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But, foft, methinks, I do digrefs too much,
Of this was Tamora delivered;
And as he is, to witnefs this is true.
Now judge, what caufe had Titus to revenge
Have we done ought amifs? Shew us wherein,
Will, hand in hand, all headlong caft us down,
Em. Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome, And bring our emperor gently in thy hand, Lucius our emperor; for, well I know, The common voice do cry, it fhall be fo.
Mar. Lucius, all hail; Rome's royal emperor ! Go, go into old Titus' forrowful house; And hither hale that misbelieving Moor, To be adjudg'd fome direful flaughtering death, As punishment for his most wicked life, Lucius, all hail, Rome's gracious governor!
Luc. Thanks, gentle Romans'; May I govern fo,
Thanks, gentle Romans;-] It fhould feem from the beginning of this fpeech of Lucius, that the first and laft lines of the preceding one ought to be given to the concourfe of Romans who are fuppofed to be prefent. STEVENS.
To heal Rome's harms, and wipe away her woe!
[Kiffes Titus. These forrowful drops upon thy blood-ftain'd face, The last true duties of thy noble fon!
Mar. Ay, tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn
To melt in showers: Thy grandfire lov'd thee well:
Meet, and agreeing with thine infancy;
Shed yet fome fmall drops from thy tender fpring,
Boy. O grandfire, grandfire! even with all my
'Would I were dead, so you did live again!—
Enter Romans, with Aaron.
Rom. You fad Andronici, have done with woes ;
Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famif him;
There let him ftand, and rave and cry for food:
For the offence he dies. This is our doom:
Aar. O, why fhould wrath be mute, and fury dumb?
I am no baby, I, that, with base prayers,
Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
And give him burial in his father's grave:
No funeral rites, nor man in mournful weeds,
2-to fee him faften'd in the earth.] That juftice and cockery may go hand in hand to the conclufion of this play, in Ravenícroft's alteration of it, Aaron is at once rack'd and roasted on the ftage. STEEVENS.
THIS is one of those plays which I have always thought, with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledged in the lift of Shakspeare's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a
proof to strengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of queftion. Ben Jonfon, in the introduction to his BartholomewFair, which made its firft appearance in the year 1614, couples Feronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and speaks of them as plays then of twenty-five or thirty years ftanding. Confequently Andronicus must have been on the ftage before Shakfpeare left Warwickshire, to come and refide in London: and I never heard it fo much as intimated, that he had turned his nius to ftage-writing before he affociated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it a-new on the stage, with the addition of his own mafterly touches, is inconteftible, and thence, I prefume, grew his title to it. The diction in general, where he has not taken the pains to raise it, is even beneath that of the Three Parts of Henry VI. The ftory we are to fuppofe merely fictitious. Andronicus is a fur-name of pure Greek derivation. Tamora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor any body else that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the time of her emperors, any wars with the Goths that I know of: not till after the tranflation of the empire, I mean to Byzantium. And yet the scene of our play is laid at Rome, and Saturninus is elected to the empire at the capitol. THEOBALD.
All the editors and critics agree with Mr. Theobald in fuppofing this play fpurious. I fee no reafon for differing from them; for the colour of the ftile is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular verfification, and artificial clofes, not always inelegant, yet feldom pleafing. The barbarity of the spectacles, and the general maffacre, which are here exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience e; yet we are told by Jonson, that they were not only borne, but praifed. That Shakspeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares it inconteftible, I fee no reafon for believing.
The testimony produced at the beginning of this play, by which it is afcribed to Shakspeare, is by no means equal to the argument against its authenticity, arifing from the total difference of conduct, language, and fentiments, by which it stands apart from all the reft. Meres had probably no other evidence than that of a title page, which, though in our time it be fufficient, was then of no great authority; for all the plays which were rejected by the firit collectors of Shakspeare's works, and admitted in later editions, and again rejected by the critical editors, had Shakspeare's name on the title, as we must suppose, by the fraudulence of the printers, who, while there were yet no gazettes, nor advertisements, nor any means of circulating literary intelligence, could ufurp at pleasure any celebrated name. Nor had Shakspeare any intereft in detecting the imposture, as none of his fame or profit was produced by the prefs.
The chronology of this play does not prove it not to be Shakspeare's. If it had been written twenty-five years, in 1614, it might have been written when Shakspeare was twentyfive years old. When he left Warwickshire I know not, but at the age of twenty-five it was rather too late to fly for deerftealing.
Ravenfcroft, who in the reign of James II. revifed this play, and restored it to the ftage, tells us, in his preface, from a theatrical tradition, I fuppofe, which in his time might be of fufficient authority, that this play was touched in different parts by Shakspeare, but written by fome other poet. I do not find Shakspeare's touches very difcernible. JOHNSON.
There is every reafon to believe, that Shakspeare was not the author of this play. I have already faid enough upon this fubject.
Mr. Upton declares peremptorily, that it ought to be flung out of the lift of our author's works: yet Mr. Warner, with all his laudable zeal for the memory of his School-fellow, when it may feem to ferve his purpose, difables his friend's judgment!
Indeed, a new argument has been produced; it must have been written by Shakspeare, because at that time other people wrote in the fame manner!
It is fcarcely worth obferving, that the original publisher * had nothing to do with any of the reft of Shakspeare's works. Dr. Johnfon obferves the copy to be as correct, as other books of the time; and probably revifed by the author himself; but furely Shakspeare would not have taken the greatest care about infinitely the worst of his performances! Nothing more can be faid, except that it is printed by Heminge and Condell in the first folio: but not to infift, that it had been contrary to their intereft to have rejected any play, ufually called Shakspeare's, though they might know it to be fpurious; it does not appear, that their knowledge is at all to be depended upon; for it is certain, that in the first copies, they had intirely omitted the play of Troilus and Creffida.
It has been faid, that this play was first printed for G. Eld, 1594, but the original publisher was Edward White. I have feen in an old catalogue of tales, &c. the history of Titus Andronicus. FARMER.
I have already given the reader a fpecimen of the changes made in this play by Ravenfcroft, who revived it with fuccefs in the year 1687; and may add, that when the emprefs ftabs her child, he has fupplied the Moor with the following lines:
* The original owner of the copy was John Danter, who likewife printed the first edition of Romeo and Juliet in 1597, and is introduced as a character in the Return from Parnaffus, &c. 1606. STEEVENS.