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}Tribunes of the People.
Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a noble Roman.
}Generals against the Volscians.
Volumnia, Mother to Coriolanus.
Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ædiles, Lictors,
Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attendants.
Scene, partly in Rome; and partly in the Territories of
the Volscians and Antiates.
Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens, with staves,
clubs, and other weapons. i Cit. BEFORE we proceed any further, hear me
speak. Cit. Speak, speak. [several speaking at once.
1 Cit. You are all resolv'd rather to die, than to famish
Cit. Resolv'd, resoly’d.
i Cit. First, you know, Caius Marciu, is chief enemy to the people.
Cit. We know't, we know't.
i Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict? Cit. No more talking on't; let it be done: away,
away. 2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. 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 particularize 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. 2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
? Cit. Against him first; he's a very dog to the commonalty.
2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?
i Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
i Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft-conscienc'd 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 to the altitude of his virtue.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him: You must in no way say, he is covetous.
1 Cit. 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. · Cit. Come, come.
i Cit. Soft; who comes here?
Enter Menenius Agrippa. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
i Cit. He's one honest enough; 'Would, all the rest were so ! Men. What works, my countrymen, in hand?
Where go you With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray
1 Cit. 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. Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine ho
nest neighbours, Will you undo yourselves?
i Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already. · Men. 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.
1 Cit. Care for us !—True, indeed!—They ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses cramm’d 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.
Men. Either you must
i Cit. 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. Men. There was a time, when all the body's
members Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it:That only like a gulf it did remain l'the midst o’the body, idle and unactive, Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing Like labour with the rest; where the other instru
1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?