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Enter Lucius, with his Sword drawn.
Luc. O, noble father, you lament in vain;
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, Yet 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. A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than
stones : 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 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 ?
Enter Marcus and LAVINIA.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep ;
Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it then.
Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyrd thee?
Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts, That blab’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 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 killd 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 wave, 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 ; 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. 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, 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
grief, See, how
wretched sister sobs and weeps. Mar. Patience, dear niece:--good Titus, dry thine
eyes, Tit. Ab, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot, Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine, For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
Luc. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs : Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say That to her brother which I said to thee His napkin, with his true tears all bewet, Can do no service on her sorrowful chceks, 0, what a sympathy of woe is this? As far from help as limbo is from bliss !"
Enter AARON Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor Sends thee this word,—That, if thou love thy sons,
as limbo is from bliss !] The Limbus patrum, as it was called, is a place that the schoolmen supposed to be in the neighbourhood of hell, where the souls of the patriarchs were detained, and those good men who died before our Saviour's resurrection. Milton gives the name of Limbo to his Paradise of Fools, REED,
Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself old Titus,
Tit., 0, gracious emperor! O, gentle Aaron!
Luc. Stay, father : for that noble hand of thine, 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' lives. Mar. Which of your hands hath not defended
Rome, And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe, Writing destruction on the enemy's castle! 0, none of both but are of high desert : My hand hath been but idle ; let it serve To ransome my two nephews from their death ; Then have I kept it to a worthy end. Aar. Nay, come agree, whose hand shall go
along, For fear they die before their pardon come. Mar. My hand shall
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.
Luc. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son, Let me redeem my brothers both from death. Mar. And, for our father's sake, and mother's
care, Now let me show a brother's love to thee,