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Coriolanus

Coriolanus Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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Two Sentinels on guard. Enter to them, MENENIUS.

FIRST SENATOR

Stay: whence are you?

FIRST Sentinel

Stop. Where are you from?

SECOND SENATOR

Stand, and go back.

SECOND SENTINEL

Stop where you are and go back.

MENENIUS

You guard like men; 'tis well: but, by your leave,I am an officer of state, and comeTo speak with Coriolanus.

MENENIUS

You are bold guards, as you should be. But please, hear me out—I am a statesman, and come to speak with Coriolanus.

FIRST SENATOR

From whence?

FIRST SENTINEL

From where?

MENENIUS

From Rome.

MENENIUS

From Rome.

FIRST SENATOR

You may not pass, you must return: our generalWill no more hear from thence.

FIRST SENTINEL

You may not pass, and you must return. Our general will not hear anything more from Rome.

SECOND SENATOR

You'll see your Rome embraced with fire beforeYou'll speak with Coriolanus.

SECOND SENTINEL

You'll see Rome embraced with fire before you'll speak with Coriolanus.

MENENIUS

Good my friends, If you have heard your general talk of Rome, And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks, My name hath touch'd your ears it is Menenius.

MENENIUS

Good friends, if you have heard your general talk about Rome, and of his friends there, by all odds you'll have heard him mention my name—it is Menenius.

FIRST SENATOR

Be it so; go back: the virtue of your nameIs not here passable.

FIRST SENTINEL

Even so, go back. The virtue of your name does not win you passage here.

MENENIUS

I tell thee, fellow, The general is my lover: I have been The book of his good acts, whence men have read His name unparallel'd, haply amplified; For I have ever verified my friends, Of whom he's chief, with all the size that verity Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes, Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground, I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise Have almost stamp'd the leasing: therefore, fellow, I must have leave to pass.

MENENIUS

Sir, listen—the general loves me. I have often talked of him publicly as a man without equal; I've sung his praises loudly. I have always spoken well of my friends—and he's my best friend—with all the generosity that truth would allow. Even, sometimes, like a bowler carried along with the ball, I have praised him so much it's almost gone too far. Therefore, please, men, you must let me pass.

FIRST SENATOR

Faith, sir, if you had told as many lies in his behalf as you have uttered words in your own, you should not pass here; no, though it were as virtuous to lie as to live chastely. Therefore, go back.

FIRST SENTINEL

Honestly, sir, if you had lied as many times for him as you have uttered words for yourself—even then, you couldn't pass here; no, even if lying were as virtuous as to live peacefully. Therefore, go back. 

MENENIUS

Prithee, fellow, remember my name is Menenius,always factionary on the party of your general.

MENENIUS

Please, my good man, remember my name is Menenius; I have always been on Coriolanus's side.

SECOND SENATOR

Howsoever you have been his liar, as you say youhave, I am one that, telling true under him, mustsay, you cannot pass. Therefore, go back.

SECOND SENTINEL

Even if you've lied on his behalf—as you say you have—I am one that, telling the truth on his behalf, must say you cannot pass. Therefore, go back. 

MENENIUS

Has he dined, canst thou tell? for I would notspeak with him till after dinner.

MENENIUS

Has he dined, do you know? I'd rather not speak with him until after dinner.

FIRST SENATOR

You are a Roman, are you?

FIRSt SENTINEL

You are a Roman, right?

MENENIUS

I am, as thy general is.

MENENIUS

I am, as your general is.

FIRST SENATOR

Then you should hate Rome, as he does. Can you, when you have pushed out your gates the very defender of them, and, in a violent popular ignorance, given your enemy your shield, think to front his revenges with the easy groans of old women, the virginal palms of your daughters, or with the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant as you seem to be? Can you think to blow out the intended fire your city is ready to flame in, with such weak breath as this? No, you are deceived; therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution: you are condemned, our general has sworn you out of reprieve and pardon.

FIRST SENTINEL

Then you should hate Rome, as he does. When you have banished your defender and in a violent foolishness given your enemy your shield, do you really think you can stop his revenge with the groans of old women, the pleas of your daughters, or with whatever kind of old requests from a decaying corpse as you seem to be? Do you think you can blow out the impending fire your city is ready to flame in with breath this weak? No, you're lying to yourself. Therefore, back to Rome, and prepare for your execution. You are condemned. Our general has sworn that you cannot be pardoned.

MENENIUS

Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he woulduse me with estimation.

MENENIUS

You fool, if your captain knew I were here, he would be more respectful.

SECOND SENATOR

Come, my captain knows you not.

SECOND SENTINEL

[Mockingly] Come on, my captain doesn't know you.

MENENIUS

I mean, thy general.

MENENIUS

Your general, I mean.

FIRST SENATOR

My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go; lestI let forth your half-pint of blood; back,—that'sthe utmost of your having: back.

FIRST SENTINEL

My general doesn't care about you. Back, I say, go, before I let out a half-pint of your blood. Back; that's all you're going to get from me: back!

MENENIUS

Nay, but, fellow, fellow,—

MENENIUS

No, but—

Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS

CORIOLANUS

What's the matter?

CORIOLANUS

What is all this?

MENENIUS

Now, you companion, I'll say an errand for you: You shall know now that I am in estimation; you shall perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus: guess, but by my entertainment with him, if thou standest not i' the state of hanging, or of some death more long in spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now presently, and swoon for what's to come upon thee. [To CORIOLANUS] The glorious gods sit in hourly synod about thy particular prosperity and love thee no worse than thy old father Menenius does. O my son, my son! Thou art preparing fire for us. Look thee, here's water to quench it. I was hardly moved to come to thee but, being assured none but myself could move thee, I have been blown out of gates with sighs and conjure thee to pardon Rome and they petitionary countrymen. The good gods assuage thy wrath and turn the dregs of it upon this varlet here— this, who like a block hath denied my access to thee.

MENENIUS

Now, buddy, I'll give you a chore: now you'll know that I'm respected. You'll see that some Jack guard can't send me away from my son Coriolanus. Just guess, by the way he treats me, if you're not going to be hanged for this, or maybe something even worse and more cruel. Watch, watch this, and try not to faint in fear about what will happen to you.

[To CORIOLANUS]
 The glorious gods are even now talking about your extraordinary prosperity, and love you just as your old father Menenius does! Oh, my son, my son! You're preparing fire for us. But look, I offer you water to quench it. I almost didn't come to you, but since I was told no one but me could convince you, I have come out of Rome's gates sighing sadly to beg you to pardon Rome, and your countrymen. May the good gods calm your wrath, and turn what's left of it upon this evil man here—[pointing to the GUARD] who, like a stone, denied my access to you.

CORIOLANUS

Away!

CORIOLANUS

Go away!

MENENIUS

How! away!

MENENIUS

Wait, what? Away?

CORIOLANUS

Wife, mother, child, I know not. My affairs Are servanted to others: though I owe My revenge properly, my remission lies In Volscian breasts. That we have been familiar, Ingrate forgetfulness shall poison, rather Than pity note how much. Therefore, be gone. Mine ears against your suits are stronger than Your gates against my force. Yet, for I loved thee, Take this along; I writ it for thy sake And would have rent it. Another word, Menenius, I will not hear thee speak. This man, Aufidius, Was my beloved in Rome: yet thou behold'st!

CORIOLANUS

I do not know wife, mother, or child. I am the servant of others, and though I too am owed revenge, my debt is with the Volscians. Cruel forgetfulness shall poison any memory that you and I were once friends, rather than pity remember that friendship. Therefore, be gone. I will resist anything you have to say more strongly than Rome's gates will resist my force. Yet, as I did love you once, take this along. I wrote it for you [hands MENENIUS a letter] and otherwise would have torn it up. Menenius, do not speak another word.

 [To AUFIDIUS] This man was my beloved in Rome—but you see how I treat him!

AUFIDIUS

You keep a constant temper.

AUFIDIUS

You maintain your temper.

Exeunt CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS

FIRST SENATOR

Now, sir, is your name Menenius?

FIRST SENTINEL

[Mockingly] Now, sir, is your name Menenius?

SECOND SENATOR

'Tis a spell, you see, of much power: you know theway home again.

SECOND SENTINEL

You see Coriolanus is greatly committed to our cause. You know the way home again.

FIRST SENATOR

Do you hear how we are shent for keeping yourgreatness back?

FIRST SENTINEL

Do you hear how we are punished for keeping your greatness back?

SECOND SENATOR

What cause, do you think, I have to swoon?

SECOND SENTINEL

Why, exactly, do you think I will faint?

MENENIUS

I neither care for the world nor your general: for such things as you, I can scarce think there's any, ye're so slight. He that hath a will to die by himself fears it not from another: let your general do his worst. For you, be that you are, long; and your misery increase with your age! I say to you, as I was said to, Away!

MENENIUS

I care neither for the world nor your general—as for you, I can barely even think of you, you matter so little. A man who wants to die fears nothing from other men. Let your general do his worst. For you, stay your miserable selves, and may your misery increase with age! I say to you, as it was said to me, go away!

Exit

FIRST SENATOR

A noble fellow, I warrant him.

FIRST SENTINEL

He seems like a noble man, honestly.

SECOND SENATOR

The worthy fellow is our general: he's the rock, theoak not to be wind-shaken.

SECOND SENTINEL

The worthy man is our general. He's like a rock, an oak unshaken by the wind.

Exeunt

Coriolanus
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