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Re-enter AARON, with QUINTUS and MARTIUS. Aar. Come on, my lords, the better foot before:
Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit Where I espied the panther fast asleep.
Quint. My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes. Mart. And mine, I promise you were 't not for shame,
Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile. Falls into the pit. Quint. What! art thou fall'n? What subtle hole is this,
Whose mouth is cover'd with rude-growing briers,
Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
As fresh as morning dew distill'd on flowers?
A very fatal place it seems to me.
Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the
Mart. O brother! with the dismall'st object hurt
That ever eye with sight made heart lament. Aar. Aside. Now will I fetch the king to find them here,
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-stained hole? Quint. 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. Quint. Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart
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.
Quint. If it be dark, how dost thou know
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.
Quint. Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;
Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good, I may be pluck'd into the swallowing womb 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 help.
Quint. 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.
Re-enter AARON, with SATURNINUS.
Sat. Along with me: I'll see what hole is here.
And what he is that now is leap'd into it.
Say, who are thou that lately didst descend
Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
Mart. The unhappy son of old Andronicus: Brought hither in a most unlucky hour, To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
Sat. My brother dead! I know thou dost bat jest:
He and his lady both are at the lodge, Upon 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.
Re-enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS
ANDRONICUS, and LUCIUS.
Tam. Where is my lord the king?
Sat. Here, Tamora; though griev'd with kill-
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.
Sat. An if we miss to meet him handsomely,
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis we mean,
Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:
Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward
If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me!
If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
That I may slumber in eternal sleep!
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 have 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 honey breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath deflower'd thee,
And, lest thou should'st detect him, cut thy
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, 30
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's 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
Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of Justice, with MARTIUS and QUINTUS, bound, passing on to the place of execution; TITUS going before, pleading.
Tit. Hear me, 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, etc., with the
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.
Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones,
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in some sort they are 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.
A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And tribunes with their tongues doom men to
But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon
Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their death;
For which attempt the judges have pronounc'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? Enter MARCUS and LAVINIA.
Marc. Titus, prepare thy aged 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.
Marc. This was thy daughter.
Why, Marcus, so she is. Luc. Ay me! this object kills me. Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her. 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 woe, 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'd
Marc. O! that delightful engine of her thoughts, That blabb'd them 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?
Marc. O! thus I found her, straying in the park,
Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound. 90
Tit. It was my dear; 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
Environ'd with a wilderness of sea,
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by ware,
Expecting ever when some envious surge
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
Here stands my other son, a banish'd man,
And here my brother, weeping at my woes: 100
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
Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this.
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.
Marc. 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,
Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.
No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
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, as meadows yet not dry,
With miry slime left on them by a flood?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long
Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine? 180
Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
Tit. Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive them both:
Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine. Aar. Aside. If that be call'd deceit, I will be honest,
And never, whilst I live, deceive men so:
But I'll deceive you in another sort,
And that you'll say ere half an hour pass.
Cuts off TITUS's hand.
Re-enter LUCIUS and MARCUS.
Tit. Now stay your strife; what shall be is
Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand:
Tell him it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers; bid him bury it;
More hath it merited; that let it have.
As for my sons, say I account of them
As jewels purchas'd at an easy price;
And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.
Aar. I go, Andronicus; and for thy hand 200
Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.
Aside. Their heads, I mean. O! how this
Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it.
Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,
Aaron will have his soul black like his face.
Tit. O here I lift this one hand up to
And bow this feeble ruin to the earth:
If any power pities wretched tears,
To that I call. To LAVINIA. What! wilt thou
kneel with me?
Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor Sends thee this word: that, if thou love thy sons, Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus, Or any one of you, chop off your hand, And send it to the king: he for the same Will send thee hither both thy sons alive; And that shall be the ransom for their fault. Tit. O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron ! Did ever raven sing so like a lark, That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise? With all my heart I'll send the emperor my hand. 160 of Or with our sighs we 'll breathe the welkin dim, And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds When they do hug him in their melting bosoms. Marc. O! brother, speak with possibilities, And do not break into these deep extremes. Tit. Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
Luc. Stay, father! for that noble hand
That hath thrown down so many enemies,
Shall not be sent; my hand will serve the turn:
My youth can better spare my blood than you;
And therefore mine shall save my brothers'
Marc. Which of your hands hath not defended
And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemy's castle?
O! none of both but are of high desert:
My hand hath been but idle; let it serve
To ransom my two nephews from their death;
Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
Aar. Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go
For fear they die before their pardon come.
Marc. My hand shall go.
By heaven, it shall not go! Tit. Sirs, strive no more: such wither'd herbs as these
Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
Lue. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy
Let me redeem my brothers both from death. 180
Marc. And for our father's sake, and mother's
Now let me show a brother's love to thee.
Do then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers,
If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
Threat'ning the welkin with his big-swoln face?
And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
I am the sea; hark! how her sighs do blow;
She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
Then must my earth with her continual tears
Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd;
For why my bowels cannot hide her woes,
But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
Then give me leave, for losers will have leave
ease their stomachs with their bitter
Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand.
Mess. Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
Tit. Agree between you; I will spare my For that good hand thou sent'st the emperor. hand.
Luc. Then I'll go fetch an axe.
Mare. But I will use the axe.
Here are the heads of thy two noble sons,
And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent
Exeunt LUCIUS and MARCUS. Thy griefs their sports, thy resolution mock'd;
Marc. Now let hot Etna cool in Sicily, And be my heart an ever-burning hell! These miseries are more than may be borne. To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal,
But sorrow flouted at is double death.
Luc. Ah! that this sight should make so deep a wound,
And yet detested life not shrink thereat ;
That ever death should let life bear his name, Where life hath no more interest but to breathe. LAVINIA kisses TITUS. Marc. Alas! poor heart; that kiss is comfortless
As frozen water to a starved snake.
Tit. When will this fearful slumber have an end?
Marc. Now, farewell, flattery: die, Andronicus;
Thou dost not slumber : see thy two sons' heads,
Thy war-like hand, thy mangled daughter here;
Thy other banish'd son, with this dear sight
Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
Ah! now no more will I control thy griefs.
Rend off thy silver hair, thy other hand
Gnawing with thy teeth; and be this dismal
The closing up of our most wretched eyes!
Now is a time to storm; why art thou still?
Tit. Ha, ha, ha!
Marc. Why dost thou laugh? it fits not with this hour.
Tit. Why, I have not another tear to shed:
Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
And would usurp upon my watery eyes,
And make them blind with tributary tears:
Then which way shall I find Revenge's cave? 270
For these two heads do seem to speak to me,
And threat me I shall never come to bliss
Till all these mischiefs be return'd again
Even in their throats that have committed
Come, let me see what task I have to do.
You heavy people, circle me about,
That I may turn me to each one of you,
And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head;
And in this hand the other will I bear.
Lavinia, thou shalt be employed in these
Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight;
Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay:
Hie to the Goths, and raise an army there :
And if you love me, as I think you do,
Let's kiss and part, for we have much to do.
Exeunt TITUS, MARCUS, and LAVINIA. Luc. Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father; The woefull'st man that ever liv'd in Rome. Farewell, proud Rome; till Lucius come again, He leaves his pledges dearer than his life. Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister;
O! would thou wert as thou tofore hast been;
But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs,
SCENE II.-The Same. A Room in TITUS's House. A Banquet set out.
Enter TITUS, MARCUS, LAVINIA, and young LUCIUS, a Boy.
Tit. So, so; now sit; and look you eat no more Than will preserve just so much strength in us As will revenge these bitter woes of ours. Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot: Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands, And cannot passionate our ten-fold grief With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine Is left to tyrannize upon my breast; And when my heart, all mad with misery, Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh, Then thus I thump it down. To LAVINIA. Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs,
When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating
Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.
Wound it with sighing, girl, kill it with groans;
Or get some little knife between thy teeth,
And just against thy heart make thou a hole;
That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall
May run into that sink, and soaking in,
Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears.
Marc. Fie, brother, fie! teach her not thus to lay Such violent hands upon her tender life.
Tit. How now! has sorrow made thee dote already?
Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.
What violent hands can she lay on her life?
Ah! wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands;
To bid Æneas tell the tale twice o'er,
How Troy was burnt and he made miserable!
O handle not the theme, to talk of hands,
Lest we remember still that we have none.
Fie, fie! how franticly I square my talk,
As if we should forget we had no hands,
If Marcus did not name the word of hands.
Come, let's fall to; and, gentle girl, eat this:
Here is no drink. Hark, Marcus, what she says;
I can interpret all her martyr'd signs:
She says she drinks no other drink but tears,
Brew'd with her sorrow, mash'd upon her cheeks.
Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought;
In thy dumb action will I be as perfect
As begging hermits in their holy prayers:
Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,
Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,
But I of these will wrest an alphabet,
And by still practice learn to know thy meaning.
Boy. Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep
Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.
Marc. Alas! the tender boy, in passion mov'd, Doth weep to see his grandsire's heaviness. Tit. Peace, tender sapling; thou art made of tears,
And tears will quickly melt thy life away. MARCUS strikes the dish with a knife. What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife! Marc. At that that I have kill'd, my lord; a fly.