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To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' th' wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,'
And saving those that eye thee!


Cor. That's my brave boy.

Your knee, sirrah.

Vol. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,

Are suitors to you.


I beseech you, peace:
Or, if you'd ask, remember this before;

The things, 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 mechanicks :-Tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural: Desire not

To allay my rages and revenges, with

Your colder reasons.


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.
Cor. Aufidius, and you Volces, mark; for we'll
Hear nought from Rome in private.-Your request?
Vol. 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,


flaw, gust, storm.

[COR. 105]

Fail to grant us our request.
z 5

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 thorough 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,
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.

Ay, and on mine,
That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name
Living to time.


He shall not tread on me;
I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
Cor. Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
Requires nor child nor woman's face to see.
I have sat too long.


Nay, go not from us thus.
If it were so, that our request did tend

To save the Romans, thereby to destroy

The Volces whom you serve, you might condemn us, As poisonous of your honour: No; our suit

Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volces

May say, This mercy we have showed; the Romans,
This we receiv'd; and each in either side

Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, Be bless'd
For making up this peace! Thou know'st, great son,
The end of war's uncertain; but this certain,

determine, close, end. [COR. 106]

To both Romans and Volcians.

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 the ensuing age, abhorr'd. Speak to me, son:
Thou has affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods;

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' 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 honourable 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 his mother; yet here he lets me prat
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 honour. 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 neighbours.-Nay, behold us :
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels, and holds up hands, for fellowship,
Does reason3 our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny't.-Come, let us go:


The meaning is, to threaten much and yet be merciful. Keeps me in a state of ignominy, talking to no purpose. 3 reason, advocate.

[COR. 107]

This fellow had a Volcian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli, and his child
Like him by chance:-Yet give us our despatch:
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.


O mother, mother! [Holding VOLUMNIA by the hands, silent. 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, say, would you have heard A mother less? or granted less, Aufidius?

Auf. I was mov'd withal.

Cor. 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!

Auf. I am glad, thou has set thy mercy and thy honour

At difference in thee: out of that I'll work'
Myself a former fortune.


[Aside. [The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS. Ay, by and by;

[TO VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, &c. 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

I will take advantage of this concession to restore myself to my former credit and power.

[COR. 108]

In Italy, and her confederate arms,

Could not have made this peace.


SCENE IV.-Rome. A publick place.


Men. See you yond' coign o' th' Capitol; yond' corner-stone?

Sic. Why, what of that?

Men. If it be possible for you to displace it with your little finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him. But I say, there is no hope in't; our throats are sentenced, and stay upon execution.

Sic. Is't possible, that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?

Men. There is differency between a grub, and a butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a creeping thing.

Sic. He loved his mother dearly.

Men. So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother now, than an eight-year old horse.' The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes. When he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before his treading. He is able to pierce a corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done, is finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity, and a heaven to throne in.

Sic. Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.


Men. I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall bring from him: There is no more mercy in him, than there is milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find: and all this is 'long of


[COR. 109]

Remembers his dam subintelligitur.
As one made to resemble Alexander,

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