Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Coriolanus
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Coriolanus
 
Act V. Scene IV.
 
Rome.  A Public Place.
 
Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS.
  Men.  See you yond coign o’ the Capitol, yond corner-stone?
  Sic.  Why, what of that?
  Men.  If it be possible for you to displace it with your little finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him. But I say, there is no hope in ’t. Our throats are sentenced and stay upon execution.        5
  Sic.  Is ’t possible that so short a time can alter the condition of a man?
  Men.  There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; yet your butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon: he has wings; he’s more than a creeping thing.
  Sic.  He loved his mother dearly.
  Men.  So did he me; and he no more remembers his mother now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity and a heaven to throne in.
  Sic.  Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.        10
  Men.  I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find: and all this is ’long of you.
  Sic.  The gods be good unto us!
  Men.  No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us. When we banished him, we respected not them; and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.
 
Enter a Messenger.
  Mess.  Sir, if you’d save your life, fly to your house:        15
The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune,
And hale him up and down; all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home,
They’ll give him death by inches.
 
Enter a second Messenger.
        20
  Sic.        What’s the news?
  Sec. Mess.  Good news, good news! the ladies have prevail’d,
The Volscians are dislodg’d, and Marcius gone.
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.        25
  Sic.        Friend,
Art thou certain this is true? is it most certain?
  Sec. Mess.  As certain as I know the sun is fire:
Where have you lurk’d that you make doubt of it?
Ne’er through an arch so hurried the blown tide,        30
As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you!  [Trumpets and hautboys sounded, and drums beaten, all together.  Shouting also within.
The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance. Hark you!  [A shout within.
  Men.        This is good news:        35
I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full; of tribunes, such as you,
A sea and land full. You have pray’d well to-day:
This morning for ten thousand of your throats        40
I’d not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!  [Music still and shouts.
  Sic.  First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
Accept my thankfulness.
  Sec. Mess.        Sir, we have all
Great cause to give great thanks.        45
  Sic.        They are near the city?
  Sec. Mess.  Almost at point to enter.
  Sic.        We will meet them,
And help the joy.  [Going.
 
Enter the Ladies, accompanied by Senators, Patricians, and People.  They pass over the stage.
        50
  First Sen.  Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!
Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,
And make triumphant fires; strew flowers before them:
Unshout the noise that banish’d Marcius;
Repeal him with the welcome of his mother;        55
Cry, ‘Welcome, ladies, welcome!’
  All.        Welcome, ladies,
Welcome!  [A flourish with drums and trumpets.  Exeunt.
 
 
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