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And saving those that
Your knee, sirrah. Cor. That's my brave boy.
Vol. Even he, your wife, this lady, and myself, Are suitors to you. Cor.
I beseech you, peace:
Or, if you'd ask, remember this before ;
The things, I have forsworn to grant, may never
Be held by your denials. Do not bid me
Dismiss my soldiers, or capitulate
Again with Rome's mechanicks :—Tell me not
Wherein I seem unnatural : Desire not
To allay my rages and revenges, with
Your colder reasons.
0, no more, no more!.
You have said, you will not grant us any thing;
For we have nothing else to ask, but that
Which you deny already : Yet we will ask;
you fail in our request, the blame May hang upon your hardness: therefore hear us.
Čor. Aufidius, and you Volces, mark; for we'll Hear nought from Rome in private. Your request? Vol. Should we be silent and not speak, our rai
ment, And state of bodies would bewray what life We have led since thy exíle. Think with thyself, How more unfortunate than all living women Are we come hither : since that thy sight, which
should Make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with
comforts, Constrains them weep, and shake with fear and
• That, if you fail in our request,] That is, if you fail to grant us our request; if you are found failing or deficient in love to your country, and affection to your friends, when our request shall have been made to you, the blame, &c.
Making the mother, wife, and child, to see
The son, the husband, and the father, tearing
His country's bowels out. And to poor we,
Thine enmity's most capital : thou barr'st us
Our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort
That all but we enjoy: For how can we,
Alas! how can we for our country pray,
Whereto we are bound ; together with thy victory,
Whereto we are bound ? Alack! or we inust lose
The country, our dear'nurse; or else thy person,
Our comfort in the country. We must find
An evident calamity, though we had
Our wish, which side should win : for either thou
Must, as a foreign recreant, be led
With manacles through our streets, or else
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin;
And bear the palm, for having bravely shed
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
purpose not to wait on fortune, till
These wars determine :: if I cannot persuade thee
Rather to show a noble grace to both parts,
Than seek the end of one, thou shalt no sooner
March to assault thy country, than to tread
(Trust to't, thou shalt not) on thy mother's womb,
That brought thee to this world.
Ay, and on mine, That brought you forth this boy, to keep your name Living to time. Boy.
He shall not tread on me; I'll run away till I am bigger, but then I'll fight.
Cor. Not of a woman's tenderness to be, Requires nor child nor woman's face to see. I have sat too long.
Nay, go not from us thus, If it were so, that our request did tend
To save the Romans, thereby to destroy
The Volces whom you serve, you might condemn us,
As poisonous of your honour: No; our suit
Is, that you reconcile them: while the Volces
May say, This mercy we have shew'd; the Romans,
This we receiv'd; and each in either side
Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, Be bless'd
For making up this peace! Thou know'st, great son,
The end of war's uncertain ; but this certain,
That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit
Which thou shalt thereby reap, is such a name,
Whose repetition will be dogg'd with curses ;
Whose chronicle thus writ,-The man was noble,
But with his last attempt he wip'd it out ;
Destroy'd his country ; and his name remains
To the ensuing age, abhorr’d. Speak to me, son :
Thou hast affected the fine strains of honour,
To imitate the graces of the gods ;
To tear with thunder the wide cheeks o'the air,
And yet to charge thy sulphur? with a bolt
That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?
Think'st thou it honourable for a noble man
Still to remember wrongs :-Daughter, speak you:
He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy:
Perhaps, thy childishness will move him more
Than can our reasons.-There is no man in the
More bound to his mother; yet here he lets me prate
Like one i' the stocks. Thou hast never in thy life
Show'd thy dear mother any courtesy ;
When she, (poor hen !) fond of no second brood,
Has cluck'd thee to the wars, and safely home,
Loaden with honour. Say, my request's unjust,
And spurn me back : But, if it be not so,
Thou art not honest; and the gods will plague thee,
That thou restrain'st from me the duty, which
To a mother's part belongs.-He turns away :
Down, ladies ; let us shame him with our knees.
To his surname Coriolanus 'longs more pride,
Than pity to our prayers. Down; An end :
This is the last ;-So we will home to Rome,
And die among our neighbours.-Nay, behold us :
This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,
But kneels, and holds up hands, for fellowship,
Does reason our petition with more strength
Than thou hast to deny't.--Come, let us go :
This fellow had a Volscian to his mother ;
His wife is in Corioli, and his child
Like him by chance :-Yet give us our despatch :
I am hush'd until our city be afire,
And then I'll speak a little.
O mother, mother! [Holding VOLUMnia by the Hands, silent. What have you done? Behold, the heavens do
The gods look down, and this unnatural scene
They laugh at. O my mother, mother! O!
You have won a happy victory to Rome:
But, for your son-believe it, 0, believe it,
Most dangerously you have with him prevailid,
If not most mortal to him. But, let it come :-
Aufidius, though I cannot make true wars,
I'll frame convenient peace. Now, good Aufidius,
Were you in my stead, say, would you have heard
A mother less > or granted less, Aufidius?
Auf. I was mov'd withal.
I dare be sworn, you were : And, sir, it is no little thing, to make
Does reason our petition -] Does argue for us and our pe tition
Mine eyes to sweat compassion. But, good sir,
What peace you'll make, advise me: for my part,
I'll not to Rome, I'll back with you ; and pray you,
Stand to me in this cause.O mother! wife!
Auf. I am glad, thou has set thy mercy and thy
At difference in thee: out of that I'll work
Myself a former fortune.
[Aside. [The Ladies make signs to CORIOLANUS. Cor.
Ay, by and by
[To VOLUMNIA, VIRGIlia, &c. But we will drink together; and you shall bear A better witness back than words, which we, On like conditions, will have counter-seal'd. Come, enter with us. Ladies, you deserve To have a temple built you: all the swords In Italy, and her confederate arms, Could not have made this peace. .
Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS.
Men. See you yond coign o'the Capitol ; yond' corner-stone ?
Sic. Why, what of that? .
Men. If it be possible for you to displace it with your little finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him.