Coriolanus


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Cominius, as it were in retire, with Soldiers
breathe (v.) 2 catch breath, pause, rest
come off (v.) 3 leave the field of combat, disengage
retire (n.) retreat, withdrawal


COMINIUS

Breathe you, my friends. Well fought! We are come off

Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands

Nor cowardly in retire. Believe me, sirs,
retire (n.) retreat, withdrawal

We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck,
strike (v.), past form stroke 1 fight, engage in fighting

By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
gust (n.) 2 rush of wind
interims, by at intervals, from time to time

The charges of our friends. The Roman gods

Lead their successes as we wish our own,
success (n.) 2 fortune, destiny

That both our powers, with smiling fronts encountering,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

May give you thankful sacrifice!

Enter a Messenger

                         Thy news?


MESSENGER

The citizens of Corioles have issued
issue (v.) 2 come forth, sally out

And given to Lartius and to Martius battle.

I saw our party to their trenches driven,

And then I came away.


COMINIUS

                         Though thou speak'st truth,

Methinks thou speak'st not well. How long is't since?
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count


MESSENGER

Above an hour, my lord.


COMINIUS

'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums.
briefly (adv.) 2 a little while ago, a short time past

How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
confound (v.) 8 [of time] waste, consume, squander

And bring thy news so late?


MESSENGER

                         Spies of the Volsces

Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel

Three or four miles about, else had I, sir,

Half an hour since brought my report.

Enter Martius


COMINIUS

                         Who's yonder

That does appear as he were flayed? O gods!

He has the stamp of Martius, and I have
stamp (n.) 1 impression, mark, imprint

Before-time seen him thus.
before-time (adv.) formerly, previously, earlier


MARTIUS

(shouts)

                          Come I too late?


COMINIUS

The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabor
tabor (n.) type of small drum, especially used in revelling

More than I know the sound of Martius' tongue

From every meaner man.
mean (adj.) 1 of low rank, inferior in position, less important


MARTIUS

                         Come I too late?


COMINIUS

Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,

But mantled in your own.
clip (v.) 1 embrace, clasp, hug


MARTIUS

                         O, let me clip ye

In arms as sound as when I wooed, in heart

As merry as when our nuptial day was done,

And tapers burned to bedward!
bedward, to showing the way towards bed


COMINIUS

                         Flower of warriors,

How is't with Titus Lartius?


MARTIUS

As with a man busied about decrees:

Condemning some to death and some to exile,

Ransoming him or pitying, threatening th' other;

Holding Corioles in the name of Rome

Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,

To let him slip at will.
slip, let let go, allow to leave, unleash


COMINIUS

                         Where is that slave

Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?

Where is he? Call him hither.


MARTIUS

                         Let him alone.

He did inform the truth – but for our gentlemen.
inform (v.) 1 report, relate, tell

The common file – a plague! Tribunes for them! –
file (n.) 1 rank of soldiers, formation

The mouse ne'er shunned the cat as they did budge
budge, bodge (v.) 1 flinch, shrink, move away

From rascals worse than they.


COMINIUS

                         But how prevailed you?


MARTIUS

Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.

Where is the enemy? Are you lords o'th' field?
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

If not, why cease you till you are so?


COMINIUS

                         Martius,

We have at disadvantage fought, and did

Retire to win our purpose.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
retire (v.) 2 retreat, pull back, withdraw


MARTIUS

How lies their battle? Know you on which side
battle (n.) 2 battle array, war formation, ranks of soldiers

They have placed their men of trust?


COMINIUS

                         As I guess, Martius,

Their bands i'th' vaward are the Antiates,
band (n.) 3 body of men, troop
vaward (n.) 1 [military] vanguard, foremost division

Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,

Their very heart of hope.
heart (n.) 2 spirit, soul, essence See Topics: Discourse markers


MARTIUS

                         I do beseech you

By all the battles wherein we have fought,

By th' blood we have shed together, by th' vows

We have made to endure friends, that you directly

Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates,

And that you not delay the present, but,
present (n.) 1 present time, immediate moment, matter in hand

Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
advanced (adj.) raised up, held high, uplifted
dart (n.) arrow; or: light spear

We prove this very hour.
prove (v.) 1 test, try out, make trial [of]


COMINIUS

                         Though I could wish

You were conducted to a gentle bath
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

And balms applied to you, yet dare I never

Deny your asking. Take your choice of those

That best can aid your action.


MARTIUS

                         Those are they

That most are willing. If any such be here –

As it were sin to doubt – that love this painting

Wherein you see me smeared; if any fear

Lesser his person than an ill report;
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count

If any think brave death outweighs bad life
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count

And that his country's dearer than himself;

Let him alone, or so many so minded,

Wave thus to express his disposition,
disposition (n.) 3 inclination, mood, frame of mind

And follow Martius.

They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in

their arms, and cast up their caps

O'me alone, make you a sword of me.

If these shows be not outward, which of you
outward (adj.) 1 external, surface, superficial

But is four Volsces? None of you but is

Able to bear against the great Aufidius

A shield as hard as his. A certain number,

Though thanks to all, must I select from all. The rest

Shall bear the business in some other fight,

As cause will be obeyed. Please you to march;
cause (n.) 3 occasion, circumstance

And I shall quickly draw out my command,
command (n.) 4 troop, body of men, force
draw out (v.) 1 choose, select, find

Which men are best inclined.


COMINIUS

                         March on, my fellows.

Make good this ostentation, and you shall
ostentation (n.) 1 public show, display, exhibition

Divide in all with us.
divide (v.) 2 share, participate, have a portion

Exeunt

 
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