Act 1 - Scene 3
Rome. A room in Marcius' house.
Enter VOLUMNIA and VIRGILIA they set them down on two low stools, and sew
I pray you, daughter, sing; or express yourself in a
more comfortable sort: if my son were my husband,
should freelier rejoice in that absence wherein he
won honour than in the embracements of his bed
he would show most love. When yet he was but
tender-bodied and the only son of my womb,
youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way, when
for a day of kings' entreaties a mother should
sell him an hour from her beholding, I, considering
how honour would become such a person. that
no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if
renown made it not stir, was pleased to let him
danger where he was like to find fame. To a cruel
war I sent him; from whence he returned, his
bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not
more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child
now in first seeing he had proved himself a
But had he died in the business, madam; how then?
Then his good report should have been my son; I
therein would have found issue. Hear me profess
I a dozen sons, each in my love
alike and none less dear than thine and my good
Marcius, I had rather
had eleven die nobly for their
country than one voluptuously surfeit out of action.
Enter a Gentlewoman
Madam, the Lady Valeria is come to visit you.
Beseech you, give me leave to retire myself.
Indeed, you shall not.
Methinks I hear hither your husband's drum,
See him pluck Aufidius down by the
As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him:
Methinks I see him stamp thus, and call thus:
on, you cowards! you were got in fear,
Though you were born in Rome:' his bloody brow
With his mail'd
hand then wiping, forth he goes,
Like to a harvest-man that's task'd to mow
Or all or lose his hire.
His bloody brow! O Jupiter, no blood!
Away, you fool! it more becomes a man
Than gilt his trophy: the breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle
Hector, look'd not lovelier
Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning.
We are fit to bid her welcome.
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