Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 6

page Act 1 Scene 6 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

COMINIUS

’Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums:
How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour,
And bring thy news so late?

COMINIUS

They’re not even a mile away. A little while ago we heard their drums. How could you waste an hour traveling only one mile and bring your news so late?

MESSENGER

Spies of the Volsces
25Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel
Three or four miles about, else had I, sir,
Half an hour since brought my report.

MESSENGER

Volscian spies chased me and I was forced to go three or four miles out of my way. Otherwise I would have brought my report half an hour earlier.

COMINIUS

Who’s yonder,
That does appear as he were flay’d? O gods
30He has the stamp of Martius; and I have
Before-time seen him thus.

COMINIUS

Who’s over there, looking like he’s been skinned alive? Oh, gods, it looks like Martius, and I’ve seen him look like this before.

MARTIUS

[Within] Come I too late?

MARTIUS

(from offstage) Am I too late?

COMINIUS

The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour
More than I know the sound of Martius’ tongue
35From every meaner man.

COMINIUS

I know the difference between the sound of Martius’s tongue and every lesser man even more than the shepherd knows the difference between the sound of thunder and a drum.
Enter MARTIUS
MARTIUS enters, covered in blood.

MARTIUS

Come I too late?

MARTIUS

Am I too late?

COMINIUS

Ay, if you come not in the blood of others,
But mantled in your own.

COMINIUS

Yes, but only if you’re drenched in your own blood, not the blood of others.

MARTIUS

O, let me clip ye
40In arms as sound as when I woo’d, in heart
As merry as when our nuptial day was done,
And tapers burn’d to bedward!

MARTIUS

Oh, let me hug you with arms as strong as when I wooed my wife, with a heart as happy as the day we married and the candles burned down, telling us it was time for bed!