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  • Title: Titus Andronicus (Quarto 1, 1594)

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Titus Andronicus (Quarto 1, 1594)

    The most Lamentable Tragedie
    If I doe wake some Plannet strike me downe,
    That I may slumber an eternall sleepe.
    Speake gentle Neece, what sterne vngentle hands,
    Hath lopt, and hewde, and made thy body bare,
    Of her two branches those sweet Ornaments,
    Whose cyrcling shadowes, Kings haue sought to sleepe(in,
    And might not gaine so great a happines
    As halfe thy loue: Why dost not speake to me?
    1095Alas, a crimson Riuer of warme blood,
    Like to a bubling Fountaine stirde with winde,
    Doth rise and fall betweene thy Rosed lips,
    Comming and going with thy honie breath.
    But sure some Tereus hath deflowred thee,
    1100And lest thou shouldst detect them cut thy tongue.
    Ah now thou turnst awaie thy face for shame,
    And notwithstanding all this losse of blood,
    As from a Conduit with their issuing spouts,
    Yet doe thy cheekes looke red as Titans face,
    1105Blushing to be encountred with a Clowde.
    Shall I speake for thee, shall I say tis so.
    Oh that I knew thy hart, and knew the beast,
    That I might raile at him to ease my minde.
    Sorrow concealed like an Ouen stoppt,
    1110Doth burne the hart to cinders where it is.
    Faire Philomela, why she but lost her tongue,
    And in a tedious sampler sowed her minde.
    But louely Neece, that meane is cut from thee,
    A craftier Tereus, Cosen hast thou met,
    1115And he hath cut those prettie fingers off,
    That could haue better sowed than Philomel.
    Oh had the monster seene those Lillie hands,
    Tremble like aspen leaues vpon a Lute,
    And make the silken strings delight to kisse them,
    1120He would not then haue tucht them for his life.
    Or had he heard the heauenly Harmonie,