Coriolanus

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ALL. The gods assist you!

AUFIDIUS. And keep your honours safe!

FIRST SENATOR. Farewell.

SECOND SENATOR. Farewell.

ALL. Farewell.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE III. Rome. An apartmnet in MARCIUS' house.

[Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA; they sit down on two low stools and sew.]

VOLUMNIA. I pray you, daughter, sing, or express yourself in a more comfortable sort; if my son were my husband, I should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he won honour than in the embracements of his bed where he would show most love. When yet he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when youth with comeliness pluck'd all gaze his way; when, for a day of kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding; I,--considering how honour would become such a person; that it was no better than picture-like to hang by th' wall if renown made it not stir;--was pleased to let him seek danger where he was to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he returned his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child than now in first seeing he had proved himself a man.

VIRGILIA. But had he died in the business, madam? how then?

VOLUMNIA. Then his good report should have been my son; I therein would have found issue. Hear me profess sincerely,--had I a dozen sons, each in my love alike, and none less dear than thine and my good Marcius, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.

[Enter a GENTLEWOMAN.]

GENTLEWOMAN. Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.

VIRGILIA. Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.

VOLUMNIA. Indeed you shall not. Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum; See him pluck Aufidius down by the hair; As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him: Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:-- 'Come on, you cowards! you were got in fear Though you were born in Rome:' his bloody brow With his mail'd hand then wiping, forth he goes, Like to a harvest-man that's tasked to mow Or all, or lose his hire.

VIRGILIA. His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!

VOLUMNIA. Away, you fool! It more becomes a man Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba, When she did suckle Hector, looked not lovelier Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood At Grecian swords contending.--Tell Valeria We are fit to bid her welcome.

[Exit GENTLEWOMAN.]

VIRGILIA. Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!

VOLUMNIA. He'll beat Aufidius' head below his knee, And tread upon his neck.

[Re-enter GENTLEWOMAN, with VALERIA and her Usher.]

VALERIA. My ladies both, good-day to you.

VOLUMNIA. Sweet madam.

VIRGILIA. I am glad to see your ladyship.

VALERIA. How do you both? you are manifest housekeepers. What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith.--How does your little son?

VIRGILIA. I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

VOLUMNIA. He had rather see the swords and hear a drum than look upon his schoolmaster.

VALERIA. O' my word, the father's son: I'll swear 'tis a very pretty boy. O' my troth, I looked upon him o' Wednesday, half an hour together: has such a confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it he let it go again; and after it again; and over and over he comes, and up again; catched it again; or whether his fall enraged him, or how 'twas, he did so set his teeth and tear it; O, I warrant, how he mammocked it!

VOLUMNIA. One on's father's moods.

VALERIA. Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.

VIRGILIA. A crack, madam.

VALERIA. Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle huswife with me this afternoon.

VIRGILIA. No, good madam; I will not out of doors.

VALERIA. Not out of doors!

VOLUMNIA. She shall, she shall.

VIRGILIA. Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the threshold till my lord return from the wars.

VALERIA. Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably; come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.

VIRGILIA. I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

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