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Titus Andronicus
Act 4, scene 2

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Entire Play

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 2
Enter Aaron, Chiron, and Demetrius at one door, and at
the other door young Lucius and another, 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,
5 I greet your Honors from Andronicus—
 Aside. And pray the Roman gods confound you both.
DEMETRIUS 
 Gramercy, lovely Lucius. What’s the news?
YOUNG LUCIUS, aside 
 That you are both deciphered, that’s the news,
 For villains marked with rape.—May it please you,
10 My grandsire, well advised, hath sent by me
 The goodliest weapons of his armory
 To gratify your honorable youth,
 The hope of Rome; for so he bid me say,
 And so I do, and with his gifts present
15 Your Lordships, that, whenever you have need,
 You may be armèd and appointed well,
 And so I leave you both—(aside) like bloody villains.
He exits, with Attendant.
DEMETRIUS 
 What’s here? A scroll, and written round about.

133
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Let’s see:
He reads: 20 “Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
 Non eget Mauri iaculis, 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.
25 Aside. 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.
30 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,
35 Captives, to be advancèd 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 
40 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 
45 Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.
CHIRON 
 And that would she, for twenty thousand more.

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ACT 4. SC. 2

DEMETRIUS 
 Come, let us go and pray to all the gods
 For our belovèd mother in her pains.
AARON, aside 
 Pray to the devils; the gods have given us over.
Trumpets sound offstage.
DEMETRIUS 
50 Why do the Emperor’s trumpets flourish thus?
CHIRON 
 Belike for joy the Emperor hath a son.
DEMETRIUS Soft, who comes here?

Enter Nurse, with a blackamoor child in her arms.

NURSE Good morrow, lords.
 O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?
AARON 
55 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!
60 What dost thou wrap and fumble in thy arms?
NURSE 
 O, that which I would hide from heaven’s eye,
 Our empress’ shame and stately Rome’s disgrace.
 She is delivered, lords, she is delivered.
AARON To whom?
NURSE 65I mean, she is brought abed.
AARON 
 Well, God give her good rest. What hath he sent her?
NURSE A devil.
AARON 
 Why, then she is the devil’s dam. A joyful issue!

137
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ACT 4. SC. 2

NURSE 
 A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue!
70 Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
 Amongst the fair-faced 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, you whore, is black so base a hue?
75 To the baby. 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 80Villain, I have done thy mother.
DEMETRIUS 
 And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone her.
 Woe to her chance, and damned her loathèd choice!
 Accursed the offspring of so foul a fiend!
CHIRON It shall not live.
AARON 85It 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.
90 Nurse, give it me. My sword shall soon dispatch it.
AARON, taking the baby 
 Sooner this sword shall plow thy bowels up!
 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,
95 He dies upon my scimitar’s sharp point
 That touches this my firstborn son and heir.
 I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus

139
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 2

 With all his threat’ning band of Typhon’s brood,
 Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war
100 Shall seize this prey out of his father’s hands.
 What, what, you sanguine, shallow-hearted boys,
 You white-limed walls, you alehouse painted signs!
 Coal-black is better than another hue
 In that it scorns to bear another hue;
105 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 
110 Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?
AARON 
 My mistress is my mistress, this myself,
 The vigor and the picture of my youth.
 This before all the world do I prefer;
 This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
115 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 
120 Why, there’s the privilege your beauty bears.
 Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
 The close enacts and counsels of thy heart.
 Here’s a young lad framed of another leer.
 Look how the black slave smiles upon the father,
125 As who should say “Old lad, I am thine own.”

141
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 2

 He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
 Of that self blood that first gave life to you,
 And from that womb where you imprisoned were
 He is enfranchisèd and come to light.
130 Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
 Although my seal be stampèd 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.
135 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, to the Nurse 
 How many women saw this child of his?
AARON 
140 Why, so, brave lords! When we join in league,
 I am a lamb; but if you brave the Moor,
 The chafèd boar, the mountain lioness,
 The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
 To the Nurse. But say again, how many saw the
145 child?
NURSE 
 Cornelia the midwife and myself,
 And no one else but the delivered Empress.
AARON 
 The Empress, the midwife, and yourself.
 Two may keep counsel when the third’s away.
150 Go to the Empress; tell her this I said.
He kills her.
 “Wheak, wheak”! So cries a pig preparèd to the spit.
DEMETRIUS 
 What mean’st thou, Aaron? Wherefore didst thou this?

143
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 2

AARON 
 O Lord, sir, ’tis a deed of policy.
 Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,
155 A long-tongued babbling gossip? No, lords, no.
 And now be it known to you my full intent:
 Not far one Muliteus my countryman
 His wife but yesternight was brought to bed.
 His child is like to her, fair as you are.
160 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 receivèd for the Emperor’s heir,
 And substituted in the place of mine,
165 To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
 And let the Emperor dandle him for his own.
 Hark you, lords, you see I have given her physic,
indicating the Nurse
 And you must needs bestow her funeral.
 The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms.
170 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
175 With secrets.
DEMETRIUS  For this care of Tamora,
 Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
Demetrius and Chiron exit,
carrying the Nurse’s body.

AARON 
 Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies,
 There to dispose this treasure in mine arms
180 And secretly to greet the Empress’ friends.—
 Come on, you thick-lipped slave, I’ll bear you hence,

145
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 3

 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,
185 And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
 To be a warrior and command a camp.
He exits with the baby.