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Coriolanus   


much less of the calumnies and slanders they have been always so ready
to entertain against the senate; but will rather conclude that a bounty,
which seems to have no other visible cause or reason, must needs be
the effect of our fear and flattery; and will, therefore, set no limit
to their disobedience, nor ever cease from disturbances and sedition.
Concession is mere madness; if we have any wisdom and resolution at
all, we shall, on the contrary, never rest till we have recovered
from them that tribunician power they have extorted from us; as being
a plain subversion of the consulship, and a perpetual ground of separation
in our city that is no longer one, as heretofore, but has in this
received such a wound and rupture as is never likely to close and
unite again, or suffer us to be of one mind, and to give over inflaming
our distempers, and being a torment to each other."
Marcius, with much more to this purpose, succeeded, to an extraordinary
degree, in inspiring the younger men with the same furious sentiments,
and had almost all the wealthy on his side, who cried him up as the
only person their city had, superior alike to force and flattery;
some of the older men, however, opposed him, suspecting the consequences.
As, indeed, there came no good of it; for the tribunes, who were present,
perceiving how the proposal of Marcius took, ran out into the crowd
with exclamations, calling on the plebeians to stand together, and
come in to their assistance. The assembly met, and soon became tumultuous.
The sum of what Marcius had spoken, having been reported to the people,
excited them to such fury, that they were ready to break in upon the
senate. The tribunes prevented this, by laying all the blame on Coriolanus,
whom, therefore, they cited by their messengers to come before them
and defend himself. And when he contemptuously repulsed the officers
who brought him the summons, they came themselves, with the Aediles,
or overseers of the market, proposing to carry him away by force,
and, accordingly, began to lay hold on his person. The patricians,
however, coming to his rescue, not only thrust off the tribunes, but
also beat the Aediles, that were their seconds in the quarrel; night
approaching, put an end to the contest. But, as soon as it was day,
the consuls, observing the people to be highly exasperated, and that
they ran from all quarters and gathered in the forum, were afraid
for the whole city, so that, convening the senate afresh, they desired
them to advise how they might best compose and pacify the incensed
multitude by equitable language and indulgent decrees; since, if they
wisely considered the state of things, they would find that it was
no time to stand upon terms of honour and a mere point of glory; such
a critical conjuncture called for gentle methods, and for temperate
and humane counsels. The majority, therefore, of the senators giving
way, the consuls proceeded to pacify the people in the best manner
they were able, answering gently to such imputations and charges as
had been cast upon the senate, and using much tenderness and moderation
in the admonitions and reproofs they gave them. On the point of the
price of provisions, they said there should be no difference at all
between them. When a great part of the commonalty was grown cool,
and it appeared from their orderly and peaceful behaviour that they
had been very much appeased by what they had heard, the tribunes,
standing up, declared, in the name of the people, that since the senate
was pleased to act soberly and do them reason, they, likewise, should
be ready to yield in all that was fair and equitable on their side;
they must insist, however, that Marcius should give in his answer
to the several charges as follows: first, could he deny that he instigated
the senate to overthrow the government and annul the privileges of
the people? and, in the next place, when called to account for it,
did he not disobey the summons? and, lastly, by the blows and other
public affronts to the Aediles, had he not done all he could to commence
a civil war?
These articles were brought in against him, with a design either to
humble Marcius, and show his submission, if, contrary to his nature,
he should now court and sue the people; or, if he should follow his
natural disposition, which they rather expected from their judgment

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