Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)


Enter young Lucius and Lauinia running after him, and
the Boy flies from her with his bookes vnder his arme.
Enter Titus and Marcus.
Boy. Helpe Grandsier helpe, my Aunt Lauinia,
1545Followes me euery where I know not why.
Good Vncle Marcus see how swift she comes,
Alas sweet Aunt, I know not what you meane.
Mar. Stand by me Lucius, doe not feare thy Aunt.
Titus. She loues thee boy too well to doe thee harme
1550Boy. I when my father was in Rome she did.
Mar. What meanes my Neece Lauinia by these signes?
Ti. Feare not Lucius, somewhat doth she meane:
See Lucius see, how much she makes of thee:
Some whether would she haue thee goe with her.
1555Ah boy, Cornelia neuer with more care
Read to her sonnes, then she hath read to thee,
Sweet Poetry, and Tullies Oratour:
Canst thou not gesse wherefore she plies thee thus?
Boy. My Lord I know not I, nor can I gesse,
1560Vnlesse some fit or frenzie do possesse her:
For I haue heard my Grandsier say full oft,
Extremitie of griefes would make men mad.
And I haue read that Hecuba of Troy,
Ran mad through sorrow, that made me to feare,
1565Although my Lord, I know my noble Aunt,
Loues me as deare as ere my mother did,
And would not but in fury fright my youth,
Which made me downe to throw my bookes, and flie
Causles perhaps, but pardon me sweet Aunt,
1570And Madam, if my Vncle Marcus goe,
I will most willingly attend your Ladyship.
Mar. Lucius I will.
Ti. How now Lauinia, Marcus what meanes this?
Some booke there is that she desires to see,
1575Which is it girle of these? Open them boy,
But thou art deeper read and better skild,
Come and take choyse of all my Library,
And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heauens
Reueale the damn'd contriuer of this deed.
1580What booke?
Why lifts she vp her armes in sequence thus?
Mar. I thinke she meanes that ther was more then one
Confederate in the fact, I more there was:
Or else to heauen she heaues them to reuenge.
1585Ti. Lucius what booke is that she tosseth so?
Boy. Grandsier 'tis Ouids Metamorphosis,
My mother gaue it me.
Mar. For loue of her that's gone,
Perhahs she culd it from among the rest.
1590Ti. Soft, so busily she turnes the leaues,
Helpe her, what would she finde? Lauinia shall I read?
This is the tragicke tale of Philomel?
And treates of Tereus treason and his rape,
And rape I feare was roote of thine annoy.
1595Mar. See brother see, note how she quotes the leaues
Ti. Lauinia, wert thou thus surpriz'd sweet girle,
Rauisht and wrong'd as Philomela was?
Forc'd in the ruthlesse, vast, and gloomy woods?
See, see, I such a place there is where we did hunt,
1600(O had we neuer, neuer hunted there)
Patern'd by that the Poet heere describes,
By nature made for murthers and for rapes.
Mar. O why should nature build so foule a den,
Vnlesse the Gods delight in tragedies?
1605Ti. Giue signes sweet girle, for heere are none but friends
What Romaine Lord it was durst do the deed?
Or slunke not Saturnine, as Tarquin ersts,
That left the Campe to sinne in Lucrece bed.
Mar. Sit downe sweet Neece, brother sit downe by me,
1610Appollo, Pallas, Ioue, or Mercury,
Inspire me that I may this treason finde.
My Lord looke heere, looke heere Lauinia.
He writes his Name with his staffe, and guides it
with feete and mouth.
1615This sandie plot is plaine, guide if thou canst
This after me, I haue writ my name,
Without the helpe of any hand at all.
Curst be that hart that forc'st vs to that shift:
Write thou good Neece, and heere display at last,
1620What God will haue discouered for reuenge,
Heauen guide thy pen to print thy sorrowes plaine,
That we may know the Traytors and the truth.
She takes the staffe in her mouth, and guides it with her
stumps and writes.
1625Ti. Oh doe ye read my Lord what she hath writs?
Stuprum, Chiron, Demetrius.
Mar. What, what, the lustfull sonnes of Tamora,
Performers of this hainous bloody deed?
Ti. Magni Dominator poli,
1630Tam lentus audis scelera, tam lentus vides?
Mar. Oh calme thee gentle Lord: Although I know
There is enough written vpon this earth,
To stirre a mutinie in the mildest thoughts,
And arme the mindes of infants to exclaimes.
1635My Lord kneele downe with me: Lauinia kneele,
And kneele sweet boy, the Romaine Hectors hope,
And sweare with me, as with the wofull Feere
And father of that chast dishonoured Dame,
Lord Iunius Brutus sweare for Lucrece rape,
1640That we will prosecute (by good aduise)
Mortall reuenge vpon these traytorous Gothes,
And see their blood, or die with this reproach.
Ti. Tis sure enough, and you knew how.
But if you hunt these Beare-whelpes, then beware
1645The Dam will wake, and if she winde you once,
Shee's with the Lyon deepely still in league.
And lulls him whilst she palyeth on her backe,
And when he sleepes will she do what she list.
You are a young huntsman Marcus, let it alone:
1650And come, I will goe get a leafe of brasse,
And with a Gad of steele will write these words,
And lay it by: the angry Northerne winde
Will blow these sands like Sibels leaues abroad,
And wheres your lesson then. Boy what say you?
1655Boy. I say my Lord, that if I were a man,
Their mothers bed-chamber should not be safe,
For these bad bond-men to the yoake of Rome.
Mar. I that's my boy, thy father hath full oft,
For his vngratefull country done the like.
1660Boy. And Vncle so will I, and if I liue.
Ti. Come goe with me into mine Armorie,
Lucius Ile fit thee, and withall, my boy
Shall carry from me to the Empresse sonnes,
Presents that I intend to send them both,
1665Come, come, thou'lt do thy message, wilt thou not?
Boy. I with my dagger in their bosomes Grandsire:
Ti. No boy not so, Ile teach thee another course,
Lauinia come, Marcus looke to my house,
Lucius and Ile goe braue it at the Court,
1670I marry will we sir, and weele be waited on.
Exeunt.
Mar. O heauens! Can you heare a good man grone
And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus attend him in his extasie,
That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart,
1675Then foe-mens markes vpon his batter'd shield,
But yet so iust, that he will not reuenge,
Reuenge the heauens for old Andronicus.
Exit