Entrance of the Volscian camp before Rome. Two Sentinels on guard.
Enter to them, MENENIUS
Stay: whence are you?
Stand, and go back.
You guard like men; ’tis well: but, by your leave,
I am an officer of state, and come
5To speak with Coriolanus.
You may not pass, you must return: our general
Will no more hear from thence.
10You’ll see your Rome embraced with fire before
You’ll speak with Coriolanus.
Good my friends,
If you have heard your general talk of Rome,
And of his friends there, it is lots to blanks,
15My name hath touch’d your ears. It is Menenius.
Be it so; go back: the virtue of your name
Is not here passable.
I tell thee, fellow,
The general is my lover: I have been
20The book of his good acts, whence men have read
His name unparallel’d, haply amplified;
For I have ever verified my friends,
Of whom he’s chief, with all the size that verity
Would without lapsing suffer: nay, sometimes,
25Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground,
I have tumbled past the throw; and in his praise
Have almost stamp’d the leasing: therefore, fellow,
I must have leave to pass.