Cor I.i.1.1
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves,
Cor I.i.1.2
clubs, and other weapons
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.1
Before we proceed any further, hear me
Cor I.i.2
speak.
ALL
Cor I.i.3
Speak, speak.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.4
You are all resolved rather to die than to
Cor I.i.5
famish?
ALL
Cor I.i.6
Resolved, resolved.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.7
First, you know Caius Martius is chief
Cor I.i.8
enemy to the people?
ALL
Cor I.i.9
We know't, we know't.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.10
Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at
Cor I.i.11
our own price. Is't a verdict?
ALL
Cor I.i.12
No more talking on't. Let it be done. Away, away!
SECOND CITIZEN
Cor I.i.13
One word, good citizens.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.14
We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians
Cor I.i.15
good. What authority surfeits on would relieve
Cor I.i.16
us. If they would yield us but the superfluity while it
Cor I.i.17
were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us
Cor I.i.18
humanely. But they think we are too dear. The leanness
Cor I.i.19
that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory
Cor I.i.20
to particularise their abundance. Our sufferance is a
Cor I.i.21
gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we
Cor I.i.22
become rakes. For the gods know I speak this in hunger
Cor I.i.23
for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
SECOND CITIZEN
Cor I.i.24
Would you proceed especially against
Cor I.i.25
Caius Martius?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.26
Against him first. He's a very dog to the
Cor I.i.27
commonalty.
SECOND CITIZEN
Cor I.i.28
Consider you what services he has
Cor I.i.29
done for his country?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.30
Very well, and could be content to give
Cor I.i.31
him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being
Cor I.i.32
proud.
SECOND CITIZEN
Cor I.i.33
Nay, but speak not maliciously.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.34
I say unto you, what he hath done
Cor I.i.35
famously he did it to that end. Though softconscienced
Cor I.i.36
men can be content to say it was for his country, he did
Cor I.i.37
it to please his mother and to be partly proud, which he
Cor I.i.38
is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
SECOND CITIZEN
Cor I.i.39
What he cannot help in his nature, you
Cor I.i.40
account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is
Cor I.i.41
covetous.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.42
If I must not, I need not be barren of
Cor I.i.43
accusations. He hath faults, with surplus, to tire in
Cor I.i.44
repetition.
Cor I.i.45
Shouts within
Cor I.i.45
What shouts are these? The other side o'th' city is risen.
Cor I.i.46
Why stay we prating here? To th' Capitol!
ALL
Cor I.i.47
Come, come.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.48
Soft, who comes here?
Cor I.i.49
Enter Menenius Agrippa
SECOND CITIZEN
Cor I.i.49
Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that
Cor I.i.50
hath always loved the people.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.51
He's one honest enough. Would all the
Cor I.i.52
rest were so!
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.53
What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you
Cor I.i.54
With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.55
Our business is not unknown to th'
Cor I.i.56
Senate. They have had inkling this fortnight what we
Cor I.i.57
intend to do, which now we'll show'em in deeds. They
Cor I.i.58
say poor suitors have strong breaths. They shall know
Cor I.i.59
we have strong arms too.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.60
Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Cor I.i.61
Will you undo yourselves?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.62
We cannot, sir, we are undone already.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.63
I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Cor I.i.64
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Cor I.i.65
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Cor I.i.66
Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
Cor I.i.67
Against the Roman state, whose course will on
Cor I.i.68
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
curb (n.) controlling chain or strap passed under a horse's jaw; check, restraint
Cor I.i.69
Of more strong link asunder than can ever
Cor I.i.70
Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
Cor I.i.71
The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
Cor I.i.72
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
Cor I.i.73
You are transported by calamity
Cor I.i.74
Thither where more attends you, and you slander
Cor I.i.75
The helms o'th' state, who care for you like fathers,
Cor I.i.76
When you curse them as enemies.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.77
Care for us? True indeed! They ne'er
Cor I.i.78
cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses
Cor I.i.79
crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to
Cor I.i.80
support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established
Cor I.i.81
established against the rich, and provide more piercing
Cor I.i.82
statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor. If the
Cor I.i.83
wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they
Cor I.i.84
bear us.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.85
Either you must
Cor I.i.86
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Cor I.i.87
Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
Cor I.i.88
A pretty tale. It may be you have heard it,
Cor I.i.89
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
Cor I.i.90
To stale't a little more.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.91
Well, I'll hear it, sir. Yet you must not
Cor I.i.92
think to fob off our disgrace with a tale. But, an't please
Cor I.i.93
you, deliver.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.94
There was a time when all the body's members
Cor I.i.95
Rebelled against the belly, thus accused it:
Cor I.i.96
That only like a gulf it did remain
Cor I.i.97
I'th' midst o'th' body, idle and unactive,
Cor I.i.98
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
viand (n.) (usually plural) food, victuals, foodstuff
Cor I.i.99
Like labour with the rest, where th' other instruments
Cor I.i.100
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
Cor I.i.101
And, mutually participate, did minister
Cor I.i.102
Unto the appetite and affection common
Cor I.i.103
Of the whole body. The belly answered –
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.104
Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.105
Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Cor I.i.106
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus –
Cor I.i.107
For look you, I may make the belly smile
Cor I.i.108
As well as speak – it tauntingly replied
Cor I.i.109
To th' discontented members, the mutinous parts
Cor I.i.110
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
Cor I.i.111
As you malign our senators for that
Cor I.i.112.1
They are not such as you.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.112.2
Your belly's answer – What!
Cor I.i.113
The kingly crownéd head, the vigilant eye,
Cor I.i.114
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Cor I.i.115
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
Cor I.i.116
With other muniments and petty helps
Cor I.i.117.1
In this our fabric, if that they –
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.117.2
What then?
Cor I.i.118
'Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? what then?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.119
Should by the cormorant belly be restrained
Cor I.i.120.1
Who is the sink o'th' body –
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.120.2
Well, what then?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.121
The former agents, if they did complain,
Cor I.i.122.1
What could the belly answer?
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.122.2
I will tell you.
Cor I.i.123
If you'll bestow a small – of what you have little –
Cor I.i.124
Patience awhile, you'st hear the belly's answer.
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.125.1
Y'are long about it.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.125.2
Note me this, good friend –
Cor I.i.126
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Cor I.i.127
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered.
Cor I.i.128
‘ True is it, my incorporate friends,’ quoth he,
Cor I.i.129
‘ That I receive the general food at first
Cor I.i.130
Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Cor I.i.131
Because I am the storehouse and the shop
Cor I.i.132
Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,
Cor I.i.133
I send it through the rivers of your blood
Cor I.i.134
Even to the court, the heart, to th' seat o'th' brain;
Cor I.i.135
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
Cor I.i.136
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
Cor I.i.137
From me receive that natural competency
Cor I.i.138
Whereby they live. And though that all at once ’ –
Cor I.i.139
You, my good friends, this says the belly, mark me –
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.140.1
Ay, sir, well, well.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.140.2
‘ Though all at once cannot
Cor I.i.141
See what I do deliver out to each,
Cor I.i.142
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
Cor I.i.143
From me do back receive the flour of all,
Cor I.i.144
And leave me but the bran.’ What say you to't?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.145
It was an answer. How apply you this?
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.146
The senators of Rome are this good belly,
Cor I.i.147
And you the mutinous members. For examine
Cor I.i.148
Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
Cor I.i.149
Touching the weal o'th' common, you shall find
weal 2 welfare, wellbeing, prosperity
Cor I.i.150
No public benefit which you receive
Cor I.i.151
But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
Cor I.i.152
And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
Cor I.i.153
You, the great toe of this assembly?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.154
I the great toe? Why the great toe?
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.155
For that being one o'th' lowest, basest, poorest
Cor I.i.156
Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost.
Cor I.i.157
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
blood, in [hunting] full of life, in fine condition
rascal (n.) 2 young or inferior deer in a herd; one of the common herd
Cor I.i.158
Lead'st first to win some vantage.
Cor I.i.159
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs.
Cor I.i.160
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
Cor I.i.161.1
The one side must have bale.
Cor I.i.161
Enter Caius Martius
Cor I.i.161.2
Hail, noble Martius!
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.162
Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,
Cor I.i.163
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion
Cor I.i.164.1
Make yourselves scabs?
FIRST CITIZEN
Cor I.i.164.2
We have ever your good word.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.165
He that will give good words to thee will flatter
Cor I.i.166
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
Cor I.i.167
That like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you,
Cor I.i.168
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Cor I.i.169
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Cor I.i.170
Where foxes, geese. You are no surer, no,
Cor I.i.171
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Cor I.i.172
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
Cor I.i.173
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him
Cor I.i.174
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
Cor I.i.175
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
Cor I.i.176
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Cor I.i.177
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Cor I.i.178
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead
Cor I.i.179
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust Ye?
Cor I.i.180
With every minute you do change a mind
Cor I.i.181
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Cor I.i.182
Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter
Cor I.i.183
That in these several places of the city
Cor I.i.184
You cry against the noble Senate, who,
Cor I.i.185
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Cor I.i.186
Would feed on one another? What's their seeking?
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.187
For corn at their own rates, whereof they say
Cor I.i.188.1
The city is well stored.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.188.2
Hang 'em! They say?
Cor I.i.189
They'll sit by th' fire and presume to know
Cor I.i.190
What's done i'th' Capitol, who's like to rise,
Cor I.i.191
Who thrives and who declines; side factions and give out
Cor I.i.192
Conjectural marriages, making parties strong
Cor I.i.193
And feebling such as stand not in their liking
Cor I.i.194
Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough!
Cor I.i.195
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth
Cor I.i.196
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
Cor I.i.197
With thousands of these quartered slaves as high
Cor I.i.198
As I could pick my lance.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.199
Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded,
Cor I.i.200
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Cor I.i.201
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
Cor I.i.202.1
What says the other troop?
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.202.2
They are dissolved. Hang 'em!
Cor I.i.203
They said they were anhungry, sighed forth proverbs –
Cor I.i.204
That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
Cor I.i.205
That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
Cor I.i.206
Corn for the rich men only. With these shreds
Cor I.i.207
They vented their complainings; which being answered,
Cor I.i.208
And a petition granted them – a strange one,
Cor I.i.209
To break the heart of generosity
Cor I.i.210
And make bold power look pale – they threw their caps
Cor I.i.211
As they would hang them on the horns o'th' moon,
Cor I.i.212.1
Shouting their emulation.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.212.2
What is granted them?
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.213
Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Cor I.i.214
Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus, one
Cor I.i.215
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not.'Sdeath!
Cor I.i.216
The rabble should have first unroofed the city
Cor I.i.217
Ere so prevailed with me. It will in time
Cor I.i.218
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
Cor I.i.219.1
For insurrection's arguing.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.219.2
This is strange.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.220
Go get you home, you fragments.
Cor I.i.221
Enter a Messenger, hastily
MESSENGER
Cor I.i.221.1
Where's Caius Martius?
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.221.2
Here. What's the matter?
MESSENGER
Cor I.i.222
The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.223
I am glad on't. Then we shall ha' means to vent
Cor I.i.224
Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.
Cor I.i.225.1
Enter Cominius, Titus Lartius, with other Senators;
Cor I.i.225.2
Junius Brutus and Sicinius Velutus
FIRST SENATOR
Cor I.i.225
Martius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:
Cor I.i.226.1
The Volsces are in arms.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.226.2
They have a leader,
Cor I.i.227
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
Cor I.i.228
I sin in envying his nobility,
Cor I.i.229
And were I anything but what I am,
Cor I.i.230.1
I would wish me only he.
COMINIUS
Cor I.i.230.2
You have fought together.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.231
Were half to half the world by th' ears and he
Cor I.i.232
Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
Cor I.i.233
Only my wars with him. He is a lion
Cor I.i.234.1
That I am proud to hunt.
FIRST SENATOR
Cor I.i.234.2
Then, worthy Martius,
Cor I.i.235
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
COMINIUS
Cor I.i.236.1
It is your former promise.
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.236.2
Sir, it is,
Cor I.i.237
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Cor I.i.238
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
Cor I.i.239.1
What, art thou stiff? Stand'st out?
LARTIUS
Cor I.i.239.2
No, Caius Martius,
Cor I.i.240
I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other
Cor I.i.241.1
Ere stay behind this business.
MENENIUS
Cor I.i.241.2
O, true bred!
FIRST SENATOR
Cor I.i.242
Your company to th' Capitol, where I know
Cor I.i.243.1
Our greatest friends attend us.
Lartius
Cor I.i.243
(to Cominius)
Cor I.i.243.2
Lead you on.
Cor I.i.244
(to Martius) Follow Cominius. We must follow you.
Cor I.i.245.1
Right worthy you priority.
COMINIUS
Cor I.i.245.2
Noble Martius!
FIRST SENATOR
Cor I.i.246
(to the Citizens)
Cor I.i.246.1
Hence to your homes; be gone!
MARTIUS
Cor I.i.246.2
Nay, let them follow.
Cor I.i.247
The Volsces have much corn. Take these rats thither
Cor I.i.248
To gnaw their garners. (Citizens steal away) Worshipful mutineers,
Cor I.i.249
Your valour puts well forth. Pray follow.
Cor I.i.248
Exeunt Patricians. Sicicnius and Brutus stay behind
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.250
Was ever man so proud as is this Martius?
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.251
He has no equal.
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.252
When we were chosen tribunes for the people –
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.253.1
Marked you his lip and eyes?
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.253.2
Nay, but his taunts.
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.254
Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.255
Bemock the modest moon.
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.256
The present wars devour him; he is grown
Cor I.i.257.1
Too proud to be so valiant.
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.257.2
Such a nature,
Cor I.i.258
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Cor I.i.259
Which he treads on at noon. But I do wonder
Cor I.i.260
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Cor I.i.261.1
Under Cominius.
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.261.2
Fame, at the which he aims –
Cor I.i.262
In whom already he's well graced – cannot
Cor I.i.263
Better be held nor more attained than by
Cor I.i.264
A place below the first; for what miscarries
Cor I.i.265
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
Cor I.i.266
To th' utmost of a man, and giddy censure
Cor I.i.267
Will then cry out of Martius, ‘ O, if he
Cor I.i.268.1
Had borne the business!’
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.268.2
Besides, if things go well,
Cor I.i.269
Opinion that so sticks on Martius, shall
Cor I.i.270.1
Of his demerits rob Cominius.
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.270.2
Come.
Cor I.i.271
Half all Cominius' honours are to Martius,
Cor I.i.272
Though Martius earned them not; and all his faults
Cor I.i.273
To Martius shall be honours, though indeed
Cor I.i.274.1
In aught he merit not.
SICINIUS
Cor I.i.274.2
Let's hence and hear
Cor I.i.275
How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
Cor I.i.276
More than his singularity, he goes
Cor I.i.277.1
Upon this present action.
BRUTUS
Cor I.i.277.2
Let's along.
Cor I.i.277
Exeunt
