Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 4

page Act 1 Scene 4 Page 3

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Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and MARTIUS follows them to the gates
Another trumpet sounds. The Volsces re-enter to attack, and MARTIUS follows them to the gates.
So, now the gates are ope: now prove good seconds:
’Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.
So, the gates are open now. Support me well. Fortune opens the gates for those who follow me, not for those who run from battle. Listen to me, and do as I say.
Enters the gates
The Roman soldiers enter the gates.

FIRST SOLDIER

Fool-hardiness; not I.

FIRST SOLDIER

That’s crazy. I’m not going.

SECOND SOLDIER

55Nor I.

SECOND SOLDIER

Neither am I.
MARTIUS is shut in
MARTIUS is locked inside the gates.

FIRST SOLDIER

See, they have shut him in.

FIRST SOLDIER

Look, they’ve locked him in.

ALL

To the pot, I warrant him.

ALL

I’m sure he’ll end up in their cooking pot.
Alarum continues
The trumpet continues.
Re-enter TITUS LARTIUS
TITUS LARTIUS re-enters.

LARTIUS

What is become of Martius?

LARTIUS

What happened to Martius?

ALL

Slain, sir, doubtless.

ALL

He has undoubtedly been killed, sir.

FIRST SOLDIER

60Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp’d to their gates: he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.

FIRST SOLDIER

He followed right behind the fleeing Volsces and entered the city with them. They closed the gates behind him, and he’s in there all alone to fight the whole city.

LARTIUS

O noble fellow!
65Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, Martius:
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato’s wish, not fierce and terrible
70Only in strokes; but, with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds,
Thou madst thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

LARTIUS

Oh, noble fellow! He’s braver than his sword, which cannot feel pain, and he stands firm while even his sword bends. You are gone for, Martius. A flawless red gem, as large as you, wouldn’t be as valuable a jewel as you are. You were the soldier {Cato │ A military adviser in ancient Rome.} would have wished for, not just fierce and terrible on occasion, but with your serious looks and your thunderous voice, you terrified your enemies as if the whole world were shaking with a fever.