Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition
Editor’s Note1Enter a company of mutinous citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weaponsEditor’s Note1
first citizen Before we proceed any further, hear me speak!Editor’s Note2
all citizens Speak, speak!3
first citizen You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?4
all citizens Resolved, resolved!5
first citizen First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the
any citizens We know't, we know't!Editor’s Note8
first citizen Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't
any citizens No more talking on't! Let it be done, away, away!11
second citizen One word, good citizens.pg 2728 Editor’s Note12
first citizen We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good. Editor’s Note13What authority surfeits on would relieve us. If they would yield us but Editor’s Note14the superfluity while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved Editor’s Note15us humanely. But they think we are too dear. The leanness that afflicts Editor’s Note16us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their 17abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with Editor’s Note18our pikes ere we become rakes. For the gods know I speak this in 19hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.Editor’s Note20
second citizen Would you proceed especially against Caius Martius?Editor’s Note21
a citizen Against him first! He's a very dog to the commonality.Editor’s Note22
second citizen Consider you what services he has done for his country?23
first citizen Very well, and could be content to give him good report
24for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.25
any citizens Nay, but speak not maliciously.Editor’s Note26
first citizen I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to
Editor’s Note27that end. Though soft-conscienced men can be content to say it was for
Editor’s Note28his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud—
Editor’s Note29which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.30
second citizen What he cannot help in his nature, you account a
31vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.32
first citizen If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he
Editor’s Note33hath faults—with surplus—to tire in repetition.Shouts within
34What shouts are these? The other side o'th' city is risen! Why stay we
35prating here? To th' Capitol!36
all citizens Come, come!Editor’s Note37
first citizen Soft, who comes here?Enter Menenius Agrippa38
second citizen Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that hath always
39loved the people.40
first citizen He's one honest enough. Would all the rest were so!Editor’s Note41
menenius What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you
42With bats and clubs? The matter, speak, I pray you.43
second citizen Our business is not unknown to th' senate. They
44have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll
Editor’s Note45show 'em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall
46know we have strong arms too!47
menenius Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
48Will you undo yourselves?Editor’s Note49
second citizen We cannot, sir. We are undone already.50
menenius I tell you, friends, most charitable care
51Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
52Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Editor’s Note54Against the Roman state, whose course will on
Editor’s Note55The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
56Of more strong link asunder than can ever
57Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,
58The gods, not the patricians, make it, and
59Your knees to them—not arms—must help. Alack,
Editor’s Note60You are transported by calamity
Editor’s Note61Thither where more attends you, and you slander
62The helms o'th' state, who care for you like fathers,
63When you curse them as enemies.64
second citizen Care for us? True indeed, they ne'er cared for us yet! 65Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses crammed with grain! Make 66edicts for usury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act Editor’s Note67established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily 68to chain up and restrain the poor! If the wars eat us not up, they 69will. And there's all the love they bear us.70
menenius Either you must
71Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
72Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
Editor’s Note73A pretty tale—it may be you have heard it,
74But since it serves my purpose, I will venture
Editor’s Note75To stale't a little more.Editor’s Note76
second citizen Well, I'll hear it, sir. Yet you must not think to fob off
Editor’s Note77our disgrace with a tale. But an't please you, deliver.78
menenius There was a time when all the body's members,
79Rebelled against the belly, thus accused it:
Link 80That only like a gulf it did remain
Editor’s Note81I'th' midst o'th' body, idle and unactive,
Editor’s Note82Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Editor’s Note83Like labour with the rest; where th'other instruments
Editor’s Note84Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
Editor’s Note85And, mutually participate, did minister
Editor’s Note86Unto the appetite and affection common
Editor’s Note87Of the whole body. The belly answered—88
second citizen Well, sir, what answer made the belly?89
menenius Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile
Editor’s Note90Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus—
91For, look you, I may make the belly smile
92As well as speak—it tauntingly replied
93To'th' discontented members, the mutinous parts
Editor’s Note94That envied his receipt; even so most fitly,
95As you malign our senators, for that
96They are not such as you.
second citizen Your belly's answer—what?
98The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
99Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
Editor’s Note100With other muniments and petty helps
Editor’s Note101In this our fabric, if that they—
menenius What then?
Editor’s Note102'Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? What then?Editor’s Note103
second citizen Should by the cormorant belly be restrained,
Editor’s Note104Who is the sink o'th' body—
menenius Well, what then?Editor’s Note105
second citizen The former agents, if they did complain,
106What could the belly answer?
menenius I will tell you,
107If you'll bestow a small of what you have little—
108Patience—a while; you'st hear the belly's answer.109
second citizen You're long about it.
menenius Note me this, good friend:
110Your most grave belly was deliberate,
111Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered:
Editor’s Note112'True is it, my incorporate friends', quoth he,
Editor’s Note113'That I receive the general food at first
114Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
115Because I am the storehouse and the shop
116Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,
117I send it through the rivers of your blood
Editor’s Note118Even to the court—the heart—to th' seat o'th' brain;
Editor’s Note119And through the cranks and offices of man,
Editor’s Note120The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins
Editor’s Note121From me receive that natural competency
122Whereby they live. And though that all at once'—
Editor’s Note123You, my good friends, this says the belly—mark me!124
second citizen Ay, sir, well, well.
menenius 'Though all at once cannot
125See what I do deliver out to each,
126Yet I can make my audit up, that all
Editor’s Note127From me do back receive the flour of all,
Editor’s Note128And leave me but the bran.' What say you to't?129
second citizen It was an answer. How apply you this?130
menenius The senators of Rome are this good belly,
131And you the mutinous members. For examine
132Their counsels and their cares; digest things rightly
Editor’s Note133Touching the weal o'th' common, you shall find
134No public benefit which you receive
135But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
136And no way from yourselves. What do you think?
137You, the great toe of this assembly?139
menenius For that being one o'th' lowest, basest, poorest
140Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost:
Editor’s Note141Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
142Lead'st first to win some vantage.
143But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs.
144Rome, and her rats, are at the point of battle.
Editor’s Note145The one side must have bale.Enter Caius Martius
Hail, noble Martius.146
caius martius Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,
147That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
148Make yourselves scabs?
second citizen We have ever your good word.149
caius martius He that will give good words to thee will flatter
150Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
151That like nor peace, nor war? The one affrights you,
152The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
153Where he should find you lions finds you hares;
154Where foxes, geese. You are no surer, no,
155Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
156Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
Editor’s Note157To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
158And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
Editor’s Note159Deserves your hate, and your affections are
160A sick man's appetite, who desires most that
161Which would increase his evil. He that depends
162Upon your favours swims with fins of lead
Editor’s Note163And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
164With every minute you do change a mind
165And call him noble that was now your hate,
Editor’s Note166Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter,
167That in these several places of the city
168You cry against the noble Senate, who,
Editor’s Note169Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
170Would feed on one another? [To Menenius] What's their seeking?171
menenius For corn at their own rates, whereof they say
172The city is well stored.
caius martius Hang 'em! They say?
173They'll sit by th' fire and presume to know
174What's done i'th' Capitol: who's like to rise,
Editor’s Note175Who thrives, and who declines; side factions, and give out
Editor’s Note176Conjectural marriages, making parties strong,
Editor’s Note177And feebling such as stand not in their liking
Editor’s Note178Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough?
Editor’s Note179Would the nobility lay aside their ruth
181With thousands of these quartered slaves, as high
182As I could pitch my lance.183
menenius Nay, these are all most thoroughly persuaded,
184For, though abundantly they lack discretion,
Editor’s Note185Yet are they passing cowardly. But I beseech you,
Editor’s Note186What says the other troop?
caius martius They are dissolved. Hang 'em!
Editor’s Note187They said they were an-hungry, sighed forth proverbs:
Editor’s Note188That 'hunger broke stone walls', that 'dogs must eat',
Editor’s Note189That 'meat was made for mouths', that 'the gods sent not
Editor’s Note190Corn for the rich men only'. With these shreds
191They vented their complainings, which being answered
192And a petition granted them—a strange one,
Editor’s Note193To break the heart of generosity,
194And make bold power look pale—they threw their caps
195As they would hang them on the horns o'th' moon,
Editor’s Note196Shouting their emulation.
menenius What is granted them?Editor’s Note197
caius martius Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms
198Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus,
200The rabble should have first unroofed the city
201Ere so prevailed with me! It will in time
Editor’s Note202Win upon power, and throw forth greater themes
203For insurrection's arguing.204
menenius This is strange.Editor’s Note205
caius martius [to the citizens] Go, get you home you fragments.Enter a Messenger hastily206
messenger Where's Caius Martius?207
caius martius Here. What's the matter?208
messenger The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.Editor’s Note209
caius martius I am glad on't, then we shall ha' means to vent
Editor’s Note210Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.Enter Sicinius, Brutus, Cominius, Lartius, with other SenatorsEditor’s Note211
first senator Martius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:
212The Volsces are in arms.
caius martius They have a leader,
Editor’s Note213Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't.
214I sin in envying his nobility,
215And were I anything but what I am,
cominius You have fought together!Editor’s Note217
caius martius Were half to half the world by th' ears, and he
218Upon my party, I'd revolt to make
219Only my wars with him. He is a lion
220That I am proud to hunt.
first senator Then, worthy Martius,
221Attend upon Cominius to these wars.222
cominius [to Martius] It is your former promise.
caius martius Sir, it is,
223And I am constant. Titus Lartius, thou
224Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.
Editor’s Note225What, art thou stiff? Stand'st out?
lartius No, Caius Martius,
226I'll lean upon one crutch, and fight with th' other,
227Ere stay behind this business.
menenius O, true bred!228
senator Your company to th' Capitol, where I know
229Our greatest friends attend us.
lartius [to Cominius] Lead you on.[To Martius]
230Follow Cominius; we must follow you,
Editor’s Note231Right worthy your priority.
cominius Noble Martius.232
senator [to the Citizens] Hence to your homes, be gone.
caius martius Nay, let them follow.
233The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither,
Editor’s Note234To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutineers,
Editor’s Note235Your valour puts well forth. [To the Senators] Pray follow.Editor’s NoteExeunt [Martius, Messenger, and Senators] Citizens steal away. Sicinius and Brutus remain236
sicinius Was ever man so proud as is this Martius?237
brutus He has no equal.238
sicinius When we were chosen tribunes for the people—239
brutus Marked you his lip and eyes?
sicinius Nay, but his taunts.Editor’s Note240
brutus Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.Editor’s Note241
sicinius Bemock the modest moon.242
brutus The present wars devour him; he is grown
243Too proud to be so valiant.
sicinius Such a nature,
Editor’s Note244Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow
245Which he treads on at noon; but I do wonder
Editor’s Note246His insolence can brook to be commanded
brutus Fame, at the which he aims,
Editor’s Note248In whom already he's well graced, cannot
249Better be held, nor more attained than by
pg 2734Editor’s Note250A place below the first; for what miscarries
251Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
Editor’s Note252To th' utmost of a man, and giddy censure
253Will then cry out of Martius, 'O, if he
254Had borne the business!'
sicinius Besides, if things go well,
Editor’s Note255Opinion that so sticks on Martius shall
Editor’s Note256Of his demerits rob Cominius.
Editor’s Note257Half all Cominius' honours are to Martius—
258Though Martius earned them not—and all his faults
259To Martius shall be honours, though indeed
Editor’s Note260In aught he merit not.
sicinius Let's hence, and hear
Editor’s Note261How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion
Editor’s Note262More than his singularity, he goes
263Upon this present action.
brutus Let's along.Exeunt