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Was timed* with dying cries: alone he enter'd
The mortal gate o' the city, which he painted
With shunless destiny, aidless came off,
And with a sudden reinforcement struck
Corioli like a planet: now all's his :
When by and by the din of war 'gan pierce
His ready sense then straight his doubled spirit
Requicken'd what in flesh was fatigate,†
And to the battle came he: where he did
Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if
'T were a perpetual spoil: and, till we call'd
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.
Popularity of Coriolanus.
The dumb men throng to see him, and the blind
To hear him speak the matrons flung their gloves,
Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchiefs,
Upon him as he pass'd: the nobles bended,
As to Jove's statue; and the commons made
A shower, and thunder, with their caps and shouts ;
I never saw the like.
Character of Coriolanus.
His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for his power to thunder.
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent;
* Every blow he struck was followed by dying cries.
And being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.
Coriolanus's Contempt for the Mob.
You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek* o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcases of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty !
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till, at length,
Your ignorance (which finds not till it feels),
Making not reservation of yourselves
(Still your own foes), deliver you, as most
Abated+ captives, to some nation
That won you without blows.
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
Fickleness of Friendship.
O world, thy slippery turns!
Whose double bosoms seem to wear one heart,
Whose hours, whose bed, whose meal, and exercise, Are still together, who twin, as 't were, in love
Unseparable, shall, within this hour,
On a dissension of a doit, break out
To bitterest enmity: so, fellest foes,
Whose passions and whose plots have broke their sleep To take the one the other, by some chance,
Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends, And interjoin their issues.
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained ash a hundred times hath broke,
And scared the moon with splinters!
The anvil of my sword; and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love,
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
I lov'd the maid I married; never man
Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt heart,
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
A Favourable Time should be chosen to ask a Favour.
He was not taken well; he had not dined : The veins unfill❜d, our blood is cold, and then pout upon the morning, are unapt
To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him,
Till he be dieted to my request,
And then I'll set upon him.
Inflexibility of Coriolanus to the Appeal of his Wife
My wife comes foremost; then the honour'd mould Wherein this trunk was fram'd, and in her hand The grandchild to her blood. But, out affection! All bond and privilege of nature, break!
Let it be virtuous to be obstinate.—
What is that curt'sey worth? or those doves' eyes,
Which can make gods forsworn?—I melt, and am not
Of stronger earth than others.-My mother bows;
As if Olympus to a molehill should
In supplication nod: and my young boy
Hath an aspect of intercession, which
Great nature cries, "Deny not.”—Let the Volces
Plough Rome, and harrow Italy; I'll never
Be such a gosling to obey instinct; but stand,
As if a man were author of himself,
And knew no other kin.
Coriolanus' rekindled Love for his Wife.
Like a dull actor now,
I have forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say,
For that, "Forgive our Romans."—O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er since.-You gods, I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i' the earth ;
Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
Coriolanus's Prayer for his Son.
The god of soldiers,
With the consent of supreme Jove, inform
Thy thoughts with nobleness; that thou mayst prove
To shame invulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,*
And saving those that eye thee!
Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide, As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you, The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes, Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans, Make the sun dance.
Aufidius's Jealousy of Coriolanus.
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; serv'd 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 wag'd me with his countenance,† as if
I had been mercenary.
Coriolanus's furious Denunciation of Aufidius.
Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
great for what contains it. Boy! O slave !—
† Repaid me merely with good looks.