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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene IV.


Antium.Before AUFIDIUS’ House.

Enter CORIOLANUS, in mean apparel, disguised and muffled.

Cor.A goodly city is this Antium. City,

’Tis I that made thy widows: many an heir

Of these fair edifices ’fore my wars

Have I heard groan and drop: then, know me not,

Lest that thy wives with spits and boys with stones

In puny battle slay me.

Enter a Citizen.

Save you, sir.

Cit.And you.

Cor.Direct me, if it be your will,

Where great Aufidius lies. Is he in Antium?

Cit.He is, and feasts the nobles of the state

At his house this night.

Cor.Which is his house, beseech you?

Cit.This, here before you.

Cor.Thank you, sir. Farewell.[Exit Citizen.

O world! thy slippery turns. Friends now fast sworn,

Whose double bosoms seem to wear one heart,

Whose hours, whose bed, whose meal, and exercise,

Are still together, who twin, as ’twere, in love

Unseparable, shall within this hour,

On a dissension of a doit, break out

To bitterest enmity: so, fellest foes,

Whose passions and whose plots have broke their sleep

To take the one the other, by some chance,

Some trick not worth an egg, shall grow dear friends

And interjoin their issues. So with me:

My birth-place hate I, and my love’s upon

This enemy town. I’ll enter: if he slay me,

He does fair justice; if he give me way,

I’ll do his country service.[Exit.