Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Coriolanus
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
Act I. Scene IV.
Before Corioli.
Enter, with drum and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Officers, and Soldiers.  To them a Messenger.
  Mar.  Yonder comes news: a wager they have met.
  Lart.  My horse to yours, no.
  Mar.        ’Tis done.        5
  Lart.                Agreed.
  Mar.  Say, has our general met the enemy?
  Mess.  They lie in view, but have not spoke as yet.
  Lart.  So the good horse is mine.
  Mar.        I’ll buy him of you.        10
  Lart.  No, I’ll nor sell nor give him; lend you him I will
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
  Mar.  How far off lie these armies?
  Mess.        Within this mile and half.
  Mar.  Then shall we hear their ’larum, and they ours.        15
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.
A Parley sounded.  Enter, on the Walls, two Senators, and Others.
Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?        20
  First Sen.  No, nor a man that fears you less than he,
That’s lesser than a little. Hark, our drums  [Drums afar off.
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;        25
They’ll open of themselves. Hark you, far off!  [Alarum afar off.
There is Aufidius: list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
  Mar.        O! they are at it!
  Lart.  Their noise be our instruction. Ladders, ho!        30
The  Volsces enter, and pass over the stage.
  Mar.  They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
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,        35
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
He that retires, I’ll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.
Alarum.  The Romans are beaten back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS.
  Mar.  All the contagion of the south light on you,        40
You shames of Rome! you herd of—Boils and plagues
Plaster you o’er, that you may be abhorr’d
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        45
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agu’d 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;        50
If you’ll stand fast, we’ll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches follow’d.
Another alarum.  The Volsces and Romans re-enter, and the fight is renewed.  The Volsces retire into Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the gates.
So, now the gates are ope: now prove good seconds:
’Tis for the followers Fortune widens them,        55
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.  [He enters the gates.
  First Sol.  Foolhardiness! not I.
  Sec. Sol.        Nor I.  [MARCIUS is shut in.
  Third Sol.  See, they have shut him in.
  All.        To the pot, I warrant him.  [Alarum continues.        60
  Lart.  What is become of Marcius?
  All.        Slain, sir, doubtless.
  First Sol.  Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,        65
Clapp’d-to their gates; he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
  Lart.        O noble fellow!
Who, sensibly, outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, Marcius:        70
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
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,        75
Thou mad’st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.
Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy.
  First Sol.        Look, sir!
  Lart.                O! ’tis Marcius!        80
Let’s fetch him off, or make remain alike.  [They fight, and all enter the city.

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