William Shakespeare: Coriolanus, Act I, Scene IV
Enter, with drum and colours, Marcius, Titus, Lartius, Captains and Soldiers. To them a Messenger
For half a hundred years. Summon the town.
Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
That we with smoking swords may march from hence,
To help our fielded friends! Come, blow thy blast.
They sound a parley. Enter two Senators with others on the walls
That's lesser than a little.
Drums afar off
Are bringing forth our youth. We'll break our walls,
Rather than they shall pound us up: our gates,
Which yet seem shut, we, have but pinn'd with rushes;
They'll open of themselves.
Alarum afar off
There is Aufidius; list, what work he makes
Amongst your cloven army.
Enter the army of the Volsces
Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
With hearts more proof than shields.
Advance, brave Titus:
They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
Which makes me sweat with wrath. Come on, my fellows:
He that retires I'll take him for a Volsce,
And he shall feel mine edge.
Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches. Re-enter Marcius cursing
You shames of Rome! you herd of—Boils and plagues
Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd
Further than seen and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I'll leave the foe
And make my wars on you: look to't: come on;
If you'll stand fast, we'll beat them to their wives,
As they us to our trenches followed.
Another alarum. The Volsces fly, and Marcius follows them to the gates
'Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
Not for the fliers: mark me, and do the like.
Enters the gates
Marcius is shut in
Re-enter Titus Lartius
With them he enters; who, upon the sudden,
Clapp'd to their gates: he is himself alone,
To answer all the city.
Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
And, when it bows, stands up. Thou art left, Marcius:
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.
Re-enter Marcius, bleeding, assaulted by the enemy
They fight, and all enter the city