Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)

The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus. 45
What hath he sent her?
Nurse. A deuill.
Aron. Why then she is the Deuils Dam: a ioyfull issue.
1750Nurse. A ioylesse, dismall, blacke &, sorrowfull issue,
Heere is the babe as loathsome as a toad,
Among'st the fairest breeders of our clime,
The Empresse sends it thee, thy stampe, thyseale,
And bids thee christen it with thy daggers point.
1755Aron. Out you whore, is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowse, you are a beautious blossome sure.
Deme. Villaine what hast thou done?
Aron. That which thou canst not vndoe.
Chi. Thou hast vndone our mother.
1760Deme. And therein hellish dog, thou hast vndone,
Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choyce,
Accur'st the off-spring of so foule a fiend.
Chi. It shall not liue.
Aron. It shall not die.
1765Nurse. Aaron it must, the mother wils it so.
Aron. What, must it Nurse? Then let no man but I
Doe execution on my flesh and blood.
Deme. Ile broach the Tadpole on my Rapiers point:
Nurse giue it me, my sword shall soone dispatch it.
1770Aron. Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels vp.
Stay murtherous villaines, will you kill your brother?
Now by the burning Tapers of the skie,
That sh'one 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 young-lings, not Enceladus
With all his threatning band of Typhons broode,
Nor great Alcides, nor the God of warre,
Shall ceaze this prey out of his fathers hands:
1780What, what, ye sanguine shallow harted Boyes,
Ye white-limb'd walls, ye Ale-house painted signes,
Cole-blacke is better then 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 she laue them hourely in the flood:
Tell the Empresse from me, I am of age
To keepe mine owne, excuse it how she can.
Deme. Wilt 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 do I preferre,
This mauger all the world will I keepe safe,
Or some of you shall smoake for it in Rome.
1795Deme. By this our mother is foreuer sham'd.
Chi. Rome will despise her for this foule escape.
Nur. The Emperour in his rage will doome her death.
Chi. I blush to thinke vpon this ignominie.
Aron. Why ther's the priuiledge your beauty beares:
1800Fie trecherous hue, that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of the hart:
Heer's a young Lad fram'd of another leere,
Looke how the blacke slaue smiles vpon the father;
As who should say, old Lad I am thine owne.
1805He is your brother Lords, sensibly fed
Of that selfe blood that first gaue life to you,
And from that wombe where you imprisoned were
He is infranchised and come to light:
Nay he is your brother by the surer side,
1810Although my seale be stamped in his face.
Nurse. Aaron what shall I say vnto the Empresse?
Dem. Aduise thee Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy aduise:
Saue thou the child, so we 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 safety.
Deme. How many women saw this childe of his?
Aron. Why so braue Lords, when we ioyne in league
1820I am a Lambe: but if you braue the Moore,
The chafed Bore, the mountaine Lyonesse,
The Ocean swells not so at Aaron stormes:
But say againe, how many saw the childe?
Nurse. Cornelia, the midwife, and myselfe,
1825And none else but the deliuered Empresse.
Aron. The Empresse, the Midwife, and yourselfe,
Two may keepe counsell, when the third's away:
Goe to the Empresse, tell her this I said, He kils her
Weeke, weeke, so cries a Pigge prepared to th'spit.
1830Deme. What mean'st thou Aaron?
Wherefore did'st thou this?
Aron. O Lord sir, 'tis a deed of pollicie?
Shall she liue to betray this guilt of our's:
A long tongu'd babling Gossip? No Lords no:
1835And now be it knowne to you my full intent.
Not farre, one Muliteus my Country-man
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 aduaunc'd,
And be receiued for the Emperours heyre,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calme this tempest whirling in the Court,
1845And let the Emperour dandle him for his owne.
Harke ye Lords, ye see I haue giuen her physicke,
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 presently to me.
The Midwife and the Nurse well made away,
Then let the Ladies tattle what they please.
Chi. Aaron I see thou wilt not ttust the ayre with se(crets.
Deme. For this care of Tamora,
1855Herselfe, and hers are highly bound to thee. Exeunt.
Aron. Now to the Gothes, as swift as Swallow flies,
There to dispose this treasure in mine armes,
And secretly to greete the Empresse friends:
Come on you thick-lipt-slaue, Ile beare you hence,
1860For it is you that puts vs to our shifts:
Ile make you feed on berries, and on rootes,
And feed on curds and whay, and sucke the Goate,
And cabbin in a Caue, and bring you vp
To be a warriour, and command a Campe. Exit

1865Enter Titus, old Marcus, young Lucius, and other gentlemen
with bowes, and Titus beares the arrowes with
Letters on the end of them.

Tit. Come Marcus, come, kinsmen this is the way.
Sir Boy let me see your Archerie,
1870Looke yee draw home enough, and 'tis there straight:
Terras Astrea reliquit, be you remembred Marcus.
She's gone, she's fled, sirs take you to your tooles,
You Cosens shall goe sound the Ocean:
And cast your nets, haply you may find her in the Sea,
1875Yet ther's as little iustice as at Land:
No Publius and Sempronius, you must doe it,