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Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

MENENIUS
Well, and say that Martius
Return me, as Cominius is return’d,
50Unheard; what then?
But as a discontented friend, grief-shot
With his unkindness? say’t be so?
MENENIUS
All right, but what if Martius sends me back without listening to me, as he did with Cominius? What then? I’ll come back simply as a disappointed friend, grief-stricken with his unkindness? What if that happens?
SICINIUS
Yet your good will
must have that thanks from Rome, after the measure
55As you intended well.
SICINIUS
No, Rome will thank you for your efforts because you intended well.
MENENIUS
I’ll undertake ’t:
I think he’ll hear me. Yet, to bite his lip
And hum at good Cominius, much unhearts me.
He was not taken well; he had not dined:
60The veins unfill’d, our blood is cold, and then
We pout upon the morning, are unapt
To give or to forgive; but when we have stuff’d
These and these conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
65Than in our priest-like fasts: therefore I’ll watch him
Till he be dieted to my request,
And then I’ll set upon him.
MENENIUS
I’ll try. I think he’ll listen to me. But it discourages me that he bit his lip and hummed at good Cominius. Martius wasn’t approached skillfully—he hadn’t eaten. When the veins are empty, our blood is cold, and then our outlook on the day is sour. We are unlikely to give or to forgive. But when we have stuffed ourselves with food and wine, we become more flexible than when we’re stiff with hunger. So before I ask him, I’ll be sure that he has eaten and is therefore likely to grant my request.
BRUTUS
You know the very road into his kindness,
And cannot lose your way.
BRUTUS
You know exactly how to access his kindness. You can’t fail.
MENENIUS
70Good faith, I’ll prove him,
Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
Of my success.
MENENIUS
Have faith. Whatever happens, I’ll try to convince him. I’ll know soon enough whether I have succeeded.