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

	Two Sentinels on guard.


	[Enter to them, MENENIUS]

First Senator: Stay: whence are you?

Second Senator: Stand, and go back.

MENENIUS: You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your leave,
	I am an officer of state, and come
	To speak with Coriolanus.

First Senator: From whence?

MENENIUS: From Rome.

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

Second Senator: You'll see your Rome embraced with fire before
	You'll speak with Coriolanus.

MENENIUS: Good my friends,
	If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
	And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks,
	My name hath touch'd your ears it is Menenius.

First Senator: Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name
	Is not here passable.

MENENIUS: I tell thee, fellow,
	The general is my lover: I have been
	The book of his good acts, whence men have read
	His name 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,
	I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise
	Have almost stamp'd the leasing: therefore, fellow,
	I must have leave to pass.

First Senator: Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his
	behalf as you have uttered words in your own, you
	should not pass here; no, though it were as virtuous
	to lie as to live chastely. Therefore, go back.

MENENIUS: Prithee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius,
	always factionary on the party of your general.

Second Senator: 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.

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

First Senator: You are a Roman, are you?

MENENIUS: I am, as thy general is.

First Senator: 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.

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

Second Senator: Come, my captain knows you not.

MENENIUS: I mean, thy general.

First Senator: 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.

MENENIUS: Nay, but, fellow, fellow,--

	[Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS]

CORIOLANUS: What's the matter?

MENENIUS: 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 guardant cannot office me from
	my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment
	with him, if thou standest 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.

	[To CORIOLANUS]

	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 art preparing fire for us; look thee, here's
	water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to
	thee; but being assured none but myself could move
	thee, I have been blown out of your gates with
	sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy
	petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage thy
	wrath, and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet
	here,--this, who, like a block, hath denied my
	access to thee.

CORIOLANUS: Away!

MENENIUS: How! away!

CORIOLANUS: Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs
	Are servanted to others: though I owe
	My revenge properly, my remission lies
	In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar,
	Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather
	Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone.
	Mine ears against your suits are stronger than
	Your gates against my force. Yet, for I loved thee,
	Take this along; I writ it for thy sake

	[Gives a letter]

	And would have rent it. Another word, Menenius,
	I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius,
	Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st!

AUFIDIUS: You keep a constant temper.

	[Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS]

First Senator: Now, sir, is your name Menenius?

Second Senator: 'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know the
	way home again.

First Senator: Do you hear how we are shent for keeping your
	greatness back?

Second Senator: What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?

MENENIUS: I neither care for the world nor your general: for
	such things as you, I can scarce think there's any,
	ye're so slight. He that hath a will to die by
	himself fears it not from another: let your general
	do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and
	your misery increase with your age! I say to you,
	as I was said to, Away!

	[Exit]

First Senator: A noble fellow, I warrant him.

Second Senator: The worthy fellow is our general: he's the rock, the
	oak not to be wind-shaken.

	[Exeunt]




	CORIOLANUS






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