Page images

SCENE II.-The same.
Enter a Captain and others.

Cap. Romans, make way; the good Andronicus,
Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honor and with fortune is return'd,
From where he circumscribed with his sword,
And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.
Flourish of Trumpets, &c. Enter MUTIUS and
MARTIUS: after them, two Men bearing a Coffin
covered with black; then QUINTUS and LUCIUS.
After them, TITUS ANDRONICUS; and then Ta-
and other Goths, prisoners; Soldiers and People,
following. The Bearers set down the Coffin, and
TITUS speaks.

Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning

Lo, as the bark that hath discharged her fraught,
Returns with precious lading to the bay,
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
To re-salute 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 sons,
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 amongst their ancestors:
Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my sword.
Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why sufferest thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?-
Make way to lay them by their brethren.

[The Tomb is opened.
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars!
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,

How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more!

Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
That we may hew his limbs, and, on a pile,
Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh,
Before this earthly prison of their bones;
That so the shadows be not unappeas'd,
Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.3

Tit. I give him you; the noblest that survives, The eldest son of this distressed queen.

Tam. Stay, Roman brethren;-Gracious conqueror,

Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother's tears in passion for her son:
And, if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O, think my son to be as dear to me.
Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome,
To beautify thy triumphs, and return,
Captive to thee, and to thy Roman yoke;
But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets,
For valiant doings in their country's cause?
O! if to fight for king and common-weal
Were piety in thine, it is in these.
Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful:
Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge;
Thrice noble Titus, spare my first-born son.

Tit. Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me. These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld Alive, and dead; and for their brethren slain, Religiously they ask a sacritice:

To this your son is mark'd; and die he must,
To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.
Luc. Away with him! and make a fire straight;
And with our swords, upon a pile of wood,
Let's hew his limbs, till they be clean consumed.
Tam. O cruel, irreligious piety!
Chi. Was ever Scythia haff so barbarous?
Dem. Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome.
Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive
To tremble under Titus' threatening look.

It was supposed that the ghosts of unburied people appeared to solicit the rites of funeral. • Suffering.

Then, madam, stand resolv'd; but hope withal,
The self-same gods, that arm'd the queen of Troy
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
May favor Tamora, the queen of Goths,
(When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen,)
To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.
with their Swords bloody.

Luc. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
Our Roman rites: Alarbus' limbs are lopp'd,
And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky.
Remaineth naught, but to inter our brethren,
And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome.
Tit. Let it be so, and let Andronicus
Make this his latest farewell to their souls.
[Trumpets sounded, and the Coffins
laid in the Tomb.

In peace and honor rest you here, my sons;
Rome's readiest champions, repose you here
Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!
Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damned grudges; here are no storms,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:


In peace and honor rest you here, my sons!
Lav. In peace and honor live lord Titus long;
My noble lord and father, live in fame!
Lo! at this tomb my tributary tears

I render, for my brethren's obsequics;
And at thy feet I kneel with tears of joy
Shed on the earth, for thy return to Rome:
O bless me here with thy victorious hand,
Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.
Tit. Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserv'd
The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!—
Lavinia, live; outlive thy father's days,
And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise!
ANUS, and others.

Marc. Long live lord Titus, my beloved brother, Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!

Tit.Thanks, gentle tribune noble brother Marcus. Marc. And welcome, nephews, from successful


You that survive, and you that sleep in fame.
Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,
That in your country's service drew your swords:
But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,
That hath aspir'd to Solon's happiness,5
And triumphs over chance, in honor's bed.—
Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
Send thee by me, their tribune, and their trust,
This parliament of white and spotless hue;
And name thee in election for the empire,
With these our late-deceased emperor's sons:
Be candidatus then, and put it on,
And help to set a head on headless Rome.
Tit. A better head her glorious body fits,
Than his that shakes for age and feebleness:
What! should I don? this robe, and trouble you?
Be chosen with proclamations to-day;
To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life,
And set abroad new business for you all?
Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
And led my country's strength successfully,
And buried one-and-twenty valiant sons,
Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,
In right and service of their noble country:
Give me a staff of honor for mine age,
But not a sceptre to control the world:
Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.
Marc. Titus,thou shalt obtain and ask the empery
Sat. Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou

Tit. Patience, prince Saturnine.
Romans, do me right;-
Patricians, draw your swords, and sheath them not
Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor :-
Andronicus, 'would thou wert shipp'd to hell,
Rather than rob me of the people's hearts.

Luc. Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good That noble-minded Titus means to thee! The maxim alluded to is, that no man can be pronounced happy before his death. • A robe. 1 i. e. Do on, put it on.

Tit. Content thee, prince; I will restore to thee The people's hearts, and wean them from themselves.

Bas. Andronicus, I do not flatter thee, But honor thee, and will do till I die;

My faction, if thou strengthen with thy friends,

I will most thankful be: and thanks, to men

Of noble minds, is honorable meed.

Tit. People of Rome, and people's tribunes here,

I ask your voices, and your suffrages;

Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?
Trib. To gratify the good Andronicus,

And gratulate his safe return to Rome,
The people will accept whom he admits.

[blocks in formation]

Luc. My lord, you are unjust; and, more than so
In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.
Tit. Nor thou, nor he, are any sons of mine:
My sons would never so dishonor me:

Tit. Tribunes, I thank you: and this suit I Traitor, restore Lavinia to the emperor.


That you create your emperor's eldest son,
Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope,
Reflect on Rome, as Titan's rays on earth,
And ripen justice in this common-weal:
Then if you will elect by my advice,
Crown him, and say,-Long live our emperor !
Marc. With voices and applause of every sort,
Patricians, and plebeians, we create

Lord Saturninus Rome's great emperor;
And say,-Long live our emperor Saturnine!
[A long Flourish.

Sat. Titus Andronicus, for thy favors done
To us in our election this day,

I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,
And will with deeds requite thy gentleness:
And, for an onset, Titus, to advance

Thy name, and honorable family,
Lavinia will I make my emperess,

Rome's royal mistress, mistress of my heart,
And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse:
Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please


Tit. It doth, my worthy lord; and, in this match, I hold me highly honor'd of your grace: And here, in sight of Rome, to SaturnineKing and commander of our common-weal, The wide world's emperor-do I consecrate My sword, my chariot, and my prisoners; Presents well worthy Rome's imperial lord: Receive them then, the tribute that I owe, Mine honor's ensigns humbled at thy feet.

Sat. Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life! How proud I am of thee, and of thy gifts, Rome shall record; and, when I do forget The least of these unspeakable deserts, Romans, forget your fealty to me.


Til. Now, madam, are you prisoner to an em[TO TAMORA. To him, that for your honor and your state, Will use you nobly, and your followers.

Sat. A goodly lady, trust me; of the hue That I would choose, were I to choose anew.— Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance; Though chance of war hath wrought this change

of cheer,

Thou com'st not to be made a scorn in Rome:
Princely shall be thy usage every way.
Rest on my word, and let not discontent
Daunt all your hopes; Madam, he comforts you,
Can make you greater than the queen of Goths.-
Lavinia, you are not displeas'd with this?

Lav. Not I, my lord: sith true nobility
Warrants these words in princely courtesy.
Sat. Thanks, sweet Lavinia.-Romans, let us go:
Ransomless here we set our prisoners free:
Proclaim our honors, lords, with trump and drum.
Bas. Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.
Tit. How, sir? Are you in earnest then, my lord?
Bas. Ay, noble Titus; and resolv'd withal,
To do myself this reason and this right.

[The Emperor courts TAMORA in dumb show. Marc. Suum cuique is our Roman justice: This prince in justice seizeth but his own. Luc. And that he will, and shall, if Lucius live. Tit. Traitors, avaunt! Where is the emperor's guard?

Treason, my lord; Lavinia is surprised.
Sat. Surprised! by whom?
By him that justly may
Bear his betroth'd from all the world away.

[blocks in formation]

Luc. Dead, if you will: but not to be his wife, That is another's lawful promis'd love.

Sat. No, Titus, no; the emperor needs her not,
Not her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock:
I'll trust, by leisure, him that mocks me once;
Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,
Confederates all thus to dishonor me.

Was there none else in Rome to make a stale1 of,
But Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus,
Agree these deeds with that proud brag of thine,
That said'st, I begg'd the empire at thy hands.
Tit. O monstrous! what reproachful words are

Sat. But, go thy ways; go, give that changing piece
To him that flourish'd for her with his sword:
A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy;
One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,
To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.

Tit. These words are razors to my wounded heart. Sat. And therefore, lovely Tamora, queen of


That, like the stately Phoebe 'mongst her nymphs,
Dost overshine the gallant'st dames of Rome,-
If thou be pleas'd with this my sudden choice,
Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride,
And will create thee emperess of Rome.
Speak, queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my

And here I swear by all the Roman gods,-
Sith priest and holy water are so near,
And tapers burn so bright, and every thing
In readiness for Hymeneus stand,-

I will not re-salute the streets of Rome,

Or climb my palace, till from forth this place

I lead espous'd my bride along with me.
Tam. And here, in sight of heaven, to Rome I


If Saturnine advance the queen of Goths,
She will a handmaid be to his desires,
A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.
Sat. Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon:-Lords, ac-

Your noble emperor, and his lovely bride,
Sent by the heavens for prince Saturnine,
There shall we consummate our spousal rites.
Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquer'd:

[Exeunt SATRRNINUS, and his Followers; TA-
MORA, and her Sons; AARON, and Goths.
Tit. I am not bid3 to wait upon this bride;-
Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone,
Dishonor'd thus, and challenged of wrongs?
Marc. O, Titus, see, O see, what thou hast done
In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.

Tit. No, foolish tribune, no: no son of mine,Nor thou, nor these confederates in the deed That hath dishonor'd all our family; Unworthy brother, and unworthy sons!

Luc. But let us give him burial, as becomes, Give Mutius burial with our brethren.

Tit. Traitors, away! he rests not in this tomb This monument five hundred years hath stood, Which I have sumptuously re-edified: Here none but soldiers, and Rome's servitors, Repose in fame; none basely slain in brawls Bury him where you can, he comes not here. Marc. My lord, this is impiety in you: My nephew Mutius' deeds do plead for him; He must be buried with his brethren.

Quin. Mart. And shall, or him we will accompany. Tit. And shall? What villain was it spoke that word?

Quin. He that would vouch't in any place but here. A stalking-horse. A ruffler was a bully. Invited.

[blocks in formation]

My foes I do repute you every one;
So trouble me no more, but get you gone.

Marc. He is not with himself; let us withdraw.
Quin. Not I, till Mutius' bones be buried.

[MARCUS and the Sons of TITUS kneel. Marc. Brother, for in that name doth nature plead.

Quin. Father, and in that name doth nature speak.

Tit. Speak thou no more, if all the rest will speed. Marc. Renowned Titus, more than half my soul,

Luc. Dear father, soul and substance of us all,Marc. Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter His noble nephew here in virtue's nest, That died in honor and Lavinia's cause. Thou art a Roman, be not barbarous. The Greeks, upon advice, did bury Ajax, That slew himself; and wise Laërtes' son Did graciously plead for his funerals. Let not young Mutius then, that was thy joy, Be barr'd his entrance here. Tit. Rise, Marcus, rise :— The dismal'st day is this that e'er I saw, To be dishonor'd by my sons in Rome!Well, bury him, and bury me the next.

[MUTIUS is put into the Tomb. Luc. There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends,

Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb!

All. No man shed tears for noble Mutius:
He lives in fame that died in virtue's cause.
Marc. My lord,-to step out of these dreary

How comes it, that the subtle queen of Goths
Is of a sudden thus advanced in Rome?

Tit. I know not, Marcus; but, I know, it is;
Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell:
Is she not then beholden to the man
That brought her for this high good turn so far?
Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.
Flourish. Re-enter, at one side, SATURNINUS, at-
AARON: at the other, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, and

Sat. So, Bassianus, you have play'd your prize; God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride.

Bas. And you of yours, my lord: I say no more, Nor wish no less; and so I take my leave.

Sat. Traitor, if Rome have law, or we have power, Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape. Bas. Rape, call you it, my lord, to seize my own, My true-betrothed love, and now my wife? But let the laws of Rome determine all: Meanwhile I am possess'd of that is mine.

Sat. 'Tis good, sir: You are very short with us; But, if we live, we'll be as sharp with you.

Bas. My lord, what I have done, as best I may,
Answer I must, and shall do with my life.
Only thus much I give your grace to know,
By all the duties that I owe to Rome,
This noble gentleman, lord Titus here,
Is in opinion, and in honor wrong'd;
That, in the rescue of Lavinia,

With his own hand did slay his youngest son,
In zeal to you, and highly mov'd to wrath
To be controll'd in that he frankly gave:
Receive him then to favor, Saturnine;
That hath express'd himself, in all his deeds,
A father, and a friend, to thee, and Rome.
Tit. Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds;

'Tis thou, and those, that have dishonor'd me: Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge, How I have lov'd and honor'd Saturnine!

Tam. My worthy lord, if ever Tamora
Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,
Then hear me speak indifferently for all;
And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.
Sat. What! madam! be dishonor'd openly,
And basely put it up without revenge!
Tam. Not so, my lord: The gods of Rome fore-

I should be author to dishonor you!
But, on mine honor, dare I undertake
For good lord Titus' innocence in all,
Whose fury, not dissembled, speaks his griefs:
Then, at my suit, look graciously on him;
Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,
Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.-
My lord, be rul'd by me, be won at last,
Dissemble all your griefs and discontents:
You are but newly planted in your throne:
Lest then the people and patricians too,
Upon a just survey, take Titus' part,
And so supplant us for ingratitude,
(Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin,)
Yield at entreats, and then let me alone:
I'll find a day to massacre them all,
And raze their faction, and their family,
The cruel father, and his traitorous sons,
To whom I sued for my dear son's life;
And make them know, what 'tis to let a

Kneel in the streets, and beg for grace in


Come, come, sweet emperor,-come, Andronicus, Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.

Sat. Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail'd. Tit. I thank your majesty, and her, my lord: These words, these looks, infuse new lite in me. Tam. Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,

A Roman now adopted happily,
And must advise the emperor for his good.
This day all quarrels die, Andronicus;-
And let it be mine honor, good my lord,
That I have reconciled your friends and you.-
For you, prince Bassianus, I have pass'd'
My word and promise to the emperor,
That you will be more mild and tractable.-
And fear not, lords,-and you, Lavinia ;-
By my advice, all humbled on your knees,
You shall ask pardon of his majesty.

Luc. We do, and vow to heaven and to his high


That, what we did, was mildly, as we might,
Tend'ring our sister's honor, and our own.

Marc. That on mine honor here I do protest.
Sat. Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.-
Tam. Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be

The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace;
I will not be denied. Sweet heart, look back.
Sat. Marcus, for thy sake, and thy brother's here,
And at my lovely Tamora's entreats,

I do remit these young men's heinous faults.
Stand up.

Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,

I found a friend; and sure as death I swore,

I would not part a bachelor from the priest.
Come, if the emperor's court can feast two brides,
You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends;
This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.

Tit. To-morrow, an it please your majesty,
To hunt the panther and the hart with me,
With horn and hound, we'll give your grace bonjour.
Sat. Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too.



SCENE I.-Before the Palace.

Enter AARON.


Aar. Now climbeth Tamora Olympus' top, Safe out of fortune's shot: and sits aloft, Secure of thunder's crack, or lightning's flash; Advanced above pale envy's threat'ning reach. As when the golden sun salutes the morn, And, having gilt the ocean with his beams, Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach, And overlooks the highest-peering hills; So Tamora.

Dem. Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:

Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.

Aar. Why, are ye mad? or know ye not, in Rome How furious and impatient they be,

And cannot brook competitors in love?

I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.

Aaron, a thousand deaths
Would I propose, to achieve her whom I love
Aar. To achieve her!-How?

Why mak'st thou it so strange!
She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore may be won;
She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd.
What, man! more water glideth by the mill
longThan wots the miller of; and easy it is

Upon her wit doth earthly honor wait,
And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.
Then, Aaron, arm thy heart, and fit thy thoughts
To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
And mount her pitch; whom thou in triumph
Hast prisoner held, fetter'd in amorous chain,
And faster bound to Aaron's charming eyes,
Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
Away with slavish weeds, and idle thoughts!
I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold,
To wait upon this new-made emperess.
To wait, said I to wanton with this queen,
This goddess, this Semiramis;-this queen,
This syren, that will charm Rome's Saturnine,
And see his shipwreck, and his common-weal's.
Holla! what storm is this?

Enter CHIRON and DEMETRICS, braving. Dem. Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge,

And manners, to intrude where I am graced;
And may, for aught thou know'st, affected be.

Chi. Demetrius, thou dost overween in all;
And so in this to bear me down with braves.
'Tis not the difference of a year, or two,
Makes me less gracious, thee more fortunate:
I am as able, and as fit as thou,

To serve, and to deserve my mistress' grace;
And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
And plead my passions for Lavinia's love.
Aar. Clubs! clubs!5 these lovers will not keep

the peace.

Dem. Why, boy, although our mother, unadvis'd, Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side, Are you so desperate grown, to threat your friends? Go to; have your lath glued within your sheath, Till you know better how to handle it.

Chi. Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.
Dem. Ay, boy, grow ye so brave? [They draw.
Why, how now, lords?
So near the emperor's palace dare you draw,
And maintain such a quarrel openly?
Full well I wote the ground of all this grudge;
I would not for a million of gold,

The case were known to them it most concerns:
Nor would your noble mother, for much more,
Be so dishonor'd in the court of Rome.
For shame, put up.
Not I; till I have sheath'd
My rapier in his bosom, and withal,
Thrust these reproachful speeches down his throat,
That he hath breath'd in my dishonor here.

Chi. For that I am prepar'd and full resolv'd.— Foul-spoken coward, that thunder'st with thy tongue,

And with thy weapon nothing dar'st perform.
Aar. Away, I say.-

Now by the gods, that warlike Goths adore,

This petty brabble will undo us all.

Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
It is to jut upon a prince's right?

What, is Lavinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,

That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd,
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware!-an should the empress know
This discord's ground, the music would not please.
Chi. I care not, I, knew she and all the world;
I love Lavinia more than all the world.

This was the usual outcry for assistance, when any riot in the street happened. • Know.

Of a cut loaf to steal a shive,7 we know:
Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother,
Better than he have yet worn Vulcan's badge.
Aar. Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.

[Aside. Dem. Then why should he despair, that knows to court it

With words, fair looks, and liberality?
What! hast thou not full often struck a doe,
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?
Aar. Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch

[blocks in formation]

Aar. For shame, be friends; and join for that you jar.

'Tis policy and stratagem must do

That you affect; and so must you resolve;
That what you cannot, as you would, achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me, Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.

A speedier course than lingering languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious;
And many unfrequented plots there are,
Fitted by kind for rape and villany:

Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred' wit,
To villany and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend;
And she shall file our engines with advice,
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The emperor's court is like the house of fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, of ears:
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take your

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green:
Uncouple here, and let us make a bay,

And wake the emperor and his lovely bride,
And rouse the prince; and ring a hunter's peal,
That all the court may echo with the noise.
Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
To tend the emperor's person carefully:
I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd.
Horns wind a Peal. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA,

Til. Many good-morrows to your majesty ;-
Madam, to you as many and as good!-
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.

Sat. And you have rung it lustily, my lords,
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
Bas. Lavinia, how say you?


I say, no;

Lav. I have been broad awake two hours and more. Sat. Come on then, horse and chariots let us have, And to our sport:-Madam, now shall ye see Our Roman hunting. [To TAMORA. I have dogs, my lord, Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase, And climb the highest promontory top. Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain. Dem. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,

But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground. [Exeunt.

SCENE III-A desert Part of the Forest.
Enter AARON, with a Bag of Gold.

Aar. He that had wit would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree,
And never after to inherit? it.

Let him, that thinks of me so abjectly,
Know, that this gold must coin a stratagem;
Which, cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent piece of villany;
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest,3
[Hides the Gold.
That have their alms out of the empress' chest.


Tam. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,

When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chaunt melody on every bush;
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun;
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind,
And make a checquer'd shadow on the ground:
Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,-
Let us sit down, and mark their yelling noise:
And-after conflict, such as was suppos'd
The wandering prince of Dido once enjoy'd,
When with a happy storm they were surpris'd,
And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave,-
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
Whiles hounds, and horns, and sweet melodious

Be unto us, as is a nurse's song

Of lullaby, to bring her babe asleep.

[blocks in formation]

Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA. Bas. Who have we here? Rome's royal empress, Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop? Or is it Dian, habited like her;

Who hath abandoned her holy groves,

To see the general hunting in this forest?
Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps?
Had I the power, that, some say, Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Acteon's; and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!

Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess, 'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning; And to be doubted, that your Moor and you Are singled forth to try experiments: Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day! 'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.

Bas. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian Doth make your honor of his body's hue, Spotted, detested, and abominable. Why are you sequester'd from all your train? Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed, And wander'd hither to an obscure plot, Accompanied with a barbarous Moor, If foul desire had not conducted you?

Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport, Great reason that my noble lord be rated For sauciness.-I pray you, let us hence, And let her 'joy her raven-color'd love; This valley fits the purpose passing well. Bas. The king, my brother, shall have note of this.

Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted

Good king! to be so mightily abused!
Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?


Dem. How now, dear sovereign, and our gra-
cious mother,

Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?
Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
These two have 'ticed me hither to this place,
A barren, detested vale, you see, it is:
The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
O'ercome with moss, and baneful mistletoe.
Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl, or fatal raven.
And when they show'd me this abhorred pit,
They told me here, at dead time of the night,
A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,6
Would make such fearful and confused cries,
As any mortal body, hearing it,

Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But straight they told me they would bind me here
Unto the body of a dismal yew;

And leave me to this miserable death.

Aar. Madam, though Venus govern your desires, And then they call'd me foul adulteress,

Saturn is dominator over mine:

What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence, and my cloudy melancholy?

My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls,

Even as an adder, when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution?

No, madam, these are no venereal signs;
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark, Tamora,-the empress of my soul,

Which never hopes more heaven than rests in


This is the day of doom for Bassianus;
His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day:

Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,
And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
2 Possess.
• Disquiet.

• See Ovid's Metamorphoses, book vi.

Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
That ever ear did hear to such effect.
And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,
This vengeance on me had they executed:
Revenge it, as you love your mother's life,
Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children.
Dem. This is a witness that I am thy son.

[Stabs BASSIANUS. Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my strength. [Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis, - nay, barbarous


[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »