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Dramatis Personae
Act 1
Scene I
Scene II
Scene III
Scene IV
Scene V
Scene VI
Scene VII
Scene VIII
Scene IX
Scene X
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
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/ Home / Library / Complete Shakespeare / The Tragedy of Coriolanus / Act I Scene IV

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The Tragedy of Coriolanus: Act 1 Scene 4

Scene IV Before Corioli.

[Enter, with drum and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS
LARTIUS, Captains and Soldiers. To them a
Messenger]

MARCIUS
Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.

LARTIUS
My horse to yours, no.

MARCIUS
'Tis done.

LARTIUS
Agreed.

MARCIUS
Say, has our general met the enemy?

MESSENGER
They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.

LARTIUS
So, the good horse is mine.

MARCIUS
I'll buy him of you.

LARTIUS
No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I will
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.

MARCIUS
How far off lie these armies?

MESSENGER
Within this mile and half.

MARCIUS
Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.

[They sound a parley. Enter two Senators with others
on the walls]

Tutus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

FIRST SENATOR
No, nor a man that fears you less than he,
That's lesser than a little.

[Drums afar off]

Hark! our drums
Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls,
Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we, have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves.

[Alarum afar off]

Hark you. far off!
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.

MARCIUS
O, they are at it!

LARTIUS
Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!

[Enter the army of the Volsces]

MARCIUS
They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields. Advance,
brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
He that retires I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

[Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their
trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS cursing]

MARCIUS
All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! you herd of--Boils and plagues
Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
And make my wars on you: look to't: come on;
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.

[Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and MARCIUS
follows them to the gates]

So, now the gates are ope: now prove good seconds:
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.

[Enters the gates]

FIRST SOLDIER
Fool-hardiness; not I.

SECOND SOLDIER
Nor I.

[MARCIUS is shut in]

FIRST SOLDIER
See, they have shut him in.

ALL
To the pot, I warrant him.

[Alarum continues]

[Re-enter TITUS LARTIUS]

LARTIUS
What is become of Marcius?

ALL
Slain, sir, doubtless.

FIRST SOLDIER
Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd to their gates: he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.

LARTIUS
O noble fellow!
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou madst thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

[Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy]

FIRST SOLDIER
Look, sir.

LARTIUS
O,'tis Marcius!
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.

[They fight, and all enter the city]

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