Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Coriolanus > Act II, scene II



	[Enter two Officers, to lay cushions]

First Officer: Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
	for consulships?

Second Officer: Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one
	Coriolanus will carry it.

First Officer: That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, and
	loves not the common people.

Second Officer: Faith, there had been many great men that have
	flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and there
	be many that they have loved, they know not
	wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why,
	they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for
	Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate
	him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
	disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets
	them plainly see't.

First Officer: If he did not care whether he had their love or no,
	he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither
	good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater
	devotion than can render it him; and leaves
	nothing undone that may fully discover him their
	opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and
	displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he
	dislikes, to flatter them for their love.

Second Officer: He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his
	ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who,
	having been supple and courteous to the people,
	bonneted, without any further deed to have them at
	an into their estimation and report: but he hath so
	planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions
	in their hearts, that for their tongues to be
	silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of
	ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a
	malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck
	reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.

First Officer: No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, they
	are coming.

	[A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS
	the consul, MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators,
	SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their
	places; the Tribunes take their Places by
	themselves. CORIOLANUS stands]

MENENIUS: Having determined of the Volsces and
	To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
	As the main point of this our after-meeting,
	To gratify his noble service that
	Hath thus stood for his country: therefore,
	please you,
	Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
	The present consul, and last general
	In our well-found successes, to report
	A little of that worthy work perform'd
	By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom
	We met here both to thank and to remember
	With honours like himself.

First Senator: Speak, good Cominius:
	Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
	Rather our state's defective for requital
	Than we to stretch it out.

	[To the Tribunes]

		     Masters o' the people,
	We do request your kindest ears, and after,
	Your loving motion toward the common body,
	To yield what passes here.

SICINIUS: We are convented
	Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
	Inclinable to honour and advance
	The theme of our assembly.

BRUTUS: Which the rather
	We shall be blest to do, if he remember
	A kinder value of the people than
	He hath hereto prized them at.

MENENIUS: That's off, that's off;
	I would you rather had been silent. Please you
	To hear Cominius speak?

BRUTUS: Most willingly;
	But yet my caution was more pertinent
	Than the rebuke you give it.

MENENIUS: He loves your people
	But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
	Worthy Cominius, speak.

	[CORIOLANUS offers to go away]

		  Nay, keep your place.

First Senator: Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
	What you have nobly done.

CORIOLANUS: Your horror's pardon:
	I had rather have my wounds to heal again
	Than hear say how I got them.

BRUTUS: Sir, I hope
	My words disbench'd you not.

CORIOLANUS: No, sir: yet oft,
	When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
	You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but
	your people,
	I love them as they weigh.

MENENIUS: Pray now, sit down.

CORIOLANUS: I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun
	When the alarum were struck than idly sit
	To hear my nothings monster'd.

	[Exit]

MENENIUS: Masters of the people,
	Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter--
	That's thousand to one good one--when you now see
	He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
	Than one on's ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.

COMINIUS: I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
	Should not be utter'd feebly. It is held
	That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
	Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
	The man I speak of cannot in the world
	Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
	When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
	Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator,
	Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
	When with his Amazonian chin he drove
	The bristled lips before him: be bestrid
	An o'er-press'd Roman and i' the consul's view
	Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met,
	And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats,
	When he might act the woman in the scene,
	He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed
	Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
	Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea,
	And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
	He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last,
	Before and in Corioli, let me say,
	I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers;
	And by his rare example made the coward
	Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
	A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
	And fell below his stem: his sword, death's stamp,
	Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
	He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
	Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd
	The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
	With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
	And with a sudden reinforcement struck
	Corioli like a planet: now all's his:
	When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce
	His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
	Re-quicken'd what in flesh was fatigate,
	And to the battle came he; where he did
	Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
	'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd
	Both field and city ours, he never stood
	To ease his breast with panting.

MENENIUS: Worthy man!

First Senator: He cannot but with measure fit the honours
	Which we devise him.

COMINIUS: Our spoils he kick'd at,
	And look'd upon things precious as they were
	The common muck of the world: he covets less
	Than misery itself would give; rewards
	His deeds with doing them, and is content
	To spend the time to end it.

MENENIUS: He's right noble:
	Let him be call'd for.

First Senator: Call Coriolanus.

Officer: He doth appear.

	[Re-enter CORIOLANUS]

MENENIUS: The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
	To make thee consul.

CORIOLANUS: I do owe them still
	My life and services.

MENENIUS: It then remains
	That you do speak to the people.

CORIOLANUS: I do beseech you,
	Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
	Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,
	For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you
	That I may pass this doing.

SICINIUS: Sir, the people
	Must have their voices; neither will they bate
	One jot of ceremony.

MENENIUS: Put them not to't:
	Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
	Take to you, as your predecessors have,
	Your honour with your form.

CORIOLANUS: It is apart
	That I shall blush in acting, and might well
	Be taken from the people.

BRUTUS: Mark you that?

CORIOLANUS: To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
	Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
	As if I had received them for the hire
	Of their breath only!

MENENIUS: Do not stand upon't.
	We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
	Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul
	Wish we all joy and honour.

Senators: To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!

	[Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS
	and BRUTUS]

BRUTUS: You see how he intends to use the people.

SICINIUS: May they perceive's intent! He will require them,
	As if he did contemn what he requested
	Should be in them to give.

BRUTUS: Come, we'll inform them
	Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
	I know, they do attend us.

	[Exeunt]




	CORIOLANUS






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