Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Titus Andronicus (Folio, 1623)

Flourish. Enter Lucius with an Army of Gothes,
2110with Drum and Souldiers.
Luci. Approued warriours, and my faithfull Friends,
I haue receiued Letters from great Rome,
Which signifies what hate they beare their Emperour,
And how desirous of our sight they are.
2115Therefore great Lords, be as your Titles witnesse,
Imperious and impatient of your wrongs,
And wherein Rome hath done you any scathe,
Let him make treble satisfaction.
Goth. Braue slip, sprung from the Great Andronicus,
2120Whose name was once our terrour, now our comfort,
Whose high exploits, and honourable Deeds,
Ingratefull Rome requites with foule contempt:
Behold in vs, weele follow where thou lead'st,
Like stinging Bees in hottest Sommers day,
2125Led by their Maister to the flowred fields,
And be aueng'd on cursed Tamora:
And as he saith, so say we all with him.
Luci. I humbly thanke him, and I thanke you all.
But who comes heere, led by a lusty Goth?
2130Enter a Goth leading of Aaron with his child
in his armes.
Goth. Renowned Lucius, from our troups I straid,
To gaze vpon a ruinous Monasterie,
48The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus.
And as I earnestly did fixe mine eye
2135Vpon the wasted building, suddainely
I heard a childe cry vnderneath a wall:
I made vnto the noyse, when soone I heard,
The crying babe control'd with this discourse:
Peace Tawny slaue, halfe me, and halfe thy Dam,
2140Did not thy Hue bewray whose brat thou art?
Had nature lent thee, but thy Mothers looke,
Villaine thou might'st haue bene an Emperour.
But where the Bull and Cow are both milk-white,
They neuer do beget a cole-blacke-Calfe:
2145Peace, villaine peace, euen thus he rates the babe,
For I must beare thee to a trusty Goth,
Who when he knowes thou art the Empresse babe,
Will hold thee dearely for thy Mothers sake.
With this, my weapon drawne I rusht vpon him,
2150Surpriz'd him suddainely, and brought him hither
To vse, as you thinke neeedefull of the man.
Luci. Oh worthy Goth, this is the incarnate deuill,
That rob'd Andronicus of his good hand:
This is the Pearle that pleas'd your Empresse eye,
2155And heere's the Base Fruit of his burning lust.
Say wall-ey'd slaue, whether would'st thou conuay
This growing Image of thy fiend-like face?
Why dost 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 Royall blood.
Luci. Too like the Syre for euer being good.
First hang the Child that he may see it sprall,
A sight to vexe the Fathers soule withall.
2165Aron. Get me a Ladder Lucius, saue the Childe,
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 rot you all.
Luci. Say on, and if it please me which thou speak'st,
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 Massacres,
Acts of Blacke-night, abhominable Deeds,
Complots of Mischiefe, Treason, Villanies
Ruthfull to heare, yet pittiously preform'd,
And this shall all be buried by my death,
2180Vnlesse thou sweare to me my Childe shall liue.
Luci. Tell on thy minde,
I say thy Childe shall liue.
Aron. Sweare that he shall, and then I will begin.
Luci. Who should I sweare by,
2185Thou beleeuest no God,
That graunted, how can'st thou beleeue an oath?
Aron. What if I do not, as indeed I do not,
Yet for I know thou art Religious,
And hast a thing within thee, called Conscience,
2190With twenty Popish trickes and Ceremonies,
Which 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,
Ore else I will discouer nought to thee.
2200Luci. Euen by my God I sweare to to thee I will.
Aron. First know thou,
I begot him on the Empresse.
Luci. Oh most Insatiate 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 off, and trim'd her as thou saw'st.
Lucius. Oh detestable villaine!
2210Call'st thou that Trimming?
Aron. Why she was washt, and cut, and trim'd,
And 'twas trim sport for them that had the doing of it.
Luci. Oh barbarous beastly villaines like thyselfe!
Aron. Indeede, 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 bloody minde I thinke they learn'd of me,
As true a Dog as euer fought at head.
Well, let my Deeds be witnesse of my worth:
2220I trayn'd thy Bretheren to that guilefull Hole,
Where the dead Corps of Bassianus lay:
I wrote the Letter, that thy Father found,
And hid the Gold within the Letter mention'd.
Confederate with the Queene, and her two Sonnes,
2225And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
Wherein I had no stroke of Mischeife in it.
I play'd the Cheater for thy Fathers hand,
And when I had it, drew myselfe apart,
And almost broke my heart 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 hartily,
That both mine eyes were rainie like to his:
And when I told the Empresse of this sport,
2235She sounded almost at my pleasing tale,
And for my tydings, gaue me twenty kisses.
Goth. What canst thou say all this, and neuer blush?
Aron. I, like a blacke Dogge, as the saying is.
Luci. Art thou not sorry for these hainous deedes?
2240Aron. I, that I had not done a thousand more:
Euen now I curse the day, and yet I thinke
Few come within few compasse of my curse,
Wherein I did not some Notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else deuise his death,
2245Rauish a Maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some Innocent, and forsweare myselfe,
Set deadly Enmity betweene two Friends,
Make poore mens Cattell breake their neckes,
Set fire on Barnes and Haystackes in the night,
2250And bid the Owners quench them with the teares:
Oft haue I dig'd vp dead men from their graues,
And set them vpright at their deere Friends doore,
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.
Tut, I haue done a thousand dreadfull things
As willingly, as one would kill a Fly,
And nothing greeues me hartily indeede,
2260But that I cannot doe ten thousand more.
Luci. 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 deuill,
To liue and burne in euerlasting fire,
2265So I might haue your company in hell,
The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus. 49
But to torment you with my bitter tongue.
Luci. Sirs stop his mouth, & let him speake no more.
Enter Emillius.
Goth. My Lord, there is a Messenger from Rome
2270Desires to be admitted to your presence.
Luc. Let him come neere.
Welcome Emillius, what the newes from Rome?
Emi. Lord Lucius, and you Princes of the Gothes,
The Romaine Emperour greetes you all by me,
2275And for he vnderstands you are in Armes,
He craues a parly at your Fathers house
Willing you to demand your Hostages,
And they shall be immediately deliuered.
Goth. What saies our Generall?
2280Luc. Emillius, let the Emperour giue his pledges
Vnto my Father, and my Vncle Marcus, Flourish.
And we will come: march away. Exeunt.