Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)


Enter Aaron alone.
Aron. He that had wit, would thinke that I had none,
735To bury so much Gold vnder a Tree,
And neuer after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abiectly,
Know that this Gold must coine a stratageme,
Which cunningly effected, will beget
740A very excellent peece of villany:
And so repose sweet Gold for their vnrest,
That haue their Almes out of the Empresse Chest.
Enter Tamora to the Moore.
Tamo. My louely Aaron,
745Wherefore look'st thou sad,
When euery thing doth make a Gleefull boast?
The Birds chaunt melody on euery bush,
The Snake lies rolled in the chearefull Sunne,
The greene leaues quiuer, with the cooling winde,
750And make a cheker'd shadow on the ground:
Vnder their sweete shade, Aaron let vs sit,
And whil'st the babling Eccho mock's the Hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well tun'd-Hornes,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
755Let vs sit downe, and marke their yelping noyse:
And after conflict, such as was suppos'd.
The wandring Prince and Dido once enioy'd,
When with a happy storme they were surpris'd,
And Curtain'd with a Counsaile-keeping Caue,
760We may each wreathed in the others armes,
(Our pastimes done) possesse a Golden slumber,
Whiles Hounds and Hornes, and sweet Melodious Birds
Be vnto vs, as is a Nurses Song
Of Lullabie, to bring her Babe asleepe.
765Aron. Madame,
Though Venus gouerne your desires,
Saturne is Dominator ouer mine:
What signifies my deadly standing eye,
My silence, and my Cloudy Melancholie,
770My fleece of Woolly haire, that now vncurles,
Euen as an Adder when she doth vnrowle
To do some fatall execution?
No Madam, these are no Veneriall signes,
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
775Blood, and reuenge, are Hammering in my head.
Harke Tamora, the Empresse of my Soule,
Which neuer hopes more heauen, then rests in thee,
This is the day of Doome for Bassianus;
His Philomel must loose her tongue to day,
780Thy Sonnes make Pillage of her Chastity,
And wash their hands in Bassianus blood.
Seest thou this Letter, take it vp I pray thee,
And giue the King this fatall plotted Scrowle,
Now question me no more, we are espied,
785Heere comes a parcell of our hopefull Booty,
Which dreads not yet their liues destruction.
Enter Bassianus and Lauinia.
Tamo. Ah my sweet Moore:
Sweeter to me then life.
790Aron. No more great Empresse, Bassianus comes,
Be crosse with him, and Ile goe fetch thy Sonnes
To backe thy quarrell what so ere they be.
Bassi. Whom haue we heere?
Romes Royall Empresse,
795Vnfurnisht of our well beseeming troope?
Or is it Dian habited like her,
Who hath abandoned her holy Groues,
To see the generall Hunting in this Forrest?
Tamo. Sawcie controuler of our priuate steps:
800Had I the power, that some say Dian had,
Thy Temples should be planted presently.
With Hornes, as was Acteons, and the Hounds
Should driue vpon his new transformed limbes,
Vnmannerly Intruder as thou art.
805Laui. Vnder your patience gentle Empresse,
'Tis thought you haue a goodly gift in Horning,
And to be doubted, that your Moore and you
Are singled forth to try experiments:
Ioue sheild your husband from his Hounds to day,
810'Tis pitty they should take him for a Stag.
Bassi. Beleeue me Queene, your swarth Cymerion,
Doth make your Honour of his bodies Hue,
Spotted, detested, and abhominable.
Why are you sequestred from all your traine?
815Dismounted from your Snow - white goodly Steed,
And wandred hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied with a barbarous Moore,
If foule desire had not conducted you?
Laui. And being intercepted in your sport,
820Great reason that my Noble Lord, be rated
For Saucinesse, I pray you let vs hence,
And let her ioy her Rauen coloured loue,
This valley fits the purpose passing well.
Bassi. The King my Brother shall haue notice of this.
825Laui. I, for these slips haue made him noted long,
Good King, to be so mightily abused.
Tamora. Why I haue patience to endure all this?
Enter Chiron and Demetrius.
Dem. How now deere Soueraigne
830And our gracious Mother,
Why doth your Highnes looke so pale and wan?
Tamo. Haue I not reason thinke you to looke pale.
These two haue tic'd me hither to this place,
A barren, detested vale you see it is.
835The Trees though Sommer, yet forlorne and leane,
Ore-come with Mosse, and balefull Misselto.
Heere neuer shines the Sunne, heere nothing breeds,
Vnlesse the nightly Owle, or fatall Rauen:
And when they shew'd me this abhorred pit,
840They told me heere at dead time of the night,
A thousand Fiends, a thousand hissing Snakes,
Ten thousand swelling Toades, as many Vrchins,
Would make such fearefull and confused cries,
As any mortall body hearing it,
845Should straite fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But strait they told me they would binde me heere,
Vnto the body of a dismall yew,
And leaue me to this miserable death.
850And then they call'd me foule Adulteresse,
Lasciuious Goth, and all the bitterest tearmes
That euer eare did heare to such effect.
And had you not by wondrous fortune come,
This vengeance on me had they executed:
855Reuenge it, as you loue your Mothers life,
Or be ye not henceforth cal'd my Children.
Dem. This is a witnesse that I am thy Sonne.
stab him.
Chi. And this for me,
Strook home to shew my strength.
860Laui. I come Semeramis, nay Barbarous Tamora.
For no name fits thy nature but thy owne.
Tam. Giue me thy poyniard, you shal know my boyes
Your Mothers hand shall right your Mothers wrong.
Deme. Stay Madam heere is more belongs to her,
865First thrash the Corne, then after burne the straw:
This Minion stood vpon her chastity,
Vpon her Nuptiall vow, her loyaltie.
And with that painted hope, braues your Mightinesse,
And shall she carry this vnto her graue?
870Chi. And if she doe,
I would I were an Eunuch,
Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
And make his dead Trunke-Pillow to our lust.
Tamo. But when ye haue the hony we desire,
875Let not this Waspe out-liue vs both to sting.
Chir. I warrant you Madam we will make that sure:
Come Mistris, now perforce we will enioy,
That nice-preserued honesty of yours.
Laui. Oh Tamora, thou bear'st a woman face.
880Tamo. I will not heare her speake, away with her.
Laui. Sweet Lords intreat her heare me but a word.
Demet. Listen faire Madam, let it be your glory
To see her teares, but be your hart to them,
As vnrelenting flint to drops of raine.
885Laui. When did the Tigers young-ones teach the dam?
O doe not learne her wrath, she taught it thee,
The milke thou suck'st from her did turne to Marble,
Euen at thy Teat thou had'st thy Tyranny,
Yet euery Mother breeds not Sonnes alike,
890Do thou intreat her shew a woman pitty.
Chiro. What,
Would'st thou haue me proue my selfe a bastard?
Laui. 'Tis true,
The Rauen doth not hatch a Larke,
895Yet haue I heard, Oh could I finde it now,
The Lion mou'd with pitty, did indure
To haue his Princely pawes par'd all away.
Some say, that Rauens foster forlorne children,
The whil'st their owne birds famish in their nests:
900Oh be to me though thy hard hart say no,
Nothing so kind but something pittifull.
Tamo. I know not what it meanes, away with her.
Lauin. Oh let me teach thee for my Fathers sake,
That gaue thee life when well he might haue slaine thee:
905Be not obdurate, open thy deafe eares.
Tamo. Had'st thou in person nere offended me.
Euen for his sake am I pittilesse:
Remember Boyes I powr'd forth teares in vaine,
To saue your brother from the sacrifice,
910But fierce Andronicus would not relent,
Therefore away with her, and vse her as you will,
The worse to her, the better lou'd of me.
Laui. Oh Tamora,
Be call'd a gentle Queene,
915And with thine owne hands kill me in this place,
For 'tis not life that I haue beg'd so long,
Poore I was slaine, when Bassianus dy'd.
Tam. What beg'st thou then? fond woman let me go?
Laui. 'Tis present death I beg, and one thing more,
920That womanhood denies my tongue to tell:
Oh keepe me from their worse then killing lust,
And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
Where neuer mans eye may behold my body,
Doe this, and be a charitable murderer.
925Tam. So should I rob my sweet Sonnes of their fee,
No let them satisfie their lust on thee.
Deme. Away,
For thou hast staid vs heere too long.
Lauinia. No Garace,
930No womanhood? Ah beastly creature,
The blot and enemy to our generall name,
Confusion fall---
Chi. Nay then Ile stop your mouth
Bring thou her husband,
935This is the Hole where Aaron bid vs hide him.
Tam. Farewell my Sonnes, see that you make her sure,
Nere let my heart know merry cheere indeed,
Till all the Andronici be made away:
Now will I hence to seeke my louely Moore,
940And let my spleenefull Sonnes this Trull defloure.
Exit.
Enter Aaron with two of Titus Sonnes.
Aron. Come on my Lords, the better foote before,
Straight will I bring you to the lothsome pit,
Where I espied the Panther fast asleepe.
945Quin. My sight is very dull what ere it bodes.
Marti. And mine I promise you, were it not for shame,
Well could I leaue our sport to sleepe a while.
Quin. What art thou fallen?
What subtile Hole is this,
950Whose mouth is couered with Rude growing Briers,
Vpon whose leaues are drops of new-shed-blood,
As fresh as mornings dew distil'd on flowers,
A very fatall place it seemes to me:
Speake Brother hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
955Martius. Oh Brother,
With the dismal'st obiect
That euer eye with sight made heart lament.
Aron. Now will I fetch the King to finde them heere,
That he thereby may haue a likely gesse,
960How these were they that made away his Brother.
Exit Aaron.
Marti. Why dost not comfort me and helpe me out,
From this vnhallow'd and blood-stained Hole?
Quintus. I am surprised with an vncouth feare,
965A chilling sweat ore-runs my trembling ioynts,
My heart suspects more then mine eie can see.
Marti. To proue thou hast a true diuining heart,
Aaron and thou looke downe into this den,
And see a fearefull sight of blood and death.
970Quintus. Aaron is gone,
And my compassionate heart
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
The thing where at it trembles by surmise:
Oh tell me how it is, for nere till now
975Was I a child, to feare I know not what.
Marti. Lord Bassianus lies embrewed heere,
All on a heape like to the slaughtred Lambe,
In this detested, darke, blood-drinking pit.
Quin. If it be darke, how doost thou know 'tis he?
980Mart. Vpon his bloody finger he doth weare
A precious Ring, that lightens all the Hole:
Which like a Taper in some Monument,
Doth shine vpon the dead mans earthly cheekes,
And shewes the ragged intrailes of the pit:
985So pale did shine the Moone on Piramus,
When he by night lay bath'd in Maiden blood:
O Brother helpe me with thy fainting hand.
If feare hath made thee faint, as mee it hath,
Out of this fell deuouring receptacle,
990As hatefull as Ocitus mistie mouth.
Quint. Reach me thy hand, that I may helpe thee out,
Or wanting strength to doe thee so much good,
I may be pluckt into the swallowing wombe,
Of this deepe pit, poore Bassianus graue:
995I haue no strength to plucke thee to the brinke.
Martius. Nor I no strength to clime without thy help.
Quin. Thy hand once more, I will not loose againe,
Till thou art heere aloft, or I below,
Thou can'st not come to me, I come to thee.
Boths fall in.
1000
Enter the Emperour, Aaron the Moore.
Satur. Along with me, Ile see what hole is heere,
And what he is that now is leapt into it.
Say, who art thou that lately did'st descend,
Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
1005Marti. The vnhappie sonne of old Andronicus,
Brought hither in a most vnluckie houre,
To finde thy brother Bassianus dead.
Satur. My brother dead? I know thou dost but iest,
He and his Lady both are at the Lodge,
1010Vpon the North-side of this pleasant Chase,
'Tis not an houre since I left him there.
Marti. We know not where you left him all aliue,
But out alas, heere haue we found him dead.
Enter Tamora, Andronicus, and Lucius.
1015Tamo. Where is my Lord the King?
King. Heere Tamora, though grieu'd with killing griefe.
Tam. Where is thy brother Bassianus?
King. Now to the bottome dost thou search my wound,
Poore Bassianus heere lies murthered.
1020Tam. Then all too late I bring this fatall writ,
The complot of this timelesse Tragedie,
And wonder greatly that mans face can fold,
In pleasing smiles such murderous Tyrannie.
She giueth Saturnine a Letter.
1025
Saturninus reads the Letter.
And if we misse to meete him hansomely,
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis we meane,
Doe thou so much as dig the graue for him,
Thou know'st our meaning, looke for thy reward
1030Among the Nettles at the Elder tree:
Which ouer-shades the mouth of that same pit:
Where we decreed to bury Bassianuss
Doe this and purchase vs thy lasting friends.
King. Oh Tamora, was euer heard the like?
1035This is the pit, and this the Elder tree,
Looke sirs, if you can finde the huntsman out,
That should haue murthered Bassianus heere.
Aron. My gracious Lord heere is the bag of Gold.
King. Two of thy whelpes, fell Curs of bloody kind
1040Haue heere bereft my brother of his life:
Sirs drag them from the pit vnto the prison,
There let them bide vntill we haue deuis'd
Some neuer heard-of tortering paine for them.
Tamo. What are they in this pit,
1045Oh wondrous thing!
How easily murder is discouered?
Tit. High Emperour, vpon my feeble knee,
I beg this boone, with teares, not lightly shed,
That this fell fault of my accursed Sonnes,
1050Accursed, if the faults be prou'd in them.
King. If it be prou'd? you see it is apparant,
Who found this Letter, Tamora was it you?
Tamora. Andronicus himselfe did take it vp.
Tit. I did my Lord,
1055Yet let me be their baile,
For by my Fathers reuerent Tombe I vow
They shall be ready at your Highnes will,
To answere their suspition with their liues.
King. Thou shalt not baile them, see thou follow me:
1060Some bring the murthered body, some the murtherers,
Let them not speake a word, the guilt is plaine,
For by my soule, were there worse end then death,
That end vpon them should be executed.
Tamo. Andronicus I will entreat the King,
1065Feare not thy Sonnes, they shall do well enough.
Tit. Come Lucius come,
Stay not to talke with them.
Exeunt.