Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Coriolanus > Act I, scene VI

	[Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire,
	with soldiers]

COMINIUS: Breathe you, my friends: well fought;
	we are come off
	Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
	Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs,
	We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck,
	By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
	The charges of our friends. Ye Roman gods!
	Lead their successes as we wish our own,
	That both our powers, with smiling
	fronts encountering,
	May give you thankful sacrifice.

	[Enter a Messenger]

		                  Thy news?

Messenger: The citizens of Corioli have issued,
	And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle:
	I saw our party to their trenches driven,
	And then I came away.

COMINIUS: Though thou speak'st truth,
	Methinks thou speak'st not well.
	How long is't since?

Messenger: Above an hour, my lord.

COMINIUS: 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
	How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
	And bring thy news so late?

Messenger: Spies of the Volsces
	Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
	Three or four miles about, else had I, sir,
	Half an hour since brought my report.

COMINIUS: Who's yonder,
	That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods
	He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have
	Before-time seen him thus.

MARCIUS: [Within]                 Come I too late?

COMINIUS: The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour
	More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue
	From every meaner man.

	[Enter MARCIUS]

MARCIUS: Come I too late?

COMINIUS: Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
	But mantled in your own.

MARCIUS: O, let me clip ye
	In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart
	As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
	And tapers burn'd to bedward!

COMINIUS: Flower of warriors,
	How is it with Titus Lartius?

MARCIUS: As with a man busied about decrees:
	Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
	Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other;
	Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
	Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
	To let him slip at will.

COMINIUS: Where is that slave
	Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
	Where is he? call him hither.

MARCIUS: Let him alone;
	He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen,
	The common file--a plague! tribunes for them!--
	The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
	From rascals worse than they.

COMINIUS: But how prevail'd you?

MARCIUS: Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
	Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?
	If not, why cease you till you are so?

COMINIUS: Marcius,
	We have at disadvantage fought and did
	Retire to win our purpose.

MARCIUS: How lies their battle? know you on which side
	They have placed their men of trust?

COMINIUS: As I guess, Marcius,
	Their bands i' the vaward are the Antiates,
	Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,
	Their very heart of hope.

MARCIUS: I do beseech you,
	By all the battles wherein we have fought,
	By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
	We have made to endure friends, that you directly
	Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
	And that you not delay the present, but,
	Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
	We prove this very hour.

COMINIUS: Though I could wish
	You were conducted to a gentle bath
	And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never
	Deny your asking: take your choice of those
	That best can aid your action.

MARCIUS: Those are they
	That most are willing. If any such be here--
	As it were sin to doubt--that love this painting
	Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear
	Lesser his person than an ill report;
	If any think brave death outweighs bad life
	And that his country's dearer than himself;
	Let him alone, or so many so minded,
	Wave thus, to express his disposition,
	And follow Marcius.

	[They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in
	their arms, and cast up their caps]

	O, me alone! make you a sword of me?
	If these shows be not outward, which of you
	But is four Volsces? none of you but is
	Able to bear against the great Aufidius
	A shield as hard as his. A certain number,
	Though thanks to all, must I select
	from all: the rest
	Shall bear the business in some other fight,
	As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march;
	And four shall quickly draw out my command,
	Which men are best inclined.

COMINIUS: March on, my fellows:
	Make good this ostentation, and you shall
	Divide in all with us.



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