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Let him make treble satisfaction.
1 Goth. Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus, Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort; Whose high exploits, and honourable deeds, Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt, Be bold in us: we 'll follow where thou lead'st, Like stinging bees in hottest summer's day, Led by their master to the flower'd fields,And be aveng'd on cursed Tamora.
Goths. And, as he saith, so say we all with him. Luc. I humbly thank him, and I thank you all. But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth.
Enter a Goth, leading AARON, with his Child in his Arms.
2 Goth. Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray'd,
I made unto the noise; when soon I heard
They never do beget a coal-black calf.
Peace, villain, peace!-even thus he rates the babe,
For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;
Who when he knows thou art the empress' babe,
1 To gaze upon a ruinous monastery ;] Shakspeare has so perpetually offended against chronology in all his plays, that no very conclusive argument can be deduced from the particular absurdity of these anachronisms, relative to the authenticity of Titus Andronicus. And yet the ruined monastery, the popish tricks, &c. that Aaron talks of, and especially the French salutation from the mouth of Titus, are altogether so very much out of place, that I cannot persuade myself even our hasty poet could have been guilty of their insertion, or would have permitted them to remain, had he corrected the performance for another. Steevens.
Luc. O worthy Goth! this is the incarnate devil, That robb'd Andronicus of his good hand: This is the pearl that pleas'd your empress' eye;2 And here's the base fruit of his burning lust.Say, wall-ey'd slave, whither would'st thou convey This growing image of thy fiend-like face? Why dost not speak? What! deaf? No;3 not a word? A halter, soldiers; hang him on this tree, And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
Aar. Touch not the boy, he is of royal blood. Luc. Too like the sire for ever being good.— First, hang the child, that he may see it sprawl; A sight to vex the father's soul withal.
Get me a ladder.
[A Ladder brought, which AAR. is obliged to ascend. Lucius, save the child;1
And bear it from me to the emperess.
If thou do this, I'll show thee wond'rous things,
If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
I'll speak no more; But vengeance rot you all!
Luc. Say on; and, if it please me which thou speak'st, Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd.
Aar. An if it please thee? why, assure thee, Lucius, 'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak; For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres, Acts of black night, abominable deeds, Complots of mischief, treason; villainies
Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform❜d:5
This is the pearl that pleas'd your empress eye;] Alluding to the proverb, "A black man is a pearl in a fair woman's eye"
3 No;] This necessary syllable, though wanting in the first folio, is found in the second.
4 Get me a ladder. Aar.
Lucius, save the child;] All the printed editions have given this whole verse to Aaron. But why should the Moor ask for a ladder, who earnestly wanted to have his child saved? Theobald.
Get me a ladder, may mean, hang me. Steevens.
These words,-Get me a ladder, are given to Aaron, in edit. 1600. Todd.
Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:] I suppose we should read--pitilessly, not piteously. M. Mason.
And this shall all be buried by my death,
Unless thou swear to me, my child shall live.
Luc. Tell on thy mind; I say, thy child shall live. Aar. Swear, that he shall, and then I will begin. Luc. Who should I swear by? thou believ'st no god; That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
Aar. What if I do not? as, indeed, I do not:
And hast a thing within thee, called conscience;
And keeps the oath, which by that god he swears;3
To save my boy, to nourish, and bring him up;
Luc. Even by my god, I swear to thee, I will.
Aar. Tut, Lucius! this was but a deed of charity,
Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.
Luc. O, barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!
Is there such a word as that recommended? Piteously means, in a manner exciting pity. Steevens.
· buried by my death,] Edition 1600:--in my death. Todd. his bauble-] See a note on All's Well that Ends Well, Vol. V, p. 283, n. 8. Steevens.
8 And keeps the oath, which by that god he swears;] Alluding perhaps to a custom mentioned in Genesis, xxiv, 9: " And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter." Steevens.
luxurious woman!] i. e. lascivious woman.
Aur. Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them;
That bloody mind, I think, they learn'd of me,
And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter.
1 That codding spirit-] i. e. that love of bed-sports. Cod is a word still used in Yorkshire for a pillow. See Lloyd's catalogue of local words at the end of Ray's Proverbs.
Thus also, in A. Wyntown's Cronykil, B. IX, ch. vi, 147:
"That succedyt in his stede,
"Gave twa lang coddis of welwete,
"That on the awtare oft is sete." Collins.
2 As true a dog as ever fought at head.] An allusion to bulldogs, whose generosity and courage are always shown by meeting the bull in front, and seizing his nose. Johnson.
So, in A Collection of Epigrams, by J. D. [John Davies] and C. M. [Christopher Marlowe] printed at Middleburgh, no date: Amongst the dogs and beares he goes;
"Where, while he skipping cries-To head,—to head."
I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole,
I wrote the letter &c.] Perhaps Young had this speech in
his thoughts, when he made his Moor say:
"I urg'd Don Carlos to resign his mistress;
And, for my tidings, gave me twenty kisses.
Luc. Bring down the devil; for he must not die
4 She swounded -] When this play was written, the verb to swound, which we now write swoon, was in common use. Malone. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"All in gore blood; I swounded at the sight." Steevens. 5 Goth. What! canst thou say all this, and never blush? Aar. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.] To blush like a black dog appears from Ray, p. 218, to have been proverbial. Reed.
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;] Two syllables have been inadvertently omitted; perhaps and die. Malone. In my opinion, some other syllables should be sought, to fill this chasm; for if the cattle broke their necks, it was rather unnecessary for us to be informed that-they died. Steevens.
7 And nothing grieves me &c.] Marlowe has been supposed to be the author of this play, and whoever will read the conversation between Barabas and Ithimore in the Jew of Malta, Act II, and compare it with the sentiments of Aaron in the present scene, will perceive much reason for the opinion. Reed.
8 Bring down the devil,] It appears from these words, that the