Internet Shakespeare Editions

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


Enter the Iudges and Senatours with Titus two sonnes
bound, passing on the Stage to the place of execution, and Ti-
tus going before pleading.
1135Titus. Heare me graue Fathers, Noble Tribunes stay,
For pittie of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous warres, whilst you securelie slept.
For all my blood in Roomes great quarrell shed,
For all the frostie nights that I haue watcht,
1140And for these bitter teares which now you see,
Filling the aged wrincles in my cheeks,
Be pittifull to my condemned sonnes,
VVhose soules is not corrupted as tis thought.
For two and twentie sonnes I neuer wept,
1145Because they died in honours loftie bed,
Andronicus lieth 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 staunch the earths drie appetite,
1150My sonnes sweete blood will make it shame and blush:
O earth I will befriend thee more with raine,
That shall distill from these two auntient ruines,
Than 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 springtime outhy 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 preuailing Oratours.
Lucius. Oh Noble Father you lament in vaine,
The Tribunes heare you not, no man is by,
1165And you recount your sorrowes to a stone.
Titus. Ah Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead,
Graue Tribunes, once more I intreat of you.
Lucius. My gratious Lord, no T ribune heares you speak.
Titus. VVhy tis no matter man, if they did heare
1170They would not marke me, if they did marke,
They would not pittie me, yet pleade I must,
1171.1And bootlesse vnto them.
Therefore I tell my sorrowes to the stones,
who though they cannot answere my distresse,
Yet in some sort they are better than the Tribunes,
1175For that they will not intercept my tale:
when I doe weepe, they humblie at my feete
Receiue my teares, and seeme to weepe with me,
And were they but attired in graue weeds,
Rome could afford no Tribunes like to these:
1180A stone is soft as waxe, Tribunes more hard than stones:
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And Tribunes with their tongues doome men to death.
But wherefore standst thou with thy weapon drawne?
1185Lucius. To rescue my two brothers from their death,
For which attempt the Iudges haue pronouncst,
My euerlasting doome of banishment.
Titus. O happie man, they haue befriended thee:
why foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceiue
1190That Rome is but a wildernes of tygers?
Tygers must pray, and Rome affords no pray
But me and mine, how happie art thou then,
From these deuourers to be banished.
But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
1195
Enter Marcus with Lauinia.
Marcus. Titus, prepare thy aged eies to weepe,
Or if not so, thy Noble hart to breake:
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Titus. will it consume mee? Let me see it then.
1200Marcus. This was thy Daughter.
Titus. why Marcus so shee is.
Lucius. Ay mee, this Obiect kils mee.
Titus. Faint-harted-boy, arise and looke vpon her.
Speake Lauinea, what accursed hand,
1205Hath made thee handles 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 camst,
And now like Nylus it disdaineth bounds.
1210Giue me a sword Ile choppe off my hands too,
For they haue fought for Rome, and all in vaine:
And they haue nurst this woe, in feeding life:
In bootlesse praier haue they beene held vp,
1215And they haue serude me to effectles 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 doe Rome seruice is but vaine.
1220Lucius. Speake gentle sister, who hath martred thee.
Marcus. Oh that delightfull engine of her thoughts,
That blabd them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torne from forth that prettie hollow cage,
VVhere like a sweete mellodious bird it sung,
1225Sweete varied notes inchaunting euerie eare.
Lucius. Oh say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
Marcus. Oh thus I found her straying in the Parke,
Seeking to hide her selfe, as doth the Deare
1230That hath receaude some vnrecuring wound.
Titus. It was my Deare, and he that wounded her,
Hath hurt me more than had he kild me dead:
For now I stand as one vpon a rocke,
1235Inuirond with a wildernes of sea,
VVho markes the waxing tide, grow waue by waue,
Expecting euer when some enuious surge,
VVill in his brinish bowels swallow him.
1240This way to death my wretched sonnes are gone,
Here stands my other sonne a banisht man,
And here my brother weeping at my woes:
But that which giues my soule the greatest spurne
Is deare Lauinia, dearer than my soule.
1245Had I but seene thy picture in this plight,
It would haue madded me: what shall I doo,
Now I behold thy liuelie bodie so?
Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy teares,
Nor tongue to tell me who hath martred thee:
1250Thy husband he is dead, and for his death
Thy brothers are condemnde, and dead by this.
Looke Marcus, Ah sonne Lucius looke on her,
VVhen I did name her brothers, then fresh teares
Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honie dew,
1255Vpon a gathred Lillie almost withered.
Marcus. Perchance shee weepes because they kild her
Perchance, because shee knowes them innocent.
Titus. If they did kill thy husband then be ioyfull,
1260Because the Law hath tane reuenge on them.
No, no, they would not doo so fowle a deede,
VVitnes the sorrow that their sister makes.
Gentle Lauinia, let me kisse thy lips,
Or make some signe how I may doe 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 staind like meadowes yet not drie,
VVith mierie slime left on them by a flood?
1270And in the fountaine shall wee gaze so long,
Till the fresh tast be taken from that clearenes,
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 showes
1275Passe the remainder of our hatefull daies?
VVhat shall we doe? Let vs that haue our tongues,
Plot some deuise of further miserie,
To make vs wonderd at in time to come.
Lucius. Sweete father cease your teares, for at your grief
1280See how my wretched sister sobs and weepes.
Marcus. Patience deare niece, good Titus dry thine eies.
Titus. Ah M arcus, Marcus, Brother well I wote,
Thy napkin cannot drinke a teare of mine,
1285For thou poore man, hast drownd it with thine owne.
Lucius. Ah my Lauinia, I will wipe thy cheekes.
Titus. Marke Marcus, marke, I vnderstand her signes,
Had shee a tongue to speake, now would shee say
That to her Brother, which I said to thee.
1290His napking with her true teares all bewet,
Can doe no seruice on her sorrowfull cheekes,
Oh what a simpathie of woe is this,
As farre from helpe, as Lymbo is from blisse.
Enter Aron the M oore alone.
1295Moore. Titus Andronicus, My Lord the Emperour,
Sends thee this word, that if thou loue thy sonnes,
Let M arcus, Lucius, or thy selfe olde 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 raunsome for their fault.
Titus. Oh gratious Emperour, Oh gentle Aron,
Did euer Rauen sing so like a Larke,
That giues sweete tidings of the Sunnes vprise?
1305VVith all my hart, Ile send the Emperour my hand,
Good Aron wilt thou helpe to chop it off?
Lucius. 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 bloud than you,
And therefore mine shall saue my brothers liues.
Marcus. which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
And reard aloft the bloudie Battleaxe,
wrighting destruction on the enemies Castle?
1315Oh none of both, but are of high desert:
My hand hath beene but idle, let it serue
To raunsome my two Nephews from their death,
Then haue I kept it to a worthie ende.
Moore. Nay come agree whose hand shall goe along,
1320For feare they die before their pardon come.
Marcus. My hand shall goe.
Lucius. By heauen it shall not goe.
Titus. Sirs striue no more, such withred hearbs as these
Are meete for plucking vp, and therefore mine.
1325Lucius. Sweete father, if I shall be thought thy sonne,
Let me redeeme my brothers both from death.
Marcus. And for our fathers sake, and mothers care,
Now let me show a brothers loue to thee.
Titus. Agree betweene you, I will spare my hand.
1330Lucius. Then Ile goe fetch an Axe.
Marcus. But I will vse the Axe.
Exeunt.
Titus. Come hither Aron, Ile deceiue them both,
Lend me thy hand, and I will giue thee mine.
Moore. If that be calde deceit, I will be honest,
1335And neuer whilst I liue deceiue men so:
But Ile deceiue you in another sort,
And that youle say ere halfe an houre passe.
He cuts off Titus hand.
Enter Lucius and Marcus againe.
1340Titus. Now stay your strife, what shall be, is dispatcht.
Good Aron giue his Maiestie my hand,
Tell him it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers, bid him burie it,
More hath it merited, that let it haue:
1345As for my sonnes, say I account of them,
As iewels purchasde at an easie price,
And yet deare 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 villanie,
Doth fat me with the verie thoughts of it.
Let fooles doe good, and faire men call for grace,
Aron will haue his soule blacke like his face.
Exit.
Titus. Oh here 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 wouldst thou kneele with mee?
Doe then deare hart, for heauen shall heare our praiers,
Or with our sighs wele breath the welkin dimme,
1360And staine the sunne with fogge, as sometime clowds,
VVhen they doe hug him in their melting bosomes.
Marcus. Oh Brother speake with possibilitie,
And doe not breake into these deepe extreames.
Titus. Is not my sorrow deepe hauing no bottome?
1365Then be my passions bottomlesse with them.
Marcus. But yet let reason gouerne thy lament.
Titus. If there were reason for these miseries,
Then into limits could I binde my woes:
VVhen heauen doth weepe, doth not the earth oreflow?
1370If the winds rage, doth not the sea waxe mad,
Threatning the welkin with his bigswolne face?
And wilt thou haue a reason for this coile?
I am the sea. Harke how her sighs doth flow:
Shee is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
1375Then must my sea be mooued with her sighs,
Then must my earth with her continuall teares,
Become a deluge: ouerflowed and drownd:
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 stomacks with their bitter tongues.
Enter a messenger with two heads and a hand.
Messenger. VVorthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid,
For that good hand thou sentst the Emperour:
1385Here are the heads of thy two Noble sonnes,
And heres thy hand in scorne to thee sent backe:
Thy griefe, their sports: Thy resolution mockt:
That woe is me to thinke vpon thy woes,
More than remembrance of my fathers death.
1390Marcus. Now let hote Ætna coole in Cycilie,
And be my hart an euerburning hell:
These miseries are more than may be borne.
To weepe with them that weepe doth ease some deale,
But sorrow flowted at, is double death.
1395Lucius. Ah that this sight should make so deepe a wound
And yet detested life not shrinke thereat:
That euer death should let life beare his name,
VVhere life hath no more interest but to breath.
Marcus. Alas poore hart, that kisse is comfortlesse,
1400As frozen water to a starued snake.
Titus. VVhen will this fearefull slumber haue an end?
Mar. Now farewell flattrie, die Andronicus,
Thou dost not slumber, see thy two sonnes heads,
Thy warlike hand, thy mangled Daughter heere:
1405Thy other banisht sonne 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 controwle thy greefes,
Rent off thy siluer haire, thy other hand,
1410Gnawing with thy teeth, and be this dismall sight
The closing vp of our most wretched eies:
Now is a time to storme, why art thou still?
Titus. Ha, ha, ha.
M. VVhy dost thou laugh? It fits not with this houre.
1415Titus. VVhy I haue not another teare to shed;
Besides this sorrow is an enemie,
And would vsurpe vpon my watrie eies,
And make them blinde with tributarie teares.
Then which way shall I find Reuenges Caue,
1420For these two heads doe seeme to speake to mee
And threat me, I shall neuer come to blisse,
Till all these mischiefes be returnd againe,
Euen in their throats that hath commited them.
Come let me see what taske I haue to doe,
1425You heauie people cirkle me about.
That I may turne mee 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 imployde in these Armes,
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 armie there,
1435And if yee loue me as I thinke you doe,
Lets kisse and part for we haue much to doe.
Exeunt.
Lucius. Farewell Andronicus my Noble Father,
The woefulst man that euer liude in Rome:
1440Farewell proud Rome till Lucius come againe,
He loues his pledges dearer than 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 hatefull greefes:
If Lucius liue, he will requite your wrongs,
And make proud Saturnine and his Emperesse,
Beg at the gates like T arquin and his Queene.
Now will I to the Gothes and raise a powre,
1450To bee reuengd on Rome and Saturnine.
Exit Lucius.