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A Tent Enter CORIOLANUS, and AUFIDIUS.
Cor. We will before the walls of Rome to-morrow
Set down our host.--My partner in this action,
You must report to the Volscian lords, how plainly
I have borne this business.
Auf. Only their ends
You have respected ; stopp'd your ears against
The general suit of Rome ; never admitted
A private whisper, no, not with such friends
That thought them sure of you.
Cor. This last old man,
Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome,
Lov'd me above the measure of a father ;
Nay, godded me, indeed. Their latest refuge
Was to send him: for whose old love, I have
(Though I shew'd sourly to him) once more offer'd
The first conditions, which they did refuse,
And cannot now accept, to grace him only,
That thought he could do more; a very little
I have yielded too : Fresh embassies, and suits, 220
Nor from the state, nor private friends, hereafter
Will I lend ear to.--Ha! what shout is this?
Shall I be tempted to infringe my vow
In the same time 'tis made? I will not.-
Enter VIRGILIA, VOLUMNIA, VALERIA, and young
MARCIUS, with Attendants, all in Mourning. My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mould Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand The grandchild to her blood. But, out, affection! All bond and privilege of nature, break ! Let it be virtuous, to be obstinate, What is that curt'sy worth? or those dove's eyes, Which can make gods forsworn :-I melt, and am
231 Of stronger earth than others. My mother bows; As if Olympus to a mole-hill should In supplication nod: and my young boy Hath an aspect of intercession, which Great nature cries, Deny not.-Let the Volsces Plough Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never Be such a gosling to obey instinct; but stand, As if a man were author of himself, And knew no other kin.
240 Vir. My lord and husband ! Cor. These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome.
Vir. The sorrow, that delivers us thus chang'd,
Cor. Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace.-- Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, Forgive our Romans.-0, a kiss,
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.--You 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 shew
Than that of common sons.
Vol. O, stand up blest!
Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,
I kneel before thee; and unproperly
260 Shew duty, as mistaken all the while [Kneels Between the child and parent.
Cor. What is this?
Your knees to me! to your corrected son!
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillop the stars: then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars 'gainst the fiery sun;
Murd'ring impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.
Vol. Thou art my warrior ;
270 I holp to frame thee. Do you know this lady?'
[Pointing to VALERIA.
Cor. 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 : Dear Valeria!
Vol. This is a poor epitome of your's,
[Shewing young MARCIUS.
Which by the interpretation of full time
May shew like all yourself.
Cor. The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform 280
Thy thoughts with nobleness ; that thou may'st
To shame invulnerable, and stick i’ the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye
Vol. Your knee, sirrah.
Cor. That's my brave boy.
Vol. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.
Cor. I beseech you, peace :
Or, if you'd ask, remember this before ;
The things, I have forsworn to grant, may never
Be held by you 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.
Vol. Oh, no more, no more! You have said, you will not grant us any thing; For we have nothing else to ask, but that 300 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.
Cor. Aufidius, and you Volsces, mark; for we'll Hear nought from Rome in private.--Your request?
Vol. Should we be silent and not speak, our rai.
And state of bodies would bewray what life
We have led since thy exile. Think with thyself,
How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither : since that thy sight, which
310 Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with com
Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and sor.
Making the mother, wife, and child, to see
The son, *he husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out.
And to poor we,
Thine enmity's most 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 are bound; together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound ? Alack! or we must lose
The country, our dear nurse ; or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win : for either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led
With manacles thorough our streets ; or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin;
And bear the palm, for having bravely shed 329
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune, 'till