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    Act 5. Scene I

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    Chapter 24
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    SCENE I. Rome. A public place.

    Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS, BRUTUS, and others
    MENENIUS
    No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said
    Which was sometime his general; who loved him
    In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
    But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him;
    A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
    The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
    To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.

    COMINIUS
    He would not seem to know me.

    MENENIUS
    Do you hear?

    COMINIUS
    Yet one time he did call me by my name:
    I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
    That we have bled together. Coriolanus
    He would not answer to: forbad all names;
    He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
    Till he had forged himself a name o' the fire
    Of burning Rome.

    MENENIUS
    Why, so: you have made good work!
    A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
    To make coals cheap,--a noble memory!

    COMINIUS
    I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
    When it was less expected: he replied,
    It was a bare petition of a state
    To one whom they had punish'd.

    MENENIUS
    Very well:
    Could he say less?

    COMINIUS
    I offer'd to awaken his regard
    For's private friends: his answer to me was,
    He could not stay to pick them in a pile
    Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
    For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
    And still to nose the offence.

    MENENIUS
    For one poor grain or two!
    I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
    And this brave fellow too, we are the grains:
    You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
    Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.

    SICINIUS
    Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your aid
    In this so never-needed help, yet do not
    Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you
    Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
    More than the instant army we can make,
    Might stop our countryman.

    MENENIUS
    No, I'll not meddle.

    SICINIUS
    Pray you, go to him.

    MENENIUS
    What should I do?

    BRUTUS
    Only make trial what your love can do
    For Rome, towards Marcius.

    MENENIUS
    Well, and say that Marcius
    Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
    Unheard; what then?
    But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
    With his unkindness? say't be so?

    SICINIUS
    Yet your good will
    must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
    As you intended well.

    MENENIUS
    I'll undertake 't:
    I think he'll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip
    And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me.
    He was not taken well; he had not dined:
    The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
    We pout upon the morning, are unapt
    To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
    These and these conveyances of our blood
    With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
    Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him
    Till he be dieted to my request,
    And then I'll set upon him.

    BRUTUS
    You know the very road into his kindness,
    And cannot lose your way.

    MENENIUS
    Good faith, I'll prove him,
    Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
    Of my success.

    Exit

    COMINIUS
    He'll never hear him.

    SICINIUS
    Not?

    COMINIUS
    I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
    Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury
    The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
    'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise;' dismiss'd me
    Thus, with his speechless hand: what he would do,
    He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
    Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions:
    So that all hope is vain.
    Unless his noble mother, and his wife;
    Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
    For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,
    And with our fair entreaties haste them on.

    Exeunt
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