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Coriolanus Scenes

Scene 7

A camp near Rome.

(Aufidius; Lieutenant to Aufidius)

Tullus Aufidius is becoming jealous of the power of Coriolanus and his popularity with the Volscian troops. (59 lines)

Enter Aufidius with his Lieutenant.


Do they still fly to th’ Roman?


I do not know what witchcraft’s in him, but

Your soldiers use him as the grace ’fore meat,

Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;

And you are dark’ned in this action, sir,

Even by your own.


I cannot help it now,

Unless by using means I lame the foot

Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,

Even to my person, than I thought he would

When first I did embrace him; yet his nature

In that’s no changeling, and I must excuse

What cannot be amended.


Yet I wish, sir

(I mean for your particular), you had not

Join’d in commission with him; but either

Have borne the action of yourself, or else

To him had left it solely.


I understand thee well, and be thou sure,

When he shall come to his account, he knows not

What I can urge against him. Although it seems,

And so he thinks, and is no less apparent

To th’ vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly,

And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,

Fights dragon-like, and does achieve as soon

As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone

That which shall break his neck, or hazard mine,

When e’er we come to our account.


Sir, I beseech you, think you he’ll carry Rome?


All places yields to him ere he sits down,

And the nobility of Rome are his.

The senators and patricians love him too;

The tribunes are no soldiers, and their people

Will be as rash in the repeal, as hasty

To expel him thence. I think he’ll be to Rome

As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it

By sovereignty of nature. First he was

A noble servant to them, but he could not

Carry his honors even. Whether ’twas pride,

Which out of daily fortune ever taints

The happy man; whether defect of judgment,

To fail in the disposing of those chances

Which he was lord of; or whether nature,

Not to be other than one thing, not moving

From th’ casque to th’ cushion, but commanding peace

Even with the same austerity and garb

As he controll’d the war; but one of these

(As he hath spices of them all, not all,

For I dare so far free him) made him fear’d,

So hated, and so banish’d; but he has a merit

To choke it in the utt’rance. So our virtues

Lie in th’ interpretation of the time,

And power, unto itself most commendable,

Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair

T’ extol what it hath done.

One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail;

Rights by rights fouler, strengths by strengths do fail.

Come, let’s away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,

Thou art poor’st of all; then shortly art thou mine.



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