The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Coriolanus Scenes

Scene 1

Rome. Before a gate of the city.

(Coriolanus; Volumnia; Virgilia; Menenius; Cominius)

Coriolanus bids a proud, dignified farewell to his family and friends, refusing all help from them. (65 lines)

Enter Coriolanus, Volumnia, Virgilia, Menenius, Cominius, with the young Nobility of Rome.


Come leave your tears: a brief farewell. The beast

With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,

Where is your ancient courage? You were us’d

To say extremities was the trier of spirits,

That common chances common men could bear,

That when the sea was calm all boats alike

Show’d mastership in floating; fortune’s blows

When most struck home, being gentle wounded craves

A noble cunning. You were us’d to load me

With precepts that would make invincible

The heart that conn’d them.


O heavens! O heavens!


Nay, I prithee, woman—


Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,

And occupations perish!


What, what, what!

I shall be lov’d when I am lack’d. Nay, mother,

Resume that spirit when you were wont to say,

If you had been the wife of Hercules,

Six of his labors you’ld have done, and sav’d

Your husband so much sweat. Cominius,

Droop not, adieu. Farewell, my wife, my mother,

I’ll do well yet. Thou old and true Menenius,

Thy tears are salter than a younger man’s,

And venomous to thine eyes. My sometime general,

I have seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld

Heart-hard’ning spectacles; tell these sad women

’Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes,

As ’tis to laugh at ’em. My mother, you wot well

My hazards still have been your solace, and

Believe’t not lightly—though I go alone,

Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen

Makes fear’d and talk’d of more than seen—your son

Will or exceed the common or be caught

With cautelous baits and practice.


My first son,

Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius

With thee a while. Determine on some course

More than a wild exposture to each chance

That starts i’ th’ way before thee.


O the gods!


I’ll follow thee a month, devise with thee

Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us

And we of thee; so if the time thrust forth

A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send

O’er the vast world to seek a single man,

And lose advantage, which doth ever cool

I’ th’ absence of the needer.


Fare ye well!

Thou hast years upon thee, and thou art too full

Of the wars’ surfeits to go rove with one

That’s yet unbruis’d. Bring me but out at gate.

Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and

My friends of noble touch; when I am forth,

Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you come.

While I remain above the ground, you shall

Hear from me still, and never of me aught

But what is like me formerly.


That’s worthily

As any ear can hear. Come, let’s not weep.

If I could shake off but one seven years

From these old arms and legs, by the good gods

I’ld with thee every foot.


Give me thy hand.




Use Power Search to search the works

Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site free.


Log in or Register

Forgot username  Forgot password
Get the Shakespeare Pro app