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That Shakespeare had some share in the composition of this revolting tragedy, the fact of its appearance in the list of pieces ascribed to him by Meres, and its insertion by Heminge and Condell in the folio collection of 1623, forbids us to doubt. He may, in the dawning of his dramatic career, have written a few of the speeches, and have imparted vigour and more rhythmical freedom to others; he may have been instrumental also in ng the piece upon the stage of the company to which he then belonged; but that he had any hand in the story, or in its barbarous characters and incidents, we look upon as in the highest degree improbable. Upon this point, indeed, all his editors, from Rowe to Dyce, with the exception of Capell, Collier, and Knight, appear to be of one mind.

“On what principle the editors of the first complete edition of our poet's plays admitted this [Titus Andronicus] into their volume cannot now be ascertained. The most probable reason that can be assigned, is, that he wrote a few lines in it, or gave some assistance to the author in revising it, or in some other way aided him in bringing it forward on the stage. The tradition mentioned by Ravenscroft in the time of King James II. warrants us in making one or other of these suppositions. I have been told' (says he in his preface to an alteration of this play published in 1687) .by some anciently conversant with the stage, that it was not originally his, but brought by a private author to be acted, and he only gave some master touches to one or two of the principal parts or characters.'

“ To enter into a long disquisition to prove this piece not to have been written by Shakspeare, would be an idle waste of time. To those who are not conversant with his writings, if particular passages were examined, more words would be necessary than the subject is worth ; those who are well acquainted with his works, cannot entertain a doubt on the question. I will, however, mention one mode by which it may be easily ascertained. Let the reader only peruse a few lines of Appius and Virginia, Tancred and Gismund, The Battle of Alcazar, Jeronimo, Selimus Emperor of the Turks, The Wounds of Civil War, The Wars of Cyrus, Locrine, Arden of Feversham, King Edward I., The Spanish Tragedy, Solyman and Perseda, King Leir, the old King John, or any other of the pieces that were exhibited before the time of Shakspeare, and he will at once perceive that Titus Andronicus was coined in the same mint.”—MALONE.

Langbaine, in his Account of English Dramatic Poets, 1691, says this tragedy " was first printed, 4to. Lond. 1594;" and as the Stationers' Registers show an entry made by John Danter, Feb. 6th, 1593-4, of “A booke entitled a noble Roman Historye of Tytus Andronicus," he


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is probably correct, though the only quarto editions at present known are of 1600 and 1611. Of its origin and date of production we know but little. When registering his claim to the

Historye of Tytus Andronicus,” Danter coupled with it “the ballad thereof,” and this ballad, which will be found among the Comments at the end of the piece, was at one time supposed to be the basis of the drama. It is now a moot point whether the play was founded on the ballad, or the ballad on the play. The story of Titus, however, must have been popular. It is mentioned in Painter's Palace of Pleasure ; and there is an allusion to it in the comedy called, “A Knack to know a Knave,” 1594. Moreover, from a memorandum in Henslowe's Diary, which records the acting of a drama, entitled Titus and Ondronicus," Jan. 23, 1593-4, there appears to have been another play on the subject. Is it to this piece, or to the “ Titus Andronicus” attributed to Shakespeare, that Ben Jonson refers in the Induction to his “ Bartholomew Fair”?_He that will swear, JERONIMO or ANDRONIC US, are the best plays yet, shall pass unexcepted at here, as a man whose judgment shows it is constant, and hath stood still these five-and-twenty or thirty years. Though it be an ignorance, it is a virtuous and staid ignorance; and nect to truth, a confirmed error does well.

Persons Represented.

SATURNINUS, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, AARON, a Moor. afterwards Emperor.

A Captain. BASSIANUS, Brother to Saturninus.

A Tribune. TITUS ANDRONICUS, a noble Roman.

A Messenger. MARCUS ANDRONICUS, Brother to Titus.

A Clown. LUCIUS,


Sons to Titus Andronicus.
Young Lucius, a Boy, Son to Lucius.

TAMORA, Queen of the Goths.
PUBLIUS, Son to Marcus the Tribune.

LAVINIA, Daughter to Titus Andronicus. ÆMILIUS, a noble Roman.


A black Child.

Sons to Tamora.
Kinsmen of Titus, Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE,-ROME, and the Country near it.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

The Tomb of the Andronici appearing. Enter Sat. Noble patricians, patrons of my right,

the Tribunes and Senators, aloft; and then Defend the justice of my cause with arms ; enter, below, SATURNINUS and his Followers And, countrymen, my loving followers, from one side, and BASSIANUS and his

Plead my successive title with your swords: Followers from the other, with drum and I am his * first-born son, that was the last colours.

(*) First folio, I was the.


That wore the imperial diadem of Rome;

In thy uprightness and integrity,
Then let

father's honours live in me,

And so I love and honour thee and thine,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

Thy noble brother Titus and his sons, Bass. Romans,—friends, followers, favourers of And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all, my right,

Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament, If ever Bassianus, Cæsar's son,

That I will here dismiss my loving friends ; Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome, And to my fortunes and the people's favour Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol ;

Commit my cause in balance to be weigh’d. And suffer not dishonour to approach

[Exeunt the Followers of BASSIANUS. The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,

Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in To justice, continence, and nobility :

my right, But let desert in pure election shine ;

I thank you all, and here dismiss you all ; And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice. 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,
Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the

As I am confident and kind to thee.-
Open the gates and let me in.

Bass. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor. MARC. Princes,—that strive by factions and

[Flourish. SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS by friends Ambitiously for rule and empery,-

go up into the Capitol.
Know that the people of Rome, for whom we

Enter a Captain, and others.
A special party, have, by common voice,
In election for the Roman empery,

CAP. Romans, make way: the good Andronicus, Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius

Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
For many good and great deserts to Rome: Successful in the battles that he fights,
A nobler man, a braver warrior,

With honour and with fortune is return'd
Lives not this day within the city walls.

From where* he circumscribed with his sword, He by the senate is accited o home,

And brought

oke, the enemies of Rome. 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. [Drums ana trumpets sound, and then enter Ten years are spent since first he undertook

MARTIUS and MUTIUS. After them two This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms

Men bearing a cofin covered with black : Our enemies' pride: five times he hath return'd then LUCIUS and QUINTUS. After them Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons

TITUS ANDRONICUS ; and then TAMORA, the In coffins from the field;

Queen of Goths, with ALARBUS, DEMETRIUS, And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,

CHIRON, Aaron the Moor, and other Goths, Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,

prisoners, Soldiers and People following. Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.

The Bearers set down the coffin, and Titus Let us entreat,-by honour of his name,

speaks. Whom worthily you would have now succeed, And in the Capitol and senate's right,

Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning Whom you pretend to honour and adore,

weeds! That you withdraw you, and abate your strength ;

Lo, as the bark that hath discharg'd his' fraught, Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should, Returns with precious lading to the bay Plead

your deserts in peace and humbleness. From whence at first she weigh’d her anchorage, Sar. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs, thoughts !

To re-salute his country with his tears,Bass. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy a Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.

Nor trong mine age-) My claim by seniority. b- continence,-) That is, temperance. So in "Macbeth," det IV. Sc. 3,

“ — the king-becoming graces,

As justice, verity, temperance," &c. c - accited-) Summoned. d - affy-) Confide.

(*) First folio, whence. • Open the gates-) Capell prints-"Open the gates, tribunes," &c. Mr. Collier's annotator suggests,"Open the brazen gates," &c.

f - his fraught,- ] "His" is here used for impersona pronoun, ite,

a fire

Thou great defender of this Capitol,

Alive and dead; and for their brethren slain Stand gracious to the rites that we intend !- Religiously they ask a sacrifice : Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,

To this your son is mark’d; and die he must, Half of the number that king Priam had,

To appease their groaning shadows that are gone. Behold the poor remains, alive and dead !

Luc. Away with him! and make These that survive, let Rome reward with love ;

straight; These that I bring unto their latest home, And with our swords, upon a pile of wood, With burial amongst their ancestors :

Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consum’d. Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my

[Exeunt LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and sword.

MUTIUS, with ALARBUS. Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,

TAM. O cruel, irreligious piety! Why suffer’st thou thy sons, unburied yet,

CH. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous ? To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx ?

Demet. Oppose not * Scythia to ambitious Make way to lay them by their brethren.—

Rome. [They open the tomb.

Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive There greet in silence, as the dead are wont, To tremble under Titus’ threatening looks. And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars ! Then, madam, stand resolv’d; but hope withal, 0, sacred receptacle of my joys,

The self-same gods, that arm'd the queen of Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,

How many sons of mine hast thou in store, With opportunity of sharp revenge
That thou wilt never render to me more !

Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the May favour Tamora, the queen of Goths,

(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen) That we may hew his limbs, and, on a pile, To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes. 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."

Re-enter LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and Tit. I give him you,—the noblest that survives, MUTIUS, with their swords bloody. The eldest son of this distressed queen. Tam. Stay, Roman brethren!-Gracious conqueror,

Luc. See, lord and father, how we have Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,

perform'd A mother's tears in passion for her son :

Our Roman rites : Alarbus' limbs are lopp’d, And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,

And entrails feed the sacrificing fire, O, think my sons to be as dear to me!

Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky. Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome Remaineth nought, but to inter our brethren, To beautify thy triumphs and return,

And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome. Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke;

Tit. Let it be so; and let Andronicus But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets, Make this his latest farewell to their souls. For valiant doings in their country's cause?

[Flourish of trumpets, and they lay the O, if to fight for king and commonweal

coffin in the tomb. Were piety in thine, it is in these !

In peace and honour rest you here, my sons ; Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood : Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods ?

rest, Draw near them, then, in being merciful:

Secure from worldly chances and mishaps ! Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells, Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son. Here grow no damned grudges ;' here are no Tit. Patiento yourself, madam, and pardon me.

storms, These are theirt brethren, whom you Goths No noise, but silence and eternal sleep: beheld

In peace and honour rest you here, my sons !

(*) First folio, earthly.

(+) First folio, the. a - brethren.) To be pronounced as a trisyllable.

b Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.) The ancients, it need hardly be observed, held belief that the spirits of the unburied dead importuned their relatives and friends to obtain funereal rites.

C - Patient yourself,-) Steevens, among other examples of this verb, cites the following from King Edwar 1 I. 1599,-

Patient your highness, 't is but mother's love."

(*) First folio, me. d - in his tent,-) Conceiving this to be an allusion to Polym. nestor's death, as related in the Hecuba of Euripides, Theobald reads, “in her tent."

e - the coffin-) So the quartos. The folio, 1623, has, "the coffins ;" but compare the stage direction on the entrance of Titus Andronicus.

1 - grudges ;] Murmurs of discontent.

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