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    Act 2. Scene I

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    Chapter 11
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    SCENE I. Rome. A public place.

    Enter MENENIUS with the two Tribunes of the people, SICINIUS and BRUTUS.
    MENENIUS
    The augurer tells me we shall have news to-night.

    BRUTUS
    Good or bad?

    MENENIUS
    Not according to the prayer of the people, for they
    love not Marcius.

    SICINIUS
    Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

    MENENIUS
    Pray you, who does the wolf love?

    SICINIUS
    The lamb.

    MENENIUS
    Ay, to devour him; as the hungry plebeians would the
    noble Marcius.

    BRUTUS
    He's a lamb indeed, that baes like a bear.

    MENENIUS
    He's a bear indeed, that lives like a lamb. You two
    are old men: tell me one thing that I shall ask you.

    Both
    Well, sir.

    MENENIUS
    In what enormity is Marcius poor in, that you two
    have not in abundance?

    BRUTUS
    He's poor in no one fault, but stored with all.

    SICINIUS
    Especially in pride.

    BRUTUS
    And topping all others in boasting.

    MENENIUS
    This is strange now: do you two know how you are
    censured here in the city, I mean of us o' the
    right-hand file? do you?

    Both
    Why, how are we censured?

    MENENIUS
    Because you talk of pride now,--will you not be angry?

    Both
    Well, well, sir, well.

    MENENIUS
    Why, 'tis no great matter; for a very little thief of
    occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience:
    give your dispositions the reins, and be angry at
    your pleasures; at the least if you take it as a
    pleasure to you in being so. You blame Marcius for
    being proud?

    BRUTUS
    We do it not alone, sir.

    MENENIUS
    I know you can do very little alone; for your helps
    are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous
    single: your abilities are too infant-like for
    doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you
    could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks,
    and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
    O that you could!

    BRUTUS
    What then, sir?

    MENENIUS
    Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting,
    proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as
    any in Rome.

    SICINIUS
    Menenius, you are known well enough too.

    MENENIUS
    I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
    loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying
    Tiber in't; said to be something imperfect in
    favouring the first complaint; hasty and tinder-like
    upon too trivial motion; one that converses more
    with the buttock of the night than with the forehead
    of the morning: what I think I utter, and spend my
    malice in my breath. Meeting two such wealsmen as
    you are--I cannot call you Lycurguses--if the drink
    you give me touch my palate adversely, I make a
    crooked face at it. I can't say your worships have
    delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in
    compound with the major part of your syllables: and
    though I must be content to bear with those that say
    you are reverend grave men, yet they lie deadly that
    tell you you have good faces. If you see this in
    the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known
    well enough too? what barm can your bisson
    conspectuities glean out of this character, if I be
    known well enough too?

    BRUTUS
    Come, sir, come, we know you well enough.

    MENENIUS
    You know neither me, yourselves nor any thing. You
    are ambitious for poor knaves' caps and legs: you
    wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a
    cause between an orange wife and a fosset-seller;
    and then rejourn the controversy of three pence to a
    second day of audience. When you are hearing a
    matter between party and party, if you chance to be
    pinched with the colic, you make faces like
    mummers; set up the bloody flag against all
    patience; and, in roaring for a chamber-pot,
    dismiss the controversy bleeding the more entangled
    by your hearing: all the peace you make in their
    cause is, calling both the parties knaves. You are
    a pair of strange ones.

    BRUTUS
    Come, come, you are well understood to be a
    perfecter giber for the table than a necessary
    bencher in the Capitol.

    MENENIUS
    Our very priests must become mockers, if they shall
    encounter such ridiculous subjects as you are. When
    you speak best unto the purpose, it is not worth the
    wagging of your beards; and your beards deserve not
    so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's
    cushion, or to be entombed in an ass's pack-
    saddle. Yet you must be saying, Marcius is proud;
    who in a cheap estimation, is worth predecessors
    since Deucalion, though peradventure some of the
    best of 'em were hereditary hangmen. God-den to
    your worships: more of your conversation would
    infect my brain, being the herdsmen of the beastly
    plebeians: I will be bold to take my leave of you.

    BRUTUS and SICINIUS go aside

    Enter VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, and VALERIA

    How now, my as fair as noble ladies,--and the moon,
    were she earthly, no nobler,--whither do you follow
    your eyes so fast?

    VOLUMNIA
    Honourable Menenius, my boy Marcius approaches; for
    the love of Juno, let's go.

    MENENIUS
    Ha! Marcius coming home!

    VOLUMNIA
    Ay, worthy Menenius; and with most prosperous
    approbation.

    MENENIUS
    Take my cap, Jupiter, and I thank thee. Hoo!
    Marcius coming home!

    VOLUMNIA VIRGILIA
    Nay,'tis true.

    VOLUMNIA
    Look, here's a letter from him: the state hath
    another, his wife another; and, I think, there's one
    at home for you.

    MENENIUS
    I will make my very house reel tonight: a letter for
    me!

    VIRGILIA
    Yes, certain, there's a letter for you; I saw't.

    MENENIUS
    A letter for me! it gives me an estate of seven
    years' health; in which time I will make a lip at
    the physician: the most sovereign prescription in
    Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative,
    of no better report than a horse-drench. Is he
    not wounded? he was wont to come home wounded.

    VIRGILIA
    O, no, no, no.

    VOLUMNIA
    O, he is wounded; I thank the gods for't.

    MENENIUS
    So do I too, if it be not too much: brings a'
    victory in his pocket? the wounds become him.

    VOLUMNIA
    On's brows: Menenius, he comes the third time home
    with the oaken garland.

    MENENIUS
    Has he disciplined Aufidius soundly?

    VOLUMNIA
    Titus Lartius writes, they fought together, but
    Aufidius got off.

    MENENIUS
    And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that:
    an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so
    fidiused for all the chests in Corioli, and the gold
    that's in them. Is the senate possessed of this?

    VOLUMNIA
    Good ladies, let's go. Yes, yes, yes; the senate
    has letters from the general, wherein he gives my
    son the whole name of the war: he hath in this
    action outdone his former deeds doubly

    VALERIA
    In troth, there's wondrous things spoke of him.

    MENENIUS
    Wondrous! ay, I warrant you, and not without his
    true purchasing.

    VIRGILIA
    The gods grant them true!

    VOLUMNIA
    True! pow, wow.

    MENENIUS
    True! I'll be sworn they are true.
    Where is he wounded?

    To the Tribunes

    God save your good worships! Marcius is coming
    home: he has more cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?

    VOLUMNIA
    I' the shoulder and i' the left arm there will be
    large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall
    stand for his place. He received in the repulse of
    Tarquin seven hurts i' the body.

    MENENIUS
    One i' the neck, and two i' the thigh,--there's
    nine that I know.

    VOLUMNIA
    He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five
    wounds upon him.

    MENENIUS
    Now it's twenty-seven: every gash was an enemy's grave.

    A shout and flourish

    Hark! the trumpets.

    VOLUMNIA
    These are the ushers of Marcius: before him he
    carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears:
    Death, that dark spirit, in 's nervy arm doth lie;
    Which, being advanced, declines, and then men die.

    A sennet. Trumpets sound. Enter COMINIUS the general, and TITUS LARTIUS; between them, CORIOLANUS, crowned with an oaken garland; with Captains and Soldiers, and a Herald

    Herald
    Know, Rome, that all alone Marcius did fight
    Within Corioli gates: where he hath won,
    With fame, a name to Caius Marcius; these
    In honour follows Coriolanus.
    Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

    Flourish

    All
    Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!

    CORIOLANUS
    No more of this; it does offend my heart:
    Pray now, no more.

    COMINIUS
    Look, sir, your mother!

    CORIOLANUS
    O,
    You have, I know, petition'd all the gods
    For my prosperity!

    Kneels

    VOLUMNIA
    Nay, my good soldier, up;
    My gentle Marcius, worthy Caius, and
    By deed-achieving honour newly named,--
    What is it?--Coriolanus must I call thee?--
    But O, thy wife!

    CORIOLANUS
    My gracious silence, hail!
    Wouldst thou have laugh'd had I come coffin'd home,
    That weep'st to see me triumph? Ay, my dear,
    Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear,
    And mothers that lack sons.

    MENENIUS
    Now, the gods crown thee!

    CORIOLANUS
    And live you yet?

    To VALERIA

    O my sweet lady, pardon.

    VOLUMNIA
    I know not where to turn: O, welcome home:
    And welcome, general: and ye're welcome all.

    MENENIUS
    A hundred thousand welcomes. I could weep
    And I could laugh, I am light and heavy. Welcome.
    A curse begin at very root on's heart,
    That is not glad to see thee! You are three
    That Rome should dote on: yet, by the faith of men,
    We have some old crab-trees here
    at home that will not
    Be grafted to your relish. Yet welcome, warriors:
    We call a nettle but a nettle and
    The faults of fools but folly.

    COMINIUS
    Ever right.

    CORIOLANUS
    Menenius ever, ever.

    Herald
    Give way there, and go on!

    CORIOLANUS
    [To VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA] Your hand, and yours:
    Ere in our own house I do shade my head,
    The good patricians must be visited;
    From whom I have received not only greetings,
    But with them change of honours.

    VOLUMNIA
    I have lived
    To see inherited my very wishes
    And the buildings of my fancy: only
    There's one thing wanting, which I doubt not but
    Our Rome will cast upon thee.

    CORIOLANUS
    Know, good mother,
    I had rather be their servant in my way,
    Than sway with them in theirs.

    COMINIUS
    On, to the Capitol!

    Flourish. Cornets. Exeunt in state, as before. BRUTUS and SICINIUS come forward

    BRUTUS
    All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights
    Are spectacled to see him: your prattling nurse
    Into a rapture lets her baby cry
    While she chats him: the kitchen malkin pins
    Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,
    Clambering the walls to eye him: stalls, bulks, windows,
    Are smother'd up, leads fill'd, and ridges horsed
    With variable complexions, all agreeing
    In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens
    Do press among the popular throngs and puff
    To win a vulgar station: or veil'd dames
    Commit the war of white and damask in
    Their nicely-gawded cheeks to the wanton spoil
    Of Phoebus' burning kisses: such a pother
    As if that whatsoever god who leads him
    Were slily crept into his human powers
    And gave him graceful posture.

    SICINIUS
    On the sudden,
    I warrant him consul.

    BRUTUS
    Then our office may,
    During his power, go sleep.

    SICINIUS
    He cannot temperately transport his honours
    From where he should begin and end, but will
    Lose those he hath won.

    BRUTUS
    In that there's comfort.

    SICINIUS
    Doubt not
    The commoners, for whom we stand, but they
    Upon their ancient malice will forget
    With the least cause these his new honours, which
    That he will give them make I as little question
    As he is proud to do't.

    BRUTUS
    I heard him swear,
    Were he to stand for consul, never would he
    Appear i' the market-place nor on him put
    The napless vesture of humility;
    Nor showing, as the manner is, his wounds
    To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

    SICINIUS
    'Tis right.

    BRUTUS
    It was his word: O, he would miss it rather
    Than carry it but by the suit of the gentry to him,
    And the desire of the nobles.

    SICINIUS
    I wish no better
    Than have him hold that purpose and to put it
    In execution.

    BRUTUS
    'Tis most like he will.

    SICINIUS
    It shall be to him then as our good wills,
    A sure destruction.

    BRUTUS
    So it must fall out
    To him or our authorities. For an end,
    We must suggest the people in what hatred
    He still hath held them; that to's power he would
    Have made them mules, silenced their pleaders and
    Dispropertied their freedoms, holding them,
    In human action and capacity,
    Of no more soul nor fitness for the world
    Than camels in the war, who have their provand
    Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows
    For sinking under them.

    SICINIUS
    This, as you say, suggested
    At some time when his soaring insolence
    Shall touch the people--which time shall not want,
    If he be put upon 't; and that's as easy
    As to set dogs on sheep--will be his fire
    To kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze
    Shall darken him for ever.

    Enter a Messenger

    BRUTUS
    What's the matter?

    Messenger
    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 bear him speak: matrons flung gloves,
    Ladies and maids their scarfs and handkerchers,
    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.

    BRUTUS
    Let's to the Capitol;
    And carry with us ears and eyes for the time,
    But hearts for the event.

    SICINIUS
    Have with you.

    Exeunt
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