Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)


Enter the Empresse Sonnes, with Lauinia, her hands cut off and
her tongue cut out, and rauisht.
1070Deme. So now goe tell and if thy tongue can speake,
Who t'was that cut thy tongue and rauisht thee.
Chi. Write downe thy mind, bewray thy meaning so,
And if thy stumpes will let thee play the Scribe.
Dem. See how with signes and tokens she can scowle.
1075Chi. Goe home,
Call for sweet water, wash thy hands.
Dem. She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash.
And so let's leaue her to her silent walkes.
Chi. And t'were my cause, I should goe hang my selfe.
1080Dem. If thou had'st hands to helpe thee knit the cord.
Exeunt.
Winde Hornes.
Enter Marcus from hunting, to Lauinia.
Who is this, my Neece that flies away so fast?
1085Cosen a word, where is your husband?
If I do dreame, would all my wealth would wake me;
If I doe wake, some Planet strike me downe,
That I may slumber in eternall sleepe.
Speake gentle Neece, what sterne vngentle hands
1090Hath lopt, and hew'd, and made thy body bare
Of her two branches, those sweet Ornaments
Whose circkling shadowes, Kings haue sought to sleep in
And might not gaine so great a happines
As halfe thy Loue: Why doost not speake to me?
1095Alas, a Crimson riuer of warme blood,
Like to a bubling fountaine stir'd with winde,
Doth rise and fall betweene thy Rosed lips,
Comming and going with thy hony breath.
But sure some Tereus hath defloured thee,
1100And least thou should'st detect them, cut thy tongue.
Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame:
And notwithstanding all this losse of blood,
As from a Conduit with their issuing Spouts,
Yet doe thy cheekes looke red as Titans face,
1105Blushing to be encountred with a Cloud,
Shall I speake for thee? shall I say 'tis so?
Oh that I knew thy hart, and knew the beast
That I might raile at him to ease my mind.
Sorrow concealed, like an Ouen stopt,
1110Doth burne the hart to Cinders where it is.
Faire Philomela she but lost her tongue,
And in a tedious Sampler sowed her minde.
But louely Neece, that meane is cut from thee,
A craftier Tereus hast thou met withall,
1115And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could haue better sowed then Philomel.
Oh had the monster seene those Lilly hands,
Tremble like Aspen leaues vpon a Lute,
And make the silken strings delight to kisse them,
1120He would not then haue toucht them for his life.
Or had he heard the heauenly Harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made:
He would haue dropt his knife and fell asleepe,
As Cerberus at the Thracian Poets feete.
1125Come, let vs goe, and make thy father blinde,
For such a sight will blinde a fathers eye.
One houres storme will drowne the fragrant meades,
What, will whole months of teares thy Fathers eyes?
Doe not draw backe, for we will mourne with thee:
1130Oh could our mourning ease thy misery.
Exeunt