Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 6

page Act 4 Scene 6 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS

We are all undone, unless
The noble man have mercy.

MENENIUS

We’re all doomed unless he has mercy on us.

COMINIUS

Who shall ask it?
140The tribunes cannot do’t for shame; the people
Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
Does of the shepherds: for his best friends, if they
Should say ‘Be good to Rome,’ they charged him even
As those should do that had deserved his hate,
145And therein show’d like enemies.

COMINIUS

Who will ask him for mercy? The tribunes are too ashamed, the people deserve his pity like the wolf deserves the shepherds’, and as for his best friends, if they
were to ask him to “be good to Rome,” they would be asking of him what his enemies ought to ask, and that would make them appear to be his enemies.

MENENIUS

’Tis true:
If he were putting to my house the brand
That should consume it, I have not the face
To say ‘Beseech you, cease.’ You have made fair hands,
150You and your crafts! you have crafted fair!

MENENIUS

It’s true. If he were about to burn my house, I wouldn’t be bold enough to say, “I beg you, stop.” You and your crafty ways! You’ve crafted a real mess here!

COMINIUS

You have brought
A trembling upon Rome, such as was never
So incapable of help.

COMINIUS

You’ve brought to Rome a panic without remedy like never before.

BOTH TRIBUNES

Say not we brought it.

BOTH TRIBUNES

We didn’t bring it.

MENENIUS

155How! Was it we? we loved him but, like beasts
And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
Who did hoot him out o’ the city.

MENENIUS

What? How is it our fault? We supported him but, like beasts and cowardly nobles, we gave way into your crowds of people who drove him out of the city.

COMINIUS

But I fear
They’ll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
160The second name of men, obeys his points
As if he were his officer: desperation
Is all the policy, strength and defence,
That Rome can make against them.

COMINIUS

But I fear the crowds will roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius, the second most famous warrior, obeys Martius’s orders as if he were his officer. Desperation is the only defense that Rome can make against them.