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  • Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, with Attendants

  • Go tell the lords o' the city I am here:
    Deliver them this paper: having read it,
    Bid them repair to the market place; where I,
    Even in theirs and in the commons' ears,
    Will vouch the truth of it. Him I accuse
    The city ports by this hath enter'd and
    Intends to appear before the people, hoping
    To purge herself with words: dispatch.
    Exeunt Attendants
    Enter three or four Conspirators of AUFIDIUS' faction
    Most welcome!

  • How is it with our general?

  • Even so
    As with a man by his own alms empoison'd,
    And with his charity slain.

  • Most noble sir,
    If you do hold the same intent wherein
    You wish'd us parties, we'll deliver you
    Of your great danger.

  • Sir, I cannot tell:
    We must proceed as we do find the people.

  • The people will remain uncertain whilst
    'Twixt you there's difference; but the fall of either
    Makes the survivor heir of all.

  • I know it;
    And my pretext to strike at him admits
    A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn'd
    Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten'd,
    He water'd his new plants with dews of flattery,
    Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,
    He bow'd his nature, never known before
    But to be rough, unswayable and free.

  • Sir, his stoutness
    When he did stand for consul, which he lost
    By lack of stooping,--

  • That I would have spoke of:
    Being banish'd for't, he came unto my hearth;
    Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
    Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
    In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
    Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
    My best and freshest men; served his designments
    In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
    Which he did end all his; and took some pride
    To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
    I seem'd his follower, not partner, and
    He waged me with his countenance, as if
    I had been mercenary.

  • So he did, my lord:
    The army marvell'd at it, and, in the last,
    When he had carried Rome and that we look'd
    For no less spoil than glory,--

  • There was it:
    For which my sinews shall be stretch'd upon him.
    At a few drops of women's rheum, which are
    As cheap as lies, he sold the blood and labour
    Of our great action: therefore shall he die,
    And I'll renew me in his fall. But, hark!

  • Drums and trumpets sound, with great shouts of
    the People

  • Your native town you enter'd like a post,
    And had no welcomes home: but he returns,
    Splitting the air with noise.

  • And patient fools,
    Whose children he hath slain, their base throats tear
    With giving him glory.

  • Therefore, at your vantage,
    Ere he express himself, or move the people
    With what he would say, let him feel your sword,
    Which we will second. When he lies along,
    After your way his tale pronounced shall bury
    His reasons with his body.

  • Say no more:
    Here come the lords.

  • Enter the Lords of the city

  • You are most welcome home.

  • I have not deserved it.
    But, worthy lords, have you with heed perused
    What I have written to you?

  • And grieve to hear't.
    What faults he made before the last, I think
    Might have found easy fines: but there to end
    Where he was to begin and give away
    The benefit of our levies, answering us
    With our own charge, making a treaty where
    There was a yielding,--this admits no excuse.

  • He approaches: you shall hear him.

  • Enter CORIOLANUS, marching with drum and
    colours; commoners being with him

  • Hail, lords! I am return'd your soldier,
    No more infected with my country's love
    Than when I parted hence, but still subsisting
    Under your great command. You are to know
    That prosperously I have attempted and
    With bloody passage led your wars even to
    The gates of Rome. Our spoils we have brought home
    Do more than counterpoise a full third part
    The charges of the action. We have made peace
    With no less honour to the Antiates
    Than shame to the Romans: and we here deliver,
    Subscribed by the consuls and patricians,
    Together with the seal o' the senate, what
    We have compounded on.

  • Read it not, noble lords;
    But tell the traitor, in the high'st degree
    He hath abused your powers.

  • Ay, traitor, Marcius!

  • Ay, Marcius, Caius Marcius: dost thou think
    I'll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol'n name
    Coriolanus in Corioli?
    You lords and heads o' the state, perfidiously
    He has betray'd your business, and given up,
    For certain drops of salt, your city Rome,
    I say 'your city,' to his wife and mother;
    Breaking his oath and resolution like
    A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
    Counsel o' the war, but at his nurse's tears
    He whined and roar'd away your victory,
    That pages blush'd at him and men of heart
    Look'd wondering each at other.

  • Hear'st thou, Mars?

  • Name not the god, thou boy of tears!

  • Measureless liar, thou hast made my heart
    Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave!
    Pardon me, lords, 'tis the first time that ever
    I was forced to scold. Your judgments, my grave lords,
    Must give this cur the lie: and his own notion--
    Who wears my stripes impress'd upon him; that
    Must bear my beating to his grave--shall join
    To thrust the lie unto him.

  • Peace, both, and hear me speak.

  • Cut me to pieces, Volsces; men and lads,
    Stain all your edges on me. Boy! false hound!
    If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there,
    That, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I
    Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli:
    Alone I did it. Boy!

  • Why, noble lords,
    Will you be put in mind of his blind fortune,
    Which was your shame, by this unholy braggart,
    'Fore your own eyes and ears?

  • 'Tear him to pieces.' 'Do it presently.' 'He kill'd
    my son.' 'My daughter.' 'He killed my cousin
    Marcus.' 'He killed my father.'

  • Peace, ho! no outrage: peace!
    The man is noble and his fame folds-in
    This orb o' the earth. His last offences to us
    Shall have judicious hearing. Stand, Aufidius,
    And trouble not the peace.

  • O that I had him,
    With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
    To use my lawful sword!

  • Insolent villain!

  • Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him!

  • The Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS:
    AUFIDIUS stands on his body

  • Hold, hold, hold, hold!

  • My noble masters, hear me speak.

  • Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep.

  • Tread not upon him. Masters all, be quiet;
    Put up your swords.

  • My lords, when you shall know--as in this rage,
    Provoked by him, you cannot--the great danger
    Which this man's life did owe you, you'll rejoice
    That he is thus cut off. Please it your honours
    To call me to your senate, I'll deliver
    Myself your loyal servant, or endure
    Your heaviest censure.

  • Bear from hence his body;
    And mourn you for him: let him be regarded
    As the most noble corse that ever herald
    Did follow to his urn.

  • His own impatience
    Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
    Let's make the best of it.

  • My rage is gone;
    And I am struck with sorrow. Take him up.
    Help, three o' the chiefest soldiers; I'll be one.
    Beat thou the drum, that it speak mournfully:
    Trail your steel pikes. Though in this city he
    Hath widow'd and unchilded many a one,
    Which to this hour bewail the injury,
    Yet he shall have a noble memory. Assist.

  • Exeunt, bearing the body of CORIOLANUS. A dead
    march sounded