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Enter a Messenger. Bru.
What's the matter? Mes. You are sent for to the Capitol. 'Tis
thought, That Marcius shall be consul: I have seen The dumb men throng to see him, and the blind To hear him speak: The matrons flung their
Let's to the Capitol;
Have with you. [Ereunt.
Enter two Officers, to lay cushions. i Off. Come, come, they are almost here: How many stand for consulships?
2 Off. Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one, Coriolanus will carry it.
i Off. That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, and loves not the common people.
2 Off: ’Faith, there have been many great men that have flatter'd the people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many that they have loved, they know not wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground: Therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether they love, or hate him, manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition; and, out of his noble carelessness, let's them plainly see't.
1 Off. If he did not care whether he had their love, or no, he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good, nor harm; but he seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can render it him; and leaves nothing undone, that may fully discover him their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of the people, is as bad as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
i Off. He hath deserved worthily of his country: And his ascent is not by such easy degrees as those, who, having been supple and courteous to the people, bonnetted, without any further deed to heave them at all into their estimation and report: but he hath so planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions in their hearts, that for their tongues to be silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.
i Off. No more of him; he is a worthy man: Make way, they are coming.
A Sennet. Enter, with Lictors before them, Cominius
the Consul, Menenius, Coriolanus, many other Senators, Sicinius and Brutus. The Senators take their places; the Tribunes take theirs also by themselves.
Men. Having determin’d of the Volces, and To send for Titus Lartius, it remains, As the main point of this our after-meeting, To gratify his noble service, that Hath thus stood for his country: Therefore, please
you, Most reverend and grave elders, to desire The present consul, and last general In our well-found successes, to report A little of that worthy work perform’d By Caius Marcius Coriolanus; whom We meet here, both to thank, and to remember With honours like himself. 1 Sen.
Speak, good Cominius:
We are convented
Which the rather
A kinder value of the people, than
That's off, that's off;
He loves your people;
(Coriolanus rises, and offers to go away. 1 Sen. Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear What
you have nobly done. Cor.
Your honours' pardon; I had rather have my wounds to heal again, Than hear
say how I got them. Bru.
Sir, I hope,
No, sir: yet oft, When blows have made me stay, I fled from words. You sooth'd not, therefore hurt not: But, your
people, I love them as they weigh. Men.
Pray now, sit down. Cor. I had rather have one scratch my head i'
When the alarum were struck, than idly sit
[Exit Coriolanus. Men.
Masters o' the people, Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter,
(That's thousand to one good one,) when you now
see, He had rather venture all his limbs for honour, Than one of his ears to hear it:- Proceed, Comi
nius. Com. I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus Should not be utter'd feebly.--It is held, That valour is the chiefest virtue, and Most dignifies the haver: if it be, The man I speak of cannot in the world Be singly counterpois’d. At sixteen years, When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator, Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight, When with his Amazonian chin he drove The bristled lips before him: he bestrid An o'er-press'd Roman, and i' the consul's view Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met, And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats, When he might act the woman in the scene, He prov'd best man i' the field, and for his meed Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea; And, in the brunt of seventeen battles since, He lurch'd all swords o' the garland. For this
Before and in Corioli, let me say,