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It seemed, appeared to Rome. By the discovery,
Noble Aufidius, Take your commission; hie you to your bands; Let us alone to guard Corioli.
If they set down before us, for the remove
O, doubt not that; I speak from certainties. Nay, more, Some parcels of their powers are forth already, And only hitherward. I leave your honors. If we and Caius Marcius chance to meet, 'Tis sworn between us, we shall never strike Till one can do no more.
All. The gods assist you!
Auf. And keep your honors safe!
SCENE III. Rome. An Apartment in Marcius'
Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA. They sit down on two low stools, and sew.
Vol. I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a more comfortable sort. If my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honor, than in the embracements of his bed, where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb;
1 To take in was formerly used as we now use to take for to subdue, to conquer.
2" If the Romans besiege us, bring up your army to remove them.”
when youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way;1 when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I-considering how honor 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.2 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?
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.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum;
As children from a bear, the Volces shunning him.
Vir. His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!
1 Attracted the attention of every one toward him.
2 The crown given by the Romans to him that saved the life of a citizen.
3 This verb active (signifying to withdraw) occurs in The Tempest.
Than gilt his trophy. The breasts of Hecuba,
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,
Val. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.
Vir. A crack,3 madam.
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,1 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 schoolmaster.
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! Vcl. One of his father's moods.
Val. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle housewife with me this afternoon.
Vir. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.
1 i. e. a handsome spot of embroidery.
2 To mammock is to tear or cut in pieces.
3 A crack signifies a sprightly, forward boy. The word is often used by Jonson and his contemporaries.
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. Fie! 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 labor, 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 cambric were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall 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 honor; 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.
SCENE IV. Before Corioli.
Enter, with drum and colors, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Officers and Soldiers. To them a Messenger.
Mar. Yonder comes news.-A wager, they have met. Lart. My horse to yours, no.
Mar. Say, has our general met the enemy?
For half a hundred years.-Summon the town.
Mar. How far off lie these armies?
Mess. Within this mile and 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, To help our fielded friends! -Come, blow thy blast.
They sound a parley. Enter, on the walls, some
Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
1 Sen. No, nor a man that fears you less than he,2 That's lesser than a little. Hark, our drums
[Alarums afar off. Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls, Rather than they shall pound us up. Our gates, Which yet seem shut, we have but pinned with rushes; They'll open of themselves. Hark you, far off; [Other alarums.
1 i. e. our friends who are in the field.
2 The Poet means-No, nor a man that fears you more than he; but
he often entangles himself in the use of less and more.