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Monologues for Women


Nay, go not from us thus.

If it were so that our request did tend

To save the Romans, thereby to destroy

The Volsces whom you serve, you might condemn us,

As poisonous of your honor. No, our suit

Is that you reconcile them: while the Volsces

May say, “This mercy we have show’d,” the Romans,

“This we receiv’d”; and each in either side

Give the all-hail to thee, and cry, “Be blest

For making up this peace!” Thou know’st, great son,

The end of war’s uncertain; but this certain,

That, if thou conquer Rome, the benefit

Which thou shalt thereby reap is such a name

Whose repetition will be dogg’d with curses;

Whose chronicle thus writ: “The man was noble,

But with his last attempt he wip’d it out,

Destroy’d his country, and his name remains

To th’ ensuing age abhorr’d.” Speak to me, son.

Thou hast affected the fine strains of honor,

To imitate the graces of the gods:

To tear with thunder the wide cheeks a’ th’ air,

And yet to charge thy sulphur with a bolt

That should but rive an oak. Why dost not speak?

Think’st thou it honorable for a noble man

Still to remember wrongs? Daughter, speak you;

He cares not for your weeping. Speak thou, boy;

Perhaps thy childishness will move him more

Than can our reasons. There’s no man in the world

More bound to ’s mother, yet here he lets me prate

Like one i’ th’ stocks.—Thou hast never in thy life

Show’d thy dear mother any courtesy,

When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,

Has cluck’d thee to the wars, and safely home

Loaden with honor. Say my request’s unjust,

And spurn me back; but if it be not so,

Thou art not honest, and the gods will plague thee

That thou restrain’st from me the duty which

To a mother’s part belongs.—He turns away.

Down, ladies; let us shame him with our knees.

To his surname Coriolanus ’longs more pride

Than pity to our prayers. Down! an end,

This is the last. So, we will home to Rome,

And die among our neighbors.—Nay, behold ’s!

This boy, that cannot tell what he would have,

But kneels and holds up hands for fellowship,

Does reason our petition with more strength

Than thou hast to deny’t.—Come, let us go.

This fellow had a Volscian to his mother;

His wife is in Corioles, and his child

Like him by chance.—Yet give us our dispatch.

I am hush’d until our city be afire,

And then I’ll speak a little.

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