by William Shakespeare

SCENE IX. The Roman camp

Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter, at one door, Cominius with the Romans; at another door, Martius, with his arm in a scarf.

If I should tell thee o’er this thy day’s work,
Thou’t not believe thy deeds. But I’ll report it
Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles;
Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
I’ th’ 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 cam’st 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 vouched,
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 remembered.

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 “Martius, Martius!” and 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’ th’ field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
Made all of false-faced soothing! When steel grows soft
Soft as the parasite’s silk, let him be made
An ovator for the wars! No more, I say.
For that I have not washed my nose that bled,
Or foiled 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 Martius
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 Corioles, call him,
With all th’ applause and clamour of the host,
Caius Martius Coriolanus! Bear
Th’ addition nobly ever!

[Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums.]

Caius Martius 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 th’ 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 Corioles 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 Corioles
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’erwhelmed my pity. I request you
To give my poor host freedom.

O, well begged!
Were he the butcher of my son, he should
Be free as is the wind.—Deliver him, Titus.

Martius, 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 looked to. Come.

[A flourish of cornets. Exeunt.]

THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS by William Shakespeare

Status: Completed

Author: William Shakespeare

Native Language: English


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