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  Act 5 Scene 3

page Act 5 Scene 3 Page 3

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CORIOLANUS

Like a dull actor now,
45I have forgot my part, and I am out,
Even to a full disgrace. Best of my flesh,
Forgive my tyranny; but do not say
For that ‘Forgive our Romans.’ O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
50Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin’d it e’er since. You gods! I prate,
And the most noble mother of the world
Leave unsaluted: sink, my knee, i’ the earth;

CORIOLANUS

Like a bad actor, I have forgotten my lines. To my complete disgrace, I don’t know what to say. My dear family, forgive my cruelty but don’t ask me to “Forgive our Romans.” (Virgilia kisses him) Oh, a kiss as long as my exile, and as sweet as my revenge! By the jealous queen of heaven, I kiss only you, my dear; my lips have always been faithful. You gods! Forgive me for not saluting the most noble mother of the world. Sink, my knee, to the earth.
Kneels
He kneels
55Of thy deep duty more impression show
Than that of common sons.
I must demonstrate a more profound sign of my duty than that of common sons.

VOLUMNIA

O, stand up blest!
Whilst, with no softer cushion than the flint,
I kneel before thee; and unproperly
60Show duty, as mistaken all this while
Between the child and parent.

VOLUMNIA

Oh, stand up, blessed one! And let me, with no softer cushion than the stone floor, kneel before you. Though it’s inappropriate for me to pay respect to you—it is the child that should bow to the parent.
Kneels
She kneels.

CORIOLANUS

What is this?
Your knees to me? to your corrected son?
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
65Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars ’gainst the fiery sun;
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.

CORIOLANUS

What’s this? You’re kneeling before me, your chastised son? Then let the pebbles on the beach rise up the stars and let the mutinous winds blow the proud cedars into the fiery sun. Impossible things are now easily possible.
(He helps her up.)