Document:  All > Shakespeare > Tragedies > Coriolanus > Act I, scene III

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	[Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA	they set them down
	on two low stools, and sew]

VOLUMNIA: 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

VIRGILIA: But had he died in the business, madam; how then?

VOLUMNIA: 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]

Gentlewoman: Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.

VIRGILIA: Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.

VOLUMNIA: 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.

VIRGILIA: His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!

VOLUMNIA: 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.

	[Exit Gentlewoman]

VIRGILIA: Heavens bless my lord from fell Aufidius!

VOLUMNIA: He'll beat Aufidius 'head below his knee
	And tread upon his neck.

	[Enter VALERIA, with an Usher and Gentlewoman]

VALERIA: My ladies both, good day to you.

VOLUMNIA: Sweet madam.

VIRGILIA: I am glad to see your ladyship.

VALERIA: 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?

VIRGILIA: I thank your ladyship; well, good madam.

VOLUMNIA: He had rather see the swords, and hear a drum, than
	look upon his school-master.

VALERIA: 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

VOLUMNIA: One on 's father's moods.

VALERIA: Indeed, la, 'tis a noble child.

VIRGILIA: A crack, madam.

VALERIA: Come, lay aside your stitchery; I must have you play
	the idle husewife with me this afternoon.

VIRGILIA: No, good madam; I will not out of doors.

VALERIA: Not out of doors!

VOLUMNIA: She shall, she shall.

VIRGILIA: Indeed, no, by your patience; I'll not over the
	threshold till my lord return from the wars.

VALERIA: Fie, you confine yourself most unreasonably: come,
	you must go visit the good lady that lies in.

VIRGILIA: I will wish her speedy strength, and visit her with
	my prayers; but I cannot go thither.

VOLUMNIA: Why, I pray you?

VIRGILIA: 'Tis not to save labour, nor that I want love.

VALERIA: 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.

VIRGILIA: No, good madam, pardon me; indeed, I will not forth.

VALERIA: In truth, la, go with me; and I'll tell you
	excellent news of your husband.

VIRGILIA: O, good madam, there can be none yet.

VALERIA: Verily, I do not jest with you; there came news from
	him last night.

VIRGILIA: Indeed, madam?

VALERIA: 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.

VIRGILIA: Give me excuse, good madam; I will obey you in every
	thing hereafter.

VOLUMNIA: Let her alone, lady: as she is now, she will but
	disease our better mirth.

VALERIA: 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.

VIRGILIA: No, at a word, madam; indeed, I must not. I wish
	you much mirth.

VALERIA: Well, then, farewell.



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