2.Off. Hee hath deserued worthily of his Countrey, and his assent is not by such easie degrees as those, who hauing beene supple and courteous to the People, Bonnetted, without any further deed, to haue them at all into their estimation, and report: but hee hath so planted his Honors in their Eyes, and his actions in their Hearts, that for their Tongues to be silent, and not confesse so much, were a kinde of ingratefull Iniurie: to report otherwise, were a Mallice, that giuing it selfe the Lye, would plucke reproofe and rebuke from euery Eare that heard it

1.Off. No more of him, hee's a worthy man: make way, they are comming.

A Sennet. Enter the Patricians, and the Tribunes of the People, Lictors before them: Coriolanus, Menenius, Cominius the Consul: Scicinius and Brutus take their places by themselues: Coriolanus stands.

Menen. Hauing determin'd of the Volces, And to send for Titus Lartius: it remaines, As the maine Point of this our after-meeting, To gratifie his Noble seruice, that hath Thus stood for his Countrey. Therefore please you, Most reuerend and graue Elders, to desire The present Consull, and last Generall, In our well-found Successes, to report A little of that worthy Worke, perform'd By Martius Caius Coriolanus: whom We met here, both to thanke, and to remember, With Honors like himselfe

1.Sen. Speake, good Cominius: Leaue nothing out for length, and make vs thinke Rather our states defectiue for requitall, Then we to stretch it out. Masters a'th' People, We doe request your kindest eares: and after Your louing motion toward the common Body, To yeeld what passes here

Scicin. We are conuented vpon a pleasing Treatie, and haue hearts inclinable to honor and aduance the Theame of our Assembly

Brutus. Which the rather wee shall be blest to doe, if he remember a kinder value of the People, then he hath hereto priz'd them at

Menen. That's off, that's off: I would you rather had been silent: Please you to heare Cominius speake? Brutus. Most willingly: but yet my Caution was more pertinent then the rebuke you giue it

Menen. He loues your People, but tye him not to be their Bed-fellow: Worthie Cominius speake.

Coriolanus rises, and offers to goe away.

Nay, keepe your place

Senat. Sit Coriolanus: neuer shame to heare What you haue Nobly done

Coriol. Your Honors pardon: I had rather haue my Wounds to heale againe, Then heare say how I got them

Brutus. Sir, I hope my words dis-bench'd you not? Coriol. No Sir: yet oft, When blowes haue made me stay, I fled from words. You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: but your People, I loue them as they weigh- Menen. Pray now sit downe

Corio. I had rather haue one scratch my Head i'th' Sun, When the Alarum were strucke, then idly sit To heare my Nothings monster'd. Exit Coriolanus

Menen. Masters of the People, Your multiplying Spawne, how can he flatter? That's thousand to one good one, when you now see He had rather venture all his Limbes for Honor, Then on ones Eares to heare it. Proceed Cominius

Com. I shall lacke voyce: the deeds of Coriolanus Should not be vtter'd feebly: it is held, That Valour is the chiefest Vertue, And most dignifies the hauer: if it be, The man I speake of, cannot in the World Be singly counter-poys'd. At sixteene yeeres, When Tarquin made a Head for Rome, he fought Beyond the marke of others: our then Dictator, Whom with all prayse I point at, saw him fight, When with his Amazonian Shinne he droue The brizled Lippes before him: he bestrid An o're-prest Roman, and i'th' Consuls view Slew three Opposers: Tarquins selfe he met, And strucke him on his Knee: in that dayes feates, When he might act the Woman in the Scene, He prou'd best man i'th' field, and for his meed Was Brow-bound with the Oake. His Pupill age Man-entred thus, he waxed like a Sea, And in the brunt of seuenteene Battailes since, He lurcht all Swords of the Garland: for this last, Before, and in Corioles, let me say I cannot speake him home: he stopt the flyers, And by his rare example made the Coward Turne terror into sport: as Weeds before A Vessell vnder sayle, so men obey'd, And fell below his Stem: his Sword, Deaths stampe, Where it did marke, it tooke from face to foot: He was a thing of Blood, whose euery motion Was tim'd with dying Cryes: alone he entred The mortall Gate of th' Citie, which he painted With shunlesse destinie: aydelesse came off, And with a sudden re-inforcement strucke Carioles like a Planet: now all's his, When by and by the dinne of Warre gan pierce His readie sence: then straight his doubled spirit Requickned what in flesh was fatigate, And to the Battaile came he, where he did Runne reeking o're the liues of men, as if 'twere A perpetuall spoyle: and till we call'd Both Field and Citie ours, he neuer stood To ease his Brest with panting

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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