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    Act 5. Scene VI

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    Chapter 29
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    SCENE VI. Antium. A public place.

    Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants
    AUFIDIUS
    Go tell the lords o' the city I am here:
    Deliver them this paper: having read it,
    Bid them repair to the market place; where I,
    Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
    Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
    The city ports by this hath enter'd and
    Intends to appear before the people, hoping
    To purge herself with words: dispatch.

    Exeunt Attendants

    Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' faction

    Most welcome!

    First Conspirator
    How is it with our general?

    AUFIDIUS
    Even so
    As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
    And with his charity slain.

    Second Conspirator
    Most noble sir,
    If you do hold the same intent wherein
    You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
    Of your great danger.

    AUFIDIUS
    Sir, I cannot tell:
    We must proceed as we do find the people.

    Third Conspirator
    The people will remain uncertain whilst
    'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
    Makes the survivor heir of all.

    AUFIDIUS
    I know it;
    And my pretext to strike at him admits
    A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd
    Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,
    He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
    Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,
    He bow'd his nature, never known before
    But to be rough, unswayable and free.

    Third Conspirator
    Sir, his stoutness
    When he did stand for consul, which he lost
    By lack of stooping,--

    AUFIDIUS
    That I would have spoke of:
    Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
    Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
    Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
    In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
    Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
    My best and freshest men; served his designments
    In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
    Which he did end all his; and took some pride
    To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
    I seem'd his follower, not partner, and
    He waged me with his countenance, as if
    I had been mercenary.

    First Conspirator
    So he did, my lord:
    The army marvell'd at it, and, in the last,
    When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
    For no less spoil than glory,--

    AUFIDIUS
    There was it:
    For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
    At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
    As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
    Of our great action: therefore shall he die,
    And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!

    Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of the People

    First Conspirator
    Your native town you enter'd like a post,
    And had no welcomes home: but he returns,
    Splitting the air with noise.

    Second Conspirator
    And patient fools,
    Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
    With giving him glory.

    Third Conspirator
    Therefore, at your vantage,
    Ere he express himself, or move the people
    With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
    Which we will second. When he lies along,
    After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
    His reasons with his body.

    AUFIDIUS
    Say no more:
    Here come the lords.

    Enter the Lords of the city

    All The Lords
    You are most welcome home.

    AUFIDIUS
    I have not deserved it.
    But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
    What I have written to you?

    Lords
    We have.

    First Lord
    And grieve to hear't.
    What faults he made before the last, I think
    Might have found easy fines: but there to end
    Where he was to begin and give away
    The benefit of our levies, answering us
    With our own charge, making a treaty where
    There was a yielding,--this admits no excuse.

    AUFIDIUS
    He approaches: you shall hear him.

    Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and colours; commoners being with him

    CORIOLANUS
    Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
    No more infected with my country's love
    Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
    Under your great command. You are to know
    That prosperously I have attempted and
    With bloody passage led your wars even to
    The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home
    Do more than counterpoise a full third part
    The charges of the action. We have made peace
    With no less honour to the Antiates
    Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,
    Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,
    Together with the seal o' the senate, what
    We have compounded on.

    AUFIDIUS
    Read it not, noble lords;
    But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
    He hath abused your powers.

    CORIOLANUS
    Traitor! how now!

    AUFIDIUS
    Ay, traitor, Marcius!

    CORIOLANUS
    Marcius!

    AUFIDIUS
    Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius: dost thou think
    I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
    Coriolanus in Corioli?
    You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously
    He has betray'd your business, and given up,
    For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,
    I say 'your city,' to his wife and mother;
    Breaking his oath and resolution like
    A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
    Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears
    He whined and roar'd away your victory,
    That pages blush'd at him and men of heart
    Look'd wondering each at other.

    CORIOLANUS
    Hear'st thou, Mars?

    AUFIDIUS
    Name not the god, thou boy of tears!

    CORIOLANUS
    Ha!

    AUFIDIUS
    No more.

    CORIOLANUS
    Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
    Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave!
    Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
    I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
    Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion--
    Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that
    Must bear my beating to his grave--shall join
    To thrust the lie unto him.

    First Lord
    Peace, both, and hear me speak.

    CORIOLANUS
    Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
    Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!
    If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
    That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
    Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
    Alone I did it. Boy!

    AUFIDIUS
    Why, noble lords,
    Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
    Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
    'Fore your own eyes and ears?

    All Conspirators
    Let him die for't.

    All The People
    'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do it presently.' 'He kill'd
    my son.' 'My daughter.' 'He killed my cousin
    Marcus.' 'He killed my father.'

    Second Lord
    Peace, ho! no outrage: peace!
    The man is noble and his fame folds-in
    This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
    Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
    And trouble not the peace.

    CORIOLANUS
    O that I had him,
    With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
    To use my lawful sword!

    AUFIDIUS
    Insolent villain!

    All Conspirators
    Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!

    The Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS: AUFIDIUS stands on his body

    Lords
    Hold, hold, hold, hold!

    AUFIDIUS
    My noble masters, hear me speak.

    First Lord
    O Tullus,--

    Second Lord
    Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.

    Third Lord
    Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
    Put up your swords.

    AUFIDIUS
    My lords, when you shall know--as in this rage,
    Provoked by him, you cannot--the great danger
    Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
    That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
    To call me to your senate, I'll deliver
    Myself your loyal servant, or endure
    Your heaviest censure.

    First Lord
    Bear from hence his body;
    And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
    As the most noble corse that ever herald
    Did follow to his urn.

    Second Lord
    His own impatience
    Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
    Let's make the best of it.

    AUFIDIUS
    My rage is gone;
    And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.
    Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
    Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:
    Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
    Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
    Which to this hour bewail the injury,
    Yet he shall have a noble memory. Assist.

    Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead march sounded
    Chapter 29
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