THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS
by William Shakespeare
SCENE IV. Before Corioles
Enter Martius, Titus Lartius, with drum and colours, with Captains and Soldiers, as before the city of Corioles. To them a Messenger.
Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.
My horse to yours, no.
[To Messenger.] Say, has our general met the enemy?
They lie in view but have not spoke as yet.
So the good horse is mine.
I’ll buy him of you.
No, I’ll nor sell nor give him. Lend you him I will
For half a hundred years.—Summon the town.
How far off lie these armies?
Within this mile and half.
Then shall we hear their ’larum, and they ours.
Now, Mars, I prithee, 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 two Senators with others on the walls of Corioles.
Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
No, nor a man that fears you less than he:
That’s lesser than a little.
[Drum afar off.]
Hark, our drums
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.
[Alarum far off.]
Hark you, far off!
There is Aufidius. List what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
O, they are at it!
Their noise be our instruction.—Ladders, ho!
Enter the Army of the Volsces as through the city gates.
They fear us not but issue forth their city.—
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields.—Advance, brave Titus.
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath.—Come on, my fellows!
He that retires, I’ll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.
[Alarums. The Romans are beat back to their trenches. They exit, with the Volsces following.]
Enter Martius cursing, with Roman soldiers.
All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! You herd of—Boils and plagues
Plaster you o’er, that you may be abhorred
Farther 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. Follow’s!
[Another alarum. The Volsces re-enter and are driven back to the gates of Corioles, which open to admit them.]
So, now the gates are ope. Now prove good seconds!
’Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers. Mark me, and do the like.
[Martius follows the fleeing Volsces through the gates, and is shut in.]
Foolhardiness, not I.
See, they have shut him in.
To th’ pot, I warrant him.
Enter Titus Lartius.
What is become of Martius?
Slain, sir, doubtless.
Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters, who upon the sudden
Clapped to their gates. He is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
O noble fellow,
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And when it bows, stand’st up! Thou art left, Martius.
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 thunderlike percussion of thy sounds
Thou mad’st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.
Enter Martius, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy.
O, ’tis Martius!
Let’s fetch him off or make remain alike.
[They fight, and all enter the city.]
THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS by William Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare
Native Language: English