Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Quarto 1, 1594)


Enter Aron alone.
Moore. He that had wit, would thinke that I had none,
735To burie so much gold vnder a tree,
And neuer after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abiectlie,
Know that this gold must coine a stratageme,
VVhich cunninglie effected will beget,
740A verie excellent peece of villanie:
And so repose sweet gold for their vnrest,
That haue their almes out of the Empresse Chest.
Enter Tamora alone to the Moore.
Tamora. My louelie Aron, wherefore lookst thou sad,
VVhen euerie thing dorh make a gleefull bost?
The birds chaunt melodie on euerie bush,
The snakes lies rolled in the chearefull sunne,
The greene leaues quiuer with the cooling winde,
750And make a checkerd shadow on the ground:
Vnder their sweet shade, Aron let vs sit,
And whilst the babling eccho mocks the hounds,
Replying shrillie to the well tun'd hornes,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
755Let vs sit downe and marke their yellowing noyse:
And after conflict such as was supposde
The wandring Prince and Dido once inioyed,
VVhen with a happie storme they were surprisde,
And curtaind with a counsaile-keeping Caue,
760VVe may each wreathed in the others armes,
(Our pastimes done,) possesse a golden slumber,
VVhiles hounds and hornes, and sweete mellodious birds
Be vnto vs as is a Nurces song
Of Lullabie, to bring her Babe a sleepe.
765Moore. Maddam, though Venus gouerne your desires,
Saturne is dominator ouer mine:
VVhat signifies my deadlie standing eie,
My silence, ann my clowdie melancholie,
770My fleece of wollie haire that now vncurles,
Euen as an Adder when shee doth vnrowle,
To doo some fatall execution.
No Maddam, these are no veneriall signes,
Vengeance is in my hart, death in my hand,
775Blood and reuenge are hammering in my head.
Harke Tamora the Empresse of my soule,
Which neuer hopes more heauen than rests in thee,
This is the daie of doome for Bassianus,
His Philomel must loose her tongue to daie,
780Thy sonnes make pillage of her chasttitie,
And wash their hands in Bascianus 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,
785Here comes a parcell of our hopeful lbootie,
VVhich dreads not yet their liues destruction.
Enter Bascianus, and Lauinia.
Tamora. Ah my sweete Moore, sweeter to me than life.
790Moore. No more great Empresse, Bascianus comes,
Be crosse with him, and Ile goe fetch thy sonnes
To backe thy quarrels what so ere they bee.
Bascianus. who haue we here? Romes Royall Empresse,
795Vnfurnisht of her well beseeming troope?
Or is it Dian habited like her,
VVho hath abandoned her holie groues,
To see the generall hunting in this Forrest?
Tamora. Sawcie controwler of my priuate steps,
800Had I the powre that some say Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presentlie,
VVith hornes as was Acteons, and the hounds,
Should driue vpon thy new transformed limbes,
Vnmannerly intruder as thou art.
805Lauinea. 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 trie thy experimens:
Ioue sheeld your husband from his hounds to day,
810Tis pittie they should take him for a Stag.
Bassianus. Beleeue me Queene your swartie Cymerion,
Doth make your honour of his bodies hue,
Spotted, detested, and abhominable.
VVhy are you sequestred from all your traine,
815Dismounted from your snow white goodly steede,
And wandred hither to an obsure plot,
Accompanied but with a barbarous Moore,
If foule desire had not conducted you?
Lauinia. And being intercepted in your sport,
820Great reason that my Noble Lord be rated
For sausines, I pray you let vs hence,
And let her ioy her Rauen culloured loue,
This valie fitts the purpose passing well.
Bass. The King my brother shall haue notice of this.
825Lauinia I, for these slips haue made him noted long,
Good King to be so mightily abused.
Queene. VVhy I haue patience to indure all this.
Enter Chiron and Demetrius.
Demet. How now deare soueraigne, and our gratious
VVhy doth your highnes looke so pale and wan?
Queene. Haue I not reason thinke you to looke pale,
These two haue ticed me hither to this place,
A barren, detested vale you see it is,
835The trees though summer yet forlorne and leane,
Ouercome with mosse and balefull misselto.
Here neuer shines the sunne, here nothing breeds,
Vnlesse the nightly Owle or fatall Rauen:
And when they showd me this abhorred pit,
840They told me here at dead time of the night,
A thousand feends, a thousand hissing snakes,
Ten thousand swelling toades, as manie vrchins,
VVould make such fearefull and confused cries,
As any mortall body hearing it
845Should strait fall mad, or els die suddainely.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
Bu strait they told me they would binde me here,
Vnto the body of a dismall Ewghe,
And leaue me to this miserable death.
850And then they calde me foule adulteresse,
Lauicious 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 yee not hence forth cald my Children,
Demetrius. This is a witnes that I am thy son.
stab him.
Chi. And this for me struck home, to shew my strength.
860Lauinia. I come Semeranis, nay barbarous Tamora,
For no name fits thy nature but thy owne.
Tamora. Giue me the poynard, you shall know my boies,
Your Mothers hand shall right your Mothers wrong.
Demetrius. Stay Madame here is more belongs to her,
865First thrash the corne, then after burne the straw:
This minion stood vpon her chastitie,
Vpon her Nuptiall vow, her loyaltie,
And with that painted hope, braues your mightenes,
And shall she carrie this vnto her graue.
870Chiron. And if she doe, I would I were an Euenuke,
Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
And make his dead trunke pillow to our lust.
Tamora. But when yee haue the honie we desire,
875Let not this waspe out liue vs both to sting.
Chiron. I warrant you maddame we will make that sure:
Come Mistris now perforce we will enioy,
That nice preserued honestie of yours.
Lauinia. Oh Tamora, thou bearest a womans face.
880Tamora. I will not heare her speake awaie with her.
Lauinia. Sweet Lords intreat her heare me but a word.
Demetrius. Listen faire Maddame let it be your glory
To see her teares, but be your hart to them:
As vnrelenting Flint to drops of raine.
885Lauinia. VVhen did the Tigers young ones teach the
Oh doe not learne her wrath: she taught it thee,
The Milke thou suckst from her did turne to Marble,
Euen at thy teat thou hadst thy tyrranie,
Yet euerie Mother breeds not sonnes a like,
890Doe thou intreat her shew a womans pittie.
Chiron. VVhat wouldst thou haue me proue my selfe a
Lauinia. Tis true the Rauen doth not hatch a Larke,
895Yet haue I hard, Oh could I finde it now,
The Lion moued with pittie did indure,
To haue his Princelie pawes parde all away:
So me say that Rauens foster forlorne children,
The whilst their owne birds famish in their nests:
900Oh be to me though thy hard hart say no,
Nothing so kinde but something pittifull.
Tamora. I know not what it meanes, away with her.
Lauinia. 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 yeares.
Tamora. Hadst thou in person nere offended mee,
Euen for his sake am I pittilesse.
Remember boyes I powrd forth teares in vaine,
To saue your brothet from the sacrifice,
910But fearce Andronicus would not relent,
Therefore away with her, and vse her as you will,
The worse to her the better lou'd of mee.
Lauinia. Oh Tamora be calld a Gentle Queene,
915And with thine owne hands kill me in this place,
For tis not life that I haue begd so long,
Poore I was slaine when Bascianus dide.
Tamora. VVhat begst thou then fond woman let me
Lauinia. Tis present death I beg, and one thing more,
920That woman-hood denies my tong to tell,
Oh keepe me from there worse than killing lust,
And tumble me into some lothsome pit,
VVhere neuer mans eye may behold my bodie,
Doe this and be a charitable murderer.
925Tamora. So should I rob my sweet sonnes of their fee,
No let them satisfiee their lust on thee.
Demetrius. Away for thou hast staide vs here too long.
Lauinia. No grace, no womanhood, ah beastly creature,
The blot and enemie to our generall name,
Confusion fall
Chiron. Nay then Ile stop your mouth, bring thou her
935This is the hole where Aron bid vs hide him.
Tamora. Farewell my sons, see that you make her sure,
Nere let my hart know merry cheare indeede,
Till all the Andronicie be made away:
Now will I hence to seeke my louely Moore,
940And let my spleenfull sonnes this Trull defloure.
Enter Aron with two of Titus sonnes.
Come on my Lords the better foot before,
Straight will I bring you to the lothsome pit,
VVhere I espied the Panther fast asleepe.
945Quintus. My sight is verie dull what ere it bodes.
Mart. And mine I promise you, were it not for shame,
VVell could I leaue our sport to sleepe a while.
Quintus. VVhat art thou fallen what subtill hole is this,
950VVhose mouth is couered with rude growing briers,
Vpon whose leaues are drops of new shed blood,
As fresh as morning dew distild on flowers,
A verie fatall place it seemes to mee,
Speake brother hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
955M artius. Oh brother with the dismalst obiect hurt,
That euer eie with sight made hart lament.
Aron. Now will I fetch the King to finde them here,
That he thereby may haue a likely gesse,
Exit.
960How these were they, that made away his brother.
Martius. VVhy dost not comfort me and help me out
From this vnhollow, and bloodstained hole.
Quintus. I am surprised with an vncouth feare,
965A chilling sweat oreruns my trembling ioynts,
My hart suspects more than mine eie can see.
Martius. To proue thou hast a true diuining hart,
Aron, and thou looke downe into this den,
And see a fearefull sight of blood and death.
970Quintus. Aron is gone, and my compassionate hart,
Will not permit mine eyes once to behold,
The thing where at it trembles by surmise:
Oh tell me who it is, for nere till now,
975VVas I a child to feare I know not what.
Martius. Lord Bassianus lies bereaud in blood,
All on a heape like to a slaughtered Lambe,
In this detested darke blood drinking pit.
Quintus. If it be darke how dost thou know tis hee.
980Martius. Vpon his bloody finger he doth weare
A pretious ring, that lightens all this hole:
VVhich like a taper in some monument,
Doth shine vpon the dead mans earthy cheekes,
And shewes the ragged intrals of this pit:
985So pale did shine the Moone on Priamus,
VVhen he by night lay bathd in Maiden blood,
O Brother help me with thy fainting hand,
If feare hath made thee faint as me 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 brinck,
Martius. Nor I no strength to clime without thy help.
Quint. Thy hand once more, I will not loose againe,
Till thou art here a loft or I belowe:
Thou canst not come to me, I come to thee.
1000
Enter the Emperour and Aron,
the Moore.
Saturninus. Along with me, Ile see what hole is here.
And what he is that now is leapt into it.
Say who art thou that lately didst descend,
Into this gaping hollow of the earth.
1005Martius. The vnhappie sonnes of old Andronicus,
Brought hither in a most vnluckie houre,
To finde thy brother Bassianus dead.
Saturninus. My brother dead, I know thou dost but
He and his Ladie both are at the lodge,
1010Vpon the north side of this pleasant chase,
Tis not an houre since I left them there.
Mart. VVe know not where you left them all a liue,
But out alas, here haue we found him dead.
Enter Tamora, Andronicus, and Lucius.
1015Tamora. VVhere is my Lord the King?
King. Here Tamora, though griude with killing griefe.
Tamora. VVhere is thy brother Bassianus?
King. Now to the bottome dost thou search my wound,
Poore Bassianus here lies murthered.
1020Tamora. 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 tyrranie.
She giueth Saturnine a letter.
1025
Saturninus reads the letter.
And if wee misse to meete him handsomelie,
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus tis we meane,
Doe thou so much as dig the graue for him,
Thou knowst 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 burie Bassianus,
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 here.
Aron. My gratious Lord here is the bag of gold.
King. Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kinde,
1040Haue here bereft my brother of his life:
Sirs drag them from the pit vnto the prison,
There let them bide vntill we haue deuisd,
Some neuer hard of tortering paine for them.
Tam. VVhat are they in this pit, Oh wondrous thing!
How easily murder is discouered.
Titus. 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 proud in them.
King. If it be proude, you see it is apparant,
Who found this letter, Tamora was it you?
Tamora. Andronicus himselfe did take it vp.
Titus. I did my Lord, yet let me be their baile,
For by my Fathers reuerent toombe I vowe,
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 than death,
That end vpon them should be executed.
Tamora. Andronicus I will intreat the King,
1065Feare not thy sonnes, they shall doe well enough.
Titus. Come Lucius come, stay not to talke with them.