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MENENIUS. For that, being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest, Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost: Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run, Lead'st first to win some vantage.-- But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs: Rome and her rats are at the point of battle; The one side must have bale.--


Hail, noble Marcius!

MARCIUS. Thanks.--What's the matter, you dissentious rogues That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, Make yourselves scabs?

FIRST CITIZEN. We have ever your good word.

MARCIUS. He that will give good words to thee will flatter Beneath abhorring.--What would you have, you curs, That like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you, The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you, Where he should find you lions, finds you hares; Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no, Than is the coal of fire upon the ic, Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is To make him worthy whose offence subdues him, And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness Deserves your hate; and your affections are A sick man's appetite, who desires most that Which would increase his evil. He that depends Upon your favours swims with fins of lead, And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye! With every minute you do change a mind; And call him noble that was now your hate, Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter, That in these several places of the city You cry against the noble senate, who, Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else Would feed on one another?--What's their seeking?

MENENIUS. For corn at their own rates; whereof they say The city is well stor'd.

MARCIUS. Hang 'em! They say! They'll sit by th' fire and presume to know What's done i' the Capitol; who's like to rise, Who thrives and who declines; side factions, and give out Conjectural marriages; making parties strong, And feebling such as stand not in their liking Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough! Would the nobility lay aside their ruth And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high As I could pick my lance.

MENENIUS. Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded; For though abundantly they lack discretion, Yet are they passing cowardly. But, I beseech you, What says the other troop?

MARCIUS. They are dissolved: hang 'em! They said they were an-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs,-- That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat, That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not Corn for the rich men only:--with these shreds They vented their complainings; which being answer'd, And a petition granted them,--a strange one, To break the heart of generosity, And make bold power look pale,--they threw their caps As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon, Shouting their emulation.

MENENIUS. What is granted them?

MARCIUS. Five tribunes, to defend their vulgar wisdoms, Of their own choice: one's Junius Brutus, Sicinius Velutus, and I know not.--'Sdeath! The rabble should have first unroof'd the city Ere so prevail'd with me: it will in time Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes For insurrection's arguing.

MENENIUS. This is strange.

MARCIUS. Go get you home, you fragments!

[Enter a MESSENGER, hastily.]

MESSENGER. Where's Caius Marcius?

MARCIUS. Here: what's the matter?

MESSENGER. The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

MARCIUS. I am glad on't: then we shall ha' means to vent Our musty superfluity.--See, our best elders.


FIRST SENATOR. Marcius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:-- The Volsces are in arms.

MARCIUS. They have a leader, Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't. I sin in envying his nobility; And were I anything but what I am, I would wish me only he.

COMINIUS. You have fought together.

MARCIUS. Were half to half the world by the ears, and he Upon my party, I'd revolt, to make Only my wars with him: he is a lion That I am proud to hunt.

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