1. SCENE I. Rome. A street.
I say unto you, what he hath done famously he did it to that end:
though soft-conscienced men can be content to say it was for his
country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud;
which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
What he cannot help in his nature you account a vice in him. You
must in no way say he is covetous.
If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath
faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.]
What shouts are these? The other side o' the city is risen: why
stay we prating here? to the Capitol!
Soft! who comes here?
Worthy Menenius Agrippa; one that hath always loved the people.
He's one honest enough; would all the rest were so!
[Enter MENENIUS AGRIPPA.]
What work's, my countrymen, in hand? where go you
With bats and clubs? the matter? speak, I pray you.
Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling
this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in
deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths; they shall know
we have strong arms too.
Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,
Will you undo yourselves?
We cannot, sir; we are undone already.
I tell you, friends, most charitable care
Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them
Against the Roman state; whose course will on
The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs
Of more strong link asunder than can ever
Appear in your impediment: for the dearth,
The gods, not the patricians, make it; and
Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,
You are transported by calamity
Thither where more attends you; and you slander
The helms o' th' state, who care for you like fathers,
When you curse them as enemies.