Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)


Enter the Iudges and Senatours with Titus two sonnes bound,
passing on the Stage to the place of execution, and Titus going
before pleading.
1135Ti. Heare me graue fathers, noble Tribunes stay,
For pitty of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous warres, whilst you securely slept:
For all my blood in Romes great quarrell shed,
For all the frosty nights that I haue watcht,
1140And for these bitter teares, which now you see,
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheekes,
Be pittifull to my condemned Sonnes,
Whose soules is not corrupted as 'tis thought:
For two and twenty sonnes I neuer wept,
1145Because they died in honours lofty bed.
Andronicus lyeth downe, and the Iudges passe by him.
For these, Tribunes, in the dust I write
My harts deepe languor, and my soules sad teares:
Let my teares stanch the earths drie appetite.
1150My sonnes sweet blood, will make it shame and blush:
O earth! I will be friend thee more with raine
Exeunt
That shall distill from these two ancient ruines,
Then youthfull Aprill shall with all his showres
In summers drought: Ile drop vpon thee still,
1155In Winter with warme teares Ile melt the snow,
And keepe eternall spring time on thy face,
So thou refuse to drinke my deare sonnes blood.
Enter Lucius, with his weapon drawne.
Oh reuerent Tribunes, oh gentle aged men,
1160Vnbinde my sonnes, reuerse the doome of death,
And let me say (that neuer wept before)
My teares are now preualing Oratours.
Lu. Oh noble father, you lament in vaine,
The Tribunes heare not, no man is by,
1165And you recount your sorrowes to a stone.
Ti. Ah Lucius for thy brothers let me plead,
Graue Tribunes, once more I intreat of you.
Lu. My gracious Lord, no Tribune heares you speake.
Ti. Why 'tis no matter man, if they did heare
1170They would not marke me: oh if they did heare
They would not pitty me.
Therefore I tell my sorrowes bootles to the stones.
Who though they cannot answere my distresse,
Yet in some sort they are better then the Tribunes,
1175For that they will not intercept my tale;
When I doe weepe, they humbly at my feete
Receiue my teares, and seeme to weepe with me,
And were they but attired in graue weedes,
Rome could afford no Tribune like to these.
1180A stone is as soft waxe,
Tribunes more hard then stones:
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And Tribunes with their tongues doome men to death.
But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawne?
1185Lu. To rescue my two brothers from their death,
For which attempt the Iudges haue pronounc'st
My euerlasting doome of banishment.
Ti. O happy man, they haue befriended thee:
Why foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceiue
1190That Rome is but a wildernes of Tigers?
Tigers must pray, and Rome affords no prey
But me and and mine: how happy art thou then,
From these deuourers to be banished?
But who comes with our brother Marcus heere?
1195
Enter Marcus and Lauinia.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weepe,
Or if not so, thy noble heart to breake:
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Ti. Will it consume me? Let me see it then.
1200Mar. This was thy daughter.
Ti. Why Marcus so she is.
Luc. Aye me this obiect kils me.
Ti. Faint-harted boy, arise and looke vpon her,
Speake Lauinia, what accursed hand
1205Hath made thee handlesse in thy Fathers sight?
What foole hath added water to the Sea?
Or brought a faggot to bright burning Troy?
My griefe was at the height before thou cam'st,
And now like Nylus it disdaineth bounds:
1210Giue me a sword, Ile chop off my hands too,
For they haue fought for Rome, and all in vaine:
And they haue nur'st this woe,
In feeding life:
In bootelesse prayer haue they bene held vp,
1215And they haue seru'd me to effectlesse vse.
Now all the seruice I require of them,
Is that the one will helpe to cut the other:
'Tis well Lauinia, that thou hast no hands,
For hands to do Rome seruice, is but vaine.
1220Luci. Speake gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
Mar. O that delightfull engine of her thoughts,
That blab'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torne from forth that pretty hollow cage,
Where like a sweet mellodius bird it sung,
1225Sweet varied notes inchanting euery eare.
Luci. Oh say thou for her,
Who hath done this deed?
Marc. Oh thus I found her straying in the Parke,
Seeking to hide herselfe as doth the Deare
1230That hath receiude some vnrecuring wound.
Tit. It was my Deare,
And he that wounded her,
Hath hurt me more, then had he kild me dead:
For now I stand as one vpon a Rocke,
1235Inuiron'd with a wildernesse of Sea.
Who markes the waxing tide,
Grow waue by waue,
Expecting euer when some enuious surge,
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
1240This way to death my wretched sonnes are gone:
Heere stands my other sonne, a banisht man,
And heere my brother weeping at my woes.
But that which giues my soule the greatest spurne,
Is deere Lauinia, deerer then my soule.
1245Had I but seene thy picture in this plight,
It would haue madded me. What shall I doe?
Now I behold thy liuely body so?
Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy teares,
Nor tongue to tell me who hath martyr'd thee:
1250Thy husband he is dead, and for his death
Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this.
Looke Marcus, ah sonne Lucius looke on her:
When I did name her brothers, then fresh teares
Stood on her cheekes, as doth the hony dew,
1255Vpon a gathred Lillie almost withered.
Mar. Perchance she weepes because they kil'd her
husband,
Perchance because she knowes him innocent.
Ti. If they did kill thy husband then be ioyfull,
1260Because the law hath tane reuenge on them.
No, no, they would not doe so foule a deede,
Witnes the sorrow that their sister makes.
Gentle Lauinia let me kisse thy lips,
Or make some signes how I may do thee ease:
1265Shall thy good Vncle, and thy brother Lucius,
And thou and I sit round about some Fountaine,
Looking all downewards to behold our cheekes
How they are stain'd in meadowes, yet not dry
With miery slime left on them by a flood:
1270And in the Fountaine shall we gaze so long,
Till the fresh taste be taken from that cleerenes,
And made a brine pit with our bitter teares?
Or shall we cut away our hands like thine?
Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumbe shewes
1275Passe the remainder of our hatefull dayes?
What shall we doe? Let vs that haue our tongues
Plot some deuise of further miseries
To make vs wondred at in time to come.
Lu. Sweet Father cease your teares, for at your griefe
1280See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
Mar. Patience deere Neece, good Titus drie thine
eyes.
Ti. Ah Marcus, Marcus, Brother well I wot,
Thy napkin cannot drinke a teare of mine,
1285For thou poore man hast drown'd it with thine owne.
Lu. Ah my Lauinia I will wipe thy cheekes.
Ti. Marke Marcus marke, I vnderstand her signes,
Had she a tongue to speake, now would she say
That to her brother which I said to thee.
1290His Napkin with hertrue teares all bewet,
Can do no seruice on her sorrowfull cheekes.
Oh what a simpathy of woe is this!
As farre from helpe as Limbo is from blisse,
Enter Aron the Moore alone.
1295Moore. Titus Andronicus, my Lord the Emperour,
Sends thee this word, that if thou loue thy sonnes,
Let Marcus, Lucius, or thy selfe old Titus,
Or any one of you, chop off your hand,
And send it to the King: he for the same,
1300Will send thee hither both thy sonnes aliue,
And that shall be the ransome for their fault.
Ti. Oh gracious Emperour, oh gentle Aaron.
Did euer Rauen sing so like a Larke,
That giues sweet tydings of the Sunnes vprise?
1305With all my heart, Ile send the Emperour my hand,
Good Aron wilt thou help to chop it off?
Lu. Stay Father, for that noble hand of thine,
That hath throwne downe so many enemies,
Shall not be sent: my hand will serue the turne,
1310My youth can better spare my blood then you,
And therfore mine shall saue my brothers liues.
Mar. Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
And rear'd aloft the bloody Battleaxe,
Writing destruction on the enemies Castle?
1315Oh none of both but are of high desert:
My hand hath bin but idle, let it serue
To ransome my two nephewes from their death,
Then haue I kept it to a worthy end.
Moore. Nay come agree, whose hand shall goe along
1320For feare they die before their pardon come.
Mar. My hand shall goe.
Lu. By heauen it shall not goe.
Ti. Sirs striue no more, such withered hearbs as these
Are meete for plucking vp, and therefore mine.
1325Lu. Sweet Father, if I shall be thought thy sonne,
Let me redeeme my brothers both from death.
Mar. And for our fathers sake, and mothers care,
Now let me shew a brothers loue to thee.
Ti. Agree betweene you, I will spare my hand.
1330Lu. Then Ile goe fetch an Axe.
Mar. But I will vse the Axe.
Exeunt
Ti. Come hither Aaron, Ile deceiue them both,
Lend me thy hand, and I will giue thee mine,
Moore. If that be cal'd deceit, I will be honest,
1335And neuer whil'st I liue deceiue men so:
But Ile deceiue you in another sort,
And that you'l say ere halfe an houre passe.
He cuts off Titus hand.
Enter Lucius and Marcus againe.
1340Ti. Now stay you strife, what shall be, is dispatcht:
Good Aron giue his Maiestie me hand,
Tell him, it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers: bid him bury it:
More hath it merited: That let it haue.
1345As for for my sonnes, say I account of them,
As iewels purchast at an easie price,
And yet deere too, because I bought mine owne.
Aron. I goe Andronicus, and for thy hand,
Looke by and by to haue thy sonnes with thee:
1350Their heads I meane: Oh how this villany
Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it.
Let fooles doe good, and faire men call for grace,
Aron will haue his soule blacke like his face.
Exit.
Ti. O heere I lift this one hand vp to heauen,
1355And bow this feeble ruine to the earth,
If any power pitties wretched teares,
To that I call: what wilt thou kneele with me?
Doe then deare heart, for heauen shall heare our prayers,
Or with our sighs weele breath the welkin dimme,
1360And staine the Sun with fogge as somtime cloudes,
When they do hug him in their melting bosomes.
Mar. Oh brother speake with possibilities,
And do not breake into these deepe extreames.
Ti. Is not my sorrow deepe, hauing no bottome?
1365Then be my passions bottomlesse with them.
Mar. But yet let reason gouerne thy lament.
Titus. If there were reason for these miseries,
Then into limits could I binde my woes:
When heauen doth weepe, doth not the earth oreflow?
1370If the windes rage, doth not the Sea wax mad,
Threatning the welkin with his big-swolne face?
And wilt thou haue a reason for this coile?
I am the Sea. Harke how her sighes doe flow:
Shee is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
1375Then must my Sea be moued with her sighes,
Then must my earth with her continuall teares,
Become a deluge: ouerflow'd and drown'd:
For why, my bowels cannot hide her woes,
But like a drunkard must I vomit them:
1380Then giue me leaue, for loosers will haue leaue,
To ease their stomackes with their bitter tongues,
Enter a messenger with two heads and a hand.
Mess. Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid,
For that good hand thou sentst the Emperour:
1385Heere are the heads of thy two noble sonnes.
And heeres thy hand in scorne to thee sent backe:
Thy griefes, their sports: Thy resolution mockt,
That woe is me to thinke vpon thy woes,
More then remembrance of my fathers death.
Exit.
1390Marc. Now let hot Ætna coole in Cicilie,
And be my heart an euer-burning hell:
These miseries are more then may be borne.
To weepe with them that weepe, doth ease some deale,
But sorrow flouted at, is double death.
1395Luci. Ah that this sight should make so deep a wound,
And yet detested life not shrinke thereat:
That euer death should let life beare his name,
Where life hath no more interest but to breath.
Mar. Alas poore hart that kisse is comfortlesse,
1400As frozen water to a starued snake.
Titus. When will this fearefull slumber haue an end?
Mar. Now farwell flatterie, die Andronicus,
Thou dost not slumber, see thy two sons heads,
Thy warlike hands, thy mangled daughter here:
1405Thy other banisht sonnes with this deere sight
Strucke pale and bloodlesse, and thy brother I,
Euen like a stony Image, cold and numme.
Ah now no more will I controule my griefes,
Rent off thy siluer haire, thy other hand
1410Gnawing with thy teeth, and be this dismall sight
The closing vp of our most wretched eyes:
Now is a time to storme, why art thou still?
Titus. Ha, ha, ha,
Mar. Why dost thou laugh? it fits not with this houre.
1415Ti. Why I haue not another teare to shed:
Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
And would vsurpe vpon my watry eyes,
And make them blinde with tributarie teares.
Then which way shall I finde Reuenges Caue?
1420For these two heads doe seeme to speake to me,
And threat me, I shall neuer come to blisse,
Till all these mischiefes be returned againe,
Euen in their throats that haue committed them.
Come let me see what taske I haue to doe,
1425You heauie people, circle me about,
That I may turne me to each one of you,
And sweare vnto my soule to right your wrongs.
The vow is made, come Brother take a head,
And in this hand the other will I beare.
1430And Lauinia thou shalt be employd in these things:
Beare thou my hand sweet wench betweene thy teeth:
As for thee boy, goe get thee from my sight,
Thou art an Exile, and thou must not stay,
Hie to the Gothes, and raise an army there,
1435And if you loue me, as I thinke you doe,
Let's kisse and part, for we haue much to doe.
Exeunt.
Manet Lucius.
Luci. Farewell Andronicus my noble Father:
The woful'st man that euer liu'd in Rome:
1440Farewell proud Rome, til Lucius come againe,
He loues his pledges dearer then his life:
Farewell Lauinia my noble sister,
O would thou wert as thou to fore hast beene,
But now, nor Lucius nor Lauinia liues
1445But in obliuion and hateful griefes:
If Lucius liue, he will requit your wrongs,
And make proud Saturnine and his Empresse
Beg at the gates like Tarquin and his Queene.
Now will I to the Gothes and raise a power,
1450To be reueng'd on Rome and Saturnine.
Exit Lucius