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Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
The one side must have bale. Hail, noble Marcius!
Enter Caius MARCIUS.
Mar. Thanks. What 's the matter, you dissentious
That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?
We have ever your good word.
Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter
What would you have, you curs ,
That like nor peace, nor war? the one affrights you;
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy, whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness ,
Deserves your hate; and your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favours, swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you do change a mind,
And call him noble, that was now your hate,
Him vile, that was your garland. What 's the matter,
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another? — What's their seeking ?
Men, For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,
The city is well stor’d.
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
What says the other troop?
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
Corn for the rich men only. — With these shreds
They vented their complainings; which being answer'd
And a petition granted them, a strange one,
(To break the heart of generosity,
And make bold power look pale) they threw their caps
As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon,
Shouting their emulation.
What is granted them?
Mar. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms;
Of their own choice: one's Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not — 'Sdeath!
The rabble should have first uproof'd the city,
Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time
Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection's arguing.
This is strange.
Mar. Go; get you home, you fragments!
Enter a Messenger.
Moss. Where's Caius Marcius?
Here. · What's the matter?
Mess. The news is, Sir, the Volsces are in arms.
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, 't is true, that you have lately told us;
The Volsces are in arms.
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.
You have fought together.
Mar. Were half to half the world by th' 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.
Then, worthy Marcius,
Attend upon Cominius to these wars.
Com. It is your former promise.
And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
What! art thou stiff? stand'st out?
No, Caius Marcius;
I'll lean upon one crutch, and fight with the other,
Ere stay behind this business.
0, true bred!
1 Sen. Your company to the Capitol; where, I know,
Our greatest friends attend us.
Lead you on:
Follow, Cominius; we must follow you ;
Right worthy you priority.
1 Sen. Hence! To your homes! be gone.
[To the Citizens.
Nay, let them follow. The Volsces have much corn: take these rats thither,
To gnaw their garners. — Worshipful mutineers,
Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.
[Exeunt Senators, Com. 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?
Nay, but his taunts.
Bru. Being mov’d, he will not spare lo gird the gods.
Sic. Bemock the modest moon.
Bru. The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.
Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
Which he treads on at noon. But I do wonder,
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Fame, at the which he aims,
In whom already he is well grac'd, cannot
Better be held, nor more attain'd, than by
A place below the first; for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man; and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Marcius, “0, if he
Had borne the business!”
Besides, if things go well,
Opinion, that so sticks on Marcius, shall
Of his demerits rob Cominius.
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.
Let's hence, and hear
How the despatch is made; and in what fashion,
Corioli. The Senate-House.
Enter TULLUS AUFIDIUS, and Senators.
1 Sen. So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are enter'd in our counsels,
And know how we proceed.
Is it not yours?
What ever have been thought on in this state,
That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome
Had circumvention? 'T is not four days gone,
Since I heard thence; these are the words: I think,
I have the letter here; yes, here it is: -
“They have press'd a power, but it is not known
Whether for east, or west. The dearth is great;
The people mutinous; and it is rumour'd,
Cominius, Marcius your
enemy, (Who is of Rome worse hated than of you) And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman, These three lead on this preparation Whither 't is bent: most likely, 't is 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.