Coriolanus Quotes

Coriolanus: Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight with hearts more proof than shields.

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Coriolanus: If any think brave death outweighs bad life, and that his country's dearer than himself; let him alone, or so many minded, wave thus, to express his disposition, and follow Martius!

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Coriolanus: I thank you, general; but I cannot make my heart consent to take a bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it, and stand upon my common part with those that have beheld the doing.

Movie: Coriolanus
Volscian Lieutenant: How not your own desires?
Coriolanus: No sir, 'twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor with begging.
Volscian Lieutenant: You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to gain by you.
Coriolanus: Well then, I pray, your price of the consulship?
Emsemble: The price is to ask it kindly.
Coriolanus: [With resentful sarcasm]Kindly? Madam, I pray... let me have it! [Snaps his fingers]
Coriolanus: I have wounds to show you, which shall be yours in private. [Looks to citizen]
Coriolanus: Your good voice, sir. What say you? A match, sir. So there's in all two worthy voices begged. [Citizen walks away]
Coriolanus: Adieu. [Another citizen approaches]
Coriolanus: Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
Ensemble: You have deserved nobly of your country and you have not deserved nobly.
Coriolanus: Your enigma?
Ensemble: You have been a scourge to your enemies, a rod to her friends. You have not, indeed, loved the common people.
Coriolanus: You should account me the more virtuous that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them. 'Tis a condition they account gentle. And since wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart I will practice the insinuating nod and be off to them most counterfeitly. Indeed, I may be consul.
Valeria: You have received many wounds for your country.
Coriolanus: I will not not seal your knowledge with showing them. [Plucks the voucher sarcastically]
Coriolanus: I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further. [Coriolanus and citizen laugh, he with contention]

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Coriolanus: You are plebeians if they be senators! They choose their magistrates and such a one as she, who puts her 'shall'- her popular 'shall' - against a graver bench than ever frowned in Greece. By Jove herself, it makes the consuls base, and my soul aches to know, when two authorities are up-neither supreme-how soon confusion may enter 'twixt the gap of both and take the one by the other. Whoever gave the consul, to give forth the corn of the store-house gratis, as 'twas used sometime in Greece...
Menenius: Well, well. We'll have no more of that.
Coriolanus: ...though there the people had more absolute power, I say they nourished disobedience, fed the ruin of the state...
Brutus: Why should the people give one that speaks thus their voices?
Coriolanus: I'll give my reasons! More worthier than their voices! They know the corn was not our recompense, resting well assured that never did service for it. Being pressed to the war, even when the navel of the state was touched, they would not thread the gates. This kind of service did not deserve corn gratis. Being in the war, their mutinies and revolts, wherein they showed most valour, spoke not for them. The accusation they have often made against the senate - all cause unborn - could never be the motice of our so frank donation. Well, what then? How shall this bosom multiplied digest the senate's courtesy? Let deeds express what's like to be their words. [Coriolanus takes a pompous stand]
Coriolanus: 'We did request it, we are the greater poll; and in true fear they gave us our demands.' Thus we debase the nature of our seats and make the rabble call our cares fears, which will in time break ope the locks of the senate and bring in the crows to peck the eagles.
Menenius: Come, enough!
Brutus: Enough! with overmeasure.
Coriolanus: No! Take more! What may be sworn by, both di

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Menenius: I tell you, friends, most charitable care have the patricians of you and you slander the helms o' the state, who care for you like fathers, when you curse them as enemies.
Emsemble: Care for us! They never cared for us yet: they suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain. Repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich to provide more piercing statues daily, to chain up and restrain the poor.

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Titus Lartius: O noble fellow!... Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword, and when it bows, stands up? Thou art left, Martius: 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 madst thine enemies shake, as if the world were feverous and did tremble.
Cominius: Where's Martius?
Titus Lartius: Lost. Alone he fights within Corioles.
Cominius: O Martius, such a manhood is called foolery, when it stands against a falling fabric. Hadst thou but breathed, we should have come off like Romans: neither foolish in our stands, nor cowardly in retire. Believe me, sirs, we shall be charged again. [Coriolanus enters, bloody from battle]

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Aufidius: Conditions! I would I were a Roman; for I cannot, being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition! What good conditions can a treaty find for the side that is defeated? Five times, Martius, I have fought with thee: so often hast thou beat me, and wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter as often as we eat. By the elements, if ev'r again I meet him face to face, he's mine or I am his. Mine appetite hath not that honour in't it had, for where I thought to crush him in an equal force, true sword to sword... I'll potch at his some way, or wrath or craft will get him.
Volscian Lieutenant: He's the devil.
Aufidius: Bolder, though not so subtle... My valour's poisoned. Wherever I find him - in his home, in sanctuary, or in the Capital - naked, sick, asleep, nor prayers of priests, nor time sacrifice - shall lift their rotten privilege against my hate to Martius. Wheresoever, I would wash my fierce hand in's heart.

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Menenius: You blame Martius for being proud.
Brutus: We do it not alone, sir.
Menenius: I know you can do very little alone; for your helps are many, or else your actions would grow wondrous single: your abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone. You talk of pride: O that you could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks, and make but an interior of your good selves. O that you could.
Brutus: What then, sir?
Menenius: Why, then you should discover a brace of unmeriting, proud, violent, testy magistrates, alias fools, as any in Rome.

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Menenius: Is he not wounded? He was wont to come home wounded.
Virgilia: O, no, no, no.
Volumnia: O, he is wounded. I thank the gods for it.
Menenius: So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings he victory in his pocket, the wounds become him.
Volumnia: On his brows, Menenius, he comes the third time home with the oaken garland.
Menenius: Is the senate possessed of this?
Volumnia: Good ladies, let's go... Yes, yes, yes, the senate has letters from the general in which he gives *my son* the whole name of the war. He has in this action outdone his former deeds doubly.
Menenius: God save your good worships, Martius is coming home. He has cause to be proud. Where is he wounded?
Volumnia: In the shoulder and in the left arm. There will be large cicatrices to show the people, when he shall stand for his place. He received in the repulse of Tarquin seven hurts in the body.
Menenius: One in the neck and two in the thigh, there's nine that I know.
Volumnia: He had, before this last expedition, twenty-five wounds upon him!
Menenius: Now it's twenty-seven. Every gash was an enemy's grave. [Drums beat]
Menenius: Hark, the drums.
Volumnia: These are the ushers of Martius. Before him he carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears. Death, that dark spirit, in his nervy arm doth lie, which being advances, declines, and then men die...

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Cominius: Know, Rome, that all alone Martius did fight within Corioli gates: where he hath won, with fame, a name to Caius Marcius, these in honour fellows 'Coriolanus.' Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus! [Crowd chants]
Coriolanus: No more of this; it does offend my heart: pray now, no more.

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Sicinia: I wish no better than have him hold that purpose and to put it in execution.
Brutus: 'Tis most like he will.
Sicinia: It shall be to him then as our good wills, a sure destruction.
Brutus: So it must fall out to him, or our authority's. For an end, we must suggest the people in what hatred he still holds him.
Sicinia: This, as you say, suggest at some time when his soaring insolence shall touch the people, shall be his fire to kindle their dry stubble; and their blaze shall darken his for ever.

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Coriolanus: Your horror's pardon: I had rather have wounds to heal again than hear say how I got them.
Brutus: Sir, I hope my words disbench'd you not?
Coriolanus: No sir! Yet oft when blows have made me stay, I have fled from words. I'll not stay now to hear my nothings monster'd.

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[Coriolanus picks up Brutus and tosses him from the podium] Coriolanus: For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them regard me as I do not flatter, and therein behold themselves. I say again, in soothing them, we nourish against our senate the cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition, which we ourselves have ploughed for, sowed, and scattered by mingling *them* with *us*, the honoured numbered, who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that which they have given to beggars.
Menenius: Well, not more!
Valeria: We beg you, no more words, pray.
Coriolanus: How now, no more? As for my country, I have shed my blood, not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs coin words till their decay against those measles, which we disdain, should tatter us, yet sought the very way to catch them.
Brutus: You speak of the people as if you were a god to punish.
Sicinia: 'Twere well we let the people know it.
Menenius: What, what? His choler?
Coriolanus: Choler! Were I as patient as the midnight sleep, by Jove, 'twould be my mind.
Sicinia: It is a mind that *shall* remain a poison where it is, not a poison any further.
Coriolanus: 'Shall remain'? Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you hear her absolute 'shall'?
Cominius: 'Twas from the canon.
Coriolanus: 'Shall'? O good but most unwise patricians. Why, you grave but reckless senators have you thus given... [Coriolanus drops to the floor, picking up vouchers]
Coriolanus: ...Hydra here to choose an officer that with peremptory 'shall', being but the horn and noise of the monster's, wants not spirit say she'll turn your current in a ditch, and make your channels hers? If she have power, then vail your ignorance. If none, awake your dangerous lenity. If you are learned, be not as common fools. If you are not, let them have cushio

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Coriolanus: My name is Caius Martius - who hath done to thee particularly, and to all the Volsces, great hurt and mischief. Thereto witness my surname: Coriolanus. The painful service, the extreme dangers and the drops of blood shed for my thankless country, are requited with that surname. A good memory, and witness of the malice and displeasure which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name remains. The cruelty and envy of the people, permitted by our dastard nobles, who have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest and suffered me by the voice of slaves to be whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity hath brought me to thy hearth. Not out of hope, mistake me not, to save my life, for if I had feared death, of all the men in the world, I would have avoided thee. But in mere spite, to be full quit of those my banishers, stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast a heart of wreck in thee, that wilt revenge thine own particular wrongs, and stop those mains of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight, and make my misery serve thy turn. So use it that my revengeful service may prove as benefits to thee. For I will fight against my cankered country with the spleen of all the under fiends. But if so be thou darest not this, and that to prove more fortunes, thou art tired, then, in a word, I also am longer to live most weary. And do present my throat to thee and thy ancient malice, which not to cut would show thee but a fool... [Coriolanus drops to his knees]
Coriolanus: ...since I have ever followed thee with hate, drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast, and cannot live but to thy shame, unless it be to do thee service. [Volscian Lieutenant, who approached Coriolanus from behind with a blade, exchanges the blade with Aufidius's handkerchief]
Aufidius: O Martius, Martius. Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart a root of ancient envy. [Aufidius comes from behind Coriolanus, holding the knife to his nec

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Coriolanus: Would you have me False to my nature? Rather say I play The man I am.

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Caius Martius Coriolanus: I'll fight with none but thee, for I do hate thee.
Tullus Aufidius: We hate alike.

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Caius Martius Coriolanus: O, a kiss Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!

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Menenius: This Martius is grown from man to dragon. He has wings. He's more than a creeping thing.
Menenius: There is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger.

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Caius Martius Coriolanus: 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. Who deserves greatness, deserves your hate.

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Tullus Aufidius: What's thy name?
Caius Martius Coriolanus: A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears, and harsh in sound to thine.
Tullus Aufidius: Say... what's thy name? Thou has a grim appearance. What's thy name?
Caius Martius Coriolanus: [taking a step forward]Know'st thou me yet?
Tullus Aufidius: I know thee not. Thy name?
Caius Martius Coriolanus: My name is Caius Martius, who hath done to thee particularly, and to all the Volsces, great hurt and mischief. Thereto witness my surname... Coriolanus. Only that name remains. The cruelty and envy of the people who have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest and suffered me by the voice of slaves, be whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity hath brought me to thy hearth. Not out of hope, mistake me not to save my life. For if I had feared death, of all men in the world I would have avoided thee. But, in mere spite, to be full quit of those my banishers, stand I before thee here. I will fight against my cankered country with the spleen of all the under fiends. But if thou dares not this, then I present my throat to thee and to thy ancient malice. Which not to cut would show thee but a fool, since I have ever followed thee with hate, and cannot live but to thy shame, unless it be to do thee service.

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[first lines]Second Citizen: Before we proceed any further, hear me speak. You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?
Gathered Citizens: [in unison]Resolved.
Second Citizen: First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people.
Gathered Citizens: We know it.
First Citizen: Let us kill him. And we'll have corn at our own price.
Second Citizen: We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians of good. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, our suffering, is a gain to them.
Gathered Citizens: Aye.
Second Citizen: Let us revenge this with our sticks, ere we become rakes.
First Citizen: No more talking on it. Come!

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Menenius: I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying water in it. One that converses more with the buttock of the night than with the forehead of the morning. What I think I utter, and spend my malice in my breath.

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Caius Martius Coriolanus: [shouting agitated]By Jove himself, it makes the consuls base, and my soul aches to know when two authorities are up, neither supreme, how soon confusion may enter twixt the gap of both and take the one by the other. Thus we debase the nature of our seats and make the rabble call our cares fears, which will, in time, break open the locks of the senate, and bring in the crows to peck the eagles!

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Volumnia: Do as thou like! Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'st it from me. But owe thy pride thyself!

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Tullus Aufidius: Our virtues lie in the interpretation of the time. One fire drives out one fire. One nail, one nail. Rights by rights falter, strengths by strengths do fail. When, Caius, Rome is thine, thou art poorest of all. Then shortly art thou mine.

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Volumnia: [kneeling]Think for thyself how more unfortunate than all living women are we come hither, since that thy sight, which should make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comforts, constrains them weep and shake with fear and sorrow. Making the mother, wife, and child to see the son, the husband, and the father, tearing his country's bowels out. And we must find an evident calamity, though we had our wish, which side should win. For either thou must, as a foreign recreant, be led with manacles through our streets, or else triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin and bear the palm for having bravely shed thy wife and children's blood.
Volumnia: [getting to her feet]For myself, son, I purpose not to wait on fortune till these wars determine. If I cannot persuade thee rather to show a noble grace to both parts than seek the end to one, thou shalt no sooner march to assault thy country than to tread on thy mother's womb... that brought thee to this world.
Virgilia: Aye, and mine, that brought you forth this boy to keep your name living to time.
Young Martius: You shall not tread on me. I'll run away till I'm bigger. But then I'll fight!

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TV Anchorman: [wide shot of the TV news desk and three people]How many stand for the consulship?
TV Pundit: [male pundit]Three, they say, but 'tis thought of everyone that Coriolanus will carry it.
TV Anchorman: [to the male pundit]That's a brave fellow, but he's vengeance proud and loves not the common people.
TV Pundit: [male pundit]There have been many great men that have flattered the people who never loved them. Therefore, for Coriolanus, neither to care whether they love or hate him manifests the true knowledge he has in their disposition. And, out of his noble carelessness, lets them plainly see it.
TV Pundit: [female pundit]But he seeks their hate with greater devotion than they can render at him. Now to seem to desire the malice and displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
TV Anchorman: [to the female pundit]Consider you what services he has done for his country?
TV Pundit: [female pundit]Very well. And I would be content to give him good report for it, but that he pays himself with being proud.
TV Pundit: [turns and admonishes the female pundit]Nay, but speak not maliciously. He hath deserve worthily of his country

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Volumnia: Had I a dozen sons, I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.

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Menenius: You'll sup with me?
Volumnia: Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself, and so shall starve with feeding.

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