Music plays. Enter a Servingman
Wine, wine, wine! What service is
here? I think our fellows are asleep.
Enter another Servingman
Where's Cotus? My master calls
for him. Cotus!
A goodly house. The feast smells well, but I
Appear not like a guest.
Enter the First Servingman
What would you have, friend?
Whence are you? Here's no place for you. Pray go to the
I have deserved no better entertainment
In being Coriolanus.
Enter Second Servingman
Whence are you, sir? Has the
porter his eyes in his head that he gives entrance to such
companions? Pray, get you out.
Away? Get you away.
Now th'art troublesome.
Are you so brave? I'll have you
talked with anon.
Enter Third Servingman. The First meets him
What fellow's this?
A strange one as ever I looked on.
I cannot get him out o'th' house. Prithee, call my master
What have you to do here, fellow?
Pray you avoid the house.
Let me but stand – I will not hurt your hearth.
What are you?
A marvellous poor one.
True, so I am.
Pray you, poor gentleman, take up
some other station. Here's no place for you. Pray you
Follow your function, go and batten on
He pushes him away from him
What, you will not? Prithee tell
my master what a strange guest he has here.
And I shall.
Exit Second Servingman
Where dwell'st thou?
Under the canopy.
Under the canopy?
I'th' city of kites and crows.
I'th' city of kites and crows? What
an ass it is! Then thou dwell'st with daws too?
daw (n.) 1
jackdaw [as noted for its stupidity]; dolt, fool
No, I serve not thy master.
How, sir? Do you meddle with my
Ay, 'tis an honester service than to meddle
with thy mistress. Thou prat'st and prat'st. Serve with
thy trencher, Hence!
He beats him away from the stage
Enter Aufidius with the Second Servingman
Where is this fellow?
Here, sir. I'd have beaten him
like a dog, but for disturbing the lords within.
Servingmen stand aside
Whence com'st thou? What wouldst thou? Thy name?
Why speak'st not? Speak, man. What's thy name?
Not yet thou know'st me, and, seeing me, dost not
Think me for the man I am, necessity
Commands me name myself.
What is thy name?
A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,
And harsh in sound to thine.
Say, what's thy name?
Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face
Bears a command in't. Though thy tackle's torn,
Thou show'st a noble vessel. What's thy name?
Prepare thy brow to frown. Know'st thou me yet?
I know thee not. Thy name?
My name is Caius Martius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname, Coriolanus. The painful service,
The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood
Shed for my thankless country, are requited
But with that surname – a good memory,
And witness of the malice and displeasure
Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name remains.
The cruelty and envy of the people,
Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
Have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest,
And suffered me by th' voice of slaves to be
Whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity
Hath brought me to thy hearth, not out of hope –
Mistake me not – to save my life; for if
I had feared death, of all the men i'th' world
I would have 'voided thee; but in mere spite,
To be full quit of those my banishers,
Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight
And make my misery serve thy turn. So use it
That my revengeful services may prove
As benefits to thee. For I will fight
Against my cankered country with the spleen
spleen (n.) 1
temper, spirit, passion [part of the body seen as the source of both gloomy and mirthful emotions]
Of all the under fiends. But if so be
Thou dar'st not this, and that to prove more fortunes
Th'art tired, then, in a word, I also am
Longer to live most weary, and present
My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;
Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
Since I have ever followed thee with hate,
Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast,
And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
It be to do thee service.
O Martius, Martius!
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
And say ‘ 'Tis true,’ I'd not believe them more
Than thee, all-noble Martius. Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, whereagainst
My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarred the moon with splinters. Here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars, I tell thee
We have a power on foot, and I had purpose
Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
Or lose mine arm for't. Thou hast beat me out
Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me –
We have been down together in my sleep,
Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat –
And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Martius,
Had we no quarrel else to Rome but that
Thou art thence banished, we would muster all
From twelve to seventy, and pouring war
Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
Like a bold flood o'erbear't. O, come, go in,
And take our friendly senators by th' hands,
Who now are here, taking their leaves of me
Who am prepared against your territories,
Though not for Rome itself.
You bless me, gods!
Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
The leading of thine own revenges, take
Th' one half of my commission, and set down –
As best thou art experienced, since thou know'st
Thy country's strength and weakness – thine own ways,
Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
Or rudely visit them in parts remote
To fright them ere destroy. But come in
Let me commend thee first to those that shall
Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
And more a friend than e'er an enemy;
Yet, Martius, that was much. Your hand. Most welcome!
First and Second Servingmen come forward
Here's a strange alteration!
By my hand, I had thought to
have strucken him with a cudgel, and yet my mind gave
me his clothes made a false report of him.
What an arm he has! He turned me
about with his finger and his thumb as one would set up
Nay, I knew by his face that
there was something in him. He had, sir, a kind of face,
methought – I cannot tell how to term it.
He had so, looking as it were –
Would I were hanged, but I thought there was more in
him than I could think.
So did I, I'll be sworn. He is
simply the rarest man i'th' world.
I think he is. But a greater soldier
than he you wot one.
Who, my master?
Nay, it's no matter for that.
Worth six on him.
Nay, not so neither. But I take him
to be the greater soldier.
Faith, look you, one cannot tell
how to say that. For the defence of a town our general
Ay, and for an assault too.
Enter the Third Servingman
O slaves, I can tell you news –
news, you rascals!
What, what, what? Let's partake.
I would not be a Roman, of all
nations. I had as lief be a condemned man.
Why, here's he that was wont to
thwack our general, Caius Martius.
Why do you say ‘ thwack our
I do not say ‘thwack our general',
but he was always good enough for him.
Come, we are fellows and friends.
He was ever too hard for him, I have heard him say so
He was too hard for him, directly
to say the truth on't. Before Corioles he scotched him
and notched him like a carbonado.
An he had been cannibally given,
he might have boiled and eaten him too.
But more of thy news!
Why, he is so made on here within
as if he were son and heir to Mars; set at upper end
o'th' table; no question asked him by any of the senators
but they stand bald before him. Our general himself
makes a mistress of him, sanctifies himself with's hand,
and turns up the white o'th' eye to his discourse. But the
bottom of the news is, our general is cut i'th' middle and
but one half of what he was yesterday, for the other has
half by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll
go, he says, and sowl the porter of Rome gates by th' ears.
He will mow all down before him, and leave his passage
And he's as like to do't as any
man I can imagine.
Do't! He will do't, for look you,
sir, he has as many friends as enemies; which friends,
sir, as it were, durst not – look you, sir – show themselves,
as we term it, his friends whilst he's in directitude.
Directitude? What's that?
But when they shall see, sir, his
crest up again and the man in blood, they will out of their
[hunting] full of life, in fine condition
crest (n.) 2
[on an animal head or neck] ridge of feathers, ridge of hairs; hackles
burrows like conies after rain, and revel all with him.
But when goes this forward?
Tomorrow, today, presently. You
shall have the drum struck up this afternoon. 'Tis as it
were a parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they
wipe their lips.
Why, then we shall have a stirring
world again. This peace is nothing but to rust iron,
increase tailors, and breed ballad-makers.
Let me have war, say I. It exceeds
peace as far as day does night. It's spritely walking,
audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy,
lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of
more bastard children than war's a destroyer of men.
'Tis so. And as wars in some sort
may be said to be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but
peace is a great maker of cuckolds.
Ay, and it makes men hate one
Reason: because they then less
need one another. The wars for my money. I hope to see
Romans as cheap as Volscians. They are rising, they are
In, in, in, in.