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    Act 2. Scene III

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    Chapter 13
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    SCENE III. The same. The Forum.

    Enter seven or eight Citizens
    First Citizen
    Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to deny him.

    Second Citizen
    We may, sir, if we will.

    Third Citizen
    We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a
    power that we have no power to do; for if he show us
    his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our
    tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if
    he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him
    our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is
    monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful,
    were to make a monster of the multitude: of the
    which we being members, should bring ourselves to be
    monstrous members.

    First Citizen
    And to make us no better thought of, a little help
    will serve; for once we stood up about the corn, he
    himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.

    Third Citizen
    We have been called so of many; not that our heads
    are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald,
    but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and
    truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of
    one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south,
    and their consent of one direct way should be at
    once to all the points o' the compass.

    Second Citizen
    Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit would

    Third Citizen
    Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man's
    will;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, but
    if it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.

    Second Citizen
    Why that way?

    Third Citizen
    To lose itself in a fog, where being three parts
    melted away with rotten dews, the fourth would return
    for conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.

    Second Citizen
    You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.

    Third Citizen
    Are you all resolved to give your voices? But
    that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I
    say, if he would incline to the people, there was
    never a worthier man.

    Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility, with MENENIUS

    Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his
    behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to
    come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and
    by threes. He's to make his requests by
    particulars; wherein every one of us has a single
    honour, in giving him our own voices with our own
    tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how
    you shall go by him.

    Content, content.

    Exeunt Citizens

    O sir, you are not right: have you not known
    The worthiest men have done't?

    What must I say?
    'I Pray, sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring
    My tongue to such a pace:--'Look, sir, my wounds!
    I got them in my country's service, when
    Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran
    From the noise of our own drums.'

    O me, the gods!
    You must not speak of that: you must desire them
    To think upon you.

    Think upon me! hang 'em!
    I would they would forget me, like the virtues
    Which our divines lose by 'em.

    You'll mar all:
    I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,
    In wholesome manner.


    Bid them wash their faces
    And keep their teeth clean.

    Re-enter two of the Citizens

    So, here comes a brace.

    Re-enter a third Citizen

    You know the cause, air, of my standing here.

    Third Citizen
    We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.

    Mine own desert.

    Second Citizen
    Your own desert!

    Ay, but not mine own desire.

    Third Citizen
    How not your own desire?

    No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble the
    poor with begging.

    Third Citizen
    You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
    gain by you.

    Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?

    First Citizen
    The price is to ask it kindly.

    Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds to
    show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
    good voice, sir; what say you?

    Second Citizen
    You shall ha' it, worthy sir.

    A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voices
    begged. I have your alms: adieu.

    Third Citizen
    But this is something odd.

    Second Citizen
    An 'twere to give again,--but 'tis no matter.

    Exeunt the three Citizens

    Re-enter two other Citizens

    Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
    voices that I may be consul, I have here the
    customary gown.

    Fourth Citizen
    You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
    have not deserved nobly.

    Your enigma?

    Fourth Citizen
    You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
    been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
    the common people.

    You should account me the more virtuous that I have
    not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
    sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
    estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account
    gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
    rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
    the insinuating nod and be off to them most
    counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
    bewitchment of some popular man and give it
    bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
    I may be consul.

    Fifth Citizen
    We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
    you our voices heartily.

    Fourth Citizen
    You have received many wounds for your country.

    I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. I
    will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

    Both Citizens
    The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!


    Most sweet voices!
    Better it is to die, better to starve,
    Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
    Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here,
    To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
    Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't:
    What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
    The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
    And mountainous error be too highly heapt
    For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
    Let the high office and the honour go
    To one that would do thus. I am half through;
    The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.

    Re-enter three Citizens more

    Here come more voices.
    Your voices: for your voices I have fought;
    Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices bear
    Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six
    I have seen and heard of; for your voices have
    Done many things, some less, some more your voices:
    Indeed I would be consul.

    Sixth Citizen
    He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honest
    man's voice.

    Seventh Citizen
    Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,
    and make him good friend to the people!

    All Citizens
    Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!


    Worthy voices!

    Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS

    You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes
    Endue you with the people's voice: remains
    That, in the official marks invested, you
    Anon do meet the senate.

    Is this done?

    The custom of request you have discharged:
    The people do admit you, and are summon'd
    To meet anon, upon your approbation.

    Where? at the senate-house?

    There, Coriolanus.

    May I change these garments?

    You may, sir.

    That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,
    Repair to the senate-house.

    I'll keep you company. Will you along?

    We stay here for the people.

    Fare you well.


    He has it now, and by his looks methink
    'Tis warm at 's heart.

    With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.
    will you dismiss the people?

    Re-enter Citizens

    How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

    First Citizen
    He has our voices, sir.

    We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

    Second Citizen
    Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,
    He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.

    Third Citizen
    He flouted us downright.

    First Citizen
    No,'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.

    Second Citizen
    Not one amongst us, save yourself, but says
    He used us scornfully: he should have show'd us
    His marks of merit, wounds received for's country.

    Why, so he did, I am sure.

    No, no; no man saw 'em.

    Third Citizen
    He said he had wounds, which he could show
    in private;
    And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn,
    'I would be consul,' says he: 'aged custom,
    But by your voices, will not so permit me;
    Your voices therefore.' When we granted that,
    Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank you:
    Your most sweet voices: now you have left
    your voices,
    I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?

    Why either were you ignorant to see't,
    Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
    To yield your voices?

    Could you not have told him
    As you were lesson'd, when he had no power,
    But was a petty servant to the state,
    He was your enemy, ever spake against
    Your liberties and the charters that you bear
    I' the body of the weal; and now, arriving
    A place of potency and sway o' the state,
    If he should still malignantly remain
    Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
    Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
    That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
    Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
    Would think upon you for your voices and
    Translate his malice towards you into love,
    Standing your friendly lord.

    Thus to have said,
    As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit
    And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd
    Either his gracious promise, which you might,
    As cause had call'd you up, have held him to
    Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature,
    Which easily endures not article
    Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
    You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler
    And pass'd him unelected.

    Did you perceive
    He did solicit you in free contempt
    When he did need your loves, and do you think
    That his contempt shall not be bruising to you,
    When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies
    No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry
    Against the rectorship of judgment?

    Have you
    Ere now denied the asker? and now again
    Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow
    Your sued-for tongues?

    Third Citizen
    He's not confirm'd; we may deny him yet.

    Second Citizen
    And will deny him:
    I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.

    First Citizen
    I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.

    Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends,
    They have chose a consul that will from them take
    Their liberties; make them of no more voice
    Than dogs that are as often beat for barking
    As therefore kept to do so.

    Let them assemble,
    And on a safer judgment all revoke
    Your ignorant election; enforce his pride,
    And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not
    With what contempt he wore the humble weed,
    How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves,
    Thinking upon his services, took from you
    The apprehension of his present portance,
    Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion
    After the inveterate hate he bears you.

    A fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,
    No impediment between, but that you must
    Cast your election on him.

    Say, you chose him
    More after our commandment than as guided
    By your own true affections, and that your minds,
    Preoccupied with what you rather must do
    Than what you should, made you against the grain
    To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

    Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you.
    How youngly he began to serve his country,
    How long continued, and what stock he springs of,
    The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence came
    That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son,
    Who, after great Hostilius, here was king;
    Of the same house Publius and Quintus were,
    That our beat water brought by conduits hither;
    And [Censorinus,] nobly named so,
    Twice being [by the people chosen] censor,
    Was his great ancestor.

    One thus descended,
    That hath beside well in his person wrought
    To be set high in place, we did commend
    To your remembrances: but you have found,
    Scaling his present bearing with his past,
    That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke
    Your sudden approbation.

    Say, you ne'er had done't--
    Harp on that still--but by our putting on;
    And presently, when you have drawn your number,
    Repair to the Capitol.

    We will so: almost all
    Repent in their election.

    Exeunt Citizens

    Let them go on;
    This mutiny were better put in hazard,
    Than stay, past doubt, for greater:
    If, as his nature is, he fall in rage
    With their refusal, both observe and answer
    The vantage of his anger.

    To the Capitol, come:
    We will be there before the stream o' the people;
    And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own,
    Which we have goaded onward.

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