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SCENE I.-Rome.-A Street.
Enter a Company of mutinous CITIZENS, with Staves, Clubs, and other Weapons.
1 Cit. Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
Cit. Speak, speak. [Several speaking at once. 1 Cit. You are all resolved rather to die, than to famish?
Cit. Resolved, resolved.
1 Cit. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.
Cit. We know't, we know't.
1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict?
Cit. No more talking on't; let it be done: away, away.
2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good: What authority surfeits on, would relieve us; If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.-Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes:† for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
1 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
Cit. Against him first; he's a very dog to the commonalty.
2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?
1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to
give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft conscienc'd men can be content to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: You must in no way say, he is covetous.
I Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o'the city is risen: Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!
Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them [on Against the Roman state; whose course will The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment: For the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity [slander Thither where more attends you; and you The helms o'the state, who care for you like When you curse them as enemies. [fathers, 1 Cit. Care for us!-True, indeed!-They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers: repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
1 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, Sir; yet you must not think to fob off our disgracef with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver.
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:-
Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
Men. Sir, I shall tell you.-With a kind of smile, [thus, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even (For, look you, I may make the belly smile, As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly§
1 Cit. Your belly's answer: What!
Men. What then?
'Fore me, this fellow speaks!-what then? what then?
1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,
Who is the sink o'the body,
Men. Well, what then?
1 Cit. The former agents, if they did comWhat could the belly answer? Men. I will tell you;
If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little,) [swer. Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's an1 Cit. You are long about it.
Men. Note me this, good friend;
And, through the cranks* and offices of man,
1 Cit. Ay, Sir; well, well. Men. Though all at once cannot See what I do deliver out to each; Yet I can make my audit up, that all, From me do back receive the flour of all, And leave me but the bran. What say you to't? 1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this?
Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members: For examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly,
[find, Touching the weal o'the common? you shall No public benefit which you receive, But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you, And no way from yourselves.-What do you think?
You the great toe of this assembly?
1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe? Men. For that being one o'the lowest, basest, [most: Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foreThou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run Lead'st first to win some vantage.But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs; Rome and her rats are at the point of battle, The one side must have bail. Hail, noble Marcius!
Enter CAIUS MARCIUS.
Mar. Thanks.-What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,
That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs?
1 Cit. We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter
Beneath abhorring.-What would you have, [you, That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights The other makes you proud. He that trusts you, [hares; Where he should find you lions, finds you Where foxes, geese: You are no surer, no, Than is the coal of fire upon the ice, Or hailstone in the sur. Your virtue is, To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him, [greatness, And curse that justice did it. Who deserves Deserves your hate: and your affections are A sick man's appetite, who desires most that Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead, And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you do change a mind;
That in these several places of the city
Men. For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
The city is well stor❜d.
Mar. Hang 'em! They say?
They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know What's done i'the Capitol: who's like to rise, Who thrives, and who declines: side factions, and give out
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,*
Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But I beseech What says the other troop? [you, Mar. They are dissolved: Hang 'em! They said, they were an hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs;[eat; That hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must That meat was made for mouths; that, the gods
Corn for the rich men only:-With these shreds They vented their complainings; which being answer'd,
And a petition granted them, a strange one, (To break the heart of generosity, And make bold power look pale,) they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o'the Shouting their emulation.§ [moon,
Men. What is granted them?
Mur. Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice: One's Junius Brutus,
Men. This is strange.
Mar. Go, get you home, you fragments!
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mes. Where's Caius Marcius?
Mes. The news is, Sir, the Volces are in
Mar. I am glad on't; then we shall have
means to vent
Our musty superfluity:-See, our best elders. Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other SENATORS; JUNIUS BRUTUS, and SICINIUS VE
The Volces are in arms.
Mar. They have a leader, Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't. I sin in envying his nobility: And were I any thing but what I am, I would wish me only he.
Com. You have fought together.
Mar. Were half to half the world by the ears, and he
Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
1 Sen. Then, worthy Marcius,
And I am constant.-Titus Lartius, thou Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face: What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?
Tit. No, Caius Marcius;
[other, I'll lean upon one crutch, and fight with the Ere stay behind this business. Men. O, true bred!
1 Sen. Your company to the Capitol; where, I know,
Our greatest friends attend us.
Follow, Cominius; we must follow you;
1 Sen. Hence! To your homes, be gone. [To the CITIZENS. Mar. Nay, let them follow: The Volces have much corn; take these rats thither, [neers, To gnaw their garners:t-Worshipful mutiYour valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
[Exeunt SENATORS, COM. MAR. TIT. und MENEN. CITIZENS steal away.
Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
Bru. He has no equal,
Sic. Be-mock the modest moon. Bru. The present wars devour him: he is Too proud to be so valiant.
Sic. Such a nature, Tickled with good success, disdains the shaWhich he treads on at noon: But I do wonder, His insolence can brook to be commanded Under Cominius.
Bru. Fame, at the which he aims,In whom already he is well grac'd.-cannot Better be held, nor more attain'd, than by A place below the first: for what miscarries Shall be the general's fault, though he perform To the utmost of a man; and giddy censure Will then cry out of Marcius, O, if he Had borne the business!
Sic. Besides, if things go well; Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall Of his demerits rob Cominius.
1 Sen. Marcius, 'tis true, that you have late-In
+ Heap of dead.
Right worthy of precedence. Shows itself.
+ Granaries. & Sneer. Demerits and merits had anciently the same meaning.
than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown what fa- made it not stir,-was pleased to let him seek [shion, danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak. 1 tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.
SCENE II-Corioli.-The Senate-House. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, and certain SENATORS.
1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius, That they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels, And know how we proceed.
Auf. Is it not yours?
What ever hath been thought on in this state,
I have the letter here; yes, here it is: [Reads.
Whither 'tis bent: most likely, 'tis for you:
1 Sen. Our army's in the field:
Vir. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?
Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely: Had I a dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius,-I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Enter a GENTLEWOMAN.
Gent. Madam, the lady Valeria is come to visit you.
Vir. 'Beseech you, give me leave to retire
Vol. Indeed, you shall not.
Methinks, I see him stamp thus, and call thus,
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready Come on, you cowards, you were got in fear,
To answer us.
Auf. Nor did you think it folly,
It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery,
2 Sen. Noble Aufidius,
Take your commission; hie you to your bands:
If they set down before us, for the remove
Auf. O, doubt not that;
I speak from certainties. Nay, more.
All. The gods assist you!
Auf. And keep your honours safe! 1 Sen. Farewell.
2 Sen. Farewell.
SCENE III-Rome.-An Apartment in
Enter VOLUMNIA, and VIRGILIA: They sit down
Vol. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a more comfortable sort: If my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour, than in the embracements of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tenderbodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way; when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I,-considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better
Though you were born in Rome: His bloody
Vir. His bloody brow! O, Jupiter, no blood!
Re-enter GENTLEWOMAN, with VALERIA and her
Val. My ladies both, good day to you.
Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.
Val. How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers. What, are you sewing here! A fine spot,t in good faith.-How does your little son?
Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam. Vol. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than look upon his school-master.
Val. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear, 'tis a very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o' Wednesday half an hour together: he has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again: or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth, and tear it; O, I warrant, how he mammocked; it!
Vol. One of his father's moods.
Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must
Vir. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
Val. Not out of doors!
Vol. She shall, she shall.
Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience: I will not over the threshold, till my lord return from the wars.
Val. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably; Come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.
That we with smoking swords may march from hence, [blast. To help our fielded* friends!-Come, blow thy They sound a parley.—Enter, on the walls, some SENATORS, and others.
Tullus Autidius, is he within your walls? 1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he,
That's lesser than a little. Hark, our drums [Alarums afur off. Are bringing forth our youth: We'll break our walls,
Vir. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my prayers; but I cannot go thi-Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates, ther. Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes; They'll open of themselves.
Vol. Why, I pray you?
Vir. "Tis not to save labour, nor that I want
Val. You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all the yarn she spun, in Ulysses' absence, did but fill Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would, your cambric were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.
Val. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.
Vir. O, good madam, there can be none yet. Val. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him last night.
Vir. Indeed, madam?
Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is:-The Volces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power: your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
Vir. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every thing hereafter.
Vol. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our better mirth.
Val. In troth, I think, she would:-Fare you well then.-Come, good sweet lady.-Pr'ythee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o'door, and go along with us.
Vir. No: at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish you much mirth. Val. Well, then farewell.
Hark you, far off; [Other Alarums. work he makes
There is Aufidius; list, what
The VOLCES enter and pass over the Stage. Mar. They fear us not, but issue forth their oity.
[fight Now put your shields before your hearts, and With hearts more proof than shields.-Advance, brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Alarum, and exeunt ROMANS and VOLCES, fight.. ing. The ROMANS are beaten back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS.
Mar. All the contagion of the south light on
You shames of Rome! you herd of-Boils and