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ACT IV SCENE VI. Rome. A public place.
SICINIUS We hear not of him, neither need we fear him;
His remedies are tame i’ the present peace
And quietness of the people, which before
Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
Blush that the world goes well, who rather had, 5
Though they themselves did suffer by’t, behold
Dissentious numbers pestering streets than see
Our tradesmen with in their shops and going
About their functions friendly.
BRUTUS We stood to’t in good time. 10
Is this Menenius?
SICINIUS ‘Tis he,’tis he: O, he is grown most kind of late.
Both Tribunes Hail sir!
MENENIUS Hail to you both!
SICINIUS Your Coriolanus 15
Is not much miss’d, but with his friends:
The commonwealth doth stand, and so would do,
Were he more angry at it.
MENENIUS All’s well; and might have been much better, if
He could have temporized. 20
SICINIUS Where is he, hear you?
MENENIUS Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his wife
Hear nothing from him.
[Enter three or four Citizens]
Citizens The gods preserve you both!
SICINIUS God-den, our neighbours. 25
BRUTUS God-den to you all, god-den to you all.
First Citizen Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,
Are bound to pray for you both.
SICINIUS Live, and thrive!
BRUTUS Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish’d Coriolanus 30
Had loved you as we did.
Citizens Now the gods keep you!
Both Tribunes Farewell, farewell.
[Exeunt Citizens]
SICINIUS This is a happier and more comely time
Than when these fellows ran about the streets, 35
Crying confusion.
BRUTUS Caius Marcius was
A worthy officer i’ the war; but insolent,
O’ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
Self-loving,– 40
SICINIUS And affecting one sole throne,
Without assistance.
MENENIUS I think not so.
SICINIUS We should by this, to all our lamentation,
If he had gone forth consul, found it so. 45
BRUTUS The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.
[Enter an AEdile]
AEdile Worthy tribunes,
There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
Reports, the Volsces with two several powers 50
Are enter’d in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before ’em.
MENENIUS ‘Tis Aufidius,
Who, hearing of our Marcius’ banishment, 55
Thrusts forth his horns again into the world;
Which were inshell’d when Marcius stood for Rome,
And durst not once peep out.
SICINIUS Come, what talk you
Of Marcius? 60
BRUTUS Go see this rumourer whipp’d. It cannot be
The Volsces dare break with us.
MENENIUS Cannot be!
We have record that very well it can,
And three examples of the like have been 65
Within my age. But reason with the fellow,
Before you punish him, where he heard this,
Lest you shall chance to whip your information
And beat the messenger who bids beware
Of what is to be dreaded. 70
SICINIUS Tell not me:
I know this cannot be.
BRUTUS Not possible.
[Enter a Messenger]
Messenger The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the senate-house: some news is come 75
That turns their countenances.
SICINIUS ‘Tis this slave;–
Go whip him, ‘fore the people’s eyes:–his raising;
Nothing but his report.
Messenger Yes, worthy sir, 80
The slave’s report is seconded; and more,
More fearful, is deliver’d.
SICINIUS What more fearful?
Messenger It is spoke freely out of many mouths–
How probable I do not know–that Marcius, 85
Join’d with Aufidius, leads a power ‘gainst Rome,
And vows revenge as spacious as between
The young’st and oldest thing.
SICINIUS This is most likely!
BRUTUS Raised only, that the weaker sort may wish 90
Good Marcius home again.
SICINIUS The very trick on’t.
MENENIUS This is unlikely:
He and Aufidius can no more atone
Than violentest contrariety. 95
[Enter a second Messenger]
Second Messenger You are sent for to the senate:
A fearful army, led by Caius Marcius
Associated with Aufidius, rages
Upon our territories; and have already
O’erborne their way, consumed with fire, and took 100
What lay before them.
COMINIUS O, you have made good work!
MENENIUS What news? what news?
COMINIUS You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
To melt the city leads upon your pates, 105
To see your wives dishonour’d to your noses,–
MENENIUS What’s the news? what’s the news?
COMINIUS Your temples burned in their cement, and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
Into an auger’s bore. 110
MENENIUS Pray now, your news?
You have made fair work, I fear me.–Pray, your news?–
If Marcius should be join’d with Volscians,–
He is their god: he leads them like a thing 115
Made by some other deity than nature,
That shapes man better; and they follow him,
Against us brats, with no less confidence
Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
Or butchers killing flies. 120
MENENIUS You have made good work,
You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much
on the voice of occupation and
The breath of garlic-eaters!
COMINIUS He will shake 125
Your Rome about your ears.
MENENIUS As Hercules
Did shake down mellow fruit.
You have made fair work!
BRUTUS But is this true, sir? 130
COMINIUS Ay; and you’ll look pale
Before you find it other. All the regions
Do smilingly revolt; and who resist
Are mock’d for valiant ignorance,
And perish constant fools. Who is’t can blame him? 135
Your enemies and his find something in him.
MENENIUS We are all undone, unless
The noble man have mercy.
COMINIUS Who shall ask it?
The tribunes cannot do’t for shame; the people 140
Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
Should say ‘Be good to Rome,’ they charged him even
As those should do that had deserved his hate,
And therein show’d like enemies. 145
MENENIUS ‘Tis true:
If he were putting to my house the brand
That should consume it, I have not the face
To say ‘Beseech you, cease.’ You have made fair hands,
You and your crafts! you have crafted fair! 150
COMINIUS You have brought
A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
So incapable of help.
Both Tribunes Say not we brought it.
MENENIUS How! Was it we? we loved him but, like beasts 155
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
Who did hoot him out o’ the city.
They’ll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
The second name of men, obeys his points 160
As if he were his officer: desperation
Is all the policy, strength and defence,
That Rome can make against them.
[Enter a troop of Citizens]
MENENIUS Here come the clusters.
And is Aufidius with him? You are they 165
That made the air unwholesome, when you cast
Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at
Coriolanus’ exile. Now he’s coming;
And not a hair upon a soldier’s head
Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs 170
As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
And pay you for your voices. ‘Tis no matter;
if he could burn us all into one coal,
We have deserved it.
Citizens Faith, we hear fearful news. 175
First Citizen For mine own part,
When I said, banish him, I said ’twas pity.
Second Citizen And so did I.
Third Citizen And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very
many of us: that we did, we did for the best; and 180
though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet
it was against our will.
COMINIUS Ye re goodly things, you voices!
MENENIUS You have made
Good work, you and your cry! Shall’s to the Capitol? 185
COMINIUS O, ay, what else?
SICINIUS Go, masters, get you home; be not dismay’d:
These are a side that would be glad to have
This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
And show no sign of fear. 190
First Citizen The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let’s home.
I ever said we were i’ the wrong when we banished
Second Citizen So did we all. But, come, let’s home.
[Exeunt Citizens]
BRUTUS I do not like this news. 195
BRUTUS Let’s to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
Would buy this for a lie!
SICINIUS Pray, let us go.

Next: Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 7