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

	[Enter seven or eight Citizens]

First Citizen: Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.

Second Citizen: We may, sir, if we will.

Third Citizen: We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
	power that we have no power to do; for if he show us
	his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
	tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if
	he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
	our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
	monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful,
	were to make a monster of the multitude: of the
	which we being members, should bring ourselves to be
	monstrous members.

First Citizen: And to make us no better thought of, a little help
	will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he
	himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.

Third Citizen: We have been called so of many; not that our heads
	are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald,
	but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and
	truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of
	one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south,
	and their consent of one direct way should be at
	once to all the points o' the compass.

Second Citizen: Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would

Third Citizen: Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
	will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but
	if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.

Second Citizen: Why that way?

Third Citizen: To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts
	melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return
	for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.

Second Citizen: You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.

Third Citizen: Are you all resolved to give your voices? But
	that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I
	say, if he would incline to the people, there was
	never a worthier man.

	[Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility,

	Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
	behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
	come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and
	by threes. He's to make his requests by
	particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
	honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
	tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
	you shall go by him.

All: Content, content.

	[Exeunt Citizens]

MENENIUS: O sir, you are not right: have you not known
	The worthiest men have done't?

CORIOLANUS: What must I say?
	'I Pray, sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring
	My tongue to such a pace:--'Look, sir, my wounds!
	I got them in my country's service, when
	Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran
	From the noise of our own drums.'

MENENIUS: O me, the gods!
	You must not speak of that: you must desire them
	To think upon you.

CORIOLANUS:                   Think upon me! hang 'em!
	I would they would forget me, like the virtues
	Which our divines lose by 'em.

MENENIUS: You'll mar all:
	I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
	In wholesome manner.


CORIOLANUS: Bid them wash their faces
	And keep their teeth clean.

	[Re-enter two of the Citizens]

		      So, here comes a brace.

	[Re-enter a third Citizen]

	You know the cause, air, of my standing here.

Third Citizen: We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.

CORIOLANUS: Mine own desert.

Second Citizen: Your own desert!

CORIOLANUS: Ay, but not mine own desire.

Third Citizen: How not your own desire?

CORIOLANUS: No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble the
	poor with begging.

Third Citizen: You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
	gain by you.

CORIOLANUS: Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?

First Citizen: The price is to ask it kindly.

CORIOLANUS: Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to
	show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
	good voice, sir; what say you?

Second Citizen: You shall ha' it, worthy sir.

CORIOLANUS: A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices
	begged. I have your alms: adieu.

Third Citizen: But this is something odd.

Second Citizen: An 'twere to give again,--but 'tis no matter.

	[Exeunt the three Citizens]

	[Re-enter two other Citizens]

CORIOLANUS: Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
	voices that I may be consul, I have here the
	customary gown.

Fourth Citizen: You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
	have not deserved nobly.

CORIOLANUS: Your enigma?

Fourth Citizen: You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
	been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
	the common people.

CORIOLANUS: You should account me the more virtuous that I have
	not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
	sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
	estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account
	gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
	rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
	the insinuating nod and be off to them most
	counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
	bewitchment of some popular man and give it
	bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
	I may be consul.

Fifth Citizen: We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
	you our voices heartily.

Fourth Citizen: You have received many wounds for your country.

CORIOLANUS: I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
	will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

Both Citizens: The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!


CORIOLANUS: Most sweet voices!
	Better it is to die, better to starve,
	Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
	Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
	To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
	Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't:
	What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
	The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
	And mountainous error be too highly heapt
	For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
	Let the high office and the honour go
	To one that would do thus. I am half through;
	The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.

	[Re-enter three Citizens more]

	Here come more voices.
	Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
	Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices bear
	Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
	I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
	Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
	Indeed I would be consul.

Sixth Citizen: He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
	man's voice.

Seventh Citizen: Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,
	and make him good friend to the people!

All Citizens: Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!


CORIOLANUS: Worthy voices!

	[Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS]

MENENIUS: You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
	Endue you with the people's voice: remains
	That, in the official marks invested, you
	Anon do meet the senate.

CORIOLANUS: Is this done?

SICINIUS: The custom of request you have discharged:
	The people do admit you, and are summon'd
	To meet anon, upon your approbation.

CORIOLANUS: Where? at the senate-house?

SICINIUS: There, Coriolanus.

CORIOLANUS: May I change these garments?

SICINIUS: You may, sir.

CORIOLANUS: That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
	Repair to the senate-house.

MENENIUS: I'll keep you company. Will you along?

BRUTUS: We stay here for the people.

SICINIUS: Fare you well.


	He has it now, and by his looks methink
	'Tis warm at 's heart.

BRUTUS: With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
	will you dismiss the people?

	[Re-enter Citizens]

SICINIUS: How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

First Citizen: He has our voices, sir.

BRUTUS: We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

Second Citizen: Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
	He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.

Third Citizen: Certainly
	He flouted us downright.

First Citizen: No,'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.

Second Citizen: Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
	He used us scornfully: he should have show'd us
	His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.

SICINIUS: Why, so he did, I am sure.

Citizens: No, no; no man saw 'em.

Third Citizen: He said he had wounds, which he could show
	in private;
	And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
	'I would be consul,' says he: 'aged custom,
	But by your voices, will not so permit me;
	Your voices therefore.' When we granted that,
	Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank you:
	Your most sweet voices: now you have left
	your voices,
	I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?

SICINIUS: Why either were you ignorant to see't,
	Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
	To yield your voices?

BRUTUS: Could you not have told him
	As you were lesson'd, when he had no power,
	But was a petty servant to the state,
	He was your enemy, ever spake against
	Your liberties and the charters that you bear
	I' the body of the weal; and now, arriving
	A place of potency and sway o' the state,
	If he should still malignantly remain
	Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
	Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
	That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
	Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
	Would think upon you for your voices and
	Translate his malice towards you into love,
	Standing your friendly lord.

SICINIUS: Thus to have said,
	As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
	And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd
	Either his gracious promise, which you might,
	As cause had call'd you up, have held him to
	Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
	Which easily endures not article
	Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
	You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
	And pass'd him unelected.

BRUTUS: Did you perceive
	He did solicit you in free contempt
	When he did need your loves, and do you think
	That his contempt shall not be bruising to you,
	When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
	No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
	Against the rectorship of judgment?

SICINIUS: Have you
	Ere now denied the asker? and now again
	Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow
	Your sued-for tongues?

Third Citizen: He's not confirm'd; we may deny him yet.

Second Citizen: And will deny him:
	I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.

First Citizen: I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.

BRUTUS: Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
	They have chose a consul that will from them take
	Their liberties; make them of no more voice
	Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
	As therefore kept to do so.

SICINIUS: Let them assemble,
	And on a safer judgment all revoke
	Your ignorant election; enforce his pride,
	And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
	With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
	How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves,
	Thinking upon his services, took from you
	The apprehension of his present portance,
	Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
	After the inveterate hate he bears you.

	A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
	No impediment between, but that you must
	Cast your election on him.

SICINIUS: Say, you chose him
	More after our commandment than as guided
	By your own true affections, and that your minds,
	Preoccupied with what you rather must do
	Than what you should, made you against the grain
	To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

BRUTUS: Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
	How youngly he began to serve his country,
	How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
	The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence came
	That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son,
	Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
	Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
	That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
	And  [Censorinus,]  nobly named so,
	Twice being  [by the people chosen]  censor,
	Was his great ancestor.

SICINIUS: One thus descended,
	That hath beside well in his person wrought
	To be set high in place, we did commend
	To your remembrances: but you have found,
	Scaling his present bearing with his past,
	That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
	Your sudden approbation.

BRUTUS: Say, you ne'er had done't--
	Harp on that still--but by our putting on;
	And presently, when you have drawn your number,
	Repair to the Capitol.

All: We will so: almost all
	Repent in their election.

	[Exeunt Citizens]

BRUTUS: Let them go on;
	This mutiny were better put in hazard,
	Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
	If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
	With their refusal, both observe and answer
	The vantage of his anger.

SICINIUS: To the Capitol, come:
	We will be there before the stream o' the people;
	And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
	Which we have goaded onward.



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