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And maintain such a quarrel openly?
Full well I wot1 the ground of all this grudge;
1 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.
Not I; till I have sheath'd
My rapier in his bosom, and, withal,
Thrust these reproachful speeches down his throat,
That he hath breath'd in my dishonour here.
Chi. For that I am prepar'd and full resolv'd,-
Foul-spoken coward! that thunder'st with thy
And with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform.
Aur. Away, I say.-
Now by the gods, that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all.-
Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jut upon a prince's right?
What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
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 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 sacred5 wit,
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, of ears:
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take your
That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd,The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
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, I, knew she and all the world;
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.
Aar. 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,2 we know:
Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother,
Better than he have yet worn Vulcan's badge.
Aar. Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
There serve your lust, shadow'd from heaven's eye, And revel in Lavinia's treasury.
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. [Exeunt.
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.
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 tend the emperor's person carefully: I have been troubled in my sleep this night, But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd. Horns wind a peal. Enter Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia, Chiron, Demetrius, and Attendants.
Tit. Many good morrows to your majesty ;— Madam, to you as many and as good!promised your grace a hunter's peal. *Sat. And you have rung it lustily, my lords, Somewhat too early for new-married ladies. Bas. Lavinia, how say you? Lav.
I say, no;
I have been broad awake two hours and more.
Sat. Come on then, horse and chariots let us
And to our sport-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.
Tit. And I have horse will follow where the
SCENE III-A desert part of the forest. ter Aaron, with a bag of gold.
En-||To see the general hunting in this forest?
Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps!
Had I the power, that, some say,
Aar. He, that had wit, would think that I had Thy temples should be planted presently
Tam. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chaunt 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-tun'd horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,-
Let us sit down, and mark their yelling noise:
And-after conflict, such as was suppos'd
The wandering prince of 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
Be unto us, as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.
With horns, as was Acteon's: and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!
Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess,
'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.
Bas. 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 with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?
Lav. And, being intercepted
Great reason that my noble lord be rated
For sauciness.-I pray you, let us hence,
|| And let her 'joy her raven-colour'd love;
This valley fits the purpose passing well.
Bas. The king, my brother, shall have note of
Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:
Good king! to be so mightily abus'd!
Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?
Enter Chiron and Demetrius.
Dem. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious-
Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?
Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
Aar. Madam, though Venus govern your desires, These two have 'tic'd me hither to this place,
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
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 parcel4 of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
Tam. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than
Aar. 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. [Exit.
Enter Bassianus and Lavinia.
Bas. Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess, Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her;
Who hath abandoned her holy groves,
(1) Possess. (2) Disquiet.
(3) See Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book VI.
A barren detested vale, you see, it is:
The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
O'ercome with moss, and baleful misletoe.
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,5
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.
Dem. This is a witness that I am thy son.
[Stabs Bassianus Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my strength. [Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis,-nay, barbarous Ta
For no name fits thy nature but thy own!
Tam Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my
Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong,
Dem. 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?
Chi. 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.
Tam. But when
you have the honey you desire,
Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
Chi. I warrant you, madam; we will make that
Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
That nice-preserved honesty of yours.
Lav. O Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's face,-
Tam. I will not hear her speak; away with her.
Lav. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word. |
Dem. 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.
Lav. When did the tiger's young ones teach the
O, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee:
The milk, thou suck'dst from her, did turn
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.—
Yet every mother breeds not sons alike;
Do thou entreat her show a woman's pity.
Aar. Come on, my lords; the better foot before: Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit, Where I espy'd the panther fast asleep.
Quin. My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes.
Mart. And mine, I promise you; were't not for
Well could I leave our sport to sleep a while.
[Martius falls into the pit.
Quin. What, art thou fallen? What subtle hole
Whose mouth is cover'd with rude-growing briars;
Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood,
As fresh as morning's dew distill'd on flowers?
to|| A very fatal place it seems to me :—
[To Chiron. Chi. What! would'st thou have me prove myself
Lav. 'Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark:
Yet I have 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!
Tam. I know not what it means; away with her.
Lav. O, let me teach thee: for my father's sake,
That gave thee life, when well he might have slain
Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.
Tam. Had 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.
Lav. 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.
Tam. What begg'st thou then? fond woman,
let me go.
Lav. 'Tis present death I beg; and one thing
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.
Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
Mart. O, brother, with the dismallest object
That ever eye, with sight, made heart lament.
Aar. [Aside. Now will I fetch the king to find
That he thereby may give a likely guess,
How these were they that made away his brother.
Mart. Why dost not comfort me, and help me out
From this unhallow'd and blood-stain'd hole?
Quin. 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.
Mart. 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.
Quin. Aaron is gone; and my compassionate
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing, whereat it trembles by surmise:
O, tell me how it is; for ne'er till now
Was I a child, to fear I know not what.
Mart. Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,
All on a heap, like to a slaughter'd lamb,
In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
Quin. If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?
Mart. 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 this 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.
Quin. Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;
Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good, Tam. So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee:I may be pluck'd into the swallowing womb
No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.
Dem. Away, for thou hast staid us here too long.
Lav. No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly
The blot and enemy to our general name!
Chi. Nay, then I'll stop your mouth :-Bring
thou her husband; [Dragging off Lav.
Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.
I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.
Mart. Nor I no strength to climb without thy
Quin. Thy hand once more; I will not loose again
Till thou art here aloft, or I below:
Thou canst not come to me, I come to thee.
Brought thither in a most unlucky hour,
To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
Chiron, with Lavinia, ravished; her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out.
Dem. So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
Sat. My brother dead? I know, thou dost but Who 'twas that cut thy tongue, and ravish'd thee. jest:
He and his lady both are at the lodge,
the north side of this pleasant chase;
'Tis not an hour since I left him there.
Mart. We know not where you left him all alive,
But, out alas! here have we found him dead.
Enter Tamora, with Attendants; Titus Androni-
cus, and Lucius.
Tam. Where is my lord, the king?
Sat. Here, Tamora; though griev'd with killing grief.
Tam. Where is thy brother Bassianus ?
Sat. Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound;
Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.
Tam. 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.
Chi. Write down thy mind, bewray thy mean
And, if thy stumps will let thee, play the scribe.
Dem. See, how with signs and tokens she can
If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
Sat. [Reads.] An if we miss to meet him hand-That I may slumber in eternal sleep!
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'lis, 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, you can find the huntsman out
That should have murder'd Bassianus here.
Aar. My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.
Sat. Two of thy whelps, [To Tit.] fell curs of
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.
Tam. What, are they in this pit? O wondrous
How easily murder is discovered!
Tit. 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,-
Sat. If it be proved! you see, it is apparent.
Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
Tam, Andronicus himself did take it up.
Tit. I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail:
For by my father's reverend tomb, I vow,
They shall be ready at your highness' will,
To answer their suspicion with their lives.
Sat. 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.
Tam. Andronicus, I will entreat the king; Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough. (2) Orpheus.
Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
Have lopp'd, and hew'd, and made thy body bare
Of her two branches? those sweet ornaments,
Whose circling shadows kings have sought to
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 honest breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath defloured thee;
And, lest thou should'st 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, 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 hast thou met withal,
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's2 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! [Exeunt.
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.
Tit. Hearme, 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. For these, these tribunes, in the dust I write
[Throwing himself on the ground. 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
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! 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.
Luc. O, noble father, you lament in vain; The tribunes hear you not, no man is by, And you recount your sorrows to a stone. Tit. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead: Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you. Luc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
Tit. Why, 'tis no matter, man: if they did hear, They would not mark me; or, if they did mark, All bootless to them, they'd not pity me. Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones; Who, though they cannot answer my distress, Ye in some sort they're 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 tribune like to these.
Enter Marcus and Lavinia.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break ;
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it then.
Mar. This was thy daughter.
Tit. Why, Marcus, so she is.
Luc. Ah me! this object kills me!
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon
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 faggot 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 wo, 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.
Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'a
Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
That blabb'd thera 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!
Luc. O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
Mar. O, thus I found her, straying in the park, Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer, That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound.
Tit. 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,
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
Environ'd with a wilderness of sea;
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
Expecting ever when some envious surge
Here stands my other son, a banish'd man;
This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
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,
A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this :
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? Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their death:
For which attempt, the judges have pronoune'd My everlasting doom of banishment.
Tit. 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?
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.
Mar. Perchance, she weeps because they kill'd her husband;
Perchance, because she knows them innocent.
Tit. If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful,
No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.-
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?