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    Act 4. Scene I

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    Chapter 17
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    SCENE I. Rome. Before a gate of the city.

    Enter CORIOLANUS, VOLUMNIA, VIRGILIA, MENENIUS, COMINIUS, with the young Nobility of Rome
    CORIOLANUS
    Come, leave your tears: a brief farewell: the beast
    With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
    Where is your ancient courage? you were used
    To say extremity was the trier of spirits;
    That common chances common men could bear;
    That when the sea was calm all boats alike
    Show'd mastership in floating; fortune's blows,
    When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves
    A noble cunning: you were used to load me
    With precepts that would make invincible
    The heart that conn'd them.

    VIRGILIA
    O heavens! O heavens!

    CORIOLANUS
    Nay! prithee, woman,--

    VOLUMNIA
    Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
    And occupations perish!

    CORIOLANUS
    What, what, what!
    I shall be loved when I am lack'd. Nay, mother.
    Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
    If you had been the wife of Hercules,
    Six of his labours you'ld have done, and saved
    Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,
    Droop not; adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother:
    I'll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,
    Thy tears are salter than a younger man's,
    And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime general,
    I have seen thee stem, and thou hast oft beheld
    Heart-hardening spectacles; tell these sad women
    'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,
    As 'tis to laugh at 'em. My mother, you wot well
    My hazards still have been your solace: and
    Believe't not lightly--though I go alone,
    Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen
    Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen--your son
    Will or exceed the common or be caught
    With cautelous baits and practise.

    VOLUMNIA
    My first son.
    Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
    With thee awhile: determine on some course,
    More than a wild exposture to each chance
    That starts i' the way before thee.

    CORIOLANUS
    O the gods!

    COMINIUS
    I'll follow thee a month, devise with thee
    Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
    And we of thee: so if the time thrust forth
    A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
    O'er the vast world to seek a single man,
    And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
    I' the absence of the needer.

    CORIOLANUS
    Fare ye well:
    Thou hast years upon thee; and thou art too full
    Of the wars' surfeits, to go rove with one
    That's yet unbruised: bring me but out at gate.
    Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
    My friends of noble touch, when I am forth,
    Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
    While I remain above the ground, you shall
    Hear from me still, and never of me aught
    But what is like me formerly.

    MENENIUS
    That's worthily
    As any ear can hear. Come, let's not weep.
    If I could shake off but one seven years
    From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
    I'ld with thee every foot.

    CORIOLANUS
    Give me thy hand: Come.

    Exeunt
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