A line-by-line translation

Coriolanus

Coriolanus Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons

FIRST CITIZEN

Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.

FIRST CITIZEN

Before we go on, hear me out.

ALL

Speak, speak.

ALL

Go ahead. Talk.

FIRST CITIZEN

You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?

FIRST CITIZEN

You are all committed to fight to the death rather than die by starvation?

ALL

Resolved. resolved.

ALL

Yes, we're committed. 

FIRST CITIZEN

First, you know Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.

FIRST CITIZEN

First, you know Caius Marcius is the people's greatest enemy.

ALL

We know't, we know't.

ALL

We know it!

FIRST CITIZEN

Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price.Is't a verdict?

FIRST CITIZEN

Let's kill him and sell corn at a price we can decide. Do we have an agreement?

ALL

No more talking on't; let it be done: away, away!

ALL

Enough talk; let it be done: let's go!

SECOND CITIZEN

One word, good citizens.

SECOND CITIZEN

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FIRST CITIZEN

We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good. What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularise their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

FIRST CITIZEN

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SECOND CITIZEN

Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

SECOND CITIZEN

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ALL

Against him first: he's a very dog to the commonalty.

ALL

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SECOND CITIZEN

Consider you what services he has done for his country?

SECOND CITIZEN

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FIRST CITIZEN

Very well; and could be content to give him goodreport fort, but that he pays himself with being proud.

FIRST CITIZEN

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SECOND CITIZEN

Nay, but speak not maliciously.

SECOND CITIZEN

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FIRST CITIZEN

I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft-conscienced men can be content to say it was for his country he did it to please his mother and to be partly proud; which he is, even till the altitude of his virtue.

FIRST CITIZEN

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SECOND CITIZEN

What he cannot help in his nature, you account avice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.

SECOND CITIZEN

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FIRST CITIZEN

If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations;he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition.

FIRST CITIZEN

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Shouts within

FIRST CITIZEN

What shouts are these? The other side o' the cityis risen: why stay we prating here? to the Capitol!

FIRST CITIZEN

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ALL

Come, come.

ALL

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FIRST CITIZEN

Soft! who comes here?

FIRST CITIZEN

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Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA

SECOND CITIZEN

Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always lovedthe people.

SECOND CITIZEN

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FIRST CITIZEN

He's one honest enough: would all the rest were so!

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where go youWith bats and clubs? The matter? speak, I pray you.

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths: they shall know we have strong arms too.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,Will you undo yourselves?

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

We cannot, sir, we are undone already.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them Against the Roman state, whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder than can ever Appear in your impediment. For the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it, and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity Thither where more attends you, and you slander The helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Care for us! True, indeed! They ne'er cared for us yet: suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

Either you must Confess yourselves wondrous malicious, Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you A pretty tale: it may be you have heard it; But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture To stale 't a little more.

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think tofob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an 't pleaseyou, deliver.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

There was a time when all the body's members Rebell'd against the belly, thus accused it: That only like a gulf it did remain I' the midst o' the body, idle and unactive, Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing Like labour with the rest, where the other instruments Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel, And, mutually participate, did minister Unto the appetite and affection common Of the whole body. The belly answer'd—

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Well, sir, what answer made the belly?

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus— For, look you, I may make the belly smile As well as speak—it tauntingly replied To the discontented members, the mutinous parts That envied his receipt; even so most fitly As you malign our senators for that They are not such as you.

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Your belly's answer? What! The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye, The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier, Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter. With other muniments and petty helps In this our fabric, if that they—

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

What then?'Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? what then?

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Should by the cormorant belly be restrain'd,Who is the sink o' the body,—

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

Well, what then?

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

The former agents, if they did complain,What could the belly answer?

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

I will tell youIf you'll bestow a small—of what you have little—Patience awhile, you'll hear the belly's answer.

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Ye're long about it.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

Note me this, good friend; Your most grave belly was deliberate, Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd: 'True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he, 'That I receive the general food at first, Which you do live upon; and fit it is, Because I am the store-house and the shop Of the whole body: but, if you do remember, I send it through the rivers of your blood, Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o' the brain; And, through the cranks and offices of man, The strongest nerves and small inferior veins From me receive that natural competency Whereby they live: and though that all at once, You, my good friends,'—this says the belly, mark me,—

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

Ay, sir; well, well.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

'Though all at once cannot See what I do deliver out to each, Yet I can make my audit up, that all From me do back receive the flour of all, And leave me but the bran.' What say you to't?

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

It was an answer: how apply you this?

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

The senators of Rome are this good belly, And you the mutinous members; for examine Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly Touching the weal o' the common, you shall find No public benefit which you receive But it proceeds or comes from them to you And no way from yourselves. What do you think, You, the great toe of this assembly?

MENENIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

I the great toe! why the great toe?

FIRST CITIZEN

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MENENIUS

For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest, Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost: Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run, Lead'st first to win some vantage. But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs: Rome and her rats are at the point of battle; The one side must have bale.

MENENIUS

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Enter CAIUS MARCIUS

MENENIUS

Hail, noble Marcius!

MENENIUS

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MARCIUS

Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs?

MARCIUS

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FIRST CITIZEN

We have ever your good word.

FIRST CITIZEN

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MARCIUS

He that will give good words to thee will flatter Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs, That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights you, The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you, Where he should find you lions, finds you hares; Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no, Than is the coal of fire upon the ice, Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is To make him worthy whose offence subdues him And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness Deserves your hate; and your affections are A sick man's appetite, who desires most that Which would increase his evil. He that depends Upon your favours swims with fins of lead And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust Ye? With every minute you do change a mind, And call him noble that was now your hate, Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter, That in these several places of the city You cry against the noble senate, who, Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else Would feed on one another? What's their seeking?

MARCIUS

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MENENIUS

For corn at their own rates; whereof, they say,The city is well stored.

MENENIUS

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MARCIUS

Hang 'em! They say! They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know What's done i' the Capitol; who's like to rise, Who thrives and who declines; side factions and give out Conjectural marriages; making parties strong And feebling such as stand not in their liking Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough! Would the nobility lay aside their ruth, And let me use my sword, I'll make a quarry With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high As I could pick my lance.

MARCIUS

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MENENIUS

Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded; For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you, What says the other troop?

MENENIUS

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MARCIUS

They are dissolved: hang 'em! They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs, That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat, That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not Corn for the rich men only: with these shreds They vented their complainings; which being answer'd, And a petition granted them, a strange one— To break the heart of generosity, And make bold power look pale— they threw their caps As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon, Shouting their emulation.

MARCIUS

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MENENIUS

What is granted them?

MENENIUS

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MARCIUS

Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms, Of their own choice: one's Junius Brutus, Sicinius Velutus, and I know not— 'Sdeath! The rabble should have first unroof'd the city, Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time Win upon power and throw forth greater themes For insurrection's arguing.

MARCIUS

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MENENIUS

This is strange.

MENENIUS

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MARCIUS

Go, get you home, you fragments!

MARCIUS

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Enter a Messenger, hastily

MESSENGER

Where's Caius Marcius?

MESSENGER

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MARCIUS

Here: what's the matter?

MARCIUS

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MESSENGER

The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

MESSENGER

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MARCIUS

I am glad on 't: then we shall ha' means to ventOur musty superfluity. See, our best elders.

MARCIUS

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Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators; JUNIUS BRUTUS and SICINIUS VELUTUS

FIRST SENATOR

Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us;The Volsces are in arms.

FIRST SENATOR

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MARCIUS

They have a leader, Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to 't. I sin in envying his nobility, And were I any thing but what I am, I would wish me only he.

MARCIUS

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COMINIUS

You have fought together.

COMINIUS

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MARCIUS

Were half to half the world by the ears and he. Upon my party, I'd revolt to make Only my wars with him: he is a lion That I am proud to hunt.

MARCIUS

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FIRST SENATOR

Then, worthy Marcius,Attend upon Cominius to these wars.

FIRST SENATOR

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COMINIUS

It is your former promise.

COMINIUS

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MARCIUS

Sir, it is; And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face. What, art thou stiff? stand'st out?

MARCIUS

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TITUS

No, Caius Marcius;I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other,Ere stay behind this business.

TITUS

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MENENIUS

O, true-bred!

MENENIUS

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FIRST SENATOR

Your company to the Capitol; where, I know,Our greatest friends attend us.

FIRST SENATOR

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TITUS

[To COMINIUS] Lead you on. [To MARCIUS] Follow Cominius; We must follow you; Right worthy you priority.

TITUS

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COMINIUS

Noble Marcius!

COMINIUS

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FIRST SENATOR

[To the Citizens] Hence to your homes; be gone!

FIRST SENATOR

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MARCIUS

Nay, let them follow:The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thitherTo gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.

MARCIUS

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Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS

SICINIUS

Was ever man so proud as is this Marcius?

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

He has no equal.

BRUTUS

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SICINIUS

When we were chosen tribunes for the people,—

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

Mark'd you his lip and eyes?

BRUTUS

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SICINIUS

Nay. but his taunts.

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.

BRUTUS

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SICINIUS

Be-mock the modest moon.

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

The present wars devour him: he is grownToo proud to be so valiant.

BRUTUS

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SICINIUS

Such a nature, Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder His insolence can brook to be commanded Under Cominius.

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

Fame, at the which he aims, In whom already he's well graced, can not Better be held nor more attain'd than by A place below the first: for what miscarries Shall be the general's fault, though he perform To the utmost of a man, and giddy censure Will then cry out of Marcius 'O if he Had borne the business!'

BRUTUS

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SICINIUS

Besides, if things go well,Opinion that so sticks on Marcius shallOf his demerits rob Cominius.

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

Come: Half all Cominius' honours are to Marcius. Though Marcius earned them not, and all his faults To Marcius shall be honours, though indeed In aught he merit not.

BRUTUS

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SICINIUS

Let's hence, and hear How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion, More than his singularity, he goes Upon this present action.

SICINIUS

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BRUTUS

Lets along.

BRUTUS

Lorem ips

Exeunt

Coriolanus
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