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the injured exile appeared to be extinguished ; and the sole bu. ensiness at Rome was to prepare, with the utmost diligence,
for sustaining a siege. The young and able-bodied men had instantly the guard of the gates and trenches assigned to them ; while those of the veterans, who, though exempt by their age from bearing arms, were, yet capable of service, undertook the defence of the ramparts. The women, in the mean while, terrified by these movements, and the impending danger, into a neglect of their wonted decorum, ran tumultuously from their houses to the temples. Every sanctuary, and especially the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, resounded with the wailings and loud supplications of women, prostrate before the statues of their divinities. In this general consternation and distress, Valeria, (sister of the famous Valerius Poplicola,) as if moved by a divine impulse, suddenly took her stand upon the top of the steps of the temple of Jupiter, assembled the women about her, and having first exhorted them not to be terrified by the greatness of the present danger, confidently declared, “ That there was yet hope for the republic ; that its preservation depended upon them, and upon their performance of the duty they owed their country.” " Alas!" cried one of the company, “ what resource can there be in the weakness of wretched women, when our bravest men, our ablest warriors themselves despair !"_" It is not by the sword, nor by strength of arm," replied Valeria, “ that we are to prevail; these belong not to our sex. Soft moving words must be our weapons and our force. Let us all in our mourning attire, and accompanied by our children, go and entreat Veturia, the mother of Coriolanus, to intercede with her son for our common country. Veturia's prayers will bend his soul to pity. Haughty
and implacable as he has hitherto appeared, he has not a & heart so cruel and obdurate, as not to relent, when he shall
see his mother, his revered, his beloved mother, a weeping 3 suppliant at his feet.”
This motion being universally applauded, the whole train
of women took their way to Veturia's house. Her son's mis wife, Volumnia, who was sitting with her when they arrived, it and was greatly surprised at their coming, hastily asked them
the meaning of so extraordinary an appearance. “What is of it,” said she, “what can be the motive that has brought so di numerous a company of visiters to this house of sorrow?"
Valeria then addressed herself to the mother : “ It is to you, Veturia, that these women have recourse in the ex
teme peril, with which they and their children are threatened. They entreat, implore, conjure you, to compassionate their distress, and the distress of our common country. Suffer not Rome to become a prey to the Volsci, and our enemies to triumph over our liberty. Go to the camp of Cori. olanus : take with you Volumnia and her two sons : let that excellent wife join her intercession to yours. Permit these women with their children to accompany yod : they will all cast themselves at his feet. O Veturia, conjure him to grant peace to his fellow-citizens. Cease not to beg till you have obtained. So good a man can never withstand your tears : our only hope is in you. Come then, Veturia ; the danger presses ; you have no time for deliberation ; the enterprise is worthy of your virtue ; Heaven will crown it with success ; Rome shall once more owe its preservation to our sex. You will justly acquire to yourself an immortal fame, and have the pleasure to make every one of us a sharer in your glory.”
Veturia, after a short silence, with tears in her eyes, answered: “Weak indeed is the foundation of your hope, Valeria, when you place it in the aid of two miserable women. We are not wanting in affection to our country, nor need we any remonstrance or entreaties to excite our zeal for its preservation. It is the power only of being serviceable that fails us. Ever since that unfortunate hour, when the people in their madness so unjustly banished Coriolanus, his heart has been no less estranged from his family than from his country. You will be convinced of this sad truth, by his own words to us at parting. When he returned home from the assembly, where he had been condemned, he found us in the depth of affliction, bewailing the miseries that were sure to follow our being deprived of so dear a son, and so excellent a husband. We had his children upon our knees. He kept himself at a distance from us; and, when he had awhile stood silent, motionless as a rock, his eyes fixed, and without shedding a tear ; " 'Tis done,' he said.- O mother, and thou, Volumnia, the best of wives, to you Marcius is no more. I am banished hence for my affection to my country, and the services I have done it. I go this instant; and I leave for ever a city, where all good men are proscribed. Support this blow of fortune with the magnanimity that becomes women of your high rank and virtue. I commend my children to your care. Educate them in a manner worthy of you, and of the race from which they come. Heaven
his grant, they may be more fortunate than their father, and ve never fall short of him in virtue ; and may you in them find if your consolation !-Farewell.'
“We started up at the sound of this word, and with loud Po cries of lamentation ran to him to receive his last embraces.
I led his elder son by the hand; Volumnia had the younger in her arms. He turned his eyes from us, and putting us back with his hand, Mother,' said he, “from this moment you have no son : our country has taken from you the stay of your old age.-Nor to you, Volumnia, will Marcius be hence
forth a husband ; mayst thou be happy with another, more his fortunate !My dear children, you have lost your father.'
" He said no more, but instantly broke away from us. He departed from Rome without settling his domestic affairs, or leaving any orders about them; without money, without servants, and even without letting us know, to what part of the world he would direct his steps. It is now the fourth year since he went away ; and he has never inquired after his family, nor, by letter or messenger, given us the least account of himself: so that it seems as if his mother and his wife, were the chief objects of that general hatred which he shows to his country.
" What success then can you expect from our entreaties to a man so implacable? Can two women bend that stubborn heart, which even all the ministers of religion were not able to soften ? And indeed what shall I say to him ? What can I reasonably desire of him ?--that he would pardon ungrateful citizens, who have treated him as the vilest criminal ? that he would take compassion upon a furious, unjust populace, wbich had no regard for his innocence ? and that he would betray a nation, which has not only opened him an asylum, but has even preferred him to her most illustrious citizens in the command of her armies ? With what face can I ask him to abandon such generous protectors, and deliver himself again into the hands of his most bitter enemies? Can a Roman mother, and a Roman wife, with decency, exact, from a son and a husband, compliances which must dishonour him before both gods and men ? Mournful circumstance, in which we have not power to hate the most formidable enemy of our country! Leave us therefore to our unhappy destiny; and do not desire us to make it more unhappy, by an action that may Cast a blemish upon our virtue.”
The women made po answer but by their tears and entreaties. Some embraced her knees ; others beseeched Volumpia to join her prayers to theirs; all conjured Veturia not to refuse her country this last assistance. 'Overcome at length by their urgent solicitations, she promised to do as they desired.
The very next day, all the most illustrious of the Roman women repaired to Veturia's house. There they presently mounted a number of chariots, which the consuls had ordered to be made ready for them; and, without any guard, took the way to the enemy's camp.
Coriolanus, perceiving from afar that long train of chariots, sent out some horsemen to learn the design of it. They quickly brought bim word, that it was his mother, his wife, and a great number of other women, and their children, coming to the camp. He doubtless conjectured what views the Romans had in so extraordinary a deputation ; that this was the last expedient of the senate ; and, in his own mind, he determined not to let himself be moved. But he reckoned upon a savage inflexibility that was not in his nature;
no sooner beheld Veturia attired in mourning, her eyes bathed in tears, and with a countenance and motion that spoke her sinking under a load of sorrow, than he ran hastily to her; and not only calling her mother, but adding to that word the most tender epithets, embraced her, wept over her, and held her in his arms to prevent her falling, The like tenderness he presently after expressed to his wife, highly commending her discretion in having constantly
And then, with the warmest paternal affection, he caressed his children.
When some time had been allowed to those silent tears of joy, which often flow plenteously at the sudden and unexpected meeting of persons dear to each other, Veturia entered upon the business she had undertaken. After many forcible appeals to his understanding and patriotism, she ex. claimed : * What frenzy, what madness of anger transports my son! Heaven is appeased by supplications, vows, and sacrifices : shall mortals be implacable? Will Marcius set po bounds to his resentment? But allowing that thy enmity to thy country is too violent to let thee listen to her petition for peace; yet be not deaf, my son, be not inexorable to the prayers and tears of thy mother. Thou dreadest the
very appearance of ingratitude towards the Volsci ; and shall thy mother have reason to acouse thee of being ungrateful ? Call to mind the tender care I took of thy infancy and earliest youth; the alarms, the anxiety, I suffered on thy account, when, entered into the state of manhood, thy life was almost daily exposed in foreign wars ; the apprehensions, the terrors, I underwent, when I saw thee so warmly engaged in our domestic quarrels, and, with heroic courage, opposing the unjust pretensions of the furious plebeians. My sad forebodings of the event have been but too well verified. Consider the wretched life I have endured, if it may be called life, the time that has passed since I was deprived of thee. O Marcius, refuse me not the only request I ever made to thee; I will never importune thee with any other. Cease thy immoderate anger ; be reconciled to thy country; this is all I ask : grant me but this. and we shall both be happy. Freed from those tempestuous passions which now agitate thy soul, and from all the torments of self-reproach, thy days will flow smoothly on in the sweet serenity of conscious virtue: and as for me, if it carry back to Rome the hopes of an approaching peace, an assurance of thy being reconciled to thy country, with whát transports of joy shall I be received ! In what honour, in what delightful repose, shall I pass the remainder of my life! What immortal glory shall I have acquired!".
Coriolanus made no attempt to interrupt Veturia while she was speaking ; and when she had ceased, he still continued in deep silence. Anger, hatred, and desire of revenge, balanced in his heart those softer passions, which the sight and discourse of his mother had awakened in his breast. Veturia perceiving his irresolution, and fearing the event, thus renewed her expostulation : "Why dost thou not 22swer me, my son ? Is there then such greatness of mind i giving all to resentment? Art thou ashamed to grant any thing to a mother who thus entreats thee, thus humbles herself to thee? If it be so, to what purpose should I longer enilure a wretched life?” As she uttered these last words, interrupted by sighs, she threw herself prostrate at his feet. His wife and children did the same; and all the other women, with united voices of mournful accent, begged arril implored his pity.
The Volscian officers, not able unmoved to behold thin scene, turned away their eyes : but Coriolanus, almoet beside himself to see Vetoria at his feet, passionately crie: C