Document: All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Coriolanus > Act V, scene IV
[Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS]
MENENIUS: See you yond coign o' the Capitol, yond
SICINIUS: Why, what of that?
MENENIUS: If it be possible for you to displace it with your
little finger, there is some hope the ladies of
Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him.
But I say there is no hope in't: our throats are
sentenced and stay upon execution.
SICINIUS: Is't possible that so short a time can alter the
condition of a man!
MENENIUS: There is differency between a grub and a butterfly;
yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown
from man to dragon: he has wings; he's more than a
SICINIUS: He loved his mother dearly.
MENENIUS: So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother
now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness
of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he
moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before
his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with
his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a
battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for
Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with
his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity
and a heaven to throne in.
SICINIUS: Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.
MENENIUS: I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his
mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy
in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that
shall our poor city find: and all this is long of
SICINIUS: The gods be good unto us!
MENENIUS: No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto
us. When we banished him, we respected not them;
and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.
[Enter a Messenger]
Messenger: Sir, if you'ld save your life, fly to your house:
The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune
And hale him up and down, all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.
[Enter a second Messenger]
SICINIUS: What's the news?
Second Messenger: Good news, good news; the ladies have prevail'd,
The Volscians are dislodged, and Marcius gone:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.
Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain?
Second Messenger: As certain as I know the sun is fire:
Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,
As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you!
[Trumpets; hautboys; drums beat; all together]
The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries and fifes,
Tabours and cymbals and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance. Hark you!
[A shout within]
MENENIUS: This is good news:
I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes, such as you,
A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
This morning for ten thousand of your throats
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!
[Music still, with shouts]
SICINIUS: First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
Accept my thankfulness.
Second Messenger: Sir, we have all
Great cause to give great thanks.
SICINIUS: They are near the city?
Second Messenger: Almost at point to enter.
SICINIUS: We will meet them,
And help the joy.