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The Tragedy of Coriolanus: Act 5 Scene 1
Scene I Rome. A public place.
- [Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS, BRUTUS,
- and others]
- No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said
- Which was sometime his general; who loved him
- In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
- But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him;
- A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
- The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
- To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
- He would not seem to know me.
- Do you hear?
- Yet one time he did call me by my name:
- I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
- That we have bled together. Coriolanus
- He would not answer to: forbad all names;
- He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
- Till he had forged himself a name o' the fire
- Of burning Rome.
- Why, so: you have made good work!
- A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
- To make coals cheap,--a noble memory!
- I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
- When it was less expected: he replied,
- It was a bare petition of a state
- To one whom they had punish'd.
- Very well:
- Could he say less?
- I offer'd to awaken his regard
- For's private friends: his answer to me was,
- He could not stay to pick them in a pile
- Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
- For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
- And still to nose the offence.
- For one poor grain or two!
- I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
- And this brave fellow too, we are the grains:
- You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
- Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.
- Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your aid
- In this so never-needed help, yet do not
- Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you
- Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
- More than the instant army we can make,
- Might stop our countryman.
- No, I'll not meddle.
- Pray you, go to him.
- What should I do?
- Only make trial what your love can do
- For Rome, towards Marcius.
- Well, and say that Marcius
- Return me, as Cominius is return'd,
- Unheard; what then?
- But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
- With his unkindness? say't be so?
- Yet your good will
- must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
- As you intended well.
- I'll undertake 't:
- I think he'll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip
- And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me.
- He was not taken well; he had not dined:
- The veins unfill'd, our blood is cold, and then
- We pout upon the morning, are unapt
- To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff'd
- These and these conveyances of our blood
- With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
- Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I'll watch him
- Till he be dieted to my request,
- And then I'll set upon him.
- You know the very road into his kindness,
- And cannot lose your way.
- Good faith, I'll prove him,
- Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
- Of my success.
- He'll never hear him.
- I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
- Red as 'twould burn Rome; and his injury
- The gaoler to his pity. I kneel'd before him;
- 'Twas very faintly he said 'Rise;' dismiss'd me
- Thus, with his speechless hand: what he would do,
- He sent in writing after me; what he would not,
- Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions:
- So that all hope is vain.
- Unless his noble mother, and his wife;
- Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him
- For mercy to his country. Therefore, let's hence,
- And with our fair entreaties haste them on.