Imágenes de páginas


Hear nought from Rome in private.-Your request? Than can our reasons.-There is no man in the
Vol. Should we be silent and not speak, our rai-

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

Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with

Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and

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 thorough our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread upon thy country's ruin;
And bear the palm, for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
1 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.

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.

He shall not tread on me;


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 show'd; 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,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Which thou shall 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 hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods;

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o'the 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

(1) Betray. (2) Conclude, (8) The refinements,

More bound to his mother; yet here he lets me prate
Like one i'the 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 are 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 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 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.

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 hast set thy mercy and thy


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

[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
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace.


[blocks in formation]

Sic. Is't possible, that so short a time can alter Mess. Almost at point to enter. the condition of a man?


We will meet them,


Men. There is differency between a grub, and a And help the joy. butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; Enter the Ladies, accompanied by Senators, Patrihe's more than a creeping thing. cians, and People. They pass over the stage. 1 Sen. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome:

Sic. He loved his mother dearly.

Men. So did he me: and he no more remembers Call all your tribes together, praise the gods, his mother now, than an eight year old horse. The And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before tartness of his face sours ripe grapes. When he them:

walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius, shrinks before his treading. He is able to pierce a Repeal' him with the welcome of his mother; corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum Cry,-Welcome, ladies, welcome!is a battery. He sits in his state,' as a thing made2 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 you.

Sic. The gods be good unto us!

Men. No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us. When we banished him, we respected not them: and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. Sir, if you'd save your life, fly to your

The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune,
And hale him up and down; all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.


Enter another Messenger.

What's the news? Mess. Good news, good news ;-The ladies have prevail'd;

The Volces are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.
Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain?
Mess. As certain as I know the sun is fire:
Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,
As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark


[Trumpets and hautboys sounded, and drums beaten, all together. Shouting also within. The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes, Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans, Make the sun dance. Hark you!


Welcome, ladies! [A flourish with drums and trumpets. [Exeunt. SCENE_V.-Antium. A public place. Enter Tullus Aufidius, with Attendants.

Auf. Go tell the lords of the city, I am here:
Deliver them this paper: having read it,
Bid them repair to the market-place; where I,
Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse,
The city-ports by this hath enter'd, and
Intends to appear before the people, hoping
To purge himself with words: Despatch.

[Exeunt Attendants.

[blocks in formation]


Sir, I cannot tell;

We must proceed, as we do find the people.

3 Con. The people will remain uncertain, whilst "Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either Makes the survivor heir of all.

I know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd
Mine honour for his truth: Who being so heighten'd,
He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends: and, to this end,
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable, and free.
3 Con. Sir, his stoutness,
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,-
That I would have spoke of:
Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
Made him joint servant with me; gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men; serv'd his designments
In mine own person; holps to reap the fame,
Which he did end all his; and took some pride
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
He wag'd me with his countenance, as if
I had been mercenary.
1 Con.
So he did, my lord:
They are near the city? The army marvell'd at it. And, in the last,
When he had carried Rome; and that we look'd

[Shouting again.
This is good news:
I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes, such as you,
A sea and land full: You have pray'd well to-day;
This morning, for ten thousand of your throats
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
[Shouting and music.
Sic. First, the gods bless you for their tidings:

Accept my thankfulness.

Sir, we have all

Great cause to give great thanks.

(1) Chair of state. (2) To resemble. Becall, (4) Gates,

(5) Helped,

(6) Thought me rewarded with good looks,

For no less spoil, than glory,— Auf.

There was it; For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him. At a few drops of women's rheum,' which are As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour Of our great action; Therefore shall he die, And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!

[Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the people.

1 Con. Your native town you enter'd like a post, And had no welcomes home; but he returns, Splitting the air with noise. 2 Con. And patient fools, Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear,

With giving him glory.

3 Con. Therefore, at your vantage, Ere he express himself, or move the people With what he would say, let him feel your sword, Which we will second. When he lies along, After your way his tale pronounc'd shall bury His reasons with his body. Auf

Here come the lords.

[ocr errors]

Say no more;

Enter the Lords of the city.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

[Several speak at once. Cit. Speaking promiscuously.] Tear him to picces, do it presently. He killed my son;-my daughter;-He killed my cousin Marcus;-He killed my father.

2 Lord. Peace, ho;-no outrage ;--peace. a This orb o'the earth. His last offence to us The man is noble, and his fame folds in Shall have judicious hearing.-Stand, Aufidius, And trouble not the peace.

Cor. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier; No more infected with my country's love, Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting Under your great command. You are to know, That prosperously I have attempted, and With bloody passage, led your wars, even to The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought


Do more than counterpoise, a full third part,
The charges of the action. We have made peace,
With no less honour to the Antiates,"

Than shame to the Romans: And we here deliver,
Subscrib'd by the consuls and patricians,
Together with the seal o'the senate, what
We have compounded on.

Read it not, noble lords;

But tell the traitor, in the highest degree
He hath abus'd your powers.

Cor. Traitor-How now?


Ay, traitor, Marcius. Marcius! Auf. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius; Dost thou think

I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
Coriolanus, in Corioli?-

You lords and heads of the state, perfidiously
He has betray'd your business, and given up,
For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,

(1) Tears.


(2) Rewarding us with our own expenses. (3) People of Antium, (4) Drops of tears,


With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe, To use my lawful sword!

O, that I had him,


Insolent villain!

Con. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him.

[Aufidius and the Conspirators draw, and kill Coriolanus, who falls, and Aufidius stands on him.

Lords. Hold, hold, hold, hold. Auf. My noble masters, hear me speak. 1 Lord. O Tullus,2 Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.

3 Lord. Tread not upon him.-Masters all, be quiet; Put up your swords.

Auf. My lords, when you shall know (as in this

[blocks in formation]

2 Lord.

His own impatience

Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it.
My rage is gone,
And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up:
Help, three of the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.-
Beat thou the drum, than it speak mournfully:
Trail your steel pikes.-Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
Which to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet he shall have a noble memory.
Assist. [Exeunt, bearing the body of Coriolanus.
A dead march sounded.


(1) Memorial.

The tragedy of Coriolanus is one of the most amusing of our author's performances. The old man's merriment in Menenius; the lofty lady's dignity in Volumnia; the bridal modesty in Virgilia; the patrician and military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malignity and tribunitian inso lence in Brutus and Sicinius, make a very pleasing and interesting variety; and the various revolutions of the hero's fortune, fill the mind with anxious curiosity. There is, perhaps, too much bustle in the first act, and too little in the last.

2 T


[blocks in formation]

2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But, indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Cæsar, and to rejoice in his triumph.

Mar. Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home!

What tributaries follow him to Rome,

HENCE; home, you idle creatures, get you To grace in captive bonds his chariot wheels?


Is this a holiday? What! know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk,
Upon a labouring day, without the sign
Of your profession?-Speak, what trade art thou?
1 Cit. Why, sir, a carpenter.

Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule?
What dost thou with thy best apparel on ?-
You, sir; what trade are you?"

2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.

Mar. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soals.

Mar. What trade, thou knave? thou naughty knave, what trade?

2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me: yet, if you be out, I can mend you.

Mar. What meanest thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow?

2 Cit. Why, sir, cobble you.
Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless


O, you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The live-long day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tyber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds,
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire ?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way,
That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Be gone;

Run to your houses, fall upon your knees, Pray to the gods to intermit the plague That needs must light on this ingratitude. Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault, 2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the Assemble all the poor men of your sort ;' awl: I meddle with no tradesmen's matters, nor Draw them to Tyber banks, and weep your tears women's matters, but with awl. I am, indeed, sir, Into the channel, till the lowest stream a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great Do kiss the most exalted shores of all. [Exe. Cit. danger, I re-cover them. As proper men as ever See, whe'r their basest metal be not mov'd; rod upon neat's-leather, have gone upon my handy-They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness. work. Go you down that way towards the Capitol; This way will 1: Disrobe the images, If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies."

Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets? (1) Rank, (2) Whether.

(3) Honorary ornaments; tokens of respect,

« AnteriorContinuar »