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3 Con. Sir, his stoutness,
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,-
Auf. That I would have spoke of:
Being banish'd for't he came unto my hearth;
Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
Made him joint-servant with me: gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
My best and freshest men; served his designments
In mine own person; holp* to reap the fame,
Which he did end all his; and took some pride
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
I seem'd his follower, not partner; and
He waged me with his countenance,t as if
I had been mercenary.
1 Con. So he did, my lord:
The army marvell'd at it. And, in the last,
When he had carried Rome; and that we look'd
For no less spoil, than glory,-
Auf. There was it;
For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
Of our great action; Therefore shall he die,
And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!
[Drums and Trumpets sound, with great shouts of the People. 1 Con. Your native town you enter'd like a post, And had no welcomes home; but he returns, Splitting the air with noise.
2 Con. And patient fools,
Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear,
With giving him glory.
3 Con. Therefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself, or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
Which we will second. When he lies along,
After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
His reasons with his body.
Auf. Say no more; Here come the lords.
Enter the LORDS of the City.
Lords. You are most welcome home.
Auf. I have not deserved it.
But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
What I have written to you?
Lords. We have.
1 Lord. And grieve to hear it.
What faults he made before the last, I think,
Might have found easy fines: but there to end,
Where he was to begin; and give away
The benefit of our levies, answering us
With our own charge;§ making a treaty, where
There was a yielding; This admits no excuse.
+ Thought me rewarded with good looks.
§ Rewarding us with our own expenses.
Auf. He approaches, you shall hear him.
Enter CORIOLANUS, with Drums and Colours; a Crowd of CITIZENS with him.
Cor. Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier;
No more infected with my country's love,
Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
Under your great command. You are to know,
That prosperously I have attempted, and
With bloody passage, led your wars, even to
The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home,
Do more than counterpoise, a full third part,
The charges of the action. We have made peace,
With no less honour to the Antiates,
Than shame to the Romans: And we here deliver,
Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,
Together with the seal o' the senate, what
We have compounded on.
Auf. Read it not, noble lords;
But tell the traitor, in the highest degree
He hath abused your powers.
Cor. Traitor !-How now?
Auf. Ay, traitor, Marcius.
Auf. Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius; Dost thou think I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name Coriolanus in Corioli ?
You lords and heads of the state, perfidiously
He has betray'd your business, and given up
For certain drops of salt, your city Rome
(I say, your city), to his wife and mother:
Breaking his oath and resolution, like
A twist of rotten silk; never admitting
Counsel o' the war; but at his nurse's tears
He whined and roar'd away your victory;
That pages blush'd at him, and men of heart
Look'd wondering each at other.
Cor. Hear'st thou, Mars?
Auf. Name not the god, thou boy of tears,—
Auf. No more.t
Cor. Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave!
Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion
(Who wears my stripes impress'd on him; that must bear
My beating to his grave); shall join to thrust
The lie unto him.
1 Lord. Peace, both, and hear me speak.
Cor. Cut me to pieces, Volces; men and lads,
Stain all your edges on me.-Boy! False hound!
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
That like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volces in Corioli:
Alone I did it.-Boy!
* Drops of tears.
+ No more than a boy of tears.
Auf. Why, noble lords,
Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune, Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart, 'Fore your own eyes and ears?
Con. Let him die for't.
[Several speak at once.
Citizens. [Speaking promiscuously.] Tear him to pieces, do it presently. He killed my son;-my daughter;-He killed my cousin Marcus;-He killed my father.
2 Lord. Peace, ho;-no outrage-peace.
The man is noble, and his fame folds in
This orb o' the earth.* His last offence to us
Shall have judicious+ hearing.-Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.
Cor. O, that I had him,
With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword!
Auf. Insolent villain!
Con. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him.
[AUFIDIUS and the CONSPIRATORS draw,
and kill CORIOLANUS, who falls, and AUFIDIUS stands on him. Lords. Hold, hold, hold, hold. Auf. My noble masters, hear me speak. 1 Lord. O Tullus,—
2 Lord. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.
3 Lord. Tread not upon him.-Masters all, be quiet;
Put up your swords.
Auf. My lords, when you shall know (as in this rage,
Provoked by him, you cannot), the great danger
Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
To call me to your senate, I'll deliver
Myself your loyal servant, or endure
Your heaviest censure.
1 Lord. Bear from hence his body,
And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
As the most noble corse, that ever herald
Did follow to his urn.
2 Lord. His own impatience
Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it.
Auf. My rage is gone,
And I am struck with sorrow.-Take him up:
Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers: I'll be one.-
Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:
Trail your steel pikes.-Though in this city he
Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
Which to this hour bewail the injury,
Yet he shall have a noble memory.t
[Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS.
A dead March sounded.
END OF VOL. III. 13
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