Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 3

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MENENIUS

Be calm, be calm.

MENENIUS

Be calm, be calm.

CORIOLANUS

It is a purposed thing, and grows by plot,
50To curb the will of the nobility:
Suffer’t, and live with such as cannot rule
Nor ever will be ruled.

CORIOLANUS

It’s a deliberate plot to undercut the authority of the nobility. If we succumb to it, we’ll have to live alongside these uncontrollable people who themselves are incapable of governing.

BRUTUS

Call’t not a plot:
The people cry you mock’d them, and of late,
55When corn was given them gratis, you repined;
Scandal’d the suppliants for the people, call’d them
Time-pleasers, flatterers, foes to nobleness.

BRUTUS

Don’t call it a plot. The people say you mocked them, and recently when corn was given to them for free, you complained and slandered us, the representatives of the people, calling us opportunists, flatterers, and enemies to nobility.

CORIOLANUS

Why, this was known before.

CORIOLANUS

You were already known as such.

BRUTUS

Not to them all.

BRUTUS

Not all of them thought so.

CORIOLANUS

60Have you inform’d them sithence?

CORIOLANUS

Have you informed them since?

BRUTUS

How! I inform them!

BRUTUS

How would I inform them?

CORIOLANUS

You are like to do such business.

CORIOLANUS

By the way you do business.

BRUTUS

Not unlike,
Each way, to better yours.

BRUTUS

Possibly, but whatever I do, I do it better than you would do as consul.

CORIOLANUS

65Why then should I be consul? By yond clouds,
Let me deserve so ill as you, and make me
Your fellow tribune.

CORIOLANUS

Why then should I be consul? If I am as bad as you, make me your fellow tribune.

SICINIUS

You show too much of that
For which the people stir: if you will pass
70To where you are bound, you must inquire your way,
Which you are out of, with a gentler spirit,
Or never be so noble as a consul,
Nor yoke with him for tribune.

SICINIUS

You cause too much disturbance among the people. If you want to get where you want to go, you must ask kindly to get there. You’re a long way off from doing that. And without doing so, you’ll never be noble enough to be consul or even be his equal as a tribune.