Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.
MARTIUS [aka CORIOLANUS]
He that will give good words to thee will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs
That like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions finds hares,
Where foxes, geese. You are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun. Your virtue is
To make him worthy whose offence subdues him,
And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness
Deserves your hate, and your affections are
A sick man’s appetite, who desires most that
Which would increase his evil. He that depends
Upon your favors swims with fins of lead,
And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?
With every minute you change a mind,
And call him noble that was now your hate,
Him vile that was your garland. What’s the matter,
That in these several places of the city
You cry against the noble senate, who,
Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else
Would feed on one another?
Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,
Of their own choice. One’s Junius Brutus,
Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. ’Sdeath,
The rabble should have first unroofed the city
Ere so prevailed with me! It will in time
Win upon power and throw forth greater themes
For insurrection’s arguing.
This is strange.
MARTIUS (to the Citizens)
Go get you home, you fragments.
– The Tragedy of Coriolanus (1608), by William Shakespeare