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Coriolanus

Coriolanus Translation Act 1, Scene 6

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Enter COMINIUS, as it were in retire, with soldiers

COMINIUS

Breathe you, my friends: well fought; we are come off Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands, Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs, We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck, By interims and conveying gusts we have heard The charges of our friends. Ye Roman gods! Lead their successes as we wish our own, That both our powers, with smiling fronts encountering, May give you thankful sacrifice.

COMINIUS

Relax for a moment, my friends, you fought well. We've lived up to our names as Romans—neither foolish in the fight nor cowardly in stepping back from it. Believe me, sirs, they'll charge at us again. As we've been fighting, we've heard the trumpets of our friends' fight over the wind. Oh, Roman gods! Give them success as we hope for our own, so that both our forces may willingly give you thankful sacrifice.

Enter a Messenger

COMINIUS

Thy news?

COMINIUS

What news do you have?

MESSENGER

The citizens of Corioli have issued, And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle: I saw our party to their trenches driven, And then I came away.

MESSENGER

The citizens of Corioli have attacked the forces of [Titus] Lartius and Marcius. I saw our Romans driven back to their trenches just before I left.

COMINIUS

Though thou speak'st truth,Methinks thou speak'st not well.How long is't since?

COMINIUS

If you're telling the truth, it's a truth I don't much like. How long ago was this?

MESSENGER

Above an hour, my lord.

MESSENGER

More than an hour, sir.

COMINIUS

'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,And bring thy news so late?

COMINIUS

They're less than a mile away; we just heard their drums. How did it take you an hour to come a mile; why are you so late?

MESSENGER

Spies of the Volsces Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel Three or four miles about, else had I, sir, Half an hour since brought my report.

MESSENGER

Spies of the Volsces chased after me, and I had to run three or four miles extra in order to lose them. I'd have been here a half hour ago otherwise, sir. 

COMINIUS

Who's yonder, That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have Before-time seen him thus.

COMINIUS

Who's that coming this way, covered in wounds? Oh my god, it must be Marcius; I've seen him like this before.

MARCIUS

[Within] Come I too late?

MARCIUS

[From offstage, shouting] Am I too late?

COMINIUS

The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabourMore than I know the sound of Marcius' tongueFrom every meaner man.

COMINIUS

As the shepherd can distinguish between a tambourine and thunder, I can tell that is the sound of Marcius's voice rather than any lesser man. 

Enter MARCIUS

MARCIUS

Come I too late?

MARCIUS

Am I too late?

COMINIUS

Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,But mantled in your own.

COMINIUS

Ha! If that's your blood and not the blood of your enemies, then yes. 

MARCIUS

O, let me clip ye In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart As merry as when our nuptial day was done, And tapers burn'd to bedward!

MARCIUS

Oh, let me wrap my arms around you like I would around a lover; I'm as happy as I was the day I was married, when the candles had burned low.

COMINIUS

Flower of warriors,How is it with Titus Lartius?

COMINIUS

Greatest of warriors, how's it going with Titus Lartius in the other part of the battle?

MARCIUS

As with a man busied about decrees: Condemning some to death, and some to exile; Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other; Holding Corioli in the name of Rome, Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash, To let him slip at will.

MARCIUS

It's going about as well as with a mayor, busy with running a city: condemning some to death, and some to exile; taking ransom from some, taking pity on others, and threatening still more. He holds Corioli in the name of Rome, and the city is his like a greyhound on a leash, ready to race at his command.

COMINIUS

Where is that slaveWhich told me they had beat you to your trenches?Where is he? call him hither.

COMINIUS

Where is that lowly messenger who told me that your force had been beaten to your trenches? Where is he? Get him over here.

MARCIUS

Let him alone; He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen, The common file—a plague! tribunes for them!— The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge From rascals worse than they.

MARCIUS

Leave him alone. He was just telling the truth. A plague on our common soldiers! We'll have them court martialed! No mouse has ever fled a cat as they did flee from rascals even worse than themselves.

COMINIUS

But how prevail'd you?

COMINIUS

So then how did you win?

MARCIUS

Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field?If not, why cease you till you are so?

MARCIUS

Do we have time for an idle story? I don't think so. Where is the enemy? Have you won already? If not, why waste time until you have?

COMINIUS

Marcius,We have at disadvantage fought and didRetire to win our purpose.

COMINIUS

Marcius, we've been fighting outnumbered, and we're regrouping now to make another go of it. 

MARCIUS

How lies their battle? know you on which sideThey have placed their men of trust?

MARCIUS

How are they organized? Do you know where they've placed their best soldiers?

COMINIUS

As I guess, Marcius,Their bands i' the vaward are the Antiates,Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius,Their very heart of hope.

COMINIUS

As far as I can tell, Marcius, the men in the front are the Antiates, their best soldiers. Aufidius, the very heart of their army, leads them.

MARCIUS

I do beseech you, By all the battles wherein we have fought, By the blood we have shed together, by the vows We have made to endure friends, that you directly Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates; And that you not delay the present, but, Filling the air with swords advanced and darts, We prove this very hour.

MARCIUS

Then I beg you: by all the battles we've fought together, by all the blood we've shed together, by our very friendship itself—send me directly against Aufidius and his Antiates, and lets not waste any time, but fill the air with our swords and arrows this very hour. 

COMINIUS

Though I could wish You were conducted to a gentle bath And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never Deny your asking: take your choice of those That best can aid your action.

COMINIUS

Though I wish I could have you taken to recover in a spa and have medicine given to you, I can't deny what you ask. Take whatever soldiers you think will be best suited to help you.

MARCIUS

Those are they That most are willing. If any such be here— As it were sin to doubt— that love this painting Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear Lesser his person than an ill report; If any think brave death outweighs bad life And that his country's dearer than himself; Let him alone, or so many so minded, Wave thus, to express his disposition, And follow Marcius.

MARCIUS

The best soldiers are the boldest. If anyone here—dare I even doubt it—loves the painting in which you see me smeared; if anyone fears death less than shame; if anyone thinks a brave death is better than a fearful life, and that cares more for his country than his life; let that man, or however many like that are here, raise your arms to show your commitment, and follow me!

They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in their arms, and cast up their caps

MARCIUS

O, me alone! make you a sword of me? If these shows be not outward, which of you But is four Volsces? none of you but is Able to bear against the great Aufidius A shield as hard as his. A certain number, Though thanks to all, must I select from all: the rest Shall bear the business in some other fight, As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march; And four shall quickly draw out my command, Which men are best inclined.

MARCIUS

Oh, just me then! Make you a sword of me? If your enthusiasm reflects your actual boldness, each of you is worth four of the Volsces! You're all a match for the great Aufidius himself. Thanks to all of you, but I'll have to take only a few of you. The rest of you will hold your own in another fight, as the situation requires. Lets get moving, and you four [indicating four men] quickly pick out the best men among you. 

COMINIUS

March on, my fellows:Make good this ostentation, and you shallDivide in all with us.

COMINIUS

Good luck, my friends. Make good on your enthusiasm and we'll all share the rich prizes of war!

Exeunt

Coriolanus
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