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Enter a Messenger.
Mes. The citizens of Corioli have issued,
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battel.
I saw our Party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.
Com. Tho' thou speak’st truth,
Methinks, thou speak ft not well. How long is't fince?
Mef. Above an hour, my lord.
Com. 'Tis not a mile: briefly, we heard their drums.
How could'st thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring the news so late?
Mef. Spies of the Volscians
Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Three or four miles about; else had I, Sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.
Com. Who's yonder,
That does appear as he were flca'd? O Gods!
He has the stamp of Marcius, and I have'
Before time seen him thus.
Mar. Come I too late?
Com. The shepherd knows not thunder from a
More than I know the found of Marcius tongue
From every meaner man.
Mar. Come I too late?
Com. Ay, if you come not in the blood of others, But mantled in your own. (8) The Shepherd knows not Thunder from a Tabor,
More than I know the Sound of Marcius' Tongue
From ev'ry meaner_Man.] This has the Air of an Imitation, whether Shakespeare really borrow'd it , or no, from the Original: I mean, what Ulyjës says in the Greek Poet of being able to distinguish Minerva's Voice, tho he did not see her.
Ως έυμαθές Σου, κάν άποπτος ή, όμως
Φώνημ’ ακέω, και ξυναρπάζω φρενα
Χαλκοςόμα κώδωνος ως Τυρσηνικής.
Sophoc. in Ajace.
Mar. Oh! let me clip ye (9)
In arms as found, as when I woo'd ; in heart
As merry, as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burnt to bedward.
Com. Flower of Warriors,
How is't with Titus Lartius?
Mar. As with a man busied about Decrees;
Condemning some to death, and some to exile,
Ransoming him, or pitying, threatning th' other ;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
Even like a fawning grey-hound in the leash,
To let him flip at will.
Com. Where is that slave,
Which told me they had beat you to your trenches ?
Where is he? call him hither.
Mar. Let him alone, He did inform the truth: but, for our gentlemen, The common file, (a plague! Tribunes for them!) The mouse ne'er shunnd the cat, as they did budge From rascals worse than they.
Com. But how prevail'd you?
Mar. Will the time serve to tell? I do not think
Where is the enemy? are you lords o'th' field?
If not, why ceafe you till you are so?
Com. Marcius, we have at disadvantage fought,
And did retire to win our purpose.
Mar. How lies their battel? know you on what side They have plac'd their men of trust?
Com. As I guess, Marcius,
Their bands i'th' vaward are the Antiates
Of their best trust: o'er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of hope.
Mar. I do beseech you,
By all the battels wherein we have fought,
(9) Ob! let me clip ye
In Arms as found, as when I woo'd in heart; ] Dr. Thirlby advised the different Regulation in the Pointing of this Passage ; which I have embraced, as I think it much improves the Sense and Spirit, and conveys too the Poet's Thought, that Marcius was as found in Limb, as when he went a Wooing; and as merry in Heart, as when going to Bed to his Bride.
By th' blood w’ave shed together, by the vows
W’ave made to endure friends, that
Set me against Aufidius, and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but
Filling the air with swords advanc'd, and darts,
Com. Though I could wish,
You were conducted to a gentle bath,
And balms applied to you, yet dare I never
Deny your asking; take your choice of those,
That best can aid your action.
Mar. Those are they,
That most are willing; If any such be here,
(As it were fin to doubt) that love this Painting,
Wherein you see me smear'd ; if any
Less for his person than an ill report :
If any think, brave death out-weighs bad life,
And that his country's dearer than himself,
Let him, alone, (or many, if so minded)
Wave thus, t'express his disposition,
And follow Marcius.
[They all sout, and wave their swords, take him up
in their arms, and cast up their caps.
Oh! me alone, make you a sword of me:
If these shews be not outward, which of you
But is four Volscians ? none of you, but is
Able to bear against the great Aufidius
A Shield as hard as his. A certain number
(Tho' thanks to all) must I select from all:
The rest shall bear the business in some other fight,
As cause will be obey'd; please you to march,
And four shall quickly draw out my Command,
Which men are best inclin'd.
Com. March on, my fellows:
Make good this ostentation, and you shall
Divide in all with uş,
SCENE changes to CORIOLI.
Titus Lartius having set a guard upon Corioli, going
with drum and trumpes toward Cominius and Caius Marcius; Enter with a lieutenant, other soldiers, and
a scout. Lart.
let the Ports be guarded; keep your duties, As I I do .
Those Centries to our aid; the rest will serve
For a short holding; if we lose the field,
We cannot keep the town.
Lieu. Fear not our care, Sir.
Lart. Hence, and thut your gates upon's:
Our guider, come! to th’ Roman Camp conduct us.
SCENE changes to the Roman Camp.
Alarum, as in battel. Enter Marcius and Aufidius,
at several doors. Mar. 'LL fight with none but thee, for I do hate
Worse than a promise-breaker.
Auf. We hate alike:
Not Africk owns a ferpent I abhor
More than thy Fame, and envy'; fix thy foot.
Mar. Let the first budger die the other's slave,
And the Gods doom him after!
Auf. If I fly, Marcius,
Hollow me like a Hare,
Mar. Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
And made what work I pleas'd: 'tis not my blood,
Wherein thou fee'ft me mask'd; for thy revenge,
Wrench up thy power to th' highest.
Auf. Wert thou the Hector,
That was the whip of your bragg'd Progeny, Thou should'st not 'scape me here. [Here they fight, and certain Volscians come to the
aid of Aufidius. Marcius fights, 'till they be driven
in breathless. Officious, and not valiant! -you have sham'd me In your condemned Seconds. Flourish. Alarum. A retreat is founded. Enter at one
door, Cominius with the Romans ; at another door, Marcius, with his arm in a scarf.
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; Where great Patricians shall attend and fhrug; I'th' end, admire; where ladies shall be frighted, And gladly quak’d, hear more; where the dull Tri. ,
That with the fusty Plebeians, hate thine honours,
Shall say against their hearts, We thank the Gods,
Our Rome hath such a Soldier !
Yet cam'ft thou to a morsel of this feast,
Having fully din'd before.
Ester. Titus Lartius with his Power, from the pursuit.
Lart. O General,
Here is the steed, we the caparison :
Hadit 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 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
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 llence that,