William Shakespeare: Coriolanus, Act I, Scene III
Enter Volumnia and Virgilia they set them down on two low stools, and sew
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 plucked 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 the wall, if renown made it not stir, was pleased to let him seek danger where he was like 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.
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
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 task'd to mow Or all or lose his hire.
Away, you fool! it more becomes a man Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba, When she did suckle Hector, look'd not lovelier Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood At Grecian sword, contemning. Tell Valeria, We are fit to bid her welcome.
Enter Valeria, with an Usher and Gentlewoman
How do you both? you are manifest house-keepers. What are you sewing here? A fine spot, in good faith. How does your little son?
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 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 it, how he mammocked it!
Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play the idle husewife with me this afternoon.
Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the threshold till my lord return from the wars.
Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably: come, you must go visit the good lady that lies in.
You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all the yarn she spun in Ulysses' absence did but fill Ithaca full of moths. Come; I would your cambric were sensible as your finger, that you might leave pricking it for pity. Come, you shall go with us.
In earnest, it's true; I heard a senator speak it. Thus it is: the Volsces have an army forth; against whom Cominius the general is gone, with one part of our Roman power: your lord and Titus Lartius are set down before their city Corioli; they nothing doubt prevailing and to make it brief wars. This is true, on mine honour; and so, I pray, go with us.
In troth, I think she would. Fare you well, then. Come, good sweet lady. Prithee, Virgilia, turn thy solemness out o' door. and go along with us.