Coriolanus


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter the two Tribunes, Sicinius and Brutus


SICINIUS

We hear not of him, neither need we fear him.

His remedies are tame – the present peace

And quietness of the people, which before

Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends

Blush that the world goes well, who rather had,

Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold

Dissentious numbers pestering streets than see
pester (v.) obstructing, crowding, clogging

Our tradesmen singing in their shops and going

About their functions friendly.
function (n.) 3 office, occupation, calling


BRUTUS

We stood to't in good time.

Enter Menenius
stand to it (v.) 3 be steadfast, stand firm, make a stand
time, in good 1 at the right moment

                         Is this Menenius?


SICINIUS

'Tis he,'tis he. O, he is grown most kind

Of late. Hail, sir!


MENENIUS

                         Hail to you both!


SICINIUS

Your Coriolanus is not much missed

But with his friends. The commonwealth doth stand,

And so would do, were he more angry at it.


MENENIUS

All's well, and might have been much better if

He could have temporized.
temporize (v.) 1 compromise, conform, become amenable


SICINIUS

                         Where is he, hear you?


MENENIUS

Nay, I hear nothing. His mother and his wife

Hear nothing from him.

Enter three or four Citizens


CITIZENS

The gods preserve you both!


SICINIUS

                         Good-e'en, our neighbours.


BRUTUS

Good-e'en to you all, good-e'en to you all.


FIRST CITIZEN

Ourselves, our wives and children, on our knees

Are bound to pray for you both.


SICINIUS

                         Live and thrive!


BRUTUS

Farewell, kind neighbours. We wished Coriolanus

Had loved you as we did.


CITIZENS

                         Now the gods keep you!


BOTH TRIBUNES

Farewell, farewell.

Exeunt Citizens


SICINIUS

This is a happier and more comely time
comely (adj.) graceful, becoming, decent

Than when these fellows ran about the streets,

Crying confusion.


BRUTUS

                         Caius Martius was

A worthy officer i'th' war, but insolent,

O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,

Self-loving –
affect (v.) 1 incline to, like, favour, be drawn to


SICINIUS

                         And affecting one sole throne

Without assistance.
assistance (n.) associates, partners, aides


MENENIUS

                         I think not so.


SICINIUS

We should by this, to all our lamentation,

If he had gone forth Consul, found it so.


BRUTUS

The gods have well prevented it, and Rome

Sits safe and still without him.

Enter an Aedile


AEDILE

                         Worthy Tribunes,

There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,

Reports the Volsces with two several powers
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Are entered in the Roman territories,
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

And with the deepest malice of the war

Destroy what lies before 'em.


MENENIUS

                         'Tis Aufidius,

Who, hearing of our Martius' banishment,

Thrusts forth his horns again into the world,

Which were inshelled when Martius stood for Rome,
inshell (v.) draw in, withdraw within a shell
stand for (v.) 1 defend, uphold, protect, support

And durst not once peep out.


SICINIUS

Come, what talk you of Martius?


BRUTUS

Go see this rumourer whipped. It cannot be

The Volsces dare break with us.
break (v.) 6 break one's promise, not keep one's word


MENENIUS

                         Cannot be!

We have record that very well it can,

And three examples of the like hath been
like, the the same

Within my age. But reason with the fellow
age (n.) 1 whole life, lifetime, days
reason (v.) 1 talk, speak, converse

Before you punish him, where he heard this,

Lest you shall chance to whip your information
information (n.) 2 source of knowledge, informant

And beat the messenger who bids beware

Of what is to be dreaded.


SICINIUS

                         Tell not me.

I know this cannot be.


BRUTUS

                         Not possible.

Enter a Messenger


MESSENGER

The nobles in great earnestness are going

All to the Senate House. Some news is coming

That turns their countenances.
countenance (n.) 2 expression, look, face


SICINIUS

                         'Tis this slave –

Go whip him 'fore the people's eyes – his raising,
raising (n.) rumour-raising, stirring-up, incitement

Nothing but his report.


MESSENGER

                         Yes, worthy sir,

The slave's report is seconded, and more,
second (v.) 2 support, confirm, corroborate

More fearful is delivered.


SICINIUS

                         What more fearful?


MESSENGER

It is spoke freely out of many mouths –

How probable I do not know – that Martius,
probable (adj.) 2 plausible, believable, likely sounding

Joined with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

And vows revenge as spacious as between

The young'st and oldest thing.


SICINIUS

                         This is most likely!


BRUTUS

Raised only that the weaker sort may wish

Good Martius home again.


SICINIUS

                         The very trick on't.


MENENIUS

This is unlikely.

He and Aufidius can no more atone
atone (v.) 1 unite, join, reconcile

Than violent'st contrariety.
contrariety (n.) 1 oppositeness, contrariness, antagonism
violent (adj.) 1 extreme, intense, utmost

Enter a second Messenger


SECOND MESSENGER

You are sent for to the Senate.

A fearful army, led by Caius Martius

Associated with Aufidius, rages
associate (v.) accompany, escort, join with

Upon our territories, and have already

O'erborne their way, consumed with fire and took
overbear (v.) 1 overwhelm, overcome, overpower

What lay before them.

Enter Cominius


COMINIUS

O, you have made good work!


MENENIUS

                         What news? What news?


COMINIUS

You have holp to ravish your own daughters and

To melt the city leads upon your pates,
lead (n.) 3 (plural) lead-covered flat roofs
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count

To see your wives dishonoured to your noses –


MENENIUS

What's the news? What's the news?


COMINIUS

– Your temples burned in their cement, and

Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
franchise (n.) 1 right, liberty, freedom

Into an auger's bore.
bore (n.) 2 bore-hole, auger hole


MENENIUS

                         Pray now, your news? –

You have made fair work, I fear me. – Pray, your news? –

If Martius should be joined wi'th' Volscians –


COMINIUS

                         If?

He is their god. He leads them like a thing

Made by some other deity than Nature,

That shapes man better; and they follow him

Against us brats with no less confidence

Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,

Or butchers killing flies.


MENENIUS

                         You have made good work,

You and your apron-men, you that stood so up much
apron-man (n.) aproned worker, tradesman

Upon the voice of occupation and
occupation (n.) 1 handicraft, trade, employment
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count

The breath of garlic-eaters!


COMINIUS

He'll shake your Rome about your ears.


MENENIUS

As Hercules did shake down mellow fruit.

You have made fair work!


BRUTUS

But is this true, sir?


COMINIUS

                         Ay; and you'll look pale

Before you find it other. All the regions

Do smilingly revolt, and who resists

Are mocked for valiant ignorance,
ignorance (n.) 1 negligence, obtuseness, lack of understanding

And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
constant (adj.) 1 faithful, steadfast, true

Your enemies and his find something in him.


MENENIUS

We are all undone unless
undo (v.) 1 ruin, destroy, wipe out
undone (adj.) ruined, destroyed, brought down See Topics: Frequency count

The noble man have mercy.


COMINIUS

                         Who shall ask it?

The Tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people

Deserve such pity of him as the wolf

Does of the shepherds. For his best friends, if they

Should say ‘ Be good to Rome,’ they charged him even
charge (v.) 2 entreat, exhort, enjoin

As those should do that had deserved his hate,

And therein showed like enemies.
show (v.) appear, look [like], present [as]


MENENIUS

                         'Tis true.

If he were putting to my house the brand

That should consume it, I have not the face

To say ‘ Beseech you, cease.’ You have made fair hands,
fair (adj.) 4 fine, pleasing, splendid, excellent
hand (n.) 4 handiwork, job, work

You and your crafts! You have crafted fair!
craft (v.) carry out a craft; also: act craftily


COMINIUS

                         You have brought

A trembling upon Rome, such as was never

S'incapable of help.


TRIBUNES

                         Say not we brought it.


MENENIUS

How? Was't we? We loved him, but, like beasts

And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
cluster (n.) crowd, mob, throng

Who did hoot him out o'th' city.


COMINIUS

                         But I fear

They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,

The second name of men, obeys his points
name (n.) 3 famous name, luminary, celebrity
point (n.) 4 decision, conclusion, direction

As if he were his officer. Desperation

Is all the policy, strength, and defence,

That Rome can make against them.

Enter a troop of Citizens
cluster (n.) crowd, mob, throng


MENENIUS

                         Here come the clusters.

And is Aufidius with him? You are they

That made the air unwholesome when you cast
unwholesome (adj.) 1 harmful, damaging, noxious

Your stinking greasy caps in hooting

At Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming,

And not a hair upon a soldier's head

Which will not prove a whip. As many coxcombs
coxcomb (n.) 2 fool's head, fool, simpleton

As you threw caps up will he tumble down,

And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter.
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count

If he could burn us all into one coal,
coal (n.) 2 cinder, piece of charcoal

We have deserved it.


CITIZENS

Faith, we hear fearful news.


FIRST CITIZEN

                         For mine own part,

When I said banish him, I said 'twas pity.


SECOND CITIZEN

And so did I.


THIRD CITIZEN

And so did I, and, to say the truth, so

did very many of us. That we did, we did for the best,

and though we willingly consented to his banishment,

yet it was against our will.


COMINIUS

Y'are goodly things, you voices!
voice (n.) 6 voter, person offering support


MENENIUS

You have made good work,

You and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?
cry (n.) 1 company, pack [as of hounds]


COMINIUS

O, ay, what else?

Exeunt both


SICINIUS

Go, masters, get you home. Be not dismayed;

These are a side that would be glad to have

This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,

And show no sign of fear.


FIRST CITIZEN

The gods be good to us! Come, masters,

Let's home. I ever said we were i'th' wrong when we

banished him.


SECOND CITIZEN

So did we all. But come, let's home.

Exeunt Citizens


BRUTUS

I do not like this news.


SICINIUS

Nor I.


BRUTUS

Let's to the Capitol. Would half my wealth

Would buy this for a lie!


SICINIUS

                         Pray, let's go.

Exeunt Tribunes

 
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