The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus
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DRAMATIS PERSONAE (Persons Represented):
- SATURNINUS, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, afterwards declared
- BASSIANUS, Brother to Saturninus, in love with Lavinia.
- TITUS ANDRONICUS, a noble Roman, General against the Goths.
- MARCUS ANDRONICUS, Tribune of the People, and Brother to Titus.
- LUCIUS, Son to Titus Andronicus.
- QUINTUS, Son to Titus Andronicus.
- MARTIUS, Son to Titus Andronicus.
- MUTIUS, Son to Titus Andronicus.
- YOUNG LUCIUS, a Boy, Son to Lucius.
- PUBLIUS, Son to Marcus the Tribune.
- AEMILIUS, a noble Roman.
- ALARBUS, Son to Tamora.
- DEMETRIUS, Son to Tamora.
- CHIRON, Son to Tamora.
- AARON, a Moor, beloved by Tamora
- A Captain, Tribune, Messenger,and Clown—Romans
- Goths and Romans.
- TAMORA, Queen of the Goths
- LAVINIA, Daughter to Titus Andronicus
- A NURSE, and a black CHILD.
- Kinsmen to Titus, Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.
SCENE: Rome, and the Country near it.
SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol.
[The Tomb of Andronic appearing; the Tribunes and Senators aloft.
- Enter, below, SATURNINUS and his Followers on one side, and
- BASSIANUS and his Followers at the other, with drums and
- Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
- Defend the justice of my cause with arms;
- And, countrymen, my loving followers,
- Plead my successive title with your swords:
- I am his first born son that was the last
- That wore the imperial diadem of Rome:
- Then let my father's honours live in me,
- Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.
- Romans,—friends, followers, favourers of my right,—
- If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son,
- Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
- Keep then this passage to the Capitol;
- And suffer not dishonour to approach
- The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
- To justice, continence, and nobility:
- But let desert in pure election shine;
- And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.
[Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS aloft, with the crown.]
- Princes,—that strive by factions and by friends
- Ambitiously for rule and empery,—
- Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
- A special party, have by common voice,
- In election for the Roman empery
- Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius
- For many good and great deserts to Rome:
- A nobler man, a braver warrior,
- Lives not this day within the city walls.:
- He by the senate is accited home
- From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
- That with his sons, a terror to our foes,
- Hath yok'd a nation strong, train'd up in arms.
- Ten years are spent since first he undertook
- This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms
- Our enemies' pride: five times he hath return'd
- Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
- In coffins from the field;
- And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,
- Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
- Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
- Let us entreat,—by honour of his name
- Whom worthily you would have now succeed,
- And in the Capitol and senate's right,
- Whom you pretend to honour and adore,—
- That you withdraw you and abate your strength;
- Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,
- Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.
- How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!
- Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy
- In thy uprightness and integrity,
- And so I love and honour thee and thine,
- Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
- And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
- Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,
- That I will here dismiss my loving friends;
- And to my fortunes and the people's favour
- Commit my cause in balance to be weigh'd.
[Exeunt the Followers of BASSIANUS.]
- Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,
- I thank you all and here dismiss you all;
- And to the love and favour of my country
- Commit myself, my person, and the cause.
[Exeunt the Followers of SATURNINUS.]
- Rome, be as just and gracious unto me
- As I am confident and kind to thee.—
- Open the gates, tribunes, and let me in.
- Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.
[Flourish. Exeunt; SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS go up into the Capitol.]
[Enter a Captain.]
- Romans, make way. The good Andronicus,
- Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
- Successful in the battles that he fights,
- With honour and with fortune is return'd
- From where he circumscribed with his sword
- And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.
[Flourish of trumpets, &c. Enter MARTIUS and MUTIUS; after them two Men bearing a coffin covered with black; then LUCIUS and QUINTUS. After them TITUS ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with ALARBUS, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, AARON, and other Goths, prisoners; soldiers and People following. The bearers set down the coffin, and TITUS speaks.]
- Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!
- Lo, as the bark that hath discharg'd her fraught
- Returns with precious lading to the bay
- From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
- Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
- To re-salute his country with his tears,—
- Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.—
- Thou great defender of this Capitol,
- Stand gracious to the rites that we intend!—
- Romans, of five and twenty valiant sons,
- Half of the number that King Priam had,
- Behold the poor remains, alive and dead!
- These that survive let Rome reward with love;
- These that I bring unto their latest home,
- With burial amongst their ancestors;
- Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
- Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
- Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
- To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?—
- Make way to lay them by their brethren.—
[The tomb is opened.]
- There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
- And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars!
- O sacred receptacle of my joys,
- Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
- How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
- That thou wilt never render to me more!
- Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
- That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile
- Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh
- Before this earthy prison of their bones;
- That so the shadows be not unappeas'd,
- Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.
- I give him you,—the noblest that survives,
- The eldest son of this distressed queen.
- Stay, Roman brethen!—Gracious conqueror,
- Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
- A mother's tears in passion for her son:
- And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
- O, think my son to be as dear to me!
- Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome,
- To beautify thy triumphs and return,
- Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke;
- But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets
- For valiant doings in their country's cause?
- O, if to fight for king and common weal
- Were piety in thine, it is in these.
- Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
- Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
- Draw near them, then, in being merciful:
- Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge:
- Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.
- Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
- These are their brethren, whom your Goths beheld
- Alive and dead; and for their brethren slain
- Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
- To this your son is mark'd; and die he must,
- To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.
- Away with him! and make a fire straight;
- And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,
- Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consum'd.
[Exeunt LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and MUTIUS with ALARBUS.]
- O cruel, irreligious piety!
- Was ever Scythia half so barbarous!
- Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome.
- Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive
- To tremble under Titus' threatening look.
- Then, madam, stand resolv'd; but hope withal
- The self-same gods that arm'd the Queen of Troy
- With opportunity of sharp revenge
- Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
- May favour Tamora, the queen of Goths,—
- When Goths were Goths and Tamora was queen,—
- To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.
[Re-enter LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS,and MUTIUS, with their swords bloody.]
- See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
- Our Roman rites: Alarbus' limbs are lopp'd,
- And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
- Whose smoke like incense doth perfume the sky.
- Remaineth naught but to inter our brethren,
- And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome.
- Let it be so, and let Andronicus
- Make this his latest farewell to their souls.
[Trumpets sounded and the coffin laid in the tomb.]
- In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;
- Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,
- Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!
- Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
- Here grow no damned grudges; here are no storms,
- No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:
- In peace and honour rest you here, my sons!
- In peace and honour live Lord Titus long;
- My noble lord and father, live in fame!
- Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears
- I render for my brethren's obsequies;
- And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy
- Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome;
- O, bless me here with thy victorious hand,
- Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud!
- Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserv'd
- The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!—
- Lavinia, live; outlive thy father's days,
- And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise!
[Enter, below, MARCUS ANDRONICUS and Tribunes; re-enter SATURNINUS, BASSIANUS, and Attendants.]
- Long live Lord Titus, my beloved brother,
- Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!
- Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.
- And welcome, nephews, from successful wars,
- You that survive and you that sleep in fame!
- Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,
- That in your country's service drew your swords:
- But safer triumph is this funeral pomp
- That hath aspir'd to Solon's happiness
- And triumphs over chance in honour's bed.—
- Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
- Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
- Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,
- This palliament of white and spotless hue;
- And name thee in election for the empire
- With these our late-deceased emperor's sons:
- Be candidatus then, and put it on,
- And help to set a head on headless Rome.
- A better head her glorious body fits
- Than his that shakes for age and feebleness:
- What, should I don this robe and trouble you?
- Be chosen with proclamations to-day,
- To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,
- And set abroach new business for you all?
- Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
- And led my country's strength successfully,
- And buried one-and-twenty valiant sons,
- Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,
- In right and service of their noble country:
- Give me a staff of honour for mine age,
- But not a sceptre to control the world;
- Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.
- Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.
- Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?
- Patience, Prince Saturninus.
- Romans, do me right;—
- Patricians, draw your swords, and sheathe them not
- Till Saturninus be Rome's Emperor.—
- Andronicus, would thou were shipp'd to hell
- Rather than rob me of the people's hearts!
- Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good
- That noble-minded Titus means to thee!
- Content thee, prince; I will restore to thee
- The people's hearts, and wean them from themselves.
- Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,
- But honour thee, and will do till I die.
- My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,
- I will most thankful be; and thanks to men
- Of noble minds is honourable meed.
- People of Rome, and people's tribunes here,
- I ask your voices and your suffrages:
- Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?
- To gratify the good Andronicus,
- And gratulate his safe return to Rome,
- The people will accept whom he admits.
- Tribunes, I thank you: and this suit I make,
- That you create your emperor's eldest son,
- Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope,
- Reflect on Rome as Titan's rays on earth,
- And ripen justice in this commonweal:
- Then, if you will elect by my advice,
- Crown him, and say 'Long live our Emperor!'
- With voices and applause of every sort,
- Patricians and plebeians, we create
- Lord Saturninus Rome's great emperor;
- And say 'Long live our Emperor Saturnine!'
- [A long flourish.]
- Titus Andronicus, for thy favours done
- To us in our election this day
- I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,
- And will with deeds requite thy gentleness;
- And for an onset, Titus, to advance
- Thy name and honourable family,
- Lavinia will I make my empress,
- Rome's royal mistress, mistress of my heart,
- And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse:
- Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?
- It doth, my worthy lord; and in this match
- I hold me highly honoured of your grace:
- And here in sight of Rome, to Saturnine,—
- King and commander of our commonweal,
- The wide world's emperor,—do I consecrate
- My sword, my chariot, and my prisoners;
- Presents well worthy Rome's imperious lord:
- Receive them then, the tribute that I owe,
- Mine honour's ensigns humbled at thy feet.
- Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life!
- How proud I am of thee and of thy gifts
- Rome shall record; and when I do forget
- The least of these unspeakable deserts,
- Romans, forget your fealty to me.
- [To TAMORA.] Now, madam, are you prisoner to an emperor;
- To him that for your honour and your state
- Will use you nobly and your followers.
- A goodly lady, trust me; of the hue
- That I would choose, were I to choose anew.—
- Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance:
- Though chance of war hath wrought this change of cheer,
- Thou com'st not to be made a scorn in Rome:
- Princely shall be thy usage every way.
- Rest on my word, and let not discontent
- Daunt all your hopes: madam, he comforts you
- Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths.—
- Lavinia, you are not displeas'd with this?
- Not I, my lord, sith true nobility
- Warrants these words in princely courtesy.
- Thanks, sweet Lavinia.—Romans, let us go:
- Ransomless here we set our prisoners free:
- Proclaim our honours, lords, with trump and drum.
[Flourish. SATURNINUS courts TAMORA in dumb show.]
- Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.
- How, sir! are you in earnest then, my lord?
- Ay, noble Titus; and resolv'd withal
- To do myself this reason and this right.
- Suum cuique is our Roman justice:
- This prince in justice seizeth but his own.
- And that he will and shall, if Lucius live.
- Traitors, avaunt!—Where is the emperor's guard?—
- Treason, my lord,—Lavinia is surpris'd!
- Surpris'd! by whom?
- By him that justly may
- Bear his betroth'd from all the world away.
[Exeunt BASSIANUS and MARCUS with LAVINIA.]
- Brothers, help to convey her hence away,
- And with my sword I'll keep this door safe.
[Exeunt LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS.]
- Follow, my lord, and I'll soon bring her back.
- My lord, you pass not here.
- What, villain boy!
- Barr'st me my way in Rome?
- Help, Lucius, help!
- My lord, you are unjust; and more than so:
- In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.
- Nor thou nor he are any sons of mine;
- My sons would never so dishonour me.
- Traitor, restore Lavinia to the Emperor.
- Dead, if you will; but not to be his wife,
- That is another's lawful promis'd love.
- No, Titus, no; the emperor needs her not,
- Nor her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock:
- I'll trust by leisure him that mocks me once;
- Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,
- Confederates all thus to dishonour me.
- Was there none else in Rome to make a stale
- But Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus,
- Agree these deeds with that proud brag of thine
- That said'st I begg'd the empire at thy hands.
- O monstrous! what reproachful words are these?
- But go thy ways; go, give that changing piece
- To him that flourish'd for her with his sword;
- A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy;
- One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,
- To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.
- These words are razors to my wounded heart.
- And therefore, lovely Tamora, Queen of Goths,—
- That, like the stately Phoebe 'mongst her nymphs,
- Dost overshine the gallant'st dames of Rome,—
- If thou be pleas'd with this my sudden choice,
- Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride
- And will create thee empress of Rome.
- Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my choice?
- And here I swear by all the Roman gods,—
- Sith priest and holy water are so near,
- And tapers burn so bright, and everything
- In readiness for Hymenaeus stand,—
- I will not re-salute the streets of Rome,
- Or climb my palace, till from forth this place
- I lead espous'd my bride along with me.
- And here in sight of heaven to Rome I swear,
- If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths,
- She will a handmaid be to his desires,
- A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.
- Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon.—Lords, accompany
- Your noble emperor and his lovely bride,
- Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine,
- Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquered:
- There shall we consummate our spousal rites.
[Exeunt SATURNINUS and his Followers; TAMORA and her Sons; AARON and Goths.]
- I am not bid to wait upon this bride.—
- Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone,
- Dishonour'd thus, and challenged of wrongs?
[Re-enter MARCUS, LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS.]
- O Titus, see, O, see what thou hast done!
- In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.
- No, foolish tribune, no; no son of mine,—
- Nor thou, nor these, confederates in the deed
- That hath dishonoured all our family;
- Unworthy brother and unworthy sons!
- But let us give him burial, as becomes;
- Give Mutius burial with our bretheren.
- Traitors, away! He rests not in this tomb:—
- This monument five hundred years hath stood,
- Which I have sumptuously re-edified:
- Here none but soldiers and Rome's servitors
- Repose in fame; none basely slain in brawls:—
- Bury him where you can, he comes not here.
- My lord, this is impiety in you:
- My nephew Mutius' deeds do plead for him;
- He must be buried with his bretheren.
QUINTUS & MARTIUS.
- And shall, or him we will accompany.
- And shall! What villain was it spake that word?
- He that would vouch it in any place but here.
- What, would you bury him in my despite?
- No, noble Titus; but entreat of thee
- To pardon Mutius, and to bury him.
- Marcus, even thou hast struck upon my crest,
- And with these boys mine honour thou hast wounded:
- My foes I do repute you every one;
- So trouble me no more, but get you gone.
- He is not with himself; let us withdraw.
- Not I, till Mutius' bones be buried.
[MARCUS and the Sons of TITUS kneel.]
- Brother, for in that name doth nature plead,—
- Father, and in that name doth nature speak,—
- Speak thou no more, if all the rest will speed.
- Renowned Titus, more than half my soul,—
- Dear father, soul and substance of us all,—
- Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter
- His noble nephew here in virtue's nest,
- That died in honour and Lavinia's cause:
- Thou art a Roman,—be not barbarous.
- The Greeks upon advice did bury Ajax,
- That slew himself; and wise Laertes' son
- Did graciously plead for his funerals:
- Let not young Mutius, then, that was thy joy,
- Be barr'd his entrance here.
- Rise, Marcus, rise:
- The dismall'st day is this that e'er I saw,
- To be dishonour'd by my sons in Rome!—
- Well, bury him, and bury me the next.
[MUTIUS is put into the tomb.]
- There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends,
- Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb.
- [Kneeling.] No man shed tears for noble Mutius;
- He lives in fame that died in virtue's cause.
- My lord,—to step out of these dreary dumps,—
- How comes it that the subtle Queen of Goths
- Is of a sudden thus advanc'd in Rome?
- I know not, Marcus, but I know it is,—
- Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell:
- Is she not, then, beholding to the man
- That brought her for this high good turn so far?
- Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.
[Flourish. Re-enter, at one side, SATURNINUS, attended; TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, and AARON; at the other, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, and others.]
- So, Bassianus, you have play'd your prize:
- God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride!
- And you of yours, my lord! I say no more,
- Nor wish no less; and so I take my leave.
- Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,
- Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.
- Rape, call you it, my lord, to seize my own,
- My true betrothed love, and now my wife?
- But let the laws of Rome determine all;
- Meanwhile am I possess'd of that is mine.
- 'Tis good, sir. You are very short with us;
- But if we live we'll be as sharp with you.
- My lord, what I have done, as best I may,
- Answer I must, and shall do with my life.
- Only thus much I give your grace to know,—
- By all the duties that I owe to Rome,
- This noble gentleman, Lord Titus here,
- Is in opinion and in honour wrong'd,
- That, in the rescue of Lavinia,
- With his own hand did slay his youngest son,
- In zeal to you, and highly mov'd to wrath
- To be controll'd in that he frankly gave:
- Receive him then to favour, Saturnine,
- That hath express'd himself in all his deeds
- A father and a friend to thee and Rome.
- Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds:
- 'Tis thou and those that have dishonour'd me.
- Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge
- How I have lov'd and honour'd Saturnine!
- My worthy lord, if ever Tamora
- Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,
- Then hear me speak indifferently for all;
- And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.
- What, madam! be dishonoured openly,
- And basely put it up without revenge?
- Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend
- I should be author to dishonour you!
- But on mine honour dare I undertake
- For good Lord Titus' innocence in all,
- Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs:
- Then at my suit look graciously on him;
- Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,
- Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.—
- [Aside.] My lord, be rul'd by me, be won at last;
- Dissemble all your griefs and discontents:
- You are but newly planted in your throne;
- Lest, then, the people, and patricians too,
- Upon a just survey take Titus' part,
- And so supplant you for ingratitude,—
- Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin,—
- Yield at entreats; and then let me alone:
- I'll find a day to massacre them all,
- And raze their faction and their family,
- The cruel father and his traitorous sons,
- To whom I sued for my dear son's life;
- And make them know what 'tis to let a queen
- Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.—
- Come, come, sweet emperor,—come, Andronicus,—
- Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart
- That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.
- Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail'd.
- I thank your majesty and her, my lord:
- These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.
- Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,
- A Roman now adopted happily,
- And must advise the emperor for his good.
- This day all quarrels die, Andronicus;—
- And let it be mine honour, good my lord,
- That I have reconcil'd your friends and you. —
- For you, Prince Bassianus, I have pass'd
- My word and promise to the emperor
- That you will be more mild and tractable.—
- And fear not, lords,—and you, Lavinia,—
- By my advice, all humbled on your knees,
- You shall ask pardon of his majesty.
- We do; and vow to heaven and to his highness
- That what we did was mildly as we might,
- Tendering our sister's honour and our own.
- That on mine honour here do I protest.
- Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.
- Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends:
- The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace;
- I will not be denied: sweet heart, look back.
- Marcus, for thy sake, and thy brother's here,
- And at my lovely Tamora's entreats,
- I do remit these young men's heinous faults:
- Stand up.—
- Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,
- I found a friend; and sure as death I swore
- I would not part a bachelor from the priest.
- Come, if the emperor's court can feast two brides,
- You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends.
- This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.
- To-morrow, an it please your majesty
- To hunt the panther and the hart with me,
- With horn and hound we'll give your grace bonjour.
- Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too.
SCENE I. Rome. Before the palace.
- Now climbeth Tamora Olympus' top,
- Safe out of fortune's shot; and sits aloft,
- Secure of thunder's crack or lightning's flash;
- Advanc'd above pale envy's threatening reach.
- As when the golden sun salutes the morn,
- And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
- Gallops the zodiac in his glistening coach,
- And overlooks the highest-peering hill;
- So Tamora:
- Upon her wit doth earthly honour wait,
- And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.
- Then, Aaron, arm thy heart and fit thy thoughts
- To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
- And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long
- Hast prisoner held, fett'red in amorous chains,
- And faster bound to Aaron's charming eyes
- Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
- Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
- I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,
- To wait upon this new-made empress.
- To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen,
- This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
- This siren, that will charm Rome's Saturnine,
- And see his shipwreck and his commonweal's.—
- Holla! what storm is this?
[Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON braving.]
- Chiron, thy years wants wit, thy wit wants edge
- And manners, to intrude where I am grac'd;
- And may, for aught thou know'st, affected be.
- Demetrius, thou dost over-ween in all;
- And so in this, to bear me down with braves.
- 'Tis not the difference of a year or two
- Makes me less gracious or thee more fortunate:
- I am as able and as fit as thou
- To serve and to deserve my mistress' grace;
- And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
- And plead my passions for Lavinia's love.
- [Aside.] Clubs, clubs! These lovers will not keep the peace.
- Why, boy, although our mother, unadvis'd,
- Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,
- Are you so desperate grown to threat your friends?
- Go to; have your lath glu'd within your sheath
- Till you know better how to handle it.
- Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
- Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.
- Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?
- [Coming forward.] Why, how now, lords!
- So near the emperor's palace dare ye draw,
- And maintain such a quarrel openly?
- Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge:
- I would not for a million of gold
- The cause were known to them it most concerns;
- Nor would your noble mother for much more
- Be so dishonour'd in the court of Rome.
- For shame, put up.
- Not I, till I have sheath'd
- My rapier in his bosom, and withal
- Thrust those reproachful speeches down his throat
- That he hath breath'd in my dishonour here.
- For that I am prepar'd and full resolv'd,—
- Foul-spoken coward, that thunder'st with thy tongue,
- And with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform.
- Away, I say!—
- Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
- This pretty brabble will undo us all.—
- Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
- It is to jet upon a prince's right?
- What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
- Or Bassianus so degenerate,
- That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd
- Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
- Young lords, beware! and should the empress know
- This discord's ground, the music would not please.
- I care not, I, knew she and all the world:
- I love Lavinia more than all the world.
- Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:
- Lavina is thine elder brother's hope.
- Why, are ye mad? or know ye not in Rome
- How furious and impatient they be,
- And cannot brook competitors in love?
- I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
- By this device.
- Aaron, a thousand deaths
- Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.
- To achieve her!—How?
- Why mak'st thou it so strange?
- She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd;
- She is a woman, therefore may be won;
- She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd.
- What, man! more water glideth by the mill
- Than wots the miller of; and easy it is
- Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know:
- Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother,
- Better than he have worn Vulcan's badge.
- [Aside.] Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
- Then why should he despair that knows to court it
- With words, fair looks, and liberality?
- What, hast not thou full often struck a doe,
- And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?
- Why, then, it seems some certain snatch or so
- Would serve your turns.
- Ay, so the turn were serv'd.
- Aaron, thou hast hit it.
- Would you had hit it too!
- Then should not we be tir'd with this ado.
- Why, hark ye, hark ye,—and are you such fools
- To square for this? Would it offend you, then,
- That both should speed?
- Faith, not me.
- Nor me, so I were one.
- For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar:
- 'Tis policy and stratagem must do
- That you affect; and so must you resolve
- That what you cannot as you would achieve,
- You must perforce accomplish as you may.
- Take this of me,—Lucrece was not more chaste
- Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.
- A speedier course than lingering languishment
- Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
- My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
- There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
- The forest walks are wide and spacious;
- And many unfrequented plots there are
- Fitted by kind for rape and villainy:
- Single you thither, then, this dainty doe,
- And strike her home by force if not by words:
- This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
- Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit
- To villainy and vengeance consecrate,
- Will we acquaint with all what we intend;
- And she shall file our engines with advice
- That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
- But to your wishes' height advance you both.
- The emperor's court is like the house of fame,
- The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears:
- The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
- There speak and strike, brave boys, and take your turns;
- There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven's eye,
- And revel in Lavinia's treasury.
- Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.
- Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
- To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
- Per Styga, per manes vehor.
SCENE II. A Forest near Rome; a Lodge seen at a distance.
[Horns and cry of hounds heard.]
[Enter TITUS ANDRONICUS, with hunters, &c., MARCUS, LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS.]
- The hunt is up, the morn is bright and gay,
- The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green.
- Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,
- And wake the emperor and his lovely bride,
- And rouse the prince, and ring a hunter's peal,
- That all the court may echo with the noise.
- Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
- To attend the emperor's person carefully:
- I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
- But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd.
[Horns in a peal. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, and Attendants.]
- Many good morrows to your majesty:—
- Madam, to you as many and as good:—
- I promised your grace a hunter's peal.
- And you have rung it lustily, my lord;
- Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
- Lavinia, how say you?
- I say no; I have been broad awake two hours and more.
- Come on then, horse and chariots let us have,
- And to our sport.—[To TAMORA.] Madam, now shall ye see
- Our Roman hunting.
- I have dogs, my lord,
- Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
- And climb the highest promontory top.
- And I have horse will follow where the game
- Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain.
- Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
- But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.
SCENE III. A lonely part of the Forest.
[Enter AARON with a bag of gold.]
- He that had wit would think that I had none,
- To bury so much gold under a tree,
- And never after to inherit it.
- Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
- Know that this gold must coin a stratagem,
- Which, cunningly effected, will beget
- A very excellent piece of villainy:
- And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest
[Hides the gold.]
- That have their alms out of the empress' chest.
- My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad
- When everything does make a gleeful boast?
- The birds chant melody on every bush;
- The snakes lie rolled in the cheerful sun;
- The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,
- And make a chequer'd shadow on the ground:
- Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
- And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
- Replying shrilly to the well-tun'd horns,
- As if a double hunt were heard at once,
- Let us sit down and mark their yelping noise;
- And,—after conflict such as was suppos'd
- The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy'd,
- When with a happy storm they were surpris'd,
- And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave,—
- We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
- Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
- Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
- Be unto us as is a nurse's song
- Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.
- Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
- Saturn is dominator over mine:
- What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
- My silence and my cloudy melancholy,
- My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
- Even as an adder when she doth unroll
- To do some fatal execution?
- No, madam, these are no venereal signs,
- Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
- Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
- Hark, Tamora,—the empress of my soul,
- Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,—
- This is the day of doom for Bassianus;
- His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day,
- Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,
- And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
- Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
- And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll.—
- Now question me no more,—we are espied;
- Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
- Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
- Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
- No more, great empress: Bassianus comes:
- Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons
- To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.
[Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.]
- Who have we here? Rome's royal empress,
- Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop?
- Or is it Dian, habited like her,
- Who hath abandoned her holy groves
- To see the general hunting in this forest?
- Saucy controller of my private steps!
- Had I the power that some say Dian had,
- Thy temples should be planted presently
- With horns, as was Actaeon's; and the hounds
- Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
- Unmannerly intruder as thou art!
- Under your patience, gentle empress,
- 'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning;
- And to be doubted that your Moor and you
- Are singled forth to try experiments;
- Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day!
- 'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.
- Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian
- Doth make your honour of his body's hue,
- Spotted, detested, and abominable.
- Why are you sequester'd from all your train,
- Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
- And wander'd hither to an obscure plot,
- Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
- If foul desire had not conducted you?
- And, being intercepted in your sport,
- Great reason that my noble lord be rated
- For sauciness.—I pray you let us hence,
- And let her joy her raven-coloured love;
- This valley fits the purpose passing well.
- The king my brother shall have notice of this.
- Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:
- Good king, to be so mightily abus'd!
- Why have I patience to endure all this?
[Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON.]
- How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother!
- Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?
- Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
- These two have 'ticed me hither to this place:—
- A barren detested vale you see it is:
- The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
- O'ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:
- Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
- Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:—
- And when they show'd me this abhorred pit,
- They told me, here, at dead time of the night,
- A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
- Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
- Would make such fearful and confused cries
- As any mortal body hearing it
- Should straight fall mad or else die suddenly.
- No sooner had they told this hellish tale
- But straight they told me they would bind me here
- Unto the body of a dismal yew,
- And leave me to this miserable death:
- And then they call'd me foul adulteress,
- Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
- That ever ear did hear to such effect:
- And had you not by wondrous fortune come,
- This vengeance on me had they executed.
- Revenge it, as you love your mother's life,
- Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children.
- This is a witness that I am thy son.
- And this for me, struck home to show my strength.
[Also stabs BASSIANUS, who dies.]
- Ay, come, Semiramis,—nay, barbarous Tamora,
- For no name fits thy nature but thy own!
- Give me thy poniard;—you shall know, my boys,
- Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong.
- Stay, madam; here is more belongs to her;
- First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw:
- This minion stood upon her chastity,
- Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
- And with that painted hope braves your mightiness:
- And shall she carry this unto her grave?
- An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.
- Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
- And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.
- But when ye have the honey we desire,
- Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
- I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.—
- Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
- That nice-preserved honesty of yours.
- O Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's face,—
- I will not hear her speak; away with her!
- Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.
- Listen, fair madam: let it be your glory
- To see her tears; but be your heart to them
- As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.
- When did the tiger's young ones teach the dam?
- O, do not learn her wrath,—she taught it thee;
- The milk thou suck'dst from her did turn to marble;
- Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.—
- Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:
- [To CHIRON.] Do thou entreat her show a woman's pity.
- What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?
- 'Tis true, the raven doth not hatch a lark:
- Yet have I heard,—O, could I find it now!—
- The lion, mov'd with pity, did endure
- To have his princely paws par'd all away.
- Some say that ravens foster forlorn children,
- The whilst their own birds famish in their nests:
- O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
- Nothing so kind, but something pitiful!
- I know not what it means:—away with her!
- O, let me teach thee! for my father's sake,
- That gave thee life, when well he might have slain thee,
- Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.
- Hadst thou in person ne'er offended me,
- Even for his sake am I pitiless.—
- Remember, boys, I pour'd forth tears in vain
- To save your brother from the sacrifice;
- But fierce Andronicus would not relent:
- Therefore away with her, and use her as you will;
- The worse to her the better lov'd of me.
- O Tamora, be call'd a gentle queen,
- And with thine own hands kill me in this place!
- For 'tis not life that I have begg'd so long;
- Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.
- What begg'st thou, then? fond woman, let me go.
- 'Tis present death I beg; and one thing more,
- That womanhood denies my tongue to tell:
- O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,
- And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
- Where never man's eye may behold my body:
- Do this, and be a charitable murderer.
- So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee:
- No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.
- Away! for thou hast stay'd us here too long.
- No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly creature!
- The blot and enemy to our general name!
- Confusion fall,—
- Nay, then I'll stop your mouth:—bring thou her husband.
- This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.
[DEMETRIUS throws BASSIANUS'S body into the pit; then exit with CHIRON, dragging off LAVINIA.]
- Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure:—
- Ne'er let my heart know merry cheer indeed
- Till all the Andronici be made away.
- Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
- And let my spleenful sons this trull deflower.
[Re-enter AARON, with QUINTUS and MARTIUS.]
- Come on, my lords, the better foot before:
- Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
- Where I espied the panther fast asleep.
- My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes.
- And mine, I promise you; were't not for shame,
- Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.
[Falls into the pit.]
- What, art thou fallen?—What subtle hole is this,
- Whose mouth is cover'd with rude-growing briers,
- Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
- As fresh as morning dew distill'd on flowers?
- A very fatal place it seems to me.—
- Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
- O brother, with the dismallest object hurt
- That ever eye with sight made heart lament!
- [Aside] Now will I fetch the king to find them here,
- That he thereby may have a likely guess
- How these were they that made away his brother.
- Why dost not comfort me, and help me out
- From this unhallow'd and blood-stained hole?
- I am surprised with an uncouth fear;
- A chilling sweat o'er-runs my trembling joints;
- My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.
- To prove thou hast a true divining heart,
- Aaron and thou look down into this den,
- And see a fearful sight of blood and death.
- Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart
- Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
- The thing whereat it trembles by surmise:
- O, tell me who it is; for ne'er till now
- Was I a child to fear I know not what.
- Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,
- All on a heap, like to a slaughter'd lamb,
- In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
- If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?
- Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
- A precious ring that lightens all the hole,
- Which, like a taper in some monument,
- Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
- And shows the ragged entrails of the pit:
- So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
- When he by night lay bath'd in maiden blood.
- O brother, help me with thy fainting hand,—
- If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath,—
- Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
- As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth.
- Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;
- Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
- I may be pluck'd into the swallowing womb
- Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.
- I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.
- Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.
- Thy hand once more; I will not lose again,
- Till thou art here aloft, or I below:
- Thou canst not come to me,—I come to thee.
[Enter SATURNINUS with AARON.]
- Along with me: I'll see what hole is here,
- And what he is that now is leap'd into it.—
- Say, who art thou that lately didst descend
- Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
- The unhappy sons of old Andronicus,
- Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,
- To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
- My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest:
- He and his lady both are at the lodge
- Upon the north side of this pleasant chase;
- 'Tis not an hour since I left them there.
- We know not where you left them all alive;
- But, out, alas! here have we found him dead.
[Re-enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS ANDRONICUS and LUCIUS.]
- Where is my lord the king?
- Here, Tamora; though griev'd with killing grief.
- Where is thy brother Bassianus?
- Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound;
- Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.
- Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
[Giving a letter.]
- The complot of this timeless tragedy;
- And wonder greatly that man's face can fold
- In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.
- [Reads] 'An if we miss to meet him handsomely,—
- Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis we mean,—
- Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:
- Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward
- Among the nettles at the elder-tree
- Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
- Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
- Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.'
- O Tamora! was ever heard the like?—
- This is the pit and this the elder-tree:—
- Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
- That should have murder'd Bassianus here.
- My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.
- [To TITUS] Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,
- Have here bereft my brother of his life.—
- Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison:
- There let them bide until we have devis'd
- Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.
- What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
- How easily murder is discovered!
- High emperor, upon my feeble knee
- I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,
- That this fell fault of my accursed sons,—
- Accursed if the fault be prov'd in them,—
- If it be prov'd! You see it is apparent.—
- Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
- Andronicus himself did take it up.
- I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail;
- For, by my fathers' reverend tomb, I vow
- They shall be ready at your highness' will
- To answer their suspicion with their lives.
- Thou shalt not bail them: see thou follow me.—
- Some bring the murder'd body, some the murderers:
- Let them not speak a word,—the guilt is plain;
- For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
- That end upon them should be executed.
- Andronicus, I will entreat the king:
- Fear not thy sons; they shall do well enough.
- Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.
[Exeunt severally. Attendants bearing the body.]
SCENE IV. Another part of the Forest.
[Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, with LAVINIA, ravished; her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out.]
- So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
- Who 'twas that cut thy tongue and ravish'd thee.
- Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,
- An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.
- See how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.
- Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.
- She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;
- And so let's leave her to her silent walks.
- An 'twere my case, I should go hang myself.
- If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.
[Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON.]
- Who is this?—my niece,—that flies away so fast?
- Cousin, a word; where is your husband?—
- If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me!
- If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
- That I may slumber an eternal sleep!—
- Speak, gentle niece,—what stern ungentle hands
- Hath lopp'd, and hew'd, and made thy body bare
- Of her two branches,—those sweet ornaments
- Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
- And might not gain so great a happiness
- As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?—
- Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
- Like to a bubbling fountain stirr'd with wind,
- Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
- Coming and going with thy honey breath.
- But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,
- And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue.
- Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame:
- And notwithstanding all this loss of blood,—
- As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,—
- Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan's face
- Blushing to be encounter'd with a cloud.
- Shall I speak for thee? shall I say 'tis so?
- O, that I knew thy heart, and knew the beast,
- That I might rail at him, to ease my mind!
- Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp'd,
- Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
- Fair Philomela, why she but lost her tongue,
- And in a tedious sampler sew'd her mind;
- But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
- A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
- And he hath cut those pretty fingers off
- That could have better sew'd than Philomel.
- O, had the monster seen those lily hands
- Tremble, like aspen leaves, upon a lute,
- And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,
- He would not then have touch'd them for his life!
- Or had he heard the heavenly harmony
- Which that sweet tongue hath made,
- He would have dropp'd his knife, and fell asleep,
- As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's feet.
- Come, let us go, and make thy father blind;
- For such a sight will blind a father's eye:
- One hour's storm will drown the fragrant meads;
- What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?
- Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee:
- O, could our mourning ease thy misery!
SCENE I. Rome. A street.
[Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of Justice, with MARTIUS and QUINTUS bound, passing on to the place of execution; TITUS going before, pleading.]
- Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
- For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
- In dangerous wars whilst you securely slept;
- For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
- For all the frosty nights that I have watch'd;
- And for these bitter tears, which now you see
- Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
- Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
- Whose souls are not corrupted as 'tis thought.
- For two and twenty sons I never wept,
- Because they died in honour's lofty bed.
[Throwing himself on the ground.]
- For these, tribunes, in the dust I write
- My heart's deep languor and my soul's sad tears:
- Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite;
- My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
[Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c., with the prisoners.]
- O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain
- That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
- Than youthful April shall with all his showers:
- In summer's drought I'll drop upon thee still;
- In winter with warm tears I'll melt the snow,
- And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
- So thou refuse to drink my dear sons' blood.
[Enter Lucius with his sword drawn.]
- O reverend tribunes! O gentle aged men!
- Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
- And let me say, that never wept before,
- My tears are now prevailing orators.
- O noble father, you lament in vain:
- The tribunes hear you not, no man is by;
- And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
- Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.—
- Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you.
- My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
- Why, 'tis no matter, man: if they did hear,
- They would not mark me; if they did mark,
- They would not pity me; yet plead I must,
- And bootless unto them.
- Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones;
- Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
- Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,
- For that they will not intercept my tale:
- When I do weep they humbly at my feet
- Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me;
- And were they but attired in grave weeds,
- Rome could afford no tribunes like to these.
- A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones;
- A stone is silent, and offendeth not,—
- And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.
- But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
- To rescue my two brothers from their death:
- For which attempt the judges have pronounc'd
- My everlasting doom of banishment.
- O happy man! they have befriended thee.
- Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
- That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
- Tigers must prey; and Rome affords no prey
- But me and mine: how happy art thou, then,
- From these devourers to be banished!—
- But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
[Enter MARCUS and LAVINIA.]
- Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep;
- Or if not so, thy noble heart to break:
- I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
- Will it consume me? let me see it then.
- This was thy daughter.
- Why, Marcus, so she is.
- Ay me! this object kills me!
- Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.—
- Speak, my Lavinia, what accursed hand
- Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
- What fool hath added water to the sea,
- Or brought a fagot to bright-burning Troy?
- My grief was at the height before thou cam'st;
- And now, like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.
- Give me a sword, I'll chop off my hands too;
- For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
- And they have nurs'd this woe in feeding life;
- In bootless prayer have they been held up,
- And they have serv'd me to effectless use:
- Now all the service I require of them
- Is that the one will help to cut the other.—
- 'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;
- For hands to do Rome service, are but vain.
- Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
- O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
- That blabb'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
- Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
- Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung
- Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!
- O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
- O, thus I found her straying in the park,
- Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
- That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound.
- It was my deer; and he that wounded her
- Hath hurt me more than had he kill'd me dead:
- For now I stand as one upon a rock,
- Environ'd with a wilderness of sea;
- Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
- Expecting ever when some envious surge
- Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
- This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
- Here stands my other son, a banish'd man;
- And here my brother, weeping at my woes:
- But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn
- Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.—
- Had I but seen thy picture in this plight
- It would have madded me: what shall I do
- Now I behold thy lively body so?
- Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy tears,
- Nor tongue to tell me who hath martyr'd thee:
- Thy husband he is dead; and for his death
- Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this.—
- Look, Marcus!—ah, son Lucius, look on her!
- When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
- Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey dew
- Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.
- Perchance she weeps because they kill'd her husband:
- Perchance because she knows them innocent.
- If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful,
- Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.—
- No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
- Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.—
- Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips;
- Or make some sign how I may do thee ease:
- Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
- And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain,
- Looking all downwards, to behold our cheeks
- How they are stain'd, like meadows yet not dry,
- With miry slime left on them by a flood?
- And in the fountain shall we gaze so long,
- Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
- And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
- Or shall we cut away our hands like thine?
- Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
- Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
- What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
- Plot some device of further misery,
- To make us wonder'd at in time to come.
- Sweet father, cease your tears; for at your grief
- See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
- Patience, dear niece.—Good Titus, dry thine eyes.
- Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot
- Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
- For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
- Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
- Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:
- Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
- That to her brother which I said to thee:
- His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,
- Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
- O, what a sympathy of woe is this,—
- As far from help as limbo is from bliss!
- Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
- Sends thee this word,—that, if thou love thy sons,
- Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
- Or any one of you, chop off your hand
- And send it to the king: he for the same
- Will send thee hither both thy sons alive:
- And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
- O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!
- Did ever raven sing so like a lark
- That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise?
- With all my heart I'll send the emperor
- My hand:
- Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
- Stay, father! for that noble hand of thine,
- That hath thrown down so many enemies,
- Shall not be sent: my hand will serve the turn:
- My youth can better spare my blood than you;
- And therefore mine shall save my brothers' lives.
- Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
- And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
- Writing destruction on the enemy's castle?
- O, none of both but are of high desert:
- My hand hath been but idle; let it serve
- To ransom my two nephews from their death;
- Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
- Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,
- For fear they die before their pardon come.
- My hand shall go.
- By heaven, it shall not go!
- Sirs, strive no more: such wither'd herbs as these
- Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
- Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,
- Let me redeem my brothers both from death.
- And for our father's sake and mother's care,
- Now let me show a brother's love to thee.
- Agree between you; I will spare my hand.
- Then I'll go fetch an axe.
- But I will use the axe.
[Exeunt LUCIUS and MARCUS.]
- Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive them both:
- Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.
- [Aside.] If that be call'd deceit, I will be honest,
- And never whilst I live deceive men so:—
- But I'll deceive you in another sort,
- And that you'll say ere half an hour pass.
[He cuts off TITUS'S hand.]
[Re-enter LUCIUS and MARCUS.]
- Now stay your strife: what shall be is despatch'd.—
- Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand:
- Tell him it was a hand that warded him
- From thousand dangers; bid him bury it;
- More hath it merited,—that let it have.
- As for my sons, say I account of them
- As jewels purchas'd at an easy price;
- And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.
- I go, Andronicus: and for thy hand
- Look by and by to have thy sons with thee:—
- [Aside] Their heads I mean. O, how this villainy
- Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
- Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace:
- Aaron will have his soul black like his face.
- O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
- And bow this feeble ruin to the earth:
- If any power pities wretched tears,
- To that I call!—[To LAVINIA.] What, wilt thou kneel with me?
- Do, then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers;
- Or with our sighs we'll breathe the welkin dim,
- And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds
- When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.
- O brother, speak with possibilities,
- And do not break into these deep extremes.
- Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
- Then be my passions bottomless with them.
- But yet let reason govern thy lament.
- If there were reason for these miseries,
- Then into limits could I bind my woes:
- When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o'erflow?
- If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
- Threatening the welkin with his big-swol'n face?
- And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
- I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do flow!
- She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
- Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
- Then must my earth with her continual tears
- Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd;
- For why my bowels cannot hide her woes,
- But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
- Then give me leave; for losers will have leave
- To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.
[Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand.]
- Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
- For that good hand thou sent'st the emperor.
- Here are the heads of thy two noble sons;
- And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back,—
- Thy grief their sports, thy resolution mock'd:
- That woe is me to think upon thy woes,
- More than remembrance of my father's death.
- Now let hot Aetna cool in Sicily,
- And be my heart an ever-burning hell!
- These miseries are more than may be borne.
- To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal;
- But sorrow flouted at is double death.
- Ah, that this sight should make so deep a wound,
- And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
- That ever death should let life bear his name,
- Where life hath no more interest but to breathe!
[LAVINIA kisses him.]
- Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless
- As frozen water to a starved snake.
- When will this fearful slumber have an end?
- Now farewell, flattery; die, Andronicus;
- Thou dost not slumber: see thy two sons' heads,
- Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here;
- Thy other banish'd son with this dear sight
- Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
- Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
- Ah! now no more will I control thy griefs:
- Rent off thy silver hair, thy other hand
- Gnawing with thy teeth; and be this dismal sight
- The closing up of our most wretched eyes:
- Now is a time to storm; why art thou still?
- Ha, ha, ha!
- Why dost thou laugh? it fits not with this hour.
- Why, I have not another tear to shed:
- Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
- And would usurp upon my watery eyes,
- And make them blind with tributary tears:
- Then which way shall I find revenge's cave?
- For these two heads do seem to speak to me,
- And threat me I shall never come to bliss
- Till all these mischiefs be return'd again
- Even in their throats that have committed them.
- Come, let me see what task I have to do.—
- You heavy people circle me about,
- That I may turn me to each one of you,
- And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.—
- The vow is made.—Come, brother, take a head;
- And in this hand the other will I bear.
- And, Lavinia, thou shalt be employ'd in these things;
- Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
- As for thee, boy, go, get thee from my sight;
- Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay:
- Hie to the Goths, and raise an army there:
- And if you love me, as I think you do,
- Let's kiss and part, for we have much to do.
[Exeunt TITUS, MARCUS, and LAVINIA.]
- Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father,—
- The woefull'st man that ever liv'd in Rome:
- Farewell, proud Rome; till Lucius come again,
- He leaves his pledges dearer than his life:
- Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister;
- O, would thou wert as thou 'tofore hast been!
- But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
- But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
- If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs,
- And make proud Saturnine and his empress
- Beg at the gates, like Tarquin and his queen.
- Now will I to the Goths, and raise a power
- To be reveng'd on Rome and Saturnine.
SCENE II. Rome. A Room in TITUS'S House. A banquet set out.
[Enter TITUS, MARCUS, LAVINIA, and YOUNG LUCIUS, a boy.]
- So so, now sit: and look you eat no more
- Than will preserve just so much strength in us
- As will revenge these bitter woes of ours.
- Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot:
- Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands,
- And cannot passionate our tenfold grief
- With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine
- Is left to tyrannize upon my breast;
- And, when my heart, all mad with misery,
- Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh,
- Then thus I thump it down.—
- [To LAVINIA] Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs!
- When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating,
- Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.
- Wound it with sighing, girl; kill it with groans;
- Or get some little knife between thy teeth,
- And just against thy heart make thou a hole,
- That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall
- May run into that sink, and, soaking in,
- Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears.
- Fie, brother, fie! teach her not thus to lay
- Such violent hands upon her tender life.
- How now! has sorrow made thee dote already?
- Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.
- What violent hands can she lay on her life?
- Ah, wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands;—
- To bid Aeneas tell the tale twice o'er
- How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?
- O, handle not the theme, to talk of hands,
- Lest we remember still that we have none.—
- Fie, fie, how frantically I square my talk,—
- As if we should forget we had no hands,
- If Marcus did not name the word of hands!—
- Come, let's fall to; and, gentle girl, eat this.—
- Here is no drink! Hark, Marcus, what she says;—
- I can interpret all her martyr'd signs;—
- She says she drinks no other drink but tears,
- Brew'd with her sorrow, mesh'd upon her cheeks:—
- Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought;
- In thy dumb action will I be as perfect
- As begging hermits in their holy prayers:
- Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,
- Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,
- But I of these will wrest an alphabet,
- And by still practice learn to know thy meaning.
- Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep laments:
- Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.
- Alas, the tender boy, in passion mov'd,
- Doth weep to see his grandsire's heaviness.
- Peace, tender sapling; thou art made of tears,
- And tears will quickly melt thy life away.—
[MARCUS strikes the dish with a knife.]
- What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?
- At that that I have kill'd, my lord,—a fly.
- Out on thee, murderer! thou kill'st my heart;
- Mine eyes are cloy'd with view of tyranny:
- A deed of death done on the innocent
- Becomes not Titus' brother: get thee gone;
- I see thou art not for my company.
- Alas, my lord, I have but kill'd a fly.
- But how if that fly had a father and mother?
- How would he hang his slender gilded wings
- And buzz lamenting doings in the air!
- Poor harmless fly,
- That with his pretty buzzing melody
- Came here to make us merry! and thou hast kill'd him.
- Pardon me, sir; 'twas a black ill-favour'd fly,
- Like to the empress' Moor; therefore I kill'd him.
- O, O, O!
- Then pardon me for reprehending thee,
- For thou hast done a charitable deed.
- Give me thy knife, I will insult on him,
- Flattering myself as if it were the Moor
- Come hither purposely to poison me.—
- There's for thyself, and that's for Tamora.—
- Ah, sirrah!
- Yet, I think, we are not brought so low
- But that between us we can kill a fly
- That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor.
- Alas, poor man! grief has so wrought on him,
- He takes false shadows for true substances.
- Come, take away.—Lavinia, go with me;
- I'll to thy closet; and go read with thee
- Sad stories chanced in the times of old.—
- Come, boy, and go with me: thy sight is young,
- And thou shalt read when mine begin to dazzle.
SCENE I. Rome. Before TITUS'S House.
[Enter TITUS and MARCUS. Then enter YOUNG LUCIUS running, with books under his arm, and LAVINIA running after him.]
- Help, grandsire, help! my aunt Lavinia
- Follows me everywhere, I know not why.—
- Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes!
- Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.
- Stand by me, Lucius: do not fear thine aunt.
- She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.
- Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.
- What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?
- Fear her not, Lucius: somewhat doth she mean:—
- See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee:
- Somewhither would she have thee go with her.
- Ah, boy, Cornelia never with more care
- Read to her sons than she hath read to thee
- Sweet poetry and Tully's Orator.
- Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?
- My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,
- Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her:
- For I have heard my grandsire say full oft
- Extremity of griefs would make men mad;
- And I have read that Hecuba of Troy
- Ran mad for sorrow: that made me to fear;
- Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt
- Loves me as dear as e'er my mother did,
- And would not, but in fury, fright my youth:
- Which made me down to throw my books, and fly,—
- Causeless, perhaps: but pardon me, sweet aunt:
- And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,
- I will most willingly attend your ladyship.
- Lucius, I will.
[LAVINIA turns over with her stumps the books which Lucius has let fall.]
- How now, Lavinia!—Marcus, what means this?
- Some book there is that she desires to see.
- Which is it, girl, of these?—Open them, boy.—
- But thou art deeper read and better skill'd:
- Come and take choice of all my library,
- And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens
- Reveal the damn'd contriver of this deed.—
- Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?
- I think she means that there were more than one
- Confederate in the fact;—ay, more there was,
- Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.
- Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?
- Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphosis;
- My mother gave it me.
- For love of her that's gone,
- Perhaps she cull'd it from among the rest.
- Soft! So busily she turns the leaves! Help her:
- What would she find?—Lavinia, shall I read?
- This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
- And treats of Tereus' treason and his rape;
- And rape, I fear, was root of thy annoy.
- See, brother, see; note how she quotes the leaves.
- Lavinia, wert thou thus surpris'd, sweet girl,
- Ravish'd, and wrong'd, as Philomela was,
- Forc'd in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?—
- See, see!—
- Ay, such a place there is where we did hunt.—
- O, had we never, never hunted there!—
- Pattern'd by that the poet here describes,
- By nature made for murders and for rapes.
- O, why should nature build so foul a den,
- Unless the gods delight in tragedies?
- Give signs, sweet girl,—for here are none but friends,—
- What Roman lord it was durst do the deed:
- Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,
- That left the camp to sin in Lucrece' bed?
- Sit down, sweet niece:—brother, sit down by me.—
- Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,
- Inspire me, that I may this treason find!—
- My lord, look here:—look here, Lavinia:
- This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst,
- This after me, when I have writ my name
- Without the help of any hand at all.
[He writes his name with his staff, guiding it with feet and mouth.]
- Curs'd be that heart that forc'd us to this shift!—
- Write thou, good niece; and here display at last
- What God will have discover'd for revenge:
- Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,
- That we may know the traitors and the truth!
[She takes the staff in her mouth, guides it with her stumps, and writes.]
- O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?
- What, what!—the lustful sons of Tamora
- Performers of this heinous bloody deed?
- Magni Dominator poli,
- Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?
- O, calm thee, gentle lord; although I know
- There is enough written upon this earth
- To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts,
- And arm the minds of infants to exclaims,
- My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;
- And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope;
- And swear with me,—as, with the woeful fere
- And father of that chaste dishonour'd dame,
- Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece' rape,—
- That we will prosecute, by good advice,
- Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
- And see their blood, or die with this reproach.
- 'Tis sure enough, an you knew how.
- But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware:
- The dam will wake; and if she wind you once,
- She's with the lion deeply still in league,
- And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back,
- And when he sleeps will she do what she list.
- You are a young huntsman, Marcus; let alone;
- And, come, I will go get a leaf of brass,
- And with a gad of steel will write these words,
- And lay it by: the angry northern wind
- Will blow these sands like Sibyl's leaves, abroad,
- And where's our lesson, then?—Boy, what say you?
- I say, my lord, that if I were a man,
- Their mother's bedchamber should not be safe
- For these bad-bondmen to the yoke of Rome.
- Ay, that's my boy! thy father hath full oft
- For his ungrateful country done the like.
- And, uncle, so will I, an if I live.
- Come, go with me into mine armoury;
- Lucius, I'll fit thee; and withal, my boy,
- Shall carry from me to the empress' sons
- Presents that I intend to send them both:
- Come, come; thou'lt do my message, wilt thou not?
- Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.
- No, boy, not so; I'll teach thee another course.—
- Lavinia, come.—Marcus, look to my house:
- Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court;
- Ay, marry, will we, sir: and we'll be waited on.
[Exeunt TITUS, LAVINIA, and YOUNG LUCIUS.]
- O heavens, can you hear a good man groan,
- And not relent, or not compassion him?
- Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
- That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart
- Than foemen's marks upon his batter'd shield;
- But yet so just that he will not revenge:—
- Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus!
SCENE II. Rome. A Room in the Palace.
[Enter AARON, DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, at one door; at another door, YOUNG LUCIUS and an Attendant, with a bundle of weapons, and verses writ upon them.]
- Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius;
- He hath some message to deliver us.
- Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.
- My lords, with all the humbleness I may,
- I greet your honours from Andronicus,—
- [Aside.] And pray the Roman gods confound you both!
- Gramercy, lovely Lucius: what's the news?
- [Aside] That you are both decipher'd, that's the news,
- For villains mark'd with rape.—May it please you,
- My grandsire, well advis'd, hath sent by me
- The goodliest weapons of his armoury
- To gratify your honourable youth,
- The hope of Rome; for so he bid me say;
- And so I do, and with his gifts present
- Your lordships, that, whenever you have need,
- You may be armed and appointed well:
- And so I leave you both—[aside] like bloody villains.
[Exeunt YOUNG LUCIUS and Attendant.]
- What's here? A scroll; and written round about?
- Let's see:
- [Reads.] 'Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
- Non eget Mauri jaculis, nec arcu.'
- O, 'tis a verse in Horace, I know it well:
- I read it in the grammar long ago.
- Ay, just,—a verse in Horace;—right, you have it.—
- [Aside] Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
- Here's no sound jest! the old man hath found their guilt;
- And sends them weapons wrapp'd about with lines,
- That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick.
- But were our witty empress well afoot,
- She would applaud Andronicus' conceit.
- But let her rest in her unrest awhile.—
- And now, young lords, was't not a happy star
- Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,
- Captives, to be advanced to this height?
- It did me good before the palace gate
- To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.
- But me more good to see so great a lord
- Basely insinuate and send us gifts.
- Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?
- Did you not use his daughter very friendly?
- I would we had a thousand Roman dames
- At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.
- A charitable wish, and full of love.
- Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.
- And that would she for twenty thousand more.
- Come, let us go; and pray to all the gods
- For our beloved mother in her pains.
- [Aside.] Pray to the devils; the gods have given us over.
- [Flourish within.]
- Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish thus?
- Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.
- Soft! who comes here?
[Enter a NURSE, with a blackamoor CHILD in her arms.]
- Good morrow, lords:
- O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?
- Well, more or less, or ne'er a whit at all,
- Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?
- O gentle Aaron, we are all undone!
- Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!
- Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!
- What dost thou wrap and fumble in thy arms?
- O, that which I would hide from heaven's eye,
- Our empress' shame and stately Rome's disgrace!—
- She is deliver'd, lords,—she is deliver'd.
- To whom?
- I mean, she's brought a-bed.
- Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?
- A devil.
- Why, then she is the devil's dam; a joyful issue.
- A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue:
- Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
- Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime:
- The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
- And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point.
- Zounds, ye whore! is black so base a hue?—
- Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom sure.
- Villain, what hast thou done?
- That which thou canst not undo.
- Thou hast undone our mother.
- Villain, I have done thy mother.
- And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone.
- Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choice!
- Accurs'd the offspring of so foul a fiend!
- It shall not live.
- It shall not die.
- Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so.
- What, must it, nurse? then let no man but I
- Do execution on my flesh and blood.
- I'll broach the tadpole on my rapier's point:—
- Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon despatch it.
- Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up.
[Takes the CHILD from the NURSE, and draws.]
- Stay, murderous villains, will you kill your brother?
- Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
- That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
- He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point
- That touches this my first-born son and heir!
- I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
- With all his threatening band of Typhon's brood,
- Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
- Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
- What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
- Ye white-lim'd walls! ye alehouse-painted signs!
- Coal-black is better than another hue,
- In that it scorns to bear another hue;
- For all the water in the ocean
- Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
- Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
- Tell the empress from me I am of age
- To keep mine own,—excuse it how she can.
- Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?
- My mistress is my mistress: this my self,—
- The vigour and the picture of my youth:
- This before all the world do I prefer;
- This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
- Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
- By this our mother is for ever sham'd.
- Rome will despise her for this foul escape.
- The emperor, in his rage, will doom her death.
- I blush to think upon this ignomy.
- Why, there's the privilege your beauty bears:
- Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
- The close enacts and counsels of thy heart!
- Here's a young lad fram'd of another leer:
- Look how the black slave smiles upon the father,
- As who should say 'Old lad, I am thine own.'
- He is your brother, lords; sensibly fed
- Of that self-blood that first gave life to you;
- And from your womb where you imprison'd were
- He is enfranchised and come to light:
- Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
- Although my seal be stamped in his face.
- Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress?
- Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
- And we will all subscribe to thy advice:
- Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.
- Then sit we down and let us all consult.
- My son and I will have the wind of you:
- Keep there: now talk at pleasure of your safety.
- How many women saw this child of his?
- Why, so, brave lords! when we join in league
- I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
- The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
- The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.—
- But say, again, how many saw the child?
- Cornelia the midwife and myself;
- And no one else but the deliver'd empress.
- The empress, the midwife, and yourself:
- Two may keep counsel when the third's away:
- Go to the empress, tell her this I said:—
[Stabs her, and she dies.]
- Weke, weke!—so cries a pig prepar'd to the spit.
- What mean'st thou, Aaron? Wherefore didst thou this?
- O Lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy:
- Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,—
- A long-tongu'd babbling gossip? no, lords, no:
- And now be it known to you my full intent.
- Not far, one Muliteus lives, my countryman;
- His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
- His child is like to her, fair as you are:
- Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
- And tell them both the circumstance of all;
- And how by this their child shall be advanc'd,
- And be received for the emperor's heir,
- And substituted in the place of mine,
- To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
- And let the emperor dandle him for his own.
- Hark ye, lords; ye see I have given her physic.
[Pointing to the NURSE.]
And you must needs bestow her funeral;
- The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms:
- This done, see that you take no longer days,
- But send the midwife presently to me.
- The midwife and the nurse well made away,
- Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
- Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
- With secrets.
- For this care of Tamora,
- Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
[Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, bearing off the dead NURSE.]
- Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies;
- There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
- And secretly to greet the empress' friends.—
- Come on, you thick-lipp'd slave, I'll bear you hence;
- For it is you that puts us to our shifts:
- I'll make you feed on berries and on roots,
- And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
- And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
- To be a warrior and command a camp.
SCENE III. Rome. A public Place.
[Enter TITUS, bearing arrows with letters at the ends of them; with him MARCUS, YOUNG LUCIUS, and other gentlemen, with bows.]
- Come, Marcus, come:—kinsmen, this is the way.—
- Sir boy, let me see your archery;
- Look ye draw home enough, and 'tis there straight.—
- Terras Astrea reliquit:
- Be you remember'd, Marcus; she's gone, she's fled.
- Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
- Go sound the ocean and cast your nets;
- Happily you may catch her in the sea;
- Yet there's as little justice as at land.—
- No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it;
- 'Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
- And pierce the inmost centre of the earth:
- Then, when you come to Pluto's region,
- I pray you deliver him this petition;
- Tell him it is for justice and for aid,
- And that it comes from old Andronicus,
- Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.—
- Ah, Rome!—Well, well; I made thee miserable
- What time I threw the people's suffrages
- On him that thus doth tyrannize o'er me.—
- Go, get you gone; and pray be careful all,
- And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch'd:
- This wicked emperor may have shipp'd her hence;
- And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.
- O Publius, is not this a heavy case,
- To see thy noble uncle thus distract?
- Therefore, my lords, it highly us concerns
- By day and night to attend him carefully,
- And feed his humour kindly as we may,
- Till time beget some careful remedy.
- Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy.
- Join with the Goths; and with revengeful war
- Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
- And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.
- Publius, how now! how now, my masters!
- What, have you met with her?
- No, my good lord; but Pluto sends you word,
- If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall:
- Marry, for Justice, she is so employ'd,
- He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or somewhere else,
- So that perforce you must needs stay a time.
- He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.
- I'll dive into the burning lake below,
- And pull her out of Acheron by the heels.—
- Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we,
- No big-bon'd men, fram'd of the Cyclops' size;
- But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,
- Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can bear:
- And, sith there's no justice in earth nor hell,
- We will solicit heaven, and move the gods
- To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.—
- Come, to this gear.—You are a good archer, Marcus.
[He gives them the arrows.]
- 'Ad Jovem' that's for you; here, 'Ad Apollinem':—
- 'Ad Martem' that's for myself:—
- Here, boy, to Pallas:—here, to Mercury:—
- To Saturn, Caius, not to Saturnine;
- You were as good to shoot against the wind.—
- To it, boy.—Marcus, loose when I bid.—
- Of my word, I have written to effect;
- There's not a god left unsolicited.
- Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court:
- We will afflict the emperor in his pride.
- Now, masters, draw. [They shoot.] O, well said, Lucius!
- Good boy, in Virgo's lap; give it Pallas.
- My lord, I aim a mile beyond the moon:
- Your letter is with Jupiter by this.
- Ha! ha!
- Publius, Publius, hast thou done?
- See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus' horns.
- This was the sport, my lord: when Publius shot,
- The Bull, being gall'd, gave Aries such a knock
- That down fell both the Ram's horns in the court;
- And who should find them but the empress' villain?
- She laugh'd, and told the Moor he should not choose
- But give them to his master for a present.
- Why, there it goes: God give his lordship joy!
[Enter a CLOWN, with a basket and two pigeons in it.]
- News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come.
- Sirrah, what tidings? have you any letters?
- Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter?
- Ho, the gibbet-maker? he says that he hath taken them
- down again, for the man must not be hanged till the next week.
- But what says Jupiter, I ask thee?
- Alas, sir, I know not Jupiter; I never drank with him in all my
- Why, villain, art not thou the carrier?
- Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else.
- Why, didst thou not come from heaven?
- From heaven! alas, sir, I never came there: God forbid I
- should be so bold to press to heaven in my young days. Why, I am
- going with my pigeons to the tribunal plebs, to take up a matter
- of brawl betwixt my uncle and one of the imperial's men.
- Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for your
- oration; and let him deliver the pigeons to the emperor from
- Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the emperor with a grace?
- Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life.
- Sirrah, come hither: make no more ado,
- But give your pigeons to the emperor:
- By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.
- Hold, hold; meanwhile here's money for thy charges.—
- Give me pen and ink.—
- Sirrah, can you with a grace deliver up a supplication?
- Ay, sir.
- Then here is a supplication for you. And when you come to
- him, at the first approach you must kneel; then kiss his
- foot; then deliver up your pigeons; and then look for your
- reward. I'll be at hand, sir; see you do it bravely.
- I warrant you, sir; let me alone.
- Sirrah, hast thou a knife? Come let me see it.
- Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration;
- For thou hast made it like a humble suppliant.:—
- And when thou hast given it to the emperor,
- Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.
- God be with you, sir; I will.
- Come, Marcus, let us go.—Publius, follow me.
SCENE IV. Rome. Before the Palace.
[Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON; Lords, and others; SATURNINUS with the arrows in his hand that TITUS shot.]
- Why, lords, what wrongs are these! was ever seen
- An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
- Troubled, confronted thus; and, for the extent
- Of legal justice, us'd in such contempt?
- My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
- However these disturbers of our peace
- Buzz in the people's ears, there naught hath pass'd
- But even with law, against the wilful sons
- Of old Andronicus. And what an if
- His sorrows have so overwhelm'd his wits,
- Shall we be thus afflicted in his freaks,
- His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
- And now he writes to heaven for his redress:
- See, here's to Jove, and this to Mercury;
- This to Apollo; this to the God of War;—
- Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!
- What's this but libelling against the senate,
- And blazoning our injustice everywhere?
- A goodly humour, is it not, my lords?
- As who would say, in Rome no justice were.
- But if I live, his feigned ecstasies
- Shall be no shelter to these outrages:
- But he and his shall know that justice lives
- In Saturninus' health; whom, if she sleep,
- He'll so awake as he in fury shall
- Cut off the proud'st conspirator that lives.
- My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,
- Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,
- Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus' age,
- The effects of sorrow for his valiant sons,
- Whose loss hath pierc'd him deep, and scarr'd his heart;
- And rather comfort his distressed plight
- Than prosecute the meanest or the best
- For these contempts.—[Aside] Why, thus it shall become
- High-witted Tamora to gloze with all:
- But, Titus, I have touch'd thee to the quick,
- Thy life-blood on't; if Aaron now be wise,
- Then is all safe, the anchor in the port.—
- How now, good fellow! wouldst thou speak with us?
- Yes, forsooth, an your mistership be imperial.
- Empress I am, but yonder sits the emperor.
- 'Tis he.—God and Saint Stephen give you good-den; I have
- brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here.
[SATURNINUS reads the letter.]
- Go take him away, and hang him presently.
- How much money must I have?
- Come, sirrah, you must be hang'd.
- Hang'd! by'r lady, then I have brought up a neck to a fair end.
- [Exit guarded.]
- Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!
- Shall I endure this monstrous villainy?
- I know from whence this same device proceeds:
- May this be borne,—as if his traitorous sons,
- That died by law for murder of our brother,
- Have by my means been butchered wrongfully?—
- Go, drag the villain hither by the hair;
- Nor age nor honour shall shape privilege.—
- For this proud mock I'll be thy slaughter-man;
- Sly frantic wretch, that holp'st to make me great,
- In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.
- What news with thee, Aemilius?
- Arm, my lord! Rome never had more cause!
- The Goths have gather'd head; and with a power
- Of high resolved men, bent to the spoil,
- They hither march amain, under conduct
- Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus;
- Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do
- As much as ever Coriolanus did.
- Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths?
- These tidings nip me; and I hang the head
- As flowers with frost, or grass beat down with storms:
- Ay, now begins our sorrows to approach:
- 'Tis he the common people love so much;
- Myself hath often overheard them say,—
- When I have walked like a private man,—
- That Lucius' banishment was wrongfully,
- And they have wish'd that Lucius were their emperor.
- Why should you fear? is not your city strong?
- Ay, but the citizens favour Lucius,
- And will revolt from me to succour him.
- King, be thy thoughts imperious like thy name.
- Is the sun dimm'd, that gnats do fly in it?
- The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
- And is not careful what they mean thereby,
- Knowing that with the shadow of his wing
- He can at pleasure stint their melody;
- Even so mayest thou the giddy men of Rome.
- Then cheer thy spirit: for know, thou emperor,
- I will enchant the old Andronicus
- With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous,
- Than baits to fish or honey-stalks to sheep,
- Whenas the one is wounded with the bait,
- The other rotted with delicious feed.
- But he will not entreat his son for us.
- If Tamora entreat him, then he will:
- For I can smooth and fill his aged ear
- With golden promises that, were his heart
- Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
- Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.—
- Go thou before [to AEMILIUS]; be our ambassador:
- Say that the emperor requests a parley
- Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting
- Even at his father's house, the old Andronicus.
- Aemilius, do this message honourably:
- And if he stand on hostage for his safety,
- Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.
- Your bidding shall I do effectually.
- Now will I to that old Andronicus,
- And temper him with all the art I have,
- To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.
- And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,
- And bury all thy fear in my devices.
- Then go successantly, and plead to him.
SCENE I. Plains near Rome.
[Enter LUCIUS with GOTHS, with drum and colours.]
- Approved warriors and my faithful friends,
- I have received letters from great Rome,
- Which signifies what hate they bear their emperor,
- And how desirous of our sight they are.
- Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,
- Imperious and impatient of your wrongs;
- And wherein Rome hath done you any scath
- Let him make treble satisfaction.
- Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus,
- Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort;
- Whose high exploits and honourable deeds
- Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
- Be bold in us: we'll follow where thou lead'st,—
- Like stinging bees in hottest summer's day,
- Led by their master to the flowered fields,—
- And be aveng'd on cursed Tamora.
- And as he saith, so say we all with him.
- I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
- But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?
[Enter a GOTH, leading AARON with his CHILD in his arms.]
- Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray'd
- To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;
- And as I earnestly did fix mine eye
- Upon the wasted building, suddenly
- I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
- I made unto the noise; when soon I heard
- The crying babe controll'd with this discourse:—
- 'Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dam!
- Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
- Had nature lent thee but thy mother's look,
- Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor:
- But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,
- They never do beget a coal-black calf.
- Peace, villain, peace!'—even thus he rates the babe,—
- 'For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;
- Who, when he knows thou art the empress' babe,
- Will hold thee dearly for thy mother's sake.'
- With this, my weapon drawn, I rush'd upon him,
- Surpris'd him suddenly, and brought him hither,
- To use as you think needful of the man.
- O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
- That robb'd Andronicus of his good hand;
- This is the pearl that pleas'd your empress' eye;
- And here's the base fruit of his burning lust.—
- Say, wall-ey'd slave, whither wouldst thou convey
- This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
- Why dost not speak? what, deaf? No; not a word?—
- A halter, soldiers; hang him on this tree,
- And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
- Touch not the boy,—he is of royal blood.
- Too like the sire for ever being good.—
- First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl,—
- A sight to vex the father's soul withal.
- Get me a ladder.
[A ladder brought, which AARON is obliged to ascend.]
- Lucius, save the child,
- And bear it from me to the empress.
- If thou do this, I'll show thee wondrous things
- That highly may advantage thee to hear:
- If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
- I'll speak no more,—but vengeance rot you all!
- Say on: an if it please me which thou speak'st,
- Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd.
- An if it please thee! why, assure thee, Lucius,
- 'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
- For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres,
- Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
- Complots of mischief, treason, villainies,
- Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:
- And this shall all be buried in my death,
- Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.
- Tell on thy mind; I say thy child shall live.
- Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.
- Who should I swear by? thou believ'st no god;:
- That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
- What if I do not? as indeed I do not;
- Yet, for I know thou art religious,
- And hast a thing within thee called conscience,
- With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies
- Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
- Therefore I urge thy oath;—for that I know
- An idiot holds his bauble for a god,
- And keeps the oath which by that god he swears;
- To that I'll urge him:—therefore thou shalt vow
- By that same god,—what god soe'er it be
- That thou ador'st and hast in reverence,—
- To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up;
- Or else I will discover naught to thee.
- Even by my god I swear to thee I will.
- First know thou, I begot him on the empress.
- O most insatiate and luxurious woman!
- Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
- To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
- 'Twas her two sons that murder'd Bassianus;
- They cut thy sister's tongue, and ravish'd her,
- And cut her hands, and trimm'd her as thou saw'st.
- O detestable villain! call'st thou that trimming?
- Why, she was wash'd, and cut, and trimm'd; and 'twas
- Trim sport for them which had the doing of it.
- O barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!
- Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them:
- That codding spirit had they from their mother,
- As sure a card as ever won the set;
- That bloody mind, I think, they learn'd of me,
- As true a dog as ever fought at head.
- Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.
- I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole
- Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay:
- I wrote the letter that thy father found,
- And hid the gold within that letter mention'd,
- Confederate with the queen and her two sons:
- And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
- Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in't?
- I play'd the cheater for thy father's hand;
- And, when I had it, drew myself apart,
- And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter:
- I pry'd me through the crevice of a wall
- When, for his hand, he had his two sons' heads;
- Beheld his tears, and laugh'd so heartily
- That both mine eyes were rainy like to his:
- And when I told the empress of this sport,
- She swooned almost at my pleasing tale,
- And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.
- What, canst thou say all this and never blush?
- Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
- Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
- Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
- Even now I curse the day,—and yet, I think,
- Few come within the compass of my curse,—
- Wherein I did not some notorious ill:
- As, kill a man, or else devise his death;
- Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it;
- Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself;
- Set deadly enmity between two friends;
- Make poor men's cattle stray and break their necks;
- Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
- And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
- Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves,
- And set them upright at their dear friends' doors,
- Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
- And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
- Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
- 'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.'
- Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
- As willingly as one would kill a fly;
- And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
- But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
- Bring down the devil; for he must not die
- So sweet a death as hanging presently.
- If there be devils, would I were a devil,
- To live and burn in everlasting fire,
- So I might have your company in hell
- But to torment you with my bitter tongue!
- Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.
[Enter a GOTH.}
- My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
- Desires to be admitted to your presence.
- Let him come near.
- Welcome, Aemilius. What's the news from Rome?
- Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
- The Roman emperor greets you all by me;
- And, for he understands you are in arms,
- He craves a parley at your father's house,
- Willing you to demand your hostages,
- And they shall be immediately deliver'd.
- What says our general?
- Aemilius, let the emperor give his pledges
- Unto my father and my uncle Marcus.
- And we will come.—March away.
SCENE II. Rome. Before TITUS'S House.
[Enter TAMORA, DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, disguised.]
- Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment,
- I will encounter with Andronicus,
- And say I am Revenge, sent from below
- To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.
- Knock at his study, where they say he keeps
- To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge;
- Tell him Revenge is come to join with him,
- And work confusion on his enemies.
[Enter TITUS, above.]
- Who doth molest my contemplation?
- Is it your trick to make me ope the door,
- That so my sad decrees may fly away
- And all my study be to no effect?
- You are deceiv'd: for what I mean to do
- See here in bloody lines I have set down;
- And what is written shall be executed.
- Titus, I am come to talk with thee.
- No, not a word: how can I grace my talk,
- Wanting a hand to give it action?
- Thou hast the odds of me; therefore no more.
- If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me.
- I am not mad; I know thee well enough:
- Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines;
- Witness these trenches made by grief and care;
- Witness the tiring day and heavy night;
- Witness all sorrow, that I know thee well
- For our proud empress, mighty Tamora:
- Is not thy coming for my other hand?
- Know thou, sad man, I am not Tamora;
- She is thy enemy and I thy friend:
- I am Revenge; sent from the infernal kingdom
- To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind
- By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.
- Come down and welcome me to this world's light;
- Confer with me of murder and of death:
- There's not a hollow cave or lurking-place,
- No vast obscurity or misty vale,
- Where bloody murder or detested rape
- Can couch for fear but I will find them out;
- And in their ears tell them my dreadful name,—
- Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.
- Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me
- To be a torment to mine enemies?
- I am; therefore come down and welcome me.
- Do me some service ere I come to thee.
- Lo, by thy side where Rape and Murder stands;
- Now give some surance that thou art Revenge,—
- Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot wheels;
- And then I'll come and be thy waggoner,
- And whirl along with thee about the globe.
- Provide thee two proper palfreys, black as jet,
- To hale thy vengeful waggon swift away,
- And find out murderers in their guilty caves:
- And when thy car is loaden with their heads
- I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel
- Trot, like a servile footman, all day long,
- Even from Hyperion's rising in the east
- Until his very downfall in the sea:
- And day by day I'll do this heavy task,
- So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.
- These are my ministers, and come with me.
- Are they thy ministers? what are they call'd?
- Rapine and Murder; therefore called so
- 'Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.
- Good Lord, how like the empress' sons they are!
- And you the empress! But we worldly men
- Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.
- O sweet Revenge, now do I come to thee;
- And, if one arm's embracement will content thee,
- I will embrace thee in it by and by.
[Exit from above.]
- This closing with him fits his lunacy:
- Whate'er I forge to feed his brain-sick fiits,
- Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,
- For now he firmly takes me for Revenge;
- And, being credulous in this mad thought,
- I'll make him send for Lucius his son;
- And whilst I at a banquet hold him sure,
- I'll find some cunning practice out of hand
- To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths,
- Or, at the least, make them his enemies.
- See, here he comes, and I must ply my theme.
- Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee:
- Welcome, dread fury, to my woeful house;—
- Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too:—
- How like the empress and her sons you are!
- Well are you fitted, had you but a Moor:
- Could not all hell afford you such a devil?—
- For well I wot the empress never wags
- But in her company there is a Moor;
- And, would you represent our queen aright,
- It were convenient you had such a devil:
- But welcome as you are. What shall we do?
- What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus?
- Show me a murderer, I'll deal with him.
- Show me a villain that hath done a rape,
- And I am sent to be reveng'd on him.
- Show me a thousand that hath done thee wrong,
- And I will be revenged on them all.
- Look round about the wicked streets of Rome,
- And when thou find'st a man that's like thyself,
- Good Murder, stab him; he's a murderer.—
- Go thou with him; and when it is thy hap
- To find another that is like to thee,
- Good Rapine, stab him; he is a ravisher.—
- Go thou with them; and in the emperor's court
- There is a queen, attended by a Moor;
- Well mayst thou know her by thine own proportion,
- For up and down she doth resemble thee;
- I pray thee, do on them some violent death;
- They have been violent to me and mine.
- Well hast thou lesson'd us; this shall we do.
- But would it please thee, good Andronicus,
- To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,
- Who leads towards Rome a band of warlike Goths,
- And bid him come and banquet at thy house;
- When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,
- I will bring in the empress and her sons,
- The emperor himself, and all thy foes;
- And at thy mercy shall they stoop and kneel,
- And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.
- What says Andronicus to this device?
- Marcus, my brother!—'tis sad Titus calls.
- Go, gentle Marcus, to thy nephew Lucius;
- Thou shalt inquire him out among the Goths:
- Bid him repair to me, and bring with him
- Some of the chiefest princes of the Goths;
- Bid him encamp his soldiers where they are:
- Tell him the emperor and the empress too
- Feast at my house, and he shall feast with them.
- This do thou for my love; and so let him,
- As he regards his aged father's life.
- This will I do, and soon return again.
- Now will I hence about thy business,
- And take my ministers along with me.
- Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me,
- Or else I'll call my brother back again,
- And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.
- [Aside to them.] What say you, boys? will you abide with him,
- Whiles I go tell my lord the emperor
- How I have govern'd our determin'd jest?
- Yield to his humour, smooth and speak him fair,
- And tarry with him till I come again.
- [Aside.] I knew them all, though they suppose me mad,
- And will o'er reach them in their own devices,—
- A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dam.
- Madam, depart at pleasure; leave us here.
- Farewell, Andronicus: Revenge now goes
- To lay a complot to betray thy foes.
- I know thou dost; and, sweet Revenge, farewell!
- Tell us, old man, how shall we be employ'd?
- Tut, I have work enough for you to do.—
- Publius, come hither, Caius, and Valentine.
[Enter PUBLIUS and others.]
- What is your will?
- Know you these two?
- The empress' sons, I take them: Chiron, Demetrius.
- Fie, Publius, fie! thou art too much deceiv'd,—
- The one is Murder, Rape is the other's name;
- And therefore bind them, gentle Publius:—
- Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them:—
- Oft have you heard me wish for such an hour,
- And now I find it; therefore bind them sure;
- And stop their mouths if they begin to cry.
[Exit. PUBLIUS &c., lay hands on CHIRON and DEMETRIUS.]
- Villains, forbear! we are the empress' sons.
- And therefore do we what we are commanded.—
- Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a word.
- Is he sure bound? look that you bind them fast.
[Re-enter TITUS ANDRONICUS, with LAVINIA; he bearing a knife and she a basin.]
- Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.—
- Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me;
- But let them hear what fearful words I utter.—
- O villains, Chiron and Demetrius!
- Here stands the spring whom you have stain'd with mud;
- This goodly summer with your winter mix'd.
- You kill'd her husband; and for that vile fault
- Two of her brothers were condemn'd to death,
- My hand cut off and made a merry jest;
- Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that, more dear
- Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,
- Inhuman traitors, you constrain'd and forc'd.
- What would you say, if I should let you speak?
- Villains, for shame you could not beg for grace.
- Hark, wretches! how I mean to martyr you.
- This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,
- Whiles that Lavinia 'tween her stumps doth hold
- The basin that receives your guilty blood.
- You know your mother means to feast with me,
- And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad:—
- Hark, villains! I will grind your bones to dust,
- And with your blood and it I'll make a paste;
- And of the paste a coffin I will rear,
- And make two pasties of your shameful heads;
- And bid that strumpet, your unhallow'd dam,
- Like to the earth, swallow her own increase.
- This is the feast that I have bid her to,
- And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;
- For worse than Philomel you us'd my daughter,
- And worse than Progne I will be reveng'd:
- And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come
[He cuts their throats.]
- Receive the blood: and when that they are dead,
- Let me go grind their bones to powder small,
- And with this hateful liquor temper it;
- And in that paste let their vile heads be bak'd.
- Come, come, be every one officious
- To make this banquet; which I wish may prove
- More stern and bloody than the Centaurs' feast.
- So, now bring them in, for I will play the cook,
- And see them ready against their mother comes.
[Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.]
SCENE III. Rome. A Pavilion in TITUS'S Gardens, with tables, &c.
[Enter LUCIUS, MARCUS, and GOTHS, with AARON prisoner.]
- Uncle Marcus, since 'tis my father's mind
- That I repair to Rome, I am content.
- And ours with thine, befall what fortune will.
- Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
- This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil;
- Let him receive no sustenance, fetter him,
- Till he be brought unto the empress' face
- For testimony of her foul proceedings:
- And see the ambush of our friends be strong;
- I fear the emperor means no good to us.
- Some devil whisper curses in my ear,
- And prompt me that my tongue may utter forth
- The venomous malice of my swelling heart!
- Away, inhuman dog, unhallowed slave!—
- Sirs, help our uncle to convey him in.—
[Exeunt GOTHS with AARON. Flourish within. The trumpets show the emperor is at hand.]
[Enter SATURNINUS and TAMORA, with AEMILIUS, Tribunes, Senators, and others.]
- What, hath the firmament more suns than one?
- What boots it thee to call thyself the sun?
- Rome's emperor, and nephew, break the parle;
- These quarrels must be quietly debated.
- The feast is ready, which the careful Titus
- Hath ordain'd to an honourable end,
- For peace, for love, for league, and good to Rome:
- Please you, therefore, draw nigh and take your places.
- Marcus, we will.
[Hautboys sound. The company sit at table.]
[Enter TITUS, dressed like a cook,LAVINIA, valed,YOUNG LUCIUS, and others. TITUS places the dishes on the table.]
- Welcome, my lord; welcome, dread queen;
- Welcome, ye warlike Goths; welcome, Lucius;
- And welcome all: although the cheer be poor,
- 'Twill fill your stomachs; please you eat of it.
- Why art thou thus attir'd, Andronicus?
- Because I would be sure to have all well
- To entertain your highness and your empress.
- We are beholden to you, good Andronicus.
- An if your highness knew my heart, you were.
- My lord the emperor, resolve me this:
- Was it well done of rash Virginius
- To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
- Because she was enforc'd, stain'd, and deflower'd?
- It was, Andronicus.
- Your reason, mighty lord.
- Because the girl should not survive her shame,
- And by her presence still renew his sorrows.
- A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;
- A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant
- For me, most wretched, to perform the like:—
- Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee;
- And with thy shame thy father's sorrow die!
- What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?
- Kill'd her for whom my tears have made me blind.
- I am as woeful as Virginius was,
- And have a thousand times more cause than he
- To do this outrage;—and it now is done.
- What, was she ravish'd? tell who did the deed.
- Will't please you eat? will't please your highness feed?
- Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?
- Not I; 'twas Chiron and Demetrius:
- They ravish'd her, and cut away her tongue;
- And they, 'twas they, that did her all this wrong.
- Go, fetch them hither to us presently.
- Why, there they are, both baked in that pie,
- Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,
- Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.
- 'Tis true, 'tis true; witness my knife's sharp point.
- Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!
- Can the son's eye behold his father bleed?
- There's meed for meed, death for a deadly deed.
[Kills SATURNINUS. A great tumult. LUCIUS, MARCUS, and their partisans, ascend the steps before TITUS'S house.]
- You sad-fac'd men, people and sons of Rome,
- By uproar sever'd, as a flight of fowl
- Scatter'd by winds and high tempestuous gusts,
- O, let me teach you how to knit again
- This scattered corn into one mutual sheaf,
- These broken limbs again into one body:
- Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself,
- And she whom mighty kingdoms court'sy to,
- Like a forlorn and desperate castaway,
- Do shameful execution on herself.
- But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,
- Grave witnesses of true experience,
- Cannot induce you to attend my words,—
- Speak, Rome's dear friend,[ to Lucius]: as erst our ancestor,
- When with his solemn tongue he did discourse
- To love-sick Dido's sad attending ear
- The story of that baleful burning night,
- When subtle Greeks surpris'd King Priam's Troy,—
- Tell us what Sinon hath bewitch'd our ears,
- Or who hath brought the fatal engine in
- That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.
- My heart is not compact of flint nor steel;
- Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,
- But floods of tears will drown my oratory
- And break my very utterance, even in the time
- When it should move you to attend me most,
- Lending your kind commiseration.
- Here is a captain, let him tell the tale;
- Your hearts will throb and weep to hear him speak.
- Then, noble auditory, be it known to you
- That cursed Chiron and Demetrius
- Were they that murdered our emperor's brother;
- And they it were that ravished our sister:
- For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded;
- Our father's tears despis'd, and basely cozen'd
- Of that true hand that fought Rome's quarrel out
- And sent her enemies unto the grave.
- Lastly, myself unkindly banished,
- The gates shut on me, and turn'd weeping out,
- To beg relief among Rome's enemies;
- Who drown'd their enmity in my true tears,
- And op'd their arms to embrace me as a friend:
- I am the turned-forth, be it known to you,
- That have preserv'd her welfare in my blood;
- And from her bosom took the enemy's point,
- Sheathing the steel in my adventurous body.
- Alas! you know I am no vaunter, I;
- My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
- That my report is just and full of truth.
- But, soft! methinks I do digress too much,
- Citing my worthless praise: O, pardon me;
- For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.
- Now is my turn to speak. Behold the child.
[Pointing to the CHILD in an Attendant's arms.]
- Of this was Tamora delivered;
- The issue of an irreligious Moor,
- Chief architect and plotter of these woes:
- The villain is alive in Titus' house,
- Damn'd as he is, to witness this is true.
- Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge
- These wrongs unspeakable, past patience,
- Or more than any living man could bear.
- Now have you heard the truth, what say you, Romans?
- Have we done aught amiss,—show us wherein,
- And, from the place where you behold us now,
- The poor remainder of Andronici
- Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down,
- And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,
- And make a mutual closure of our house.
- Speak, Romans, speak; and if you say we shall,
- Lo, hand in hand, Lucius and I will fall.
- Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
- And bring our emperor gently in thy hand,
- Lucius our emperor; for well I know
- The common voice do cry it shall be so.
- [Several speak.] Lucius, all hail, Rome's royal emperor!
- Go, go into old Titus' sorrowful house,
[To attendants, who go into the house.]
- And hither hale that misbelieving Moor
- To be adjudg'd some direful slaughtering death,
- As punishment for his most wicked life.
[LUCIUS, MARCUS, &c. descend.]
- [Several speak.] Lucius, all hail, Rome's gracious governor!
- Thanks, gentle Romans: may I govern so
- To heal Rome's harms and wipe away her woe!
- But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,—
- For nature puts me to a heavy task:—
- Stand all aloof;—but, uncle, draw you near,
- To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.—
- O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips.
- These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face,
- The last true duties of thy noble son!
- Tear for tear and loving kiss for kiss
- Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips:
- O, were the sum of these that I should pay
- Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them!
- Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
- To melt in showers: thy grandsire lov'd thee well:
- Many a time he danc'd thee on his knee,
- Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
- Many a matter hath he told to thee,
- Meet and agreeing with thine infancy;
- In that respect, then, like a loving child,
- Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
- Because kind nature doth require it so:
- Friends should associate friends in grief and woe:
- Bid him farewell; commit him to the grave;
- Do him that kindness, and take leave of him.
- O grandsire, grandsire! even with all my heart
- Would I were dead, so you did live again!—
- O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping;
- My tears will choke me, if I ope my mouth.
[Re-enter attendants with AARON.]
- You sad Andronici, have done with woes:
- Give sentence on the execrable wretch,
- That hath been breeder of these dire events.
- Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;
- There let him stand and rave and cry for food:
- If any one relieves or pities him,
- For the offence he dies. This is our doom:
- Some stay to see him fasten'd in the earth.
- Ah, why should wrath be mute and fury dumb?
- I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
- I should repent the evils I have done:
- Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
- Would I perform, if I might have my will:
- If one good deed in all my life I did,
- I do repent it from my very soul.
- Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
- And give him burial in his father's grave:
- My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
- Be closed in our household's monument.
- As for that ravenous tiger, Tamora,
- No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds,
- No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
- But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey:
- Her life was beast-like and devoid of pity;
- And, being so, shall have like want of pity.
- See justice done on Aaron, that damn'd Moor,
- By whom our heavy haps had their beginning:
- Then, afterwards, to order well the state,
- That like events may ne'er it ruinate.