Coriolanus


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Volumnia and Virgilia, mother and wife to

Martius. They set them down on two low stools and sew


VOLUMNIA

I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself

in a more comfortable sort. If my son were my husband,
comfortable (adj.) 1 cheerful, cheery, light-hearted
sort (n.) 3 way, manner

I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won

honour than in the embracements of his bed where he
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug

would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied

and the only son of my womb, when youth with

comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when for a day of

kings' entreaties a mother should not sell him an hour

from her beholding, I, considering how honour would

become such a person – that it was no better then picture-like
person (n.) 1 fine figure, personality

to hang by th' wall, if renown made it not stir –

was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he

returned his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter,
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child

than now in first seeing he had proved himself a

man.


VIRGILIA

But had he died in the business, madam, how

then?


VOLUMNIA

Then his good report should have been my

son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count

sincerely, had I a dozen sons, each in my love alike, and

none less dear than thine and my good Martius, I had

rather had eleven die nobly for their country than one

voluptuously surfeit out of action.
surfeit (v.) 1 feed to excess, overindulge, glut

Enter a Gentlewoman


GENTLEWOMAN

Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to

visit you.


VIRGILIA

Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.


VOLUMNIA

Indeed you shall not.

Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum;
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

See him pluck Aufidius down by th' hair;

As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.
shun (v.) 2 look to escape, seek safety in flight

Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

‘ Come on, you cowards! You were got in fear,
get (v.) 1 beget, conceive, breed

Though you were born in Rome.’ His bloody brow
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

With his mailed hand then wiping, forth he goes,

Like to a harvest-man that's tasked to mow
like to / unto (conj./prep.) similar to, comparable with
task (v.) 2 set a task [for], employ

Or all or lose his hire.
hire (n.) wages, payment, earnings


VIRGILIA

His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood!


VOLUMNIA

Away, you fool! It more becomes a man

Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count
trophy (n.) 2 memorial, monument

When she did suckle Hector, looked not lovelier

Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood

At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria
contemn (v.) despise, scorn, treat with contempt

We are fit to bid her welcome.
fit (adj.) 3 in a proper state, in the right circumstances

Exit Gentlewoman


VIRGILIA

Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
bless (v.) 1 guard, protect, safeguard
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage


VOLUMNIA

He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee

And tread upon his neck.

Enter Valeria, with an Usher and a Gentlewoman


VALERIA

My ladies both, good day to you.


VOLUMNIA

Sweet madam!


VIRGILIA

I am glad to see your ladyship.


VALERIA

How do you both? You are manifest housekeepers.
manifest (adj.) clear, evident, obvious

What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith.
spot (n.) 4 piece of embroidery

How does your little son?


VIRGILIA

I thank your ladyship. Well, good madam.


VOLUMNIA

He had rather see the swords and hear a drum

than look upon his schoolmaster.


VALERIA

O' my word, the father's son! I'll swear 'tis a
a (prep.) 2 variant form of ‘by’

very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o'Wednesday
pretty (adj.) 3 [of men] fine, good-looking

half an hour together. 'Has such a confirmed
confirmed (adj.) resolute, determined, purposeful
together (adv.) 1 without a break, whole

countenance! I saw him run after a gilded butterfly, and
countenance (n.) 1 demeanour, bearing, manner

when he caught it, he let it go again, and after it again,

and over and over he comes and up again, catched it
over and over head over heels

again; or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he

did so set his teeth and tear it. O, I warrant, how he
set (v.) 10 clench

mammocked it!
mammock (v.) tear to shreds, rip to pieces


VOLUMNIA

One on's father's moods.
mood (n.) 1 anger, fury, frenzy, fit of temper


VALERIA

Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.


VIRGILIA

A crack, madam.
crack (n.) 3 young rascal, little rogue


VALERIA

Come, lay aside your stitchery. I must have you
stitchery (n.) needlework, embroidery

play the idle housewife with me this afternoon.


VIRGILIA

No, good madam, I will not out of doors.


VALERIA

Not out of doors?


VOLUMNIA

She shall, she shall.


VIRGILIA

Indeed, no, by your patience. I'll not over the

threshold till my lord return from the wars.


VALERIA

Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably.

Come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.


VIRGILIA

I will wish her speedy strength and visit her
strength (n.) 4 recovery, return to full health

with my prayers, but I cannot go thither.


VOLUMNIA

Why, I pray you?


VIRGILIA

'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.


VALERIA

You would be another Penelope. Yet they say

all the yarn she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill

Ithaca full of moths. Come, I would your cambric were
cambric (n.) fine linen from Cambray, Flanders

sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it
sensible (adj.) 1 sensitive, responsive, capable of feeling

for pity. Come, you shall go with us.


VIRGILIA

No, good madam, pardon me, indeed I will not

forth.


VALERIA

In truth, la, go with me, and I'll tell you excellent

news of your husband.


VIRGILIA

O, good madam, there can be none yet.


VALERIA

Verily I do not jest with you. There came news
verily (adv.) in truth, truly, indeed See Topics: Swearing

from him last night.


VIRGILIA

Indeed, madam?


VALERIA

In earnest, it's true. I heard a senator speak it.

Thus it is: the Volsces have an army forth, against whom

Cominius the general is gone with one part of our

Roman power. Your lord and Titus Lartius are set
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

down before their city Corioles. They nothing doubt

prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true, on
prevail (v.) 1 succeed, win, be victor

mine honour, and so, I pray, go with us.


VIRGILIA

Give me excuse, good madam, I will obey you
excuse (n.) pardon, dispensation, exoneration

in everything hereafter.


VOLUMNIA

Let her alone, lady. As she is now, she will

but disease our better mirth.
disease (v.) spoil, trouble, disturb


VALERIA

In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then.

Come, good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy

solemness out o' door and go along with us.


VIRGILIA

No, at a word, madam. Indeed I must not. I
word, at a 1 in a word, once and for all, in short See Topics: Discourse markers

wish you much mirth.


VALERIA

Well, then, farewell.

Exeunt

 
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