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    Act 2. Scene II

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    Chapter 12
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    SCENE II. The same. The Capitol.

    Enter two Officers, to lay cushions
    First Officer
    Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
    for consulships?

    Second Officer
    Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one
    Coriolanus will carry it.

    First Officer
    That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, and
    loves not the common people.

    Second Officer
    Faith, there had been many great men that have
    flattered 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 lets
    them plainly see't.

    First Officer
    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 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.

    Second Officer
    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,
    bonneted, without any further deed to have them at
    an 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.

    First Officer
    No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, they
    are coming.

    A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS the consul, MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators, SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their places; the Tribunes take their Places by themselves. CORIOLANUS stands

    MENENIUS
    Having determined of the Volsces 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 met here both to thank and to remember
    With honours like himself.

    First Senator
    Speak, good Cominius:
    Leave nothing out for length, and make us think
    Rather our state's defective for requital
    Than we to stretch it out.

    To the Tribunes

    Masters o' the people,
    We do request your kindest ears, and after,
    Your loving motion toward the common body,
    To yield what passes here.

    SICINIUS
    We are convented
    Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts
    Inclinable to honour and advance
    The theme of our assembly.

    BRUTUS
    Which the rather
    We shall be blest to do, if he remember
    A kinder value of the people than
    He hath hereto prized them at.

    MENENIUS
    That's off, that's off;
    I would you rather had been silent. Please you
    To hear Cominius speak?

    BRUTUS
    Most willingly;
    But yet my caution was more pertinent
    Than the rebuke you give it.

    MENENIUS
    He loves your people
    But tie him not to be their bedfellow.
    Worthy Cominius, speak.

    CORIOLANUS offers to go away

    Nay, keep your place.

    First Senator
    Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hear
    What you have nobly done.

    CORIOLANUS
    Your horror's pardon:
    I had rather have my wounds to heal again
    Than hear say how I got them.

    BRUTUS
    Sir, I hope
    My words disbench'd you not.

    CORIOLANUS
    No, sir: yet oft,
    When blows have made me stay, I fled from words.
    You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but
    your people,
    I love them as they weigh.

    MENENIUS
    Pray now, sit down.

    CORIOLANUS
    I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sun
    When the alarum were struck than idly sit
    To hear my nothings monster'd.

    Exit

    MENENIUS
    Masters of 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 on's ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.

    COMINIUS
    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 counterpoised. 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: be 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 proved 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 of the garland. For this last,
    Before and in Corioli, let me say,
    I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers;
    And by his rare example made the coward
    Turn terror into sport: as weeds before
    A vessel under sail, so men obey'd
    And fell below his stem: his sword, death's stamp,
    Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot
    He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
    Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd
    The mortal gate of 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
    Re-quicken'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
    'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd
    Both field and city ours, he never stood
    To ease his breast with panting.

    MENENIUS
    Worthy man!

    First Senator
    He cannot but with measure fit the honours
    Which we devise him.

    COMINIUS
    Our spoils he kick'd at,
    And look'd upon things precious as they were
    The common muck of the world: he covets less
    Than misery itself would give; rewards
    His deeds with doing them, and is content
    To spend the time to end it.

    MENENIUS
    He's right noble:
    Let him be call'd for.

    First Senator
    Call Coriolanus.

    Officer
    He doth appear.

    Re-enter CORIOLANUS

    MENENIUS
    The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleased
    To make thee consul.

    CORIOLANUS
    I do owe them still
    My life and services.

    MENENIUS
    It then remains
    That you do speak to the people.

    CORIOLANUS
    I do beseech you,
    Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
    Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,
    For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you
    That I may pass this doing.

    SICINIUS
    Sir, the people
    Must have their voices; neither will they bate
    One jot of ceremony.

    MENENIUS
    Put them not to't:
    Pray you, go fit you to the custom and
    Take to you, as your predecessors have,
    Your honour with your form.

    CORIOLANUS
    It is apart
    That I shall blush in acting, and might well
    Be taken from the people.

    BRUTUS
    Mark you that?

    CORIOLANUS
    To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus;
    Show them the unaching scars which I should hide,
    As if I had received them for the hire
    Of their breath only!

    MENENIUS
    Do not stand upon't.
    We recommend to you, tribunes of the people,
    Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul
    Wish we all joy and honour.

    Senators
    To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!

    Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS

    BRUTUS
    You see how he intends to use the people.

    SICINIUS
    May they perceive's intent! He will require them,
    As if he did contemn what he requested
    Should be in them to give.

    BRUTUS
    Come, we'll inform them
    Of our proceedings here: on the marketplace,
    I know, they do attend us.

    Exeunt
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