Scene VI

Rome. A public place

Enter Sicinius and Brutus

Sicinius

We hear not of him, neither need we fear him;
His remedies are tame i' the present peace
And quietness of the people, which before
Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
Blush that the world goes well, who rather had,
Though they themselves did suffer by't, behold
Dissentious numbers pestering streets than see
Our tradesmen with in their shops and going
About their functions friendly.

Brutus

We stood to't in good time.

Enter Menenius

Is this Menenius?

Sicinius

'Tis he,'tis he: O, he is grown most kind of late.

Both Tribunes

Hail sir!

Menenius

Hail to you both!

Sicinius

Your Coriolanus
Is not much miss'd, but with his friends:
The commonwealth doth stand, and so would do,
Were he more angry at it.

Menenius

All's well; and might have been much better, if
He could have temporized.

Sicinius

Where is he, hear you?

Menenius

Nay, I hear nothing: his mother and his wife
Hear nothing from him.

Enter three or four Citizens

Citizens

The gods preserve you both!

Sicinius

God-den, our neighbours.

Brutus

God-den to you all, god-den to you all.

First Citizen

Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees,
Are bound to pray for you both.

Sicinius

Live, and thrive!

Brutus

Farewell, kind neighbours: we wish'd Coriolanus
Had loved you as we did.

Citizens

Now the gods keep you!

Both Tribunes

Farewell, farewell.

Exeunt Citizens

Sicinius

This is a happier and more comely time
Than when these fellows ran about the streets,
Crying confusion.

Brutus

Caius Marcius was
A worthy officer i' the war; but insolent,
O'ercome with pride, ambitious past all thinking,
Self-loving,—

Sicinius

And affecting one sole throne,
Without assistance.

Menenius

I think not so.

Sicinius

We should by this, to all our lamentation,
If he had gone forth consul, found it so.

Brutus

The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.

Enter an AEdile

Aedile

Worthy tribunes,
There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
Reports, the Volsces with two several powers
Are enter'd in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before 'em.

Menenius

'Tis Aufidius,
Who, hearing of our Marcius' banishment,
Thrusts forth his horns again into the world;
Which were inshell'd when Marcius stood for Rome,
And durst not once peep out.

Sicinius

Come, what talk you
Of Marcius?

Brutus

Go see this rumourer whipp'd. It cannot be
The Volsces dare break with us.

Menenius

Cannot be!
We have record that very well it can,
And three examples of the like have been
Within my age. But reason with the fellow,
Before you punish him, where he heard this,
Lest you shall chance to whip your information
And beat the messenger who bids beware
Of what is to be dreaded.

Sicinius

Tell not me:
I know this cannot be.

Brutus

Not possible.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

The nobles in great earnestness are going
All to the senate-house: some news is come
That turns their countenances.

Sicinius

'Tis this slave;—
Go whip him, 'fore the people's eyes:—his raising;
Nothing but his report.

Messenger

Yes, worthy sir,
The slave's report is seconded; and more,
More fearful, is deliver'd.

Sicinius

What more fearful?

Messenger

It is spoke freely out of many mouths—
How probable I do not know—that Marcius,
Join'd with Aufidius, leads a power 'gainst Rome,
And vows revenge as spacious as between
The young'st and oldest thing.

Sicinius

This is most likely!

Brutus

Raised only, that the weaker sort may wish
Good Marcius home again.

Sicinius

The very trick on't.

Menenius

This is unlikely:
He and Aufidius can no more atone
Than violentest contrariety.

Enter a second Messenger

Second Messenger

You are sent for to the senate:
A fearful army, led by Caius Marcius
Associated with Aufidius, rages
Upon our territories; and have already
O'erborne their way, consumed with fire, and took
What lay before them.

Enter Cominius

Cominius

O, you have made good work!

Menenius

What news? what news?

Cominius

You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
To melt the city leads upon your pates,
To see your wives dishonour'd to your noses,—

Menenius

What's the news? what's the news?

Cominius

Your temples burned in their cement, and
Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
Into an auger's bore.

Menenius

Pray now, your news?
You have made fair work, I fear me.—Pray, your news?—
If Marcius should be join'd with Volscians,—

Cominius

If!
He is their god: he leads them like a thing
Made by some other deity than nature,
That shapes man better; and they follow him,
Against us brats, with no less confidence
Than boys pursuing summer butterflies,
Or butchers killing flies.

Menenius

You have made good work, You and your apron-men; you that stood so up much on the voice of occupation and The breath of garlic-eaters!

Cominius

He will shake
Your Rome about your ears.

Menenius

As Hercules
Did shake down mellow fruit.
You have made fair work!

Brutus

But is this true, sir?

Cominius

Ay; and you'll look pale
Before you find it other. All the regions
Do smilingly revolt; and who resist
Are mock'd for valiant ignorance,
And perish constant fools. Who is't can blame him?
Your enemies and his find something in him.

Menenius

We are all undone, unless
The noble man have mercy.

Cominius

Who shall ask it?
The tribunes cannot do't for shame; the people
Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
Should say 'Be good to Rome,' they charged him even
As those should do that had deserved his hate,
And therein show'd like enemies.

Menenius

'Tis true:
If he were putting to my house the brand
That should consume it, I have not the face
To say 'Beseech you, cease.' You have made fair hands,
You and your crafts! you have crafted fair!

Cominius

You have brought
A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
So incapable of help.

Both Tribunes

Say not we brought it.

Menenius

How! Was it we? we loved him but, like beasts
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
Who did hoot him out o' the city.

Cominius

But I fear
They'll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
The second name of men, obeys his points
As if he were his officer: desperation
Is all the policy, strength and defence,
That Rome can make against them.

Enter a troop of Citizens

Menenius

Here come the clusters.
And is Aufidius with him? You are they
That made the air unwholesome, when you cast
Your stinking greasy caps in hooting at
Coriolanus' exile. Now he's coming;
And not a hair upon a soldier's head
Which will not prove a whip: as many coxcombs
As you threw caps up will he tumble down,
And pay you for your voices. 'Tis no matter;
If he could burn us all into one coal,
We have deserved it.

Citizens

Faith, we hear fearful news.

First Citizen

For mine own part,
When I said, banish him, I said 'twas pity.

Second Citizen

And so did I.

Third Citizen

And so did I; and, to say the truth, so did very many of us: that we did, we did for the best; and though we willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our will.

Cominius

Ye re goodly things, you voices!

Menenius

You have made
Good work, you and your cry! Shall's to the Capitol?

Cominius

O, ay, what else?

Exeunt Cominius and Menenius

Sicinius

Go, masters, get you home; be not dismay'd:
These are a side that would be glad to have
This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
And show no sign of fear.

First Citizen

The gods be good to us! Come, masters, let's home. I ever said we were i' the wrong when we banished him.

Second Citizen

So did we all. But, come, let's home.

Exeunt Citizens

Brutus

I do not like this news.

Sicinius

Nor I.

Brutus

Let's to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
Would buy this for a lie!

Sicinius

Pray, let us go.

Exeunt