Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS

55Sirrah, if thy captain knew I were here, he would
use me with estimation.

MENENIUS

Sirs, if your captain knew that I were here, he would treat me with respect.

SECOND SENTINEL

Come, my captain knows you not.

SECOND GUARD

Come, my captain doesn’t know you.

MENENIUS

I mean, thy general.

MENENIUS

I mean, your general.

FIRST SENTINEL

My general cares not for you. Back, I say, go; lest
60I let forth your half-pint of blood; back,—that’s
the utmost of your having: back.

FIRST GUARD

My general doesn’t care about you. Go back, I say, before I spill a half pint of your blood. Back, this is as far you get. Back!

MENENIUS

Nay, but, fellow, fellow,—

MENENIUS

No, but, fellow, fellow—
Enter CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS
CORIOLANUS and AUFIDIUS enter.

CORIOLANUS

What’s the matter?

CORIOLANUS

What’s going on?

MENENIUS

Now, you companion, I’ll say an errand for you:
65You 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
70spectatorship, and crueller in suffering; behold now
presently, and swoon for what’s to come upon thee.

MENENIUS

Now, you fellow, I’ll give my version of what just happened here. You’ll know now that I’m well regarded by your general and that a lowly guard such as yourself can’t keep me from Coriolanus, he who is like a son to me. I wonder if after I talk with him, whether you’ll be hanged or killed more cruelly in some prolonged and public way. Watch now and worry for what’s going to happen to you.
To CORIOLANUS
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!
75thou 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 your gates with
sighs; and conjure thee to pardon Rome, and thy
80petitionary 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.
The glorious gods sit in hourly discussions about your personal prosperity, and they love you no less than your old father Menenius does! Oh, my son, my son! You’re preparing fire for us. Look, here’s water to quench it. I was grudgingly persuaded to come to you, but because they assured me that no one other than myself could convince you, I’ve been sent here from the gates with sighs and beg you to pardon Rome and your pleading countrymen. May the good gods calm your anger and turn the remains of it upon this villain here, who, like a block, has kept me from seeing you.