Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 11

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MARTIUS

260Nay, let them follow:
The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither
To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutiners,
Your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.

MARTIUS

No, let them follow us. The Volsces have a lot of corn. Take these rats to gnaw at their granaries. Worshipful rebels, your courage is impressive, please follow us.
Citizens steal away. Exeunt all but SICINIUS and BRUTUS
Citizens sneak away. All but SICINIUS and BRUTUS exit.

SICINIUS

Was ever man so proud as is this Martius?

SICINIUS

Was there ever a man as proud as Martius?

BRUTUS

265He has no equal.

BRUTUS

He has no equal.

SICINIUS

When we were chosen tribunes for the people,—

SICINIUS

When we were chosen as representatives for the people—

BRUTUS

Mark’d you his lip and eyes?

BRUTUS

Did you notice his lip and eyes?

SICINIUS

Nay. [B]ut his taunts.

SICINIUS

No, only his taunts.

BRUTUS

Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.

BRUTUS

When he’s angry, he’ll even taunt the gods.

SICINIUS

270Be-mock the modest moon.

SICINIUS

He’d mock the calmness of the moon.

BRUTUS

The present wars devour him: he is grown
Too proud to be so valiant.

BRUTUS

May this war destroy him! His courage has made him too proud.

SICINIUS

Such a nature,
Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
275Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder
His insolence can brook to be commanded
Under Cominius.

SICINIUS

A nature such as his, which has been amplified by all his successes, disdains his own shadow, which he walks on at noon. I wonder if his pride can handle being under Cominius’s command.

BRUTUS

Fame, at the which he aims,
In whom already he’s well graced, can not
280Better be held nor more attain’d than by
A place below the first: for what miscarries
Shall be the general’s fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man, and giddy censure
Will then cry out of Martius ‘O if he
285Had borne the business!’

BRUTUS

The fame he aims for, and with which he has already been graced, can’t be maintained or increased in any position other than the lead. Whatever goes wrong will be seen as the general’s fault, even though he’ll do the best job a man could do, and fickle public opinion will then say of Martius, “Oh, if only he had been in charge!”