Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 6

page Act 1 Scene 6 Page 4

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MARTIUS

How lies their battle? know you on which side
They have placed their men of trust?

MARTIUS

What’s their battle formation? Do you know what side their best men are on?

COMINIUS

As I guess, Martius,
Their bands i’ the vaward are the Antiates,
70Of their best trust; o’er them Aufidius,
Their very heart of hope.

COMINIUS

My guess, Martius, is that the Antiates, who they trust highly, are in the front. Leading them is Aufidius, the very heart of their hope.

MARTIUS

I do beseech you,
By all the battles wherein we have fought,
By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
75We have made to endure friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
We prove this very hour.

MARTIUS

By all the battles we’ve fought, by the blood we have shed together and by the vows we made to remain friends, I beg that you put me directly against Aufidius and his Antiates. And that you not hesitate but rather fill the air with raised swords and darts. Now is the time for us to prove ourselves.

COMINIUS

80Though I could wish
You were conducted to a gentle bath
And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never
Deny your asking: take your choice of those
That best can aid your action.

COMINIUS

I wish you were going now to a gentle bath and to have balms applied to you, but I never dare to deny what you ask. Take your choice of the men who can best help you.

MARTIUS

85Those are they
That most are willing. If any such be here—
As it were sin to doubt—that love this painting
Wherein you see me smear’d; if any fear
Lesser his person than an ill report;
90If any think brave death outweighs bad life
And that his country’s dearer than himself;
Let him alone, or so many so minded,
Wave thus, to express his disposition,
And follow Martius.

MARTIUS

The men I choose are the ones most eager to fight. If there is any man here—and it would be a sin to doubt it—who loves seeing me smeared in blood, that fears more for his honor than for his personal safety, that thinks a brave death outweighs a bad life, and that his country is more important than himself, let him alone, or others if they feel the same, wave their arms now to tell me who they are. And then follow me.