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Rome. Before the Capitol.

The Tomb of the Andronici appearing; the Tribunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate. Enter, below, SaturNIUS and his Followers, on one side; and BASSIANUS and his Followers, on the other; with Drum and Colours.

Sat. Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
Defend the justice of my cause with arms;
And, countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title1 with your swords:
I am his first-born son, that was the last
That ware the imperial diadem of Rome;
Then let my father's honours live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

Bas. Romans, friends, followers, favourers of my right,

If ever Bassianus, Cæsar'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. Mar. Princes, that strive by factions, and by friends, Ambitiously for rule and empery,


my successive title-] i. e. my title to the succession. Malone. Thus also Raleigh: "The empire being elective, and not successive, the emperors, in being, made profit of their own times.”


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.

Sat. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts! Bas. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy

In thy uprightness and integrity,

And so I love and honour thee and thine,

Thy nobler 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 BAs.
Sat. 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 SATRome, be as just and gracious unto me,

As I am confident and kind to thee.

Open the gates, and let me in.

Bas. Tribunes! and me, a poor competitor.

[SAT. and BAS. go into the Capitol, and exeunt with Senators, MAR. &c.


The same.

Enter a Captain, and Others.

Cap. 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, Sc. enter MUTIUS and MARTIUS: after them, two Men bearing a Coffin covered with black; then QUINTUS and Lucius. After them, TITUS ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with ALARBUS, CHIRON, DEMETRIUS, AARON, and other Goths, prisoners ; Soldiers and People, following. The Bearers set down the Coffin, and TITUS speaks.

Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds !2 Lo, as the bark, that hath discharg'd her fraught,3 Returns with precious lading to the bay,

From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,


Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!] I suspect that the poet wrote:

in my mourning weeds!

i. e. Titus would say: Thou, Rome, art victorious, though I am a mourner for those sons which I have lost in obtaining that vic-~ tory. Warburton.

Thy is as well as my. We may suppose the Romans in a grateful ceremony, meeting the dead sons of Andronicus with mournful habits. Johnson.

Or that they were in mourning for their emperor who was just dead. Steevens.


her fraught,] Old copies―his fraught. Corrected in the fourth folio.


his fraught,] As in the other old copies noted by Mr. Malone. It will be proper here to observe, that the edition of 1600 is not paged. Todd.

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,4

Stand gracious to the rights 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
Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?5-
Make way to lay them by their brethren.

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[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?

Luc. 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 earthly prison of their bones;
That so the shadows be not unappeas'd,
Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth."

Tit. I give him you; the noblest that survives,
The eldest son of this distressed queen.

4 Thou great defender of this Capitol,] Jupiter, to whom the Capitol was sacred. Johnson.

5 To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx ?] Here we have one of the numerous classical notions that are scattered with a pedantick profusion through this piece. Malone.




earthly prison-] Edit. 1600:- earthy prison."


Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.] It was supposed by the ancients, that the ghosts of unburied people appeared to their friends and relations, to solicit the rites of funeral.


A mother's tears in passion for her son:
And, if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
0, 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.

ord Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful:8
Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge;



Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.

Tit. Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
These are their brethren, whom you 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.
Luc. 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 Luc. QUIN. MAR. and MUT. with ALAR.

Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?

Draw near them then in being merciful:] "Homines enim ad deos nulla re propius accedunt, quam salutem hominibus dando." Cicero pro Ligario.

Mr. Whalley infers the learning of Shakspeare from this passage: but our present author, whoever he was, might have found a translation of it in several places, provided he was not acquainted with the original. Steevens.

The same sentiment is in Edward III, 1596:




kings approach the nearest unto God,

By giving life and safety unto men."


Patient yourself, &c.] This verb is used by other dramatick writers. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:

"Patient yourself, we cannot help it now."

Again, in King Edward I, 1599:

"Patient your highness, 'tis but mother's love," Steevens.

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