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. A public place.

(Menenius; Cominius; Sicinius; Brutus)

Cominius has failed to convince Coriolanus to spare them. He and the tribunes beg Menenius to plead with Coriolanus as well. (86 lines)

Enter Menenius, Cominius, Sicinius and Brutus, with others.


No, I’ll not go. You hear what he hath said

Which was sometime his general, who loved him

In a most dear particular. He call’d me father;

But what o’ that? Go you that banish’d him

A mile before his tent, fall down, and knee

The way into his mercy. Nay, if he coy’d

To hear Cominius speak, I’ll keep at home.


He would not seem to know me.


Do you hear?


Yet one time he did call me by my name.

I urg’d our old acquaintance, and the drops

That we have bled together. Coriolanus

He would not answer to; forbade all names;

He was a kind of nothing, titleless,

Till he had forg’d himself a name a’ th’ fire

Of burning Rome.


Why, so; you have made good work!

A pair of tribunes that have wrack’d for Rome

To make coals cheap! A noble memory!


I minded him how royal ’twas to pardon

When it was less expected. He replied,

It was a bare petition of a state

To one whom they had punish’d.


Very well.

Could he say less?


I offered to awaken his regard

For ’s private friends. His answer to me was,

He could not stay to pick them in a pile

Of noisome musty chaff. He said ’twas folly,

For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt

And still to nose th’ offense.


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 smelt

Above the moon. We must be burnt for you.


Nay, pray be patient. If you refuse your aid

In this so never-needed help, yet do not

Upbraid ’s with our distress. But sure if you

Would be your country’s pleader, your good tongue,

More than the instant army we can make,

Might stop our countryman.


No; I’ll not meddle.


Pray you go to him.


What should I do?


Only make trial what your love can do

For Rome, towards Martius.


Well, and say that Martius

Return me, as Cominius is return’d,

Unheard—what then?

But as a discontented friend, grief-shot

With his unkindness? Say’t be so?


Yet your good will

Must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure

As you intended well.


I’ll undertake’t.

I think he’ll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip

And 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 then

We pout upon the morning, are unapt

To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff’d

These pipes and these conveyances of our blood

With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls

Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I’ll watch him

Till he be dieted to my request,

And then I’ll set upon him.


You know the very road into his kindness,

And cannot lose your way.


Good faith, I’ll prove him,

Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge

Of my success.



He’ll never hear him.




I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye

Red as ’twould burn Rome; and his injury

The jailer to his pity. I kneel’d before him;

’Twas very faintly he said, “Rise”; dismiss’d me

Thus, with his speechless hand. What he would do

He 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 him

For mercy to his country. Therefore let’s hence,

And with our fair entreaties haste them on.



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