Archives For William Shakespeare

Coriolanus, ACT IV, SCENE I. Rome.  Before a gate of the city.

Come, leave your tears: a brief farewell: the beast
With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
Where is your ancient courage? you were used
To say extremity was the trier of spirits;
That common chances common men could bear;
That when the sea was calm all boats alike
Show’d mastership in floating; fortune’s blows,
When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves
A noble cunning: you were used to load me
With precepts that would make invincible
The heart that conn’d them.

O heavens! O heavens!

Nay! prithee, woman,–

Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
And occupations perish!

What, what, what!
I shall be loved when I am lack’d. Nay, mother.
Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
If you had been the wife of Hercules,
Six of his labours you’ld have done, and saved
Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,
Droop not; adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother:
I’ll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,
Thy tears are salter than a younger man’s,
And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime general,
I have seen thee stem, and thou hast oft beheld
Heart-hardening spectacles; tell these sad women
‘Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
As ’tis to laugh at ’em. My mother, you wot well
My hazards still have been your solace: and
Believe’t not lightly–though I go alone,
Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
Makes fear’d and talk’d of more than seen–your son
Will or exceed the common or be caught
With cautelous baits and practise.

My first son.
Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
With thee awhile: determine on some course,
More than a wild exposture to each chance
That starts i’ the way before thee.

O the gods!

I’ll follow thee a month, devise with thee
Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
And we of thee: so if the time thrust forth
A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
O’er the vast world to seek a single man,
And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
I’ the absence of the needer.

Fare ye well:
Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
Of the wars’ surfeits, to go rove with one
That’s yet unbruised: bring me but out at gate.
Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
My friends of noble touch, when I am forth,
Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
While I remain above the ground, you shall
Hear from me still, and never of me aught
But what is like me formerly.

That’s worthily
As any ear can hear. Come, let’s not weep.
If I could shake off but one seven years
From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
I’ld with thee every foot.

Give me thy hand: Come.


SCENE II. The same. A street near the gate.

Enter SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and an AEdile
Bid them all home; he’s gone, and we’ll no further.
The nobility are vex’d, whom we see have sided
In his behalf.

Now we have shown our power,
Let us seem humbler after it is done
Than when it was a-doing.

Bid them home:
Say their great enemy is gone, and they
Stand in their ancient strength.

Dismiss them home.

Exit AEdile

Here comes his mother.

Let’s not meet her.


They say she’s mad.

They have ta’en note of us: keep on your way.


O, ye’re well met: the hoarded plague o’ the gods
Requite your love!

Peace, peace; be not so loud.

If that I could for weeping, you should hear,–
Nay, and you shall hear some.


Will you be gone?

[To SICINIUS] You shall stay too: I would I had the power
To say so to my husband.

Are you mankind?

Ay, fool; is that a shame? Note but this fool.
Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxship
To banish him that struck more blows for Rome
Than thou hast spoken words?

O blessed heavens!

More noble blows than ever thou wise words;
And for Rome’s good. I’ll tell thee what; yet go:
Nay, but thou shalt stay too: I would my son
Were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him,
His good sword in his hand.

What then?

What then!
He’ld make an end of thy posterity.

Bastards and all.
Good man, the wounds that he does bear for Rome!

Come, come, peace.

I would he had continued to his country
As he began, and not unknit himself
The noble knot he made.

I would he had.

‘I would he had’! ‘Twas you incensed the rabble:
Cats, that can judge as fitly of his worth
As I can of those mysteries which heaven
Will not have earth to know.

Pray, let us go.

Now, pray, sir, get you gone:
You have done a brave deed. Ere you go, hear this:–
As far as doth the Capitol exceed
The meanest house in Rome, so far my son–
This lady’s husband here, this, do you see–
Whom you have banish’d, does exceed you all.

Well, well, we’ll leave you.

Why stay we to be baited
With one that wants her wits?

Take my prayers with you.

Exeunt Tribunes

I would the gods had nothing else to do
But to confirm my curses! Could I meet ’em
But once a-day, it would unclog my heart
Of what lies heavy to’t.

You have told them home;
And, by my troth, you have cause. You’ll sup with me?

Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself,
And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let’s go:
Leave this faint puling and lament as I do,
In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.

Fie, fie, fie!


SCENE III. A highway between Rome and Antium.

Enter a Roman and a Volsce, meeting
I know you well, sir, and you know
me: your name, I think, is Adrian.

It is so, sir: truly, I have forgot you.

I am a Roman; and my services are,
as you are, against ’em: know you me yet?

Nicanor? no.

The same, sir.

You had more beard when I last saw you; but your
favour is well approved by your tongue. What’s the
news in Rome? I have a note from the Volscian state,
to find you out there: you have well saved me a
day’s journey.

There hath been in Rome strange insurrections; the
people against the senators, patricians, and nobles.

Hath been! is it ended, then? Our state thinks not
so: they are in a most warlike preparation, and
hope to come upon them in the heat of their division.

The main blaze of it is past, but a small thing
would make it flame again: for the nobles receive
so to heart the banishment of that worthy
Coriolanus, that they are in a ripe aptness to take
all power from the people and to pluck from them
their tribunes for ever. This lies glowing, I can
tell you, and is almost mature for the violent
breaking out.

Coriolanus banished!

Banished, sir.

You will be welcome with this intelligence, Nicanor.

The day serves well for them now. I have heard it
said, the fittest time to corrupt a man’s wife is
when she’s fallen out with her husband. Your noble
Tullus Aufidius will appear well in these wars, his
great opposer, Coriolanus, being now in no request
of his country.

He cannot choose. I am most fortunate, thus
accidentally to encounter you: you have ended my
business, and I will merrily accompany you home.

I shall, between this and supper, tell you most
strange things from Rome; all tending to the good of
their adversaries. Have you an army ready, say you?

A most royal one; the centurions and their charges,
distinctly billeted, already in the entertainment,
and to be on foot at an hour’s warning.

I am joyful to hear of their readiness, and am the
man, I think, that shall set them in present action.
So, sir, heartily well met, and most glad of your company.

You take my part from me, sir; I have the most cause
to be glad of yours.

Well, let us go together.


SCENE IV. Antium. Before Aufidius’s house.

Enter CORIOLANUS in mean apparel, disguised and muffled
A goodly city is this Antium. City,
‘Tis I that made thy widows: many an heir
Of these fair edifices ‘fore my wars
Have I heard groan and drop: then know me not,
Lest that thy wives with spits and boys with stones
In puny battle slay me.

Enter a Citizen

Save you, sir.

And you.

Direct me, if it be your will,
Where great Aufidius lies: is he in Antium?

He is, and feasts the nobles of the state
At his house this night.

Which is his house, beseech you?

This, here before you.

Thank you, sir: farewell.

Exit Citizen

O world, thy slippery turns! Friends now fast sworn,
Whose double bosoms seem to wear one heart,
Whose house, whose bed, whose meal, and exercise,
Are still together, who twin, as ’twere, in love
Unseparable, shall within this hour,
On a dissension of a doit, break out
To bitterest enmity: so, fellest foes,
Whose passions and whose plots have broke their sleep,
To take the one the other, by some chance,
Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends
And interjoin their issues. So with me:
My birth-place hate I, and my love’s upon
This enemy town. I’ll enter: if he slay me,
He does fair justice; if he give me way,
I’ll do his country service.


SCENE V. The same. A hall in Aufidius’s house.

Music within. Enter a Servingman
First Servingman
Wine, wine, wine! What service
is here! I think our fellows are asleep.


Enter a second Servingman

Second Servingman
Where’s Cotus? my master calls
for him. Cotus!



A goodly house: the feast smells well; but I
Appear not like a guest.

Re-enter the first Servingman

First Servingman
What would you have, friend? whence are you?
Here’s no place for you: pray, go to the door.


I have deserved no better entertainment,
In being Coriolanus.

Re-enter second Servingman

Second Servingman
Whence are you, sir? Has the porter his eyes in his
head; that he gives entrance to such companions?
Pray, get you out.


Second Servingman
Away! get you away.

Now thou’rt troublesome.

Second Servingman
Are you so brave? I’ll have you talked with anon.

Enter a third Servingman. The first meets him

Third Servingman
What fellow’s this?

First Servingman
A strange one as ever I looked on: I cannot get him
out of the house: prithee, call my master to him.


Third Servingman
What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you, avoid
the house.

Let me but stand; I will not hurt your hearth.

Third Servingman
What are you?

A gentleman.

Third Servingman
A marvellous poor one.

True, so I am.

Third Servingman
Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some other
station; here’s no place for you; pray you, avoid: come.

Follow your function, go, and batten on cold bits.

Pushes him away

Third Servingman
What, you will not? Prithee, tell my master what a
strange guest he has here.

Second Servingman
And I shall.


Third Servingman
Where dwellest thou?

Under the canopy.

Third Servingman
Under the canopy!


Third Servingman
Where’s that?

I’ the city of kites and crows.

Third Servingman
I’ the city of kites and crows! What an ass it is!
Then thou dwellest with daws too?

No, I serve not thy master.

Third Servingman
How, sir! do you meddle with my master?

Ay; ’tis an honester service than to meddle with thy
mistress. Thou pratest, and pratest; serve with thy
trencher, hence!

Beats him away. Exit third Servingman

Enter AUFIDIUS with the second Servingman

Where is this fellow?

Second Servingman
Here, sir: I’ld have beaten him like a dog, but for
disturbing the lords within.


Whence comest thou? what wouldst thou? thy name?
Why speak’st not? speak, man: what’s thy name?

If, Tullus,


Not yet thou knowest me, and, seeing me, dost not
Think me for the man I am, necessity
Commands me name myself.

What is thy name?

A name unmusical to the Volscians’ ears,
And harsh in sound to thine.

Say, what’s thy name?
Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face
Bears a command in’t; though thy tackle’s torn.
Thou show’st a noble vessel: what’s thy name?

Prepare thy brow to frown: know’st
thou me yet?

I know thee not: thy name?

My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname, Coriolanus: the painful service,
The extreme dangers and the drops of blood
Shed for my thankless country are requited
But with that surname; a good memory,
And witness of the malice and displeasure
Which thou shouldst bear me: only that name remains;
The cruelty and envy of the people,
Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
Have all forsook me, hath devour’d the rest;
And suffer’d me by the voice of slaves to be
Whoop’d out of Rome. Now this extremity
Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope–
Mistake me not–to save my life, for if
I had fear’d death, of all the men i’ the world
I would have ‘voided thee, but in mere spite,
To be full quit of those my banishers,
Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
Of shame seen through thy country, speed
thee straight,
And make my misery serve thy turn: so use it
That my revengeful services may prove
As benefits to thee, for I will fight
Against my canker’d country with the spleen
Of all the under fiends. But if so be
Thou darest not this and that to prove more fortunes
Thou’rt tired, then, in a word, I also am
Longer to live most weary, and present
My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;
Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
Since I have ever follow’d thee with hate,
Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country’s breast,
And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
It be to do thee service.

O Marcius, Marcius!
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
And say ‘Tis true,’ I’ld not believe them more
Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarr’d the moon with splinters: here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sigh’d truer breath; but that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars! I tell thee,
We have a power on foot; and I had purpose
Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
Or lose mine arm fort: thou hast beat me out
Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
Dreamt of encounters ‘twixt thyself and me;
We have been down together in my sleep,
Unbuckling helms, fisting each other’s throat,
And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Marcius,
Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that
Thou art thence banish’d, we would muster all
From twelve to seventy, and pouring war
Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
Like a bold flood o’er-bear. O, come, go in,
And take our friendly senators by the hands;
Who now are here, taking their leaves of me,
Who am prepared against your territories,
Though not for Rome itself.

You bless me, gods!

Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
The leading of thine own revenges, take
The one half of my commission; and set down–
As best thou art experienced, since thou know’st
Thy country’s strength and weakness,–thine own ways;
Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
Or rudely visit them in parts remote,
To fright them, ere destroy. But come in:
Let me commend thee first to those that shall
Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
And more a friend than e’er an enemy;
Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand: most welcome!

Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. The two Servingmen come forward

First Servingman
Here’s a strange alteration!

Second Servingman
By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him with
a cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made a
false report of him.

First Servingman
What an arm he has! he turned me about with his
finger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.

Second Servingman
Nay, I knew by his face that there was something in
him: he had, sir, a kind of face, methought,–I
cannot tell how to term it.

First Servingman
He had so; looking as it were–would I were hanged,
but I thought there was more in him than I could think.

Second Servingman
So did I, I’ll be sworn: he is simply the rarest
man i’ the world.

First Servingman
I think he is: but a greater soldier than he you wot on.

Second Servingman
Who, my master?

First Servingman
Nay, it’s no matter for that.

Second Servingman
Worth six on him.

First Servingman
Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be the
greater soldier.

Second Servingman
Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that:
for the defence of a town, our general is excellent.

First Servingman
Ay, and for an assault too.

Re-enter third Servingman

Third Servingman
O slaves, I can tell you news,– news, you rascals!

First Servingman Second Servingman
What, what, what? let’s partake.

Third Servingman
I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had as
lieve be a condemned man.

First Servingman Second Servingman
Wherefore? wherefore?

Third Servingman
Why, here’s he that was wont to thwack our general,
Caius Marcius.

First Servingman
Why do you say ‘thwack our general ‘?

Third Servingman
I do not say ‘thwack our general;’ but he was always
good enough for him.

Second Servingman
Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever too
hard for him; I have heard him say so himself.

First Servingman
He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth
on’t: before Corioli he scotched him and notched
him like a carbon ado.

Second Servingman
An he had been cannibally given, he might have
broiled and eaten him too.

First Servingman
But, more of thy news?

Third Servingman
Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son
and heir to Mars; set at upper end o’ the table; no
question asked him by any of the senators, but they
stand bald before him: our general himself makes a
mistress of him: sanctifies himself with’s hand and
turns up the white o’ the eye to his discourse. But
the bottom of the news is that our general is cut i’
the middle and but one half of what he was
yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty
and grant of the whole table. He’ll go, he says,
and sowl the porter of Rome gates by the ears: he
will mow all down before him, and leave his passage polled.

Second Servingman
And he’s as like to do’t as any man I can imagine.

Third Servingman
Do’t! he will do’t; for, look you, sir, he has as
many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it
were, durst not, look you, sir, show themselves, as
we term it, his friends whilst he’s in directitude.

First Servingman
Directitude! what’s that?

Third Servingman
But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again,
and the man in blood, they will out of their
burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with

First Servingman
But when goes this forward?

Third Servingman
To-morrow; to-day; presently; you shall have the
drum struck up this afternoon: ’tis, as it were, a
parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they
wipe their lips.

Second Servingman
Why, then we shall have a stirring world again.
This peace is nothing, but to rust iron, increase
tailors, and breed ballad-makers.

First Servingman
Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as
day does night; it’s spritely, waking, audible, and
full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy;
mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more
bastard children than war’s a destroyer of men.

Second Servingman
‘Tis so: and as war, in some sort, may be said to
be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is a
great maker of cuckolds.

First Servingman
Ay, and it makes men hate one another.

Third Servingman
Reason; because they then less need one another.
The wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheap
as Volscians. They are rising, they are rising.

In, in, in, in!


SCENE VI. Rome. A public place.

We hear not of him, neither need we fear him;
His remedies are tame i’ the present peace
And quietness of the people, which before
Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
Blush that the world goes well, who rather had,
Though they themselves did suffer by’t, behold
Dissentious numbers pestering streets than see
Our tradesmen with in their shops and going
About their functions friendly.

We stood to’t in good time.


Is this Menenius?

‘Tis he,’tis he: O, he is grown most kind of late.

Both Tribunes
Hail sir!

Hail to you both!

Your Coriolanus
Is not much miss’d, but with his friends:
The commonwealth doth stand, and so would do,
Were he more angry at it.

All’s well; and might have been much better, if
He could have temporized.

Where is he, hear you?

Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his wife
Hear nothing from him.

Enter three or four Citizens

The gods preserve you both!

God-den, our neighbours.

God-den to you all, god-den to you all.

First Citizen
Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,
Are bound to pray for you both.

Live, and thrive!

Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish’d Coriolanus
Had loved you as we did.

Now the gods keep you!

Both Tribunes
Farewell, farewell.

Exeunt Citizens

This is a happier and more comely time
Than when these fellows ran about the streets,
Crying confusion.

Caius Marcius was
A worthy officer i’ the war; but insolent,
O’ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,

And affecting one sole throne,
Without assistance.

I think not so.

We should by this, to all our lamentation,
If he had gone forth consul, found it so.

The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.

Enter an AEdile

Worthy tribunes,
There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
Reports, the Volsces with two several powers
Are enter’d in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before ’em.

‘Tis Aufidius,
Who, hearing of our Marcius’ banishment,
Thrusts forth his horns again into the world;
Which were inshell’d when Marcius stood for Rome,
And durst not once peep out.

Come, what talk you
Of Marcius?

Go see this rumourer whipp’d. It cannot be
The Volsces dare break with us.

Cannot be!
We have record that very well it can,
And three examples of the like have been
Within my age. But reason with the fellow,
Before you punish him, where he heard this,
Lest you shall chance to whip your information
And beat the messenger who bids beware
Of what is to be dreaded.

Tell not me:
I know this cannot be.

Not possible.

Enter a Messenger

The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the senate-house: some news is come
That turns their countenances.

‘Tis this slave;–
Go whip him, ‘fore the people’s eyes:–his raising;
Nothing but his report.

Yes, worthy sir,
The slave’s report is seconded; and more,
More fearful, is deliver’d.

What more fearful?

It is spoke freely out of many mouths–
How probable I do not know–that Marcius,
Join’d with Aufidius, leads a power ‘gainst Rome,
And vows revenge as spacious as between
The young’st and oldest thing.

This is most likely!

Raised only, that the weaker sort may wish
Good Marcius home again.

The very trick on’t.

This is unlikely:
He and Aufidius can no more atone
Than violentest contrariety.

Enter a second Messenger

Second Messenger
You are sent for to the senate:
A fearful army, led by Caius Marcius
Associated with Aufidius, rages
Upon our territories; and have already
O’erborne their way, consumed with fire, and took
What lay before them.


O, you have made good work!

What news? what news?

You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
To melt the city leads upon your pates,
To see your wives dishonour’d to your noses,–

What’s the news? what’s the news?

Your temples burned in their cement, and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
Into an auger’s bore.

Pray now, your news?
You have made fair work, I fear me.–Pray, your news?–
If Marcius should be join’d with Volscians,–

He is their god: he leads them like a thing
Made by some other deity than nature,
That shapes man better; and they follow him,
Against us brats, with no less confidence
Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
Or butchers killing flies.

You have made good work,
You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much
on the voice of occupation and
The breath of garlic-eaters!

He will shake
Your Rome about your ears.

As Hercules
Did shake down mellow fruit.
You have made fair work!

But is this true, sir?

Ay; and you’ll look pale
Before you find it other. All the regions
Do smilingly revolt; and who resist
Are mock’d for valiant ignorance,
And perish constant fools. Who is’t can blame him?
Your enemies and his find something in him.

We are all undone, unless
The noble man have mercy.

Who shall ask it?
The tribunes cannot do’t for shame; the people
Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
Should say ‘Be good to Rome,’ they charged him even
As those should do that had deserved his hate,
And therein show’d like enemies.

‘Tis true:
If he were putting to my house the brand
That should consume it, I have not the face
To say ‘Beseech you, cease.’ You have made fair hands,
You and your crafts! you have crafted fair!

You have brought
A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
So incapable of help.

Both Tribunes
Say not we brought it.

How! Was it we? we loved him but, like beasts
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
Who did hoot him out o’ the city.

But I fear
They’ll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
The second name of men, obeys his points
As if he were his officer: desperation
Is all the policy, strength and defence,
That Rome can make against them.

Enter a troop of Citizens

Here come the clusters.
And is Aufidius with him? You are they
That made the air unwholesome, when you cast
Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at
Coriolanus’ exile. Now he’s coming;
And not a hair upon a soldier’s head
Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs
As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
And pay you for your voices. ‘Tis no matter;
if he could burn us all into one coal,
We have deserved it.

Faith, we hear fearful news.

First Citizen
For mine own part,
When I said, banish him, I said ’twas pity.

Second Citizen
And so did I.

Third Citizen
And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very
many of us: that we did, we did for the best; and
though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet
it was against our will.

Ye re goodly things, you voices!

You have made
Good work, you and your cry! Shall’s to the Capitol?

O, ay, what else?


Go, masters, get you home; be not dismay’d:
These are a side that would be glad to have
This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
And show no sign of fear.

First Citizen
The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let’s home.
I ever said we were i’ the wrong when we banished

Second Citizen
So did we all. But, come, let’s home.

Exeunt Citizens

I do not like this news.

Nor I.

Let’s to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
Would buy this for a lie!

Pray, let us go.


SCENE VII. A camp, at a small distance from Rome.

Enter AUFIDIUS and his Lieutenant
Do they still fly to the Roman?

I do not know what witchcraft’s in him, but
Your soldiers use him as the grace ‘fore meat,
Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
And you are darken’d in this action, sir,
Even by your own.

I cannot help it now,
Unless, by using means, I lame the foot
Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
Even to my person, than I thought he would
When first I did embrace him: yet his nature
In that’s no changeling; and I must excuse
What cannot be amended.

Yet I wish, sir,–
I mean for your particular,–you had not
Join’d in commission with him; but either
Had borne the action of yourself, or else
To him had left it solely.

I understand thee well; and be thou sure,
when he shall come to his account, he knows not
What I can urge against him. Although it seems,
And so he thinks, and is no less apparent
To the vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly.
And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,
Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon
As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
That which shall break his neck or hazard mine,
Whene’er we come to our account.

Sir, I beseech you, think you he’ll carry Rome?

All places yield to him ere he sits down;
And the nobility of Rome are his:
The senators and patricians love him too:
The tribunes are no soldiers; and their people
Will be as rash in the repeal, as hasty
To expel him thence. I think he’ll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature. First he was
A noble servant to them; but he could not
Carry his honours even: whether ’twas pride,
Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
To fail in the disposing of those chances
Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
Not to be other than one thing, not moving
From the casque to the cushion, but commanding peace
Even with the same austerity and garb
As he controll’d the war; but one of these–
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him–made him fear’d,
So hated, and so banish’d: but he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance. So our virtues
Lie in the interpretation of the time:
And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
To extol what it hath done.
One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;
Rights by rights falter, strengths by strengths do fail.
Come, let’s away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
Thou art poor’st of all; then shortly art thou mine.


Come back on 11/30/15 and join me for fun with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus


Coriolanus, ACT III, SCENE I. Rome. A street.

Cornets.  Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, all the Gentry, COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators
Tullus Aufidius then had made new head?

He had, my lord; and that it was which caused
Our swifter composition.

So then the Volsces stand but as at first,
Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road.
Upon’s again.

They are worn, lord consul, so,
That we shall hardly in our ages see
Their banners wave again.

Saw you Aufidius?

On safe-guard he came to me; and did curse
Against the Volsces, for they had so vilely
Yielded the town: he is retired to Antium.

Spoke he of me?

He did, my lord.

How? what?

How often he had met you, sword to sword;
That of all things upon the earth he hated
Your person most, that he would pawn his fortunes
To hopeless restitution, so he might
Be call’d your vanquisher.

At Antium lives he?

At Antium.

I wish I had a cause to seek him there,
To oppose his hatred fully. Welcome home.


Behold, these are the tribunes of the people,
The tongues o’ the common mouth: I do despise them;
For they do prank them in authority,
Against all noble sufferance.

Pass no further.

Ha! what is that?

It will be dangerous to go on: no further.

What makes this change?

The matter?

Hath he not pass’d the noble and the common?

Cominius, no.

Have I had children’s voices?

First Senator
Tribunes, give way; he shall to the market-place.

The people are incensed against him.

Or all will fall in broil.

Are these your herd?
Must these have voices, that can yield them now
And straight disclaim their tongues? What are
your offices?
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth?
Have you not set them on?

Be calm, be calm.

It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,
To curb the will of the nobility:
Suffer’t, and live with such as cannot rule
Nor ever will be ruled.

Call’t not a plot:
The people cry you mock’d them, and of late,
When corn was given them gratis, you repined;
Scandal’d the suppliants for the people, call’d them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.

Why, this was known before.

Not to them all.

Have you inform’d them sithence?

How! I inform them!

You are like to do such business.

Not unlike,
Each way, to better yours.

Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow tribune.

You show too much of that
For which the people stir: if you will pass
To where you are bound, you must inquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.

Let’s be calm.

The people are abused; set on. This paltering
Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
Deserved this so dishonour’d rub, laid falsely
I’ the plain way of his merit.

Tell me of corn!
This was my speech, and I will speak’t again–

Not now, not now.

First Senator
Not in this heat, sir, now.

Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,
I crave their pardons:
For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves: I say again,
In soothing them, we nourish ‘gainst our senate
The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
Which we ourselves have plough’d for, sow’d,
and scatter’d,
By mingling them with us, the honour’d number,
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to beggars.

Well, no more.

First Senator
No more words, we beseech you.

How! no more!
As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
Coin words till their decay against those measles,
Which we disdain should tatter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.

You speak o’ the people,
As if you were a god to punish, not
A man of their infirmity.

‘Twere well
We let the people know’t.

What, what? his choler?

Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, ‘twould be my mind!

It is a mind
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.

Shall remain!
Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you
His absolute ‘shall’?

‘Twas from the canon.

O good but most unwise patricians! why,
You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
That with his peremptory ‘shall,’ being but
The horn and noise o’ the monster’s, wants not spirit
To say he’ll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power
Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn’d,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,
When, both your voices blended, the great’st taste
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,
And such a one as he, who puts his ‘shall,’
His popular ‘shall’ against a graver bench
Than ever frown in Greece. By Jove himself!
It makes the consuls base: and my soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter ‘twixt the gap of both and take
The one by the other.

Well, on to the market-place.

Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth
The corn o’ the storehouse gratis, as ’twas used
Sometime in Greece,–

Well, well, no more of that.

Though there the people had more absolute power,
I say, they nourish’d disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.

Why, shall the people give
One that speaks thus their voice?

I’ll give my reasons,
More worthier than their voices. They know the corn
Was not our recompense, resting well assured
That ne’er did service for’t: being press’d to the war,
Even when the navel of the state was touch’d,
They would not thread the gates. This kind of service
Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i’ the war
Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show’d
Most valour, spoke not for them: the accusation
Which they have often made against the senate,
All cause unborn, could never be the motive
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bisson multitude digest
The senate’s courtesy? Let deeds express
What’s like to be their words: ‘we did request it;
We are the greater poll, and in true fear
They gave us our demands.’ Thus we debase
The nature of our seats and make the rabble
Call our cares fears; which will in time
Break ope the locks o’ the senate and bring in
The crows to peck the eagles.

Come, enough.

Enough, with over-measure.

No, take more:
What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all reason, where gentry, title, wisdom,
Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance,–it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightness: purpose so barr’d,
it follows,
Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you,–
You that will be less fearful than discreet,
That love the fundamental part of state
More than you doubt the change on’t, that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish
To jump a body with a dangerous physic
That’s sure of death without it, at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment and bereaves the state
Of that integrity which should become’t,
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For the in which doth control’t.

Has said enough.

Has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer
As traitors do.

Thou wretch, despite o’erwhelm thee!
What should the people do with these bald tribunes?
On whom depending, their obedience fails
To the greater bench: in a rebellion,
When what’s not meet, but what must be, was law,
Then were they chosen: in a better hour,
Let what is meet be said it must be meet,
And throw their power i’ the dust.

Manifest treason!

This a consul? no.

The aediles, ho!

Enter an AEdile

Let him be apprehended.

Go, call the people:

Exit AEdile

in whose name myself
Attach thee as a traitorous innovator,
A foe to the public weal: obey, I charge thee,
And follow to thine answer.

Hence, old goat!
Senators, & C We’ll surety him.

Aged sir, hands off.

Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy bones
Out of thy garments.

Help, ye citizens!

Enter a rabble of Citizens (Plebeians), with the AEdiles

On both sides more respect.

Here’s he that would take from you all your power.

Seize him, AEdiles!

Down with him! down with him!
Senators, & C Weapons, weapons, weapons!

They all bustle about CORIOLANUS, crying

‘Tribunes!’ ‘Patricians!’ ‘Citizens!’ ‘What, ho!’
‘Sicinius!’ ‘Brutus!’ ‘Coriolanus!’ ‘Citizens!’
‘Peace, peace, peace!’ ‘Stay, hold, peace!’

What is about to be? I am out of breath;
Confusion’s near; I cannot speak. You, tribunes
To the people! Coriolanus, patience!
Speak, good Sicinius.

Hear me, people; peace!

Let’s hear our tribune: peace Speak, speak, speak.

You are at point to lose your liberties:
Marcius would have all from you; Marcius,
Whom late you have named for consul.

Fie, fie, fie!
This is the way to kindle, not to quench.

First Senator
To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.

What is the city but the people?

The people are the city.

By the consent of all, we were establish’d
The people’s magistrates.

You so remain.

And so are like to do.

That is the way to lay the city flat;
To bring the roof to the foundation,
And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
In heaps and piles of ruin.

This deserves death.

Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o’ the people, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Marcius is worthy
Of present death.

Therefore lay hold of him;
Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.

AEdiles, seize him!

Yield, Marcius, yield!

Hear me one word;
Beseech you, tribunes, hear me but a word.

Peace, peace!

[To BRUTUS] Be that you seem, truly your
country’s friend,
And temperately proceed to what you would
Thus violently redress.

Sir, those cold ways,
That seem like prudent helps, are very poisonous
Where the disease is violent. Lay hands upon him,
And bear him to the rock.

No, I’ll die here.

Drawing his sword

There’s some among you have beheld me fighting:
Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.

Down with that sword! Tribunes, withdraw awhile.

Lay hands upon him.

Help Marcius, help,
You that be noble; help him, young and old!

Down with him, down with him!

In this mutiny, the Tribunes, the AEdiles, and the People, are beat in

Go, get you to your house; be gone, away!
All will be naught else.

Second Senator
Get you gone.

Stand fast;
We have as many friends as enemies.

Sham it be put to that?

First Senator
The gods forbid!
I prithee, noble friend, home to thy house;
Leave us to cure this cause.

For ’tis a sore upon us,
You cannot tent yourself: be gone, beseech you.

Come, sir, along with us.

I would they were barbarians–as they are,
Though in Rome litter’d–not Romans–as they are not,
Though calved i’ the porch o’ the Capitol–

Be gone;
Put not your worthy rage into your tongue;
One time will owe another.

On fair ground
I could beat forty of them.

I could myself
Take up a brace o’ the best of them; yea, the
two tribunes:
But now ’tis odds beyond arithmetic;
And manhood is call’d foolery, when it stands
Against a falling fabric. Will you hence,
Before the tag return? whose rage doth rend
Like interrupted waters and o’erbear
What they are used to bear.

Pray you, be gone:
I’ll try whether my old wit be in request
With those that have but little: this must be patch’d
With cloth of any colour.

Nay, come away.

Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, and others

A Patrician
This man has marr’d his fortune.

His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for’s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth:
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.

A noise within

Here’s goodly work!

Second Patrician
I would they were abed!

I would they were in Tiber! What the vengeance!
Could he not speak ’em fair?

Re-enter BRUTUS and SICINIUS, with the rabble

Where is this viper
That would depopulate the city and
Be every man himself?

You worthy tribunes,–

He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands: he hath resisted law,
And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
Than the severity of the public power
Which he so sets at nought.

First Citizen
He shall well know
The noble tribunes are the people’s mouths,
And we their hands.

He shall, sure on’t.

Sir, sir,–


Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt
With modest warrant.

Sir, how comes’t that you
Have holp to make this rescue?

Hear me speak:
As I do know the consul’s worthiness,
So can I name his faults,–

Consul! what consul?

The consul Coriolanus.

He consul!

No, no, no, no, no.

If, by the tribunes’ leave, and yours, good people,
I may be heard, I would crave a word or two;
The which shall turn you to no further harm
Than so much loss of time.

Speak briefly then;
For we are peremptory to dispatch
This viperous traitor: to eject him hence
Were but one danger, and to keep him here
Our certain death: therefore it is decreed
He dies to-night.

Now the good gods forbid
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserved children is enroll’d
In Jove’s own book, like an unnatural dam
Should now eat up her own!

He’s a disease that must be cut away.

O, he’s a limb that has but a disease;
Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
What has he done to Rome that’s worthy death?
Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost–
Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath,
By many an ounce–he dropp’d it for his country;
And what is left, to lose it by his country,
Were to us all, that do’t and suffer it,
A brand to the end o’ the world.

This is clean kam.

Merely awry: when he did love his country,
It honour’d him.

The service of the foot
Being once gangrened, is not then respected
For what before it was.

We’ll hear no more.
Pursue him to his house, and pluck him thence:
Lest his infection, being of catching nature,
Spread further.

One word more, one word.
This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
The harm of unscann’d swiftness, will too late
Tie leaden pounds to’s heels. Proceed by process;
Lest parties, as he is beloved, break out,
And sack great Rome with Romans.

If it were so,–

What do ye talk?
Have we not had a taste of his obedience?
Our aediles smote? ourselves resisted? Come.

Consider this: he has been bred i’ the wars
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school’d
In bolted language; meal and bran together
He throws without distinction. Give me leave,
I’ll go to him, and undertake to bring him
Where he shall answer, by a lawful form,
In peace, to his utmost peril.

First Senator
Noble tribunes,
It is the humane way: the other course
Will prove too bloody, and the end of it
Unknown to the beginning.

Noble Menenius,
Be you then as the people’s officer.
Masters, lay down your weapons.

Go not home.

Meet on the market-place. We’ll attend you there:
Where, if you bring not Marcius, we’ll proceed
In our first way.

I’ll bring him to you.

To the Senators

Let me desire your company: he must come,
Or what is worst will follow.

First Senator
Pray you, let’s to him.


SCENE II. A room in CORIOLANUS’S house.

Enter CORIOLANUS with Patricians
Let them puff all about mine ears, present me
Death on the wheel or at wild horses’ heels,
Or pile ten hills on the Tarpeian rock,
That the precipitation might down stretch
Below the beam of sight, yet will I still
Be thus to them.

A Patrician
You do the nobler.

I muse my mother
Does not approve me further, who was wont
To call them woollen vassals, things created
To buy and sell with groats, to show bare heads
In congregations, to yawn, be still and wonder,
When one but of my ordinance stood up
To speak of peace or war.


I talk of you:
Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am.

O, sir, sir, sir,
I would have had you put your power well on,
Before you had worn it out.

Let go.

You might have been enough the man you are,
With striving less to be so; lesser had been
The thwartings of your dispositions, if
You had not show’d them how ye were disposed
Ere they lack’d power to cross you.

Let them hang.

A Patrician
Ay, and burn too.

Enter MENENIUS and Senators

Come, come, you have been too rough, something
too rough;
You must return and mend it.

First Senator
There’s no remedy;
Unless, by not so doing, our good city
Cleave in the midst, and perish.

Pray, be counsell’d:
I have a heart as little apt as yours,
But yet a brain that leads my use of anger
To better vantage.

Well said, noble woman?
Before he should thus stoop to the herd, but that
The violent fit o’ the time craves it as physic
For the whole state, I would put mine armour on,
Which I can scarcely bear.

What must I do?

Return to the tribunes.

Well, what then? what then?

Repent what you have spoke.

For them! I cannot do it to the gods;
Must I then do’t to them?

You are too absolute;
Though therein you can never be too noble,
But when extremities speak. I have heard you say,
Honour and policy, like unsever’d friends,
I’ the war do grow together: grant that, and tell me,
In peace what each of them by the other lose,
That they combine not there.

Tush, tush!

A good demand.

If it be honour in your wars to seem
The same you are not, which, for your best ends,
You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse,
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honour, as in war, since that to both
It stands in like request?

Why force you this?

Because that now it lies you on to speak
To the people; not by your own instruction,
Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but rooted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom’s truth.
Now, this no more dishonours you at all
Than to take in a town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so in honour: I am in this,
Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our general louts
How you can frown than spend a fawn upon ’em,
For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
Of what that want might ruin.

Noble lady!
Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
Of what is past.

I prithee now, my son,
Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having stretch’d it–here be with them–
Thy knee bussing the stones–for in such business
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant
More learned than the ears–waving thy head,
Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.

This but done,
Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have pardons, being ask’d, as free
As words to little purpose.

Prithee now,
Go, and be ruled: although I know thou hadst rather
Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius.


I have been i’ the market-place; and, sir,’tis fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
By calmness or by absence: all’s in anger.

Only fair speech.

I think ’twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.

He must, and will
Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.

Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce?
Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do’t:
Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
This mould of Marcius, they to dust should grind it
And throw’t against the wind. To the market-place!
You have put me now to such a part which never
I shall discharge to the life.

Come, come, we’ll prompt you.

I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
To have my praise for this, perform a part
Thou hast not done before.

Well, I must do’t:
Away, my disposition, and possess me
Some harlot’s spirit! my throat of war be turn’d,
Which quired with my drum, into a pipe
Small as an eunuch, or the virgin voice
That babies lulls asleep! the smiles of knaves
Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys’ tears take up
The glasses of my sight! a beggar’s tongue
Make motion through my lips, and my arm’d knees,
Who bow’d but in my stirrup, bend like his
That hath received an alms! I will not do’t,
Lest I surcease to honour mine own truth
And by my body’s action teach my mind
A most inherent baseness.

At thy choice, then:
To beg of thee, it is my more dishonour
Than thou of them. Come all to ruin; let
Thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list
Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck’dst it from me,
But owe thy pride thyself.

Pray, be content:
Mother, I am going to the market-place;
Chide me no more. I’ll mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going:
Commend me to my wife. I’ll return consul;
Or never trust to what my tongue can do
I’ the way of flattery further.

Do your will.


Away! the tribunes do attend you: arm yourself
To answer mildly; for they are prepared
With accusations, as I hear, more strong
Than are upon you yet.

The word is ‘mildly.’ Pray you, let us go:
Let them accuse me by invention, I
Will answer in mine honour.

Ay, but mildly.

Well, mildly be it then. Mildly!


SCENE III. The same. The Forum.

In this point charge him home, that he affects
Tyrannical power: if he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people,
And that the spoil got on the Antiates
Was ne’er distributed.

Enter an AEdile

What, will he come?

He’s coming.

How accompanied?

With old Menenius, and those senators
That always favour’d him.

Have you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procured
Set down by the poll?

I have; ’tis ready.

Have you collected them by tribes?

I have.

Assemble presently the people hither;
And when they bear me say ‘It shall be so
I’ the right and strength o’ the commons,’ be it either
For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
If I say fine, cry ‘Fine;’ if death, cry ‘Death.’
Insisting on the old prerogative
And power i’ the truth o’ the cause.

I shall inform them.

And when such time they have begun to cry,
Let them not cease, but with a din confused
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.

Very well.

Make them be strong and ready for this hint,
When we shall hap to give ‘t them.

Go about it.

Exit AEdile

Put him to choler straight: he hath been used
Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
Of contradiction: being once chafed, he cannot
Be rein’d again to temperance; then he speaks
What’s in his heart; and that is there which looks
With us to break his neck.

Well, here he comes.

Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, and COMINIUS, with Senators and Patricians

Calmly, I do beseech you.

Ay, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece
Will bear the knave by the volume. The honour’d gods
Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of justice
Supplied with worthy men! plant love among ‘s!
Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,
And not our streets with war!

First Senator
Amen, amen.

A noble wish.

Re-enter AEdile, with Citizens

Draw near, ye people.

List to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I say!

First, hear me speak.

Both Tribunes
Well, say. Peace, ho!

Shall I be charged no further than this present?
Must all determine here?

I do demand,
If you submit you to the people’s voices,
Allow their officers and are content
To suffer lawful censure for such faults
As shall be proved upon you?

I am content.

Lo, citizens, he says he is content:
The warlike service he has done, consider; think
Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i’ the holy churchyard.

Scratches with briers,
Scars to move laughter only.

Consider further,
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier: do not take
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
But, as I say, such as become a soldier,
Rather than envy you.

Well, well, no more.

What is the matter
That being pass’d for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour’d that the very hour
You take it off again?

Answer to us.

Say, then: ’tis true, I ought so.

We charge you, that you have contrived to take
From Rome all season’d office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which you are a traitor to the people.

How! traitor!

Nay, temperately; your promise.

The fires i’ the lowest hell fold-in the people!
Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thy hand clutch’d as many millions, in
Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
‘Thou liest’ unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.

Mark you this, people?

To the rock, to the rock with him!

We need not put new matter to his charge:
What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
Opposing laws with strokes and here defying
Those whose great power must try him; even this,
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves the extremest death.

But since he hath
Served well for Rome,–

What do you prate of service?

I talk of that, that know it.


Is this the promise that you made your mother?

Know, I pray you,–

I know no further:
Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, raying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would not buy
Their mercy at the price of one fair word;
Nor cheque my courage for what they can give,
To have’t with saying ‘Good morrow.’

For that he has,
As much as in him lies, from time to time
Envied against the people, seeking means
To pluck away their power, as now at last
Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
That do distribute it; in the name o’ the people
And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
Even from this instant, banish him our city,
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian never more
To enter our Rome gates: i’ the people’s name,
I say it shall be so.

It shall be so, it shall be so; let him away:
He’s banish’d, and it shall be so.

Hear me, my masters, and my common friends,–

He’s sentenced; no more hearing.

Let me speak:
I have been consul, and can show for Rome
Her enemies’ marks upon me. I do love
My country’s good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life,
My dear wife’s estimate, her womb’s increase,
And treasure of my loins; then if I would
Speak that,–

We know your drift: speak what?

There’s no more to be said, but he is banish’d,
As enemy to the people and his country:
It shall be so.

It shall be so, it shall be so.

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o’ the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.

Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENENIUS, Senators, and Patricians

The people’s enemy is gone, is gone!

Our enemy is banish’d! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!

Shouting, and throwing up their caps

Go, see him out at gates, and follow him,
As he hath followed you, with all despite;
Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.

Come, come; let’s see him out at gates; come.
The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.


Come back on 11/29/15 and join me for fun with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus


Coriolanus, ACT II, SCENE I. Rome. A public place.

Enter MENENIUS with the two Tribunes of the people, SICINIUS and BRUTUS.
The augurer tells me we shall have news to-night.

Good or bad?

Not according to the prayer of the people, for they
love not Marcius.

Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

Pray you, who does the wolf love?

The lamb.

Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the
noble Marcius.

He’s a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.

He’s a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two
are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.

Well, sir.

In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you two
have not in abundance?

He’s poor in no one fault, but stored with all.

Especially in pride.

And topping all others in boasting.

This is strange now: do you two know how you are
censured here in the city, I mean of us o’ the
right-hand file? do you?

Why, how are we censured?

Because you talk of pride now,–will you not be angry?

Well, well, sir, well.

Why, ’tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience:
give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at
your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a
pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius for
being proud?

We do it not alone, sir.

I know you can do very little alone; for your helps
are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous
single: your abilities are too infant-like for
doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you
could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
O that you could!

What then, sir?

Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as
any in Rome.

Menenius, you are known well enough too.

I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
Tiber in’t; said to be something imperfect in
favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like
upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
with the buttock of the night than with the forehead
of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my
malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as
you are–I cannot call you Lycurguses–if the drink
you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a
crooked face at it. I can’t say your worships have
delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in
compound with the major part of your syllables: and
though I must be content to bear with those that say
you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that
tell you you have good faces. If you see this in
the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
well enough too? what barm can your bisson
conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
known well enough too?

Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing. You
are ambitious for poor knaves’ caps and legs: you
wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a
cause between an orange wife and a fosset-seller;
and then rejourn the controversy of three pence to a
second day of audience. When you are hearing a
matter between party and party, if you chance to be
pinched with the colic, you make faces like
mummers; set up the bloody flag against all
patience; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
dismiss the controversy bleeding the more entangled
by your hearing: all the peace you make in their
cause is, calling both the parties knaves. You are
a pair of strange ones.

Come, come, you are well understood to be a
perfecter giber for the table than a necessary
bencher in the Capitol.

Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When
you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the
wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not
so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher’s
cushion, or to be entombed in an ass’s pack-
saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud;
who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors
since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the
best of ’em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to
your worships: more of your conversation would
infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly
plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.

BRUTUS and SICINIUS go aside


How now, my as fair as noble ladies,–and the moon,
were she earthly, no nobler,–whither do you follow
your eyes so fast?

Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for
the love of Juno, let’s go.

Ha! Marcius coming home!

Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous

Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
Marcius coming home!

Nay,’tis true.

Look, here’s a letter from him: the state hath
another, his wife another; and, I think, there’s one
at home for you.

I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for

Yes, certain, there’s a letter for you; I saw’t.

A letter for me! it gives me an estate of seven
years’ health; in which time I will make a lip at
the physician: the most sovereign prescription in
Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative,
of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.

O, no, no, no.

O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for’t.

So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a’
victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.

On’s brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
with the oaken garland.

Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

Titus Lartius writes, they fought together, but
Aufidius got off.

And ’twas time for him too, I’ll warrant him that:
an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so
fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold
that’s in them. Is the senate possessed of this?

Good ladies, let’s go. Yes, yes, yes; the senate
has letters from the general, wherein he gives my
son the whole name of the war: he hath in this
action outdone his former deeds doubly

In troth, there’s wondrous things spoke of him.

Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
true purchasing.

The gods grant them true!

True! pow, wow.

True! I’ll be sworn they are true.
Where is he wounded?

To the Tribunes

God save your good worships! Marcius is coming
home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?

I’ the shoulder and i’ the left arm there will be
large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall
stand for his place. He received in the repulse of
Tarquin seven hurts i’ the body.

One i’ the neck, and two i’ the thigh,–there’s
nine that I know.

He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
wounds upon him.

Now it’s twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy’s grave.

A shout and flourish

Hark! the trumpets.

These are the ushers of Marcius: before him he
carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
Death, that dark spirit, in ‘s nervy arm doth lie;
Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.

A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the general, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them, CORIOLANUS, crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and Soldiers, and a Herald

Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,
With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
In honour follows Coriolanus.
Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!


Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

No more of this; it does offend my heart:
Pray now, no more.

Look, sir, your mother!

You have, I know, petition’d all the gods
For my prosperity!


Nay, my good soldier, up;
My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
By deed-achieving honour newly named,–
What is it?–Coriolanus must I call thee?–
But O, thy wife!

My gracious silence, hail!
Wouldst thou have laugh’d had I come coffin’d home,
That weep’st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear,
Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
And mothers that lack sons.

Now, the gods crown thee!

And live you yet?


O my sweet lady, pardon.

I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
And welcome, general: and ye’re welcome all.

A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
A curse begin at very root on’s heart,
That is not glad to see thee! You are three
That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,
We have some old crab-trees here
at home that will not
Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors:
We call a nettle but a nettle and
The faults of fools but folly.

Ever right.

Menenius ever, ever.

Give way there, and go on!

[To VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA] Your hand, and yours:
Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
The good patricians must be visited;
From whom I have received not only greetings,
But with them change of honours.

I have lived
To see inherited my very wishes
And the buildings of my fancy: only
There’s one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
Our Rome will cast upon thee.

Know, good mother,
I had rather be their servant in my way,
Than sway with them in theirs.

On, to the Capitol!

Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before. BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward

All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
Into a rapture lets her baby cry
While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram ’bout her reechy neck,
Clambering the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks, windows,
Are smother’d up, leads fill’d, and ridges horsed
With variable complexions, all agreeing
In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
Do press among the popular throngs and puff
To win a vulgar station: or veil’d dames
Commit the war of white and damask in
Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the wanton spoil
Of Phoebus’ burning kisses: such a pother
As if that whatsoever god who leads him
Were slily crept into his human powers
And gave him graceful posture.

On the sudden,
I warrant him consul.

Then our office may,
During his power, go sleep.

He cannot temperately transport his honours
From where he should begin and end, but will
Lose those he hath won.

In that there’s comfort.

Doubt not
The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
Upon their ancient malice will forget
With the least cause these his new honours, which
That he will give them make I as little question
As he is proud to do’t.

I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i’ the market-place nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility;
Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

‘Tis right.

It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
And the desire of the nobles.

I wish no better
Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
In execution.

‘Tis most like he will.

It shall be to him then as our good wills,
A sure destruction.

So it must fall out
To him or our authorities. For an end,
We must suggest the people in what hatred
He still hath held them; that to’s power he would
Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders and
Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them,
In human action and capacity,
Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
Than camels in the war, who have their provand
Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
For sinking under them.

This, as you say, suggested
At some time when his soaring insolence
Shall touch the people–which time shall not want,
If he be put upon ‘t; and that’s as easy
As to set dogs on sheep–will be his fire
To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
Shall darken him for ever.

Enter a Messenger

What’s the matter?

You are sent for to the Capitol. ‘Tis thought
That Marcius shall be consul:
I have seen the dumb men throng to see him and
The blind to bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
Upon him as he pass’d: the nobles bended,
As to Jove’s statue, and the commons made
A shower and thunder with their caps and shouts:
I never saw the like.

Let’s to the Capitol;
And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
But hearts for the event.

Have with you.


SCENE II. The same. The Capitol.

Enter two Officers, to lay cushions
First Officer
Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
for consulships?

Second Officer
Three, they say: but ’tis thought of every one
Coriolanus will carry it.

First Officer
That’s a brave fellow; but he’s vengeance proud, and
loves not the common people.

Second Officer
Faith, there had been many great men that have
flattered the people, who ne’er loved them; and there
be many that they have loved, they know not
wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why,
they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for
Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate
him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets
them plainly see’t.

First Officer
If he did not care whether he had their love or no,
he waved indifferently ‘twixt doing them neither
good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater
devotion than can render it him; and leaves
nothing undone that may fully discover him their
opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and
displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he
dislikes, to flatter them for their love.

Second Officer
He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his
ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who,
having been supple and courteous to the people,
bonneted, without any further deed to have them at
an into their estimation and report: but he hath so
planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions
in their hearts, that for their tongues to be
silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of
ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a
malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck
reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.

First Officer
No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, they
are coming.

A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS the consul, MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators, SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their places; the Tribunes take their Places by themselves. CORIOLANUS stands

Having determined of the Volsces and
To send for Titus Lartius, it remains,
As the main point of this our after-meeting,
To gratify his noble service that
Hath thus stood for his country: therefore,
please you,
Most reverend and grave elders, to desire
The present consul, and last general
In our well-found successes, to report
A little of that worthy work perform’d
By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom
We met here both to thank and to remember
With honours like himself.

First Senator
Speak, good Cominius:
Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
Rather our state’s defective for requital
Than we to stretch it out.

To the Tribunes

Masters o’ the people,
We do request your kindest ears, and after,
Your loving motion toward the common body,
To yield what passes here.

We are convented
Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
Inclinable to honour and advance
Theme of our assembly.

Which the rather
We shall be blest to do, if he remember
A kinder value of the people than
He hath hereto prized them at.

That’s off, that’s off;
I would you rather had been silent. Please you
To hear Cominius speak?

Most willingly;
But yet my caution was more pertinent
Than the rebuke you give it.

He loves your people
But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
Worthy Cominius, speak.

CORIOLANUS offers to go away

Nay, keep your place.

First Senator
Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
What you have nobly done.

Your horror’s pardon:
I had rather have my wounds to heal again
Than hear say how I got them.

Sir, I hope
My words disbench’d you not.

No, sir: yet oft,
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but
your people,
I love them as they weigh.

Pray now, sit down.

I had rather have one scratch my head i’ the sun
When the alarum were struck than idly sit
To hear my nothings monster’d.


Masters of the people,
Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter–
That’s thousand to one good one–when you now see
He had rather venture all his limbs for honour
Than one on’s ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.

I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be utter’d feebly. It is held
That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
Most dignifies the haver: if it be,
The man I speak of cannot in the world
Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him: be bestrid
An o’er-press’d Roman and i’ the consul’s view
Slew three opposers: Tarquin’s self he met,
And struck him on his knee: in that day’s feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He proved best man i’ the field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age
Man-enter’d thus, he waxed like a sea,
And in the brunt of seventeen battles since
He lurch’d all swords of the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he stopp’d the fliers;
And by his rare example made the coward
Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
A vessel under sail, so men obey’d
And fell below his stem: his sword, death’s stamp,
Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter’d
The mortal gate of the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny; aidless came off,
And with a sudden reinforcement struck
Corioli like a planet: now all’s his:
When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce
His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit
Re-quicken’d what in flesh was fatigate,
And to the battle came he; where he did
Run reeking o’er the lives of men, as if
‘Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call’d
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.

Worthy man!

First Senator
He cannot but with measure fit the honours
Which we devise him.

Our spoils he kick’d at,
And look’d upon things precious as they were
The common muck of the world: he covets less
Than misery itself would give; rewards
His deeds with doing them, and is content
To spend the time to end it.

He’s right noble:
Let him be call’d for.

First Senator
Call Coriolanus.

He doth appear.


The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
To make thee consul.

I do owe them still
My life and services.

It then remains
That you do speak to the people.

I do beseech you,
Let me o’erleap that custom, for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,
For my wounds’ sake, to give their suffrage: please you
That I may pass this doing.

Sir, the people
Must have their voices; neither will they bate
One jot of ceremony.

Put them not to’t:
Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
Take to you, as your predecessors have,
Your honour with your form.

It is apart
That I shall blush in acting, and might well
Be taken from the people.

Mark you that?

To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
As if I had received them for the hire
Of their breath only!

Do not stand upon’t.
We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul
Wish we all joy and honour.

To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!

Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS

You see how he intends to use the people.

May they perceive’s intent! He will require them,
As if he did contemn what he requested
Should be in them to give.

Come, we’ll inform them
Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
I know, they do attend us.


SCENE III. The same. The Forum.

Enter seven or eight Citizens
First Citizen
Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.

Second Citizen
We may, sir, if we will.

Third Citizen
We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
power that we have no power to do; for if he show us
his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if
he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful,
were to make a monster of the multitude: of the
which we being members, should bring ourselves to be
monstrous members.

First Citizen
And to make us no better thought of, a little help
will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he
himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.

Third Citizen
We have been called so of many; not that our heads
are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald,
but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and
truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of
one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south,
and their consent of one direct way should be at
once to all the points o’ the compass.

Second Citizen
Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would

Third Citizen
Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man’s
will;’tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but
if it were at liberty, ‘twould, sure, southward.

Second Citizen
Why that way?

Third Citizen
To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts
melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return
for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.

Second Citizen
You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.

Third Citizen
Are you all resolved to give your voices? But
that’s no matter, the greater part carries it. I
say, if he would incline to the people, there was
never a worthier man.

Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility, with MENENIUS

Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and
by threes. He’s to make his requests by
particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
you shall go by him.

Content, content.

Exeunt Citizens

O sir, you are not right: have you not known
The worthiest men have done’t?

What must I say?
‘I Pray, sir’–Plague upon’t! I cannot bring
My tongue to such a pace:–‘Look, sir, my wounds!
I got them in my country’s service, when
Some certain of your brethren roar’d and ran
From the noise of our own drums.’

O me, the gods!
You must not speak of that: you must desire them
To think upon you.

Think upon me! hang ’em!
I would they would forget me, like the virtues
Which our divines lose by ’em.

You’ll mar all:
I’ll leave you: pray you, speak to ’em, I pray you,
In wholesome manner.


Bid them wash their faces
And keep their teeth clean.

Re-enter two of the Citizens

So, here comes a brace.

Re-enter a third Citizen

You know the cause, air, of my standing here.

Third Citizen
We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to’t.

Mine own desert.

Second Citizen
Your own desert!

Ay, but not mine own desire.

Third Citizen
How not your own desire?

No, sir,’twas never my desire yet to trouble the
poor with begging.

Third Citizen
You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
gain by you.

Well then, I pray, your price o’ the consulship?

First Citizen
The price is to ask it kindly.

Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha’t: I have wounds to
show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
good voice, sir; what say you?

Second Citizen
You shall ha’ it, worthy sir.

A match, sir. There’s in all two worthy voices
begged. I have your alms: adieu.

Third Citizen
But this is something odd.

Second Citizen
An ’twere to give again,–but ’tis no matter.

Exeunt the three Citizens

Re-enter two other Citizens

Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
voices that I may be consul, I have here the
customary gown.

Fourth Citizen
You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
have not deserved nobly.

Your enigma?

Fourth Citizen
You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
the common people.

You should account me the more virtuous that I have
not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
estimation of them; ’tis a condition they account
gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
the insinuating nod and be off to them most
counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
bewitchment of some popular man and give it
bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
I may be consul.

Fifth Citizen
We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
you our voices heartily.

Fourth Citizen
You have received many wounds for your country.

I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

Both Citizens
The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!


Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to’t:
What custom wills, in all things should we do’t,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
And mountainous error be too highly heapt
For truth to o’er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
Let the high office and the honour go
To one that would do thus. I am half through;
The one part suffer’d, the other will I do.

Re-enter three Citizens more

Here come more voices.
Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
Watch’d for your voices; for Your voices bear
Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
Indeed I would be consul.

Sixth Citizen
He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
man’s voice.

Seventh Citizen
Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,
and make him good friend to the people!

All Citizens
Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!


Worthy voices!


You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
Endue you with the people’s voice: remains
That, in the official marks invested, you
Anon do meet the senate.

Is this done?

The custom of request you have discharged:
The people do admit you, and are summon’d
To meet anon, upon your approbation.

Where? at the senate-house?

There, Coriolanus.

May I change these garments?

You may, sir.

That I’ll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
Repair to the senate-house.

I’ll keep you company. Will you along?

We stay here for the people.

Fare you well.


He has it now, and by his looks methink
‘Tis warm at ‘s heart.

With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
will you dismiss the people?

Re-enter Citizens

How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

First Citizen
He has our voices, sir.

We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

Second Citizen
Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
He mock’d us when he begg’d our voices.

Third Citizen
He flouted us downright.

First Citizen
No,’tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.

Second Citizen
Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
He used us scornfully: he should have show’d us
His marks of merit, wounds received for’s country.

Why, so he did, I am sure.

No, no; no man saw ’em.

Third Citizen
He said he had wounds, which he could show
in private;
And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
‘I would be consul,’ says he: ‘aged custom,
But by your voices, will not so permit me;
Your voices therefore.’ When we granted that,
Here was ‘I thank you for your voices: thank you:
Your most sweet voices: now you have left
your voices,
I have no further with you.’ Was not this mockery?

Why either were you ignorant to see’t,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
To yield your voices?

Could you not have told him
As you were lesson’d, when he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy, ever spake against
Your liberties and the charters that you bear
I’ the body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o’ the state,
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
Would think upon you for your voices and
Translate his malice towards you into love,
Standing your friendly lord.

Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advised, had touch’d his spirit
And tried his inclination; from him pluck’d
Either his gracious promise, which you might,
As cause had call’d you up, have held him to
Or else it would have gall’d his surly nature,
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
You should have ta’en the advantage of his choler
And pass’d him unelected.

Did you perceive
He did solicit you in free contempt
When he did need your loves, and do you think
That his contempt shall not be bruising to you,
When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
Against the rectorship of judgment?

Have you
Ere now denied the asker? and now again
Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow
Your sued-for tongues?

Third Citizen
He’s not confirm’d; we may deny him yet.

Second Citizen
And will deny him:
I’ll have five hundred voices of that sound.

First Citizen
I twice five hundred and their friends to piece ’em.

Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
They have chose a consul that will from them take
Their liberties; make them of no more voice
Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
As therefore kept to do so.

Let them assemble,
And on a safer judgment all revoke
Your ignorant election; enforce his pride,
And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
How in his suit he scorn’d you; but your loves,
Thinking upon his services, took from you
The apprehension of his present portance,
Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
After the inveterate hate he bears you.

A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
No impediment between, but that you must
Cast your election on him.

Say, you chose him
More after our commandment than as guided
By your own true affections, and that your minds,
Preoccupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should, made you against the grain
To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
How youngly he began to serve his country,
How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
The noble house o’ the Marcians, from whence came
That Ancus Marcius, Numa’s daughter’s son,
Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
Was his great ancestor.

One thus descended,
That hath beside well in his person wrought
To be set high in place, we did commend
To your remembrances: but you have found,
Scaling his present bearing with his past,
That he’s your fixed enemy, and revoke
Your sudden approbation.

Say, you ne’er had done’t–
Harp on that still–but by our putting on;
And presently, when you have drawn your number,
Repair to the Capitol.

We will so: almost all
Repent in their election.

Exeunt Citizens

Let them go on;
This mutiny were better put in hazard,
Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
With their refusal, both observe and answer
The vantage of his anger.

To the Capitol, come:
We will be there before the stream o’ the people;
And this shall seem, as partly ’tis, their own,
Which we have goaded onward.


Come back on 11/28/15 and join me for fun with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus


Coriolanus, ACT I, SCENE I. Rome.  A street.

Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons

First Citizen
Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.

Speak, speak.

First Citizen
You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?

Resolved. resolved.

First Citizen
First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.

We know’t, we know’t.

First Citizen
Let us kill him, and we’ll have corn at our own price.
Is’t a verdict?

No more talking on’t; let it be done: away, away!

Second Citizen
One word, good citizens.

First Citizen
We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they
would yield us but the superfluity, while it were
wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely;
but they think we are too dear: the leanness that
afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
inventory to particularise their abundance; our
sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this with
our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I
speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

Second Citizen
Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

Against him first: he’s a very dog to the commonalty.

Second Citizen
Consider you what services he has done for his country?

First Citizen
Very well; and could be content to give him good
report fort, but that he pays himself with being proud.

Second Citizen
Nay, but speak not maliciously.

First Citizen
I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did
it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can be
content to say it was for his country he did it to
please his mother and to be partly proud; which he
is, even till the altitude of his virtue.

Second Citizen
What he cannot help in his nature, you account a
vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.

First Citizen
If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;
he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition.

Shouts within

What shouts are these? The other side o’ the city
is risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!

Come, come.

First Citizen
Soft! who comes here?


Second Citizen
Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved
the people.

First Citizen
He’s one honest enough: would all the rest were so!

What work’s, my countrymen, in hand? where go you
With bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray you.

First Citizen
Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have
had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do,
which now we’ll show ’em in deeds. They say poor
suitors have strong breaths: they shall know we
have strong arms too.

Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?

First Citizen
We cannot, sir, we are undone already.

I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
Against the Roman state, whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder than can ever
Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you, and you slander
The helms o’ the state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.

First Citizen
Care for us! True, indeed! They ne’er cared for us
yet: suffer us to famish, and their store-houses
crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to
support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act
established against the rich, and provide more
piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain
the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and
there’s all the love they bear us.

Either you must
Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale: it may be you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To stale ‘t a little more.

First Citizen
Well, I’ll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to
fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an ‘t please
you, deliver.

There was a time when all the body’s members
Rebell’d against the belly, thus accused it:
That only like a gulf it did remain
I’ the midst o’ the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest, where the other instruments
Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answer’d–

First Citizen
Well, sir, what answer made the belly?

Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Which ne’er came from the lungs, but even thus–
For, look you, I may make the belly smile
As well as speak–it tauntingly replied
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators for that
They are not such as you.

First Citizen
Your belly’s answer? What!
The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter.
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabric, if that they–

What then?
‘Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? what then?

First Citizen
Should by the cormorant belly be restrain’d,
Who is the sink o’ the body,–

Well, what then?

First Citizen
The former agents, if they did complain,
What could the belly answer?

I will tell you
If you’ll bestow a small–of what you have little–
Patience awhile, you’ll hear the belly’s answer.

First Citizen
Ye’re long about it.

Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer’d:
‘True is it, my incorporate friends,’ quoth he,
‘That I receive the general food at first,
Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the store-house and the shop
Of the whole body: but, if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o’ the brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
You, my good friends,’–this says the belly, mark me,–

First Citizen
Ay, sir; well, well.

‘Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,
And leave me but the bran.’ What say you to’t?

First Citizen
It was an answer: how apply you this?

The senators of Rome are this good belly,
And you the mutinous members; for examine
Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
Touching the weal o’ the common, you shall find
No public benefit which you receive
But it proceeds or comes from them to you
And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
You, the great toe of this assembly?

First Citizen
I the great toe! why the great toe?

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;
The one side must have bale.


Hail, noble Marcius!

Thanks. What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues,
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?

First Citizen
We have ever your good word.

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 you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him
And curse that justice did it.
Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man’s appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours swims with fins of lead
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust Ye?
With every minute you do change a mind,
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What’s the matter,
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another? What’s their seeking?

For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
The city is well stored.

Hang ’em! They say!
They’ll sit by the fire, and presume to know
What’s done i’ the Capitol; who’s like to rise,
Who thrives and who declines; side factions
and give out
Conjectural marriages; making parties strong
And feebling such as stand not in their liking
Below their cobbled shoes. They say there’s
grain enough!
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I’ll make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter’d slaves, as high
As I could pick my lance.

Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
What says the other troop?

They are dissolved: hang ’em!
They said they were an-hungry; sigh’d forth proverbs,
That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,
That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not
Corn for the rich men only: with these shreds
They vented their complainings; which being answer’d,
And a petition granted them, a strange one–
To break the heart of generosity,
And make bold power look pale–they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o’ the moon,
Shouting their emulation.

What is granted them?

Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice: one’s Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not–‘Sdeath!
The rabble should have first unroof’d the city,
Ere so prevail’d with me: it will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection’s arguing.

This is strange.

Go, get you home, you fragments!

Enter a Messenger, hastily

Where’s Caius Marcius?

Here: what’s the matter?

The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

I am glad on ‘t: then we shall ha’ means to vent
Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.


First Senator
Marcius, ’tis true that you have lately told us;
The Volsces are in arms.

They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to ‘t.
I sin in envying his nobility,
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.

You have fought together.

Were half to half the world by the ears and he.
Upon my party, I’ld revolt to make
Only my wars with him: he is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.

First Senator
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.

It is your former promise.

Sir, it is;
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus’ face.
What, art thou stiff? stand’st out?

No, Caius Marcius;
I’ll lean upon one crutch and fight with t’other,
Ere stay behind this business.

O, true-bred!

First Senator
Your company to the Capitol; where, I know,
Our greatest friends attend us.

[To COMINIUS] Lead you on.


Right worthy you priority.

Noble Marcius!

First Senator
[To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be gone!

Nay, let them follow:
The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.

Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS

Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?

He has no equal.

When we were chosen tribunes for the people,–

Mark’d you his lip and eyes?

Nay. but his taunts.

Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.

Be-mock the modest moon.

The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.

Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Under Cominius.

Fame, at the which he aims,
In whom already he’s well graced, 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!’

Besides, if things go well,
Opinion that so sticks on Marcius shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.

Half all Cominius’ honours are to Marcius.
Though Marcius earned them not, and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed
In aught he merit not.

Let’s hence, and hear
How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,
More than his singularity, he goes
Upon this present action.

Lets along.


SCENE II. Corioli. The Senate-house.

Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS and certain Senators
First Senator
So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are entered in our counsels
And know how we proceed.

Is it not yours?
What ever have been thought on in this state,
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? ‘Tis not four days gone
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think
I have the letter here; yes, here it is.


‘They have press’d a power, but it is not known
Whether for east or west: the dearth is great;
The people mutinous; and it is rumour’d,
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither ’tis bent: most likely ’tis for you:
Consider of it.’

First Senator
Our army’s in the field
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
To answer us.

Nor did you think it folly
To keep your great pretences veil’d till when
They needs must show themselves; which
in the hatching,
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 Senator
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 your army; but, I think, you’ll find
They’ve not prepared for us.

O, doubt not that;
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.

The gods assist you!

And keep your honours safe!

First Senator

Second Senator



SCENE III. Rome. A room in Marcius’ house.

Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA they set them down on two low stools, and sew
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 embracements of his bed where
he would show most love. When yet he was but
tender-bodied and the only son of my womb, when
youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when
for a day of kings’ entreaties a mother should not
sell him an hour from her beholding, I, considering
how honour would become such a person. 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

But had he died in the business, madam; how then?

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

Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.

Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.

Indeed, you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband’s drum,
See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair,
As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him:
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
‘Come on, you cowards! you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome:’ his bloody brow
With his mail’d hand then wiping, forth he goes,
Like to a harvest-man that’s task’d to mow
Or all or lose his hire.

His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!

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 sword, contemning. Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.

Exit Gentlewoman

Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!

He’ll beat Aufidius ‘head below his knee
And tread upon his neck.

Enter VALERIA, with an Usher and Gentlewoman

My ladies both, good day to you.

Sweet madam.

I am glad to see your ladyship.

How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers.
What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good
faith. How does your little son?

I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than
look upon his school-master.

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: 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 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 it, how he mammocked

One on ‘s father’s moods.

Indeed, la, ’tis a noble child.

A crack, madam.

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

No, good madam; I will not out of doors.

Not out of doors!

She shall, she shall.

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

Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably: come,
you must go visit the good lady that lies in.

I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with
my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

Why, I pray you?

‘Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.

You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all
the yarn she spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fill
Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would your cambric
were sensible as your finger, that you might leave
pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.

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

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

O, good madam, there can be none yet.

Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from
him last night.

Indeed, madam?

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.

Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every
thing hereafter.

Let her alone, lady: as she is now, she will but
disease our better mirth.

In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then.
Come, good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy
solemness out o’ door. and go along with us.

No, at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish
you much mirth.

Well, then, farewell.


SCENE IV. Before Corioli.

Enter, with drum and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Captains and Soldiers. To them a Messenger
Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.

My horse to yours, no.

‘Tis done.


Say, has our general met the enemy?

They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.

So, the good horse is mine.

I’ll buy him of you.

No, I’ll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I will
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.

How far off lie these armies?

Within this mile and half.

Then shall we hear their ‘larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.

They sound a parley. Enter two Senators with others on the walls

Tutus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

First Senator
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,
Which yet seem shut, we, have but pinn’d with rushes;
They’ll open of themselves.

Alarum afar off

Hark you. far off!
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.

O, they are at it!

Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!

Enter the army of the Volsces

They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields. Advance,
brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
He that retires I’ll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS cursing

All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! you herd of–Boils and plagues
Plaster you o’er, that you may be abhorr’d
Further than seen and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I’ll leave the foe
And make my wars on you: look to’t: come on;
If you’ll stand fast, we’ll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.

Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and MARCIUS follows them to the gates

So, now the gates are ope: now prove good seconds:
‘Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.

Enters the gates

First Soldier
Fool-hardiness; not I.

Second Soldier
Nor I.

MARCIUS is shut in

First Soldier
See, they have shut him in.

To the pot, I warrant him.

Alarum continues


What is become of Marcius?

Slain, sir, doubtless.

First Soldier
Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp’d to their gates: he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.

O noble fellow!
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
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 madst thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy

First Soldier
Look, sir.

O,’tis Marcius!
Let’s fetch him off, or make remain alike.

They fight, and all enter the city

SCENE V. Corioli. A street.

Enter certain Romans, with spoils
First Roman
This will I carry to Rome.

Second Roman
And I this.

Third Roman
A murrain on’t! I took this for silver.

Alarum continues still afar off

Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS with a trumpet

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!
And hark, what noise the general makes! To him!
There is the man of my soul’s hate, Aufidius,
Piercing our Romans: then, valiant Titus, take
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.

Worthy sir, thou bleed’st;
Thy exercise hath been too violent for
A second course of fight.

Sir, praise me not;
My work hath yet not warm’d me: fare you well:
The blood I drop is rather physical
Than dangerous to me: to Aufidius thus
I will appear, and fight.

Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms
Misguide thy opposers’ swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!

Thy friend no less
Than those she placeth highest! So, farewell.

Thou worthiest Marcius!


Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers o’ the town,
Where they shall know our mind: away!


SCENE VI. Near the camp of Cominius.

Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire, with soldiers
Breathe you, my friends: well fought;
we are come off
Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs,
We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck,
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 encountering,
May give you thankful sacrifice.

Enter a Messenger

Thy news?

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.

Though thou speak’st truth,
Methinks thou speak’st not well.
How long is’t since?

Above an hour, my lord.

‘Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?

Spies of the Volsces
Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
Three or four miles about, else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.

Who’s yonder,
That does appear as he were flay’d? O gods
He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have
Before-time seen him thus.

[Within] Come I too late?

The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour
More than I know the sound of Marcius’ tongue
From every meaner man.


Come I too late?

Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
But mantled in your own.

O, let me clip ye
In arms as sound as when I woo’d, in heart
As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn’d to bedward!

Flower of warriors,
How is it with Titus Lartius?

As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening 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
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?

Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
Where is the enemy? are you lords o’ the field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?

We have at disadvantage fought and did
Retire to win our purpose.

How lies their battle? know you on which side
They have placed their men of trust?

As I guess, Marcius,
Their bands i’ the vaward are the Antiates,
Of their best trust; o’er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of hope.

I do beseech you,
By all the battles wherein we have fought,
By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
We have made to endure friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanced 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.

They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in their arms, and cast up their caps

O, me alone! make you a sword of me?
If these shows be not outward, which of you
But is four Volsces? none of you but is
Able to bear against the great Aufidius
A shield as hard as his. A certain number,
Though thanks to all, must I select
from all: the rest
Shall bear the business in some other fight,
As cause will be obey’d. Please you to march;
And four shall quickly draw out my command,
Which men are best inclined.

March on, my fellows:
Make good this ostentation, and you shall
Divide in all with us.


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 Lieutenant, other Soldiers, and a Scout
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.

Hence, and shut your gates upon’s.
Our guider, come; to the Roman camp conduct us.


SCENE VIII. A field of battle.

Alarum as in battle. Enter, from opposite sides, MARCIUS and AUFIDIUS
I’ll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee
Worse than a promise-breaker.

We hate alike:
Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor
More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.

Let the first budger die the other’s slave,
And the gods doom him after!

If I fly, Marcius,
Holloa me like a hare.

Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
And made what work I pleased: ’tis not my blood
Wherein thou seest me mask’d; for thy revenge
Wrench up thy power to the highest.

Wert thou the Hector
That was the whip of your bragg’d progeny,
Thou shouldst not scape me here.

They fight, and certain Volsces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS. MARCIUS fights till they be driven in breathless

Officious, and not valiant, you have shamed me
In your condemned seconds.


SCENE IX. The Roman camp.

Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter, from one side, COMINIUS with the Romans; from the other side, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf
If I should tell thee o’er this thy day’s work,
Thou’ldst not believe thy deeds: but I’ll report it
Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles,
Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
I’ the end admire, where ladies shall be frighted,
And, gladly quaked, hear more; where the
dull tribunes,
That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,
Shall say against their hearts ‘We thank the gods
Our Rome hath such a soldier.’
Yet camest thou to a morsel of this feast,
Having fully dined before.

Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power, from the pursuit

O general,
Here is the steed, we the caparison:
Hadst thou beheld–

Pray now, no more: my mother,
Who has a charter to extol her blood,
When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
As you have done; that’s what I can; induced
As you have been; that’s for my country:
He that has but effected his good will
Hath overta’en mine act.

You shall not be
The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
The value of her own: ’twere a concealment
Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
To hide your doings; and to silence that,
Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch’d,
Would seem but modest: therefore, I beseech you
In sign of what you are, not to reward
What you have done–before our army hear me.

I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
To hear themselves remember’d.

Should they not,
Well might they fester ‘gainst ingratitude,
And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses,
Whereof we have ta’en good and good store, of all
The treasure in this field achieved and city,
We render you the tenth, to be ta’en forth,
Before the common distribution, at
Your only choice.

I thank you, general;
But cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
And stand upon my common part with those
That have beheld the doing.

A long flourish. They all cry ‘Marcius! Marcius!’ cast up their caps and lances: COMINIUS and LARTIUS stand bare

May these same instruments, which you profane,
Never sound more! when drums and trumpets shall
I’ the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
Made all of false-faced soothing!
When steel grows soft as the parasite’s silk,
Let him be made a coverture for the wars!
No more, I say! For that I have not wash’d
My nose that bled, or foil’d some debile wretch.–
Which, without note, here’s many else have done,–
You shout me forth
In acclamations hyperbolical;
As if I loved my little should be dieted
In praises sauced with lies.

Too modest are you;
More cruel to your good report than grateful
To us that give you truly: by your patience,
If ‘gainst yourself you be incensed, we’ll put you,
Like one that means his proper harm, in manacles,
Then reason safely with you. Therefore, be it known,
As to us, to all the world, that Caius Marcius
Wears this war’s garland: in token of the which,
My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
With all his trim belonging; and from this time,
For what he did before Corioli, call him,
With all the applause and clamour of the host,
The addition nobly ever!

Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums

Caius Marcius Coriolanus!

I will go wash;
And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
Whether I blush or no: howbeit, I thank you.
I mean to stride your steed, and at all times
To undercrest your good addition
To the fairness of my power.

So, to our tent;
Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
To Rome of our success. You, Titus Lartius,
Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
The best, with whom we may articulate,
For their own good and ours.

I shall, my lord.

The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg
Of my lord general.

Take’t; ’tis yours. What is’t?

I sometime lay here in Corioli
At a poor man’s house; he used me kindly:
He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was with in my view,
And wrath o’erwhelm’d my pity: I request you
To give my poor host freedom.

O, well begg’d!
Were he the butcher of my son, he should
Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.

Marcius, his name?

By Jupiter! forgot.
I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
Have we no wine here?

Go we to our tent:
The blood upon your visage dries; ’tis time
It should be look’d to: come.


SCENE X. The camp of the Volsces.

A flourish. Cornets. Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, bloody, with two or three Soldiers
The town is ta’en!

First Soldier
‘Twill be deliver’d back on good condition.

I would I were a Roman; for I cannot,
Being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition!
What good condition can a treaty find
I’ the part that is at mercy? Five times, Marcius,
I have fought with thee: so often hast thou beat me,
And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter
As often as we eat. By the elements,
If e’er again I meet him beard to beard,
He’s mine, or I am his: mine emulation
Hath not that honour in’t it had; for where
I thought to crush him in an equal force,
True sword to sword, I’ll potch at him some way
Or wrath or craft may get him.

First Soldier
He’s the devil.

Bolder, though not so subtle. My valour’s poison’d
With only suffering stain by him; for him
Shall fly out of itself: nor sleep nor sanctuary,
Being naked, sick, nor fane nor Capitol,
The prayers of priests nor times of sacrifice,
Embarquements all of fury, shall lift up
Their rotten privilege and custom ‘gainst
My hate to Marcius: where I find him, were it
At home, upon my brother’s guard, even there,
Against the hospitable canon, would I
Wash my fierce hand in’s heart. Go you to the city;
Learn how ’tis held; and what they are that must
Be hostages for Rome.

First Soldier
Will not you go?

I am attended at the cypress grove: I pray you–
‘Tis south the city mills–bring me word thither
How the world goes, that to the pace of it
I may spur on my journey.

First Soldier
I shall, sir.


Come back on 11/27/15 and join me for fun with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus


Pericles, Prince of Tyre; ACT V


Marina thus the brothel ‘scapes, and chances
Into an honest house, our story says.
She sings like one immortal, and she dances
As goddess-like to her admired lays;
Deep clerks she dumbs; and with her needle composes
Nature’s own shape, of bud, bird, branch, or berry,
That even her art sisters the natural roses;
Her inkle, silk, twin with the rubied cherry:
That pupils lacks she none of noble race,
Who pour their bounty on her; and her gain
She gives the cursed bawd. Here we her place;
And to her father turn our thoughts again,
Where we left him, on the sea. We there him lost;
Whence, driven before the winds, he is arrived
Here where his daughter dwells; and on this coast
Suppose him now at anchor. The city strived
God Neptune’s annual feast to keep: from whence
Lysimachus our Tyrian ship espies,
His banners sable, trimm’d with rich expense;
And to him in his barge with fervor hies.
In your supposing once more put your sight
Of heavy Pericles; think this his bark:
Where what is done in action, more, if might,
Shall be discover’d; please you, sit and hark.


SCENE I. On board PERICLES’ ship, off Mytilene. A close
pavilion on deck, with a curtain before it; PERICLES
within it, reclined on a couch. A barge lying
beside the Tyrian vessel.

Enter two Sailors, one belonging to the Tyrian vessel, the other to the barge; to them HELICANUS

Tyrian Sailor
[To the Sailor of Mytilene] Where is lord Helicanus?
he can resolve you.
O, here he is.
Sir, there’s a barge put off from Mytilene,
And in it is Lysimachus the governor,
Who craves to come aboard. What is your will?

That he have his. Call up some gentlemen.

Tyrian Sailor
Ho, gentlemen! my lord calls.

Enter two or three Gentlemen

First Gentleman
Doth your lordship call?

Gentlemen, there’s some of worth would come aboard;
I pray ye, greet them fairly.

The Gentlemen and the two Sailors descend, and go on board the barge

Enter, from thence, LYSIMACHUS and Lords; with the Gentlemen and the two Sailors

Tyrian Sailor
This is the man that can, in aught you would,
Resolve you.

Hail, reverend sir! the gods preserve you!

And you, sir, to outlive the age I am,
And die as I would do.

You wish me well.
Being on shore, honouring of Neptune’s triumphs,
Seeing this goodly vessel ride before us,
I made to it, to know of whence you are.

First, what is your place?

I am the governor of this place you lie before.

Our vessel is of Tyre, in it the king;
A man who for this three months hath not spoken
To any one, nor taken sustenance
But to prorogue his grief.

Upon what ground is his distemperature?

‘Twould be too tedious to repeat;
But the main grief springs from the loss
Of a beloved daughter and a wife.

May we not see him?

You may;
But bootless is your sight: he will not speak To any.

Yet let me obtain my wish.

Behold him.

PERICLES discovered

This was a goodly person,
Till the disaster that, one mortal night,
Drove him to this.

Sir king, all hail! the gods preserve you!
Hail, royal sir!

It is in vain; he will not speak to you.

First Lord
We have a maid in Mytilene, I durst wager,
Would win some words of him.

‘Tis well bethought.
She questionless with her sweet harmony
And other chosen attractions, would allure,
And make a battery through his deafen’d parts,
Which now are midway stopp’d:
She is all happy as the fairest of all,
And, with her fellow maids is now upon
The leafy shelter that abuts against
The island’s side.

Whispers a Lord, who goes off in the barge of LYSIMACHUS

Sure, all’s effectless; yet nothing we’ll omit
That bears recovery’s name. But, since your kindness
We have stretch’d thus far, let us beseech you
That for our gold we may provision have,
Wherein we are not destitute for want,
But weary for the staleness.

O, sir, a courtesy
Which if we should deny, the most just gods
For every graff would send a caterpillar,
And so afflict our province. Yet once more
Let me entreat to know at large the cause
Of your king’s sorrow.

Sit, sir, I will recount it to you:
But, see, I am prevented.

Re-enter, from the barge, Lord, with MARINA, and a young Lady

O, here is
The lady that I sent for. Welcome, fair one!
Is’t not a goodly presence?

She’s a gallant lady.

She’s such a one, that, were I well assured
Came of a gentle kind and noble stock,
I’ld wish no better choice, and think me rarely wed.
Fair one, all goodness that consists in bounty
Expect even here, where is a kingly patient:
If that thy prosperous and artificial feat
Can draw him but to answer thee in aught,
Thy sacred physic shall receive such pay
As thy desires can wish.

Sir, I will use
My utmost skill in his recovery, Provided
That none but I and my companion maid
Be suffer’d to come near him.

Come, let us leave her;
And the gods make her prosperous!

MARINA sings

Mark’d he your music?

No, nor look’d on us.

See, she will speak to him.

Hail, sir! my lord, lend ear.

Hum, ha!

I am a maid,
My lord, that ne’er before invited eyes,
But have been gazed on like a comet: she speaks,
My lord, that, may be, hath endured a grief
Might equal yours, if both were justly weigh’d.
Though wayward fortune did malign my state,
My derivation was from ancestors
Who stood equivalent with mighty kings:
But time hath rooted out my parentage,
And to the world and awkward casualties
Bound me in servitude.


I will desist;
But there is something glows upon my cheek,
And whispers in mine ear, ‘Go not till he speak.’

My fortunes–parentage–good parentage–
To equal mine!–was it not thus? what say you?

I said, my lord, if you did know my parentage,
You would not do me violence.

I do think so. Pray you, turn your eyes upon me.
You are like something that–What country-woman?
Here of these shores?

No, nor of any shores:
Yet I was mortally brought forth, and am
No other than I appear.

I am great with woe, and shall deliver weeping.
My dearest wife was like this maid, and such a one
My daughter might have been: my queen’s square brows;
Her stature to an inch; as wand-like straight;
As silver-voiced; her eyes as jewel-like
And cased as richly; in pace another Juno;
Who starves the ears she feeds, and makes them hungry,
The more she gives them speech. Where do you live?

Where I am but a stranger: from the deck
You may discern the place.

Where were you bred?
And how achieved you these endowments, which
You make more rich to owe?

If I should tell my history, it would seem
Like lies disdain’d in the reporting.

Prithee, speak:
Falseness cannot come from thee; for thou look’st
Modest as Justice, and thou seem’st a palace
For the crown’d Truth to dwell in: I will
believe thee,
And make my senses credit thy relation
To points that seem impossible; for thou look’st
Like one I loved indeed. What were thy friends?
Didst thou not say, when I did push thee back–
Which was when I perceived thee–that thou camest
From good descending?

So indeed I did.

Report thy parentage. I think thou said’st
Thou hadst been toss’d from wrong to injury,
And that thou thought’st thy griefs might equal mine,
If both were open’d.

Some such thing
I said, and said no more but what my thoughts
Did warrant me was likely.

Tell thy story;
If thine consider’d prove the thousandth part
Of my endurance, thou art a man, and I
Have suffer’d like a girl: yet thou dost look
Like Patience gazing on kings’ graves, and smiling
Extremity out of act. What were thy friends?
How lost thou them? Thy name, my most kind virgin?
Recount, I do beseech thee: come, sit by me.

My name is Marina.

O, I am mock’d,
And thou by some incensed god sent hither
To make the world to laugh at me.

Patience, good sir,
Or here I’ll cease.

Nay, I’ll be patient.
Thou little know’st how thou dost startle me,
To call thyself Marina.

The name
Was given me by one that had some power,
My father, and a king.

How! a king’s daughter?
And call’d Marina?

You said you would believe me;
But, not to be a troubler of your peace,
I will end here.

But are you flesh and blood?
Have you a working pulse? and are no fairy?
Motion! Well; speak on. Where were you born?
And wherefore call’d Marina?

Call’d Marina
For I was born at sea.

At sea! what mother?

My mother was the daughter of a king;
Who died the minute I was born,
As my good nurse Lychorida hath oft
Deliver’d weeping.

O, stop there a little!


This is the rarest dream that e’er dull sleep
Did mock sad fools withal: this cannot be:
My daughter’s buried. Well: where were you bred?
I’ll hear you more, to the bottom of your story,
And never interrupt you.

You scorn: believe me, ’twere best I did give o’er.

I will believe you by the syllable
Of what you shall deliver. Yet, give me leave:
How came you in these parts? where were you bred?

The king my father did in Tarsus leave me;
Till cruel Cleon, with his wicked wife,
Did seek to murder me: and having woo’d
A villain to attempt it, who having drawn to do’t,
A crew of pirates came and rescued me;
Brought me to Mytilene. But, good sir,
Whither will you have me? Why do you weep?
It may be,
You think me an impostor: no, good faith;
I am the daughter to King Pericles,
If good King Pericles be.

Ho, Helicanus!

Calls my lord?

Thou art a grave and noble counsellor,
Most wise in general: tell me, if thou canst,
What this maid is, or what is like to be,
That thus hath made me weep?

I know not; but
Here is the regent, sir, of Mytilene
Speaks nobly of her.

She would never tell
Her parentage; being demanded that,
She would sit still and weep.

O Helicanus, strike me, honour’d sir;
Give me a gash, put me to present pain;
Lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me
O’erbear the shores of my mortality,
And drown me with their sweetness. O, come hither,
Thou that beget’st him that did thee beget;
Thou that wast born at sea, buried at Tarsus,
And found at sea again! O Helicanus,
Down on thy knees, thank the holy gods as loud
As thunder threatens us: this is Marina.
What was thy mother’s name? tell me but that,
For truth can never be confirm’d enough,
Though doubts did ever sleep.

First, sir, I pray,
What is your title?

I am Pericles of Tyre: but tell me now
My drown’d queen’s name, as in the rest you said
Thou hast been godlike perfect,
The heir of kingdoms and another like
To Pericles thy father.

Is it no more to be your daughter than
To say my mother’s name was Thaisa?
Thaisa was my mother, who did end
The minute I began.

Now, blessing on thee! rise; thou art my child.
Give me fresh garments. Mine own, Helicanus;
She is not dead at Tarsus, as she should have been,
By savage Cleon: she shall tell thee all;
When thou shalt kneel, and justify in knowledge
She is thy very princess. Who is this?

Sir, ’tis the governor of Mytilene,
Who, hearing of your melancholy state,
Did come to see you.

I embrace you.
Give me my robes. I am wild in my beholding.
O heavens bless my girl! But, hark, what music?
Tell Helicanus, my Marina, tell him
O’er, point by point, for yet he seems to doubt,
How sure you are my daughter. But, what music?

My lord, I hear none.

The music of the spheres! List, my Marina.

It is not good to cross him; give him way.

Rarest sounds! Do ye not hear?

My lord, I hear.


Most heavenly music!
It nips me unto listening, and thick slumber
Hangs upon mine eyes: let me rest.


A pillow for his head:
So, leave him all. Well, my companion friends,
If this but answer to my just belief,
I’ll well remember you.

Exeunt all but PERICLES

DIANA appears to PERICLES as in a vision

My temple stands in Ephesus: hie thee thither,
And do upon mine altar sacrifice.
There, when my maiden priests are met together,
Before the people all,
Reveal how thou at sea didst lose thy wife:
To mourn thy crosses, with thy daughter’s, call
And give them repetition to the life.
Or perform my bidding, or thou livest in woe;
Do it, and happy; by my silver bow!
Awake, and tell thy dream.


Celestial Dian, goddess argentine,
I will obey thee. Helicanus!



My purpose was for Tarsus, there to strike
The inhospitable Cleon; but I am
For other service first: toward Ephesus
Turn our blown sails; eftsoons I’ll tell thee why.


Shall we refresh us, sir, upon your shore,
And give you gold for such provision
As our intents will need?

With all my heart; and, when you come ashore,
I have another suit.

You shall prevail,
Were it to woo my daughter; for it seems
You have been noble towards her.

Sir, lend me your arm.

Come, my Marina.



Enter GOWER, before the temple of DIANA at Ephesus

Now our sands are almost run;
More a little, and then dumb.
This, my last boon, give me,
For such kindness must relieve me,
That you aptly will suppose
What pageantry, what feats, what shows,
What minstrelsy, and pretty din,
The regent made in Mytilene
To greet the king. So he thrived,
That he is promised to be wived
To fair Marina; but in no wise
Till he had done his sacrifice,
As Dian bade: whereto being bound,
The interim, pray you, all confound.
In feather’d briefness sails are fill’d,
And wishes fall out as they’re will’d.
At Ephesus, the temple see,
Our king and all his company.
That he can hither come so soon,
Is by your fancy’s thankful doom.


SCENE III. The temple of Diana at Ephesus; THAISA standing
near the altar, as high priestess; a number of
Virgins on each side; CERIMON and other Inhabitants
of Ephesus attending.

Enter PERICLES, with his train; LYSIMACHUS, HELICANUS, MARINA, and a Lady

Hail, Dian! to perform thy just command,
I here confess myself the king of Tyre;
Who, frighted from my country, did wed
At Pentapolis the fair Thaisa.
At sea in childbed died she, but brought forth
A maid-child call’d Marina; who, O goddess,
Wears yet thy silver livery. She at Tarsus
Was nursed with Cleon; who at fourteen years
He sought to murder: but her better stars
Brought her to Mytilene; ‘gainst whose shore
Riding, her fortunes brought the maid aboard us,
Where, by her own most clear remembrance, she
Made known herself my daughter.

Voice and favour!
You are, you are–O royal Pericles!


What means the nun? she dies! help, gentlemen!

Noble sir,
If you have told Diana’s altar true,
This is your wife.

Reverend appearer, no;
I threw her overboard with these very arms.

Upon this coast, I warrant you.

‘Tis most certain.

Look to the lady; O, she’s but o’erjoy’d.
Early in blustering morn this lady was
Thrown upon this shore. I oped the coffin,
Found there rich jewels; recover’d her, and placed her
Here in Diana’s temple.

May we see them?

Great sir, they shall be brought you to my house,
Whither I invite you. Look, Thaisa is recovered.

O, let me look!
If he be none of mine, my sanctity
Will to my sense bend no licentious ear,
But curb it, spite of seeing. O, my lord,
Are you not Pericles? Like him you spake,
Like him you are: did you not name a tempest,
A birth, and death?

The voice of dead Thaisa!

That Thaisa am I, supposed dead
And drown’d.

Immortal Dian!

Now I know you better.
When we with tears parted Pentapolis,
The king my father gave you such a ring.

Shows a ring

This, this: no more, you gods! your present kindness
Makes my past miseries sports: you shall do well,
That on the touching of her lips I may
Melt and no more be seen. O, come, be buried
A second time within these arms.

My heart
Leaps to be gone into my mother’s bosom.

Kneels to THAISA

Look, who kneels here! Flesh of thy flesh, Thaisa;
Thy burden at the sea, and call’d Marina
For she was yielded there.

Blest, and mine own!

Hail, madam, and my queen!

I know you not.

You have heard me say, when I did fly from Tyre,
I left behind an ancient substitute:
Can you remember what I call’d the man?
I have named him oft.

‘Twas Helicanus then.

Still confirmation:
Embrace him, dear Thaisa; this is he.
Now do I long to hear how you were found;
How possibly preserved; and who to thank,
Besides the gods, for this great miracle.

Lord Cerimon, my lord; this man,
Through whom the gods have shown their power; that can
From first to last resolve you.

Reverend sir,
The gods can have no mortal officer
More like a god than you. Will you deliver
How this dead queen re-lives?

I will, my lord.
Beseech you, first go with me to my house,
Where shall be shown you all was found with her;
How she came placed here in the temple;
No needful thing omitted.

Pure Dian, bless thee for thy vision! I
Will offer night-oblations to thee. Thaisa,
This prince, the fair-betrothed of your daughter,
Shall marry her at Pentapolis. And now,
This ornament
Makes me look dismal will I clip to form;
And what this fourteen years no razor touch’d,
To grace thy marriage-day, I’ll beautify.

Lord Cerimon hath letters of good credit, sir,
My father’s dead.

Heavens make a star of him! Yet there, my queen,
We’ll celebrate their nuptials, and ourselves
Will in that kingdom spend our following days:
Our son and daughter shall in Tyrus reign.
Lord Cerimon, we do our longing stay
To hear the rest untold: sir, lead’s the way.



In Antiochus and his daughter you have heard
Of monstrous lust the due and just reward:
In Pericles, his queen and daughter, seen,
Although assail’d with fortune fierce and keen,
Virtue preserved from fell destruction’s blast,
Led on by heaven, and crown’d with joy at last:
In Helicanus may you well descry
A figure of truth, of faith, of loyalty:
In reverend Cerimon there well appears
The worth that learned charity aye wears:
For wicked Cleon and his wife, when fame
Had spread their cursed deed, and honour’d name
Of Pericles, to rage the city turn,
That him and his they in his palace burn;
The gods for murder seemed so content
To punish them; although not done, but meant.
So, on your patience evermore attending,
New joy wait on you! Here our play has ending.


Come back on 11/26/15 and join me for fun with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus


Pericles, Prince of Tyre; ACT IV


Imagine Pericles arrived at Tyre,
Welcomed and settled to his own desire.
His woeful queen we leave at Ephesus,
Unto Diana there a votaress.
Now to Marina bend your mind,
Whom our fast-growing scene must find
At Tarsus, and by Cleon train’d
In music, letters; who hath gain’d
Of education all the grace,
Which makes her both the heart and place
Of general wonder. But, alack,
That monster envy, oft the wrack
Of earned praise, Marina’s life
Seeks to take off by treason’s knife.
And in this kind hath our Cleon
One daughter, and a wench full grown,
Even ripe for marriage-rite; this maid
Hight Philoten: and it is said
For certain in our story, she
Would ever with Marina be:
Be’t when she weaved the sleided silk
With fingers long, small, white as milk;
Or when she would with sharp needle wound
The cambric, which she made more sound
By hurting it; or when to the lute
She sung, and made the night-bird mute,
That still records with moan; or when
She would with rich and constant pen
Vail to her mistress Dian; still
This Philoten contends in skill
With absolute Marina: so
With the dove of Paphos might the crow
Vie feathers white. Marina gets
All praises, which are paid as debts,
And not as given. This so darks
In Philoten all graceful marks,
That Cleon’s wife, with envy rare,
A present murderer does prepare
For good Marina, that her daughter
Might stand peerless by this slaughter.
The sooner her vile thoughts to stead,
Lychorida, our nurse, is dead:
And cursed Dionyza hath
The pregnant instrument of wrath
Prest for this blow. The unborn event
I do commend to your content:
Only I carry winged time
Post on the lame feet of my rhyme;
Which never could I so convey,
Unless your thoughts went on my way.
Dionyza does appear,
With Leonine, a murderer.


SCENE I. Tarsus. An open place near the sea-shore.

Thy oath remember; thou hast sworn to do’t:
‘Tis but a blow, which never shall be known.
Thou canst not do a thing in the world so soon,
To yield thee so much profit. Let not conscience,
Which is but cold, inflaming love i’ thy bosom,
Inflame too nicely; nor let pity, which
Even women have cast off, melt thee, but be
A soldier to thy purpose.

I will do’t; but yet she is a goodly creature.

The fitter, then, the gods should have her. Here
she comes weeping for her only mistress’ death.
Thou art resolved?

I am resolved.

Enter MARINA, with a basket of flowers

No, I will rob Tellus of her weed,
To strew thy green with flowers: the yellows, blues,
The purple violets, and marigolds,
Shall as a carpet hang upon thy grave,
While summer-days do last. Ay me! poor maid,
Born in a tempest, when my mother died,
This world to me is like a lasting storm,
Whirring me from my friends.

How now, Marina! why do you keep alone?
How chance my daughter is not with you? Do not
Consume your blood with sorrowing: you have
A nurse of me. Lord, how your favour’s changed
With this unprofitable woe!
Come, give me your flowers, ere the sea mar it.
Walk with Leonine; the air is quick there,
And it pierces and sharpens the stomach. Come,
Leonine, take her by the arm, walk with her.

No, I pray you;
I’ll not bereave you of your servant.

Come, come;
I love the king your father, and yourself,
With more than foreign heart. We every day
Expect him here: when he shall come and find
Our paragon to all reports thus blasted,
He will repent the breadth of his great voyage;
Blame both my lord and me, that we have taken
No care to your best courses. Go, I pray you,
Walk, and be cheerful once again; reserve
That excellent complexion, which did steal
The eyes of young and old. Care not for me
I can go home alone.

Well, I will go;
But yet I have no desire to it.

Come, come, I know ’tis good for you.
Walk half an hour, Leonine, at the least:
Remember what I have said.

I warrant you, madam.

I’ll leave you, my sweet lady, for a while:
Pray, walk softly, do not heat your blood:
What! I must have a care of you.

My thanks, sweet madam.


Is this wind westerly that blows?


When I was born, the wind was north.

Was’t so?

My father, as nurse said, did never fear,
But cried ‘Good seaman!’ to the sailors, galling
His kingly hands, haling ropes;
And, clasping to the mast, endured a sea
That almost burst the deck.

When was this?

When I was born:
Never was waves nor wind more violent;
And from the ladder-tackle washes off
A canvas-climber. ‘Ha!’ says one, ‘wilt out?’
And with a dropping industry they skip
From stem to stern: the boatswain whistles, and
The master calls, and trebles their confusion.

Come, say your prayers.

What mean you?

If you require a little space for prayer,
I grant it: pray; but be not tedious,
For the gods are quick of ear, and I am sworn
To do my work with haste.

Why will you kill me?

To satisfy my lady.

Why would she have me kill’d?
Now, as I can remember, by my troth,
I never did her hurt in all my life:
I never spake bad word, nor did ill turn
To any living creature: believe me, la,
I never kill’d a mouse, nor hurt a fly:
I trod upon a worm against my will,
But I wept for it. How have I offended,
Wherein my death might yield her any profit,
Or my life imply her any danger?

My commission
Is not to reason of the deed, but do it.

You will not do’t for all the world, I hope.
You are well favour’d, and your looks foreshow
You have a gentle heart. I saw you lately,
When you caught hurt in parting two that fought:
Good sooth, it show’d well in you: do so now:
Your lady seeks my life; come you between,
And save poor me, the weaker.

I am sworn,
And will dispatch.

He seizes her

Enter Pirates

First Pirate
Hold, villain!

LEONINE runs away

Second Pirate
A prize! a prize!

Third Pirate
Half-part, mates, half-part.
Come, let’s have her aboard suddenly.

Exeunt Pirates with MARINA

Re-enter LEONINE

These roguing thieves serve the great pirate Valdes;
And they have seized Marina. Let her go:
There’s no hope she will return. I’ll swear
she’s dead,
And thrown into the sea. But I’ll see further:
Perhaps they will but please themselves upon her,
Not carry her aboard. If she remain,
Whom they have ravish’d must by me be slain.


SCENE II. Mytilene. A room in a brothel.

Enter Pandar, Bawd, and BOULT


Search the market narrowly; Mytilene is full of
gallants. We lost too much money this mart by being
too wenchless.

We were never so much out of creatures. We have but
poor three, and they can do no more than they can
do; and they with continual action are even as good as rotten.

Therefore let’s have fresh ones, whate’er we pay for
them. If there be not a conscience to be used in
every trade, we shall never prosper.

Thou sayest true: ’tis not our bringing up of poor
bastards,–as, I think, I have brought up some eleven–

Ay, to eleven; and brought them down again. But
shall I search the market?

What else, man? The stuff we have, a strong wind
will blow it to pieces, they are so pitifully sodden.

Thou sayest true; they’re too unwholesome, o’
conscience. The poor Transylvanian is dead, that
lay with the little baggage.

Ay, she quickly pooped him; she made him roast-meat
for worms. But I’ll go search the market.


Three or four thousand chequins were as pretty a
proportion to live quietly, and so give over.

Why to give over, I pray you? is it a shame to get
when we are old?

O, our credit comes not in like the commodity, nor
the commodity wages not with the danger: therefore,
if in our youths we could pick up some pretty
estate, ’twere not amiss to keep our door hatched.
Besides, the sore terms we stand upon with the gods
will be strong with us for giving over.

Come, other sorts offend as well as we.

As well as we! ay, and better too; we offend worse.
Neither is our profession any trade; it’s no
calling. But here comes Boult.

Re-enter BOULT, with the Pirates and MARINA

[To MARINA] Come your ways. My masters, you say
she’s a virgin?

First Pirate
O, sir, we doubt it not.

Master, I have gone through for this piece, you see:
if you like her, so; if not, I have lost my earnest.

Boult, has she any qualities?

She has a good face, speaks well, and has excellent
good clothes: there’s no further necessity of
qualities can make her be refused.

What’s her price, Boult?

I cannot be bated one doit of a thousand pieces.

Well, follow me, my masters, you shall have your
money presently. Wife, take her in; instruct her
what she has to do, that she may not be raw in her

Exeunt Pandar and Pirates

Boult, take you the marks of her, the colour of her
hair, complexion, height, age, with warrant of her
virginity; and cry ‘He that will give most shall
have her first.’ Such a maidenhead were no cheap
thing, if men were as they have been. Get this done
as I command you.

Performance shall follow.


Alack that Leonine was so slack, so slow!
He should have struck, not spoke; or that these pirates,
Not enough barbarous, had not o’erboard thrown me
For to seek my mother!

Why lament you, pretty one?

That I am pretty.

Come, the gods have done their part in you.

I accuse them not.

You are light into my hands, where you are like to live.

The more my fault
To scape his hands where I was like to die.

Ay, and you shall live in pleasure.


Yes, indeed shall you, and taste gentlemen of all
fashions: you shall fare well; you shall have the
difference of all complexions. What! do you stop your ears?

Are you a woman?

What would you have me be, an I be not a woman?

An honest woman, or not a woman.

Marry, whip thee, gosling: I think I shall have
something to do with you. Come, you’re a young
foolish sapling, and must be bowed as I would have

The gods defend me!

If it please the gods to defend you by men, then men
must comfort you, men must feed you, men must stir
you up. Boult’s returned.

Re-enter BOULT

Now, sir, hast thou cried her through the market?

I have cried her almost to the number of her hairs;
I have drawn her picture with my voice.

And I prithee tell me, how dost thou find the
inclination of the people, especially of the younger sort?

‘Faith, they listened to me as they would have
hearkened to their father’s testament. There was a
Spaniard’s mouth so watered, that he went to bed to
her very description.

We shall have him here to-morrow with his best ruff on.

To-night, to-night. But, mistress, do you know the
French knight that cowers i’ the hams?

Who, Monsieur Veroles?

Ay, he: he offered to cut a caper at the
proclamation; but he made a groan at it, and swore
he would see her to-morrow.

Well, well; as for him, he brought his disease
hither: here he does but repair it. I know he will
come in our shadow, to scatter his crowns in the

Well, if we had of every nation a traveller, we
should lodge them with this sign.

[To MARINA] Pray you, come hither awhile. You
have fortunes coming upon you. Mark me: you must
seem to do that fearfully which you commit
willingly, despise profit where you have most gain.
To weep that you live as ye do makes pity in your
lovers: seldom but that pity begets you a good
opinion, and that opinion a mere profit.

I understand you not.

O, take her home, mistress, take her home: these
blushes of hers must be quenched with some present practise.

Thou sayest true, i’ faith, so they must; for your
bride goes to that with shame which is her way to go
with warrant.

‘Faith, some do, and some do not. But, mistress, if
I have bargained for the joint,–

Thou mayst cut a morsel off the spit.

I may so.

Who should deny it? Come, young one, I like the
manner of your garments well.

Ay, by my faith, they shall not be changed yet.

Boult, spend thou that in the town: report what a
sojourner we have; you’ll lose nothing by custom.
When nature flamed this piece, she meant thee a good
turn; therefore say what a paragon she is, and thou
hast the harvest out of thine own report.

I warrant you, mistress, thunder shall not so awake
the beds of eels as my giving out her beauty stir up
the lewdly-inclined. I’ll bring home some to-night.

Come your ways; follow me.

If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,
Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.
Diana, aid my purpose!

What have we to do with Diana? Pray you, will you go with us?


SCENE III. Tarsus. A room in CLEON’s house.

Why, are you foolish? Can it be undone?

O Dionyza, such a piece of slaughter
The sun and moon ne’er look’d upon!

I think
You’ll turn a child again.

Were I chief lord of all this spacious world,
I’ld give it to undo the deed. O lady,
Much less in blood than virtue, yet a princess
To equal any single crown o’ the earth
I’ the justice of compare! O villain Leonine!
Whom thou hast poison’d too:
If thou hadst drunk to him, ‘t had been a kindness
Becoming well thy fact: what canst thou say
When noble Pericles shall demand his child?

That she is dead. Nurses are not the fates,
To foster it, nor ever to preserve.
She died at night; I’ll say so. Who can cross it?
Unless you play the pious innocent,
And for an honest attribute cry out
‘She died by foul play.’

O, go to. Well, well,
Of all the faults beneath the heavens, the gods
Do like this worst.

Be one of those that think
The petty wrens of Tarsus will fly hence,
And open this to Pericles. I do shame
To think of what a noble strain you are,
And of how coward a spirit.

To such proceeding
Who ever but his approbation added,
Though not his prime consent, he did not flow
From honourable sources.

Be it so, then:
Yet none does know, but you, how she came dead,
Nor none can know, Leonine being gone.
She did disdain my child, and stood between
Her and her fortunes: none would look on her,
But cast their gazes on Marina’s face;
Whilst ours was blurted at and held a malkin
Not worth the time of day. It pierced me through;
And though you call my course unnatural,
You not your child well loving, yet I find
It greets me as an enterprise of kindness
Perform’d to your sole daughter.

Heavens forgive it!

And as for Pericles,
What should he say? We wept after her hearse,
And yet we mourn: her monument
Is almost finish’d, and her epitaphs
In glittering golden characters express
A general praise to her, and care in us
At whose expense ’tis done.

Thou art like the harpy,
Which, to betray, dost, with thine angel’s face,
Seize with thine eagle’s talons.

You are like one that superstitiously
Doth swear to the gods that winter kills the flies:
But yet I know you’ll do as I advise.



Enter GOWER, before the monument of MARINA at Tarsus

Thus time we waste, and longest leagues make short;
Sail seas in cockles, have an wish but for’t;
Making, to take your imagination,
From bourn to bourn, region to region.
By you being pardon’d, we commit no crime
To use one language in each several clime
Where our scenes seem to live. I do beseech you
To learn of me, who stand i’ the gaps to teach you,
The stages of our story. Pericles
Is now again thwarting the wayward seas,
Attended on by many a lord and knight.
To see his daughter, all his life’s delight.
Old Escanes, whom Helicanus late
Advanced in time to great and high estate,
Is left to govern. Bear you it in mind,
Old Helicanus goes along behind.
Well-sailing ships and bounteous winds have brought
This king to Tarsus,–think his pilot thought;
So with his steerage shall your thoughts grow on,–
To fetch his daughter home, who first is gone.
Like motes and shadows see them move awhile;
Your ears unto your eyes I’ll reconcile.

Enter PERICLES, at one door, with all his train; CLEON and DIONYZA, at the other. CLEON shows PERICLES the tomb; whereat PERICLES makes lamentation, puts on sackcloth, and in a mighty passion departs. Then exeunt CLEON and DIONYZA

See how belief may suffer by foul show!
This borrow’d passion stands for true old woe;
And Pericles, in sorrow all devour’d,
With sighs shot through, and biggest tears
Leaves Tarsus and again embarks. He swears
Never to wash his face, nor cut his hairs:
He puts on sackcloth, and to sea. He bears
A tempest, which his mortal vessel tears,
And yet he rides it out. Now please you wit.
The epitaph is for Marina writ
By wicked Dionyza.

Reads the inscription on MARINA’s monument

‘The fairest, sweet’st, and best lies here,
Who wither’d in her spring of year.
She was of Tyrus the king’s daughter,
On whom foul death hath made this slaughter;
Marina was she call’d; and at her birth,
Thetis, being proud, swallow’d some part o’ the earth:
Therefore the earth, fearing to be o’erflow’d,
Hath Thetis’ birth-child on the heavens bestow’d:
Wherefore she does, and swears she’ll never stint,
Make raging battery upon shores of flint.’
No visor does become black villany
So well as soft and tender flattery.
Let Pericles believe his daughter’s dead,
And bear his courses to be ordered
By Lady Fortune; while our scene must play
His daughter’s woe and heavy well-a-day
In her unholy service. Patience, then,
And think you now are all in Mytilene.


SCENE V. Mytilene. A street before the brothel.

Enter, from the brothel, two Gentlemen
First Gentleman
Did you ever hear the like?

Second Gentleman
No, nor never shall do in such a place as this, she
being once gone.

First Gentleman
But to have divinity preached there! did you ever
dream of such a thing?

Second Gentleman
No, no. Come, I am for no more bawdy-houses:
shall’s go hear the vestals sing?

First Gentleman
I’ll do any thing now that is virtuous; but I
am out of the road of rutting for ever.


SCENE VI. The same. A room in the brothel.

Enter Pandar, Bawd, and BOULT
Well, I had rather than twice the worth of her she
had ne’er come here.

Fie, fie upon her! she’s able to freeze the god
Priapus, and undo a whole generation. We must
either get her ravished, or be rid of her. When she
should do for clients her fitment, and do me the
kindness of our profession, she has me her quirks,
her reasons, her master reasons, her prayers, her
knees; that she would make a puritan of the devil,
if he should cheapen a kiss of her.

‘Faith, I must ravish her, or she’ll disfurnish us
of all our cavaliers, and make our swearers priests.

Now, the pox upon her green-sickness for me!

‘Faith, there’s no way to be rid on’t but by the
way to the pox. Here comes the Lord Lysimachus disguised.

We should have both lord and lown, if the peevish
baggage would but give way to customers.


How now! How a dozen of virginities?

Now, the gods to-bless your honour!

I am glad to see your honour in good health.

You may so; ’tis the better for you that your
resorters stand upon sound legs. How now!
wholesome iniquity have you that a man may deal
withal, and defy the surgeon?

We have here one, sir, if she would–but there never
came her like in Mytilene.

If she’ld do the deed of darkness, thou wouldst say.

Your honour knows what ’tis to say well enough.

Well, call forth, call forth.

For flesh and blood, sir, white and red, you shall
see a rose; and she were a rose indeed, if she had but–

What, prithee?

O, sir, I can be modest.

That dignifies the renown of a bawd, no less than it
gives a good report to a number to be chaste.


Here comes that which grows to the stalk; never
plucked yet, I can assure you.

Re-enter BOULT with MARINA

Is she not a fair creature?

‘Faith, she would serve after a long voyage at sea.
Well, there’s for you: leave us.

I beseech your honour, give me leave: a word, and
I’ll have done presently.

I beseech you, do.

[To MARINA] First, I would have you note, this is
an honourable man.

I desire to find him so, that I may worthily note him.

Next, he’s the governor of this country, and a man
whom I am bound to.

If he govern the country, you are bound to him
indeed; but how honourable he is in that, I know not.

Pray you, without any more virginal fencing, will
you use him kindly? He will line your apron with gold.

What he will do graciously, I will thankfully receive.

Ha’ you done?

My lord, she’s not paced yet: you must take some
pains to work her to your manage. Come, we will
leave his honour and her together. Go thy ways.

Exeunt Bawd, Pandar, and BOULT

Now, pretty one, how long have you been at this trade?

What trade, sir?

Why, I cannot name’t but I shall offend.

I cannot be offended with my trade. Please you to name it.

How long have you been of this profession?

E’er since I can remember.

Did you go to ‘t so young? Were you a gamester at
five or at seven?

Earlier too, sir, if now I be one.

Why, the house you dwell in proclaims you to be a
creature of sale.

Do you know this house to be a place of such resort,
and will come into ‘t? I hear say you are of
honourable parts, and are the governor of this place.

Why, hath your principal made known unto you who I am?

Who is my principal?

Why, your herb-woman; she that sets seeds and roots
of shame and iniquity. O, you have heard something
of my power, and so stand aloof for more serious
wooing. But I protest to thee, pretty one, my
authority shall not see thee, or else look friendly
upon thee. Come, bring me to some private place:
come, come.

If you were born to honour, show it now;
If put upon you, make the judgment good
That thought you worthy of it.

How’s this? how’s this? Some more; be sage.

For me,
That am a maid, though most ungentle fortune
Have placed me in this sty, where, since I came,
Diseases have been sold dearer than physic,
O, that the gods
Would set me free from this unhallow’d place,
Though they did change me to the meanest bird
That flies i’ the purer air!

I did not think
Thou couldst have spoke so well; ne’er dream’d thou couldst.
Had I brought hither a corrupted mind,
Thy speech had alter’d it. Hold, here’s gold for thee:
Persever in that clear way thou goest,
And the gods strengthen thee!

The good gods preserve you!

For me, be you thoughten
That I came with no ill intent; for to me
The very doors and windows savour vilely.
Fare thee well. Thou art a piece of virtue, and
I doubt not but thy training hath been noble.
Hold, here’s more gold for thee.
A curse upon him, die he like a thief,
That robs thee of thy goodness! If thou dost
Hear from me, it shall be for thy good.

Re-enter BOULT

I beseech your honour, one piece for me.

Avaunt, thou damned door-keeper!
Your house, but for this virgin that doth prop it,
Would sink and overwhelm you. Away!


How’s this? We must take another course with you.
If your peevish chastity, which is not worth a
breakfast in the cheapest country under the cope,
shall undo a whole household, let me be gelded like
a spaniel. Come your ways.

Whither would you have me?

I must have your maidenhead taken off, or the common
hangman shall execute it. Come your ways. We’ll
have no more gentlemen driven away. Come your ways, I say.

Re-enter Bawd

How now! what’s the matter?

Worse and worse, mistress; she has here spoken holy
words to the Lord Lysimachus.

O abominable!

She makes our profession as it were to stink afore
the face of the gods.

Marry, hang her up for ever!

The nobleman would have dealt with her like a
nobleman, and she sent him away as cold as a
snowball; saying his prayers too.

Boult, take her away; use her at thy pleasure:
crack the glass of her virginity, and make the rest malleable.

An if she were a thornier piece of ground than she
is, she shall be ploughed.

Hark, hark, you gods!

She conjures: away with her! Would she had never
come within my doors! Marry, hang you! She’s born
to undo us. Will you not go the way of women-kind?
Marry, come up, my dish of chastity with rosemary and bays!


Come, mistress; come your ways with me.

Whither wilt thou have me?

To take from you the jewel you hold so dear.

Prithee, tell me one thing first.

Come now, your one thing.

What canst thou wish thine enemy to be?

Why, I could wish him to be my master, or rather, my mistress.

Neither of these are so bad as thou art,
Since they do better thee in their command.
Thou hold’st a place, for which the pained’st fiend
Of hell would not in reputation change:
Thou art the damned doorkeeper to every
Coistrel that comes inquiring for his Tib;
To the choleric fisting of every rogue
Thy ear is liable; thy food is such
As hath been belch’d on by infected lungs.

What would you have me do? go to the wars, would
you? where a man may serve seven years for the loss
of a leg, and have not money enough in the end to
buy him a wooden one?

Do any thing but this thou doest. Empty
OLD receptacles, or common shores, of filth;
Serve by indenture to the common hangman:
Any of these ways are yet better than this;
For what thou professest, a baboon, could he speak,
Would own a name too dear. O, that the gods
Would safely deliver me from this place!
Here, here’s gold for thee.
If that thy master would gain by thee,
Proclaim that I can sing, weave, sew, and dance,
With other virtues, which I’ll keep from boast:
And I will undertake all these to teach.
I doubt not but this populous city will
Yield many scholars.

But can you teach all this you speak of?

Prove that I cannot, take me home again,
And prostitute me to the basest groom
That doth frequent your house.

Well, I will see what I can do for thee: if I can
place thee, I will.

But amongst honest women.

‘Faith, my acquaintance lies little amongst them.
But since my master and mistress have bought you,
there’s no going but by their consent: therefore I
will make them acquainted with your purpose, and I
doubt not but I shall find them tractable enough.
Come, I’ll do for thee what I can; come your ways.


Come back on 11/24/15 and join me for more fun with Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre


Pericles, Prince of Tyre;

Now sleep y-slaked hath the rout;
No din but snores the house about,
Made louder by the o’er-fed breast
Of this most pompous marriage-feast.
The cat, with eyne of burning coal,
Now crouches fore the mouse’s hole;
And crickets sing at the oven’s mouth,
E’er the blither for their drouth.
Hymen hath brought the bride to bed.
Where, by the loss of maidenhead,
A babe is moulded. Be attent,
And time that is so briefly spent
With your fine fancies quaintly eche:
What’s dumb in show I’ll plain with speech.

Enter, PERICLES and SIMONIDES at one door, with Attendants; a Messenger meets them, kneels, and gives PERICLES a letter: PERICLES shows it SIMONIDES; the Lords kneel to him. Then enter THAISA with child, with LYCHORIDA a nurse. The KING shows her the letter; she rejoices: she and PERICLES takes leave of her father, and depart with LYCHORIDA and their Attendants. Then exeunt SIMONIDES and the rest

By many a dern and painful perch
Of Pericles the careful search,
By the four opposing coigns
Which the world together joins,
Is made with all due diligence
That horse and sail and high expense
Can stead the quest. At last from Tyre,
Fame answering the most strange inquire,
To the court of King Simonides
Are letters brought, the tenor these:
Antiochus and his daughter dead;
The men of Tyrus on the head
Of Helicanus would set on
The crown of Tyre, but he will none:
The mutiny he there hastes t’ oppress;
Says to ’em, if King Pericles
Come not home in twice six moons,
He, obedient to their dooms,
Will take the crown. The sum of this,
Brought hither to Pentapolis,
Y-ravished the regions round,
And every one with claps can sound,
‘Our heir-apparent is a king!
Who dream’d, who thought of such a thing?’
Brief, he must hence depart to Tyre:
His queen with child makes her desire–
Which who shall cross?–along to go:
Omit we all their dole and woe:
Lychorida, her nurse, she takes,
And so to sea. Their vessel shakes
On Neptune’s billow; half the flood
Hath their keel cut: but fortune’s mood
Varies again; the grisly north
Disgorges such a tempest forth,
That, as a duck for life that dives,
So up and down the poor ship drives:
The lady shrieks, and well-a-near
Does fall in travail with her fear:
And what ensues in this fell storm
Shall for itself itself perform.
I nill relate, action may
Conveniently the rest convey;
Which might not what by me is told.
In your imagination hold
This stage the ship, upon whose deck
The sea-tost Pericles appears to speak.



Enter PERICLES, on shipboard

Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges,
Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast
Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
Having call’d them from the deep! O, still
Thy deafening, dreadful thunders; gently quench
Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! O, how, Lychorida,
How does my queen? Thou stormest venomously;
Wilt thou spit all thyself? The seaman’s whistle
Is as a whisper in the ears of death,
Unheard. Lychorida!–Lucina, O
Divinest patroness, and midwife gentle
To those that cry by night, convey thy deity
Aboard our dancing boat; make swift the pangs
Of my queen’s travails!

Enter LYCHORIDA, with an Infant

Now, Lychorida!

Here is a thing too young for such a place,
Who, if it had conceit, would die, as I
Am like to do: take in your arms this piece
Of your dead queen.

How, how, Lychorida!

Patience, good sir; do not assist the storm.
Here’s all that is left living of your queen,
A little daughter: for the sake of it,
Be manly, and take comfort.

O you gods!
Why do you make us love your goodly gifts,
And snatch them straight away? We here below
Recall not what we give, and therein may
Use honour with you.

Patience, good sir,
Even for this charge.

Now, mild may be thy life!
For a more blustrous birth had never babe:
Quiet and gentle thy conditions! for
Thou art the rudeliest welcome to this world
That ever was prince’s child. Happy what follows!
Thou hast as chiding a nativity
As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make,
To herald thee from the womb: even at the first
Thy loss is more than can thy portage quit,
With all thou canst find here. Now, the good gods
Throw their best eyes upon’t!

Enter two Sailors

First Sailor
What courage, sir? God save you!

Courage enough: I do not fear the flaw;
It hath done to me the worst. Yet, for the love
Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer,
I would it would be quiet.

First Sailor
Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou?
Blow, and split thyself.

Second Sailor
But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss
the moon, I care not.

First Sailor
Sir, your queen must overboard: the sea works high,
the wind is loud, and will not lie till the ship be
cleared of the dead.

That’s your superstition.

First Sailor
Pardon us, sir; with us at sea it hath been still
observed: and we are strong in custom. Therefore
briefly yield her; for she must overboard straight.

As you think meet. Most wretched queen!

Here she lies, sir.

A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear;
No light, no fire: the unfriendly elements
Forgot thee utterly: nor have I time
To give thee hallow’d to thy grave, but straight
Must cast thee, scarcely coffin’d, in the ooze;
Where, for a monument upon thy bones,
And e’er-remaining lamps, the belching whale
And humming water must o’erwhelm thy corpse,
Lying with simple shells. O Lychorida,
Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper,
My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander
Bring me the satin coffer: lay the babe
Upon the pillow: hie thee, whiles I say
A priestly farewell to her: suddenly, woman.


Second Sailor
Sir, we have a chest beneath the hatches, caulked
and bitumed ready.

I thank thee. Mariner, say what coast is this?

Second Sailor
We are near Tarsus.

Thither, gentle mariner.
Alter thy course for Tyre. When canst thou reach it?

Second Sailor
By break of day, if the wind cease.

O, make for Tarsus!
There will I visit Cleon, for the babe
Cannot hold out to Tyrus: there I’ll leave it
At careful nursing. Go thy ways, good mariner:
I’ll bring the body presently.


SCENE II. Ephesus. A room in CERIMON’s house.

Enter CERIMON, with a Servant, and some Persons who have been shipwrecked
Philemon, ho!


Doth my lord call?

Get fire and meat for these poor men:
‘T has been a turbulent and stormy night.

I have been in many; but such a night as this,
Till now, I ne’er endured.

Your master will be dead ere you return;
There’s nothing can be minister’d to nature
That can recover him.


Give this to the ‘pothecary,
And tell me how it works.

Exeunt all but CERIMON

Enter two Gentlemen

First Gentleman
Good morrow.

Second Gentleman
Good morrow to your lordship.

Why do you stir so early?

First Gentleman
Our lodgings, standing bleak upon the sea,
Shook as the earth did quake;
The very principals did seem to rend,
And all-to topple: pure surprise and fear
Made me to quit the house.

Second Gentleman
That is the cause we trouble you so early;
‘Tis not our husbandry.

O, you say well.

First Gentleman
But I much marvel that your lordship, having
Rich tire about you, should at these early hours
Shake off the golden slumber of repose.
‘Tis most strange,
Nature should be so conversant with pain,
Being thereto not compell’d.

I hold it ever,
Virtue and cunning were endowments greater
Than nobleness and riches: careless heirs
May the two latter darken and expend;
But immortality attends the former.
Making a man a god. ‘Tis known, I ever
Have studied physic, through which secret art,
By turning o’er authorities, I have,
Together with my practise, made familiar
To me and to my aid the blest infusions
That dwell in vegetives, in metals, stones;
And I can speak of the disturbances
That nature works, and of her cures; which doth give me
A more content in course of true delight
Than to be thirsty after tottering honour,
Or tie my treasure up in silken bags,
To please the fool and death.

Second Gentleman
Your honour has through Ephesus pour’d forth
Your charity, and hundreds call themselves
Your creatures, who by you have been restored:
And not your knowledge, your personal pain, but even
Your purse, still open, hath built Lord Cerimon
Such strong renown as time shall ne’er decay.

Enter two or three Servants with a chest

First Servant
So; lift there.

What is that?

First Servant
Sir, even now
Did the sea toss upon our shore this chest:
‘Tis of some wreck.

Set ‘t down, let’s look upon’t.

Second Gentleman
‘Tis like a coffin, sir.

Whate’er it be,
‘Tis wondrous heavy. Wrench it open straight:
If the sea’s stomach be o’ercharged with gold,
‘Tis a good constraint of fortune it belches upon us.

Second Gentleman
‘Tis so, my lord.

How close ’tis caulk’d and bitumed!
Did the sea cast it up?

First Servant
I never saw so huge a billow, sir,
As toss’d it upon shore.

Wrench it open;
Soft! it smells most sweetly in my sense.

Second Gentleman
A delicate odour.

As ever hit my nostril. So, up with it.
O you most potent gods! what’s here? a corse!

First Gentleman
Most strange!

Shrouded in cloth of state; balm’d and entreasured
With full bags of spices! A passport too!
Apollo, perfect me in the characters!

Reads from a scroll

‘Here I give to understand,
If e’er this coffin drive a-land,
I, King Pericles, have lost
This queen, worth all our mundane cost.
Who finds her, give her burying;
She was the daughter of a king:
Besides this treasure for a fee,
The gods requite his charity!’
If thou livest, Pericles, thou hast a heart
That even cracks for woe! This chanced tonight.

Second Gentleman
Most likely, sir.

Nay, certainly to-night;
For look how fresh she looks! They were too rough
That threw her in the sea. Make a fire within:
Fetch hither all my boxes in my closet.

Exit a Servant

Death may usurp on nature many hours,
And yet the fire of life kindle again
The o’erpress’d spirits. I heard of an Egyptian
That had nine hours lien dead,
Who was by good appliance recovered.

Re-enter a Servant, with boxes, napkins, and fire

Well said, well said; the fire and cloths.
The rough and woeful music that we have,
Cause it to sound, beseech you.
The viol once more: how thou stirr’st, thou block!
The music there!–I pray you, give her air.
This queen will live: nature awakes; a warmth
Breathes out of her: she hath not been entranced
Above five hours: see how she gins to blow
Into life’s flower again!

First Gentleman
The heavens,
Through you, increase our wonder and set up
Your fame forever.

She is alive; behold,
Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels
Which Pericles hath lost,
Begin to part their fringes of bright gold;
The diamonds of a most praised water
Do appear, to make the world twice rich. Live,
And make us weep to hear your fate, fair creature,
Rare as you seem to be.

She moves

O dear Diana,
Where am I? Where’s my lord? What world is this?

Second Gentleman
Is not this strange?

First Gentleman
Most rare.

Hush, my gentle neighbours!
Lend me your hands; to the next chamber bear her.
Get linen: now this matter must be look’d to,
For her relapse is mortal. Come, come;
And AEsculapius guide us!

Exeunt, carrying her away

SCENE III. Tarsus. A room in CLEON’s house.

Most honour’d Cleon, I must needs be gone;
My twelve months are expired, and Tyrus stands
In a litigious peace. You, and your lady,
Take from my heart all thankfulness! The gods
Make up the rest upon you!

Your shafts of fortune, though they hurt you mortally,
Yet glance full wanderingly on us.

O your sweet queen!
That the strict fates had pleased you had brought her hither,
To have bless’d mine eyes with her!

We cannot but obey
The powers above us. Could I rage and roar
As doth the sea she lies in, yet the end
Must be as ’tis. My gentle babe Marina, whom,
For she was born at sea, I have named so, here
I charge your charity withal, leaving her
The infant of your care; beseeching you
To give her princely training, that she may be
Manner’d as she is born.

Fear not, my lord, but think
Your grace, that fed my country with your corn,
For which the people’s prayers still fall upon you,
Must in your child be thought on. If neglection
Should therein make me vile, the common body,
By you relieved, would force me to my duty:
But if to that my nature need a spur,
The gods revenge it upon me and mine,
To the end of generation!

I believe you;
Your honour and your goodness teach me to’t,
Without your vows. Till she be married, madam,
By bright Diana, whom we honour, all
Unscissor’d shall this hair of mine remain,
Though I show ill in’t. So I take my leave.
Good madam, make me blessed in your care
In bringing up my child.

I have one myself,
Who shall not be more dear to my respect
Than yours, my lord.

Madam, my thanks and prayers.

We’ll bring your grace e’en to the edge o’ the shore,
Then give you up to the mask’d Neptune and
The gentlest winds of heaven.

I will embrace
Your offer. Come, dearest madam. O, no tears,
Lychorida, no tears:
Look to your little mistress, on whose grace
You may depend hereafter. Come, my lord.


SCENE IV. Ephesus. A room in CERIMON’s house.

Madam, this letter, and some certain jewels,
Lay with you in your coffer: which are now
At your command. Know you the character?

It is my lord’s.
That I was shipp’d at sea, I well remember,
Even on my eaning time; but whether there
Deliver’d, by the holy gods,
I cannot rightly say. But since King Pericles,
My wedded lord, I ne’er shall see again,
A vestal livery will I take me to,
And never more have joy.

Madam, if this you purpose as ye speak,
Diana’s temple is not distant far,
Where you may abide till your date expire.
Moreover, if you please, a niece of mine
Shall there attend you.

My recompense is thanks, that’s all;
Yet my good will is great, though the gift small.


Come back on 11/24/15 and join me for more fun with Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre