• Rome. A public place.
    Enter MENENIUS and SICINIUS

    MENENIUS

    See you yond coign o’ the Capitol, yond
    corner-stone?

    SICINIUS

    Why, what of that?

    MENENIUS

    If it be possible for you to displace it with your
    5little finger, there is some hope the ladies of
    Rome, especially his mother, may prevail with him.
    But I say there is no hope in’t: our throats are
    sentenced and stay upon execution.

    SICINIUS

    Is’t possible that so short a time can alter the
    10condition of a man!

    MENENIUS

    There is differency between a grub and a butterfly;
    yet your butterfly was a grub. This Martius is grown
    from man to dragon: he has wings; he’s more than a
    creeping thing.

    SICINIUS

    15He loved his mother dearly.

    MENENIUS

    So did he me: and he no more remembers his mother
    now than an eight-year-old horse. The tartness
    of his face sours ripe grapes: when he walks, he
    moves like an engine, and the ground shrinks before
    20his treading: he is able to pierce a corslet with
    his eye; talks like a knell, and his hum is a
    battery. He sits in his state, as a thing made for
    Alexander. What he bids be done is finished with
    his bidding. He wants nothing of a god but eternity
    25and a heaven to throne in.
  • A public place in Rome.
    MENENIUS and SICINIUS enter.

    MENENIUS

    Do you see, beyond the corner of the capitol, beyond the cornerstone?

    SICINIUS

    What is that?

    MENENIUS

    If you can block it with your little finger, there is some hope that the ladies of Rome, especially his mother, might prevail with him. But I don’t think there is any hope. Our fate is sealed. Our throats wait to be slit.

    SICINIUS

    Is it possible that a man can change so much in so short a time?

    MENENIUS

    There’s a difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly, but butterflies were once caterpillars. This Martius has grown from man to dragon: he has wings—he’s more than a creeping thing.

    SICINIUS

    He loved his mother dearly.

    MENENIUS

    He also loved me. He won’t remember his mother any more than an eight-year-old horse would. The tartness of his face makes ripe grapes go sour. When he walks, he moves like a war machine, and the ground sinks beneath his feet. He’s able to pierce armor with his eye, he talks like a death knell, and his voice itself is an assault. He sits on his throne, looking like a statue of Alexander the Great. His orders are carried out as soon as he gives them. All that he lacks to be a god is immortality and a heaven to rule.