Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS

Come, enough.

MENENIUS

Okay, that’s enough.

BRUTUS

Enough, with over-measure.

BRUTUS

Enough overstatement.

CORIOLANUS

175No, take more:
What may be sworn by, both divine and human,
Seal what I end withal! This double worship,
Where one part does disdain with cause, the other
Insult without all reason, where gentry, title, wisdom,
180Cannot conclude but by the yea and no
Of general ignorance,—it must omit
Real necessities, and give way the while
To unstable slightne purpose so barr’d,
it follows,
185Nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you,—
You that will be less fearful than discreet,
That love the fundamental part of state
More than you doubt the change on’t, that prefer
A noble life before a long, and wish
190To jump a body with a dangerous physic
That’s sure of death without it, at once pluck out
The multitudinous tongue; let them not lick
The sweet which is their poison: your dishonour
Mangles true judgment and bereaves the state
195Of that integrity which should become’t,
Not having the power to do the good it would,
For the in which doth control’t.

CORIOLANUS

No, there’s more! I swear there’s both divine and human confirmation of what I have to say. A divided government—in which one part rightfully despises the other and the other part makes insulting accusations without any reason, and in which people of class, title, and wisdom are reduced to deciding things just by voting yes or no—will be unable to focus on important matters and so instead will deal only with trivial concerns. When governing becomes so difficult, it makes sense that nothing will get done well. So I beg you, you who won’t be afraid to take action because you care more about preserving our government than you fear the consequences of doing so, you who prefer a noble life over a long one and are willing to use a dangerous medicine to help someone who would otherwise surely die, you must immediately remove the representatives of the common people. Don’t let the tribunes use their poisonous flattery. When they dishonor you, it’s an impediment to justice. It robs the state of your much-needed integrity and leaves the state without the power to do the good it would because evil forces are controlling it.