Page images




I say no:
I have been broad awake two hours and more.
Sat. Come

horse and chariots let us hare,
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 game Makes way,

and run like swallows o'er the plain. Demet. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor

hound; But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground. [Esteunt.

SCENE III.- The Forest.

Enter AARON. Aaron. 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, That have their alms out of the empress chest.

Enter Tamora. Tam. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad, When everything 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 checker'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 wand'ring 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, ess 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.

Aaron. 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.


Tam. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life! Aaron. 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.

Bass. Who have we here? Rome's royal empress,
Unfurnish'd of our well-beseeming troop?
Or is it Dian, habited like her,
Who hath abandoned her holy groves,
To see the general hunting in this forest?

Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps,
Had I the power that some say Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns as was Actæon's, and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!

Lav. Under your patience, gentle empress,
"T is 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;
'T is pity they should take him for a stag.

Bass. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian
Doth make your honour of his body's hue,
Spotted, detested, and abominable.
Why are you sequestered 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?

Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport,
Great reason that my noble lord be rated
For sauciness;


pray you, let us hence, And let her “joy her raven-colour'd love; This valley fits the purpose passing well. Bass. The king, my brother, shall have notice of

this. Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long; Good king, to be so mightily abused !

Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?

Enter Chiron and DEMETRIUS.
Demet. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracions

Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?

Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale ? These two have 'tic'd 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 callid my children. Demet. This is a witness that I am thy son.

[Stabs him. Chi. And this for me struck home to show my strength.

[Stabs him likewise. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis,-nay, barbarous Ta

mora! For no name fits thy nature but thy own.

Tam, Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my

boys, Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong.

Demet. Stay, madam; here is more belongs to her;
First thresh 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. And 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 ye have the honey you desire,
Let not this wasp outlive us both to sting.

Chi. I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure. Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy That nice preserved honesty of yours.

Lav. Oh, Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's faceTam. I will not hear her speak; away with her! Lav. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.

Demet. 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'st from her did turn to marble;
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.

every mother breeds not sons alike; Do thou entreat her show a woman pity. [To CHIRON. Chi. What! wouldst thou have me prove myself a

hastard ? Lav. 'T is true; the raven doth not hatch a lark; Yet have I heard, -oh 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,


« PreviousContinue »