« AnteriorContinua »
-My lord the emperor, resolve me this ;
Sat. It was, Andronicus.
Sat. Because the girl should not survive her shame, And by her presence still renew his sorrows.
Tit. A reason mighty, strong, and effectual ;
[He kills LAVINIA. And, with thy shame, thy father's sorrow die !
Sat. What hast thou done, unnatural, and unkind ?
Tit. Kill’d her, for whom my tears have made me blind. I am as wofal as Virginius was : And have a thousand times more cause than he To do this outrage ;-and it is now done.
Sat. What, was she ravish'd ? tell, who did the deed. Tit. Will't please you eat ? will't please your highness
feed ? Tam. Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus ?
Tit. Not I; 'twas Chiron, and Demetrius :
Sat. Ğo, fetch them hither to us presently.
(Killing TAMORA. Sat. Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed.
[Killing Titus. Luc. Can the son's eye behold his father bleed ? There's meed for meed, death for a deadly deed. [Kills SATURNINUS. A great tumult.
The People in confusion disperse. Marcus, Lucius, and their Partizans ascend the steps before Titus's house. Mar. You sad-fac'd men, people and sons of Rome, By uproar sever'd, like a flight of fowl Scatter'd by winds and high tempestuous gusts, 0, let me teach you how to knit again This scatter'd corn into one mutual sheaf,
These broken limbs again into one body.
Sen. Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself ;
Luc. Then, noble auditory, be it known to you,
That my report is just, and full of truth.
[Pointing to the Child in the arms of an Attendant,
Æmil. Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
Lucius, &c. descend.
[To an Attendant.
0, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,
[Kisses Titus. These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face, The last true duties of thy noble son !
Mar. Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
Boy. O grandsire, grandsire ! even with all my heart
Enter Attendants, with AARON.
Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him ; There let him stand, and rave and
for food :
Aar. O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb ?
Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence, And give him burial in his father's grave : My father, and Lavinia, shall forthwith Be closed in our household's monument.
As for that heinous tiger, Tamora,
Exeunt. 8 This is one of those plays which I have always thought with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledged in the list of Shakespeare's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a proof to strengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of question. Ben Jonson, in the Introduction to his Bartholomew-Fair, which made its first appearance in the year 1614, couples Jeronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and speaks of them as plays then twenty-five or thirty years standing. Consequently Andronicus must have been on the stage before Shakespeare left Warwickshire to come and reside in London; and I never beard it so much as intimated, that he had turned his genius to stage-writiug before he associated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it anew on the stage, witb the addition of his own masterly touches, is incontestible, and thence, I presume, grew his title to it. The diction in general, where be has not taken the pains to raise it, is even beneath that of the Three Parts of Henry VI. The story we are to suppose merely fictitious. Andronicus is a sur-name of pure Greek derivation. Tamora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor any body else that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the time of her emperors, any war with the Goths that I know of: not till after the translation of the empire, I mean to Byzantium. And yet the scene of our play is laid at Rome, and Saturninus is elected to the empire at the Capitol.
THEOBALD. All the editors and critics agree with Mr. Theobald in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the colour of the stile iş wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing. The barbarity of the spectacles, and the general massacre, which are here exhibited, casa scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience; yet we are told by Jonson, that they were not only borbe but praised. That Shakespeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares incontestible, I see no reason for believing.
The testimony, by which it is ascribed to Shakespeare, is by no means equal to the argument against its authenticity, arising from the total difference of conduct, language, and sentiments, by which it stands apart from all the rest. Meres had probably no other evidence than that of a title-page, which, though in our time it be sufficient, was then of no great authority ; for all the plays which were rejected by the first collectors of Shakespeare's works, and admitted in later editions, and again rejected by the critical editors, bad Shakespeare's name on the title, as we must suppose, by the fraudulence of the printers, who, while there were yet no gazettes, nor advertisements, nor any means of circulating literary intelligence, could usurp at pleasure any celebrated name. Nor had Shakespeare any interest in detecting the imposture, as none of his fame or profit was produced by the press.
Ravenscroft, who in the reign of James II. revised this play, and restored it to the stage, tells us, in his preface, from a theatrical tradition, I suppose, which in his time might be of sufficient authority, that this play was touched in different parts by Bhakespeare, but written by some other poet. 'I do not find Shakespeare's touches very discernible. JOHNSON.
I agree with such of the commentators as think that Shakespeare had no hand in this abominable tragedy; and consider the correctness with which it is printed, as a kind of collateral proof that he had not. The genuine works of Shakespeare bave been handed down to us in a more depraved state than those of any other contemporary writer ; which was partly owing to the obscurity of his band writing, which
appears to have been scarcely legible, and partly to his total neglect of them when committed to the press. And it is not to be supposed, that he should have taken more pains about the publication of this horrid performance, than he did in that of his noblest productions. M. MASON.
END OF VOL. VIII,