A line-by-line translation

Coriolanus

Coriolanus Translation Act 4, Scene 5

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Music within. Enter a Servingman

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Wine, wine, wine! What serviceis here! I think our fellows are asleep.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Wine, wine, wine! They want so much! It's like the other servants are asleep.

Exit

Enter a second Servingman

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Where's Cotus? my master callsfor him. Cotus!

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Where's Cotus? My master is calling for him. Cotus!

Exit

Enter CORIOLANUS

CORIOLANUS

A goodly house: the feast smells well; but IAppear not like a guest.

CORIOLANUS

This place is great: the feast smells wonderful, but I'm not dressed to be a noble guest.

Re-enter the first Servingman

FIRST SERVINGMAN

What would you have, friend? whence are you?Here's no place for you: pray, go to the door.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

What do you need, friend? Where did you come from? You don't belong here; please leave.

Exit

CORIOLANUS

I have deserved no better entertainment,In being Coriolanus.

CORIOLANUS

I deserve no better welcome, being who I am.

Re-enter second Servingman

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Whence are you, sir? Has the porter his eyes in hishead; that he gives entrance to such companions?Pray, get you out.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Where did you come from, sir? Does the doorman even have eyes in his head, if he's letting people like you in? Please, get out.

CORIOLANUS

Away!

CORIOLANUS

You get out!

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Away! get you away.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Away, get away!

CORIOLANUS

Now thou'rt troublesome.

CORIOLANUS

Now you're being troublesome.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Are you so brave? I'll have you talked with anon.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Are you really this bold? I'll get someone to take care of you in a minute.

Enter a third Servingman. The first meets him

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What fellow's this?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

[Referring to CORIOLANUS] Who's this guy? 

FIRST SERVINGMAN

A strange one as ever I looked on: I cannot get himout of the house: prithee, call my master to him.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

As strange a person as I've ever seen. I can't get him out of the house. Please, call my master in to take care of him. 

Retires

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What have you to do here, fellow? Pray you, avoidthe house.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What are you doing here? Please, get out of this house. 

CORIOLANUS

Let me but stand; I will not hurt your hearth.

CORIOLANUS

Just let me stand here; I won't get in your way.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What are you?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What's your deal?

CORIOLANUS

A gentleman.

CORIOLANUS

I am a gentleman.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

A marvellous poor one.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

An awfully poor one, then.

CORIOLANUS

True, so I am.

CORIOLANUS

That's true enough, so I am.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some otherstation; here's no place for you; pray you, avoid: come.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Then please, poor gentleman, go interfere with some other house; this is no place for you. [Pulling CORIOLANUS toward the door] Please, leave, come on.

CORIOLANUS

Follow your function, go, and batten on cold bits.

CORIOLANUS

Go do your thing, and batten on cold bits.

Pushes him away

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What, you will not? Prithee, tell my master what astrange guest he has here.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What, will you really not leave?

[To the other SERVINGMAN]
 Go tell my master what a strange guest we have here.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

And I shall.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

And I shall.

Exit

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Where dwellest thou?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Where do you live?

CORIOLANUS

Under the canopy.

CORIOLANUS

Under the stars.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Under the canopy!

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Under the stars!

CORIOLANUS

Ay.

CORIOLANUS

Yeah.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Where's that?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Where's that?

CORIOLANUS

I' the city of kites and crows.

CORIOLANUS

In the city of kites and crows.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

I' the city of kites and crows! What an ass it is!Then thou dwellest with daws too?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

In the city of kites and crows! What an ass you are! So you live with daws, too?

CORIOLANUS

No, I serve not thy master.

CORIOLANUS

No, I don't serve your master.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

How, sir! do you meddle with my master?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

What?! Are you messing with my master?

CORIOLANUS

Ay; 'tis an honester service than to meddle with thymistress. Thou pratest, and pratest; serve with thytrencher, hence!

CORIOLANUS

Sure; it's more honest than screwing with your mistress. You talk and talk; go do your job, go!

Beats him away. Exit third Servingman

Enter AUFIDIUS with the second Servingman

AUFIDIUS

Where is this fellow?

AUFIDIUS

Where is this guy?

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Here, sir: I'ld have beaten him like a dog, but fordisturbing the lords within.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Here he is, sir. I would've beaten him like a dog, but I didn't want to disturb the lords feasting.

Retires

AUFIDIUS

Whence comest thou? what wouldst thou? thy name?Why speak'st not? speak, man: what's thy name?

AUFIDIUS

Where have you come from? What do you want? What's your name? Why don't you speak? Speak, man: what's your name?

CORIOLANUS

If, Tullus,

CORIOLANUS

[Pulling back his hood] If, Tullus, you do not know me yet, and seeing me, don't recognize me for who I am, then I suppose I will have to tell you.

AUFIDIUS

What is thy name?

AUFIDIUS

What is your name?

CORIOLANUS

A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears,And harsh in sound to thine.

CORIOLANUS

A name unmusical to the Volscian's ears, and even worse to yours.

AUFIDIUS

Say, what's thy name? Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face Bears a command in't; though thy tackle's torn. Thou show'st a noble vessel: what's thy name?

AUFIDIUS

Tell me, what's your name? You have a grim look, and a commanding face, though your clothes are torn. You have the stature of a nobleman. What's your name?

CORIOLANUS

Prepare thy brow to frown: know'stthou me yet?

CORIOLANUS

Prepare to frown—you still don't recognize me?

AUFIDIUS

I know thee not: thy name?

AUFIDIUS

I do not know you. What's your name?

CORIOLANUS

My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done To thee particularly and to all the Volsces Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may My surname, Coriolanus: the painful service, The extreme dangers and the drops of blood Shed for my thankless country are requited But with that surname; a good memory, And witness of the malice and displeasure Which thou shouldst bear me: only that name remains; The cruelty and envy of the people, Permitted by our dastard nobles, who Have all forsook me, hath devour'd the rest; And suffer'd me by the voice of slaves to be Whoop'd out of Rome. Now this extremity Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope— Mistake me not—to save my life, for if I had fear'd death, of all the men i' the world I would have 'voided thee, but in mere spite, To be full quit of those my banishers, Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight, And make my misery serve thy turn: so use it That my revengeful services may prove As benefits to thee, for I will fight Against my canker'd country with the spleen Of all the under fiends. But if so be Thou darest not this and that to prove more fortunes Thou'rt tired, then, in a word, I also am Longer to live most weary, and present My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice; Which not to cut would show thee but a fool, Since I have ever follow'd thee with hate, Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast, And cannot live but to thy shame, unless It be to do thee service.

CORIOLANUS

My name is Caius Marcius, the man who has done great damage to you and to all the Volsces. From that damage comes my surname, Coriolanus. That surname is the only thing left of the painful service, extreme dangers, and all the blood I shed for my thankless country. It is a memorial to the hatred you should have for me—only that name remains. The cruelty and envy of the common people, which our idiot nobles allowed, has devoured all of Rome. The people yelled me out of Rome. This difficult situation has brought me to your home, not out of hope to save my life—don't get me wrong; if I feared death I would have avoided you more than anyone else—but out of spite, to fully condemn those who banished me. That's why I'm here. If you have a heart filled with rage, and you would like to avenge the wrongs which Rome has done to your country, Volscian, take advantage of my misery: use me, in my spirit of revenge, for your own war; I will fight against my poisoned country with the rage of every devil in hell. But if you don't dare to do this, and are tired of fighting, then I must admit to you that I am also just as tired of living; here is my throat, the object of your hatred, which you would be a fool not to cut—since we have always been enemies and I have spilled tons of blood from your country, to leave me living would only bring you shame—unless you take me into your service.

AUFIDIUS

O Marcius, Marcius! Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter Should from yond cloud speak divine things, And say 'Tis true,' I'ld not believe them more Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me twine Mine arms about that body, where against My grained ash an hundred times hath broke And scarr'd the moon with splinters: here I clip The anvil of my sword, and do contest As hotly and as nobly with thy love As ever in ambitious strength I did Contend against thy valour. Know thou first, I loved the maid I married; never man Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here, Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt heart Than when I first my wedded mistress saw Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars! I tell thee, We have a power on foot; and I had purpose Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn, Or lose mine arm fort: thou hast beat me out Twelve several times, and I have nightly since Dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me; We have been down together in my sleep, Unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat, And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Marcius, Had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that Thou art thence banish'd, we would muster all From twelve to seventy, and pouring war Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome, Like a bold flood o'er-bear. O, come, go in, And take our friendly senators by the hands; Who now are here, taking their leaves of me, Who am prepared against your territories, Though not for Rome itself.

AUFIDIUS

Oh Marcius, Marcius! Every word you've spoken has pulled from my heart a root of ancient hatred. If god himself were to speak from behind a cloud, and say "It's true!" I wouldn't believe him any more than you, noble Marcius. Let me throw my arms around that body, against which I have broke my weapon a hundred times, and scarred the moon with splinters.[Forcefully hugs Marcius]  I embrace the anvil of my sword, and would fight as hard for your love as I have fought against you in the past for valor. You must know that I loved the woman I married—no one has said a truer thing—but now that I see you here—you noble thing!—my heart dances, entranced, more than when I first saw my bride in her dress. Why, you are Mars himself! I tell you, I have an army in the field, and if I had good reason to fight with you once more I'd give my right arm to do it. You've beaten me a dozen times, and I have dreamed every night since of encounters between us: we've been wrestling together in my sleep, unbuckling our helmets, grasping at each other's throat. Every time, I wake with nothing. Worthy Marcius, if we had no other bone to pick with Rome except that you were banished, we would muster every man between the ages of twelve and seventy, and we would pour war like boiling oil into the stomach of ungrateful Rome—like a flood we would drown her. Oh, come, go in, and shake hands with the friendly senators who are here bidding me good luck to move against your territories, though not until now Rome itself.

CORIOLANUS

You bless me, gods!

CORIOLANUS

You bless me, gods!

AUFIDIUS

Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have The leading of thine own revenges, take The one half of my commission; and set down— As best thou art experienced, since thou know'st Thy country's strength and weakness,— thine own ways; Whether to knock against the gates of Rome, Or rudely visit them in parts remote, To fright them, ere destroy. But come in: Let me commend thee first to those that shall Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes! And more a friend than e'er an enemy; Yet, Marcius, that was much. Your hand: most welcome!

AUFIDIUS

Therefore, most respected sir, if you would like to lead your own revenge, take half of the leadership with me. We can chart out—since you're the best experienced—the country's strengths and weaknesses, your own strategies: whether to knock directly on the gates of Rome, or to strike remote towns, to frighten them before we destroy them. But come in, let me introduce you first to the men who will approve all of this. A thousand welcomes! More a friend now than you ever were an enemy, and believe me, Marcius, you were quite an enemy. Your hand—most welcome!

Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS. The two Servingmen come forward

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Here's a strange alteration!

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Well, that's quite a change!

SECOND SERVINGMAN

By my hand, I had thought to have strucken him witha cudgel; and yet my mind gave me his clothes made afalse report of him.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

And to think I would've hit him with a club; but it was because his clothes made him seem different than he is.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

What an arm he has! he turned me about with hisfinger and his thumb, as one would set up a top.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

What an arm he has! He turned me around with his finger and his thumb, like one would spin a top. 

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Nay, I knew by his face that there was something inhim: he had, sir, a kind of face, methought,—Icannot tell how to term it.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

No, I knew by his face that there was something noble in him. He had, sir, a kind of face, I thought—I don't know how to put it.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

He had so; looking as it were—would I were hanged,but I thought there was more in him than I could think.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

[Making expressions] He had this sort of—looking like this—kill me, but I thought there was something more to him than met the eye.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

So did I, I'll be sworn: he is simply the rarestman i' the world.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

So did I, I swear! He's the most marvelous man in the world.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

I think he is: but a greater soldier than he you wot on.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

I think he is, but we know of a greater soldier than him.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Who, my master?

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Who, my master Tullus Aufidius?

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Nay, it's no matter for that.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Definitely, there's no doubt about that.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Worth six on him.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

He's worth six Coriolanuses.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Nay, not so neither: but I take him to be thegreater soldier.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Well, I wouldn't say that, but I do think he's the better soldier.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Faith, look you, one cannot tell how to say that:for the defence of a town, our general is excellent.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Listen, there's no real basis for saying that; for the defense of a town, our general is excellent.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Ay, and for an assault too.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Yeah, and for an assault too.

Re-enter third Servingman

THIRD SERVINGMAN

O slaves, I can tell you news,—news, you rascals!

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Guys, I have news for you—news, you rascals!

SECOND SERVINGMAN

What, what, what? let's partake.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

What, what, what? Tell us.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

I would not be a Roman, of all nations; I had aslieve be a condemned man.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

I would rather be of any nation rather than of Rome right now; to be Roman is to be a man condemned to death.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Wherefore? wherefore?

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Why? Why?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Why, here's he that was wont to thwack our general,Caius Marcius.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Why, here's the man that's been beating our general around, Caius Marcius.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Why do you say 'thwack our general '?

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Why do you say "beating our general around?"

THIRD SERVINGMAN

I do not say 'thwack our general;' but he was alwaysgood enough for him.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Well, not "beating him," but he was always a good match for Aufidius.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever toohard for him; I have heard him say so himself.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Come, we are friends here—Coriolanus was always too hard for Aufidius; I have heard Aufidius say so himself.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

He was too hard for him directly, to say the trothon't: before Corioli he scotched him and notchedhim like a carbon ado.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Coriolanus was too hard for him, to be brutally honest. In the field at Corioli, Marcius scotched him and notched him like a piece of meat.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

An he had been cannibally given, he might havebroiled and eaten him too.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

And had Coriolanus been into cannibalism, he might have cooked and eaten him, too. 

FIRST SERVINGMAN

But, more of thy news?

FIRST SERVINGMAN

But, what other news?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Why, he is so made on here within, as if he were son and heir to Mars; set at upper end o' the table; no question asked him by any of the senators, but they stand bald before him: our general himself makes a mistress of him: sanctifies himself with's hand and turns up the white o' the eye to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is that our general is cut i' the middle and but one half of what he was yesterday; for the other has half, by the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He'll go, he says, and sowl the porter of Rome gates by the ears: he will mow all down before him, and leave his passage polled.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Well, he's been welcomed as though he were the son and heir to Mars. He sits at the head of the table, and the senators question him with their caps in their hands, respectfully; our general himself acts like his mistress. He treats the touch of his hand as holy, and devotedly listens to his every word. But the big news is that our general has been cut into half of what he was yesterday, for Coriolanus has taken half the army, at the request and approval of the whole table. He'll go, he says, and drag the guards of Rome's gate out by the ears. He'll mow down everything in his way, and leave wreckage in his path. 

SECOND SERVINGMAN

And he's as like to do't as any man I can imagine.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

And he's as able to do that as any man I can imagine.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Do't! he will do't; for, look you, sir, he has as many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it were, durst not, look you, sir, show themselves, as we term it, his friends whilst he's in directitude.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Do that! He will do it. Look you, sir, he has as many friends as enemies. Those friends, sir, as it were, dare not—look you sir—show themselves, as we call it, "his friends," while he's in directitude.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Directitude! what's that?

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Directitude! What's that?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

But when they shall see, sir, his crest up again, and the man in blood, they will out of their burrows, like conies after rain, and revel all with him.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

But when they see, sir, his flag up again, and the man covered in blood, they will flee out of their burrows like rabbits after rain, and celebrate with him.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

But when goes this forward?

FIRST SERVINGMAN

But when will they move out?

THIRD SERVINGMAN

To-morrow; to-day; presently; you shall have the drum struck up this afternoon: 'tis, as it were, a parcel of their feast, and to be executed ere they wipe their lips.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Tomorrow, today even, this very moment! You'll hear the drums this afternoon. It's practically a part of their dinner, and will be done before they wipe their lips and finish.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Why, then we shall have a stirring world again.This peace is nothing, but to rust iron, increasetailors, and breed ballad-makers.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

Why, then we'll have an exciting world again. This peace is good for nothing but to rust iron, to make tailors rich, and encourage artists.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war's a destroyer of men.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Let me have war, I say. War's as much better than peace as day is better than night; it's energetic, awake, loud, full of energy. Peace is like a coma: speechless, deaf, sleepy; more bastard children are born in peacetime than men die in war.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

'Tis so: and as war, in some sort, may be said tobe a ravisher, so it cannot be denied but peace is agreat maker of cuckolds.

SECOND SERVINGMAN

It's true: and as war might be said to be a rapist, peace must be said to make men cuckolds

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Ay, and it makes men hate one another.

FIRST SERVINGMAN

Yeah, and it makes men hate one another.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

Reason; because they then less need one another.The wars for my money. I hope to see Romans as cheapas Volscians. They are rising, they are rising.

THIRD SERVINGMAN

The reason is that, in peace, they need one another less. I'll put my money on the wars! I hope to see Romans brought down to our level. [Looking toward the banquet] They are rising, they are rising!

ALL

In, in, in, in!

ALL

In, in, in, in!

Exeunt

Coriolanus
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Coriolanus Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 812 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 19,116 quotes covering 812 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms