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Coriolanus   


they had of his calamity, he proceeded at once to the city gates,
whither all the nobility came to attend him; and so not so much as
taking anything with him, or making any request to the company, he
departed from them, having only three or four clients with him. He
continued solitary for a few days in a place in the country, distracted
with a variety of counsels, such as rage and indignation suggested
to him; and proposing to himself no honourable or useful end, but
only how he might best satisfy his revenge on the Romans, he resolved
at length to raise up a heavy war against them from their nearest
neighbours. He determined, first to make trial of the Volscians, whom
he knew to be still vigorous and flourishing, both in men and treasure,
and he imagined their force and power was not so much abated as their
spite and anger increased by the late overthrows they had received
from the Romans.
There was a man of Antium, called Tullus Aufidius, who, for his wealth
and bravery and the splendour of his family, had the respect and privilege
of a king among the Volscians, but whom Marcius knew to have a particular
hostility to himself, above all other Romans. Frequent menaces and
challenges had passed in battle between them, and those exchanges
of defiance to which their hot and eager emulation is apt to prompt
young soldiers had added private animosity to their national feelings
of opposition. Yet for all this, considering Tullus to have a certain
generosity of temper, and knowing that no Volscian, so much as he,
desired an occasion to requite upon the Romans the evils they had
done, he did what much confirms the saying, that-
"Hard and unequal is with wrath the strife,
Which makes us buy its pleasure with our life." Putting on such a
dress as would make him appear to any whom he might meet most unlike
what he really was, like Ulysses-
"The town be entered of his mortal foes."
His arrival at Antium was about evening, and, though several met him
in the streets, yet he passed along without being known to any and
went directly to the house of Tullus, and, entering undiscovered,
and went up to the fire-hearth, and seated himself there without speaking
a word, covering up his head. Those of the family could not but wonder,
and yet they were afraid either to raise or question him, for there
was a certain air of majesty both in his posture and silence, but
they recounted to Tullus, being then at supper, the strangeness of
this accident. He immediately rose from table and came in, and asked
who he was and for what business be came thither; and then Marcius,
unmuffling himself, and pausing awhile, "If," said he, "you cannot
call me to mind, Tullus, or do not believe your eyes concerning me,
I must of necessity be my own accuser. I am Caius Marcius, the author
of so much mischief to the Volscians; of which, were I seeking to
deny it, the surname of Coriolanus I now bear would be a sufficient
evidence against me. The one recompense I have received for all the
hardships and perils I have gone through was the title that proclaims
my enmity to your nation, and this is the only thing which is still
left me. Of all other advantages, I have been stripped and deprived
by the envy and outrage of the Roman people, and the cowardice and
treachery of the magistrates and those of my own order. I am driven
out as an exile, and become an humble suppliant at your hearth, not
so much for safety and protection (should I have come hither, had
I been afraid to die?) as to seek vengeance against those that expelled
me; which, methinks, I have already obtained, by putting myself into
your hands. If, therefore, you have really a mind to attack your enemies,
come then, make use of that affliction you see me in to assist the
enterprise, and convert my personal infelicity into a common blessing
to the Volscians; as, indeed, I am likely to be more serviceable in
fighting for than against you, with the advantage which I now possess,
of knowing all the secrets of the enemy that I am attacking. But if
you decline to make any further attempts I am neither desirous to
live myself, nor will it be well in you to preserve a person who has
been your rival and adversary of old, and now, when he offers you

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