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SATURNINUS, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, and afterwards declar'd Emperor himself.
BASSIANUS, Brother to Saturninus, in love with Lavinia. TITUS ANDRONICUs, a Noble Roman, General against the Goths.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS, Tribune of the People, and Brother to Titus.
Sons to Titus Andronicus.
Young LUCIUS, a Boy, Son to Lucius.
PUBLIUS, Son to Marcus Andronicus the Tribune.
Sons to Tamora.
TAMORA, Queen of the Goths, and afterwards married to Saturninus.
LAVINIA, Daughter to Titus Andronicus.
Senators, Judges, Officers, Soldiers, and other Attendants.
SCENE Rome, and the Country near it.
* TITUS ANDRONICUS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Enter the Tribunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate, Enter Saturninus and bis followers at one door, and Baffianus and bis followers at the other, with drum and colours,
O BLE Patricians, patrons of my right, Defend the juftice of my cause with arms: And countrymen my loving followers, Plead my fucceffive title with your fwords.. I am the firft-born fon of him that laft Wore the imperial diadem of Rome: Then let my father's honours live in me, Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.
Baf. Romans, friends, foll' wers, favourers of my right; If ever Baffianus, Cefar's fon, Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome, Keep then this paffage to the Capitol ; And fuffer not difhonour to approach Th' imperial feat, to virtue confecrate, To justice, continence, and nobility:
This is one of the Plays which ought not to be look'd upon to be of Shakespear's compofition. By giving it the credit of a few of his lines inferted here and there he got the difcredit of writing the whole.
But let defert in pure election fhine;
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.
For many good and great deserts to Rome.
And now at laft, laden with honour's spoils,
Sat. How fair the Tribune speaks, to calm my thoughts!
Commit my caufe in ballance to be weigh'd. [Exe. Soldiers
Baf. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.
Cap. Romans, make way: the good Andronicus, Patron of virtue, Rome's beft champion, Successful in the battels that he fights, With honour and with fortune is return'd From whence he circumfcribed with his sword, And brought to yoak the enemies of Rome. Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter Mutius and Mazcus: after them, two men bearing a coffin cover'd with black; then Quintus and Lucius. After them Titus Andronicus; and then Tamora, the Queen of Goths, Alarbus, Chiron and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, prifoners; Soldiers, and other Attendants. They fet down the coffin, and Titus fpeaks.
Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds? Lo, as the bark that hath discharg'd her freight, Returns with precious lading to the bay, From whence at firft fhe weigh'd her anchorage, Cometh Andronicus with laurel boughs, To re-falute his country with his tears; Tears of true joy, for his return to Rome, Thou great defender of this Capitol, Stand gracious to the rites that we intend! Romans, of five and twenty valiant fons, Half of the number that King Priam had, Behold the poor remains alive and dead! These that survive, let Rome reward with love! These that I bring unto their latest home, With burial among their ancestors,
Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my sword :
How many fons of mine haft thou in ftore,
Luc. Give us the proudeft prifoner of the Goths,
Tit. I give him you, the nobleft that survives, The eldeft fon of this diftreffed Queen.
Tam. Stay, Roman brethren, gracious conqueror,
Tit. Patient your felf, Madam, and pardon me.