Internet Shakespeare Editions

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


Enter Aron, Chiron, and Demetrius at one doore, and at
the other doore young Lucius, and another with a bundle of
1680weapons, and verses writ vpon them.
Chiron Demetrius, her's the sonne of Lucius,
He hath some message to deliuer vs.
Aron. I some mad message from his mad Grandfather.
Puer. My Lords, with all the humblenes I may,
1685I greete your Honours from Andronicus;
And pray the Romane Gods confound you both.
Demetrius. Gramarcie Louelie Lucius, whats the news.
1687.1Puer. That you are both discipherd, thats the newes,
For villaines markt with rape. May it please you,
My Grandsier well aduisde hath sent by me,
1690The goodliest weapons of his Armorie,
To gratefie your honourable youth
The hope of Rome, for so he bid me say:
And so I doe, and with his gifts present
Your Lordships, when euer you haue neede,
1695You may be armed and appointed well,
And so I leaue you both: Like bloudie villaines.
Exit.
Demetri. what's here? a scrole, and written round about,
Let's see,
Integer vitæ scelerisque purus, non eget mauri iaculis nec arcu.
Chiron. O tis a verse in Horace I know it well,
I read it in the Grammer long agoe.
Moore. I iust, a verse in Horace, right you haue it,
Now what a thing it is to be an Asse.
1705Her's no sound ieast, the olde man hath found their gilt,
And sends them weapons wrapt about with lines,
That wound beyond their feeling to the quicke:
But were our wittie Empresse well a foote,
Shee would applaud Andronicus conceit,
1710But let her rest in her vnrest a while.
And now young Lords, wast not a happie starre,
Led vs to Rome strangers, and more than so
Captiues, to be aduaunced to this height:
It did me good before the Pallace gate,
1715To braue the Tribune in his brothers hearing.
Demetrius. But me more good to see so great a Lord,
Baselie insinuate and send vs gifts.
Aron. Had he not reason Lord Demetrius,
Did you not vse his daughter very friendlie?
1720Demetrius. I would we had a thousand Romane Dames
At such a bay, by turne to serue our lust.
Chiron. A charitable wish, and full of loue.
Aron. Here lacks but your mother for to say Amen.
Chiron. And that would she for twenty thousand more.
1725Deme. Come let vs goe and pray to all the Gods,
For our beloued mother in her paines.
Aron. Pray to the deuills, the Gods haue giuen vs ouer.
Trumpets sound.
Demet. VVhy do the Emperours trumpets flourish
1730Chi. Belike for ioy the Emperour hath a sonne.
Demetrius. Soft who comes here.
Enter Nurse with a blackamoore childe.
Nurse. God morrow Lords, O tell me did you see Aron
1735Aron. VVell, more or lesse, or nere a whit at all,
Here Aron is, and what with Aron now.
Nurse. Oh gentle Aron we are all vndone,
Now helpe, or woe betide thee euermore.
Aron. VVhy what a catterwalling dost thou keepe,
1740what dost thou wrap and fumble in thy armes?
Nur. O that which I would hide from heauens eye,
Our Empresse shame and stately Romes disgrace,
Shee is deliuered Lords she is deliuered.
Aron. To whome.
1745Nur. I meane she is brought a bed.
Aron. VVell god giue her good rest, what hath he sent
Nurse. A diuell.
A. VVhy then she is the deuils Dam, a ioyfull issue,
1750N. A Ioyles, dismall, blacke, and sorrowfull issue,
Here is the babe as loathsome as a toade,
Amongst the fairefast breeders of our clime,
The Empresse sends it thee, thy stampe, thy seale,
And bids thee christen it with thy daggers point.
1755A. Zounds ye whore, is blacke so base a hue?
Sweete blowse you are a beautious blossome sure.
Deme. Villaine what hast thou done?
A. That which thou canst not vndoe.
Chiron. Thou hast vndone our mother.
1759.1Aron. Villaine I haue done thy mother.
1760Deme. And therein hellish dog thou hast vndone her,
VVoe to her chaunce, and damde her loathed choice,
Accurst the offspring of so foule a fiend.
Chi. It shall not liue,
Aron. It shall not die.
1765Nurse. Aron it must, the mother wils it so.
Aron. VVhat must it Nurse? then let no man but I,
Doe execution on my flesh and blood.
Demet. Ile broach the tadpole on my Rapiers point,
Nurse giue it me, my sword shall soone dispatch it.
1770Aron. Sooner this sword shall plow thy bowels vp,
Stay murtherous villaines will you kill your brother?
Now by the burning tapors of the skie,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies vpon my Semitars sharpe point,
1775That touches this my first borne sonne and heire:
I tell you yonglings, not Enceladus,
VVith all his threatning band of Typhons broode,
Nor great Alciades, nor the God of warre,
Shall ceaze this pray out of his fathers hands:
1780VVhat, what, yee sanguine shallow harted boies,
Yee whitelimde walles, yee ale-house painted signes,
Cole-blacke is better than another hue,
In that it scornes to beare another hue:
For all the water in the Ocean,
1785Can neuer turne the swans blacke legs to white,
Although shee laue them howrely in the flood:
Tell the Empresse from mee I am of age
To keepe mine owne, excuse it how shee can.
Demetrius. VVilt thou betray thy Noble Mistris thus.
1790Aron. My Mistris is my Mistris, this my selfe,
The vigour, and the picture of my youth:
This before all the world doe I preferre,
This mauger all the world will I keepe safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
1795Demetrius. By this our mother is for euer shamde.
Chiron. Rome will despise her for this foule escape.
Nurse. The Emperour in his rage will doome her death.
Chiron. I blush to thinke vpon this ignomie.
Aron. VVhy ther's the Priuiledge your beautie bears:
1800Fie trecherous hue, that will betraie with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of thy hart:
Her's a young Lad framde of another leere,
Looke how the blacke slaue smiles vpon the father,
As who should say, olde Lad I am thine owne.
1805Hee is your brother Lords, sensiblie fed
Of that selfe bloud that first gaue life to you,
And from your wombe where you imprisoned were,
Hee is infraunchised, and come to light:
Nay hee is your brother by the surer side,
1810Although my seale be stamped in his face.
Nurse. Aron, what shall I say vnto the Empresse.
Demetrius. Aduise thee Aron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy aduise:
Saue thou the childe, so wee may all be safe.
1815Aron. Then sit we downe and let vs all consult,
My sonne and I will haue the winde of you:
Keepe there, now talke at pleasure of your safetie.
Demetrius. How many women saw this childe of his?
Aron. why so braue Lords, when we ioine in league
1820I am a Lambe, but if you braue the Moore,
The chafed Bore, the mountaine Lionesse,
The Ocean swels not so as Aron stormes:
But saie againe, how manie saw the childe.
Nurse. Cornelia the Midwife, and my selfe,
1825And no one els but the deliuered Empresse.
Aron. The Empresse, the Midwife, and your selfe,
Two may keepe counsell when the third's away:
Goe to the Empresse, tell her this I said.
He kils her.
VVeeke, weeke, so cries a Pigge prepared to the spit.
1830Deme. what meanst thou Aron, wherfore didst thou this?
Aron. O Lord sir, tis a deede of pollicie,
Shall shee liue to betraie this gilt of ours?
A long tongude babling Gossip, No Lords, no:
1835And now be it knowne to you my full intent.
Not farre, one Muliteus my Countriman
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed,
His childe is like to her, faire as you are:
Goe packe with him, and giue the mother gold,
1840And tell them both, the circumstance of all,
And how by this their childe shall be aduaunst,
And be receiued for the Emperours Heire,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calme this tempest whirling in the Court,
1845And let the Lmperour dandle him for his owne.
Harke yee Lords, you see I haue giuen her Phisicke,
And you must needs bestow her Funerall,
The fields are neere, and you are gallant Groomes:
This done, see that you take no longer daies,
1850But send the Midwife presentlie to mee.
The Midwife and the Nurse well made away,
Then let the Ladies tattle what they please.
Chi. Aron, I see thou wilt not trust the aire with secrets.
Demetrius. For this care of Tamora,
1855Her selfe, and hers, are highlie bound to thee.
Exeunt.
Aron. Now to the Gothes as swift as swallow flies,
There to dispose this treasure in mine armes,
And secretlie to greete the Empresse friends:
Come on you thicke-lipt-slaue, Ile beare you hence,
1860For it is you that puts vs to our shifts:
Ile make you feede on berries, and on roots,
And feede on curds and whay, and sucke the Goate,
And cabbin in a Caue, and bring you vp,
To be a warriour and commaund a Campe.
Exit.