Enter Cominius, as it were in retire, with soldiers
Breathe you, my friends: well fought; we are come off Like Romans, neither foolish in our stands, Nor cowardly in retire: believe me, sirs, We shall be charged again. Whiles we have struck, By interims and conveying gusts we have heard The charges of our friends. Ye Roman gods! Lead their successes as we wish our own, That both our powers, with smiling fronts encountering, May give you thankful sacrifice.
Enter a Messenger
The citizens of Corioli have issued, And given to Lartius and to Marcius battle: I saw our party to their trenches driven, And then I came away.
'Tis not a mile; briefly we heard their drums: How couldst thou in a mile confound an hour, And bring thy news so late?
Spies of the Volsces Held me in chase, that I was forced to wheel Three or four miles about, else had I, sir, Half an hour since brought my report.
Who's yonder, That does appear as he were flay'd? O gods He has the stamp of Marcius; and I have Before-time seen him thus.
The shepherd knows not thunder from a tabour More than I know the sound of Marcius' tongue From every meaner man.
O, let me clip ye In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart As merry as when our nuptial day was done, And tapers burn'd to bedward!
As with a man busied about decrees: Condemning some to death, and some to exile; Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other; Holding Corioli in the name of Rome, Even like a fawning greyhound in the leash, To let him slip at will.
Where is that slave Which told me they had beat you to your trenches? Where is he? call him hither.
Let him alone; He did inform the truth: but for our gentlemen, The common file—a plague! tribunes for them!— The mouse ne'er shunn'd the cat as they did budge From rascals worse than they.
Will the time serve to tell? I do not think. Where is the enemy? are you lords o' the field? If not, why cease you till you are so?
As I guess, Marcius, Their bands i' the vaward are the Antiates, Of their best trust; o'er them Aufidius, Their very heart of hope.
I do beseech you, By all the battles wherein we have fought, By the blood we have shed together, by the vows We have made to endure friends, that you directly Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates; And that you not delay the present, but, Filling the air with swords advanced and darts, We prove this very hour.
Though I could wish You were conducted to a gentle bath And balms applied to, you, yet dare I never Deny your asking: take your choice of those That best can aid your action.
Those are they That most are willing. If any such be here— As it were sin to doubt—that love this painting Wherein you see me smear'd; if any fear Lesser his person than an ill report; If any think brave death outweighs bad life And that his country's dearer than himself; Let him alone, or so many so minded, Wave thus, to express his disposition, And follow Marcius.
They all shout and wave their swords, take him up in their arms, and cast up their caps
O, me alone! make you a sword of me? If these shows be not outward, which of you But is four Volsces? none of you but is Able to bear against the great Aufidius A shield as hard as his. A certain number, Though thanks to all, must I select from all: The rest shall bear the business in some other fight, As cause will be obey'd. Please you to march; And four shall quickly draw out my command, Which men are best inclined.