Coriolanus :: Scenes :: Coriolanus: Act V, Scene 1
Scene 1Rome. A public place.MeneniusCominiusSiciniusBrutusCominius has failed to convince Coriolanus to spare them. He and the tribunes beg Menenius to plead with Coriolanus as well.Enter Menenius, Cominius, Sicinius and Brutus, with others.MEN.No, I’ll not go. You hear what he hath saidWhich was sometime his general, who loved himIn a most dear particular. He call’d me father;But what o’ that? Go you that banish’d himA mile before his tent, fall down, and kneeThe way into his mercy. Nay, if he coy’dTo hear Cominius speak, I’ll keep at home.COM.He would not seem to know me.MEN.Do you hear?COM.Yet one time he did call me by my name.I urg’d our old acquaintance, and the dropsThat we have bled together. CoriolanusHe would not answer to; forbade all names;He was a kind of nothing, titleless,Till he had forg’d himself a name a’ th’ fireOf burning Rome.MEN.Why, so; you have made good work!A pair of tribunes that have wrack’d for RomeTo make coals cheap! A noble memory!COM.I minded him how royal ’twas to pardonWhen it was less expected. He replied,It was a bare petition of a stateTo one whom they had punish’d.MEN.Very well.Could he say less?COM.I offered to awaken his regardFor ’s private friends. His answer to me was,He could not stay to pick them in a pileOf noisome musty chaff. He said ’twas folly,For one poor grain or two, to leave unburntAnd still to nose th’ offense.MEN.For one poor grain or two?I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,And this brave fellow too: we are the grains,You are the musty chaff, and you are smeltAbove the moon. We must be burnt for you.SIC.Nay, pray be patient. If you refuse your aidIn this so never-needed help, yet do notUpbraid ’s with our distress. But sure if youWould be your country’s pleader, your good tongue,More than the instant army we can make,Might stop our countryman.MEN.No; I’ll not meddle.SIC.Pray you go to him.MEN.What should I do?BRU.Only make trial what your love can doFor Rome, towards Martius.MEN.Well, and say that MartiusReturn me, as Cominius is return’d,Unheard—what then?But as a discontented friend, grief-shotWith his unkindness? Say’t be so?SIC.Yet your good willMust have that thanks from Rome, after the measureAs you intended well.MEN.I’ll undertake’t.I think he’ll hear me. Yet, to bite his lipAnd hum at good Cominius much unhearts me.He was not taken well, he had not din’d:The veins unfill’d, our blood is cold, and thenWe pout upon the morning, are unaptTo give or to forgive; but when we have stuff’dThese pipes and these conveyances of our bloodWith wine and feeding, we have suppler soulsThan in our priest-like fasts: therefore I’ll watch himTill he be dieted to my request,And then I’ll set upon him.BRU.You know the very road into his kindness,And cannot lose your way.MEN.Good faith, I’ll prove him,Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledgeOf my success.Exit.COM.He’ll never hear him.SIC.Not?COM.I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eyeRed as ’twould burn Rome; and his injuryThe jailer to his pity. I kneel’d before him;’Twas very faintly he said, “Rise”; dismiss’d meThus, with his speechless hand. What he would doHe sent in writing after me; what he would not,Bound with an oath to yield to his conditions;So that all hope is vain,Unless his noble mother and his wife,Who, as I hear, mean to solicit himFor mercy to his country. Therefore let’s hence,And with our fair entreaties haste them on.Exeunt.


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