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As if Olympus to a molehill should
In supplication nod: and my young boy
Hath an aspect of intercession, which
Great nature cries, Deny not.-
Volumnia. This is a poor epitome of yours,
Which by the interpretation of full time
May show like all yourself.
Coriolanus. The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou may'st prove
To shame invulnerable, and stick i’ the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye
Volumnia. Why dost not speak?
Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs ?-Daughter, speak you :
He cares not for your weeping.–Špeak thou, boy ;
Perhaps, thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons.
Say my request's unjust,
And spurn me back : But if it be not so,
Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,
That thou restrain'st from me the duty, which
To a mother's part belongs. He turns away :
Down, ladies ; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride,
Than pity to our prayers. Down; An end :
This is the last ;-So we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours.-Nay, behold us :
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels, and holds up hands, for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny't. ...
Coriolanus. O mother, mother, (Holding VOLUMINA
by the hands, silent.)
What have you done ? Behold, the heavens do ope, ,
The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O! my mother, mother, O!
You have won a happy victory at Rome :
But, for your son-believe it, O! believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevailid,
If not most mortal to him. But, let it come:-
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll make convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my stead, say, would you have heard
A mother less ? or granted less, Aufidius ?
Aufidius. I was mov'd withal.
I dare be sworn, you were :
And, sir, it is no little thing, to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion.
Ladies, you deserve
To have a temple built you: all the swords
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace.-Sc. 3.
Menenius. See you yond' coign o' the Capitol : yond' corner-stone ?
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 creeping thing.
Sicinius. He lov'd 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 bum 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: There is no more mercy in him, than there is milk in a male tiger; that shall our city find : and all this is 'long of you.
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. — Sc. 4.
Coriolanus. Hear'st thou, Mars?
Aufidius. Name not the god, thou boy of tears,–
Ha! Aufidius. No more.
Coriolanus. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave ! Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever I was forc'd to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords, Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion (Who wears my stripes impress'd on him; that must bear My beating to his grave,) shall join to thrust The lie unto him.
1st Lord. Peace, both, and hear me speak.
Coriolanus. Cut me to pieces, Volces; men and lads,
Stain all your edges on me.-Boy! False hound !
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
That like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volces in Corioli;
Alone I did it.- Boy!
2nd Lord. Peace, ho ;----no outrage ;-peace.
The man is noble, and his fame folds in
This orb o'the earth. His last offence to us
Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.
O! that I had him,
With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword !
Insolent villain !
Conspirators. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him. (AUFIDIUS and
the Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS, who
falls, and AUFIDIUS stands on him.) Lords.
Hold, hold, hold, hold! Aufidius. My noble masters, hear me speak. 1st Lord.
O! Tullus 2nd Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will
My rage is gone,
And I am struck with sorrow.
Take him up;
Help, three of the chiefest soldiers ; I'll be one.-
Beat thou the drum that it speak mournfully:
Trail your steel pikes.- Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
Which to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet he shall have a noble memory.-
Assist. (Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead march sounded.)--Sc. 5.
JULIUS CÆSAR. Of this tragedy many particular passages deserve regard, and the contention and reconcilement of Brutus and Cassius is universally celebrated; but I have never been strongly agitated in perusing it, and think it somewhat cold and unaffecting, compared with some other of Shakspeare's plays ; his adherence to the real story, and to Roman manners, seems to have impeded the natural vigour of his genius.—Johnson. Cassius. Tell me, good Brutus, can you your
face? Brutus. No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself, But by reflection.
(Flourish and shout.) What means this shouting? I do fear, the people Choose Cæsar for their king. Cassius.
Ay, do you fear it ? Then must I think you would not have it so.
Brutus. I would not, Cassius; yet I love him well:
But wherefore do you hold me here so long ?
What is it that you would impart to me ?
If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honour in one eye, and death i' the other,
And I will look on both indifferently:
For, let the gods so speed me, as I love
The name of honour more than I fear death.-Act. 1, Sc. 2.
Cæsar. Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights :
Yond' Cassius bas a lean and hungry look ;
He thinks too much : such men are dangerous.
Antony. Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous :
He's a noble Roman, and well given.
Cæsar. 'Would he were fatter:-But I fear him not:
Yet if my name were liable to fear,
I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much ;
He is a great observer, and he looks
Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no musick:
Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort,
As if he mock’d himself, and scorn'd his spirit
That could be mov'd to smile at anything.
Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves ;
And therefore are they very dangerous.
I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd,
Than what I fear, for always I am Cæsar.
Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,
And tell me truly what thou think'st of him.-Id.
Cassius. Did Cicero say anything ?
Casca. Ay, he spoke Greek.
Cassius. To what effect ?
Casca. Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face again : But those that understood him, smiled at one another, and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me.--Id. Brutus.
'Tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face :
But when he once attains the utmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.--Act. 2, Sc. 1.
Sham’st thou to show thy dangerous brow by night,
When evils are most free ? O! then by day,
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage ? Seek none, conspiracy ;
Hide it in smiles and affability :
For if thou path, thy native semblance on,
Not Erebus itself were dim enough
To hide thee from prevention.
Brutus. Give me your hands all over one by one.
Cassius. And let us swear our resolution.
Brutus. No, not an oath : If not the face of men,
The sufferance of our souls, the time's abuse,-
If these be motives weak, break off betimes,
every man hence to his idle bed;
So let high-sighted tyranny range on,
Till each man drop by lottery. But if these,
As I am sure they do, bear fire enough
To kindle cowards, and to steel with valour
The melting spirits of women; then, countrymen,
we any spur but our own cause,
To prick us to redress ? What other bond,
Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter ? and what other oath,
Than honesty to honesty engag'd,
That this shall be, or we will fall for it?