Imatges de pÓgina

Auf. All places yield to him ere he sits down ;
And the nobility of Rome are his :

The senators, and patricians, love him too :
The tribunes are no soldiers; and their people
Will be as rash in the repeal, as hasty

To expel him thence. I think, he'll be to Rome,
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature. First he was
A noble servant to them; but he could not
Carry his honours even whether 'twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints

The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
To fail in the disposing of those chances
Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
Not to be other than one thing, not moving
from the casque to the cushion, but commanding peace
Even with the same austerity and garb

As he controll'd the war; but, one of these,
(As he hath spices of them all, not all,

For I dare so far free him,) made him fear'd,
So hated, and so banish'd : But he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance. 3 So our virtues

Lie in the interpretation of the time:

And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair

To extol what it hath done. 4

One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights fouler, strengths by strengths do fail.
Come, let's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
Thou art poor'st of all; then shortly art thou mine.

[1] We find in Drayton's Polyolbion, song xxv. a full account of the osprey, which shows the justness and beauty of the simile.

"The osprey, oft here seen, tho' seldom here he breeds,
Which over them the fish no sooner doth espy,

But, betwixt him and them by an antipathy,

Turning their bellies up, as though their death they saw,
They at his pleasure lie, to stuff his gluttonous maw."


[2] Aufidius assigns three probable reasons for the miscarriage of Coriolanus; pride, which easily follows an uninterrupted train of success; unskil fulness to regulate the consequences of his own victories; a stubborn uniformity of nature, which could not make the proper transition from the casque or helmet to the cushion or chair of civil authority; but acted with the same despotism in peace as in war. JOHNS.

[3] He has a merit, for no other purpose than to destroy it by boasting it. JOHNS.

[4] i. e. The virtue which delights to commend itself, will find the surest tomb in that chair wherein it holds forth its own commendations. JOHNS. [5] Rights by rights fouler may well mean. "That one right or title, when produced, makes another less fair." All the short sentences in this speech are obscure, and some nonsensical. M. MASON.


SCENE I-Rome. A public Place.




NO, I'll not go you hear, what he hath said,
Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him
In a most dear particular. He call'd me, father:
But what o'that? Go, you that banish'd him,
A mile before his tent fall down, and kneel
The way into his mercy: Nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
Com. He would not seem to know me.
Men. Do you hear?

Com. Yet one time he did call me by my name :
I urg'd our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
He would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titleless,

Till he had forg'd himself a name i'the fire
Of burning Rome.

Men. Why, so; you have made good work :
A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
To make coals cheap : A noble memory !8

Com. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon
When it was less expected: He replied,
It was a bare petition of a state

To one whom they had punish'd.

Men. Very well:

Could he say less?

Com. I offer'd to awaken his regard

For his private friends: His answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile

Of noisome, musty chaff: He said, 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And still to nose the offence.

Men. For one poor grain

Or two? I am one of those; his mother, wife,

His child, and this brave fellow too, we are the grains : You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt

Above the moon: We must be burnt for you.


[6] Condescended unwillingly, with reserve, coldness. 17] You that have been such good stewards for the Roman people, as to get their houses burned over their heads, to save them the expense of coals. [8] Memorial. STEEV.

Sic. Nay, pray, be patient: If you refuse your aid In this so never-needed help, yet do not

Upbraid us with our distress. But, sure, if you
Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.

Men. No; I'll not meddle.
Sic. I pray you, go to him.
Men. What should I do?

Bru. Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome, towards Marcius.

Men. Well, and say that Marcius
Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
Unheard; what then?-

But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
With his unkindness? Say't be so?

Sic. Yet your good will

Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure As you intended well.

Men. I'll undertake it:

I think, he'll hear me. Yet to bite his lip,

And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me.
He was not taken well; he had not din'd:
The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
We pout upon the morning, are unapt

To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls

Than in our priest-like fasts: Therefore I'll watch him
Till he be dieted to my request,

And then I'll set upon him.

Bru. You know the very road into his kindness, And cannot lose your way.

Men. Good faith, I'll prove him,

Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge

Of my success.

Com. He'll never hear him.

Sic. Not?


Com. I tell you, he does sit in gold,9 his eye Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him ; 'Twas very faintly he said, rise; dismiss'd me Thus, with his speechless hand: What he would de, He sent in writing after me; what he would not,

[9] He is inthroned in all the pomp and pride of imperial splendour. JOH. 16


Bound with an oath, to yield to his conditions:

So, that all hope is vain,

Unless his noble mother, and his wife;

Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him

For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,
And with our fair entreaties haste them on. [Exeunt.


An advanced post of the Volcian Camp before Rome.

at their stations.


1 G. Stay: Whence are you?

2 G. Stand, and go back.

The Guard

Men. You guard like men ;'tis well : But,by your leave, I am an officer of state, and come

To speak with Coriolanus.

1 G. From whence?

Men. From Rome.

1 G. You may not pass, you must return: our general Will no more hear from thence.

2 G. You'll see your Rome embrac'd with fire, before You'll speak with Coriolanus.

Men. Good my friends,

If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks, 2

My name hath touch'd your ears; it is Menenius.
1 G. Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name
Is not here passable.

Men. I tell thee, fellow,

Thy general is my lover: I have been

The book of his good acts, whence men have read
His fame unparallel'd, haply, amplified;

For I have ever verified my friends

(Of whom he's chief,) with all the size that verity
Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes,
Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground, 3

I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise
Have, almost, stamp'd the leasing: Therefore, fellow,
I must have leave to pass.

1 G. 'Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf as you have uttered words in your own, you

[1] Here is, I think, a chasm. The speaker's purpose seems to be this: To yield to his conditions is ruin, and better cannot be obtained, so that all hope is vain.' JOHNS. [2] A lot is here a prize. JOHNS. [3] Subtle, means smooth, level ground. STEEV.--May it not have its more ordinary acceptation, deceitful? MALONE.

should not pass here: no, though it were as virtuous to lie, as to live chastly. Therefore, go back.

Men. Pr'ythee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius, always factionary on the party of your general.

2 G. Howsoever you have been his liar, (as you say, you have,) I am one that, telling true under him, must say, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back.

Men. Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would not speak with him till after dinner.

1 G. You are a Roman, are you?

Men. I am as thy general is.

1 G. Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have pushed out your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front his revenges with the easy groans of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution: You are condemned, our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.

Men. Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would use me with estimation.

2 G. Come, my captain knows you not.

Men. I mean, thy general.

1 G. My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go, lest I let forth your half pint of blood;-back, that's the utmost of your having :-back.

Men. Nay, but fellow, fellow,


Cor. What's the matter?

Men. Now you companion, I'll say an errand for you; you shall know now, that I am in estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack guardent4 cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment with him, if thou stand'st not i'the state of hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee. The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy particular prosperity, and love thee no worse than thy old father Menenius does! O, my son! my son ! thou

43 This term is equivalent to one still is use-a jack in office. STEEV.

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