Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)

Flourish.Enter Aaron alone.
555Aron. Now climbeth Tamora Olympus toppe,
Safe out of Fortunes shot, and sits aloft,
Secure of Thunders cracke or lightning flash,
Aduanc'd about pale enuies threatning reach:
As when the golden Sunne salutes the morne,
560And hauing gilt the Ocean with his beames,
Gallops the Zodiacke in his glistering Coach,
And ouer-lookes the highest piering hills:
So Tamora
Vpon her wit doth earthly honour waite,
565And vertue stoopes and trembles at her frowne.
Then Aaron arme thy hart, and fit thy thoughts,
To mount aloft with thy Emperiall Mistris,
And mount her pitch, whom thou in ttiumph long
Hast prisoner held, fettred in amorous chaines,
570And faster bound to Aarons charming eyes,
Then is Prometheus ti'de to Caucasus.
Away with slauish weedes, and idle thoughts,
I will be bright and shine in Pearle and Gold,
To waite vpon this new made Empresse.
575To waite said I? To wanton with this Queene,
This Goddesse, this Semerimis, this Queene,
This Syren, that will charme Romes Saturnine,
And see his shipwracke, and his Commonweales.
Hollo, what storme is this?
580Enter Chiron and Demetrius brauing.
Dem. Chiron thy yeres wants wit, thy wit wants edge
And manners to intru'd where I am grac'd,
And may for ought thou know'st affected be.
Chi. Demetrius, thou doo'st ouer-weene in all,
585And so in this, to beare me downe with braues,
'Tis not the difference of a yeere or two
Makes me lesse gracious, or thee more fortunate:
I am as able, and as fit, as thou,
To serue, and to deserue my Mistris grace,
590And that my sword vpon thee shall approue,
And plead my passions for Lauinia's loue.
Aron. Clubs, clubs, these louers will not keep the peace.
Dem. Why Boy, although our mother (vnaduised)
Gaue you a daunsing Rapier by your side,
595Are you so desperate growne to threat your friends?
Goe too: haue your Lath glued within your sheath,
Till you know better how to handle it.
Chi. Meanewhile sir, with the little skill I haue,
Full well shalt thou perceiue how much I dare.
600Deme. I Boy, grow ye so braue? They drawe.
Aron. Why how now Lords?
So nere the Emperours Pallace dare you draw,
36The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus.
And maintaine such a quarrell openly?
Full well I wote, the ground of all this grudge.
605I would not for a million of Gold,
The cause were knowne to them it most concernes.
Nor would your noble mother for much more
Be so dishonored in the Court of Rome:
For shame put vp.
610Deme. Not I, till I haue sheath'd
My rapier in his bosome, and withall
Thrust these reprochfull speeches downe his throat,
That he hath breath'd in my dishonour heere.
Chi. For that I am prepar'd, and full resolu'd,
615Foule spoken Coward,
That thundrest with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing dar'st performe.
Aron. Away I say.
Now by the Gods that warlike Gothes adore,
620This pretty brabble will vndoo vs all:
Why Lords, and thinke you not how dangerous
It is to set vpon a Princes right?
What is Lauinia then become so loose,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
625That for her loue such quarrels may be broacht,
Without controulement, Iustice, or reuenge?
Young Lords beware, and should the Empresse know,
This discord ground, the musicke would not please.
Chi. I care not I, knew she and all the world,
630I loue Lauinia more then all the world.
Demet. Youngling,
Learne thou to make some meaner choise,
Lauinia is thine elder brothers hope.
Aron. Why are ye mad? Or know ye not in Rome,
635How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brooke Competitors in loue?
I tell you Lords, you doe but plot your deaths,
By this deuise.
Chi. Aaron, a thousand deaths would I propose,
640To atchieue her whom I do loue.
Aron. To atcheiue her, how?
Deme. Why, mak'st thou it so strange?
Shee is a woman, therefore may be woo'd,
Shee is a woman, therfore may be wonne,
645Shee is Lauinia therefore must be lou'd.
What man, more water glideth by the Mill
Then wots the Miller of, and easie it is
Of a cut loafe to steale a shiue we know:
Though Bassianus be the Emperours brother,
650Better then he haue worne Vulcans badge.
Aron, I, and as good as Saturnius may.
Deme. Then why should he dispaire that knowes to (court it
With words, faire lookes, and liberality:
What hast not thou full often strucke a Doe,
655And borne her cleanly by the Keepers nose?
Aron. Why then it seemes some certaine snatch or so
Would serue your turnes.
Chi. I so the turne were serued.
Deme. Aaron thou hast hit it.
660Aron. Would you had hit it too,
Then should not we be tir'd with this adoo:
Why harke yee, harke yee, audare you such fooles,
To square for this? Would it offend you then?
Chi. Faith not me.
665Deme. Nor me, so I were one.
Aron. For shame be friends, & ioyne for that you iar:
'Tis pollicie, and stratageme must doe
That you affect, and so must you resolue,
That what you cannot as you would atcheiue,
670You must perforce accomplish as you may:
Take this of me, Lucrece was not more chast
Then this Lauinia, Bassianus loue,
A speedier course this lingring languishment
Must we pursue, and I haue found the path:
675My Lords, a solemne hunting is in hand.
There will the louely Roman Ladies troope:
The Forrest walkes are wide and spacious,
And many vnfrequented plots there are,
Fitted by kinde for rape and villanie:
680Single you thither then this dainty Doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our Empresse with her sacred wit
To villainie and vengance consecrate,
685Will we acquaint with all that we intend,
And she shall file our engines with aduise,
That will not suffer you to square yourselues,
But to your wishes height aduance you both.
The Emperours Court is like the house of Fame,
690The pallace full of tongues, of eyes, of eares:
The Woods are ruthlesse, dreadfull, deafe, and dull:
There speake, and strike braue Boyes, & take your turnes.
There serue your lusts, shadow'd from heauens eye,
And reuell in Lauinia's Treasurie.
695Chi. Thy counsell Lad smells of no cowardise.
Deme. Sij fas aut nefas, till I finde the streames,
To coole this heat, a Charme to calme their fits,
Per Stigia per manes Vehor. Exeunt.