Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Coriolanus
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
Act I. Scene IX.
The Roman Camp.
Alarum.  A retreat sounded.  Flourish.  Enter from one side, COMINIUS and Romans; from the other side, MARCIUS, with his arm in a scarf, and other Romans.
  Com.  If I should tell thee o’er this thy day’s work,
Thou’lt not believe thy deeds: but I’ll report it
Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles,        5
Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
I’ the end, admire; where ladies shall be frighted,
And, gladly quak’d, hear more; where the dull Tribunes,
That, with the fusty plebeians, hate thine honours,
Shall say, against their hearts,        10
‘We thank the gods our Rome hath such a soldier!’
Yet cam’st thou to a morsel of this feast,
Having fully din’d before.
Enter TITUS LARTIUS, with his power, from the pursuit.
  Lart.        O general,        15
Here is the steed, we the caparison:
Hadst thou beheld—
  Mar.        Pray now, no more: my mother,
Who has a charter to extol her blood,
When she does praise me grieves me. I have done        20
As you have done; that’s what I can; induc’d
As you have been; that’s for my country:
He that has but effected his good will
Hath overta’en mine act.
  Com.        You shall not be        25
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 vouch’d,        30
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.
  Mar.  I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
To hear themselves remember’d.        35
  Com.        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 achiev’d and city,        40
We render you the tenth; to be ta’en forth,
Before the common distribution,
At your only choice.
  Mar.        I thank you, general;
But cannot make my heart consent to take        45
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 ‘Marcius! Marcius!’ cast up their caps and lances: COMINIUS and LARTIUS stand bare.
  Mar.  May these same instruments, which you profane,
Never sound more! When drums and trumpets shall        50
I’ the field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
Made all of false-fac’d soothing!
When steel grows soft as is the parasite’s silk,
Let him be made a coverture for the wars!
No more, I say! For that I have not wash’d        55
My nose that bled, or foil’d some debile wretch,
Which, without note, here’s many else have done,
You shout me forth
In acclamations hyperbolical;
As if I lov’d my little should be dieted        60
In praises sauc’d with lies.
  Com.        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 incens’d, we’ll put you,        65
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 Marcius
Wears this war’s garland; in token of the which,
My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,        70
With all his trim belonging; and from this time,
For what he did before Corioli, call him,
With all the applause and clamour of the host,
The addition nobly ever!        75
  All.  Caius Marcius Coriolanus!  [Flourish.  Trumpets sound, and drums.
  Cor.  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        80
To undercrest your good addition
To the fairness of my power.
  Com.        So, to our tent;
Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
To Rome of our success. You, Titus Lartius,        85
Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
The best, with whom we may articulate,
For their own good and ours.
  Lart.        I shall, my lord.
  Cor.  The gods begin to mock me. I, that now        90
Refus’d most princely gifts, am bound to beg
Of my lord general.
  Com.        Take it; ’tis yours. What is ’t?
  Cor.  I sometime lay here in Corioli
At a poor man’s house; he us’d me kindly:        95
He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
But then Aufidius was within my view,
And wrath o’erwhelm’d my pity: I request you
To give my poor host freedom.
  Com.        O! well begg’d!        100
Were he the butcher of my son, he should
Be free as is the wind. Deliver him, Titus.
  Lart.  Marcius, his name?
  Cor.        By Jupiter! forgot.
I am weary; yea, my memory is tir’d.        105
Have we no wine here?
  Com.        Go we to our tent:
The blood upon your visage dries; ’tis time
It should be look’d to: come.  [Exeunt.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.