Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Titus Andronicus (Quarto 1, 1594)


Enter Lucius with an Armie of Gothes with
2110Drums and Souldiers.
Lucius. Approued warriours, and my faithfull friends,
I haue receaued letters from great Rome,
VVhich signifies what hate they beare their Emperour,
And how desirous of our sight they are.
2115Therefore great Lords bee as your titles witnes,
Imperious, and impatient of your wrongs,
And wherein Rome hath done you any skath,
Let him make treable satisfaction.
Goth. Braue slip sprong from the great Andronicus,
2120VVhose name was once our terrour, now our comfort,
VVhose high exployts and honourable deeds,
Ingratefull Rome requites with foule contempt,
Be bold in vs weele follow where thou leadst,
Like stinging Bees in hottest summers day,
2125Led by their Master to the flowred fields,
And be aduengde on cursed Tamora:
And as he saith, so say we all with him.
Lucius. I humblie thanke him and I thanke you all,
But who comes here led by a lustie Gothe?
2130
Enter a Goth leading of Aron with his child
in his Armes.
Goth. Renowmed Lucius from our troupes I straid,
To gaze vpon a ruinous Monasterie,
And as I earnestly did fixe mine eye,
2135Vpon the wasted building suddainely,
I heard a child crie vnderneath a wall,
I made vnto the noise, when soone I heard,
The crying babe controld with this discourse:
Peace tawnie slaue, halfe me, and halfe thy Dame,
2140Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
Had nature lent thee but thy mothers looke,
Villaine thou mightst haue bin an Emperour.
But where the bull and Cow are both milke white,
They neuer doe beget a coleblacke Calfe:
2145Peace Villaine peace, euen thus he rates the babe,
For I must beare thee to a trustie Goth,
VVho when he knowes thou art the Empresse babe,
VVill hold thee dearely for thy mothers sake.
VVith this my weapon drawen I rusht vpon him
2150Surprisde him suddainely, and brought him hither
To vse as you thinke needefull of the man.
Lucius. Oh worthie Goth this is the incarnate diuell,
That robd Andronicus of his good hand,
This is the Pearle that pleasd your Empresse eye,
2155And her's the base fruit of her burning lust,
Say wall-eyd slaue whither wouldst thou conuay,
This growing image of thy fiendlike face,
VVhy doost not speake? what deafe, not a word?
A halter Souldiers, hang him on this tree,
2160And by his side his fruite of Bastardie.
Aron. Touch not the boy, he is of Roiall bloud.
Luc. Too like the sier for euer being good,
First hang the child that he may see it sprall,
A sight to vex the fathers soule withall.
2165Aron. Get me a ladder, Lucius saue the child,
And beare it from me to the Empresse:
If thou do this, ile shew thee wondrous things,
That highly may aduantage thee to heare,
If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
2170Ile speake no more, but vengeance rotte you all.
Lucius. Say on, and if it please me which thou speakst,
Thy child shall liue, and I will see it nourisht.
Aron. And if it please thee? why assure thee Lucius,
Twill vexe thy soule to heare what I shall speake:
2175For I must talke of murthers, rapes, and massakers,
Acts of black night, abhominable deeds,
Complots of mischiefe, treason, villanie s,
Ruthfull to heare, yet pitteously performde,
And this shall all be buried in my death,
2180Vnlesse thou sweare to me my child shall liue.
Lucius. Tell on thy minde, I say thy child shall liue.
Aron. Sweare that he shall, and then I will begin.
Luci. VVho should I sweare by, thou beleeuest no God,
That graunted, how canst thou beleeue an oath.
Aron. VVhat if I doe not, as indeed I do not,
Yet for I know thou art religious,
And hast a thing within thee called conscience,
2190VVith twenty popish tricks and ceremonies,
VVhich I haue seene thee carefull to obserue,
Therefore I vrge thy oath, for that I know,
An ideot holds his bauble for a God,
And keepes the oath which by that God he sweares,
2195To that ile vrge him, therefore thou shalt vow,
By that same God, what God so ere it be
That thou adorest, and hast in reuerence,
To saue my boy, to nourish and bring him vp,
Or else I will discouer nought to thee.
2200Lucius. Euen by my God I sweare to thee I will.
Aron. First know thou, I begot him on the Empresse.
Lucius. Oh most insatiate and luxurious woman.
Aron. Tut Lucius, this was but a deed of charitie,
2205To that which thou shalt heare of me anon,
Twas her two sonnes that murdered Bassianus,
They cut thy Sisters tongue, and rauisht her,
And cut her hands, and trimd her as thou sawest.
Luc. Oh detestable villaine, callst thou that trimming.
2210Aron. VVhy she was washt, and cut, and trimd,
And twas trim sport for them which had the doing of it.
Luc. Oh barberous beastlie villaines like thy selfe.
Aron. Indeed I was their tutor to instruct them,
2215That codding spirit had they from their mother,
As sure a card as euer wonne the set:
That bloodie minde I thinke they learnd of me,
As true a Dog as euer fought at head:
VVell let my deeds be witnes of my worth,
2220I traind thy brethren to that guilefull hole,
where the dead corpes of Bassianus laie:
I wrote the letter that thy Father found,
And hid the gold within that letter mentioned,
Confederate with the Queene and her two sonnes.
2225And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
wherein I had no stroke of mischiefe in it,
I plaid the cheater for thy fathers hand,
And when I had it drew my selfe a part,
And almost broke my hart with extreame laughter,
2230I pried me through the creuice of a wall,
when for his hand he had his two sonnes heads,
Beheld his teares and laught so hartelie,
That both mine eyes were raynie like to his:
And when I tolde the Empresse of this sport,
2235Shee sounded almost at my pleasing tale,
And for my tidings gaue me twentie kisses.
Goth.
VVhat canst thou say all this and neuer blush.
Aron.
I like a blacke Dog, as the saying is.
Lucius.
Art thou not sorrie for these hainous deeds.
2240
Aron.
I that I had not done a thousand more,
Euen now I curse the day and yet I thinke
Fewe come within the compasse of my curse,
wherein I did not some notorious ill.
As kill a man, or els deuise his death,
2245Rauish a maide, or plot the waie to doe it,
Accuse some innocent, and forsweare my selfe,
Set deadly enmitie betweene two friends,
Make poore mens cattle breake their necks,
Set fire on barnes and haystalks in the night,
2250And bid the owners quench them with their teares:
Oft haue I digd vp dead men from their graues,
And set them vpright at their deare friends dore,
Euen when their sorrowes almost was forgot,
And on their skinnes as on the barke of trees,
2255Haue with my knife carued in Romaine letters,
Let not your sorrow die though I am dead.
But I haue done a thousand dreadfull things,
As willingly as one would kill a flie,
And nothing grieues me hartelie indeede,
2260But that I cannot doe ten thousand more.
Lucius. Bring downe the Diuell for he must not die,
So sweet a death as hanging presently.
Aron. If there be Diuels would I were a Diuel,
To liue and burne in euerlasting fire,
2265So I might haue your companie in hell,
But to torment you with my bitter tongue.
Luci. Sirs stop his mouth and let him speake no more.
Enter Emillius.
Goth. My Lord there is a messenger from Rome,
2270Desiers to be admitted to your presence.
Lucius. Let him come nere.
VVelcome Emillius, what's the newes from Rome?
Emil. Lord Lucius, and you Princes of the Gothes,
The Romaine Emperour greets you all by me,
2275And for he vnderstands you are in Armes,
He craues a Parley at your fathers house,
VVilling you to demaund your hostages,
And they shall be immediatly deliuered.
Goth. VVhat saies our Generall.
2280Luci. Emillius, let the Emperour giue his pledges,
Vnto my Father and my Vnkle Marcus,
And we will come, march away.