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Coriolanus

Coriolanus Translation Act 2, Scene 3

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Enter seven or eight Citizens

FIRST CITIZEN

Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not to denyhim.

FIRST CITIZEN

[As though in the middle of a debate] In short, if he needs us to vouch for him, we shouldn't deny him.

SECOND CITIZEN

We may, sir, if we will.

SECOND CITIZEN

We may, if we want to. 

THIRD CITIZEN

We have power in ourselves to do it, but it is a power that we have no power to do; for if he show us his wounds and tell us his deeds, we are to put our tongues into those wounds and speak for them; so, if he tell us his noble deeds, we must also tell him our noble acceptance of them. Ingratitude is monstrous, and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude: of the which we being members, should bring ourselves to be monstrous members.

THIRD CITIZEN

We have the authority to do it, but it is a power that is not ours to wield alone. If he shows us his wounds and tells us his deeds, only then are we to let those wounds inspire us to speak for him. So, if he tells us his noble deeds, it's our position to nobly accept them. Ingratitude is monstrous, and if the common people were to be ungrateful it would make a monster of our republic—we, being members of that republic, would make monsters of ourselves.

FIRST CITIZEN

And to make us no better thought of, a little helpwill serve; for once we stood up about the corn, hehimself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.

FIRST CITIZEN

And it won't take much to make us seem monstrous, after all. When we protested about the corn, he certainly didn't hesitate to call us a "many-headed multitude."

THIRD CITIZEN

We have been called so of many; not that our heads are some brown, some black, some auburn, some bald, but that our wits are so diversely coloured: and truly I think if all our wits were to issue out of one skull, they would fly east, west, north, south, and their consent of one direct way should be at once to all the points o' the compass.

THIRD CITIZEN

We've been called that by many, even though we're clearly individuals: some of us with brown hair, some with black, auburn, or bald, and our minds equally diverse. I truly think that even if all our minds were contained in one skull, our thoughts would fly east, west, north, south, and any consent we would reach would be to all directions at once.

SECOND CITIZEN

Think you so? Which way do you judge my wit wouldfly?

SECOND CITIZEN

You think so? Which way do you think my thoughts would fly?

THIRD CITIZEN

Nay, your wit will not so soon out as another man'swill;'tis strongly wedged up in a block-head, butif it were at liberty, 'twould, sure, southward.

THIRD CITIZEN

No, your thoughts won't fly out like another man's might, because of your thick head! But if your thoughts could fly, surely they'd fly south.

SECOND CITIZEN

Why that way?

SECOND CITIZEN

Why that way?

THIRD CITIZEN

To lose itself in a fog, where being three partsmelted away with rotten dews, the fourth would returnfor conscience sake, to help to get thee a wife.

THIRD CITIZEN

To lose themselves in a fog, where most of them would melt away with plague, and only a fourth would return for conscience's sake to help you get a wife.

SECOND CITIZEN

You are never without your tricks: you may, you may.

SECOND CITIZEN

You're never without these jokes—go on, then.

THIRD CITIZEN

Are you all resolved to give your voices? But that's no matter, the greater part carries it. I say, if he would incline to the people, there was never a worthier man.

THIRD CITIZEN

Are you all ready to vote on Coriolanus? [As if to count, then deciding not to] But that's no matter, the majority is obvious. As far as I'm concerned, if Coriolanus would simply acknowledge the people, there would be no better choice for consul.

Enter CORIOLANUS in a gown of humility, with MENENIUS

THIRD CITIZEN

Here he comes, and in the gown of humility: mark his behavior. We are not to stay all together, but to come by him where he stands, by ones, by twos, and by threes. He's to make his requests by particulars; wherein every one of us has a single honour, in giving him our own voices with our own tongues: therefore follow me, and I direct you how you shall go by him.

THIRD CITIZEN

Here he comes in the gown of humility; look at how he behaves. In this ceremony, we're supposed to approach him where he stands, in groups of two or three. He will make his requests individually, so that every one of us has the honor of giving him our votes with our own tongues. Therefore, follow me and I'll organize this.

ALL

Content, content.

ALL

We agree.

Exeunt Citizens

MENENIUS

O sir, you are not right: have you not knownThe worthiest men have done't?

MENENIUS

[In the midst of debate] Oh, sir, you're not right: don't you know that the worthiest men have done this?

CORIOLANUS

What must I say? 'I Pray, sir'— Plague upon't! I cannot bring My tongue to such a pace:—'Look, sir, my wounds! I got them in my country's service, when Some certain of your brethren roar'd and ran From the noise of our own drums.'

CORIOLANUS

What am I going to say? "I beg you, sir"—to hell with it! I cannot bring myself to say this kind of thing: "Look sir, my wounds! I got them in the service of my country, when people like you cried and ran away from the sound of our own drums."

MENENIUS

O me, the gods!You must not speak of that: you must desire themTo think upon you.

MENENIUS

Oh my god, you can't say that. You need to convince them to consider you.

CORIOLANUS

Think upon me! hang 'em!I would they would forget me, like the virtuesWhich our divines lose by 'em.

CORIOLANUS

Consider me? Damn them! I wish they would forget me, like they forget every virtue we try to teach them.

MENENIUS

You'll mar all:I'll leave you: pray you, speak to 'em, I pray you,In wholesome manner.

MENENIUS

You'll ruin everything. I must leave you: please, speak to them, I beg you, in a kind way.

Exit

CORIOLANUS

Bid them wash their facesAnd keep their teeth clean.

CORIOLANUS

[Grumbling to himself] I'll tell them to wash their faces and keep their teeth clean. 

Re-enter two of the Citizens

CORIOLANUS

So, here comes a brace.

CORIOLANUS

So, here comes a pair.

Re-enter a third Citizen

CORIOLANUS

You know the cause, air, of my standing here.

CORIOLANUS

You know the reason, sir, I am standing here.

THIRD CITIZEN

We do, sir; tell us what hath brought you to't.

THIRD CITIZEN

We do, sir, but please tell us yourself what's brought you here.

CORIOLANUS

Mine own desert.

CORIOLANUS

That which I deserve.

SECOND CITIZEN

Your own desert!

SECOND CITIZEN

That which you deserve?

CORIOLANUS

Ay, but not mine own desire.

CORIOLANUS

Yes, but not that which I desire.

THIRD CITIZEN

How not your own desire?

THIRD CITIZEN

How is it not what you desire?

CORIOLANUS

No, sir,'twas never my desire yet to trouble thepoor with begging.

CORIOLANUS

No, sir, I've never wanted to trouble the poor by begging.

THIRD CITIZEN

You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope togain by you.

THIRD CITIZEN

You must know that we will only give you anything if we have something to gain by you.

CORIOLANUS

Well then, I pray, your price o' the consulship?

CORIOLANUS

Well then, tell me, what's the price of consulship?

FIRST CITIZEN

The price is to ask it kindly.

FIRST CITIZEN

The price is simply to ask it kindly.

CORIOLANUS

Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha't: I have wounds toshow you, which shall be yours in private. Yourgood voice, sir; what say you?

CORIOLANUS

Kindly! Sir, listen, let me have it. I have wounds to show you, which I will show in private.

SECOND CITIZEN

You shall ha' it, worthy sir.

SECOND CITIZEN

You shall have it, worthy sir.

CORIOLANUS

A match, sir. There's in all two worthy voicesbegged. I have your alms: adieu.

CORIOLANUS

Fair enough, sir. So that's two worthy voices begged, then. I am in your debt; good-bye.

THIRD CITIZEN

But this is something odd.

THIRD CITIZEN

This sure is bizarre.

SECOND CITIZEN

An 'twere to give again,—but 'tis no matter.

SECOND CITIZEN

If I could do it over—but forget it.

Exeunt the three Citizens

Re-enter two other Citizens

CORIOLANUS

Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of yourvoices that I may be consul, I have here thecustomary gown.

CORIOLANUS

Please, if it is acceptable to you that I be consul, I have the customary gown here. 

FOURTH CITIZEN

You have deserved nobly of your country, and youhave not deserved nobly.

FOURTH CITIZEN

On one hand, you have been noble for you country, but you have also not been noble.

CORIOLANUS

Your enigma?

CORIOLANUS

What do you mean?

FOURTH CITIZEN

You have been a scourge to her enemies, you havebeen a rod to her friends; you have not indeed lovedthe common people.

FOURTH CITIZEN

You have been a torment to Rome's enemies and made trouble for her friends; but you have not loved the common people.

CORIOLANUS

You should account me the more virtuous that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them; 'tis a condition they account gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise the insinuating nod and be off to them most counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man and give it bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you, I may be consul.

CORIOLANUS

You should think of me as more virtuous for not giving out my love to just anyone. I will, sir, flatter those to whom I am devoted—that is the people—to earn their respect. They call this being "gentle," and since they had rather have a tip of my hat than the labor of my heart, I will practice the nod and show deference most falsely. That is, sir, I will act star-struck like some normal man and serve up this performance to whoever wants it. Is this good enough for you to make me consul?

FIFTH CITIZEN

We hope to find you our friend; and therefore giveyou our voices heartily.

FIFTH CITIZEN

We hope you'll be our friend, and give you our votes gladly with that in mind.

FOURTH CITIZEN

You have received many wounds for your country.

FOURTH CITIZEN

You have received many wounds for your country.

CORIOLANUS

I will not seal your knowledge with showing them. Iwill make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.

CORIOLANUS

I will not confirm your knowledge by displaying them. I am already making much of your votes, and do not want to trouble you further.

BOTH CITIZENS

The gods give you joy, sir, heartily!

BOTH CITIZENS

The gods give you joy, sir, great joy!

Exeunt

CORIOLANUS

Most sweet voices! Better it is to die, better to starve, Than crave the hire which first we do deserve. Why in this woolvish toge should I stand here, To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear, Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to't: What custom wills, in all things should we do't, The dust on antique time would lie unswept, And mountainous error be too highly heapt For truth to o'er-peer. Rather than fool it so, Let the high office and the honour go To one that would do thus. I am half through; The one part suffer'd, the other will I do.

CORIOLANUS

These sweet voices! It is better to die, better to starve, than to crave to get what we already deserve. Why must I stand here in this wooly, ratty toga, to beg of Hob and Dick, or whoever shows up, their meaningless favor? Because of custom; if we did everything custom called for, the dust on antique time would never be cleaned off, and we would make error after error until they piled up like mountains, too high for truth to reach. Rather than be so foolish, let the public positions and honor go to those who will be honorable! I am half finished; now that I have suffered the first half, I will suffer the other half as well.

Re-enter three Citizens more

CORIOLANUS

Here come more voices. Your voices: for your voices I have fought; Watch'd for your voices; for Your voices bear Of wounds two dozen odd; battles thrice six I have seen and heard of; for your voices have Done many things, some less, some more your voices: Indeed I would be consul.

CORIOLANUS

Here come more voices. Your voices: for your voices I have fought; stood guard over Rome for your voices; for your voices I've been wounded two dozen times or more; three times six battles I have seen and heard; for your voices I have done many thingssome less, some more. Your voices? Indeed I would be consul.

SIXTH CITIZEN

He has done nobly, and cannot go without any honestman's voice.

SIXTH CITIZEN

He has done nobly, and should not be denied the vote of any honest man.

SEVENTH CITIZEN

Therefore let him be consul: the gods give him joy,and make him good friend to the people!

SEVENTH CITIZEN

Therefore let him be consul. The gods give him joy, and make him a good friend to the people!

ALL CITIZENS

Amen, amen. God save thee, noble consul!

ALL CITIZENS

Amen, amen. God save you, noble consul!

Exeunt

CORIOLANUS

Worthy voices!

CORIOLANUS

Worthy voices!

Re-enter MENENIUS, with BRUTUS and SICINIUS

MENENIUS

You have stood your limitation; and the tribunes Endue you with the people's voice: remains That, in the official marks invested, you Anon do meet the senate.

MENENIUS

You have done this as long as you need to, and the tribunes approve that you have the voice of the people. The only thing left for you to do is to meet with the Senate in your official robes.

CORIOLANUS

Is this done?

CORIOLANUS

So it's over?

SICINIUS

The custom of request you have discharged:The people do admit you, and are summon'dTo meet anon, upon your approbation.

SICINIUS

You have done your duty according to the custom. The people accept you, and you are summoned to meet later, upon your approval.

CORIOLANUS

Where? at the senate-house?

CORIOLANUS

Where? In the senate?

SICINIUS

There, Coriolanus.

SICINIUS

Yes, Coriolanus.

CORIOLANUS

May I change these garments?

CORIOLANUS

May I change these garments?

SICINIUS

You may, sir.

SICINIUS

You may, sir.

CORIOLANUS

That I'll straight do; and, knowing myself again,Repair to the senate-house.

CORIOLANUS

Then I'll do that right away, and once I recognize myself again, will head to the senate.

MENENIUS

I'll keep you company. Will you along?

MENENIUS

I'll keep you company.

 [To the TRIBUNES] Will you come along?

BRUTUS

We stay here for the people.

BRUTUS

We stay here for the people.

SICINIUS

Fare you well.

SICINIUS

Good-bye.

Exeunt CORIOLANUS and MENENIUS

SICINIUS

He has it now, and by his looks methink'Tis warm at 's heart.

SICINIUS

That's that—it looks to me like he found all of this heart-warming.

BRUTUS

With a proud heart he wore his humble weeds.will you dismiss the people?

BRUTUS

He wore his humble robes with a proud heart. Will you dismiss the people?

Re-enter Citizens

SICINIUS

How now, my masters! have you chose this man?

SICINIUS

What's the deal, friends? Have you chosen that man?

FIRST CITIZEN

He has our voices, sir.

FIRST CITIZEN

He has our voices, sir.

BRUTUS

We pray the gods he may deserve your loves.

BRUTUS

We pray to the gods he may deserve the love you give him.

SECOND CITIZEN

Amen, sir: to my poor unworthy notice,He mock'd us when he begg'd our voices.

SECOND CITIZEN

Amen sir: it seemed to me, though I'm unworthy, that he mocked us when he begged for our voices.

THIRD CITIZEN

CertainlyHe flouted us downright.

THIRD CITIZEN

Certainly. He was downright sarcastic.

FIRST CITIZEN

No,'tis his kind of speech: he did not mock us.

FIRST CITIZEN

No, that's just how he talks; he did not mock us.

SECOND CITIZEN

Not one amongst us, save yourself, but saysHe used us scornfully: he should have show'd usHis marks of merit, wounds received for's country.

SECOND CITIZEN

Everyone among us but you says he used us scornfully. He should have shown us his marks of merit—the wounds he received for his country.

SICINIUS

Why, so he did, I am sure.

SICINIUS

Why, surely he did.

CITIZENS

No, no; no man saw 'em.

CITIZENS

No, no, no one saw them.

THIRD CITIZEN

He said he had wounds, which he could show in private; And with his hat, thus waving it in scorn, 'I would be consul,' says he: 'aged custom, But by your voices, will not so permit me; Your voices therefore.' When we granted that, Here was 'I thank you for your voices: thank you: Your most sweet voices: now you have left your voices, I have no further with you.' Was not this mockery?

THIRD CITIZEN

He said he had wounds, which he could show in private. [Waves hat] And he did this with his hat, waving it scornfully. "I would be consul," he said, "but by old custom, I cannot be until I have your voices—thus, give me your voices." When we granted them, he was like "I thank you for your voices, thank you: your most sweet voices—now you have no voices left, I have no need for you." Wasn't he mocking us?

SICINIUS

Why either were you ignorant to see't,Or, seeing it, of such childish friendlinessTo yield your voices?

SICINIUS

You were either ignorant of it or, seeing it, why were you so childishly friendly? Why give him your voices?

BRUTUS

Could you not have told him As you were lesson'd, when he had no power, But was a petty servant to the state, He was your enemy, ever spake against Your liberties and the charters that you bear I' the body of the weal; and now, arriving A place of potency and sway o' the state, If he should still malignantly remain Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might Be curses to yourselves? You should have said That as his worthy deeds did claim no less Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature Would think upon you for your voices and Translate his malice towards you into love, Standing your friendly lord.

BRUTUS

Could you not have told him as you were taught? When he was powerless, just a servant to the state, he was your enemy; he always spoke out against your liberties and the rights of the people in our republic. And now that he has a position of power, what if he remains a foe to the people—won't your voices be curses to yourselves? You should have said that just as his deeds were worth no less than what he stood for, so he ought to think upon your voices and change his hate for you into love, and thus be friendly to you.

SICINIUS

Thus to have said, As you were fore-advised, had touch'd his spirit And tried his inclination; from him pluck'd Either his gracious promise, which you might, As cause had call'd you up, have held him to Or else it would have gall'd his surly nature, Which easily endures not article Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage, You should have ta'en the advantage of his choler And pass'd him unelected.

SICINIUS

If you'd said that, as you we told you to ahead of time, you would have gotten to the core of things and seen what he was really like. You'd either have gotten a gracious promise from him—which you then could have called up in the future—or it would have been easy to see his unfriendly nature and made him furious. Seeing his rage, you could have taken advantage of his short temper and then let him go unelected.

BRUTUS

Did you perceive He did solicit you in free contempt When he did need your loves, and do you think That his contempt shall not be bruising to you, When he hath power to crush? Why, had your bodies No heart among you? or had you tongues to cry Against the rectorship of judgment?

BRUTUS

Did you see how he asked for your approval with such contempt when he needed your love? Do you really think that his contempt will not be far, far worse when he has power and no longer needs you? Did not a single one of you have an ounce of boldness? Did no tongue cry out to guide you with good judgement?

SICINIUS

Have you Ere now denied the asker? and now again Of him that did not ask, but mock, bestow Your sued-for tongues?

SICINIUS

Have you ever before denied someone who asked? And now, even of one who mocked instead of asking, you still bestow whatever he requests?

THIRD CITIZEN

He's not confirm'd; we may deny him yet.

THIRD CITIZEN

He's not confirmed; we could still deny him.

SECOND CITIZEN

And will deny him:I'll have five hundred voices of that sound.

SECOND CITIZEN

And we will deny him. I'll have five hundred voices of that.

FIRST CITIZEN

I twice five hundred and their friends to piece 'em.

FIRST CITIZEN

I'll have double five hundred, and their friends alongside!

BRUTUS

Get you hence instantly, and tell those friends, They have chose a consul that will from them take Their liberties; make them of no more voice Than dogs that are as often beat for barking As therefore kept to do so.

BRUTUS

Then leave, instantly, and tell those friends that they have approved a consul who will take their freedoms, a man who will care less about what they have to say than about dogs beaten for barking—dogs kept just to be beaten.

SICINIUS

Let them assemble, And on a safer judgment all revoke Your ignorant election; enforce his pride, And his old hate unto you; besides, forget not With what contempt he wore the humble weed, How in his suit he scorn'd you; but your loves, Thinking upon his services, took from you The apprehension of his present portance, Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion After the inveterate hate he bears you.

SICINIUS

Assemble the people and be more reasonable: revoke this ignorant election. Remind the people of his pride and long-standing hate for them, and don't forget the contempt with which he wore his humble toga—how even as he asked you for approval, he scorned you. Your good nature, thinking on his service, blinded you to the way he behaved in that moment, which so reflected the deep-seated hate he has for you.

BRUTUS

LayA fault on us, your tribunes; that we laboured,No impediment between, but that you mustCast your election on him.

BRUTUS

Blame your choice on us, your representatives. Say that it was we who insisted you elect him.

SICINIUS

Say, you chose him More after our commandment than as guided By your own true affections, and that your minds, Preoccupied with what you rather must do Than what you should, made you against the grain To voice him consul: lay the fault on us.

SICINIUS

Say you chose him more because we commanded it than out of your own true feelings, and that your minds, preoccupied with what you had to do rather than what you should do made you go against yourselves to name him consul. Blame us.

BRUTUS

Ay, spare us not. Say we read lectures to you. How youngly he began to serve his country, How long continued, and what stock he springs of, The noble house o' the Marcians, from whence came That Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son, Who, after great Hostilius, here was king; Of the same house Publius and Quintus were, That our beat water brought by conduits hither; And [Censorinus,] nobly named so, Twice being [by the people chosen] censor, Was his great ancestor.

BRUTUS

Right, don't leave us out of it. Say we lectured you. That we reminded you how young he was when he began to serve his country, how he has done so ever since, that he comes from a strong people, the noble family of the Marcians—the family of Ancus Marcius, Numa's daughter's son, who was king of Rome after the great Hostilius, and of Publius and Quintus, who built our aqueducts; even Censorinus, nobly named for being twice elected censor, was his great ancestor.

SICINIUS

One thus descended, That hath beside well in his person wrought To be set high in place, we did commend To your remembrances: but you have found, Scaling his present bearing with his past, That he's your fixed enemy, and revoke Your sudden approbation.

SICINIUS

We commanded that you remember he was a man from that family, with many great qualities which make him suited for public service. But you have realized, thinking on his behavior just now and in the past, that he is determined to be your enemy, and you take back your  sudden vote. 

BRUTUS

Say, you ne'er had done't— Harp on that still— but by our putting on; And presently, when you have drawn your number, Repair to the Capitol.

BRUTUS

Just keep repeating that you would never have supported him unless we had demanded it. So, when you have enough people, go to the Capitol. 

ALL

We will so: almost allRepent in their election.

ALL

We will do just that. Nearly everyone regrets their vote.

Exeunt Citizens

BRUTUS

Let them go on; This mutiny were better put in hazard, Than stay, past doubt, for greater: If, as his nature is, he fall in rage With their refusal, both observe and answer The vantage of his anger.

BRUTUS

Let's just let them do it. It will be better for us to take a risk and let them mutiny than to try to guarantee it ourselves. If, as usual, Coriolanus rages at their refusal, we will be there to observe and respond to that situation.

SICINIUS

To the Capitol, come: We will be there before the stream o' the people; And this shall seem, as partly 'tis, their own, Which we have goaded onward.

SICINIUS

Let's go to the Capitol. We will be there before the crowd of the people, so that this uprising which we have shaped will seem like their idea, which it partly is. 

Exeunt

Coriolanus
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