Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 4

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MENENIUS

85Noble lady!
Come, go with us; speak fair: you may salve so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
Of what is past.

MENENIUS

Noble lady! Come with us. Your honest words may heal not only present dangers but also past losses.

VOLUMNIA

I prithee now, my son,
90Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having stretch’d it—here be with them—
Thy knee bussing the stones—for in such business
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant
More learned than the ears—waving thy head,
95Which often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling: or say to them,
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
100Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.

VOLUMNIA

I beg you now, my son, go to them, with your hat in your hand. And once you’ve extended your hat to them—do what they ask—get on your knees and kiss the ground, bow your head and humble your proud heart like the ripest mulberry that falls from the branch the moment it’s touched—for in this situation actions speak louder than words. Or tell them that you are their soldier and admit that because you were raised on the battlefield, you never learned a gentle way with words, but you realize you should have spoken more kindly when asking for their votes. Tell them that you’ll work for their benefit from here on out, to the extent of your political power and physical ability.

MENENIUS

This but done,
105Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have pardons, being ask’d, as free
As words to little purpose.

MENENIUS

(To Coriolanus) Do as she says, and their hearts will belong to you. If you ask, they’ll pardon you as easily as they speak their nonsense.