ACT I
Scene 4
 

Before Corioli.

[Enter, with drum and colours, MARCIUS, TITUS LARTIUS, Officers, and soldiers.]

MARCIUS
Yonder comes news:--a wager they have met.

LARTIUS
My horse to yours, no.

MARCIUS
'Tis done.

LARTIUS
Agreed.

[Enter a Messenger.]

MARCIUS
Say, has our general met the enemy?

MESSENGER
They lie in view; but have not spoke as yet.

LARTIUS
So, the good horse is mine.

MARCIUS
I'll buy him of you.

LARTIUS
No, I'll nor sell nor give him: lend you him I will
For half a hundred years.--Summon the town.

MARCIUS
How far off lie these armies?

MESSENGER
Within this mile and half.

MARCIUS
Then shall we hear their 'larum, and they ours.--
Now, Mars, I pr'ythee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence
To help our fielded friends!--Come, blow thy blast.

[They sound a parley. Enter, on the Walls, some Senators and others.]

Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?

FIRST SENATOR
No, nor a man that fears you less than he,
That's lesser than a little.
[Drum afar off]
Hark, our drums
Are bringing forth our youth! we'll break our walls
Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves.
[Alarum far off.]
Hark you far off!
There is Aufidius; list what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.

MARCIUS
O, they are at it!

LARTIUS
Their noise be our instruction.--Ladders, ho!

[The Volsces enter and pass over.]

MARCIUS
They fear us not, but issue forth their city.
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields.--Advance, brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath.--Come on, my fellows:
He that retires, I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.

[Alarums, and exeunt Romeans and Volsces fighting. Romans are beaten back to their trenches. Re-enter MARCIUS.]

MARCIUS
All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome!--you herd of--Boils and plagues
Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
Farther than seen, and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
And make my wars on you: look to't: come on;
If you'll stand fast we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches.

[Another alarum. The Volsces and Romans re-enter, and the fight is renewed. The Volsces retire into Corioli, and MARCIUS follows them to the gates.]

So, now the gates are ope:--now prove good seconds:
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.

[He enters the gates]

FIRST SOLDIER
Fool-hardiness: not I.

SECOND SOLDIER
Nor I.

[MARCIUS is shut in.]

FIRST SOLDIER
See, they have shut him in.

ALL
To th' pot, I warrant him.

[Alarum continues]

[Re-enter TITUS LARTIUS.]

LARTIUS
What is become of Marcius?

ALL
Slain, sir, doubtless.

FIRST SOLDIER
Following the fliers at the very heels,
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd-to their gates: he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.

LARTIUS
O noble fellow!
Who sensible, outdares his senseless sword,
And when it bows stands up! Thou art left, Marcius:
A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
Even to Cato's wish, not fierce and terrible
Only in strokes; but with thy grim looks and
The thunder-like percussion of thy sounds
Thou mad'st thine enemies shake, as if the world
Were feverous and did tremble.

[Re-enter MARCIUS, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy.]

FIRST SOLDIER
Look, sir.

LARTIUS
O, 'tis Marcius!
Let's fetch him off, or make remain alike.

[They fight, and all enter the city.]