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SCEN E, a publick Street in Rome. Cornets. Enter Coriolanus, Menevius, Cominius,
Titus Lartius, and other Senators.
Ullus Aufidius then had made new head?
Lari. Hehad, my Lord; and that it was, which caus’d Our swifter compofition.
Cor. So then the Volfcians stand but as at first, Ready, when time shall prompt them, to make road Upon's again.
Com. They're worn, Lord conful, fo, That we shall hardly in our ages fee Their banners wave again.
Cor. Saw you Aufidius?
Lart. On fafe-guard he came to me, and did curse
Against the Voljcians, for they had so vilely
Yielded the town; he is retir'd to Antium.
Cor. Spoke he of me?
Lart. He did, my Lord.
Lart. How often he had met you, sword to sword:
That of all things upon the earth he hated
Your person moft: that he would pawn his fortunes
To hopeless reftitution, fo he might
Be call'd your vanquisher.
Cor. Ai Antium lives he ?
Lart. At Antium.
Cor. I wish, I had a cause to seek him there;
To oppose his hatred fully.--Welcome home.
Enter Sicinius and Brutus.
Behold! these are the tribunes of the people,
The tongues o'th' common mouth: I do despise themx;
For they do prank them in authority
Against all noble sufferance.
Sic. Pass no further.
Cor. Hah! What that!
Bru. It will be dangerous to go on no further.
Cor. What makes this change?
Men. The matter?
Com. Hath he not pass’d the nobles and the commons ?
Bru. Cominius, no.
Cor. Have I had childrens voicesi
Sen. Tribunes, give way; he fhall to th' market-place.
Bru. The people are incens'd against him.
Or all will fall in broil.
Cor. Are these your herd;
Must these have voices, that can yield them now,
And straight disclaim their tonguest what are your offices:
You being their mouths, why rule you not their teeth!
Have you not set them on?
Men. Be calm, be calm,
Cor. It is a purpos'd thing, and grows by plot,
To curb the will of the nobility :
Suffer'i, and live with such as cannot rule,
Nor ever will be rul'd.
Bru. Call’e not a plot ;
The people cry, you mock'd them; and, of late,
When corn was given them gratis, you repin’d;
Scandal'd the suppliants for the people; call'd them
Time-plealers, flatterers, foes to nobleness,
Cor. Why, this was known before.
Bru. Not to them all.
Cor. Have you inform’d them finces
Bru. How! I inform them!
Cor. You are like to do such business,
Bru. Not unlike, each way, to better yours.
Cor. Why then thould I be consul? by yond clouds.
Let me deserve ro ill as you, and make me
Sic. You new too much of that,
For which the people ftir; if you will pass
To where you're bound, you must enquire your way
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or never be fo noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.
Men. Let's be calm.
Com. The people are abus'd.--Seton;--this paltring(23)
Becomes not Rome: nor has Coriolanus
Deserv'd this so dishonour'd rub, laid fallly
I'th' plain way of his merit.
Cor. Tell me of corn!
This was my speech, and I will speak’t again
Men. Not now, not now.
Sen. Not in this heat, Sir, now.
Cor. Now as I live, I will-
As for my nobler friends, I crave their pardons :
But for the mutable rank-scented many,
Let them regard me, as I do not flatter,
And there behold themselves : I fay again,
In-soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our Senate
The.cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
Which we ourselves have plow'd for, fow'd and scatter'd,
By mingling them with us, the honour'd number:
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which we have given to beggars.
Men. Well, no more
Sen. No more words, we beseech you
Cor. How!--no more!
As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force; fo mall my lungs
Coin words 'till their decay, against those mearles,
(23) The people are abus'd, set on;] This is pointed, as if the sense were, the people are set on by the tribnnes : but I don't take that to be the poet's meaning. Cominius makes a single reflection, and then bids the train set forward, as again afterwards ;
Well, on to th' market-place.
And so in Julius Cæfar;
Set on, and leave no ceremony out,
Which we disdain should tetter us, yet seek
The very way to catch them.
Bru. You speak o'th' people, as you were a god
To punish, not a man of their infirmity.
Sic. 'Twere well, we let the people know't..
Men. What, what! his choler?
Cor. Choler! were I as patient as the midnight sleep,
By Jove, 'twould be my mind.
Sic. It is a mind
That shall remain a poison where it is,
Not poison any further.
Cor: Shall remain ?
this Triton of the minnows ? mark you
His abfolute mall?
Com. 'Twas from the canon.
O good, but most unwise patricians, why,
You grave, but wreakless senators, have you
Given Hydra here to chuse an officer,
That with his peremptory Mall, being but
The horn and noise o'th' monsters, wants not fpirit
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 learned,
Be not as common fools ; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You're plebeians,
If they he senators; and they are no less,
When, both your voices blended, the great'it tafe
Most palates theirs. They chuse their magistrate !
And such a one as he, who puts his small,
His popular fhall, against a graver bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece ? by Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base ; and my soul akes
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take
The one by th'other.
Com. Well-On to th' market-place.
Cor. Who ever gave that counsel, to give forth
The corn o'ch'forehouse, gratis, as 'twas us'd
Sometime in Greece
Men. Well, well, no more of that.
Cor. Though there the people had more abfolute power: I fay, they nourish'd disobedience, fed The ruin of the state.
Bru.' Why Mall the people give One, that speaks thus, their voice ?
Cor. I'll give my reasons,
More worthy than their voice. They know, the corns
Was not our recompence; refting affur'd,
*They ne'er did service for't ; being prest to th' 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' th' war,
Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they shew'd
Mott valour, spoke not for them. Th'accusation,
Which they have often made against the Senate,
All cause unborn, could never be the native
Of our so frank donation. Well, what then?
How shall this bofom-multiplied digeft
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 feats, and make the rabble
Call our cares, fears; which will in time break ope
The locks o'th' Senate, and bring in the crows
To peck the eagles
Men. Come, enough.
Bru. Enough, with over measure.
Cor. No, take more.
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
Of gen’ral ignorance, it must omit
Real' necessities, and give way the while
T'unstable flightness ; purpose fo barr'd, it follows,