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Coriolanus

Coriolanus Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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Enter two Officers, to lay cushions

FIRST OFFICER

Come, come, they are almost here. How many standfor consulships?

FIRST OFFICER

Come, come, they are almost here. How many are up for the consulship?

SECOND OFFICER

Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every oneCoriolanus will carry it.

SECOND OFFICER

Three, they say, but everyone thinks Coriolanus will win it.

FIRST OFFICER

That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, andloves not the common people.

FIRST OFFICER

He's an extraordinary fellow, but he's also so proud, and doesn't love the common people.

SECOND OFFICER

Faith, there had been many great men that have flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many that they have loved, they know not wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate him manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets them plainly see't.

SECOND OFFICER

Oh come on, there have been many great men who have flattered the people but not loved them, and there have been many people have loved without reason. Whoever they love, they don't know why, and they hate with the same ignorance: therefore, for Coriolanus not to care whether they love or hate him is just an example that he knows the people well, and out of his nobility he lets the people plainly see that.

FIRST OFFICER

If he did not care whether he had their love or no, he waved indifferently 'twixt doing them neither good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater devotion than can render it him; and leaves nothing undone that may fully discover him their opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.

FIRST OFFICER

If he didn't care whether they loved him or not, he'd be indifferent to them, but that's not what he does; instead, he seems to seek their hate with greater devotion than he can possibly win it, and does everything he can to show how he is different from them. To attract the hatred of the people is just as bad as flattering them, which he says he dislikes.

SECOND OFFICER

He hath deserved worthily of his country: and his ascent is not by such easy degrees as those who, having been supple and courteous to the people, bonneted, without any further deed to have them at an into their estimation and report: but he hath so planted his honours in their eyes, and his actions in their hearts, that for their tongues to be silent, and not confess so much, were a kind of ingrateful injury; to report otherwise, were a malice, that, giving itself the lie, would pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.

SECOND OFFICER

He has earned much from his country, and his rise to power has not been easy, as it is for those who are kind and courteous to the people, who tip their hats and then, doing nothing else, win the people's favor. But Coriolanus has so demonstrated his honor that if they were to be silent it would be a kind of betrayal. To say other than that he is worthy would be a cruelty, a lie that would call for denial from everyone who heard it.

FIRST OFFICER

No more of him; he is a worthy man: make way, theyare coming.

FIRST OFFICER

No more of him; he is an admirable man: make way, they are coming.

A sennet. Enter, with actors before them, COMINIUS the consul, MENENIUS, CORIOLANUS, Senators, SICINIUS and BRUTUS. The Senators take their places; the Tribunes take their Places by themselves. CORIOLANUS stands

MENENIUS

Having determined of the Volsces and To send for Titus Lartius, it remains, As the main point of this our after-meeting, To gratify his noble service that Hath thus stood for his country: therefore, please you, Most reverend and grave elders, to desire The present consul, and last general In our well-found successes, to report A little of that worthy work perform'd By Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom We met here both to thank and to remember With honours like himself.

MENENIUS

Now that we've decided what to do with the Volsces and are sending for Titus Lartius, the remaining point of this meeting is to reward the noble service of the man who has stood for his country. Therefore, most serious elders, please allow Cominius, our current consul and recent general, to report a little of that worthy work performed by Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whom we met here both to thank and to award with honors.

FIRST SENATOR

Speak, good Cominius: Leave nothing out for length, and make us think Rather our state's defective for requital Than we to stretch it out. [To the Tribunes] Masters o' the people, We do request your kindest ears, and after, Your loving motion toward the common body,To yield what passes here.

FIRST SENATOR

Speak, good Cominius. Leave nothing out; make us feel as though we do not have enough reward for him rather than that he has not done enough to earn rewards.

[To the TRIBUNES]
 Masters of the people, we do request your kindest ears, and after, that you generously report to those you represent, the commoners, what happens here.

SICINIUS

We are convented Upon a pleasing treaty, and have hearts Inclinable to honour and advance The theme of our assembly.

SICINIUS

We are brought together on a happy occasion, and our hearts are ready to honor and continue the theme of this discussion.

BRUTUS

Which the rather We shall be blest to do, if he remember A kinder value of the people than He hath hereto prized them at.

BRUTUS

Which we'll be better prepared to do if Coriolanus would acknowledge that the common people are better than he's been saying they are.

MENENIUS

That's off, that's off;I would you rather had been silent. Please youTo hear Cominius speak?

MENENIUS

Lay off, lay off; I wish you had kept silent. Please, let's hear Cominius speak.

BRUTUS

Most willingly;But yet my caution was more pertinentThan the rebuke you give it.

BRUTUS

Of course, but my hesitation is worth more than to be brushed away by you. 

MENENIUS

He loves your peopleBut tie him not to be their bedfellow.Worthy Cominius, speak.

MENENIUS

He loves your people, but don't tie him down to be their lover. Worthy Cominius, speak.

CORIOLANUS offers to go away

MENENIUS

Nay, keep your place.

MENENIUS

No, stay where you are.

FIRST SENATOR

Sit, Coriolanus; never shame to hearWhat you have nobly done.

FIRST SENATOR

Sit, Coriolanus, don't be ashamed to hear about your noble deeds.

CORIOLANUS

Your horror's pardon:I had rather have my wounds to heal againThan hear say how I got them.

CORIOLANUS

Pardon me, your honor. I would rather be wounded all over again than hear someone recite how I got them.

BRUTUS

Sir, I hopeMy words disbench'd you not.

BRUTUS

Sir, I hope my words didn't upset you.

CORIOLANUS

No, sir: yet oft, When blows have made me stay, I fled from words. You soothed not, therefore hurt not: but your people, I love them as they weigh.

CORIOLANUS

No, sir, although often when I had rather take action, people want to talk. You did not belittle me, therefore you haven't hurt me. As for your common people, I love them for what they're worth.

MENENIUS

Pray now, sit down.

MENENIUS

Please, sit down.

CORIOLANUS

I had rather have one scratch my head i' the sunWhen the alarum were struck than idly sitTo hear my nothings monster'd.

CORIOLANUS

I'd rather sit ignorantly in the sun while the city is attacked than sit here and hear my minor actions twisted into marvelous deeds.

Exit

MENENIUS

Masters of the people, Your multiplying spawn how can he flatter— That's thousand to one good one— when you now see He had rather venture all his limbs for honour Than one on's ears to hear it? Proceed, Cominius.

MENENIUS

Masters of the people, how can he flatter the masses of the people—with one good man to a thousand others who aren't so good—when you see that he had rather risk his life for honor than risk an ear to hear about it? Go ahead, Cominius.

COMINIUS

I shall lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus Should not be utter'd feebly. It is held That valour is the chiefest virtue, and Most dignifies the haver: if it be, The man I speak of cannot in the world Be singly counterpoised. At sixteen years, When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator, Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight, When with his Amazonian chin he drove The bristled lips before him: be bestrid An o'er-press'd Roman and i' the consul's view Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met, And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats, When he might act the woman in the scene, He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age Man-enter'd thus, he waxed like a sea, And in the brunt of seventeen battles since He lurch'd all swords of the garland. For this last, Before and in Corioli, let me say, I cannot speak him home: he stopp'd the fliers; And by his rare example made the coward Turn terror into sport: as weeds before A vessel under sail, so men obey'd And fell below his stem: his sword, death's stamp, Where it did mark, it took; from face to foot He was a thing of blood, whose every motion Was timed with dying cries: alone he enter'd The mortal gate of the city, which he painted With shunless destiny; aidless came off, And with a sudden reinforcement struck Corioli like a planet: now all's his: When, by and by, the din of war gan pierce His ready sense; then straight his doubled spirit Re-quicken'd what in flesh was fatigate, And to the battle came he; where he did Run reeking o'er the lives of men, as if 'Twere a perpetual spoil: and till we call'd Both field and city ours, he never stood To ease his breast with panting.

COMINIUS

I will barely be able to tell what he has done. The deeds of Coriolanus should not be uttered weakly. They say that bravery is the most important virtue: if so, the man I speak of has no equal in the world. When he was sixteen years old and Tarquin attempted to conquer Rome, he fought far behind enemy lines, beyond the reach of others. [Pointing into the senate at an elder statesman] Our leader at the time, who with all praise I point at, saw him fight, when with his Amazonian chin he drove grown men to flee him. He stood over a fallen Roman and in the view of the consul, killed three men to defend him. He met Tarquin himself, and struck him on the knee. In that battle, he was so young he could have acted the woman in the scene, instead he proved the best man in the fight, and for his bravery was awarded the oaken garland. He advanced from boy to man this way, swelling like the sea, and in the midst of seventeen battles since he cheated everyone else of the garland. For this last fight, just now in Corioli, let me say there is no praise sufficient. He kept our men from fleeing, and by his incredible example made our cowardly men confident. As weeds bend away from a ship at sail, so men obeyed and fell beneath his force; his sword was death itself: where it struck, it killed; from face to foot he was a thing of blood as in a dance, a man whose every movement was timed to dying cries. Alone, he entered the gates of Corioli and painted it with the blood of his victims like Fate itself; without aid he did this, as though suddenly strengthened, and struck Corioli like a planet. Now everything is his: when sounds of war returned him to awareness as from a trance, he braced himself and by his own power made himself alive again; he came to the battle outside the city and ran like a war machine over the lives of men, as though it were a game, a slaughter, and until we called both the battle and the city ours, he did not stand to take a breath.

MENENIUS

Worthy man!

MENENIUS

Excellent man!

FIRST SENATOR

He cannot but with measure fit the honoursWhich we devise him.

FIRST SENATOR

We must measure our honors to fit his deeds.

COMINIUS

Our spoils he kick'd at, And look'd upon things precious as they were The common muck of the world: he covets less Than misery itself would give; rewards His deeds with doing them, and is content To spend the time to end it.

COMINIUS

He kicked at the spoils of war, Corioli's treasure, and looked upon precious things as though they were the common trash of the world. He desires less than misery gives freely, thinks of his deeds as their own reward, and is content to spend the time to end it.

MENENIUS

He's right noble:Let him be call'd for.

MENENIUS

He is truly noble. Call him in.

FIRST SENATOR

Call Coriolanus.

FIRST SENATOR

Call Coriolanus. 

OFFICER

He doth appear.

OFFICER

He doth appear.

Re-enter CORIOLANUS

MENENIUS

The senate, Coriolanus, are well pleasedTo make thee consul.

MENENIUS

Coriolanus, the senate is ready to make you consul.


CORIOLANUS

I do owe them stillMy life and services.

CORIOLANUS

Nothing has changed: I owe them, as always, my life and service.

MENENIUS

It then remainsThat you do speak to the people.

MENENIUS

Then the only thing left is that you speak to the people.

CORIOLANUS

I do beseech you, Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them, For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you That I may pass this doing.

CORIOLANUS

I ask you, let me skip that custom: I can't put on a beggar's gown, stand naked and plead with them to vote for me based on my scars. Please, let me avoid that.

SICINIUS

Sir, the peopleMust have their voices; neither will they bateOne jot of ceremony.

SICINIUS

Sir, the people must have their say; they will not miss even a moment of ceremony.

MENENIUS

Put them not to't: Pray you, go fit you to the custom and Take to you, as your predecessors have, Your honour with your form.

MENENIUS

Don't anger them, Coriolanus. Please, engage in the custom and show, as your predecessors have, the honor of your body's scars.

CORIOLANUS

It is apartThat I shall blush in acting, and might wellBe taken from the people.

CORIOLANUS

It is a part that I will blush to act, and I don't really need to do it.

BRUTUS

Mark you that?

BRUTUS

[To SICINIUS] Hear that?

CORIOLANUS

To brag unto them, thus I did, and thus; Show them the unaching scars which I should hide, As if I had received them for the hire Of their breath only!

CORIOLANUS

To brag to them, "I did this, and this," showing them old scars which I should hide, as though I had received those scars only in order to get their votes!

MENENIUS

Do not stand upon't. We recommend to you, tribunes of the people, Our purpose to them: and to our noble consul Wish we all joy and honour.

MENENIUS

Don't let this one thing bother you. Tribunes of the people,  present our purpose to them, and to our noble consul, we wish you joy and honor.

SENATORS

To Coriolanus come all joy and honour!

SENATORS

To Coriolanus, all joy and honor!

Flourish of cornets. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS

BRUTUS

You see how he intends to use the people.

BRUTUS

You see how he intends to treat the people.

SICINIUS

May they perceive's intent! He will require them,As if he did contemn what he requestedShould be in them to give.

SICINIUS

May they see it too! He will ask for their favor as though scornful that they could ever give him anything.

BRUTUS

Come, we'll inform themOf our proceedings here: on the marketplace,I know, they do attend us.

BRUTUS

Come, let's tell them of what's happened here. The people are waiting in the marketplace for us.

Exeunt

Coriolanus
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