by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

A field of battle.
A battlefield.
Alarum as in battle. Enter, from opposite sides, MARTIUS and AUFIDIUS
A trumpet sounds from the battle. MARTIUS and AUFIDIUS enter from opposite sides.
I’ll fight with none but thee; for I do hate thee
Worse than a promise-breaker.
I’ll fight only against you, because I hate you worse than a traitor.
We hate alike:
Not Afric owns a serpent I abhor
5More than thy fame and envy. Fix thy foot.
We feel the same hatred. There’s not a snake in Africa that I hate more than your fame and envy. Prepare to fight.
Let the first budger die the other’s slave,
And the gods doom him after!
Whoever runs away from this fight first must become the other’s slave until death, and after that may the gods curse him!
If I fly, Martius,
Holloa me like a hare.
If I run, Martius, hunt me like a hare.
10Within these three hours, Tullus,
Alone I fought in your Corioli walls,
And made what work I pleased: ’tis not my blood
Wherein thou seest me mask’d; for thy revenge
Wrench up thy power to the highest.
Less than three hours ago, Tullus, I fought alone inside the walls of Corioles, and I killed whoever I wanted. It’s not my own blood you see me covered in. For your revenge, fight me with your fullest force.
15Wert thou the Hector
That was the whip of your bragg’d progeny,
Thou shouldst not scape me here.
If you’re anything like Hector, the failed champion of your ancestors whom you’re so proud of, you won’t escape me here.
They fight, and certain Volsces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS. MARTIUS fights till they be driven in breathless
They fight, and some Volsces come to the aid of AUFIDIUS. MARTIUS fights until they’re out of breath.
Officious, and not valiant, you have shamed me
In your condemned seconds.
You’re intrusive, not brave. You’ve shamed me with your assistance, and I condemn you for it.
All exit.