Page images
PDF
EPUB

say, if he would incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.

Enter CORIOLANUS and MENENTUS.

Here he comes, and in the gown of humility; mark his behaviour. We are not to stay altogether, 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'll direct you how you shall go by him. All. Content, content.

[Exeunt. Men. O sir, you are not right: have you not

known The worthiest men have done it? Cor.

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.
Men.

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

Think upon me? Hang 'em! I would they would forget me, like the virtues Which our divines lose by them." Men.

You'll mar all;

* I would they would forget me, like the virtues

Which our divines lose by them.] i.e. I wish they would forget me as they do those virtuous precepts, which the divines preach up to them, and lose by them, as it were, by their neglecting the practice.

I'll leave you: Pray you, speak to them, I pray you, In wholesome manner.

Exit.

Enter Two Citizens.

Cor.

Bid them wash their faces, And keep their teeth clean.—So, here comes a brace, You know the cause, sir, of my standing here. i Cit. We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you

to't. Cor. Mine own desert. 2 Cit.

Your own desert? Cor.

Ay, not Mine own desire. i Cit.

How! not your own desire?
Cor. No, sir:
'Twas never my desire yet,
To trouble the poor with begging:

į Cit. You must think, if we give you any thing, We hope to gain by you. Cor. 'Well then, I pray, your price o'the consul

ship?
i Cit. The price is, sir, to ask it kindly.
Cor.

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? 2 Cit.

You shall have it, worthy sir.
Cor. A match, sir:-
There is in all two worthy voices begg’d:-
I have your alms; adieu.
i Cit.

But this is something odd. 2 Cit. An'twere to give again,-But 'tis no matter.

[Exeunt Two Citizens.

Enter Two other Citizens.

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

3 Cit. You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly.

Cor. Your enigina?

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

Cor. 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 bountifully to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may be consul.

4 Cit. We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give you our voices heartily.

3 Cit. You have received many wounds for your country.

Cor. I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further. Both 'Cit. The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!

[Exeunt. Cor. Most sweet voices !

I will not seal your knowledge -] I will not strengthen or complete your knowledge. The seal is that which gives authenticity to a writing

Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish gown 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 heap'd
For truth to over-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.

Enter Three other Citizens.

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.

5 Cit. He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest man's voice.

6 Cit. Therefore let him be consul: The gods give him joy, and make him good friend to the people!

All. Amen, amen,-God save thee, noble consul! [Exeunt Citizens. Cor.

Worthy voices!

Re-enter MenenIUS, with BrutUS, and Sicinius.
Men. You have stood your limitation; and the

tribunes
Endue you with the people's voice: Remains,
That, in the official inarks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

Cor.

Is this done?
Sic. The custom of request you have discharg'd:
The people do admit you; and are summon'd
To meet anon, upon your approbation.

Cor. Where? at the senate-house?
Sic.

There, Coriolanus.
Cor. May I then change these garments ?
Sic.

You may, sir. Cor. That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself

again, Repair to the senate-house. Men. I'll keep you company.-Will

you along? Bru. We stay here for the people. Sic.

Fare

you well. [Exeunt Coriol. and Menen. He has it now; and by his looks, methinks, 'Tis warm at his heart. Bru.

With a proud heart he wore His humble weeds: Will you dismiss the people?

Re-enter Citizens.

Sic. How now, my masters ? have you chose this

man? i Cit. He has our voices, sir. Bru. We pray the gods, he may deserve

your loves. 2 Cit. Amen, sir: To my poor unworthy notice, He inock'd us, when he begg'd our voices. 3 Cit.

Certainly, He flouted us down-right. i Cit. No, 'tis his kind of speech, he did not

mock us. 2 Cit. Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says, He us'd us scornfully: he should have show'd us His marks of merit, wounds receiv’d for his country.

Sic. Why, so he did, I am sure.

« PreviousContinue »