Gehayi pointed this speech out to me today, (she spotted it on Ariastar‘s Livejournal) and I can’t believe I never spotted it before, or had it pointed out to me. S’cuse me if you know it, but those who don’t it might be of interest.
From Coriolanus Act IV scene v
O Marcius, Marcius!
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
And say ’Tis true,’ I’ld not believe them more
Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarr’d the moon with splinters: here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sigh’d truer breath; but that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars! I tell thee,
We have a power on foot; and I had purpose
Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
Or lose mine arm fort: thou hast beat me out
Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
Dreamt of encounters ’twixt thyself and me;
We have been down together in my sleep,
Unbuckling helms, fisting each other’s throat,
And waked half dead with nothing.
What makes it more delicious is that after the main players exit, the unnamed serving men gossip amongst themselves as wont to do and this is part of their gossip…
Why, here’s he that was wont to thwack our general, Caius Marcius.
Why do you say ’thwack our general ’?
I do not say ’thwack our general;’ but he was always good enough for him.
Come, we are fellows and friends: he was ever too hard for him; I have heard him say so himself.
He was too hard for him directly, to say the troth on’t: before Corioli he scotched him and notched him like a carbon ado.
An he had been cannibally given, he might have broiled and eaten him too.
As Gehayi said today, not even subtext… and the serving men there to explain the joke to the Pit, in case they’d nodded off during the poetic bits.
Yes, yes, I’m 12.
Filed under: Shakespeare