Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 9

page Act 1 Scene 9 Page 2

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COMINIUS

You shall not be
The grave of your deserving; Rome must know
25The value of her own: ’twere a concealment
Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
To hide your doings; and to silence that,
Which, to the spire and top of praises vouch’d,
Would seem but modest: therefore, I beseech you
30In sign of what you are, not to reward
What you have done—before our army hear me.

COMINIUS

Don’t dismiss the praise you deserve. Rome must know your value as her soldier. To conceal your achievements would be worse than stealing, and not less than slander, because for what you have done, no matter how highly we praise you, it will never be sufficient. So I ask you—in recognition of your importance to Rome, not to boast of your achievements—let me address you in front of our army.

MARTIUS

I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
To hear themselves remember’d.

MARTIUS

I’m wounded, and my wounds hurt when they hear how I got them.

COMINIUS

Should they not,
35Well might they fester ’gainst ingratitude,
And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses,
Whereof we have ta’en good and good store, of all
The treasure in this field achieved and city,
We render you the tenth, to be ta’en forth,
40Before the common distribution, at
Your only choice.

COMINIUS

If your wounds don’t hear, they might think we’re ungrateful, become infected, and cause your death. Of all the many good horses we’ve taken from the enemy and of all the treasures we’ve won in the battlefield and in the city, we’ll give you one tenth to take now, before the rest is divided among us. Take whatever you choose.

MARTIUS

I thank you, general;
But cannot make my heart consent to take
A bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it;
45And stand upon my common part with those
That have beheld the doing.

MARTIUS

Thank you, general, but my heart won’t to take a bribe to pay my sword. I refuse to stand there and listen to my deeds be told to those who saw me do them.