Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 6

Original Text

Modern Text

FIRST CITIZEN

Ye’re long about it.

FIRST CITIZEN

You’re taking a long time to tell it.

MENENIUS

120Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer’d:
‘True is it, my incorporate friends,’ quoth he,
‘That I receive the general food at first,
125Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
Because I am the store-house and the shop
Of the whole body: but, if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat o’ the brain;
130And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves and small inferior veins
From me receive that natural competency
Whereby they live: and though that all at once,
You, my good friends,’—this says the belly, mark me,—

MENENIUS

Pay attention, good friend. The belly was serious and deliberate, not rash like his accusers, and so he answered, “It’s true, my fellow parts,” he said, “That I am first to receive the food supply that you live on. This is as it should be, because I am the storehouse and the shop of the whole body. But if you’ll remember, I send it through the rivers of your blood, even to the court of the heart, to the throne of the brain, and through the ducts and chambers of the body, the strongest nerves and small inferior veins receive from me all that they need to survive. And despite all that, you, my good friends,” says the belly—

FIRST CITIZEN

135Ay, sir; well, well.

FIRST CITIZEN

Yes, sir, go on.

MENENIUS

‘Though all at once cannot
See what I do deliver out to each,
Yet I can make my audit up, that all
From me do back receive the flour of all,
140And leave me but the bran.’ What say you to’t?

MENENIUS

“Even though all the parts can’t see at once what I deliver out to each, I can account that all parts receive from me all the flour I get, and that all I’m left with is the bran.” What do you say that?

FIRST CITIZEN

It was an answer: how apply you this?

FIRST CITIZEN

It’s an answer. How does it apply to us?