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Deserv'd this so dishonour'd rub, laid falsely'

I' th' plain way of his merit.


Tell me of corn!

This was my speech, and I will speak't again;—
Men. Not now, not now.

1 Sen.

Not in this heat, sir, now.
Cor. Now, as I live, I will.-My nobler friends,
I crave their pardons :-

For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them
Regard' me as I do not flatter, and

Therein behold themselves: I say again,

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In soothing them, we nourish 'gainst our senate
The cockles of rebellion, insolence, sedition,

Which we ourselves have plough'd for, sow'd and scatter'd,

By mingling them with us, the honour'd number;
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to beggars.


Well, no more.

1 Sen. No more words, we beseech you.

How! no more?

As for my country I have shed my blood,
Not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs
Coin words till their decay, against those meazels,
Which we disdain should tetter us, yet sought
The very way to catch them.


You speak o' th' people,

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Were I as patient as the midnight sleep,

By Jove, 'twould be my mind.


Treacherously, the metaphor is from the bowling-green.

• Look in the mirror which I hold up to them, a mirror which

does not flatter, and see themselves.

A weed which grows up with the corn.

[COR. 54]


It is a mind,

Shall remain !—

That shall remain a poison where it is,

Not poison any further.


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O good, but most unwise patricians, why,
You grave, but reckless senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an officer,

That with his peremptory shall, being but
The horn and noise o' th' monsters, wants not spirit
To say, he'll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power,
Then vail3 your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learned,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,

Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,

When both your voices blended, the greatest tastes
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate;
And such a one as he, who puts his shall,
His popular shall, against a graver bench
Than ever frown'd in Greece! By Jove himself,
It makes the consuls base: and my soul akes,
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion

May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take
The one by th' other.


Well-on to the market-place.

Was contrary to the established rule: it was a form of speech which he had no right to use.

2 Alluding to his having called him Triton before.

3 If this man have power, let the ignorance that gave it him vail or bow down before him. 4 by, for beside.

5 Meaning, that senators and plebeians are equal when the highest taste is best pleased with that which pleases the lowest. [COR. 55]

Cor. Whoever gave that counsel, to give forth The corn o' th' storehouse gratis, as 'twas us'd Sometime in Greece,


Well, well, no more of that.

Cor. (Though there the people had more absolute I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed

The ruin of the state.



Why, shall the people give

One, that speaks thus, their voice?



Cor. I'll give my reasons More worthier than their voices. They know, the corn Was not our recompense; resting well assur'd They ne'er did service for't: Being press'd to th❜ Even when the navel of the state was touch'd, They would not thread the gates: this kind of service Did not deserve corn gratis: being i' th' war, Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they show'd Most valour, spoke not for them: Th' accusation Which they have often made against the senate, All cause unborn, could never be the native Of our so frank donation. Well, what then? How shall this bosom multiplied3 digest The senate's courtesy? Let deeds express What's like to be their words :We did request it, We are the greater poll, and in true fear They gave us our demands:-Thus we debase The nature of our seats, and make the rabble Call our cares, fears: which will in time break The locks o' th' senate, and bring in the crows To peck the eagles.



Come, enough.

No, take more:

Bru. Enough, with over-measure.

What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal!-This double worship,-

Pass the gates.

• The natural parent.

3 This multitudinous bosom; the bosom of that great monster

the people.

[COR. 56]

Where one part does disdain with cause, the other.
Insult without all reason; where gentry, title, wisdom
Cannot conclude, but by the
and no
Of general ignorance,-it must omit


Real necessities, and give way the while

To unstable slightness: purpose so barr'd, it follows,
Nothing is done to purpose: Therefore, beseech you,-
You that will be less fearful than discreet;
That love the fundamental part of state,

More than you doubt' the change of't; that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish

To jump a body with a dangerous physick,
That's sure of death without it,-at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue, let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment, and bereaves the state
Of that integrity3 which should become it;
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For th' ill which doth control it.


He has said enough. Sic. He has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer As traitors do.

Cor. Thou wretch! despite o'erwhelm thee!-

What should the people do with these bald tribunes? On whom depending, their obedience fails

To th' greater bench: In a rebellion,

When what's not meet, but what must be, was law, Then were they chosen; in a better hour,

Let what is meet, be said it must be meet,

And throw their power i' th' dust.

Bru. Manifest treason.


This a consul? no.

Bru. The Ediles, ho!--Let him be apprehended. Sic. Go, call the people; [Exit BRUTUS.] in whose name, myself

Attach thee, as a traitorous innovator,

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A foe to th' poblick weal: Obey, I charge thee,

And follow to thine answer.


Sen. & Pat.


Hence, old goat!

We'll surety him.

Aged sir, hands off.

Cor. Hence, rotten thing, or I shall shake thy bones

Out of thy garments.


Help, ye citizens.

Re-enter BRUTUS, with the Ediles, and a rabble of


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[Several speak.

Cit. Down with him, down with him!

2 Sen.

Weapons, weapons, weapons! [They all bustle about CORIOLANUS.

Tribunes, patricians, citizens !--what ho!-
Sicinius, Brutus, Coriolanus, citizens!

Cit. Peace, peace, peace; stay, hold, peace! Men. What is about to be?-I am out of breath; Confusion's near: I cannot speak :-You, tribunes To the people, Coriolanus, patience :

Speak, good Sicinius.


Hear me, people;-Peace.
Cit. Let's hear our tribune :-Peace. Speak, speak,


Sic. You are at point to lose your liberties: Marcius would have all from you; Marcius, Whom late you have nam'd for consul.

Fye, fye, fye!

This is the way to kindle, not to quench.
1 Sen. To unbuild the city, and to lay all flat.
Sic. What is the city, but the people?


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