Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS

Fie, fie, fie!
This is the way to kindle, not to quench.

MENENIUS

No, no, no! That’s the way to incite them further, not calm them down.

FIRST SENATOR

To unbuild the city and to lay all flat.

FIRST SENATOR

To destroy the city and tear all the buildings down.

SICINIUS

What is the city but the people?

SICINIUS

What is the city if not the people?

CITIZENS

245True,
The people are the city.

CITIZENS

True, the people make the city.

BRUTUS

By the consent of all, we were establish’d
The people’s magistrates.

BRUTUS

By everyone’s agreement, we were selected to speak for the people.

CITIZENS

You so remain.

CITIZENS

You still do.

MENENIUS

250And so are like to do.

MENENIUS

And most likely, you’re about to speak.

COMINIUS

That is the way to lay the city flat;
To bring the roof to the foundation,
And bury all, which yet distinctly ranges,
In heaps and piles of ruin.

COMINIUS

That’s the way to destroy the city, to bring the roof to the foundation and bury it all, and yet the heaps and piles of ruin have a distinct hierarchy.

SICINIUS

255This deserves death.

SICINIUS

This deserves death.

BRUTUS

Or let us stand to our authority,
Or let us lose it. We do here pronounce,
Upon the part o’ the people, in whose power
We were elected theirs, Martius is worthy
260Of present death.

BRUTUS

Either let us exercise our authority, or let us lose it. On behalf of the people who we were elected to represent, we declare that Martius deserves to die immediately.

SICINIUS

Therefore lay hold of him;
Bear him to the rock Tarpeian, and from thence
Into destruction cast him.

SICINIUS

So grab him, take him to the Tarpeian rock, and throw him off the edge.