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Repent what you have spoke

Menenius
Repent what you have spoke.
Coriolanus
For them? I cannot do it to the gods.
Must I then do ’t to them?
Volumnia
You are too absolute,
Though therein you can never be too noble
But when extremities speak. I have heard you say
Honor and policy, like unsevered friends,
I’ th’ war do grow together. Grant that, and tell me
In peace what each of them by th’ other lose
That they combine not there?
Coriolanus
Tush, tush!
Menenius
A good demand.

Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th’ ignorant
More learnèd than the ears

Volumnia
If it be honor in your wars to seem
The same you are not, which for your best ends
You adopt your policy, how is it less or worse
That it shall hold companionship in peace
With honor as in war, since that to both
It stands in like request?
Coriolanus
Why force you this?
Volumnia
Because that now it lies you on to speak
To th’ people, not by your own instruction,
Nor by th’ matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but roted in
Your tongue, though but bastards and syllables
Of no allowance to your bosom’s truth.
Now, this no more dishonors you at all
Than to take in a town with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so in honor. I am in this
Your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
And you will rather show our general louts
How you can frown than spend a fawn upon ’em
For the inheritance of their loves and safeguard
Of what that want might ruin.
Menenius
Noble lady!—
Come, go with us; speak fair. You may salve so,
Not what is dangerous present, but the loss
Of what is past.
Volumnia
I prithee now, my son,
Go to them with this bonnet in thy hand,
And thus far having stretched it—here be with them—
Thy knee bussing the stones—for in such business
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of th’ ignorant
More learnèd than the ears—waving thy head,
Which often thus correcting thy stout heart,
Now humble as the ripest mulberry
That will not hold the handling. Or say to them
Thou art their soldier and, being bred in broils,
Hast not the soft way, which thou dost confess
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves; but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.
Menenius
This but done
Even as she speaks, why, their hearts were yours;
For they have pardons, being asked, as free
As words to little purpose.

Source:
Act 3
Scene 2
Line 48

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Spoken by:
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Themes:
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