Corioli. The Senate-house.
(Tullus Aufidius; Volscian Senators)
Tullus Aufidius and the Volscians Senators discuss their spies’ reports. Aufidius leaves to take command of the Volscian army, promising to make a good fight should he meet Martius, with whom he has a long history. (46 lines)
Enter Tullus Aufidius with Senators of Corioli.
So, your opinion is, Aufidius,
That they of Rome are ent’red 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? ’Tis 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 rumor’d,
Cominius, Martius your old enemy
(Who is of Rome worse hated than of you),
And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,
These three lead on this preparation
Whither ’tis bent. Most likely ’tis for you;
Consider of it.”
Our army’s in the field.
We never yet made doubt but Rome was ready
To answer us.
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.
Take your commission, hie you to your bands,
Let us alone to guard Corioles.
If they set down before ’s, for the remove
Bring up your army; but, I think, you’ll find
Th’ have not prepar’d for us.
O, doubt not that,
I speak from certainties. Nay more,
Some parcels of their power are forth already,
And only hitherward. I leave your honors.
If we and Caius Martius chance to meet,
’Tis sworn between us we shall ever strike
Till one can do no more.
The gods assist you!
And keep your honors safe!