Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)

40The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus.
That could haue better sowed then Philomel.
Oh had the monster seene those Lilly hands,
Tremble like Aspen leaues vpon a Lute,
And make the silken strings delight to kisse them,
1120He would not then haue toucht them for his life.
Or had he heard the heauenly Harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made:
He would haue dropt his knife and fell asleepe,
As Cerberus at the Thracian Poets feete.
1125Come, let vs goe, and make thy father blinde,
For such a sight will blinde a fathers eye.
One houres storme will drowne the fragrant meades,
What, will whole months of teares thy Fathers eyes?
Doe not draw backe, for we will mourne with thee:
1130Oh could our mourning ease thy misery. Exeunt

Actus Tertius.

Enter the Iudges and Senatours with Titus two sonnes bound,
passing on the Stage to the place of execution, and Titus going
before pleading.

1135Ti. Heare me graue fathers, noble Tribunes stay,
For pitty of mine age, whose youth was spent
In dangerous warres, whilst you securely slept:
For all my blood in Romes great quarrell shed,
For all the frosty nights that I haue watcht,
1140And for these bitter teares, which now you see,
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheekes,
Be pittifull to my condemned Sonnes,
Whose soules is not corrupted as 'tis thought:
For two and twenty sonnes I neuer wept,
1145Because they died in honours lofty bed.
Andronicus lyeth 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 stanch the earths drie appetite.
1150My sonnes sweet blood, will make it shame and blush:
O earth! I will befriend thee more with raine Exeunt
That shall distill from these two ancient ruines,
Then 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 erernall springtime on thy 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 preualing Oratours.
Lu. Oh noble father, you lament in vaine,
The Tribunes heare not, no man is by,
1165And you recount your sorrowes to a stone.
Ti. Ah Lucius for thy brothers let me plead,
Graue Tribunes, once more I intreat of you.
Lu. My gracious Lord, no Tribune heares you speake.
Ti. Why 'tis no matter man, if they did heare
1170They would not marke me: oh if they did heare
They would not pitty me.
Therefore I tell my sorrowes bootles to the stones.
Who though they cannot answere my distresse,
Yet in some sort they are better then the Tribunes,
1175For that they will not intercept my tale;
When I doe weepe, they humbly at my feete
Receiue my teares, and seeme to weepe with me,
And were they but attired in graue weedes,
Rome could afford no Tribune like to these.
1180A stone is as soft waxe,
Tribunes more hard then stones:
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And Tribunes with their tongues doome men to death.
But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawne?
1185Lu. To rescue my two brothers from their death,
For which attempt the Iudges haue pronounc'st
My euerlasting doome of banishment.
Ti. O happy man, they haue befriended thee:
Why foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceiue
1190That Rome is but a wildernes of Tigers?
Tigers must pray, and Rome affords no prey
But me and and mine: how happy art thou then,
From these deuourers to be banished?
But who comes with our brother Marcus heere?

1195 Enter Marcus and Lauinia.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weepe,
Or if not so, thy noble heart to breake:
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Ti. Will it consume me? Let me see it then.
1200Mar. This was thy daughter.
Ti. Why Marcus so she is.
Luc. Aye me this obiect kils me.
Ti. Faint-harted boy, arise and looke vpon her,
Speake Lauinia, what accursed hand
1205Hath made thee handlesse 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 cam'st,
And now like Nylus it disdaineth bounds:
1210Giue me a sword, Ile chop off my hands too,
For they haue fought for Rome, and all in vaine:
And they haue nur'st this woe,
In feeding life:
In bootelesse prayer haue they bene held vp,
1215And they haue seru'd me to effectlesse 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 do Rome seruice, is but vaine.
1220Luci. Speake gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
Mar. O that delightfull engine of her thoughts,
That blab'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torne from forth that pretty hollow cage,
Where like a sweet mellodius bird it sung,
1225Sweet varied notes inchanting euery eare.
Luci. Oh say thou for her,
Who hath done this deed?
Marc. Oh thus I found her straying in the Parke,
Seeking to hide herselfe as doth the Deare
1230That hath receiude some vnrecuring wound.
Tit. It was my Deare,
And he that wounded her,
Hath hurt me more, then had he kild me dead:
For now I stand as one vpon a Rocke,
1235Inuiron'd with a wildernesse of Sea.
Who markes the waxing tide,
Grow waue by waue,