Imatges de pÓgina

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.


[ocr errors]

SCENE V.-The Forest.

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, with LAVINIA, her hands cut off, and her tongue

cut out. DEMET. So now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,

Who 't was that cut thy tongue and ravish'd thee. CHI. Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,

An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.
DEMET. See, how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.
CHI. Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.
DEMET. She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;

And so, let 's leave her to her silent walks.
CHI. An 't were my causea, I should go hang myself.
Demet. If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.


Enter MARCUS, from hunting.
MARC. Who is this ? my niece, that flies away so fast ?
Cousin, a word; where is

husband ?
If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me !
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.
But sure some Tereus hath defloured thee,
And, lest thou shouldst 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 their issuing spouts,


a Cause. So the old editions. In modern copies, case.


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 say, 't is so ?
O 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 ciuders 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 withala,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better sew'd than Philomel.
Oh! 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;

Oh, could our mourning ease thy misery! a So the folio. The quarto of 1600,

"A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met.”


[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Enter the Judges and Senators, with MARTIUS and Quintus bound, passing on

the stage to the place of execution; and Titus going before, pleading.
Trt. 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 't is thought.
For two-and-twenty sons I never wept,
Because they died in honour's lofty bed.

[ANDRONICUS lies down, and the Judges pass by him.
For these, tribunes, in the dust I write
My heart's deep languor, and my soul's sad tears :
Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite;

a Malone reads “good tribunes."



My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.

[Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, and Prisoners.
O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall diştil from these two ancient ruins,
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.

Enter Lucius, with his weapon drawn.
Oh, reverend tribunes ! oh, gentle, aged men!
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
And let me say, that never wept before,

My tears are now prevailing orators!
Luc. Oh, noble father, you lament in vain;

The tribunes hear you not, no man is by,

And you recount your sorrows to a stone. Tit. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead :

Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you !
Loc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
Tit. Why, 't is no matter, man; if they did hear

They would not mark me: oh, if they did hear,
They would not pity mea:
Therefore I tell my sorrows bootless b to the stones,
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in some sort they ’re better than the tribunes,
For that they will not intercept my tale:
When I do weep, they, humbly at my feet,
Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me;
And, were they but attired in


Rome could afford no tribune like to these.
A stone is as soft wax, tribunes more hard than stones;
A stone is silent, and offendeth not;
And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.

But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their death :

For which attempt, the judges have pronounc'd

My everlasting doom of banishment. • So the folio of 1623. The quarto of 1600

"Or, if they did mark,
They would not pity me; yet plead I must,

All bootless unto them."
The quarto of 1611 omits “ Yet plead I must,” but retains “ All bootless unto them."

Bootless is omitted in modern editions.
As soft wax. So the folio: the quartos, “ soft as wax."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Tir. Oh, happy man, they have befriended thee:

Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers ?
Tigers must prey; and Rome affords no prey
But me and mine : how happy art thou, then,
From these devourers to be banished !
But who comes with our brother Marcus here?

Enter Marcus and LAVINIA. MARC. Titus, prepare thy noble a eyes to weep,

Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break :

I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Tit. Will it consume me? Let me see it, then.
MARC. This was thy daughter.

Why, Marcus, so she is.
Luc. Ah me! this object kills me.
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise and look upon

Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
What fool hath added water to the sea ?
Or brought a fagot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou cam’st,
And now, like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds :
Give me a sword, I 'll chop off my hands too;
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nurs'd this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have serv'd me to effectless use.
Now all the service I require of them
Is that the one will help to cut the other.
'T is well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;

For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain. Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee? MARC. Oh, that delightful engine of her thoughts,

That blabb'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung

Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear.
Luc. Oh, say thou for her, who hath done this deed ?
Marc. Oh, thus I found her, straying in the park,

Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer

That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound. Tit. It was my deer; and he that wounded her Hath hurt me more than had he kill'd me dead :

a Noble. The common reading is aged.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »