Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 9

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MENENIUS

What is granted them?

MENENIUS

What was granted to them?

MARTIUS

Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice: one’s Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not—’Sdeath!
220The rabble should have first unroof’d the city,
Ere so prevail’d with me: it will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection’s arguing.

MARTIUS

Five representatives of their own choosing to defend their ignorant views. Junius Brutus, Sicinius Velutus, and I don’t know who else. God’s death! The rebels would have to tear the roofs off the city before they could ever prevail upon me to grant them that. They’ll soon become more powerful and make more arguments for insurrection.

MENENIUS

This is strange.

MENENIUS

This is strange.

MARTIUS

225(to the rebels) Go, get you home, you fragments!

MARTIUS

(to the rebels) Go home, you crumbs!
Enter a Messenger, hastily
A Messenger enters quickly.

MESSENGER

Where’s Caius Martius?

MESSENGER

Where’s Caius Martius?

MARTIUS

Here: what’s the matter?

MARTIUS

I’m here. What’s going on?

MESSENGER

The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

MESSENGER

Sir, the news is that the Volsces are prepared to fight.

MARTIUS

I am glad on ‘t: then we shall ha’ means to vent
230Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.

MARTIUS

I’m glad about this. This means we’ll have a way to get rid of our excess population. Look, here come our best elders.
Enter COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, and other Senators; JUNIUS BRUTUS and SICINIUS VELUTUS
COMINIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, other Senators, JUNIUS BRUTUS, and SICINIUS VELUTUS enter.

FIRST SENATOR

Martius, ’tis true that you have lately told us;
The Volsces are in arms.

FIRST SENATOR

Martius, it’s true what you’ve been telling us lately: the Volsces are ready to fight.

MARTIUS

They have a leader,
Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to ’t.
235I sin in envying his nobility,
And were I any thing but what I am,
I would wish me only he.

MARTIUS

They have a leader, Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to the test. It’s a sin, but I envy his leadership. If I could be anyone other than who I am, I would only wish to be him.