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Titus Andronicus
Act 3, scene 1

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Titus Andronicus overflows with death and violence. Twenty-one sons of the Roman general Titus Andronicus have died in battle, leaving four…

Act 1, scene 1

Saturninus and Bassianus, sons of the deceased Emperor of Rome, challenge each other for the title of emperor. Titus Andronicus,…

Act 2, scene 1

Aaron reveals that he is Tamora’s lover, and then stops a fight between her sons, Chiron and Demetrius, who both…

Act 2, scene 2

As the morning hunt gets under way, Demetrius and Chiron anticipate raping Lavinia.

Act 2, scene 3

Aaron sets a trap to destroy Bassianus and put the blame on Titus’s sons Quintus and Martius. He has Tamora…

Act 2, scene 4

The raped and mutilated Lavinia is discovered by her horrified uncle, Marcus.

Act 3, scene 1

Martius and Quintus are led off to execution. Aaron says their lives can be saved if Titus, Lucius, or Marcus…

Act 3, scene 2

In this scene, which is found in the 1623 Folio text but not in the Quarto, Titus is horrified when…

Act 4, scene 1

Lavinia finds a way to reveal to Titus the story of her rape and mutilation and the names of the…

Act 4, scene 2

Tamora gives birth to a baby whose black skin signals Aaron’s paternity. Aaron arranges for a white baby to take…

Act 4, scene 3

Titus has his friends and family shoot arrows to which are attached messages to the gods begging that Justice (as…

Act 4, scene 4

Saturninus, enraged at the messages on the arrows, reads the letter brought by the country fellow and sentences him to…

Act 5, scene 1

Aaron is captured by Lucius and his army of Goths. After Lucius swears to protect the baby, Aaron confesses to…

Act 5, scene 2

Tamora, disguised as Revenge, tells Titus she has come to his aid, and that if he will invite Lucius to…

Act 5, scene 3

At the feast, Titus serves the pie made from the bodies of Chiron and Demetrius. He then stabs Lavinia, reveals…

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Scene 1
Enter the Judges and Senators with Titus’ two sons
(Quintus and Martius) bound, passing on the stage to
the place of execution, and Titus going before, pleading.


TITUS 
 Hear me, grave fathers; noble tribunes, stay.
 For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
 In dangerous wars whilst you securely slept;
 For all my blood in Rome’s great quarrel shed,
5 For all the frosty nights that I have watched,
 And for these bitter tears which now you see,
 Filling the agèd wrinkles in my cheeks,
 Be pitiful to my condemnèd sons,
 Whose souls is not corrupted as ’tis thought.
10 For two-and-twenty sons I never wept
 Because they died in honor’s lofty bed.
Andronicus lieth down, and the Judges pass by him.
They exit with the prisoners as Titus continues speaking.
 For these, tribunes, in the dust I write
 My heart’s deep languor and my soul’s sad tears.
 Let my tears stanch the earth’s dry appetite.
15 My sons’ sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
 O Earth, I will befriend thee more with rain
 That shall distil from these two ancient ruins
 Than youthful April shall with all his showers.
91

93
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ACT 3. SC. 1

 In summer’s drought I’ll drop upon thee still;
20 In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow
 And keep eternal springtime on thy face,
 So thou refuse to drink my dear sons’ blood.

Enter Lucius with his weapon drawn.

 O reverend tribunes, O gentle agèd men,
 Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death,
25 And let me say, that never wept before,
 My tears are now prevailing orators.
LUCIUS 
 O noble father, you lament in vain.
 The Tribunes hear you not; no man is by,
 And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
TITUS 
30 Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.—
 Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you—
LUCIUS 
 My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
TITUS 
 Why, ’tis no matter, man. If they did hear,
 They would not mark me; if they did mark,
35 They would not pity me. Yet plead I must,
 And bootless unto them.
 Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones,
 Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
 Yet in some sort they are better than the Tribunes,
40 For that they will not intercept my tale.
 When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
 Receive my tears and seem to weep with me,
 And were they but attirèd in grave weeds,
 Rome could afford no tribunes like to these.
45 A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than
 stones;
 A stone is silent and offendeth not,
 And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.
 But wherefore stand’st thou with thy weapon drawn?

95
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ACT 3. SC. 1

LUCIUS 
50 To rescue my two brothers from their death,
 For which attempt the Judges have pronounced
 My everlasting doom of banishment.
TITUS, rising 
 O happy man, they have befriended thee!
 Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
55 That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
 Tigers must prey, and Rome affords no prey
 But me and mine. How happy art thou then
 From these devourers to be banishèd.
 But who comes with our brother Marcus here?

Enter Marcus with Lavinia.

MARCUS 
60 Titus, prepare thy agèd eyes to weep,
 Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break.
 I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
TITUS 
 Will it consume me? Let me see it, then.
MARCUS 
 This was thy daughter.
TITUS 65 Why, Marcus, so she is.
LUCIUS Ay me, this object kills me!
TITUS 
 Faint-hearted boy, arise and look upon her.—
 Speak, Lavinia. What accursèd hand
 Hath made thee handless in thy father’s sight?
70 What fool hath added water to the sea
 Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
 My grief was at the height before thou cam’st,
 And now like Nilus it disdaineth bounds.—
 Give me a sword. I’ll chop off my hands too,
75 For they have fought for Rome and all in vain;
 And they have nursed this woe in feeding life;

97
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ACT 3. SC. 1

 In bootless prayer have they been held up,
 And they have served me to effectless use.
 Now all the service I require of them
80 Is that the one will help to cut the other.—
 ’Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands,
 For hands to do Rome service is but vain.
LUCIUS 
 Speak, gentle sister. Who hath martyred thee?
MARCUS 
 O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
85 That blabbed them with such pleasing eloquence,
 Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage
 Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung
 Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear.
LUCIUS 
 O, say thou for her who hath done this deed!
MARCUS 
90 O, thus I found her straying in the park,
 Seeking to hide herself as doth the deer
 That hath received some unrecuring wound.
TITUS 
 It was my dear, and he that wounded her
 Hath hurt me more than had he killed me dead.
95 For now I stand as one upon a rock,
 Environed with a wilderness of sea,
 Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
 Expecting ever when some envious surge
 Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
100 This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
 Here stands my other son a banished man,
 And here my brother, weeping at my woes.
 But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn
 Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.
105 Had I but seen thy picture in this plight
 It would have madded me. What shall I do,
 Now I behold thy lively body so?

99
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Thou hast no hands to wipe away thy tears,
 Nor tongue to tell me who hath martyred thee.
110 Thy husband he is dead, and for his death
 Thy brothers are condemned, and dead by this.—
 Look, Marcus!—Ah, son Lucius, look on her!
 When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
 Stood on her cheeks as doth the honeydew
115 Upon a gathered lily almost withered.
MARCUS 
 Perchance she weeps because they killed her husband,
 Perchance because she knows them innocent.
TITUS 
 If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful,
 Because the law hath ta’en revenge on them.—
120 No, no, they would not do so foul a deed.
 Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.—
 Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips,
 Or make some sign how I may do thee ease.
 Shall thy good uncle and thy brother Lucius
125 And thou and I sit round about some fountain,
 Looking all downwards to behold our cheeks,
 How they are stained like meadows yet not dry
 With miry slime left on them by a flood?
 And in the fountain shall we gaze so long
130 Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness
 And made a brine pit with our bitter tears?
 Or shall we cut away our hands like thine?
 Or shall we bite our tongues and in dumb shows
 Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
135 What shall we do? Let us that have our tongues
 Plot some device of further misery
 To make us wondered at in time to come.
LUCIUS 
 Sweet father, cease your tears, for at your grief
 See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.

101
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ACT 3. SC. 1

MARCUS 
140 Patience, dear niece.—Good Titus, dry thine eyes.
TITUS 
 Ah, Marcus, Marcus! Brother, well I wot
 Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
 For thou, poor man, hast drowned it with thine own.
LUCIUS 
 Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
TITUS 
145 Mark, Marcus, mark. I understand her signs.
 Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
 That to her brother which I said to thee.
 His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,
 Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
150 O, what a sympathy of woe is this,
 As far from help as limbo is from bliss.

Enter Aaron the Moor alone.

AARON 
 Titus Andronicus, my lord the Emperor
 Sends thee this word, that if thou love thy sons,
 Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
155 Or any one of you, chop off your hand
 And send it to the King; he for the same
 Will send thee hither both thy sons alive,
 And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
TITUS 
 O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!
160 Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
 That gives sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?
 With all my heart I’ll send the Emperor my hand.
 Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
LUCIUS 
 Stay, father, for that noble hand of thine,
165 That hath thrown down so many enemies,
 Shall not be sent. My hand will serve the turn.

103
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ACT 3. SC. 1

 My youth can better spare my blood than you,
 And therefore mine shall save my brothers’ lives.
MARCUS 
 Which of your hands hath not defended Rome
170 And reared aloft the bloody battleax,
 Writing destruction on the enemy’s castle?
 O, none of both but are of high desert.
 My hand hath been but idle; let it serve
 To ransom my two nephews from their death.
175 Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
AARON 
 Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,
 For fear they die before their pardon come.
MARCUS 
 My hand shall go.
LUCIUS  By heaven, it shall not go!
TITUS 
180 Sirs, strive no more. Such withered herbs as these
 Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
LUCIUS 
 Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,
 Let me redeem my brothers both from death.
MARCUS 
 And for our father’s sake and mother’s care,
185 Now let me show a brother’s love to thee.
TITUS 
 Agree between you. I will spare my hand.
LUCIUS Then I’ll go fetch an ax.
MARCUS But I will use the ax.Lucius and Marcus exit.
TITUS 
 Come hither, Aaron. I’ll deceive them both.
190 Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.
AARON, aside 
 If that be called deceit, I will be honest
 And never whilst I live deceive men so.

105
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 1

 But I’ll deceive you in another sort,
 And that you’ll say ere half an hour pass.
He cuts off Titus’ hand.

Enter Lucius and Marcus again.

TITUS 
195 Now stay your strife. What shall be is dispatched.—
 Good Aaron, give his Majesty my hand.
 Tell him it was a hand that warded him
 From thousand dangers. Bid him bury it.
 More hath it merited; that let it have.
200 As for my sons, say I account of them
 As jewels purchased at an easy price,
 And yet dear, too, because I bought mine own.
AARON 
 I go, Andronicus, and for thy hand
 Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.
205 Aside. Their heads, I mean. O, how this villainy
 Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
 Let fools do good and fair men call for grace;
 Aaron will have his soul black like his face.
He exits.
TITUS 
 O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
210 And bow this feeble ruin to the earth.He kneels.
 If any power pities wretched tears,
 To that I call. (Lavinia kneels.) What, wouldst thou
 kneel with me?
 Do, then, dear heart, for heaven shall hear our
215 prayers,
 Or with our sighs we’ll breathe the welkin dim
 And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds
 When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.
MARCUS 
 O brother, speak with possibility,
220 And do not break into these deep extremes.

107
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ACT 3. SC. 1

TITUS 
 Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
 Then be my passions bottomless with them.
MARCUS 
 But yet let reason govern thy lament.
TITUS 
 If there were reason for these miseries,
225 Then into limits could I bind my woes.
 When heaven doth weep, doth not the Earth o’erflow?
 If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
 Threat’ning the welkin with his big-swoll’n face?
 And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
230 I am the sea. Hark how her sighs doth flow!
 She is the weeping welkin, I the Earth.
 Then must my sea be movèd with her sighs;
 Then must my Earth with her continual tears
 Become a deluge, overflowed and drowned,
235 Forwhy my bowels cannot hide her woes
 But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
 Then give me leave, for losers will have leave
 To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.

Enter a Messenger with two heads and a hand.

MESSENGER 
 Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
240 For that good hand thou sent’st the Emperor.
 Here are the heads of thy two noble sons,
 And here’s thy hand in scorn to thee sent back.
 Thy grief their sports, thy resolution mocked,
 That woe is me to think upon thy woes
245 More than remembrance of my father’s death.
He exits.
MARCUS 
 Now let hot Etna cool in Sicily,
 And be my heart an everburning hell!

109
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 1

 These miseries are more than may be borne.
 To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal,
250 But sorrow flouted at is double death.
LUCIUS 
 Ah, that this sight should make so deep a wound
 And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
 That ever death should let life bear his name,
 Where life hath no more interest but to breathe.
Lavinia kisses Titus.
MARCUS 
255 Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless
 As frozen water to a starvèd snake.
TITUS 
 When will this fearful slumber have an end?
MARCUS 
 Now farewell, flatt’ry; die, Andronicus.
 Thou dost not slumber. See thy two sons’ heads,
260 Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here,
 Thy other banished son with this dear sight
 Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
 Even like a stony image cold and numb.
 Ah, now no more will I control thy griefs.
265 Rent off thy silver hair, thy other hand,
 Gnawing with thy teeth, and be this dismal sight
 The closing up of our most wretched eyes.
 Now is a time to storm. Why art thou still?
TITUS Ha, ha, ha!
MARCUS 
270 Why dost thou laugh? It fits not with this hour.
Titus and Lavinia rise.
TITUS 
 Why, I have not another tear to shed.
 Besides, this sorrow is an enemy
 And would usurp upon my wat’ry eyes
 And make them blind with tributary tears.

111
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ACT 3. SC. 1

275 Then which way shall I find Revenge’s cave?
 For these two heads do seem to speak to me
 And threat me I shall never come to bliss
 Till all these mischiefs be returned again
 Even in their throats that hath committed them.
280 Come, let me see what task I have to do.
 You heavy people, circle me about
 That I may turn me to each one of you
 And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
 The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head,
285 And in this hand the other will I bear.—
 And, Lavinia, thou shalt be employed in these arms.
 Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy
 teeth.—
 As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight.
290 Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay.
 Hie to the Goths and raise an army there.
 And if you love me, as I think you do,
 Let’s kiss and part, for we have much to do.
All but Lucius exit.
LUCIUS 
 Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father,
295 The woefull’st man that ever lived in Rome.
 Farewell, proud Rome, till Lucius come again.
 He loves his pledges dearer than his life.
 Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister.
 O, would thou wert as thou tofore hast been!
300 But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
 But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
 If Lucius live he will requite your wrongs
 And make proud Saturnine and his empress
 Beg at the gates like Tarquin and his queen.
305 Now will I to the Goths and raise a power
 To be revenged on Rome and Saturnine.
Lucius exits.