Page images

Men. For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest,

Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost: Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run, Lead'st first to win some vantage.

But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs : Rome and her rats are at the point of battle; Enter CAIUS MARCIUS.

The one side must have bale. Hail, noble Marcius!

Mar. Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,

That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, 170 Make yourselves scabs?

First Cit. We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee will flatter

Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,

That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights

[blocks in formation]

Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
As I could pick my lance.

Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;

For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech


What says the other troop?


[blocks in formation]

First Sen. Your company to the Capitol; where I know

Our greatest friends attend us.

To COMINIUS. Lead you on: 259
To MARCIUS. Follow Cominius; we must follow

They are dissolved: hang 'em! Right worthy you priority.

[blocks in formation]

To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
Your valour puts well forth; pray, follow.
and MENENIUS. Citizens steal away.
Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?
Bru. He has no equal.

Sic. When we were chosen tribunes for the

Bru. Mark'd you his lip and eyes?

Nay, but his taunts. 260 Bru. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the gods.

Sic. Bemock the modest moon.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery
We shall be shorten'd in our aim, which was,
To take in many towns ere almost Rome

Should know we were afoot.

Second Sen.

Noble Aufidius,

Take your commission; hie you to your bands;
Let us alone to guard Corioli:

If they set down before 's, for the remove Bring up your army; but I think you'll find Bru. The present wars devour him; he is They've not prepar'd for us.


Too proud to be so valiant.

[blocks in formation]

O! doubt not that; 30
I speak from certainties. Nay, more;
Some parcels of their power are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your honours.
If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet,
'Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
Till one can do no more.


Auf. And keep your honours safe!

[blocks in formation]

Fame, at the which he aims,
In whom already he's well grac'd, can not
Better be held nor more attain'd than by
A place below the first; for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man; and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius, 'O! if he
Had borne the business.'

[blocks in formation]


Come :

Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius, Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults

The gods assist you!






Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA. They set them down on two low stools and sew.

Vol. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a more comfortable sort. If my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour than in the To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed 280 embracements of his bed where he would show In aught he merit not.

[blocks in formation]

most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied and the only son of my womb, when youth with How the dispatch is made; and in what fashion, comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when for More than his singularity, he goes Upon his present action. Bru.

a day of kings' entreaties a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding, I, considerLet's along. Exeunt. ing how honour would become such a person,

[blocks in formation]

that it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown made it not stir, was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man. Vir. But had he died in the business, madam; how then?


Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely had I a dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.

Enter a Gentlewoman.

Gent. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.

Vir. Beseech you, give me leave to retire did but fill Ithaca full of moths. myself.

Vol. Indeed, you shall not.


[blocks in formation]

Vir. His bloody brow! O Jupiter! no blood. Vol. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba, When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood At Grecian swords, contemning. Tell Valeria We are fit to bid her welcome.

Exit Gentlewoman. Vir. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius! Vol. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee, And tread upon his neck.

Re-enter Gentlewoman, with VALERIA and an

Val. My ladies both, good day to you.
Vol. Sweet madam.

Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.


Val. How do you both? you are manifest housekeepers. What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your little


Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

Vol. He had rather see the swords and hear a drum, than look upon his schoolmaster.


Val. O' my word, the father's son; I'll swear 'tis a very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o' Wednesday half an hour together: he has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it; O! I warrant, how he mammocked it. Vol. One on's father's moods. Val. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child. Vir. A crack, madam.


Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle huswife with me this afternoon.

Vir. No, good madam; I will not out of doors. Val. Not out of doors!

Vol. She shall, she shall.

Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the threshold till my lord return from the

[blocks in formation]

Come; I

would your cambric were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.

Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed I will not forth.

Val. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.


Vir. O good madam, there can be none yet. Val. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him last night.

Vir. Indeed, madam?

Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is the Volsces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power: your lord and Titus Lartius are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.


[blocks in formation]

Mar. Say, has our general met the enemy?
Mess. They lie in view, but have not spoke as
Lart. So the good horse is mine.
I'll buy him of you.
Lart. No, I'll not sell nor give him: lend you
him I will

For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
Mar. How far off lie these armies?
Within this mile and half.
Mar. Then shall we hear their 'larum, aud
they ours.

Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work, 10 That we with smoking swords may march from hence,

To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.

A parley sounded. Enter, on the walls, two
Senators, and Others.

Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
First Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less
than he,

That's lesser than a little.

Drums afar off Hark! our drums Are bringing forth our youth: we'll break our walls,

Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates, | A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art, Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes;

[blocks in formation]

'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.
He enters the gates.
First Sol. Foolhardiness! not I.
Second Sol.
Nor I.
MARCIUS is shut in.
Third Sol. See, they have shut him in.
To the pot, I warrant him.
Alarum continues.

Lart. What is become of Marcius?

Slain, sir, doubtless. First Sol. Following the fliers at the very heels, With them he enters; who, upon the sudden, 50 Clapp'd-to their gates; he is himself alone, To answer all the city. Lart. O noble fellow ! Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword, And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left,


Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks and The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds, Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world Were feverous and did tremble.

Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy.

[blocks in formation]

SCENE V.-Corioli. A Street.

Enter certain Romans, with spoils. First Rom. This will I carry to Rome. Second Rom. And I this.

Third Rom. A murrain on 't! I took this for silver.

Alarum continues still afar off.

Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS, with a trumpet.

Mar. See here these movers that do prize their hours

At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons, Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves, Ere yet the fight be done, pack up. Down with them!

Andhark, what noise the general makes! To him! There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius, 10 Piercing our Romans: then, valiant Titus, take Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will Convenient numbers to make good the city,


[blocks in formation]

By interims and conveying gusts we have heard
The charges of our friends. Ye Roman gods!
Lead their successes as we wish our own,
That both our powers, with smiling fronts en-

May give you thankful sacrifice.

Enter a Messenger.

Thy news?


Mess. The citizens of Corioli have issued, And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle: I saw our party to their trenches driven, And then I came away. Com. Though thou speak'st truth, Methinks thou speak'st not well. How long is 't since?

Mess. Above an hour, my lord.

Com. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:

How could'st thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?
Spies of the Volsces
Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.



[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanc'd and darts,
We prove this very hour.


Though I could wish
You were conducted to a gentle bath,
And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
Deny your asking: take your choice of those
That best can aid your action.
Those are they
That most are willing. If any such be here,
As it were sin to doubt, that love this painting
Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear
Lesser his person than an ill report;

If any think brave death outweighs bad life,
And that his country's dearer than himself;
Let him, alone, or so many so minded,
Wave thus, to express his disposition,
And follow Marcius.


[blocks in formation]

Flower of warriors, Divide in all with us.

How is 't with Titus Lartius?

Mar. As with a man busied about decrees: Condemning some to death, and some to exile; Ransoming him, or pitying, threat'ning the other; Holding Corioli in the name of Rome, Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash, To let him slip at will.

Where is that slave

Com. Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?


Where is he? Call him hither.
Let him alone;
He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen,
The common file, a plague! tribunes for them!
The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge
From rascals worse than they.

But how prevail'd you?
Mar. Will the time serve to tell? I do not

Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?
If not, why cease you till you are so ?

Com. Marcius, we have at disadvantage fought, And did retire to win our purpose.


Mar. How lies their battle? know you on which side

They have plac'd their men of trust?


SCENE VII.-The Gates of Corioli. TITUS LARTIUS, having set a guard upon Corioli, going with drum and trumpet toward COMINIUS and CAIUS MARCIUS, enters with a Lieutenant, a party of Soldiers, and a Scout.

Lart. So; let the ports be guarded: keep your duties,

As I have set them down. If I do send, dispatch
Those centuries to our aid; the rest will serve
For a short holding: if we lose the field,
We cannot keep the town.

Fear not our care, sir.
Lart. Hence, and shut your gates upon us.
Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »