[Act 1, Scene 3]
Enter Volumnia and Virgilia, mother and wife to
They set them downe on two lowe stooles and sowe.
I pray you daughter sing, or expresse your selfe
in a more comfortable sort:
If my Sonne were my Hus
band, I should freelier reioyce in that absence
he wonne Honor, then in the embracements of his Bed,
would shew most loue. When yet hee was but
tender‑bodied, and the onely
Sonne of my womb; when
youth with comelinesse pluck'd all gaze his way; when
for a day of Kings entreaties, a Mother should not sel him
an houre from
her beholding; I considering how Honour
would become such a person, that it was
no better then
Picture‑like to hang by th' wall, if renowne made it not
stirre, was pleas'd to let him seeke danger, where he was
like to finde
fame: To a cruell Warre I sent him, from
whence he return'd, his browes bound
with Oake. I tell
thee Daughter, I sprang not more in ioy at first hearing
he was a Man‑child, then now in first seeing he had pro
himselfe a man.
But had he died in the Businesse Madame, how
Then his good report should haue beene my
Sonne, I therein would haue found
issue. Heare me pro
fesse sincerely, had I a dozen sons each in my loue
and none lesse deere then thine, and my good
had rather had eleuen dye Nobly for their Countrey, then
one voluptuously surfet out of Action.
Enter a Gentlewoman.
Madam, the lady
Valeria is come to visit you.
Beseech you giue me leaue to retire my selfe.
Indeed you shall not:
Me thinkes, I heare hither your Husbands Drumme:
See him plucke Auffidius downe by th'haire:
(As children from a Beare) the
Volces shunning him:
Me thinkes I see him stampe thus, and call thus,
Come on you Cowards, you were got in feare
Though you were borne in Rome; his bloody brow
With his mail'd hand, then wiping, forth he goes
Like to a Haruest man, that task'd to mowe
Or all, or loose his hyre.
His bloody Brow? Oh Iupiter, no blood.
Away you Foole; it more becomes a man
Then gilt his Trophe. The brests of
When she did suckle
Hector, look'd not louelier
Hectors forhead, when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword.
We are fit to bid her welcome.
Heauens blesse my Lord from fell
Auffidius head below his knee,
And treade vpon his necke.
Enter Valeria with an Vsher, and a
My Ladies both good day to you.
I am glad to see your Ladyship.
How do you both? You are manifest house‑kee
pers. What are you
sowing heere? A fine spotte in good
faith. How does your little Sonne?
I thanke your Lady‑ship: Well good Madam.
He had rather see the swords, and heare a Drum,
then looke vpon his
A my word the Fathers Sonne: Ile sweare 'tis a
very pretty boy. A my troth, I
look'd vpon him a Wens
day halfe an houre together: ha's such a
tenance. I saw him run after a gilded
Butterfly, & when
he caught it, he let it go againe, and after it againe,
uer and ouer he comes, and vp againe: catcht it again: or
whether his fall enrag'd him, or how 'twas, hee did so set
his teeth, and
teare it. Oh, I warrant how he mammockt
One on's Fathers moods.
Indeed la, tis a Noble childe.
A Cracke Madam.
Come, lay aside your stitchery, I must haue you
play the idle Huswife with me
No (good Madam)
I will not out of doores.
Not out of doores?
She shall, she shall.
Indeed no, by your patience; Ile not ouer the
threshold, till my Lord returne
from the Warres.
Fye, you confine your selfe most vnreasonably:
Come, you must go visit the
good Lady that lies in.
I will wish her speedy strength, and visite her
with my prayers: but I cannot
Why I pray you.
'Tis not to saue labour, nor that I want loue.
You would be another
Penelope: yet they say, all
yearne she spun in
Vlisses absence, did but fill
full of Mothes. Come, I would your Cambrick were sen
sible as your
finger, that you might leaue pricking it for
pitie. Come you shall go with
No good Madam, pardon me, indeed I will not
In truth la go with me, and Ile tell you excellent
newes of your Husband.
Oh good Madam, there can be none yet.
Verily I do not iest with you: there came newes
from him last night.
In earnest it's true; I heard a Senatour speake it.
Thus it is: the Volcies
haue an Army forth, against
Cominius the Generall is gone, with one part of our
mane power. Your Lord, and
Titus Lartius, are
before their Citie
Carioles, they nothing doubt
ling, and to make it breefe Warres. This is true on mine
Honor, and so I pray go with vs.
Giue me excuse good Madame, I will obey you
in euery thing heereafter.
Let her alone Ladie, as she is now:
She will but disease our better mirth.
In troth I thinke she would:
Fare you well then. Come good sweet Ladie.
Virgilia turne thy solemnesse out a doore,
And go along with vs.
At a word Madam; Indeed I must not,
I wish you much mirth.
Well, then farewell.