Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 6

page Act 1 Scene 6 Page 3

Original Text

Modern Text

COMINIUS

Flower of warriors,
How is it with Titus Lartius?

COMINIUS

Prized warrior, how is Titus Lartius?

MARTIUS

45As with a man busied about decrees:
Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other;
Holding Corioli in the name of Rome,
Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash,
50To let him slip at will.

MARTIUS

He’s busy with decrees: condemning some to death and some to exile, releasing men for ransom or pity, and threatening others. He’s holding Corioles in the name of Rome, as if the city were a greyhound on a leash, eager to please and ready to run.

COMINIUS

Where is that slave
Which told me they had beat you to your trenches?
Where is he? call him hither.

COMINIUS

Where is that slave who told me they had beaten you back to your trenches? Where is he? Call him here.

MARTIUS

Let him alone;
55He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen,
The common file—a plague! tribunes for them!--
The mouse ne’er shunn’d the cat as they did budge
From rascals worse than they.

MARTIUS

Leave him alone. He told the truth. But as for our men, the common soldiers, I curse them with a plague! May they be tried in court! Like stray dogs, they ran away from the Volsces, who are lower-bred than they are. They ran like a mouse runs from a cat.

COMINIUS

But how prevail’d you?

COMINIUS

How did you triumph then?

MARTIUS

60Will the time serve to tell? I do not think.
Where is the enemy? are you lords o’ the field?
If not, why cease you till you are so?

MARTIUS

Do I have enough time to tell you? I don’t think so. Where is the enemy? Have you captured this field? If not, why did you stop before you did?

COMINIUS

Martius,
We have at disadvantage fought and did
65Retire to win our purpose.

COMINIUS

Martius, we’ve been fighting without enough soldiers or supplies, so we retreated temporarily to regroup, and then we’ll win.