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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;
Cry,-Welcome, ladies, welcome!-


Welcome, ladies!


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:
Deliver them this paper: having read it,
Bid them repair to the market-place; where I,
Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse,
The city ports by this hath enter'd, and
Intends to appear before the people, hoping
To purge himself with words: Despatch.

[Exeunt Attendants.

Enter three or four Conspirators of Aufidius' faction.

Most welcome!

1 Con. How is it with our general?


Even so,

As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,

And with his charity slain.

2 Con.

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
Mine honour for his truth: Who being so heighten'd,
He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends: and, to this end,
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable, and free.

3 Con. Sir, his stoutness,

When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,-


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,
My best and freshest men; serv'd his designments
In mine own person; holp to reap the fame,
Which he did end all his; and took some pride
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,

I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
67 He wag'd me with his countenance, as if
I had been mercenary.

1 Con.

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.
At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
Of our great action; Therefore shall he die,
And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!

[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.

2 Con.

And patient fools,

Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear,

With giving him glory.

3 Con.

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,
After your way his tale pronounc'd shall bury
His 'reasons with his body.

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But, worthy lords, have you with heed perus'd

What I have written to you?


1 Lord.

We have.

And grieve to hear it.

What faults he made before the last, I think,
Might have found easy fines: but there to end,
Where he was to begin; and give away
The benefit of our levies, answering us
With our own charge; making a treaty, where
There was a yielding; This admits no excuse.
Auf. He approaches, you shall hear him.

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,
Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
Under your great command. You are to know,
That prosperously I have attempted, and
With bloody passage, led your wars, even to
The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home,

Do more than counterpoise, a full third part,
The charges of the action. We have made peace,
With no less honour to the Antiates,

Than shame to the Romans: And we here deliver,
Subscrib'd by the consuls and patricians,

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
He has betray'd your business, and given up,
For certain drops of salt, your city Rome
(I say, your city,) to his wife and mother:
Breaking his oath and resolution, like
A twist of rotten silk; never admitting
Counsel o' the war; but at his nurse's tears
He whin'd and roar'd away your victory;
That pages blush'd at him, and men of heart
Look'd wondering each at other.


Hear'st thou, Mars?

Auf. Name not the god, thou boy of tears,—


Auf. No more.


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