ACT V
Scene 4
 

Rome. A public place.

[Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS.]

MENENIUS
See you yond coign o' the Capitol,--yond corner-stone?

SICINIUS
Why, what of that?

MENENIUS
If it be possible for you to displace it with your little
finger, there is some hope the ladies of Rome, especially his
mother, may prevail with him. But I say there is no hope in't:
our throats are sentenced, and stay upon execution.

SICINIUS
Is't possible that so short a time can alter the condition of a
man?

MENENIUS
There is differency between a grub and a butterfly; yet your
butterfly was a grub. This Marcius is grown from man to dragon;
he has wings; he's more than a creeping thing.

SICINIUS
He loved his mother dearly.

MENENIUS
So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother now than an
eight-year-old horse. The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes:
when he walks, he moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks
before his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with his eye,
talks like a knell, and his hum is a battery. He sits in his
state as a thing made for Alexander. What he bids be done is
finished with his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but
eternity, and a heaven to throne in.

SICINIUS
Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.

MENENIUS
I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his mother shall
bring from him. There is no more mercy in him than there is
milk in a male tiger; that shall our poor city find: and all this
is 'long of you.

SICINIUS
The gods be good unto us!

MENENIUS
No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto us. When we
banished him we respected not them; and, he returning to break
our necks, they respect not us.

[Enter a MESSENGER]

MESSENGER
Sir, if you'd save your life, fly to your house:
The plebeians have got your fellow-tribune
And hale him up and down; all swearing, if
The Roman ladies bring not comfort home
They'll give him death by inches.

[Enter a second MESSENGER.]

SICINIUS
What's the news?

SECOND MESSENGER
Good news, good news;--the ladies have prevail'd,
The Volscians are dislodg'd, and Marcius gone:
A merrier day did never yet greet Rome,
No, not the expulsion of the Tarquins.

SICINIUS
Friend,
Art thou certain this is true? is't most certain?

SECOND MESSENGER
As certain as I know the sun is fire:
Where have you lurk'd, that you make doubt of it?
Ne'er through an arch so hurried the blown tide
As the recomforted through the gates. Why, hark you!

[Trumpets and hautboys sounded, drums beaten, and shouting within.]

The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
Tabors and cymbals, and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance. Hark you!

[Shouting within.]

MENENIUS
This is good news.
I will go meet the ladies. This Volumnia
Is worth of consuls, senators, patricians,
A city full: of tribunes such as you,
A sea and land full. You have pray'd well to-day:
This morning for ten thousand of your throats
Ied not have given a doit. Hark, how they joy!

[Shouting and music.]

SICINIUS
First, the gods bless you for your tidings; next,
Accept my thankfulness.

SECOND MESSENGER
Sir, we have all
Great cause to give great thanks.

SICINIUS
They are near the city?

MESSENGER
Almost at point to enter.

SICINIUS
We'll meet them,
And help the joy.

[Exeunt.]