Page images

Enter TAMORA, with Attendants ; Titus ANDRQ.

NICUS, and Lucius. Tam. Where is my lord, the king ? Sat. Here, Tamora ; though griev'd with killing

grief. 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. [Reads.] An if we miss to meet him hand-

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
Among the nettles at the elder tree,
Which overshades the mouth of that same pit,
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.

? This is the pit, and this the elder-tree: Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out, That should have murder'd Bassianus here. Aar. My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.

[Showing it. Sat. Two of thy whelps, [To Tır.) fell curs of

bloody kind, Have here bereft my brother of his life Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison ;

A timeless-] i. e. untimely.

There let them bide, until we have devis'd
Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.
Tam. What, are they in this pit? O wondrous

How easily murder is discovered!

Tit. High emperor, upon my feeble knee I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed, That this fell fault of my accursed sons, Accursed, if the fault be prov'd in them,

Sat. If it be prov'd ! you see, it is apparent. Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?

Tam. Andronicus himself did take it up.

Tit. I did, my lord : yet let me be their bail :
For by my father's reverend tomb, I vow,
They shall be ready at your highness' will,
To answer their suspicion with their lives.

Sat. Thou shalt not bail them ; see, thou follow


Some bring the murder'd body, some the mur

derers: Let them not speak a word, the guilt is plain ; For, by my soul, were there worse end than death, That end upon them should be executed.

Tam. Andronicus, I will entreat the king ; Fear not thy sons, they shall do well enough. Tit. Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with them.

(Exeunt severally.


The same.

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, with LAVINIA, ravished; her Hands cut off, and her Tongue cut out.

Dem. So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak, Who 'twas that cut thy tongue, and ravish'd thee.

Chi. Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning


And, if thy stumps will let thee, play the scribe. Dem. See, how with signs and tokens she can

scowl. Chi. Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy

hands. Dem. She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to


And so let's leave her to her silent walks.

Chi. An 'twere my case, I should go hang myself. Dem. If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.


Enter MARCUS. Mar. Who's this,-my niece, that flies away so

Cousin, a word; Where is your husband -
If I do dream, 'would all my wealth would wake me!5
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 sleep

in ;
And might not gain so great a happiness,
As half 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.

s If I do dream, 'would all my wealth would wake me!) If this be a dream, I would give all my possessions to be delivered from it by waking. 'JOHNSON.

But, sure, some Tereus hath defloured thee
And, lest thou should'st detect him, cut thy tongue.
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,
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

'tis so?
0, 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 eyes?
Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee;
0, could our mourning ease thy misery! [E.reunt.


6 Thracian poet's -] Orpheus,


SCENE I. Rome. A Street.

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 son's sweet blood will make it shame and blush.

[Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c. 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.

« PreviousContinue »