Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 6

page Act 4 Scene 6 Page 3

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MENENIUS

I think not so.

MENENIUS

I don’t think that’s so.

SICINIUS

We should by this, to all our lamentation,
45If he had gone forth consul, found it so.

SICINIUS

If despite our protests he had become consul, we would know this to be true by now.

BRUTUS

The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
Sits safe and still without him.

BRUTUS

The gods have skillfully prevented it, and Rome sits safe and sound without him.
Enter an Aedile
An Aedile enters.

AEDILE

Worthy tribunes,
There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
50Reports, the Volsces with two several powers
Are enter’d in the Roman territories,
And with the deepest malice of the war
Destroy what lies before ’em.

AEDILE

Worthy tribunes, we’ve just put a slave in prison who says that the Volsces, in two separate armies, have entered Roman territories and are furiously destroying everything in sight.

MENENIUS

’Tis Aufidius,
55Who, hearing of our Martius’ banishment,
Thrusts forth his horns again into the world;
Which were inshell’d when Martius stood for Rome,
And durst not once peep out.

MENENIUS

It’s Aufidius. Hearing of Martius’s banishment, he’s thrusting his horns into the world again. When Martius defended Rome, Aufidius was contained and didn’t once dare to strike out.

SICINIUS

Come, what talk you
60Of Martius?

SICINIUS

Why are you talking about Martius now?

BRUTUS

Go see this rumourer whipp’d. It cannot be
The Volsces dare break with us.

BRUTUS

Go stop this rumor. The Volsces can’t have dared to break our peace treaty.

MENENIUS

Cannot be!
We have record that very well it can,
65And three examples of the like have been
Within my age. But reason with the fellow,
Before you punish him, where he heard this,
Lest you shall chance to whip your information
And beat the messenger who bids beware
70Of what is to be dreaded.

MENENIUS

They can’t? We’ve seen many times that they very well can, three times within my own lifetime in fact. Talk with the prisoner before you beat him. Find out where he heard this. Don’t run the risk of punishing the informant who warns you of dreaded news.