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Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

CORIOLANUS
Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your
voices that I may be consul, I have here the
customary gown.
CORIOLANUS
I ask if you would please vote for me, since I am wearing the customary gown.
FOURTH CITIZEN
90You have deserved nobly of your country, and you
have not deserved nobly.
FOURTH CITIZEN
You’ve served your country nobly, but you aren’t deserving.
CORIOLANUS
Your enigma?
CORIOLANUS
What do you mean?
FOURTH CITIZEN
You have been a scourge to her enemies, you have
been a rod to her friends; you have not indeed loved
95the common people.
FOURTH CITIZEN
You’ve defeated her enemies and you’ve protected her friends, but you haven’t loved the common people.
CORIOLANUS
You should account me the more virtuous that I have
not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my
sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer
estimation of them; ’tis a condition they account
100gentle: and since the wisdom of their choice is
rather to have my hat than my heart, I will practise
the insinuating nod and be off to them most
counterfeitly; that is, sir, I will counterfeit the
bewitchment of some popular man and give it
105bountiful to the desirers. Therefore, beseech you,
I may be consul.
CORIOLANUS
You should consider me virtuous because I don’t give my love away easily. Sir, I’ll flatter my sworn brothers, the people, so they’ll think well of me. It’s a custom they consider noble. And since they’d rather decide based on what hat I’m wearing than on who I am, I’ll practice taking off my hat and bowing insincerely. That is to say, sir, I’ll pretend to be enchanted by them, as some popular men do, and give my false admiration plentifully to those who desire it. So I ask you, may I be consul?
FIFTH CITIZEN
We hope to find you our friend; and therefore give
you our voices heartily.
FIFTH CITIZEN
We hope you’ll be our ally, so we happily vote for you.
FOURTH CITIZEN
You have received many wounds for your country.
FOURTH CITIZEN
You’ve been wounded many times serving your country.