Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS

If, by the tribunes’ leave, and yours, good people,
I may be heard, I would crave a word or two;
The which shall turn you to no further harm
360Than so much loss of time.

MENENIUS

Good people, if the you and the tribunes will permit me to be heard, I want to say a word or two that will cost you nothing other than the time it takes to listen.

SICINIUS

Speak briefly then;
For we are peremptory to dispatch
This viperous traitor: to eject him hence
Were but one danger, and to keep him here
365Our certain death: therefore it is decreed
He dies to-night.

SICINIUS

Speak quickly then, for we’ve agreed to do away with this monstrous traitor. To banish him would still leave us in danger, and to keep him here would mean our certain death, so he must die tonight.

MENENIUS

Now the good gods forbid
That our renowned Rome, whose gratitude
Towards her deserved children is enroll’d
370In Jove’s own book, like an unnatural dam
Should now eat up her own!

MENENIUS

The good gods forbid that our renowned Rome, whose gratitude toward her deserving children is Jove’s law, should behave like an unnatural mother and eat her own child!

SICINIUS

He’s a disease that must be cut away.

SICINIUS

He’s a disease that must be cut out.

MENENIUS

O, he’s a limb that has but a disease;
Mortal, to cut it off; to cure it, easy.
375What has he done to Rome that’s worthy death?
Killing our enemies, the blood he hath lost—
Which, I dare vouch, is more than that he hath,
By many an ounce—he dropp’d it for his country;
And what is left, to lose it by his country,
380Were to us all, that do’t and suffer it,
A brand to the end o’ the world.

MENENIUS

No, he’s just a limb that has a disease. It would be fatal to cut off the limb but easy to cure the disease. What has he done to Rome that’s worth killing him for?
He’s killed our enemies and lost more ounces of his own blood than his body still has. He shed it for his country. For his country to take from him the blood he has left would bring eternal shame to all of us who permit it.