Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS

Let’s be calm.

MENENIUS

Let’s stay calm.

COMINIUS

75The people are abused; set on. This paltering
Becomes not Rome, nor has Coriolanus
Deserved this so dishonour’d rub, laid falsely
I’ the plain way of his merit.

COMINIUS

The people have been deceived and now incited. Trickery like this is not how Romans behave. Coriolanus shouldn’t be dishonored by these false accusations because his bravery makes him so clearly deserving.

CORIOLANUS

Tell me of corn!
80This was my speech, and I will speak’t again—

CORIOLANUS

Talk to me about corn! This was my speech, and I will speak it again—

MENENIUS

Not now, not now.

MENENIUS

Not now, not now.

FIRST SENATOR

Not in this heat, sir, now.

FIRST SENATOR

Not when the people are so agitated, sir, not now.

CORIOLANUS

Now, as I live, I will. My nobler friends,
I crave their pardons:
85For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them
Regard me as I do not flatter, and
Therein behold themselves: I say again,
In soothing them, we nourish ’gainst our senate
The cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition,
90Which we ourselves have plough’d for, sow’d,
and scatter’d,
By mingling them with us, the honour’d number,
Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that
Which they have given to beggars.

CORIOLANUS

As sure as I’m alive, I will speak now. My nobler friends, I beg your pardon.
As for the two-faced, stinking masses, let them see themselves clearly because I will not flatter them. I say again, by flattering them, we encourage the seeds of rebellion, disobedience, treason against our Senate—seeds that we ourselves have plowed for, sowed, and scattered by mingling them with us, the honorable ones. The only virtue or power that we lack is that which we have given to these beggars.

MENENIUS

95Well, no more.

MENENIUS

That’s enough, no more.

FIRST SENATOR

No more words, we beseech you.

FIRST SENATOR

No more words, we beg you.