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CORI O L A N U S.
DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS, TULLUS AUFIDIUS, General of a noble Roman.
Two Volscian Guards.
VALERIA, Friend to Virgilia. A Roman Herald.
Gentlewoman, attending on Virgilia. Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ædiles, Lictors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attendants. SCENE, partly in Rome; and partly in the Territories of the
Volscians and Antiates.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Romc. A Street.
Enter a Company of mutinous Citizens, with Staves, Clubs,
and other Weapons.
1 Cit. First you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.
All. We know't, we know 't.
1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we 'll have corn at our own price. Is 't a verdict?
All. No more talking on 't; let it be done. Away, away! 2 Cit. One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians good. What authority surfeits on, would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think, we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?
1 Cit. Very well; and could be content to give him good report for 't, but that he pays himself with being proud.
2 Cit. Nay, but speak not maliciously.
1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can be content to say it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
1 Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations: he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other side o' the city is risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!
All. Come, come.
Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
1 Cit. He's one honest enough: would, all the rest were so!
Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray you.
2 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate: they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we 'll show 'em in deeds. They say, poor suitors have strong breaths: they shall know, we have strong arms too.
Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neigh
Will you undo yourselves?
2 Cit. We cannot, Sir; we are undone already.
Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care
slander The helms o’the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.
2 Cit. Care for us? True, indeed! They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there 's all the love they bear us.
Men. Either you must
2 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, Sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale; but, an 't please you , deliver.
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members
2 Cit. Well, Sir, what answer made the belly?
Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Your belly's answer? What!
2 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,
Well, what then?
I will tell you,