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Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS
Very well:
25Could he say less?
MENENIUS
That’s fair for him to say.
COMINIUS
I offer’d to awaken his regard
For’s private friends: his answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
Of noisome musty chaff: he said ’twas folly,
30For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt,
And still to nose the offence.
COMINIUS
I tried to make him think of his personal friends. His answer to me was that he couldn’t stop to pick them out from a pile of offensive, musty chaff. He said it was foolish to spare one or two poor grains from being burned and still smell the stink.
MENENIUS
For one poor grain or two!
I am one of those; his mother, wife, his child,
And this brave fellow too, we are the grains:
35You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.
MENENIUS
For one poor grain or two! I am one of those. His mother, his wife, his child, and this brave fellow, too—we are the grains. You are the musty chaff. Your stink can be smelled above the moon, and we must be burnt for you.
SICINIUS
Nay, pray, be patient: if you refuse your aid
In this so never-needed help, yet do not
Upbraid’s with our distress. But, sure, if you
40Would be your country’s pleader, your good tongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.
SICINIUS
No, please, be patient. If you refuse to help when it’s most needed, don’t lecture us while we’re in distress. If you’d plead on your country’s behalf, surely your good words would do more to stop our countryman than any army we could raise.
MENENIUS
No, I’ll not meddle.
MENENIUS
No, I won’t get involved.
SICINIUS
Pray you, go to him.
SICINIUS
Please, go to him.
MENENIUS
45What should I do?
MENENIUS
What would I do?
BRUTUS
Only make trial what your love can do
For Rome, towards Martius.
BRUTUS
See what your kindness toward Martius can do for Rome.