|[Enter young LUCIUS, and LAVINIA running after him,
and the boy flies from her, with books under his
arm. Then enter TITUS and MARCUS]
|Young LUCIUS||Help, grandsire, help! my aunt Lavinia
Follows me every where, I know not why:
Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes.
Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||Stand by me, Lucius; do not fear thine aunt.|
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.|
|Young LUCIUS||Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.|
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?|
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Fear her not, Lucius: somewhat doth she mean:
See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee:
Somewhither would she have thee go with her.
Ah, boy, Cornelia never with more care
Read to her sons than she hath read to thee
Sweet poetry and Tully's Orator.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus?|
|Young LUCIUS||My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,
Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her:
For I have heard my grandsire say full oft,
Extremity of griefs would make men mad;
And I have read that Hecuba of Troy
Ran mad through sorrow: that made me to fear;
Although, my lord, I know my noble aunt
Loves me as dear as e'er my mother did,
And would not, but in fury, fright my youth:
Which made me down to throw my books, and fly--
Causeless, perhaps. But pardon me, sweet aunt:
And, madam, if my uncle Marcus go,
I will most willingly attend your ladyship.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||Lucius, I will.|
|[LAVINIA turns over with her stumps the books which
LUCIUS has let fall]
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||How now, Lavinia! Marcus, what means this?
Some book there is that she desires to see.
Which is it, girl, of these? Open them, boy.
But thou art deeper read, and better skill'd
Come, and take choice of all my library,
And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens
Reveal the damn'd contriver of this deed.
Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||I think she means that there was more than one
Confederate in the fact: ay, more there was;
Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?|
|Young LUCIUS||Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphoses;
My mother gave it me.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||For love of her that's gone,
Perhaps she cull'd it from among the rest.
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Soft! see how busily she turns the leaves!|
|What would she find? Lavinia, shall I read?
This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
And treats of Tereus' treason and his rape:
And rape, I fear, was root of thine annoy.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||See, brother, see; note how she quotes the leaves.|
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl,
Ravish'd and wrong'd, as Philomela was,
Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods? See, see!
Ay, such a place there is, where we did hunt--
O, had we never, never hunted there!--
Pattern'd by that the poet here describes,
By nature made for murders and for rapes.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||O, why should nature build so foul a den,
Unless the gods delight in tragedies?
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none
What Roman lord it was durst do the deed:
Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,
That left the camp to sin in Lucrece' bed?
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||Sit down, sweet niece: brother, sit down by me.
Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,
Inspire me, that I may this treason find!
My lord, look here: look here, Lavinia:
This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst
This after me, when I have writ my name
Without the help of any hand at all.
|[He writes his name with his staff, and guides it
with feet and mouth]
|Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!
Write thou good niece; and here display, at last,
What God will have discover'd for revenge;
Heaven guide thy pen to print thy sorrows plain,
That we may know the traitors and the truth!
|[She takes the staff in her mouth, and guides it
with her stumps, and writes]
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?
'Stuprum. Chiron. Demetrius.'
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||What, what! the lustful sons of Tamora
Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Magni Dominator poli,
Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||O, calm thee, gentle lord; although I know
There is enough written upon this earth
To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts
And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.
My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;
And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope;
And swear with me, as, with the woful fere
And father of that chaste dishonour'd dame,
Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece' rape,
That we will prosecute by good advice
Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
And see their blood, or die with this reproach.
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||'Tis sure enough, an you knew how.
But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware:
The dam will wake; and, if she wind you once,
She's with the lion deeply still in league,
And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back,
And when he sleeps will she do what she list.
You are a young huntsman, Marcus; let it alone;
And, come, I will go get a leaf of brass,
And with a gad of steel will write these words,
And lay it by: the angry northern wind
Will blow these sands, like Sibyl's leaves, abroad,
And where's your lesson, then? Boy, what say you?
|Young LUCIUS||I say, my lord, that if I were a man,
Their mother's bed-chamber should not be safe
For these bad bondmen to the yoke of Rome.
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||Ay, that's my boy! thy father hath full oft
For his ungrateful country done the like.
|Young LUCIUS||And, uncle, so will I, an if I live.|
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||Come, go with me into mine armoury;
Lucius, I'll fit thee; and withal, my boy,
Shalt carry from me to the empress' sons
Presents that I intend to send them both:
Come, come; thou'lt do thy message, wilt thou not?
|Young LUCIUS||Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.|
|TITUS ANDRONICUS||No, boy, not so; I'll teach thee another course.
Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house:
Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court:
Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we'll be waited on.
|[Exeunt TITUS, LAVINIA, and Young LUCIUS]|
|MARCUS ANDRONICUS||O heavens, can you hear a good man groan,
And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart
Than foemen's marks upon his batter'd shield;
But yet so just that he will not revenge.
Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus!
|[Enter, from one side, AARON, DEMETRIUS, and
CHIRON; from the other side, Young LUCIUS, and an
Attendant, with a bundle of weapons, and verses
writ upon them]
|CHIRON||Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius;
He hath some message to deliver us.
|AARON||Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.|
|Young LUCIUS||My lords, with all the humbleness I may,
I greet your honours from Andronicus.
|And pray the Roman gods confound you both!|
|DEMETRIUS||Gramercy, lovely Lucius: what's the news?|
|Young LUCIUS||[Aside] That you are both decipher'd, that's the news,
For villains mark'd with rape.--May it please you,
My grandsire, well advised, hath sent by me
The goodliest weapons of his armoury
To gratify your honourable youth,
The hope of Rome; for so he bade me say;
And so I do, and with his gifts present
Your lordships, that, whenever you have need,
You may be armed and appointed well:
And so I leave you both:
like bloody villains.
|[Exeunt Young LUCIUS, and Attendant]|
|DEMETRIUS||What's here? A scroll; and written round about?
|'Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
Non eget Mauri jaculis, nec arcu.'
|CHIRON||O, 'tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:
I read it in the grammar long ago.
|AARON||Ay, just; a verse in Horace; right, you have it.|
|Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
Here's no sound jest! the old man hath found their guilt;
And sends them weapons wrapped about with lines,
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick.
But were our witty empress well afoot,
She would applaud Andronicus' conceit:
But let her rest in her unrest awhile.
|And now, young lords, was't not a happy star
Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,
Captives, to be advanced to this height?
It did me good, before the palace gate
To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.
|DEMETRIUS||But me more good, to see so great a lord
Basely insinuate and send us gifts.
|AARON||Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?
Did you not use his daughter very friendly?
|DEMETRIUS||I would we had a thousand Roman dames
At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.
|CHIRON||A charitable wish and full of love.|
|AARON||Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.|
|CHIRON||And that would she for twenty thousand more.|
|DEMETRIUS||Come, let us go; and pray to all the gods
For our beloved mother in her pains.
|AARON||[Aside] Pray to the devils; the gods have given us over.|
|[Trumpets sound within]|
|DEMETRIUS||Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish thus?|
|CHIRON||Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.|
|DEMETRIUS||Soft! who comes here?|
|[Enter a Nurse, with a blackamoor Child in her arms]|
|Nurse||Good morrow, lords:
O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?
|AARON||Well, more or less, or ne'er a whit at all,
Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?
|Nurse||O gentle Aaron, we are all undone!
Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!
|AARON||Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!
What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms?
|Nurse||O, that which I would hide from heaven's eye,
Our empress' shame, and stately Rome's disgrace!
She is deliver'd, lords; she is deliver'd.
|Nurse||I mean, she is brought a-bed.|
|AARON||Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?|
|AARON||Why, then she is the devil's dam; a joyful issue.|
|Nurse||A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue:
Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime:
The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point.
|AARON||'Zounds, ye whore! is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.
|DEMETRIUS||Villain, what hast thou done?|
|AARON||That which thou canst not undo.|
|CHIRON||Thou hast undone our mother.|
|AARON||Villain, I have done thy mother.|
|DEMETRIUS||And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone.
Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choice!
Accursed the offspring of so foul a fiend!
|CHIRON||It shall not live.|
|AARON||It shall not die.|
|Nurse||Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so.|
|AARON||What, must it, nurse? then let no man but I
Do execution on my flesh and blood.
|DEMETRIUS||I'll broach the tadpole on my rapier's point:
Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon dispatch it.
|AARON||Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up.|
|[Takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws]|
|Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?
Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point
That touches this my first-born son and heir!
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threatening band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-limed walls! ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue,
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
Tell the empress from me, I am of age
To keep mine own, excuse it how she can.
|DEMETRIUS||Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?|
|AARON||My mistress is my mistress; this myself,
The vigour and the picture of my youth:
This before all the world do I prefer;
This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
|DEMETRIUS||By this our mother is forever shamed.|
|CHIRON||Rome will despise her for this foul escape.|
|Nurse||The emperor, in his rage, will doom her death.|
|CHIRON||I blush to think upon this ignomy.|
|AARON||Why, there's the privilege your beauty bears:
Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of the heart!
Here's a young lad framed of another leer:
Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father,
As who should say 'Old lad, I am thine own.'
He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
Of that self-blood that first gave life to you,
And from that womb where you imprison'd were
He is enfranchised and come to light:
Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.
|Nurse||Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress?|
|DEMETRIUS||Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy advice:
Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.
|AARON||Then sit we down, and let us all consult.
My son and I will have the wind of you:
Keep there: now talk at pleasure of your safety.
|DEMETRIUS||How many women saw this child of his?|
|AARON||Why, so, brave lords! when we join in league,
I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
But say, again; how many saw the child?
|Nurse||Cornelia the midwife and myself;
And no one else but the deliver'd empress.
|AARON||The empress, the midwife, and yourself:
Two may keep counsel when the third's away:
Go to the empress, tell her this I said.
|[He kills the nurse]|
|Weke, weke! so cries a pig prepared to the spit.|
|DEMETRIUS||What mean'st thou, Aaron? wherefore didst thou this?|
|AARON||O Lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy:
Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,
A long-tongued babbling gossip? no, lords, no:
And now be it known to you my full intent.
Not far, one Muli lives, my countryman;
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
His child is like to her, fair as you are:
Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
And tell them both the circumstance of all;
And how by this their child shall be advanced,
And be received for the emperor's heir,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
And let the emperor dandle him for his own.
Hark ye, lords; ye see I have given her physic,
|[Pointing to the nurse]|
|And you must needs bestow her funeral;
The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms:
This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.
The midwife and the nurse well made away,
Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
|CHIRON||Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
|DEMETRIUS||For this care of Tamora,
Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
|[Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON bearing off the
|AARON||Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies;
There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
And secretly to greet the empress' friends.
Come on, you thick lipp'd slave, I'll bear you hence;
For it is you that puts us to our shifts:
I'll make you feed on berries and on roots,
And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
To be a warrior, and command a camp.