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Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware! an should the empress know
This discord's ground, the music would not please. Chi. I care not, knew she and all the world :
71 I love Lavinia more than all the world. Dem. Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice :
Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.
Aar. 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. 80
Aar. To achieve her! how ?
Why makest thou it so strange?
She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd ;
She is a woman,
She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.
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.
Aar. [Aside] Ay, and as good as Saturninus may. 90
Dem. 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 ?
Aar. Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns. Chi
Ay, so the turn were served.
Dem. Aaron, thou hast hit it.
Would you had hit it too !
Then should not we be tired with this ado.
Why, hark ye, hark ye! and are you such fools
To square for this ? would it offend you, then, 100
That both should speed ?
Chi. Faith, not me.
Nor me, so I were one.
Aar. 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 IIO
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 villany :
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 I 20
To villany and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that 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, shadow'd from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.
131 Chi. Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice. Dem. Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
Per Styga, per manes vehor.
A forest near Rome. Horns and cry of hounds heard. Enter Titus Andronicus, with Hunters, &C., Marcus, Lucius,
Quintus, and Martius.
Tit. The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
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 inspired. 10
A cry of hounds, and horns winded in a peal. Enter Saturninus,
Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia, Demetrius, Chiron, and their
Many good morrows to your majesty;
Madam, to you as many and as good :
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.
Sat. And you have wrung it lustily, my lords;
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
Bas. Lavinia, how say you?
I say, no;
I have been broad awake two hours and more.
Sat. Come on then; horse and chariots let us have,
And to our sport. [To Tamora] Madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting. Marc.
I have dogs, my lord, 20
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.
Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game
Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain. Dem. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground. [Exeunt.
A lonely part of the forest.
Enter Aaron, with a bag of gold.
Aar. 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 villany:
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest
[Hides the gold. That have their alms out of the empress' chest.
Tam, My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad, lo
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast ?
The birds chant melody on every bush;
The snake lies 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-tuned horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
Let us sit down and mark their yellowing noise ;
And, after conflict such as was supposed
The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy'd,
When with a happy storm they were surprised,
And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave,
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
While hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
Be unto us as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.
Aar. Madam, though Venus govern your desires, 30
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.