Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.

1 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 neighbours, Will you undo yourselves?

1 Cit. We cannot, sir, we are undone already. Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman state; whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment: For the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. You are transported by calamity Thither where more attends you; and you slander The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.

Alack,

1 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

[ocr errors]

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To stale 't a little more.

1 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

Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it: -
That only like a gulf it did remain

I' the midst o'the body, idle and inactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest; where the other instru-

ments

Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered,

1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus,
(For, look you, I may make the belly smile,
As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly
As you malign our senators, for that
They are not such as you.

1 Cit. Your belly's answer: What! The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye, The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,

Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps
In this our fabrick, if that they
Men.

What then?

'Fore me, this fellow speaks! - what then? what then?

1 Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd, Who is the sink o' the body,

) —

Men.

Well, what then? 1 Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer? I will tell you ;

Men. If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little,) Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's answer. 1 Cit. You are long about it. Men.

Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd.
True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,
That I receive the general food at first,
Which you do live upon and fit it is;
Because I am the store-house, and the shop
Of the whole body: But if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,

Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o'the brain;
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins,
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: And though that all at once,
You, my good friends, (this says the belly), mark

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

|

Though all at once cannot See what I do deliver out to each; Yet I can make my audit up, that all From me do back receive the flower of all, And leave me but the bran. What

say you to't?

1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this? Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly, And you the mutinous members: For examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly, Touching the weal o'the common; you shall find, No publick benefit, which you receive, But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you, And no way from yourselves. - What do you think? You, the great toe of this assembly? 1 Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe? Men. For that being one o'the lowest, basest, poorest,

Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost :
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run
Lead'st first, to win some vantage.
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs;
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle,
The one side must have bale.-Hail, noble Marcius!

[ocr errors]

Enter CAIUS MARCIUS.

Mar. Thanks. - What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs ?

1 Cit. We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter Beneath abhorring.

What would you have, you

curs,

That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you, The other makes you proud. He that trusts you, Where he should find you lions, finds you hares; Where foxes, geese: You are no surer, no,

[blocks in formation]

Mar. Hang 'em! They say? They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know What's done i'the Capitol who's like to rise, Who thrives, and who declines: side factions, and give out

:

Conjectural marriages; making parties strong,
And feebling such as stand not in their liking,
Below their cobbled shoes. They say, there's grain
enough?

Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high
As I could pick my lance.

Men. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded;
For though abundantly they lack discretion,
Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,
What says the other troop?

Mar.

They are dissolved: Hang 'em! They said, they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs ; That, hunger broke stone walls; that, dogs must eat; That, meat was made for mouths; that, the gods

sent not

[blocks in formation]

Mar. I am glad on't; then we shall have means

to vent

Our musty superfluity : — See, our best elders.
Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators;
JUNIUS BRUTUS, and SICINIUS VELUTUS.
1 Sen. Marcius, 'tis true, that you have lately told

us;
The Volces are in arms.
Mar.
They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
I sin in envying his nobility:
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.

Com.
You have fought together.
Mar. Were half to half the world by the ears,
and he

Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make
Only my wars with him: he is a lion
That I am proud to hunt.

1 Sen.
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
Com. It is your former promise.
Mar.
Sir, it is;
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face:
What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?

Tit.

No, Caius Marcius; I'll lean upon one crutch, and fight with the other, Ere stay behind this business.

Men.

1 Sen. Your company to the know, Our greatest friends attend us.

Tit.

Follow, Cominius; we must follow you;
Right worthy you priority.

O, true bred! Capitol; where, 1

Lead you on:

Com. Noble Lartius! 1 Sen. Hence! To your homes, be gone. [To the Citizens. Mar. Nay, let them follow: The Volces have much corn; take these rats thither, To gnaw their garners: - Worshipful mutineers, Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.

[Exeunt Senators, Coм. MAR. TIT. and MENEN. Citizens steal away. Sic. Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius? Bru. He has no equal.

Sic. When we were chosen tribunes for the people,

Bru. Mark'd you his lip, and eyes?
Sic.
Nay, but his taunts.
Bru. Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the
gods.

Sic. Be-mock the modest moon.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Sic.

Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.

Bru.

Besides, if things go well, self in a more comfortable sort: If my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour, than in the embrace...ents of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way; when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I,-considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown made it not stir, — was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter,-I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.

Vir. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?

Come:
Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius,
Though Marcius earn'd them not; and all his faults
To Marcius shall be honours, though, indeed,
In aught he merit not.

Sic.
Let's hence, and hear
How the despatch is made; and in what fashion,
More than in singularity, he goes
Upon his present action.

Bru.

Let's along.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II. Corioli. The Senate-House.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, and certain Senators.
1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels,
And know how we proceed.

Auf.
Is it not yours?
What ever hath been thought on in this state,
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone,
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think,
I have the letter here; yes, here it is: [Reads.
They have press'd a power, but it is not known
Whether for east, or west: The earth is great;
The people mutinous: and it is rumour'd,
Cominius, Marcius your old enemy,
(Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,)
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither 'tis bent: most likely, 'tis for you:
Consider of it.

1 Sen.

Our army's in the field:
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
To answer us.
Auf.

Nor did you think it folly,
To keep your great pretences veil'd, till when
They needs must show themselves; which in the
hatching,

It seem'd, appear'd to Rome. By the discovery,
We shall be shorten'd in our aim; which was,
To take in many towns, ere, almost, Rome
Should know we were afoot.

[blocks in formation]

Vol. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely: -Had I a dozen sons, —each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius, - I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country, than one voluptuously surfeit out

-

of action.

Enter a Gentlewoman.

Gent. Madam, the lady Valeria is come to visit you.

Vir. 'Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.

Vol. Indeed, you shall not.

Methinks, I hear hither your husband's drum;
See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair;
As children from a bear, the Volces shunning him:
Methinks, I see him stamp thus, and call thus,
Come on, you cowards, you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome: His bloody brow
With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes;
Like to a harvest-man, that's task'd to mow
Or all, or lose his hire.

Vir. His bloody brow! O, Jupiter, no blood!
Vol. Away, you fool! it more becomes a man,
Than gilt his trophy: The breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead, when it spit forth blood
At Grecian swords' contending. Tell Valeria,
We are fit to bid her welcome.
[Exit Gent.
Vir. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!
Vol. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee,
And tread upon his neck.

Re-enter Gentlewoman, with VALERIA and her
Usher.

Val. My ladies both, good day to you.
Vol. Sweet madam,

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

Vir. I am glad to see your ladyship.

Val. How do you both? you are manifest housekeepers. What, are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your little son?

Vir. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam. Vol. He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than look upon his school-master.

Val. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear, 'tis a very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o' Wednesday half an hour together: he has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over

:

he comes, and up again; catched it again or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth, and tear it; O, I warrant, how he mammocked it!

Vol. One of his father's moods.

Val. Indeed la, 'tis a noble child.

Vir. A crack, madam.

Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have -ou play the idle huswife with me this afternoon. Vir. No, good madam ; I will not out of doors. Val. Not out of doors!

Vol. She shall, she shall.

Vir. Indeed, no, by your patience: I will not over the threshold, till my lord return from the

wars.

Val. Fye, you confine yourself most unreasonably; Come, you must go visit the good lady that

lies in.

Vir. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

Vol. Why, I pray you?

Vir. 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love. Val. You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all the yarn she spun, in Ulysses' absence, did but fill Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would, your cambrick were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shal go with us.

Vir. No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.

Val. In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you excellent news of your husband.

Vir. O, good madam, there can be none yet. Val. Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from him last night.

Vir. Indeed, madam ?

Val. In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is: The Volces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power: your lord, and Titus Lartius, are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go

with us.

Vir. Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every thing hereafter.

Vol. Let her alone, lady; as she is now, she will but disease our better mirth.

―――

Val. In troth, I think, she would: Fare you well then. -Come, good sweet lady. Pr'ythee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o'door, and go along with us.

Vir. No at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish you much mirth.

Val. Well, then farewell.

[Exeunt.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Mar. I'll buy him of you. Lart. No, I'll nor sell, nor give him: lend you him, I will, For half a hundred years. Summon the town. Mar. How far off lie these armies ? Mess. Within this mile and a half. Mar. Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they

ours.

Now, Mars, I pr'ythee, make us quick in work; That we with smoking swords may march from hence,

'Tis done.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

plagues

Plaster you o'er; that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat? Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale

With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge

home,

Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe,
And make my wars on you: look to't: Come on;
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.

Another ularum. The Volces and Romans re-enter, and the fight is renewed. The Volces retire into Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the gates Now prove gcod

So, now the gates are ope:

seconds:

'Tis for the followers fortune widens them. Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like. [He enters the gates, vnú is shut inka

[blocks in formation]

A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks, and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous, and did tremble.

SCENE V.

Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy.
Look, sir.

[ocr errors]

At a crack'd drachm! Cushions, leaden spoons,
Irons of a doit, doublets that hangmen would
Bury with those that wore them, these base slaves,
Ere yet the fight be done, pack up. Down with

them.
And hark, what noise the general makes! - To
him: -

There is the man of my soul's hate, Aufidius,
Piercing our Romans: Then, valiant Titus, take
Convenient numbers to make good the city;
Whilst I, with those that have the spirit, will haste
To help Cominius.

Lart.

Com.
Though thou speak'st truth,
Methinks, thou speak'st not well. How long i'st
since?

1 Sol.
Lart.
'Tis Marcius:
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.

Mess. Above an hour, my lord.
Com. 'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their
drums:
[They fight, and all enter the city. How could'st thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?
Within the Town. A Street.
Mess.
Spies of the Volces
Held me in chase, that I was forc'd to wheel
Enter certain Romans, with spoils.
Three or four miles about; else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.
Enter MARCIUS.

1 Rom. This will I carry to Rome.

2 Rom. And I this.

3 Rom. A murrain on't! I took this for silver. [Alarum continues still afar off. Enter MARCIUS and TITUS LARTIUS, with a trumpet. Mar. See here these movers, that do prize their hours,

[ocr errors]

Worthy sir, thou bleed'st; Thy exercise hath been too violent for

A second course of fight.

Mar.

Sir, praise me not:
My work hath yet not warm'd me: Fare you well.
The blood I drop is rather physical

Than dangerous to me: To Aufidius thus

I will appear, and fight.

Lart.
Now the fair goddess, Fortune,
Fall deep in love with thee; and her great charms
Misguide thy opposers' swords! Bold gentleman,
Prosperity be thy page!

Mar.

Thy friend no less Than those she placeth highest! So, farewell. Lart. Thou worthiest Marcius!

[Exit MARCIUS.

Go, sound thy trumpet in the market-place;
Call thither all the officers of the town,
Where they shall know our mind: Away. [Exeunt.

SCENE VI. Near the Camp of Cominius.
Enter COMINIUS and Forces, retreating.
Com. Breathe you, my friends; well fought: we
are come off

Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands,
Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs,

We shall be charg'd again. Whiles we have struck,
By interims, and conveying gusts, we have heard
The charges of our friends: — - Ye Roman gods,
Lead their successes as we wish our own;

That both our powers, with smiling fronts encoun-
tering,

Enter a Messenger.

May give you thankful sacrifice! -Thy news?
Mess. The citizens of Corioli have issued,
And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle:
I saw our party to their trenches driven,
And then I came away.

Com.
Who's yonder,
That does appear as he were flay'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
tabor,

More than I know the sound of Marcius tongue
From every meaner man's.

Mar.

Com. Ay, if you come not
But mantled in your own.

Come I too late?
in the blood of others,

Mar.
O! let me clip you
In arms as sound, as when I woo'd; in heart
As merry, as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn'd to bedward.

Flower of warriors,

Com.
How i'st with Titus Lartius ?

Mar. As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threat'ning the other;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
To let him slip at will.

Com.

Where is that slave. Which told me they had beat you to your trenchies? 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 shunn'd the cat, as they did budge
From rascals worse than they.
Com.

But how prevail'd you?

« PreviousContinue »