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Enter the Ladies, accompanied by Senators, Patricians, and People. They pass over the stage.
1 Sen. Behold our patroness, the life of Rome: Call all your tribes together, praise the gods, And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before
Unshout the noise that banish'd Marcius,
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;
Welcome! [4 flourish with drums and trumpets.
Antium. A publick Place.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants.
Auf. Go tell the lords of the city, I am here:
Enter three or four Conspirators of Aufidius' faction.
1 Con. How is it with our general?
As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
And with his charity slain.
Most noble sir,
If you do hold the same intent wherein
You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
your great danger.
Sir, I cannot tell;
We must proceed, as we do find the people.
3 Con. The people will remain uncertain, whilst 'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either Makes the survivor heir of all.
I know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd
3 Con. Sir, his stoutness,
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
That I would have spoke of: Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth; Presented to my knife his throat: I took him; Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
The army marvell'd at it.
So he did, my lord:
And, in the last,
When he had carried Rome; and that we look'd
For no less spoil, than glory,
There was it;
For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him68.
[Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the people. i Con. Your native town you enter'd like a post, And had no welcomes home; but he returns,
Splitting the air with noise.
And patient fools,
Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear,
With giving him glory.
Therefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself, or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
Which we will second. When he lies along,
But, worthy lords, have you with heed perus'd
What I have written to you?
And grieve to hear it.
What faults he made before the last, I think,
Enter CORIOLANUS, with drums and colours; a crowd of Citizens with him.
Cor. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier;
No more infected with my country's love,
Do more than counterpoise, a full third part,
Than shame to the Romans: And we here deliver,
Together with the seal o'the senate, what
We have compounded on.
Read it not, noble lords;
But tell the traitor, in the highest degree
He hath abus'd your powers.
Cor. Traitor!-How now?
Ay, traitor, Marcius.
Auf. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius; Dost thou think I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name Coriolanus in Corioli?
You lords and heads of the state, perfidiously
Hear'st thou, Mars?
Auf. Name not the god, thou boy of tears,—
Auf. No more.