1. SCENE I. Rome. A public place
[Enter MENENIUS, COMINIUS, SICINIUS and BRUTUS, and others.]
No, I'll not go: you hear what he hath said
Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him
In a most dear particular. He call'd me father:
But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him;
A mile before his tent fall down, and knee
The way into his mercy: nay, if he coy'd
To hear Cominius speak, I'll keep at home.
He would not seem to know me.
Do you hear?
Yet one time he did call me by my name:
I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
That we have bled together. Coriolanus
He would not answer to: forbad all names;
He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
Till he had forg'd himself a name i' the fire
Of burning Rome.
Why, so!--you have made good work!
A pair of tribunes that have rack'd for Rome,
To make coals cheap,--a noble memory!
I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon
When it was less expected: he replied,
It was a bare petition of a state
To one whom they had punish'd.
Could he say less?
I offer'd to awaken his regard
For's private friends: his answer to me was,
He could not stay to pick them in a pile
Of noisome musty chaff: he said 'twas folly,
For one poor grain or two, to leave unburnt
And still to nose the offence.
For one poor grain
Or two! I am one of those; his mother, wife,
His child, and this brave fellow too- we are the grains:
You are the musty chaff; and you are smelt
Above the moon: we must be burnt for you.
Nay, pray be patient: if you refuse your aid
In this so never-needed help, yet do not
Upbraid's with our distress. But, sure, if you
Would be your country's pleader, your good tongue,
More than the instant army we can make,
Might stop our countryman.