Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Titus Andronicus (Quarto 1, 1594)


Enter Lucius sonne and Lauinia running after him, and
the Boy flies from her with his Bookes vn-
der his Arme.
Enter Titus and Marcus.
Puer. Help Grandsier helpe, my Aunt Lauinia,
1545Followes me euerie where I know not why.
Good Vnckle Marcus see how swift shee comes,
Alas sweet Aunt I know not what you meane.
Marcus. Stand by me Lucius, doe not feare thine Aunt.
Titus. She loues thee boy too well to doe thee harme.
1550Puer. I when my Father was in Rome she did.
M. VVhat meanes my Neece Lauinia by these signes.
Tit. Feare her not Lucius, somewhat doth she meane,
See Lucius see, how much she makes of thee:
Some whither would she haue thee goe with her.
1555A boy, Cornelia neuer with more care,
Red to her sonnes than she hath red to thee,
Sweet Poetrie and Tullies Oratour:
Canst thou not gesse wherefore she plies thee thus.
Puer. 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 greeues would make men mad.
And I haue red that Hecuba of Troy,
Ran mad for 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 furie fright my youth,
VVhich made me downe to throwe my bookes and flie
Causeles perhaps, but pardon me sweet Aunt,
1570And Maddam if my Vnckle Marcus goe,
I will most willinglie attend your Ladyship.
Mar. Lucius I will.
Titus. How now Lauinia, Marcus what meanes this?
Some booke there is that she desires to see:
1575VVhich is it gyrle of these, open them boy,
But thou art deeper read and better skild,
Come and take choise of all my Lybrarie,
And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heauens
Reueale the damn'd contriuer of this deede.
VVhy lifts she vp her Armes in sequence thus?
M. I thinke she meanes that there were more than one
Confederate in the fact, I more there was:
Or else to heauen, she heaues them for reuenge.
1585Titus. Lucius what booke is that shee tosseth so.
Puer. Grandsier tis Ouids Metamorphosis,
My Mother gaue it me.
Marcus. For loue of her thats gone,
Perhaps shee culd it from among the rest.
1590Titus. Soft so busilie she turnes the leaues,
Help her, what would she finde? Lauinia shal I read?
This is the tragicke tale of Philomel,
And treats of Tereus treason and his rape,
And rape I feare, was roote of thy annoie,
1595Marcus. See brother see, note how she coats the leaues,
Titus. Lauinia wert thou thus surpriz'd sweet gyrle?
Rauisht and wrongd as Phlomela was,
Frocd in the ruthlesse Vast and gloomie woods;
See, see, I such a place there is where we did hunt,
1600(O had we neuer, neuer hunted there,)
Patternd by that the Poet here describes,
By nature made for murthers and for rapes,
Mar. O why should nature build so fowle a den.
Vnlesse the Gods delight in Tragedies,
1605Titus. Giue signes sweet gyrle, for here are none but
VVhat Romaine Lord it was durst doe the deed?
Or slonke not Saturnine as Tarquin erst,
That left the Campe to sinne in Lucrece bed
Marc. Sit downe sweet Neece, brother sit downe by
1610Appollo, Pallas, Ioue or Mercurie,
Inspire me that I may this treason finde,
My Lord looke here, looke here 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 help of any hand at all.
Curst be that hart that forcd vs to this shift:
VVrite thou good Neece, and here display at last,
1620VVhat God will haue discouered for reuenge,
Heauen guide thy pen to print thy sorrowes plaine,
That we may know the traytors and the truth,
Shee takes the staffe in her mouth, and guides it with her
stumps and writes.
1625Oh doe yee read my Lord what she hath writ,
Stuprum, Chiron, Demetrius.
Marcus. VVhat, what, the lustfull sonnes of Tamora,
Performers of this haynous bloody deede.
Titus. Magni Dominator poli,
1630Tam lentus audis scelera, tam lentus vides?
Marcus. Oh calme thee gentle Lord, although I know
There is enough written vpon this earth,
To stir a mutinie in the mildest thoughts,
And arme the mindes of infants to exclaimes,
1635My Lord kneele downe with me, L auinia kneele,
And kneele sweet boy, the Romaine Hectors
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 aduice
Mortall reuenge vpon these Traiterous Gothes,
And see their blood or die with this reproch.
Titus. Tis sure enough, and you knew how,
But if you hunt these Beare whelpes then beware,
1645The Dam will wake and if she winde yee once,
Shee's with the Lion deepely still in league,
And luls him whilst shee plaieth on her backe.
And when he sleepes, will shee doe what she list.
You are a young huntsman Marcus, let 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 northen wind
Will blow these sands like Sibels leaues abroad,
And wheres our lesson then, boy what say you?
1655Puer. I say my Lord that if I were a man,
Their mothers bed-chamber should not be safe,
For these base bond-men to the yoake of Rome.
Marcus I thats my boy, thy father hath full oft,
For his vngratefull Countrie done the like.
1660Puer. And Vnkle so will I, and if I liue.
Titus. Come goe with me into mine Armorie,
Lucius Ile fit thee, and withall my boy
Shall carrie from me to the Empresse sonnes,
Presents that I intend to send them both:
1665Come, come, thoult doe my message wilt thou not?
Puer. I with my dagger in their bosomes Grandsier.
Titus. 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 marrie will we sir, and weele be waited on.
Exeunt.
Marcus. O heauens, can you heare a goodman grone
And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus attend him in his extasie,
That hath more scars of sorrow in his hart,
1675Than foe-mens marks vpon his battred shield,
But yet so iust, that he will not reuenge,
Reuenge the heauens for olde Andronicus.
Exit.