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• SCENE I.—"Are these your herd ?” and opinion, as one of a high mind and great We continue our quotations from North’s ‘Plu- courage, that lacked the gravity and affability tarch :'
that is gotten with judgment of learning and “But when the day of election was come, and reason, which only is to be looked for in a that Martius came to the market-place with governor of state; and that remembered not great pomp, accompanied with all the senate how wilfulness is the thing of the world which and the whole nobility of the city about him, a governor of a commonwealth for pleasing who sought to make him consul with the great should shun, being that which Plato called est instance and entreaty they could or ever
solitariness." attempted for any man or matter, then the love and good will of the common people turned
• SCENE III.—“First, hear me speak.” straight to an hate and envy toward him, fear- “So Martins came and presented himself to ing to put this office of sovereign authority into answer their accusations against him; and the his hands, being a man somewhat partial to people held their peace, and gave attentive ear wards the nobility, and of great credit and to hear what he would say. But where they authority amongst the patricians, and as one thought to have heard very humble and lowly they might doubt would take away altogether words come from him, he began not only to the liberty from the people. Whereupon, for use his wonted boldness of speaking, (which of these considerations, they refused Martius in itself was very rough and unpleasant, and did the end, and made two other that were suitors more aggravate his accusation than purge his consuls. The senate, being marvellously of- | innocency), but also gave himself in his words fended with the people, did account the shame to thunder, and look therewithal so grimly, as of this refusal rather to redound to themselves though he made no reckoning of the matter. than to Martius : but Martius took it in far This stirred coals among the people, who were worse part than the senate, and was out of all in wonderful fury at it, and their hate and patience; for he was a man too full of passion malice grew so toward him that they could and choler, and too much given over to self-will hold no longer, bear, nor endure his bravery and careless boldness. Whereupon Sicinius, tribes, there were three voices odd which conthe cruelest and stoutest of the tribunes, after demned him to be banished for ever. After he had whispered a little with his companions, declaration of the sentence, the people made did openly pronounce, in the face of all the such joy, as they never rejoiced more for any people, Martius as condemned by the tribunes battle they had won upon their enemies, they to die. Then, presently, he commanded the were so brave and lively, and went home so ædiles to apprehend him, and carry him straight jocundly from the assembly, for triumph of to the rock Tarpeian, and to cast him headlong this sentence. The senate again, in contrary down the same. When the ædiles came to lay manner, were as sad and heavy, repenting hands upon Martius to do that they were com- themselves beyond measure that they had not manded, divers of the people themselves thought rather determined to have done and suffered it too cruel and violent a deed."
anything whatsoever, before the common people
should so arrogantly and outrageously have 10 SCENE III.—“Our enemy is banish'd!”
abused their authority." “When they came to tell the voices of the
and had taken his leave of his mother and wife, " SCENE I.-" Come, leave your tears."
finding them weeping and striking out for sorThe departure of Coriolanus from Rome is thus row, and had also comforted and persuaded described by Plutarch :
them to be content with his chance, he went “When he was come home to his house again, immediately to the gate of the city, accom
panied with a great number of patricians that | recompense of the true and painful service I brought him thither, from whence he went on have done, and the extreme dangers I have been his way with three or four of his friends only, in, but this only surname, a good memory and taking nothing with him, nor requesting any witness of the malice and displeasure thou thing of any man. So he remained a few days shouldst bear me. Indeed the name only rein the country at his houses, turmoiled with maineth with me: for the rest, the envy and sundry sorts and kinds of thoughts, such as the cruelty of the people of Rome have taken from fire of his choler did stir up.”
me, by the sufferance of the dastardly nobility
and magistrates, who have forsaken me, and let 12 SCENE IV.—“A goodly city is this Antium.” me be banished by the people. This extremity
The entry of Coriolanus into the “ enemy hath now driven me to come as a poor suitor to city,” and the interview between the two rival take thy chimney-hearth, not of any hope I captains, is most graphically told by Plutarch. have to save my life thereby,-for if I had feared Shakspere has put forth all his strength in death I would not have come bither to have put working up the scene, and yet has kept to the myself in hazard,—but pricked forward with original with wonderful exactness :
desire to be revenged of them that thus have "It was even twilight when he entered the banished me, which now I do begin, in putting city of Antium, and many people met him in my person into the hands of their enemies. the streets, but no man knew him. So he went Wherefore, if thou hast any heart to be wreaked directly to Tullus Aufidius' house; and when he of the injuries thy enemies have done thee, came thither he got him up straight to the speed thee now, and let my misery serve thy chimney-hearth, and sat him down, and spake turn, and so use it as my service may be a not a word to any man, his face all muffled over. benefit to the Volces : promising thee that I They of the house, spying him, wondered what will fight with better good will for all you, than he should be, and yet they durst not bid I did when I was against you, knowing that him rise. For ill-favouredly muffled and dis- they fight more valiantly who know the force of guised as he was, yet there appeared a certain the enemy, than such as have never proved it. majesty in his countenance and in his silence : And if it be so that thou dare not, and that whereupon they went to Tullus, who was at thou art weary to prove fortune any more, then supper, to tell him of the strange disguising of I am also weary to live any longer. And it this man. Tullus rose presently from the board, were no wisdom in thee to save the life of him and, coming towards him, asked him what he who hath been heretofore thy mortal enemy, was, and wherefore he came. Then Martius and whose service now can nothing help nor unmuffled himself, and after he had paused pleasure thee. Tullus, hearing what he said, awhile, making no answer, he said unto him was a marvellous glad man, and, taking him by If thou knowest me not yet, Tullus, and, seeing the hand, he said unto him --Stand up, o me, dost not perhaps believe me to be the man Martius, and be of good cheer, for in proffering I am indeed, I must of necessity betray myself thyself unto us thou doest us great honour : to be that I am. I am Caius Martius, who hath and by this means thou mayst hope also of done to thyself particularly, and to all the greater things at all the Volces' hands. So he Volces generally, great hurt and mischief, which feasted him for that time, and entertained him I cannot deny for my surname of Coriolanus in the honourablest manner he could.” that I bear : for I never had other benefit nor
ACT V. 13 SCENE I.--" He would not seem to know me.” | and freedom of Rome as they had before given We continue our extracts from North’s ‘Pla- to the Latins. For otherwise, they had no tarch :'
other means to end this war if they did not “So they all agreed together to send ambas- grant these honest and just conditions of peace.” sadors unto him, to let him understand how his countrymen did call him home again, and re
11 SCENE III.—“My wife comes foremost.” stored him to all his goods, and besought him “She took her daughter-in-law, and Martius's to deliver them from this war. The ambas- children, with her, and, being accompanied with sadors that were sent were Martius's familiar all the other Roman ladies, they went in troop friends and acquaintance, who looked at the together unto the Volces' camp; whom, when least for a courteous welcome of him, as of they saw, they of themselves did both pity and their familiar friend and kinsman. Howbeit reverence her, and there was not a man among they found nothing less; for, at their coming, them that once durst say a word unto her. Now they were brought through the camp to the was Martius set then in his chair of state, with place where he was set in his chair of state, all the honours of a general, and when he had with a marvellous and an unspeakable majesty, spied the women coming afar off, he marvelled having the chiefest men of the Volces about what the matter meant; but afterwards, knowhim: so he commanded them to declare openly ing his 'wife which came foremost, he deterthe cause of their coming, which they delivered mined at the first to persist in his obstinate in the most humble and lowly words they pos- and inflexible rancour. But, overcome in the sibly could devise, and with all modest counte- end with natural affection, and being altogether nance and behaviour agreeable to the same. altered to see them, his heart would not serve When they had done their message, for the him to tarry their coming to his chair, but, injury they had done him he answered them coming down in haste, he went to meet them, very hotly and in great choler; but as general and first he kissed his mother, and embraced of the Volces, he willed them to restore unto her a pretty while, then his wife and little the Volces all their lands and cities they had children; and nature so wrought with him that taken from them in former wars; and, more- the tears fell from his eyes, and he could not over, that they should give them the like honour keep himself from making much of them, but
yielded to the affection of his blood, as if he delivery of all evils, which delivereth equal had been violently carried with the fury of a benefit and safety both to the one and the most swift running stream. After he had thus other, but most honourable for the Volces. For lovingly received them, and perceiving that his it shall appear that, having victory in their mother Volumnia would begin to speak to him, hands, they have of special favour granted us he called the chiefest of the council of the singular graces, peace, and amity, albeit themVolces to hear what she would say. Then she selves have no less part of both than we; of spake in this sort : If we held our peace (my which good, if so it come to pass, thyself is the son), and determined not to speak, the state of only author, and so hast thou the only honour. our poor bodies, and present sight of our rai- But if it fail, and fall out contrary, thyself ment, would easily betray to thee what life we alone deservedly shalt carry the shameful rehave led at home, since thy exile and abode proach and burden of either party; so, though abroad; but think now with thyself, how much the end of war be uncertain, yet this notwithmore unfortunate than all the women living we standing is most certain,-that, if it be thy are come hither, considering that the sight chance to conquer, this benefit shalt thou reap which should be most pleasant to all other to of thy goodly conquest, to be chronicled the behold, spiteful Fortune hath made most fearful plague and destroyer of thy country. And to us; making myself to see my son, and my if fortune overthrow thee, then the world daughter here her husband, besieging the walls will say, that through desire to revenge thy of his native country; so as that which is the private injuries, thou hast for ever undone only comfort to all other in their adversity and thy good friends, who did most lovingly misery, to pray unto the gods, and to call to and courteously receive thee.' Martius gave them for aid, is the only thing which plungeth good ear unto his mother's words without us into most deep perplexity. For we cannot interrupting her speech at all, and, after she (alas !) together pray both for victory to our had said what she would, he held his peace country, and for safety of thy life also; but a a pretty while, and answered not a word. world of grievous curses, yea, more than any Hereupon she began again to speak unto him, mortal enemy can heap upon us, are forcibly and said — My son, why dost thou not answer wrapped up in our prayers. For the bitter sop of me? dost thou think it good altogether to give most hard choice is offered thy wife and children, place unto thy choler and desire of revenge, to forego one of the two-either to lose the and thinkest thou it not honesty for thee to person of thyself, or the nurse of their native grant thy mother's request in so weighty a country. For myself, my son, I am determined cause? dost thou take it honourable for a noble not to tarry till fortune in my lifetime do make man to remember the wrongs and injuries done an end of this war. For if I cannot persuade him, and dost not, in like case, think it an thee rather to do good unto both parties, than honest noble man's part to be thankful for the to overthrow and destroy the one, preferring goodness that parents do show to their children, love and nature before the malice and calamity acknowledging the duty and reverence they of wars, thou shalt see, my son, and trust unto ought to bear unto them? No man living is it, thou shalt no sooner march forward to assault more bound to show himself thankful in all thy country, but thy foot shall tread upon thy parts and respects than thyself, who so unimother's womb, that brought thee first into this versally showest all ingratitude. Moreover, world. And I may not defer to see the day, my son, thou hast sorely taken of thy country, either that my son be led prisoner in triumph exacting grievous payments upon them in reby his natural countrymen, or that he himself venge of the injuries offered thee; besides, do triumph of them and of his natural country. thou hast not hitherto showed thy poor mother For if it were so that my request tended to save any courtesy, and therefore it is not only honest, thy country in destroying the Volces, I must but due unto me, that, without compulsion, I confess thou wouldst hardly and doubtfully should obtain my so just and reasonable request resolve on that. For as to destroy thy natural of thee. But since by reason I cannot persuade country, it is altogether unmeet and unlawful; thee to it, to what purpose do I defer my last so were it not just, and less honourable, to hope?' And with these words, herself, his wife betray those that put their trust in thee. But and children, fell down upon their knees before my only demand consisteth to make a gaol- l him. Martius, seeing that, could refrain no