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Aur. Name not the god, thou boy of tears,
Too great for what contains it. Boy! O slave !-
The lie unto him. 1 LORD.
Peace, both, and hear me speak.
Stain all your edges on me.—Boy! False hound !
you have writ your annals true, 't is there,
Alone I did it.-Boy!
Why, noble lords,
'Fore your own eyes and ears? Con. Let him die for 't.
[Several speak at once. CITIZENS. [Speaking promiscuously.] Tear him to pieces, do it presently. He
killed my son ;-my daughter ;-He killed my cousin Marcus ;-He killed my
The man is noble, and his fame folds in
And trouble not the peace.
O, that I had him, With six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword ! AUF.
Insolent villain! Con. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill him! [AUFIDIUS and the Conspirators draw, and kill CORIOLANUS, who
falls, and AUFIDIUS stands on him. LORDS.
Hold, hold, hold, hold ! Aur. My noble masters, hear me speak. 1 LORD.
O Tullus, 2 LORD. Thou hast done a deed whereat valour will weep. 3 LORD. Tread not upon him.—Masters all, be quiet; Put
up your swords.
Aur. My lords, when you shall know (as in this rage,
Provok'd by him, you cannot) the great danger
Your heaviest censure. 1 LORD.
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. 2 LORD.
His own impatience Takes from Aufidius a great part of blame.
Let's make the best of it. AUF.
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.
SCENE I.—" Suffer us to famish, and their they had lent was not the worst thing that was
storehouses crammed with grain.” herein; but that the lenity that was favoured PLUTARCH describes two insurrections of the
was a beginning of disobedience, and that the Roman plebeians against the patricians. The proud attempt of the commonalty was to abolish
law, and to bring all to confusion; therefore second was on account of the scarcity of corn.
he said, if the senate were wise they should be
times prevent and quench this ill-favoured and 2 SCENE I.
worse-meant beginning. The senate met many “ Make edicts for usury, to support usurers."
days in consultation about it; but in the end This was the principal cause of the first in- they concluded nothing.
Of those, surrection; and it was upon this occasion that Menenius Agrippa was he who was sent for Menenius told the “pretty tale” which Shak- chief man of the message from the senate. He, spere has so dramatically treated :
after many good persuasions and gentle requests “Now, he being grown to great credit and made to the people on the behalf of the senate, authority in Rome for his valiantness, it fortuned knit up his oration in the end with a notable there grew sedition in the city, because the tale, in this manner :-That, on a time, all the senate did favour the rich against the people, members of man's body did rebel against the who did complain of the sore oppression of belly, complaining of it that it only remained usurers, of whom they borrowed money. in the midst of the body, without doing anyWhereupon their chief magistrates and many of thing, neither did bear any labour to the mainthe senate began to be of divers opinions among tenance of the rest ; whereas all other parts and themselves. For some thought it was reason members did labour painfully, and were very they should somewhat yield to the poor people's careful to satisfy the appetites and desires of the request, and that they should a little qualify the body. And so the belly, all this notwithstandseverity of the law; other held hard against that ing, laughed at their folly, and said, It is true I opinion, and that was Martius for one; for he first receive all meats that nourish man's body; alleged that the creditors losing their money but afterwards I send it again to the nourishment of other parts of the same. Even so, married, “never left his mother's house;" and (quoth he), O you, my masters and citizens of Sbakspere has beautifully exhibited Volumnia Rome, the reason is alike between the senate and Virgilia following their domestic occupaand you; for, matters being well digested, and tions together. their counsels thoroughly examined, touching the benefit of the commonwealth, the senators · SCENE III.-" To a cruel war I sent him; are cause of the common commodity that from whence he returned, his brows bound cometh unto every one of you.
with oak.” suasions pacified the people, conditionally that
Plutarch thus describes the prowess of Coriothe senate would grant there should be yearly
lanus, chosen five magistrates, which they now call
“When yet he was but tender-bodied :" Tribuni plebis, whose office should be to defend
“The first time he went to the wars, being the poor people from violence and oppression. So Junius Brutus and Sicinius Velutus were the but a stripling, was when Tarquin, surnamed first tribunes of the people that were chosen, the Proud (that had been King of Rome, and who had only been the causers and procurers of was driven out for his pride, after many attempts this sedition."
made by sundry battles to come in again, whereShakspere found the apologue also in Cam- in he was ever overcome), did come to Rome den’s ‘Remains,' and he has availed himself of with all the aid of the Latins, and many other one or two peculiarities of the story, as there people of Italy, even, as it were, to set up his related :
whole rest upon a battle by them, who with a “ All the members of the body conspired him into his kingdom again, not so much to
great and mighty army had undertaken to put against the stomach, as against the swallowing gulf of all their labours : for whereas the eyes pleasure him as to overthrow the power of the beheld, the ears heard, the hands laboured, the Romans, whose greatness they both feared and feet travelled, the tongue spake, and all parts and sharp encounters of either party, Martius
envied. In this battle, wherein were many hot performed their functions; only the stomach lay idle and consumed all. Hereupon they jointly valiantly fought in the sight of the dictator; agreed all to forbear their labours, and to pine and a Roman soldier
being thrown to the ground away their lazy and public enemy. One day
even hard by him, Martius straight bestrid him, passed over, the second followed very tedious,
and slew the enemy with his own hands that but the third day was so grievous to them all had before overthrown the Roman. Hereupon,
after the battle was won,' the dictator did not that they called a common council. The eyes waxed dim, the feet could not support the body, forget so noble an act, and therefore, first of all, the arms waxed lazy, the tongue faltered and he crowned Martius with a garland of oaken could not lay open the matter; therefore they boughs: for whosoever saveth the life of a all with one accord desired the advice of the Roman, it is a manner among them to honour heart. There reason laid open before them,"
him with such a garland." &c.
3 SCENE IV.- :-"Before Corioli." • SCENE III.—“ I pray you, daughter, sing." Shakspere has followed Plutarch very closely According to Plutarch, Coriolanus, when he in his narrative of the war against the Volces.
with such wonderful dramatic power, is told • SCENE II. “ It then remains
very briefly in Plutarch :That you do speak to the people."
‘Shortly after this, Martius stood for the The circumstance of Coriolanus standing for consulship, and the common people favoured the consulship, which Shakspere has painted | his suit, thinking it would be a shame to them
to deny and refuse the chiefest noble man of was not a man among the people but was blood, and most worthy person of Rome, and ashamed of himself to refuse so valiant a man; specially him that had done so great service and one of them said to another, We must and good to the commonwealth ; for the custom needs choose him consul, there is no remedy." of Rome was at that time that such as did sue for any office should, for certain days before, be
7 SCENE III.—“What stock he springs of." in the market-place, only with a poor gown on
The Life of Coriolanus,' in Plutarch, opens their backs, and without any coat underneath, with the following sentence :to pray the citizens to remember them at the “The house of the Martians at Rome was of day of election ; which was thus devised, either the number of the patricians, out of the which to move the people the more by requesting have sprung many noble personages, whereof them in such mean apparel, or else because Ancus Martius was one, King Numa's daughthey might show them their wounds they had ter's son, who was King of Rome after Tullus gotten in the wars in the service of the com- Hostilius. Of the same house was Publius and monwealth, as manifest marks and testimonies Quintus, who brought to Rome their best water of their valiantness. * • Now, Martius, they had by conduits. Censorinus also came of following this custom, showed many wounds that family, that was so surnamed because the and cuts upon his body, which he had received people had chosen him censor twice, through in seventeen years' service at the wars, and in whose persuasion they made a law that no man many sundry battles, being ever the foremost from thenceforth might require or enjoy the man that did set out feet to fight; so that there censorship twice.”