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Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin’d it e'er since.—Ye gods, I prate!
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted : sink, my knee, i' the earth;
Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
[Volumnia.] O, stand up bless'd!
Thou art my warrior: I help'd to form thee.
Do' you know this lady?
[Coriolanus.] The noble sister of Publicola-
The moon of Rome; chaste as the icicle
That's curdled by the frost from purest snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple.
[Volumnia.] This is a poor epitome of yours,
That, by the interpretation of full time,
May show like all yourself.
[Coriolanus.] The god of soldiers,
With the consent of Jove supreme, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness : that thou may'st prove
Of shame incapable, and stick i' the wars
A sea-mark mid the waves of fight, to save
All those that
thee! [Volumnia.] Your knee, sirrah. [Coriolanus.] That's my brave boy. (Volumnia.] Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.
[Coriolanus.] I beseech you, peace:
Or, if you'd ask, remember this before-
The things I have forsworn to grant, may never
Be held by your denials. Do not bid me
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics :-tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural : desire not
To' allay my rages and revenges, with
Your colder reasons.
[Volumnia.] Oh, no more, no more!
You have said you will not grant us anything;
For we have nothing else to ask, but that
Which you deny already: yet, we will ask,
That, if we fail in our request, the blame
May hang upon your hardness: therefore, hear us. [Coriolanus.] Aufidius, and you Volscians, mark; for we'li
Hear nought from Rome in private.—Your request ? [Volumnia.] Think with thyself,
How more unfortu’nate than all living women
Are we come hither ; since thy sight, that should
Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comfort,
Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and sorrow.
To us thine enmity is capital ; thou barr’st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all, but we, enjoy; for how can we,-
Alas! how can we,- for our country pray,
Whereto we a're bound, together with thy victory?
We must find,—though we had our wish which side
Should win,-an evident calamity ;-
Either to see thee led a recreant
In manacles throughout our streets; or else
In triumph tread upon our country's ruin,
And bear the palm for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune, till
These wars determine : if I canno't persuade thee
To show a noble grace to both sides, rather
Than seek the doom of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country, than to tread
(Trust to 't, thou shalt !) upon thy mother's breast
That brought thee to this world.
Nay, go not from us.
If it were so, that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volscians whom you serve, you might condemn us
As poiso’nous to your honour: 0 no; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volscians
“ This mercy we have show'd;" the Romans
“ This we've receiv'd;" and each, in either side,
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry 6 Be blessed
For making up this peace!"
Why dost not speak ?
Daughter, speak you: he cares not for your weeping:
Speak thou, boy; for thy childishness perhaps
Will move him more than reasons. There is none
More bound to his mother; yet here he lets me prate
Like one i' the stocks. Thou haʼst never in thy life
Shown thy dear mother any courtesy ;
When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
Hath cluck'd thee from the wars, and safely home
Laden with honour. 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 thy duty. Still he turns :
Down, ladies, let us shame him with our knees :
Nay, behold us !
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels, and holds up hands for fellowship,
Doth reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny i't.
Come; let's go :
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;
His wife is in Corioli, and his child
Like him by chance : Yet give us our despatch :
I a’m hush'd until our city be on fire,
And then I 'll speak a little.
[Coriolanus.] 0, mother, mother!
What have you done ? Behold, the heavens do open,
The gods look down, and this unnatu'ral scene
They mock. O mother, mother! You have won
A happy victory for Rome,
But, for your son-believe it, О believe it !-
You have prevail'd most dangerously,
Aufidius, though I cannot war, I'll frame
for you: we'll have conditions
That shall be counterseald; and, ladies, you
Shall bear them with
back. You do deserve
To have a temple built you: all the swords
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this
peace. One more scene concludes the story. It is laid at Antium, where, in one of the public places, the lords of the city are expecting the arrival of Coriolanus : he enters with signs of triumph, and addresses those who are waiting to receive him. [Coriolanus.] 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 led your war, even to
The gates of Rome. The 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 Antiá-tes
Than shame to the Romans. And we here deliver,
Together with the seal o' the senate, what
We have compounded on.
Aufidius comes forward. [Aufidius.] Read it not, noble lords;
But tell the traitor, in the highest degree
He hath abus’d your powers. [Coriolanus.] Traitor! How now? [Aufidius.] Ay, traitor! Marcius [Coriolanus.] Marcius! [Aufidius.] Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius: Dost thou think
I 'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stolen name
Coriolanus in Corioli ?
Ye lords and heads o’the state, perfidiously
He has betray'd your busi’ness, and given up
Your city, Rome, I say your city, to
His wife and mother; at his nurse's tears
Whining and roaring victory away,
pages blush'd for him, and men of heart
Look'd wondering each at other.
[Coriolanus.] Hear'st thou, Mars!
[Aufidius.] Name not the god, thou boy of tears.
(Coriolanus.] O slave !
Measureless liar! thou hast made
heart Too great for what contains it.- Boy!- False hound, If you have writ
annals true, 'tis there, That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I Flutter'd
Volscians in Corioli:
Alone I did it :-Boy!
[Aufidius.] Why, noble lords,
Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
Before your eyes and ears? A tumult ensues : voices are heard severally exclaiming he killed my son—he killed my cousin Marcus-he killed my father. Some endeavour to protect him: but he is slain: Aufidius standing over his body continues to speak :
My rage is gone,
And I am struck with sorrow. Though among us
He ha'th widow'd and unchilded many' a one
Who to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet shall he have a noble memory.
ROME, UNDER THE FIRST OF THE CESARS, REPRESENTED BY SCENES
IMAGINED TO TAKE PLACE IN THE STREETS OF THE CITY, AND
IN THE GARDEN OF MARCUS BRUTUS, DURING THE PROGRESS
OF THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST CÆSAR.
Betweer the days of Roman story lately before us, and those to which our attention is now called, more than four centuries rolled