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ACT III SCENE III. The same. The Forum.
BRUTUSIn this point charge him home, that he affects
Tyrannical power: if he evade us there,
Enforce him with his envy to the people,
And that the spoil got on the Antiates
Was ne'er distributed.5
[Enter an AEdile]
What, will he come?
AEdileHe's coming.
BRUTUSHow accompanied?
AEdileWith old Menenius, and those senators
That always favour'd him.10
SICINIUSHave you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procured
Set down by the poll?
AEdileI have; 'tis ready.
SICINIUSHave you collected them by tribes?15
AEdileI have.
SICINIUSAssemble presently the people hither;
And when they bear me say 'It shall be so
I' the right and strength o' the commons,' be it either
For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them20
If I say fine, cry 'Fine;' if death, cry 'Death.'
Insisting on the old prerogative
And power i' the truth o' the cause.
AEdileI shall inform them.
BRUTUSAnd when such time they have begun to cry,25
Let them not cease, but with a din confused
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.
AEdileVery well.
SICINIUSMake them be strong and ready for this hint,30
When we shall hap to give 't them.
BRUTUSGo about it.
[Exit AEdile]
Put him to choler straight: he hath been used
Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
Of contradiction: being once chafed, he cannot35
Be rein'd again to temperance; then he speaks
What's in his heart; and that is there which looks
With us to break his neck.
SICINIUSWell, here he comes.
[ Enter CORIOLANUS, MENENIUS, and COMINIUS, with Senators and Patricians ]
MENENIUSCalmly, I do beseech you.40
CORIOLANUSAy, as an ostler, that for the poorest piece
Will bear the knave by the volume. The honour'd gods
Keep Rome in safety, and the chairs of justice
Supplied with worthy men! plant love among 's!
Throng our large temples with the shows of peace,45
And not our streets with war!
First SenatorAmen, amen.
MENENIUSA noble wish.
[Re-enter AEdile, with Citizens]
SICINIUSDraw near, ye people.
AEdileList to your tribunes. Audience: peace, I say!50
CORIOLANUSFirst, hear me speak.
Both TribunesWell, say. Peace, ho!
CORIOLANUSShall I be charged no further than this present?
Must all determine here?
SICINIUSI do demand,55
If you submit you to the people's voices,
Allow their officers and are content
To suffer lawful censure for such faults
As shall be proved upon you?
CORIOLANUSI am content.60
MENENIUSLo, citizens, he says he is content:
The warlike service he has done, consider; think
Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
Like graves i' the holy churchyard.
CORIOLANUSScratches with briers,65
Scars to move laughter only.
MENENIUSConsider further,
That when he speaks not like a citizen,
You find him like a soldier: do not take
His rougher accents for malicious sounds,70
But, as I say, such as become a soldier,
Rather than envy you.
COMINIUSWell, well, no more.
CORIOLANUSWhat is the matter
That being pass'd for consul with full voice,75
I am so dishonour'd that the very hour
You take it off again?
SICINIUSAnswer to us.
CORIOLANUSSay, then: 'tis true, I ought so.
SICINIUSWe charge you, that you have contrived to take80
From Rome all season'd office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which you are a traitor to the people.
CORIOLANUSHow! traitor!
MENENIUSNay, temperately; your promise.85
CORIOLANUSThe fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the people!
Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thy hand clutch'd as many millions, in
Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say90
'Thou liest' unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.
SICINIUSMark you this, people?
CitizensTo the rock, to the rock with him!
We need not put new matter to his charge:
What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
Opposing laws with strokes and here defying
Those whose great power must try him; even this,100
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves the extremest death.
BRUTUSBut since he hath
Served well for Rome,--
CORIOLANUSWhat do you prate of service?105
BRUTUSI talk of that, that know it.
MENENIUSIs this the promise that you made your mother?
COMINIUSKnow, I pray you,--
CORIOLANUSI know no further:110
Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
Vagabond exile, raying, pent to linger
But with a grain a day, I would not buy
Their mercy at the price of one fair word;
Nor cheque my courage for what they can give,115
To have't with saying 'Good morrow.'
SICINIUSFor that he has,
As much as in him lies, from time to time
Envied against the people, seeking means
To pluck away their power, as now at last120
Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
That do distribute it; in the name o' the people
And in the power of us the tribunes, we,
Even from this instant, banish him our city,125
In peril of precipitation
From off the rock Tarpeian never more
To enter our Rome gates: i' the people's name,
I say it shall be so.
CitizensIt shall be so, it shall be so; let him away:130
He's banish'd, and it shall be so.
COMINIUSHear me, my masters, and my common friends,--
SICINIUSHe's sentenced; no more hearing.
COMINIUSLet me speak:
I have been consul, and can show for Rome135
Her enemies' marks upon me. I do love
My country's good with a respect more tender,
More holy and profound, than mine own life,
My dear wife's estimate, her womb's increase,
And treasure of my loins; then if I would140
Speak that,--
SICINIUSWe know your drift: speak what?
BRUTUSThere's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
As enemy to the people and his country:
It shall be so.145
CitizensIt shall be so, it shall be so.
CORIOLANUSYou common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;150
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length155
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,160
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.
[ Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENENIUS, Senators, and Patricians ]
AEdileThe people's enemy is gone, is gone!
CitizensOur enemy is banish'd! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!
[Shouting, and throwing up their caps]
SICINIUSGo, see him out at gates, and follow him,165
As he hath followed you, with all despite;
Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard
Attend us through the city.
CitizensCome, come; let's see him out at gates; come.
The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come.170

Next: Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 1


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