ACT I SCENE IV

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Coriolanus


ACT I 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? 5
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. 10
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, 15
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 20
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! 25
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. 30
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: 35
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 40
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 45
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. 50
[ 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. 55
[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, 60
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, 65
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 70
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! 75
Let’s fetch him off, or make remain alike.
[They fight, and all enter the city]

Next: Coriolanus, Act 1, Scene 5