The Tragedie of Coriolanus

by

William Shakespeare

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Classic Literature Library

The Tragedie of Coriolanus Page 01

Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

Enter a Company of Mutinous Citizens, with Staues, Clubs, and other weapons.

1. Citizen. Before we proceed any further, heare me speake

All. Speake, speake

1.Cit. You are all resolu'd rather to dy then to famish? All. Resolu'd, resolu'd

1.Cit. First you know, Caius Martius is chiefe enemy to the people

All. We know't, we know't

1.Cit. Let vs kill him, and wee'l haue Corne at our own price. Is't a Verdict? All. No more talking on't; Let it be done, away, away 2.Cit. One word, good Citizens

1.Cit. We are accounted poore Citizens, the Patricians good: what Authority surfets one, would releeue vs. If they would yeelde vs but the superfluitie while it were wholsome, wee might guesse they releeued vs humanely: But they thinke we are too deere, the leannesse that afflicts vs, the obiect of our misery, is as an inuentory to particularize their abundance, our sufferance is a gaine to them. Let vs reuenge this with our Pikes, ere we become Rakes. For the Gods know, I speake this in hunger for Bread, not in thirst for Reuenge

2.Cit. Would you proceede especially against Caius Martius

All. Against him first: He's a very dog to the Commonalty

2.Cit. Consider you what Seruices he ha's done for his Country? 1.Cit. Very well, and could bee content to giue him good report for't, but that hee payes himselfe with beeing proud

All. Nay, but speak not maliciously

1.Cit. I say vnto you, what he hath done Famouslie, he did it to that end: though soft conscienc'd men can be content to say it was for his Countrey, he did it to please his Mother, and to be partly proud, which he is, euen to the altitude of his vertue

2.Cit. What he cannot helpe in his Nature, you account a Vice in him: You must in no way say he is couetous

1.Cit. If I must not, I neede not be barren of Accusations he hath faults (with surplus) to tyre in repetition.

Showts within.

What showts are these? The other side a'th City is risen: why stay we prating heere? To th' Capitoll

All. Come, come

1 Cit. Soft, who comes heere? Enter Menenius Agrippa.

2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that hath alwayes lou'd the people

1 Cit. He's one honest enough, wold al the rest wer so

Men. What work's my Countrimen in hand? Where go you with Bats and Clubs? The matter Speake I pray you

2 Cit. Our busines is not vnknowne to th' Senat, they haue had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, w now wee'l shew em in deeds: they say poore Suters haue strong breaths, they shal know we haue strong arms too

Menen. Why Masters, my good Friends, mine honest Neighbours, will you vndo your selues? 2 Cit. We cannot Sir, we are vndone already

Men. I tell you Friends, most charitable care Haue the Patricians of you for your wants. Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the Heauen with your staues, as lift them Against the Roman State, whose course will on The way it takes: cracking ten thousand Curbes Of more strong linke assunder, then can euer Appeare in your impediment. For the Dearth, The Gods, not the Patricians make it, and Your knees to them (not armes) must helpe. Alacke, You are transported by Calamity Thether, where more attends you, and you slander The Helmes o'th State; who care for you like Fathers, When you curse them, as Enemies

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The Tragedie of Coriolanus Page 02

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William Shakespeare
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