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To shame unvulnerable, and stick i' the wars
Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eye thee I .

ACT v. Sc. m.




Your knee, sirrah.
That's my brave boy I


Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself,
Are suitors to you.

I beseech you, peace ;
Or, If you'd ask, remember this before :
The things 1 have forsworn to grant may never
Be held by you denials. Do not bid me
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanics : tell me not
Wherein 1 seem unnatural : desire not
To allay my rages and revenges, with
Your colder reasons.


O ! no more, no more !
You have said, you will not grant us any thing;
For we have nothing else to ask, but that
Which you deny already : yet we will ask ;
That, it you fail in our request, the blame [us.
May hang upon your hardness. Therefore, hear


Aiifldius, and you Volsces, mark ; for we'll
Hear nought from Rome in private Your re-
quest ?


Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment,
And state of bodies, would bewray what life
We have led since thy exile. Think with thy-

How more unfortunate than all living women
Are we come hither : since that thy sight, which

Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with

Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and

sorrow ;

Making the mother, wife, and child, to see
The son, the husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we,
Thine enmity's most capital : thou barr'st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy ; for how can we,
Alas ! how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound, together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound ? Alack 1 or we must


The country, our dear nurse ; or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win ; lor either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led
With manacles through our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin.
And bear the palm, for having bravely shed
Thy wile and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune, till
These wars determine: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to show a noble grace to both parts,
Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country, than to tread
(Trust to't, thou shalt not) on thy mother's
That brought thee to this world. [womb,


Ay, and mine,

Thit brought you forth this boy, to keep your
Living to tune. [name

He shall not tread on me:
I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.


Not of a woman's tenderness to be,
Requires nor child nor woman's face to tee, .
I have sat too long. [filling.


Nay, go not from us thus.
If it were o, that our request did tend
;To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volsces whom you serve, you might con-
demn ut,

'As poisonous of your honour: no; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them : while the Volsces
May say, " This mercy we have show'd;" the


'" This we receiv'd;" and each in either side
! Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, Be bless'd
For making up this peace 1" Thou know'st,

great son.

The end of war's uncertain ; but this certain,
That if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name,
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses,
'Whose chronicle thus writ, " The man was


But with his last attempt he wip'd it out,
Destroy'd his country, and his name remains
!To the ensuing age abhorr'd." Speak to me,

son 1

Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods ;
To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o' the air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not


Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs ? Daughter, speak

you ;
He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou,


.Perhaps, thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons. There is 110 man in the

More bound to's mother ; yet here he lets me


Like one i* the stocks. Thou hast never in thy
Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy ; [life
When she, (poor hen 1) fond of no second brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home,
Loaden with honour. Say, my request s unjust,
And spurn me back ; but, if it be not so,
Thou art not honest, and the gods will plague j


That thou restrain'st from me the duty, which
To a mother's part belongs lie turns away:
Down, ladies ; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname, Coriolanus, 'longs more pride,
Than pity to our prayers. Down : an end ;
This is the last ; so we will home to Home,
And die among our neighbours. Nay, behold


I This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength

i Than thou hast to deny't Come, let us go.

' This fellow had a Volscian to his mother ;
His wife is in Corioli, and his child
Like him by chance. Yet give us our despatch:
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.

[He holds r<ilumnfa by the hand, silent.


O mother, mother !
What have you done ? Behold ! the heavens do


The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my mother ! mother 1 O I



ACT v. Sc. iii.

You have won a happy victory to Rome;
But, for your son, believe it, O ! believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevail'd,
If not most mortal to him. But let it come
Aufidius, though 1 cannot make true wars,
1 11 frameconvenient peace. Now, good Auftdius,
Were you in my stead, would you have heard
A mother less, or granted less, Avfidius t

I was mov'd withal.


I dare be sworn, you were :
And, sir, it is no little thing to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
What peace you'll make, advise me. For my
part, [you,

I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you ; and pray
Stand to me in this cause O mother ! wife !

Aufidius. [Aside.

I am glad, thou hast set thy mercy and thy

At difference in thee: out of that I'll work

Myself a former fortune.

'he Ladies make signi to Coriolanus.

[TO rojJmSa, rtStb*, &c.

But we will drink together ; and you shall bear
A better witness back than words, which we
On like conditions will have counter-seal'd.
Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve
To have a temple built you : all the swords
In Italy, and her confederate arms,
Could not have made this peace.

SCENE IV. Rome. A public Place.
Enter Menenius and Sicinita.


See you yond' coign o' the Capitol; yond'
corner-stone ?

Why, what of that?


If it be possible for you to displace it with
your little finger, there is some hope the ladies
of Rome, especially his mother, may prevail
with him: but I say, there is no hope in't. Our
throats are sentenced, and stay upon execution.


Is't possible, that so short a time can alter
the condition of a man?


There Is differency between a grub, and a
butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This
Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has
wings; he's more than a creeping thing.

He loved his mother dearly.


So did he me; and he no more remembers
his mother now, than an eight year old horse.
The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes : when
he walks, he moves like an engine, and the
ground shrinks before his treading. He is able
to pierce a corslet with his eye ; talks like a
knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his
state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he
bids be done, is finished with his bidding: he
wants nothing of a god but eternity, and a heaven
to throne in. ^.^

Ye, mercy, if you report him truly.


! I paint him in the character. Mark what
j mercy his mother shall bring from him: there
is no more mercy in him, than there is milk in
a male tiger; that shall our poor city find: and
all this is 'long of you.


The gods be good unto us !

No, in such a case the gods will not be good
unto us. When we banished him, we respected
not them ; and, he returning to break our necks,
they respect not us.

Enter a Messenger.


Sir, if you'd save your life, fly to your house.
The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune,
And hale him up and down ; all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They'll give him death by inches.

Enter another Messenger.

What's the news ?
Good news, good news! The ladies have


I The Volscians are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone.
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.

Art thou certain this is true ? is it most certain ?


As certain, as I know the sun is fire: [it ?

Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of

Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown

tide, [hark you !

As the recomforted through the gates. Why,

[Trumpets and Hautboys sounded, and

Drums beaten, all together. Shouting

also within.

The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance. Hark you !

[Shouting again.

This is good news.

I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full ; of tribunes, such as you,
A sea and land-full. You have pray'd well to-day :
This morning for ten thousand of your throats
I'd not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy I
[Shouting and Music.

First, the gods bless you for their tidings:

Accept my thankfulness. [next.


Sir, we have ail

Great cause to give great thanks.

They are near the city.

Almost at point to enter.

We will meet them,
And help the joy.

Enter the Ladies, accompanied by Senators,
Patricians, and People. They pass over the

First Senator.
Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!

A. I v. Sc. V



Call all your tribe* together, pralic tlie godi.
And make triumphant flrc; itrew flowers before


Unihout the noise that banlsh'd Marcfuii
HfjM-.il him with the welcome of his mother:
Cry, Welcome, ladies, welcome:

Welcome, ladies 1

''A 1 Flourish with Drumt and Trumpett.

SCKXE V. Antiwn. A public Place.

Enter Tullw Aufitliut, with Attendant*.


Go tell the lords of the city, I am here.
Deliver them this paper: having read it,
Bid them repair to the market-place; where 1,
Even in theirs' and in the commons' ears,
Will vouch the truth of it. Him 1 accuse,
The city ports by this hath enter'd, and
Intends t' appear before the people, hoping
To purge himse.f with

Enter three or four Coitspfrator$ of At{ftdius'

Most welcome 1

First Conspirator.
How is it with our general?

Even so,

As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
Ami with his charity slain.

Second Conspirator.

Most noble sir,

If you do hold the same intent, wherein
You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
Of your great danger.


Sir, I cannot tell:
We must proceed, as we do find the people.

Third Conspirator.

The people will remain uncertain, whilst
Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of
Makes the survivor heir of all. [either


I know it ;

And my pretext to strike at him admits
A good construction. I rais'd him, and I pawn'd
Mine honour for his truth: who being so


He water 'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends ; and to this end,
He bow'd his nature, never known before
But to be rough, unswayable, and free.

Third Conspirator.
Sir, his stoutness,

When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,


That 1 would have spoke of.
Being banish'd for't. he came unto my hearth ;
Presented to my knife his throat : 1 took him ;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him


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 design-


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 srem'd his follower, not partner ; and
He waged me with his countenance, as if
I had been mercenary.

First Consj'

So he did, my lord ;

The army marvell'd at it ; and. in the last.
When he had carried Home, and that we look'd
For no less spoil, than glory,

There was it ;
For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon


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 ana Trumpet! sound, with great
Shouts of the People.

First Conspirator.

Your native town you enter'd like a post,
And had no welcomes home ; but he returns,
Splitting the air with noise.

Second Conspirator.

And patient fools,

Whose children he hath slain, their base throats

With giving him glory. [tear

Third Conspirator.

Therefore, at your vantage,
Ere he express himself, or move the people
With what he would say, let him feel your


Which we will second. When he lies along,
After your way his tale pronounc'd shall bury
His reasons with his booy.

Say no more.
Here come the lords.

Knter the Lords of the City.


You are most welcome home.

I have not deserv'd it.

! But, worthy lords, have you with heed perus'd
What 1 have written to you?

We have.
First Lord.

And grieve to hear it.

I 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.


He approaches : you shall hear him.
Pnter Ciirfultinus, with Drums and Colours ; a
Crowd of Citizent with him.


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 olRome. Our spoils we have brought


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,

7 66


ACT v. Sc. v.

Subscrib'd by the consuls and patricians,
Together with the seal o' the senate, what
We have compounded on.


Read it not, noble lords ;
i But tell the traitor in the highest degree
He hath abus'd your powers.

Traitor ! - How now 1


Ay, traitor, Marcius.

Marti** t
Ay, Marcius, Caius March-*. Dost thou


I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
Coriolanus in Coriolif
You lords and heads of the state, perfidiously
He has betray'd your business, and given up
For certain drops of salt vour 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 whin'd and roar'd away your victory,
That pages blush'd at him, and men of heart
Look'd wondering each at other.


Hear'st thou, MarsF

Name not the god, thou boy of tears.


No more.


Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
Too great for what contains it. Boy 1 O

slave I

Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
1 was forc'd to scold. Your j udgments, my grave


Must give this cur the lie and his own notion
(Who wears my stripes Impress'd upon him,


Must bear my beating to his grave) shall join
To thrust the lie unto him.

First Lord.
Peace both, and hear me speak.


Cut me to pieces, Volsces ; men and lads,
Stain all your edges on me. Boy 1 False hound !
If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
That like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli :
Alone I did it Boyl


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?

All Conspirators.
Let him die for-t.

All People.

Tear him to pieces; do it presently. He killed
my son ; my daughter : he killed my cousin

Marcus : he killed my father

Second Lord.

Peace, ho ! no outrage : peace 1
The man is noble, and his fame folds in
This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
Shall have judicious hearing. _ Stand, Aufidius,
And trouble not the peace.


O ! that I had him,

With six Auftdiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword 1


Insolent villain I
All Conspirators.
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!
[Avjirfitts and the Conspirators draw, and
kill Coriolanus, who (alls : Aufidius stands
on him.


Hold, hold, hold, hold 1

My noble masters, hear me speak.
First Lord.

O Tullusj
Second Lord.

Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will

Third Lord.
Tread not upon him. Masters all, be

Put up your swords. [quiet

My lords, when you shall know (as in this


Provok'd by him, you cannot) the great danger
Which this man's life did owe you, you'll re-

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.

First 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.

Second Lord.

His own impatience

Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it.


My rage is gone,

And I am struck with sorrow. Take him
up : [one.

Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers ; I'll be
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


[Exeunt, bearing the Body of Coriolanus.
A dead March sounded.

ACT i. .S'c. i.





SATURNINUS, Sun to the late Emperor of

Rome, and afttrvards declared Emperor.
Bassianus, Brother to Saturninus : in luve with

Titus Andronicus, a noble Raman, General

against the Gothi.
Marcus Andronicus, Tribune of the People ; and

Brother to Titus.
Lucius, ~\

Martius, ' i Sons to Titus Andronicus.
Mutius.' J

Young Lucius, a Buy, Son to Lucius.
Publiu, Son to Marcus the Tribune.

JEmilius, a noble Roman.

Alarbus, T

Demetrius, } Sons to Tamora.

Chiron, J

Aaron, a Moor, beloved by Tamora.

A Captain, Tribune, Messenger, and Clown ;
. Romans.
i Goths and Romans.

Tamora, Queen of the Goths.

Lavinia, daughter to Titus Andronicus.

A Nurse, and a black Child.

Kinsmen of Titus, Senators, Tribunes, Officers,

Soldiers, and Attendants.
SCENE, Rome; and the Country near it.


SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol.

hR Tomb of the Andronici appearing; the
Tribunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate.
Kntcr, below, Saturninus and his Followers,
on one side ; and liassianus and his Followers,
on the other ; with Drum and Colours.

"VTOBLE patricians, patrons of my right,
*" Defend the justice of my cause with arms ;
And, countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title with your swords.
I am his first-born son, that was the last
That wore the imperial diadem of Rome :
Then, let my father's honours live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

Romans, friends, followers, favourers of my
If ever Bassianus, Ctesar't son, [right,

Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep then this passage to the Capitol i
And suffer not dishonour to approach
Th* imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
To justice, continence, and nobility,
But let desert in pure election shine ;
; And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Enter Marcus Andronicus, aloft, with the

Princes, that strive ^factions, and by friends,

I Ambitiously for rule and empery,

j Know, that the people of Rome, for whom we
A special party, have by common voice [stand
In election for the Roman empery,
Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius,
For many good and great deserts to Rome :
A nobler man, a braver warrior,
Lives not this day within the city walls.
He by the senate is accited home,
From weary wars against the barbarous Goths ;
That, with his sons, a terror to pur foes,
Hath yok'd a nation strong, train'd up in arms.
Ten years are spent since first he undertook
This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms
Our enemies' pride : five times he hath re-
turn "d

Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field ;
And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
Let us entreat, by honour of his name,
Whom worthily you would have now succeed,
And in the Capitol and senate's right,
Whom you pretend to honour and adore,
That you withdraw you, and abate your strength :
Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.

Satu minus.

How fair the tribune speaks to calm my


Marcus Andronicus, so I do any
In thy uprightness and integrity,



ACT i. Sc. i.

And so 1 love and honour thee and thine,
Thy noble brother Titus, and his sons,
And her, to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament.
That I will here dismiss my loving friends ;
And to my fortunes, and the people's favour,
Commit my cause in balance to be weigh 'd.

[Exeunt the Followers of Bansianus.

Friends, that ha've been thus forward in my
I thank you all, and here dismiss you all ; [right,
And to the love and favour of my country
Commit myself, my person, and the cause.

[E\eunt the Followers of Salurninus.
Rome, be as just and gracious unto me,
As I am confident and kind to thee.
Open the gates, and let me in.


Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.
[Saturninus and Bassianus go Into the Ca-
pitol, and exeunt with Senators, Marcus,

SCENE II. The same.
Enter a Captain, and others.

Romans, make way I The good Andronicus,
Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honour, and with fortune, is return'd,
From where he circumscribed with his sword,
And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.

Sound Drums and Trumpets, &c. Enter Martins
and Mtttius: after them, two Men bearing a
Coffin covered with black; then Lucius and
Quintus. After them, Titus Andronicus ; and
then Tamora, with Alarbus, Chiron, Deme-
trius, Aaron, and other Goths, prisoners; Sol-
diers and People, following. The Bearers set
down the Coffin, and Titus speaks.


Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds !
Lo ! as the bark tnat hath discharg'd her fraught j
Returns with precious lading to the bay,
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage, i
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs, !
To re-salute his country with his tears ;
Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.
Thou great defender of this Capitol,
Stand gracious to the rites that we intend !
Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,
Half of the number that king Priam had.
Behold the poor remains, alive, and dead !
These that survive let Rome reward with love;
These that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial amongst their ancestors : [sword.
Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my
Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx ?
Make way to lay them by their brethren.

[The Tomb Is oppned.

There greet in silence, as the dead are wont.
And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars !
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons hast thou of mine in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more?


Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile
Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh,
Before this earthy prison of their bones ;

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakespeare; → online text (page 145 of 211)