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The hope of Rome; for so he bade me say;
And so I do, and with his gifts present
Your lordships, that whenever you have need,
You may be armed and appointed well:


And so I leave you both, [Aside.] like bloody vil[Exeunt Boy and Attendant. Dem. What's here? A scroll; and written round about?

Let's see;

Integer vitæ, scelerisque purus,

Non eget Mauri jaculis, neque arcu.

Chi. O, 'tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:

I read it in the grammar long ago.

Aar. Ay, just!-a verse in Horace;—right, you

have it.

Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
Here's no sound jest! the old man hath
found their guilt;

And sends the weapons wrapp'd about with
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the

But were our witty empress well a-foot,
She would applaud Andronicus' conceit.
But let her rest in her unrest a-while.-
And now, young lords, was't not a happy star
Led us to Rome, strangers, and, more than so,
Captives, to be advanced to this height?

It did me good, before the palace gate

To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.
Dem. But me more good, to see so great a lord
Basely insinuate, and send us gifts.

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Aar. Had he not reason, lord Demetrius? Did you not use his daughter very friendly?

Dem. I would, we had a thousand Roman dames At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.

Chi. A charitable wish, and full of love.

Aar. Here lacks but your mother for to say


Chi. And that would she for twenty thousand


Dem. Come, let us go; and pray to all the gods For our beloved mother in her pains.

Aar. Pray to the devils; the gods have given us o'er. [Aside. Flourish. Dem. Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish thus?

Chi. Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.
Dem. Soft; who comes here?

Enter a Nurse, with a Black-a-moor Child in her


Good morrow, lords:
O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?

Aar. Well, more, or less, or ne'er a whit at all, Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?

Nur. O gentle Aaron, we are all undone! Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!

Aar. Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep? What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms?

Nur. O, that which I would hide from heaven's

eye, Our empress' shame, and stately Rome's disgrace;She is deliver'd, lords, she is deliver'd.

Aar. To whom?



I mean, she's brought to bed.

Well, God

Give her good rest! What hath he sent her?


A devil. Aar. Why, then she's the devil's dam; a joyful issue.

Nur. A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue: Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime. The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal, And bids thee christen it with thy daggers' point. Aar. Out, out, you whore! is black so base a hue?

Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure. Dem. Villain, what hast thou done?


Done! that which thou

Canst not undo.

Aar. Villain, I have done thy mother.

Dem. And therein, hellish dog, thou hast un


Thou hast undone our mother.

Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choice! Accurs'd the offspring of so foul a fiend!

Chi. It shall not live.


It shall not die. Nur. Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so. Aar. What, must it, nurse? then let no man, but I, Do execution on my flesh and blood.

Dem. I'll broach the tadpole on my rapier's point:

Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon despatch it.


Aar. Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels


[Takes the child from the Nurse, and draws. Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?

Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scymitar's sharp point,

That touches this my first-born son and heir!
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threat'ning band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,

Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what; ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-lim'd walls! ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue,

In that it scorns to bear another hue:

For all the water in the ocean

Can never turn a swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.-
Tell the emperess from me, I am of
I am of age
To keep mine own; excuse it how she can.
Dem. Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?
Aar. My mistress is my mistress; this, myself;
The vigour, and the picture of my youth:
This, before all the world, do I prefer;
This, maugre all the world, will I keep safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.

Dem. By this our mother is for ever sham'd.
Chi. Rome will despise her for this foul escape.
Nur. The emperor, in his rage, will doom her

Chi. I blush to think upon this ignomy.
Aar. Why there's the privilege your beauty


Fie, treacherous hue! that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of the heart!
Here's a young lad fram'd of another leer:
Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father;
As who should say, Old lad, I am thine own.
He is your brother, lords; sensibly fed
Of that self-blood that first gave life to you;
And, from that womb, where you imprison'd were,
He is enfranchised and come to light:
Nay, he's. your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.

Nur. Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress?
Dem. Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy advice;
Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.

Aar. Then sit we down, and let us all consult. My son and I will have the wind of you: Keep there: Now talk at pleasure of your safety. [They sit on the ground. Dem. How many women saw this child of his? Aar. Why, so, brave lords; When we all join in league,

I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
But, say again, how many saw the child?

Nur. Cornelia the midwife, and myself,
And no one else, but the deliver'd empress.
Aar. The emperess, the midwife, and yourself:

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