Enter Menenius to the Watch or Guard.

1.Wat. Stay: whence are you

2.Wat. Stand, and go backe

Me. You guard like men, 'tis well. But by your leaue, I am an Officer of State, & come to speak with Coriolanus 1 From whence? Mene. From Rome

I You may not passe, you must returne: our Generall will no more heare from thence

2 You'l see your Rome embrac'd with fire, before You'l speake with Coriolanus

Mene. Good my Friends, If you haue heard your Generall talke of Rome, And of his Friends there, it is Lots to Blankes, My name hath touch't your eares: it is Menenius

1 Be it so, go back: the vertue of your name, Is not heere passable

Mene. I tell thee Fellow, Thy Generall is my Louer: I haue beene The booke of his good Acts, whence men haue read His Fame vnparalell'd, happely amplified: For I haue euer verified my Friends, (Of whom hee's cheefe) with all the size that verity Would without lapsing suffer: Nay, sometimes, Like to a Bowle vpon a subtle ground I haue tumbled past the throw: and in his praise Haue (almost) stampt the Leasing. Therefore Fellow, I must haue leaue to passe

1 Faith Sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalfe, as you haue vttered words in your owne, you should not passe heere: no, though it were as vertuous to lye, as to liue chastly. Therefore go backe

Men. Prythee fellow, remember my name is Menenius, alwayes factionary on the party of your Generall

2 Howsoeuer you haue bin his Lier, as you say you haue, I am one that telling true vnder him, must say you cannot passe. Therefore go backe

Mene. Ha's he din'd can'st thou tell? For I would not speake with him, till after dinner

1 You are a Roman, are you? Mene. I am as thy Generall is

1 Then you should hate Rome, as he do's. Can you, when you haue pusht out your gates, the very Defender of them, and in a violent popular ignorance, giuen your enemy your shield, thinke to front his reuenges with the easie groanes of old women, the Virginall Palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such a decay'd Dotant as you seeme to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire, your City is ready to flame in, with such weake breath as this? No, you are deceiu'd, therfore backe to Rome, and prepare for your execution: you are condemn'd, our Generall has sworne you out of repreeue and pardon

Mene. Sirra, if thy Captaine knew I were heere, He would vse me with estimation

1 Come, my Captaine knowes you not

Mene. I meane thy Generall

1 My Generall cares not for you. Back I say, go: least I let forth your halfe pinte of blood. Backe, that's the vtmost of your hauing, backe

Mene. Nay but Fellow, Fellow. Enter Coriolanus with Auffidius.

Corio. What's the matter? Mene. Now you Companion: Ile say an arrant for you: you shall know now that I am in estimation: you shall perceiue, that a Iacke gardant cannot office me from my Son Coriolanus, guesse but my entertainment with him: if thou stand'st not i'th state of hanging, or of some death more long in Spectatorship, and crueller in suffering, behold now presently, and swoond for what's to come vpon thee. The glorious Gods sit in hourely Synod about thy particular prosperity, and loue thee no worse then thy old Father Menenius do's. O my Son, my Son! thou art preparing fire for vs: looke thee, heere's water to quench it. I was hardly moued to come to thee: but beeing assured none but my selfe could moue thee, I haue bene blowne out of your Gates with sighes: and coniure thee to pardon Rome, and thy petitionary Countrimen. The good Gods asswage thy wrath, and turne the dregs of it, vpon this Varlet heere: This, who like a blocke hath denyed my accesse to thee

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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