/ Home / Library / Complete Shakespeare / The Tragedy of Coriolanus / Act I Scene IX
version of this page
The Tragedy of Coriolanus: Act 1 Scene 9
Scene IX The Roman camp.
- [Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish.
- Enter, from one side, COMINIUS with the Romans; from
- the other side, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf]
- If I should tell thee o'er this thy day's work,
- Thou'ldst not believe thy deeds: but I'll report it
- Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles,
- Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
- I' the end admire, where ladies shall be frighted,
- And, gladly quaked, hear more; where the
- dull tribunes,
- That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,
- Shall say against their hearts 'We thank the gods
- Our Rome hath such a soldier.'
- Yet camest thou to a morsel of this feast,
- Having fully dined before.
- [Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power,
- from the pursuit]
- O general,
- Here is the steed, we the caparison:
- Hadst thou beheld--
- Pray now, no more: my mother,
- Who has a charter to extol her blood,
- When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
- As you have done; that's what I can; induced
- As you have been; that's for my country:
- He that has but effected his good will
- Hath overta'en mine act.
- You shall not be
- The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
- The value of her own: 'twere a concealment
- Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
- To hide your doings; and to silence that,
- Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch'd,
- Would seem but modest: therefore, I beseech you
- In sign of what you are, not to reward
- What you have done--before our army hear me.
- I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
- To hear themselves remember'd.
- Should they not,
- Well might they fester 'gainst ingratitude,
- And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses,
- Whereof we have ta'en good and good store, of all
- The treasure in this field achieved and city,
- We render you the tenth, to be ta'en forth,
- Before the common distribution, at
- Your only choice.
- I thank you, general;
- But cannot make my heart consent to take
- A bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
- And stand upon my common part with those
- That have beheld the doing.
- [A long flourish. They all cry 'Marcius! Marcius!'
- cast up their caps and lances: COMINIUS and LARTIUS
- stand bare]
- May these same instruments, which you profane,
- Never sound more! when drums and trumpets shall
- I' the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
- Made all of false-faced soothing!
- When steel grows soft as the parasite's silk,
- Let him be made a coverture for the wars!
- No more, I say! For that I have not wash'd
- My nose that bled, or foil'd some debile wretch.--
- Which, without note, here's many else have done,--
- You shout me forth
- In acclamations hyperbolical;
- As if I loved my little should be dieted
- In praises sauced with lies.
- Too modest are you;
- More cruel to your good report than grateful
- To us that give you truly: by your patience,
- If 'gainst yourself you be incensed, we'll put you,
- Like one that means his proper harm, in manacles,
- Then reason safely with you. Therefore, be it known,
- As to us, to all the world, that Caius Marcius
- Wears this war's garland: in token of the which,
- My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
- With all his trim belonging; and from this time,
- For what he did before Corioli, call him,
- With all the applause and clamour of the host,
- CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS! Bear
- The addition nobly ever!
- [Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums]
- Caius Marcius Coriolanus!
- I will go wash;
- And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
- Whether I blush or no: howbeit, I thank you.
- I mean to stride your steed, and at all times
- To undercrest your good addition
- To the fairness of my power.
- So, to our tent;
- Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
- To Rome of our success. You, Titus Lartius,
- Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
- The best, with whom we may articulate,
- For their own good and ours.
- I shall, my lord.
- The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
- Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg
- Of my lord general.
- Take't; 'tis yours. What is't?
- I sometime lay here in Corioli
- At a poor man's house; he used me kindly:
- He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
- But then Aufidius was within my view,
- And wrath o'erwhelm'd my pity: I request you
- To give my poor host freedom.
- O, well begg'd!
- Were he the butcher of my son, he should
- Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.
- Marcius, his name?
- By Jupiter! forgot.
- I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
- Have we no wine here?
- Go we to our tent:
- The blood upon your visage dries; 'tis time
- It should be look'd to: come.