Coriolanus


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Tullus Aufidius, with Attendants


AUFIDIUS

Go tell the lords o'th' city I am here.

Deliver them this paper. Having read it,

Bid them repair to th' market-place, where I,
repair (v.) 1 come, go, make one's way

Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,

Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse

The city ports by this hath entered and
port (n.) 1 portal, entrance, gateway

Intends t' appear before the people, hoping

To purge himself with words. Dispatch.
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly

Exeunt Attendants

Enter three or four Conspirators of Aufidius's faction

Most welcome!


FIRST CONSPIRATOR

How is it with our general?


AUFIDIUS

                         Even so

As with a man by his own alms empoisoned
empoison (v.) 2 give poison, destroy by poison

And with his charity slain.


SECOND CONSPIRATOR

                         Most noble sir,

If you do hold the same intent wherein
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

You wished us parties, we'll deliver you
party (n.) 4 participant, accessory, supporter

Of your great danger.


AUFIDIUS

                         Sir, I cannot tell.

We must proceed as we do find the people.


THIRD CONSPIRATOR

The people will remain uncertain whilst

'Twixt you there's difference. But the fall of either
difference (n.) 1 quarrel, disagreement, dispute

Makes the survivor heir of all.


AUFIDIUS

                         I know it,

And my pretext to strike at him admits
admit (v.) 1 permit, allow, grant

A good construction. I raised him, and I pawned
construction (n.) 1 interpretation, reading, explanation

Mine honour for his truth; who being so heightened,
heightened (adj.) exalted, elevated, raised up
truth (n.) 1 loyalty, allegiance, faithfulness

He watered his new plants with dews of flattery,

Seducing so my friends. And, to this end

He bowed his nature, never known before
bow (v.) 1 make to bend, cause to bend

But to be rough, unswayable and free.
free (adj.) 9 frank, undisguised, open


THIRD CONSPIRATOR

Sir, his stoutness
stoutness (n.) obstinacy, stubbornness, intractability

When he did stand for consul, which he lost

By lack of stooping –


AUFIDIUS

                         That I would have spoke of.

Being banished 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,
file (n.) 1 rank of soldiers, formation

My best and freshest men; served his designments
designment (n.) undertaking, enterprise, design

In mine own person; holp to reap the fame

Which he did end all his, and took some pride
end (v.) 3 [harvesting] gather in, bring in

To do myself this wrong. Till at the last

I seemed his follower, not partner; and

He waged me with his countenance as if
countenance (n.) 6 favour, patronage, approval
wage (v.) 5 pay, recompense, reward

I had been mercenary.


FIRST CONSPIRATOR

                         So he did, my lord;

The army marvelled at it. And, in the last,

When we had carried Rome and that we looked
carry (v.) 1 secure, obtain, gain

For no less spoil than glory –


AUFIDIUS

                         There was it,

For which my sinews shall be stretched upon him.
sinew (n.) 1 muscle
stretch (v.) 1 strain to the utmost, maximally exert

At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
rheum (n.) 1 tears

As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour

Of our great action. Therefore shall he die,
action (n.) 1 campaign, military action, strategy

And I'll renew me in his fall. But hark!

Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the

people


FIRST CONSPIRATOR

Your native town you entered like a post,
post (n.) 1 express messenger, courier See Topics: Frequency count

And had no welcomes home; but he returns

Splitting the air with noise.


SECOND CONSPIRATOR

                         And patient fools,

Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count

With giving him glory.
vantage (n.) 1 right moment, suitable opportunity


THIRD CONSPIRATOR

                         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,
along (adv.) at full length, stretched out, prostrate
second (v.) 1 support, assist, reinforce

After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
pronounce (v.) 2 tell, narrate, report

His reasons with his body.
reason (n.) 4 account, version, explanation


AUFIDIUS

                         Say no more.

Here come the Lords.

Enter the Lords of the city


ALL LORDS

You are most welcome home.


AUFIDIUS

                         I have not deserved it.

But, worthy Lords, have you with heed perused
heed (n.) 1 consideration, care, attention

What I have written to you?


ALL

                         We have.


FIRST LORD

                                                         And grieve to hear't.

What faults he made before the last, I think
make (v.) 2 do, perform, carry out

Might have found easy fines. But there to end
easy (adj.) 1 slight, petty, insignificant
fine (n.) 3 punishment, penalty, retribution

Where he was to begin, and give away

The benefit of our levies, answering us
answer (v.) 8 give in return, repay, requite
levy (n.) recruitment of soldiers, conscription of men

With our own charge, making a treaty where
charge (n.) 7 expense, cost, outlay

There was a yielding – this admits no excuse.


AUFIDIUS

He approaches. You shall hear him.

Enter Coriolanus, marching with drum and colours;

the Commoners being with him


CORIOLANUS

Hail, Lords! I am returned your soldier,
colours (n.) 2 colour-ensigns, standard-bearers

No more infected with my country's love
infect (v.) affect, influence, stir

Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count
subsist (v.) continue, remain, stay

Under your great command. You are to know

That prosperously I have attempted and
attempt (v.) 1 endeavour, venture, strive [for]

With bloody passage led your wars even to

The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home

Doth more than counterpoise a full third part
counterpoise (v.) 1 equal, match, rival

The charges of the action. We have made peace

With no less honour to the Antiates

Than shame to th' Romans. And we here deliver,

Subscribed by th' consuls and patricians,

Together with the seal o'th' Senate, what

We have compounded on.
compound (v.) 1 agree, settle


AUFIDIUS

                         Read it not, noble Lords;

But tell the traitor in the highest degree

He hath abused your powers.


CORIOLANUS

Traitor? How now?


AUFIDIUS

                         Ay, traitor, Martius!


CORIOLANUS

                                                         Martius!


AUFIDIUS

Ay, Martius, Caius Martius! Dost thou think

I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stolen name

Coriolanus in Corioles?

You lords and heads o'th' state, perfidiously

He has betrayed your business and given up,

For certain drops of salt, your city Rome –
salt (n.) 1 salt tears

I say your city – to his wife and mother,

Breaking his oath and resolution like

A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
twist (n.) plaited thread, twined fibre

Counsel o'th' war. But at his nurse's tears
counsel (n.) 1 advice, guidance, direction

He whined and roared away your victory,

That pages blushed at him and men of heart
heart (n.) 1 courage, spirit, valour

Looked wondering each at others.


CORIOLANUS

                         Hear'st thou, Mars?


AUFIDIUS

Name not the god, thou boy of tears!
boy (n.) 1 fellow, rogue, wretch See Topics: Address forms


CORIOLANUS

                         Ha?


AUFIDIUS

No more.


CORIOLANUS

Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart

Too great for what contains it. ‘ Boy!’ O slave!

Pardon me, Lords, 'tis the first time that ever

I was forced to scold. Your judgements, my grave Lords,

Must give this cur the lie; and his own notion –
notion (n.) understanding, awareness, intellect

Who wears my stripes impressed upon him, that

Must bear my beating to his grave – shall join

To thrust the lie unto him.


FIRST LORD

Peace, both, and hear me speak.


CORIOLANUS

Cut me to pieces, Volsces. Men and lads,

Stain all your edges on me. ‘Boy'! False hound!
edge (n.) 6 sword, weapon
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there

That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I

Fluttered your Volscians in Corioles.

Alone I did it. ‘ Boy!’


AUFIDIUS

                         Why, noble Lords,

Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
blind (adj.) 1 sheer, utter, downright
fortune (n.) 4 lucky chance, good luck

Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,

'Fore your own eyes and ears?


ALL CONSPIRATORS

                         Let him die for't.


ALL THE PEOPLE

Tear him to pieces! – Do it presently!
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

– He killed my son! – My daughter! – He killed my

cousin Marcus! – He killed my father!


SECOND LORD

Peace, ho! No outrage. Peace!

The man is noble and his fame folds in

This orb o'th' earth. His last offences to us

Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
judicious (adj.) 1 judicial, according to the law
stand (v.) 3 stop, halt

And trouble not the peace.


CORIOLANUS

                         O that I had him,

With six Aufidiuses or more – his tribe,

To use my lawful sword!


AUFIDIUS

                         Insolent villain!


ALL CONSPIRATORS

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!

The Conspirators draw their swords, and kill Martius,

who falls

Aufidius stands on him


LORDS

Hold, hold, hold, hold!


AUFIDIUS

My noble masters, hear me speak.


FIRST LORD

                         O Tullus!


SECOND LORD

Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.


THIRD LORD

Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet.

Put up your swords.


AUFIDIUS

My lords, when you shall know – as in this rage

Provoked by him you cannot – the great danger

Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
owe (v.) 3 have in store for, hold towards

That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours

To call me to your Senate, I'll deliver
deliver (v.) 5 present, show, display

Myself your loyal servant, or endure

Your heaviest censure.
censure (n.) 3 judgement, sentencing
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty


FIRST LORD

                         Bear from hence his body,

And mourn you for him. Let him be regarded
regard (v.) 2 esteem, repute, respect

As the most noble corse that ever herald
corse (n.) corpse, dead body See Topics: Frequency count

Did follow to his urn.
impatience (n.) 1 anger, rage, fury


SECOND LORD

                         His own impatience

Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.

Let's make the best of it.


AUFIDIUS

                         My rage is gone,

And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.

Help three o'th' chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.

Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully.

Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he

Hath widowed and unchilded many a one,
unchild (v.) make childless, deprive of children

Which to this hour bewail the injury,

Yet he shall have a noble memory.
memory (n.) 1 memorial, remembrance

Assist.
assist (v.) accompany, attend, escort

Exeunt, bearing the body of Martius.

A dead march sounded

 
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