortune.
The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune, [The · Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS.
And hale him up and down; all swearing, if Cor. Ay, by and by ;
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.
Enter another Messenger.
What's the news ? To have a temple built you: (2) all the swords Mess. Good news! good news!—the ladies have In Italy, and her confederate arms,
prevail'd, Could not have made this peace. Exeunt. The Volscians are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone!
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
SCENE VI.-Corioli. A Public Place.
most certain ?
AUF. Go tell the lords o' the city, I am here: Where have you lurk’d, that you make doubt of it?
Deliver them this paper : having read it, Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blowna tide,
Bid them repair to the market-place; where I,
Even in theirs and in the commons' ears, As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark
Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse [Trumpets and hautboys sounded, and The city ports by this hath enter'd, and drums beaten, all together. Shouting To purge himself with words: dispatch.
Intends to appear before the people, hoping also without. The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
Enter three or four Conspirators of Aufidius'
1 Con. How is it with our general ?
As with a man by his own alms empoison’d,
And with his charity slain.
Most noble sir,
[Shouting and music.
If you do hold the same intent wherein Sic. First, the gods bless you for your tidings :
You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
Of your great danger. next,
Sir, I cannot tell;
We must proceed as we do find the people.
3 Con. The people will remain uncertain whilst Sic. They are near the city ?
”Twixt you there's difference ; but the fall of either SEC. MESS. Almost at point to enter.
Makes the survivor heir of all.
I know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,
Seducing so my friends; and, to this end, Enter the Ladies, accompanied by Senators, He bow'd his nature, never known before
Patricians, and People. They pass over the But to be rough, unswayable, and free. stage.
3 Con. Sir, his stoutness,
When he did stand for consul, which he lost 1 Sen. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome! | By lack of stooping,— Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
That I would have spoke of. And make triumphant fires ; strew flowers before Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth ; them :
Presented to my knife his throat : I took him ;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men ; serv'd his designments [A flourish with drums and trumpets. In mine own person ; holp to reap the fame
Exeunt. Which he did enda all his; and took some pride
1 - blown tide,--] Blown tide, like "blown ambition," " King Lear," Act IV. Sc. 4, means "swoll'n tide." There is no allusion to the wind, as some commentators suppose.
Corioli.] In all the editions, from Rowe downwards, this scene has been laid in Antium, until Mr. Singer correctly changed it to Corioli.
© Sir, his stoutness,-) A word seems to have dropped out of this line; it possibly ran originally, "Witness, sir, his stoutness.”
& Which he did end all his ;) So the old copies. Rowe changed "end" to " make;" Mr. Collier's annotator substitutes "ear; and Mr. Collier has a preference for in,"did in all his;" but is not "end" an erratum for bind! So, in " As You Like It,"
Act I. Sc. 2,
" They that reap must sheaf and bind." Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's “ Bonduca," Act IV. Sc 3,
"— when Rome, like reapers,
And bound it up, and brought it off."
“ Hooky, hooky, we have shorn
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
Under your great command. You are to know, I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
That prosperously I have attempted, and He wag'd me with his countenance," as if
With bloody passage led your wars, even to I had been mercenary.
The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought 1 Con. So he did, my lord,—
home The army marvell’d at it; and, in the last, Do more than counterpoise, a full third part, When he had carried Rome, and that we look'd The charges of the action. We have made peace, For no less spoil than glory, —
With no less honour to the Antiates, AUF.
There was it, Than shame to the Romans : and we here deliver, For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him. Subscrib'd by the consuls and patricians, At a few drops of women's rheum, which are Together with the seal o' the senate, what As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour We have compounded on. Of our great action; therefore shall he die,
Read it not, noble lords ; And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark !
But tell the traitor, in the highest degree [Drums and trumpets sound, with great
He hath abus'd your powers. shouts of the People.
Cor. Traitor !-How now ?1 Con. Your native town you enter'd like a post,
Ay, traitor, Marcius. And had no welcomes home; but he returns,
Marcius ! Splitting the air with noise.
AUF. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius ; dost thou 2 Con. And patient fools,
think Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name, With giving him glory.
Coriolanus, in Corioli ?— 3 Con. Therefore, at your vantage,
You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously Ere he express himself, or move the people He has betray'd your business, and given up, With what he would say, let him feel your sword, For certain drops of salt, your city Rome Which we will second. When he lies along, (I say, your city) to his wife and mother
A twist of rotten silk; never admitting
Counsel o' the war ; but at his nurse's tears
He whin’d and roar'd away your victory,
pages blush'd at him, and men of heart Enter the Lords of the city.
Look'd wondering each at other.
Hear'st thou, Mars!
Auf. Name not the god, thou boy of tears !
Ha ! But, worthy lords, have you with heed perus’d
AUF. No more. What I have written to you ?
Cor. Measureless liar! thou hast made my heart LORDS.
Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave ! 1 LORD. And grieve to hear't.
Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever What faults he made before the last, I think,
I was forc'd to scold. Your judgments, my grave Might have found easy fines: but there to end, Where he was to begin ; and give away The benefit of our levies, answering us
Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion
(Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him ; that With our own charge ; making a treaty where
Must bear my beating to his grave) shall join There was a yielding,—this admits no excuse.
To thrust the lie unto him. AUF. He approaches ; you shall hear him.
1 LORD. Peace both and hear me speak. Enter CORIOLANUS, with drum and colours ;
Cor. Cut me to pieces, Volsces ! men and lads, a crowd of Citizens with him.
Stain all your edges on me !--Boy ! False hound !
you have writ your annals true, 't is there, Cor. Hail, lords ! I am return's your soldier;(3) That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I No more infected with my country's love
Flutter'd * your Volscians in Corioli : Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting Alone I did it !-Boy !
(*) old text, Flatter'd.
and He wag'd me with his countenance,-] This is explained, -he gave me his countenance for my wages, rewarded me with good looks. But "countenance," or we mistake, means here not looks, but entertainment. See note (6), p. 255, Vol. I. b His reasons with his body.) In the old copies we have,
let him feele your Sword :
His Reasons, with his Body."