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Titus Andronicus
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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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ACT 1
Scene 1
Flourish. Enter the Tribunes (including Marcus
Andronicus) and Senators aloft. And then enter, below,
Saturninus and his followers at one door, and
Bassianus and his followers at another door, with
other Romans, Drums, and Trumpets.


SATURNINUS 
 Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
 Defend the justice of my cause with arms.
 And countrymen, my loving followers,
 Plead my successive title with your swords.
5 I am his firstborn son that was the last
 That wore the imperial diadem of Rome.
 Then let my father’s honors live in me,
 Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.
BASSIANUS 
 Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,
10 If ever Bassianus, Caesar’s son,
 Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
 Keep, then, this passage to the Capitol,
 And suffer not dishonor to approach
 The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
15 To justice, continence, and nobility;
 But let desert in pure election shine,
 And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.
7

9
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ACT 1. SC. 1

MARCUS, (aloft, stepping forward and holding up the
 crown)
 
 Princes that strive by factions and by friends
 Ambitiously for rule and empery,
20 Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
 A special party, have by common voice,
 In election for the Roman empery,
 Chosen Andronicus, surnamèd Pius
 For many good and great deserts to Rome.
25 A nobler man, a braver warrior,
 Lives not this day within the city walls.
 He by the Senate is accited home
 From weary wars against the barbarous Goths,
 That with his sons, a terror to our foes,
30 Hath yoked a nation strong, trained up in arms.
 Ten years are spent since first he undertook
 This cause of Rome, and chastisèd with arms
 Our enemies’ pride. Five times he hath returned
 Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
35 In coffins from the field.
 And now at last, laden with honor’s spoils,
 Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
 Renownèd Titus flourishing in arms.
 Let us entreat, by honor of his name
40 Whom worthily you would have now succeed,
 And in the Capitol and Senate’s right,
 Whom you pretend to honor and adore,
 That you withdraw you and abate your strength,
 Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,
45 Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.
SATURNINUS 
 How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!
BASSIANUS 
 Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy
 In thy uprightness and integrity,

11
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ACT 1. SC. 1

 And so I love and honor thee and thine,
50 Thy noble brother Titus and his sons,
 And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
 Gracious Lavinia, Rome’s rich ornament,
 That I will here dismiss my loving friends,
 And to my fortunes and the people’s favor
55 Commit my cause in balance to be weighed.
Bassianus’ Soldiers exit.
SATURNINUS 
 Friends that have been thus forward in my right,
 I thank you all and here dismiss you all,
 And to the love and favor of my country
 Commit myself, my person, and the cause.
Saturninus’ Soldiers exit.
60 Rome, be as just and gracious unto me
 As I am confident and kind to thee.
 Open the gates and let me in.
BASSIANUS 
 Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.
Flourish. They exit to go up into the Senate House.
The Tribunes and Senators exit from the upper stage.


Enter a Captain.

CAPTAIN 
 Romans, make way! The good Andronicus,
65 Patron of virtue, Rome’s best champion,
 Successful in the battles that he fights,
 With honor and with fortune is returned
 From where he circumscribèd with his sword
 And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.

Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter two of Titus’
sons (Lucius and Mutius) and then two men bearing a
coffin covered with black, then two other sons (Martius
and Quintus), then Titus Andronicus, and then Tamora
the Queen of Goths and her sons Alarbus, Chiron and

13
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ACT 1. SC. 1

Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, and others as many as
can be, then set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.


TITUS 
70 Hail Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!
 Lo, as the bark that hath discharged his fraught
 Returns with precious lading to the bay
 From whence at first she weighed her anchorage,
 Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
75 To resalute his country with his tears,
 Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.
 Thou great defender of this Capitol,
 Stand gracious to the rites that we intend.
 Romans, of five-and-twenty valiant sons,
80 Half of the number that King Priam had,
 Behold the poor remains alive and dead.
 These that survive let Rome reward with love;
 These that I bring unto their latest home,
 With burial amongst their ancestors.
85 Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
 Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,
 Why suffer’st thou thy sons unburied yet
 To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?
 Make way to lay them by their brethren.
They open the tomb.
90 There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
 And sleep in peace, slain in your country’s wars.
 O sacred receptacle of my joys,
 Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
 How many sons hast thou of mine in store
95 That thou wilt never render to me more?
LUCIUS 
 Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
 That we may hew his limbs and on a pile,
 Ad manes fratrum, sacrifice his flesh
 Before this earthy prison of their bones,
100 That so the shadows be not unappeased,
 Nor we disturbed with prodigies on Earth.

15
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ACT 1. SC. 1

TITUS 
 I give him you, the noblest that survives,
 The eldest son of this distressèd queen.
TAMORA 
 Stay, Roman brethren!—Gracious conqueror,
105 Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
 A mother’s tears in passion for her son.
 And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
 O think my son to be as dear to me.
 Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome
110 To beautify thy triumphs and return
 Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,
 But must my sons be slaughtered in the streets
 For valiant doings in their country’s cause?
 O, if to fight for king and commonweal
115 Were piety in thine, it is in these!
She kneels.
 Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood.
 Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
 Draw near them then in being merciful.
 Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.
120 Thrice-noble Titus, spare my first-born son.
TITUS 
 Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
 These are their brethren whom your Goths beheld
 Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain
 Religiously they ask a sacrifice.
125 To this your son is marked, and die he must,
 T’ appease their groaning shadows that are gone.
LUCIUS 
 Away with him, and make a fire straight,
 And with our swords upon a pile of wood
 Let’s hew his limbs till they be clean consumed.
Exit Titus’ sons with Alarbus.

17
Titus Andronicus
ACT 1. SC. 1

TAMORA, rising and speaking aside to her sons 
130 O cruel, irreligious piety!
CHIRON, aside to Tamora and Demetrius 
 Was never Scythia half so barbarous!
DEMETRIUS, aside to Tamora and Chiron 
 Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome!
 Alarbus goes to rest and we survive
 To tremble under Titus’ threat’ning look.
135 Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal
 The selfsame gods that armed the Queen of Troy
 With opportunity of sharp revenge
 Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent
 May favor Tamora the Queen of Goths
140 (When Goths were Goths, and Tamora was queen)
 To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.

Enter the sons of Andronicus again with bloody swords.

LUCIUS 
 See, lord and father, how we have performed
 Our Roman rites. Alarbus’ limbs are lopped,
 And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
145 Whose smoke like incense doth perfume the sky.
 Remaineth naught but to inter our brethren,
 And with loud larums welcome them to Rome.
TITUS 
 Let it be so. And let Andronicus
 Make this his latest farewell to their souls.
Sound trumpets, and lay the coffin in the tomb.
150 In peace and honor rest you here, my sons,
 Rome’s readiest champions, repose you here in rest,
 Secure from worldly chances and mishaps.
 Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
 Here grow no damnèd drugs; here are no storms,
155 No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.
 In peace and honor rest you here, my sons.

Enter Lavinia.


19
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ACT 1. SC. 1

LAVINIA 
 In peace and honor live Lord Titus long;
 My noble lord and father, live in fame.
She kneels.
 Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears
160 I render for my brethren’s obsequies,
 And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy
 Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome.
 O bless me here with thy victorious hand,
 Whose fortunes Rome’s best citizens applaud.
TITUS 
165 Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved
 The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!—
 Lavinia, live, outlive thy father’s days
 And fame’s eternal date, for virtue’s praise.
Lavinia rises.

Enter Marcus Andronicus, carrying a white robe.
Enter aloft Saturninus, Bassianus, Tribunes, Senators,
and Guards.


MARCUS 
 Long live Lord Titus, my belovèd brother,
170 Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome.
TITUS 
 Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.
MARCUS 
 And welcome, nephews, from successful wars—
 You that survive, and you that sleep in fame.
 Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,
175 That in your country’s service drew your swords;
 But safer triumph is this funeral pomp,
 That hath aspired to Solon’s happiness,
 And triumphs over chance in honor’s bed.—
 Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
180 Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
 Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust,
 This palliament of white and spotless hue,

21
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ACT 1. SC. 1

 And name thee in election for the empire
 With these our late deceasèd emperor’s sons.
185 Be candidatus, then, and put it on
 And help to set a head on headless Rome.
TITUS 
 A better head her glorious body fits
 Than his that shakes for age and feebleness.
 To Tribunes and Senators aloft. What, should I don
190 this robe and trouble you?
 Be chosen with proclamations today,
 Tomorrow yield up rule, resign my life,
 And set abroad new business for you all?
 Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
195 And led my country’s strength successfully,
 And buried one and twenty valiant sons,
 Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms,
 In right and service of their noble country.
 Give me a staff of honor for mine age,
200 But not a scepter to control the world.
 Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.
MARCUS 
 Titus, thou shalt obtain and ask the empery.
SATURNINUS 
 Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?
TITUS Patience, Prince Saturninus.
SATURNINUS 205Romans, do me right.
 Patricians, draw your swords and sheathe them not
 Till Saturninus be Rome’s emperor.—
 Andronicus, would thou were shipped to hell
 Rather than rob me of the people’s hearts.
LUCIUS 
210 Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good
 That noble-minded Titus means to thee.
TITUS 
 Content thee, prince. I will restore to thee
 The people’s hearts and wean them from themselves.

23
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ACT 1. SC. 1

BASSIANUS 
 Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,
215 But honor thee, and will do till I die.
 My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,
 I will most thankful be, and thanks, to men
 Of noble minds, is honorable meed.
TITUS 
 People of Rome, and people’s tribunes here,
220 I ask your voices and your suffrages.
 Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?
TRIBUNES 
 To gratify the good Andronicus
 And gratulate his safe return to Rome,
 The people will accept whom he admits.
TITUS 
225 Tribunes, I thank you, and this suit I make:
 That you create our emperor’s eldest son,
 Lord Saturnine, whose virtues will, I hope,
 Reflect on Rome as Titan’s rays on Earth
 And ripen justice in this commonweal.
230 Then, if you will elect by my advice,
 Crown him and say “Long live our emperor.”
MARCUS 
 With voices and applause of every sort,
 Patricians and plebeians, we create
 Lord Saturninus Rome’s great emperor,
235 And say “Long live our Emperor Saturnine.”
A long flourish till Saturninus, Bassianus,
and Guards come down.

SATURNINUS 
 Titus Andronicus, for thy favors done
 To us in our election this day,
 I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,
 And will with deeds requite thy gentleness.
240 And for an onset, Titus, to advance

25
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ACT 1. SC. 1

 Thy name and honorable family,
 Lavinia will I make my empress,
 Rome’s royal mistress, mistress of my heart,
 And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse.
245 Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?
TITUS 
 It doth, my worthy lord, and in this match
 I hold me highly honored of your Grace;
 And here in sight of Rome to Saturnine,
 King and commander of our commonweal,
250 The wide world’s emperor, do I consecrate
 My sword, my chariot, and my prisoners,
 Presents well worthy Rome’s imperious lord.
 Receive them, then, the tribute that I owe,
 Mine honor’s ensigns humbled at thy feet.
SATURNINUS 
255 Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life.
 How proud I am of thee and of thy gifts
 Rome shall record.—And when I do forget
 The least of these unspeakable deserts,
 Romans, forget your fealty to me.
TITUS, to Tamora 
260 Now, madam, are you prisoner to an emperor,
 To him that for your honor and your state
 Will use you nobly, and your followers.
SATURNINUS, aside 
 A goodly lady, trust me, of the hue
 That I would choose, were I to choose anew.—
265 Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance.
 Though chance of war hath wrought this change
 of cheer,
 Thou com’st not to be made a scorn in Rome.
 Princely shall be thy usage every way.
270 Rest on my word, and let not discontent
 Daunt all your hopes. Madam, he comforts you
 Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths.—
 Lavinia, you are not displeased with this?

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ACT 1. SC. 1

LAVINIA 
 Not I, my lord, sith true nobility
275 Warrants these words in princely courtesy.
SATURNINUS 
 Thanks, sweet Lavinia.—Romans, let us go.
 Ransomless here we set our prisoners free.
 Proclaim our honors, lords, with trump and drum.
Flourish. Saturninus and his Guards exit, with Drums
and Trumpets. Tribunes and Senators exit aloft.

BASSIANUS 
 Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.
TITUS 
280 How, sir? Are you in earnest then, my lord?
BASSIANUS 
 Ay, noble Titus, and resolved withal
 To do myself this reason and this right.
Bassianus takes Lavinia by the arm.
MARCUS 
 Suum cuique is our Roman justice.
 This prince in justice seizeth but his own.
LUCIUS 
285 And that he will and shall, if Lucius live!
TITUS 
 Traitors, avaunt! Where is the Emperor’s guard?

Enter Saturninus and his Guards.

 Treason, my lord. Lavinia is surprised.
SATURNINUS 
 Surprised? By whom?
BASSIANUS  By him that justly may
290 Bear his betrothed from all the world away.
MUTIUS 
 Brothers, help to convey her hence away,
 And with my sword I’ll keep this door safe.
Bassianus, Lavinia, Marcus, Lucius,
Quintus, and Martius exit.


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ACT 1. SC. 1

TITUS, to Saturninus 
 Follow, my lord, and I’ll soon bring her back.
Saturninus, Tamora, Demetrius, Chiron,
Aaron, and Guards exit.

MUTIUS 
 My lord, you pass not here.
TITUS 295 What, villain boy,
 Barr’st me my way in Rome?
He stabs Mutius.
MUTIUS  Help, Lucius, help!
Mutius dies.

Enter Lucius.

LUCIUS 
 My lord, you are unjust, and more than so!
 In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.
TITUS 
300 Nor thou nor he are any sons of mine.
 My sons would never so dishonor me.
 Traitor, restore Lavinia to the Emperor.

Enter aloft the Emperor Saturninus with Tamora
and her two sons and Aaron the Moor.


LUCIUS 
 Dead if you will, but not to be his wife
 That is another’s lawful promised love.He exits.
SATURNINUS 
305 No, Titus, no, the Emperor needs her not,
 Nor her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock.
 I’ll trust by leisure him that mocks me once,
 Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,
 Confederates all thus to dishonor me.
310 Was none in Rome to make a stale
 But Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus,
 Agree these deeds with that proud brag of thine
 That said’st I begged the empire at thy hands.

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ACT 1. SC. 1

TITUS 
 O monstrous! What reproachful words are these?
SATURNINUS 
315 But go thy ways. Go give that changing piece
 To him that flourished for her with his sword.
 A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy,
 One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,
 To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.
TITUS 
320 These words are razors to my wounded heart.
SATURNINUS 
 And therefore, lovely Tamora, Queen of Goths,
 That like the stately Phoebe ’mongst her nymphs
 Dost overshine the gallant’st dames of Rome,
 If thou be pleased with this my sudden choice,
325 Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride,
 And will create thee Emperess of Rome.
 Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my
 choice?
 And here I swear by all the Roman gods,
330 Sith priest and holy water are so near,
 And tapers burn so bright, and everything
 In readiness for Hymenaeus stand,
 I will not resalute the streets of Rome
 Or climb my palace till from forth this place
335 I lead espoused my bride along with me.
TAMORA 
 And here in sight of heaven to Rome I swear,
 If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths,
 She will a handmaid be to his desires,
 A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.
SATURNINUS 
340 Ascend, fair queen, to Pantheon.—Lords, accompany
 Your noble emperor and his lovely bride,
 Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine,

33
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ACT 1. SC. 1

 Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquerèd.
 There shall we consummate our spousal rites.
All but Titus exit.
TITUS 
345 I am not bid to wait upon this bride.
 Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone,
 Dishonored thus and challengèd of wrongs?

Enter Marcus and Titus’ sons Lucius, Martius,
and Quintus.


MARCUS 
 O Titus, see! O, see what thou hast done!
 In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.
TITUS 
350 No, foolish tribune, no; no son of mine,
 Nor thou, nor these confederates in the deed
 That hath dishonored all our family.
 Unworthy brother and unworthy sons!
LUCIUS 
 But let us give him burial as becomes,
355 Give Mutius burial with our brethren.
TITUS 
 Traitors, away! He rests not in this tomb.
 This monument five hundred years hath stood,
 Which I have sumptuously reedified.
 Here none but soldiers and Rome’s servitors
360 Repose in fame, none basely slain in brawls.
 Bury him where you can. He comes not here.
MARCUS 
 My lord, this is impiety in you.
 My nephew Mutius’ deeds do plead for him.
 He must be buried with his brethren.
MARTIUS 
365 And shall, or him we will accompany.
TITUS 
 “And shall”? What villain was it spake that word?

35
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ACT 1. SC. 1

MARTIUS 
 He that would vouch it in any place but here.
TITUS 
 What, would you bury him in my despite?
MARCUS 
 No, noble Titus, but entreat of thee
370 To pardon Mutius and to bury him.
TITUS 
 Marcus, even thou hast struck upon my crest,
 And with these boys mine honor thou hast wounded.
 My foes I do repute you every one.
 So trouble me no more, but get you gone.
QUINTUS 
375 He is not with himself; let us withdraw.
MARTIUS 
 Not I, till Mutius’ bones be burièd.
The brother (Marcus) and the sons
(Lucius, Martius, and Quintus) kneel.

MARCUS 
 Brother, for in that name doth nature plead—
MARTIUS 
 Father, and in that name doth nature speak—
TITUS 
 Speak thou no more, if all the rest will speed.
MARCUS 
380 Renownèd Titus, more than half my soul—
LUCIUS 
 Dear father, soul and substance of us all—
MARCUS 
 Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter
 His noble nephew here in virtue’s nest,
 That died in honor and Lavinia’s cause.
385 Thou art a Roman; be not barbarous.
 The Greeks upon advice did bury Ajax,
 That slew himself, and wise Laertes’ son
 Did graciously plead for his funerals.

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ACT 1. SC. 1

 Let not young Mutius, then, that was thy joy,
390 Be barred his entrance here.
TITUS  Rise, Marcus, rise.
They rise.
 The dismall’st day is this that e’er I saw,
 To be dishonored by my sons in Rome.
 Well, bury him, and bury me the next.
They put Mutius in the tomb.
LUCIUS 
395 There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends’,
 Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb.
They all except Titus kneel and say:
  No man shed tears for noble Mutius.
 He lives in fame, that died in virtue’s cause.
All but Marcus and Titus exit.
MARCUS 
 My lord, to step out of these dreary dumps,
400 How comes it that the subtle Queen of Goths
 Is of a sudden thus advanced in Rome?
TITUS 
 I know not, Marcus, but I know it is.
 Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell.
 Is she not then beholding to the man
405 That brought her for this high good turn so far?
 Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.

Flourish. Enter the Emperor Saturninus, Tamora
and her two sons, with Aaron the Moor, Drums and
Trumpets, at one door. Enter at the other door
Bassianus and Lavinia, with Lucius, Martius, and
Quintus, and others.


SATURNINUS 
 So, Bassianus, you have played your prize.
 God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride.
BASSIANUS 
 And you of yours, my lord. I say no more,
410 Nor wish no less, and so I take my leave.

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ACT 1. SC. 1

SATURNINUS 
 Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,
 Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.
BASSIANUS 
 “Rape” call you it, my lord, to seize my own,
 My true betrothèd love and now my wife?
415 But let the laws of Rome determine all.
 Meanwhile am I possessed of that is mine.
SATURNINUS 
 ’Tis good, sir, you are very short with us.
 But if we live, we’ll be as sharp with you.
BASSIANUS 
 My lord, what I have done, as best I may,
420 Answer I must, and shall do with my life.
 Only thus much I give your Grace to know:
 By all the duties that I owe to Rome,
 This noble gentleman, Lord Titus here,
 Is in opinion and in honor wronged,
425 That in the rescue of Lavinia
 With his own hand did slay his youngest son,
 In zeal to you, and highly moved to wrath
 To be controlled in that he frankly gave.
 Receive him then to favor, Saturnine,
430 That hath expressed himself in all his deeds
 A father and a friend to thee and Rome.
TITUS 
 Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds.
 ’Tis thou, and those, that have dishonored me.
 Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge
435 How I have loved and honored Saturnine.He kneels.
TAMORA, to Saturninus 
 My worthy lord, if ever Tamora
 Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,
 Then hear me speak indifferently for all,
 And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.

41
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ACT 1. SC. 1

SATURNINUS 
440 What, madam, be dishonored openly,
 And basely put it up without revenge?
TAMORA 
 Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend
 I should be author to dishonor you.
 But on mine honor dare I undertake
445 For good Lord Titus’ innocence in all,
 Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs.
 Then at my suit look graciously on him.
 Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,
 Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.
450 Aside to Saturninus. My lord, be ruled by me; be
 won at last.
 Dissemble all your griefs and discontents.
 You are but newly planted in your throne.
 Lest, then, the people, and patricians too,
455 Upon a just survey take Titus’ part
 And so supplant you for ingratitude,
 Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin.
 Yield at entreats, and then let me alone.
 I’ll find a day to massacre them all
460 And raze their faction and their family,
 The cruel father and his traitorous sons,
 To whom I sued for my dear son’s life,
 And make them know what ’tis to let a queen
 Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.
465 Aloud. Come, come, sweet emperor.—Come,
 Andronicus.—
 Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart
 That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.
SATURNINUS 
 Rise, Titus, rise. My empress hath prevailed.
TITUS, rising 
470 I thank your Majesty and her, my lord.
 These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.

43
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ACT 1. SC. 1

TAMORA 
 Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,
 A Roman now adopted happily,
 And must advise the Emperor for his good.
475 This day all quarrels die, Andronicus.—
 And let it be mine honor, good my lord,
 That I have reconciled your friends and you.—
 For you, Prince Bassianus, I have passed
 My word and promise to the Emperor
480 That you will be more mild and tractable.—
 And fear not, lords—and you, Lavinia.
 By my advice, all humbled on your knees,
 You shall ask pardon of his Majesty.
Marcus, Lavinia, Lucius, Martius, and Quintus kneel.
LUCIUS 
 We do, and vow to heaven and to his Highness
485 That what we did was mildly as we might,
 Tend’ring our sister’s honor and our own.
MARCUS 
 That on mine honor here do I protest.
SATURNINUS 
 Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.
TAMORA 
 Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends.
490 The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace.
 I will not be denied. Sweetheart, look back.
SATURNINUS 
 Marcus, for thy sake, and thy brother’s here,
 And at my lovely Tamora’s entreats,
 I do remit these young men’s heinous faults.
495 Stand up.They rise.
 Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,
 I found a friend, and sure as death I swore
 I would not part a bachelor from the priest.
 Come, if the Emperor’s court can feast two brides,

45
Titus Andronicus
ACT 1. SC. 1

500 You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends.—
 This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.
TITUS 
 Tomorrow, an it please your Majesty
 To hunt the panther and the hart with me,
 With horn and hound we’ll give your Grace bonjour.
SATURNINUS 
505 Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too.
Sound trumpets. All but Aaron exit.


ACT 2
Scene 1
AARON 
 Now climbeth Tamora Olympus’ top,
 Safe out of Fortune’s shot, and sits aloft,
 Secure of thunder’s crack or lightning flash,
 Advanced above pale Envy’s threat’ning reach.
5 As when the golden sun salutes the morn
 And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
 Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach
 And overlooks the highest-peering hills,
 So Tamora.
10 Upon her wit doth earthly honor wait,
 And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown.
 Then, Aaron, arm thy heart and fit thy thoughts
 To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress,
 And mount her pitch whom thou in triumph long
15 Hast prisoner held, fettered in amorous chains
 And faster bound to Aaron’s charming eyes
 Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus.
 Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts!
 I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold
20 To wait upon this new-made emperess.
 To wait, said I? To wanton with this queen,
 This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
 This siren that will charm Rome’s Saturnine
49

51
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 1

 And see his shipwrack and his commonweal’s.
25 Holla! What storm is this?

Enter Chiron and Demetrius, braving.

DEMETRIUS 
 Chiron, thy years wants wit, thy wits wants edge
 And manners, to intrude where I am graced,
 And may, for aught thou knowest, affected be.
CHIRON 
 Demetrius, thou dost overween in all,
30 And so in this, to bear me down with braves.
 ’Tis not the difference of a year or two
 Makes me less gracious or thee more fortunate.
 I am as able and as fit as thou
 To serve and to deserve my mistress’ grace,
35 And that my sword upon thee shall approve
 And plead my passions for Lavinia’s love.
AARON, aside 
 Clubs, clubs! These lovers will not keep the peace.
DEMETRIUS, to Chiron 
 Why, boy, although our mother, unadvised,
 Gave you a dancing rapier by your side,
40 Are you so desperate grown to threat your friends?
 Go to. Have your lath glued within your sheath
 Till you know better how to handle it.
CHIRON 
 Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
 Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.
DEMETRIUS 
45 Ay, boy, grow you so brave?They draw.
AARON  Why, how now, lords?
 So near the Emperor’s palace dare you draw
 And maintain such a quarrel openly?
 Full well I wot the ground of all this grudge.
50 I would not for a million of gold
 The cause were known to them it most concerns,

53
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Nor would your noble mother for much more
 Be so dishonored in the court of Rome.
 For shame, put up.
DEMETRIUS 55 Not I, till I have sheathed
 My rapier in his bosom, and withal
 Thrust those reproachful speeches down his throat
 That he hath breathed in my dishonor here.
CHIRON 
 For that I am prepared and full resolved,
60 Foul-spoken coward, that thund’rest with thy tongue
 And with thy weapon nothing dar’st perform.
AARON Away, I say!
 Now by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
 This petty brabble will undo us all.
65 Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous
 It is to jet upon a prince’s right?
 What, is Lavinia then become so loose
 Or Bassianus so degenerate
 That for her love such quarrels may be broached
70 Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
 Young lords, beware! And should the Empress know
 This discord’s ground, the music would not please.
CHIRON 
 I care not, I, knew she and all the world.
 I love Lavinia more than all the world.
DEMETRIUS 
75 Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice.
 Lavinia is thine elder brother’s hope.
AARON 
 Why, are you mad? Or know you not in Rome
 How furious and impatient they be,
 And cannot brook competitors in love?
80 I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
 By this device.
CHIRON  Aaron, a thousand deaths
 Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.

55
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 1

AARON 
 To achieve her how?
DEMETRIUS 85 Why makes thou it so strange?
 She is a woman, therefore may be wooed;
 She is a woman, therefore may be won;
 She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.
 What, man, more water glideth by the mill
90 Than wots the miller of, and easy it is
 Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know.
 Though Bassianus be the Emperor’s brother,
 Better than he have worn Vulcan’s badge.
AARON, aside 
 Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.
DEMETRIUS 
95 Then why should he despair that knows to court it
 With words, fair looks, and liberality?
 What, hast not thou full often struck a doe
 And borne her cleanly by the keeper’s nose?
AARON 
 Why, then, it seems some certain snatch or so
100 Would serve your turns.
CHIRON  Ay, so the turn were served.
DEMETRIUS Aaron, thou hast hit it.
AARON Would you had hit it too!
 Then should not we be tired with this ado.
105 Why, hark you, hark you! And are you such fools
 To square for this? Would it offend you then
 That both should speed?
CHIRON 
 Faith, not me.
DEMETRIUS  Nor me, so I were one.
AARON 
110 For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar.
 ’Tis policy and stratagem must do
 That you affect, and so must you resolve

57
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ACT 2. SC. 1

 That what you cannot as you would achieve,
 You must perforce accomplish as you may.
115 Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste
 Than this Lavinia, Bassianus’ love.
 A speedier course than ling’ring languishment
 Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
 My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
120 There will the lovely Roman ladies troop.
 The forest walks are wide and spacious,
 And many unfrequented plots there are,
 Fitted by kind for rape and villainy.
 Single you thither then this dainty doe,
125 And strike her home by force, if not by words.
 This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
 Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit
 To villainy and vengeance consecrate,
 Will we acquaint withal what we intend,
130 And she shall file our engines with advice
 That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
 But to your wishes’ height advance you both.
 The Emperor’s court is like the house of Fame,
 The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears;
135 The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull.
 There speak and strike, brave boys, and take your
 turns.
 There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven’s eye,
 And revel in Lavinia’s treasury.
CHIRON 
140 Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.
DEMETRIUS 
 Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
 To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
 Per Stygia, per manes vehor.
They exit.




59
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 2

Scene 2
Enter Titus Andronicus and his three sons, and
Marcus, making a noise with hounds and horns.


TITUS 
 The hunt is up, the moon is bright and gray,
 The fields are fragrant, and the woods are green.
 Uncouple here, and let us make a bay
 And wake the Emperor and his lovely bride,
5 And rouse the Prince, and ring a hunter’s peal,
 That all the court may echo with the noise.
 Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
 To attend the Emperor’s person carefully.
 I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
10 But dawning day new comfort hath inspired.

Here a cry of hounds, and wind horns in a peal. Then
enter Saturninus, Tamora, Bassianus, Lavinia, Chiron,
Demetrius, and their Attendants.


TITUS 
 Many good morrows to your Majesty;—
 Madam, to you as many, and as good.—
 I promisèd your Grace a hunter’s peal.
SATURNINUS 
 And you have rung it lustily, my lords—
15 Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
BASSIANUS 
 Lavinia, how say you?
LAVINIA  I say no.
 I have been broad awake two hours and more.
SATURNINUS 
 Come on, then. Horse and chariots let us have,
20 And to our sport. (To Tamora) Madam, now shall
 you see
 Our Roman hunting.
MARCUS  I have dogs, my lord,

61
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase
25 And climb the highest promontory top.
TITUS 
 And I have horse will follow where the game
 Makes way and runs like swallows o’er the plain.
DEMETRIUS, aside to Chiron 
 Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
 But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Aaron, alone, carrying a bag of gold.

AARON 
 He that had wit would think that I had none,
 To bury so much gold under a tree
 And never after to inherit it.
 Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
5 Know that this gold must coin a stratagem
 Which, cunningly effected, will beget
 A very excellent piece of villainy.He hides the bag.
 And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest
 That have their alms out of the Empress’ chest.

Enter Tamora alone to Aaron the Moor.

TAMORA 
10 My lovely Aaron, wherefore look’st thou sad,
 When everything doth make a gleeful boast?
 The birds chant melody on every bush,
 The snakes lies rollèd in the cheerful sun,
 The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind
15 And make a checkered shadow on the ground.
 Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
 And whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,

63
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,
 As if a double hunt were heard at once,
20 Let us sit down and mark their yellowing noise.
 And after conflict such as was supposed
 The wand’ring prince and Dido once enjoyed
 When with a happy storm they were surprised,
 And curtained with a counsel-keeping cave,
25 We may, each wreathèd in the other’s arms,
 Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber,
 Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
 Be unto us as is a nurse’s song
 Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.
AARON 
30 Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
 Saturn is dominator over mine.
 What signifies my deadly standing eye,
 My silence, and my cloudy melancholy,
 My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
35 Even as an adder when she doth unroll
 To do some fatal execution?
 No, madam, these are no venereal signs.
 Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
 Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
40 Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,
 Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
 This is the day of doom for Bassianus.
 His Philomel must lose her tongue today,
 Thy sons make pillage of her chastity
45 And wash their hands in Bassianus’ blood.
He takes out a paper.
 Seest thou this letter? Take it up, I pray thee,
 And give the King this fatal-plotted scroll.
He hands her the paper.
 Now, question me no more. We are espied.
 Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
50 Which dreads not yet their lives’ destruction.

65
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

Enter Bassianus and Lavinia.

TAMORA 
 Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
AARON 
 No more, great empress. Bassianus comes.
 Be cross with him, and I’ll go fetch thy sons
 To back thy quarrels, whatsoe’er they be.
He exits.
BASSIANUS 
55 Who have we here? Rome’s royal empress,
 Unfurnished of her well-beseeming troop?
 Or is it Dian, habited like her,
 Who hath abandonèd her holy groves
 To see the general hunting in this forest?
TAMORA 
60 Saucy controller of my private steps,
 Had I the power that some say Dian had,
 Thy temples should be planted presently
 With horns, as was Acteon’s, and the hounds
 Should drive upon thy new-transformèd limbs,
65 Unmannerly intruder as thou art.
LAVINIA 
 Under your patience, gentle empress,
 ’Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning,
 And to be doubted that your Moor and you
 Are singled forth to try experiments.
70 Jove shield your husband from his hounds today!
 ’Tis pity they should take him for a stag.
BASSIANUS 
 Believe me, queen, your swarthy Cimmerian
 Doth make your honor of his body’s hue,
 Spotted, detested, and abominable.
75 Why are you sequestered from all your train,
 Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
 And wandered hither to an obscure plot,

67
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
 If foul desire had not conducted you?
LAVINIA 
80 And being intercepted in your sport,
 Great reason that my noble lord be rated
 For sauciness.—I pray you, let us hence,
 And let her joy her raven-colored love.
 This valley fits the purpose passing well.
BASSIANUS 
85 The King my brother shall have notice of this.
LAVINIA 
 Ay, for these slips have made him noted long.
 Good king to be so mightily abused!
TAMORA 
 Why, I have patience to endure all this.

Enter Chiron and Demetrius.

DEMETRIUS 
 How now, dear sovereign and our gracious mother,
90 Why doth your Highness look so pale and wan?
TAMORA 
 Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
 These two have ticed me hither to this place,
 A barren, detested vale you see it is;
 The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
95 Overcome with moss and baleful mistletoe.
 Here never shines the sun, here nothing breeds,
 Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven.
 And when they showed me this abhorrèd pit,
 They told me, here at dead time of the night
100 A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
 Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
 Would make such fearful and confusèd cries
 As any mortal body hearing it
 Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
105 No sooner had they told this hellish tale

69
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

 But straight they told me they would bind me here
 Unto the body of a dismal yew
 And leave me to this miserable death.
 And then they called me foul adulteress,
110 Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
 That ever ear did hear to such effect.
 And had you not by wondrous fortune come,
 This vengeance on me had they executed.
 Revenge it as you love your mother’s life,
115 Or be you not henceforth called my children.
DEMETRIUS, drawing his dagger 
 This is a witness that I am thy son.
CHIRON, drawing his dagger 
 And this for me, struck home to show my strength.
They stab Bassianus.
LAVINIA 
 Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,
 For no name fits thy nature but thy own!
TAMORA 
120 Give me the poniard! You shall know, my boys,
 Your mother’s hand shall right your mother’s wrong.
DEMETRIUS 
 Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her.
 First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw.
 This minion stood upon her chastity,
125 Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
 And with that painted hope braves your mightiness;
 And shall she carry this unto her grave?
CHIRON 
 And if she do, I would I were an eunuch!
 Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
130 And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.
TAMORA 
 But when you have the honey you desire,
 Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.
CHIRON 
 I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.—

71
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
135 That nice-preservèd honesty of yours.
LAVINIA 
 O Tamora, thou bearest a woman’s face—
TAMORA 
 I will not hear her speak. Away with her.
LAVINIA 
 Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.
DEMETRIUS, to Tamora 
 Listen, fair madam. Let it be your glory
140 To see her tears, but be your heart to them
 As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.
LAVINIA 
 When did the tiger’s young ones teach the dam?
 O, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee.
 The milk thou suck’st from her did turn to marble.
145 Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
 Yet every mother breeds not sons alike.
 To Chiron. Do thou entreat her show a woman’s pity.
CHIRON 
 What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?
LAVINIA 
 ’Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark.
150 Yet have I heard—O, could I find it now!—
 The lion, moved with pity, did endure
 To have his princely paws pared all away.
 Some say that ravens foster forlorn children,
 The whilst their own birds famish in their nests.
155 O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
 Nothing so kind, but something pitiful.
TAMORA 
 I know not what it means.—Away with her.
LAVINIA 
 O, let me teach thee! For my father’s sake,
 That gave thee life when well he might have slain thee,
160 Be not obdurate; open thy deaf ears.

73
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ACT 2. SC. 3

TAMORA 
 Hadst thou in person ne’er offended me,
 Even for his sake am I pitiless.—
 Remember, boys, I poured forth tears in vain
 To save your brother from the sacrifice,
165 But fierce Andronicus would not relent.
 Therefore away with her, and use her as you will;
 The worse to her, the better loved of me.
LAVINIA 
 O Tamora, be called a gentle queen,
 And with thine own hands kill me in this place!
170 For ’tis not life that I have begged so long;
 Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.
TAMORA 
 What begg’st thou, then? Fond woman, let me go!
LAVINIA 
 ’Tis present death I beg, and one thing more
 That womanhood denies my tongue to tell.
175 O, keep me from their worse-than-killing lust,
 And tumble me into some loathsome pit
 Where never man’s eye may behold my body.
 Do this, and be a charitable murderer.
TAMORA 
 So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee.
180 No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.
DEMETRIUS, to Lavinia 
 Away, for thou hast stayed us here too long!
LAVINIA, to Tamora 
 No grace, no womanhood? Ah, beastly creature,
 The blot and enemy to our general name,
 Confusion fall—
CHIRON 
185 Nay, then, I’ll stop your mouth.—Bring thou her
 husband.
 This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.
They put Bassianus’ body in the pit and
exit, carrying off Lavinia.


75
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

TAMORA 
 Farewell, my sons. See that you make her sure.
 Ne’er let my heart know merry cheer indeed
190 Till all the Andronici be made away.
 Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
 And let my spleenful sons this trull deflower.
She exits.

Enter Aaron with two of Titus’ sons,
Quintus and Martius.


AARON 
 Come on, my lords, the better foot before.
 Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
195 Where I espied the panther fast asleep.
QUINTUS 
 My sight is very dull, whate’er it bodes.
MARTIUS 
 And mine, I promise you. Were it not for shame,
 Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.
He falls into the pit.
QUINTUS 
 What, art thou fallen? What subtle hole is this,
200 Whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers
 Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
 As fresh as morning dew distilled on flowers?
 A very fatal place it seems to me.
 Speak, brother! Hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
MARTIUS 
205 O, brother, with the dismal’st object hurt
 That ever eye with sight made heart lament!
AARON, aside 
 Now will I fetch the King to find them here,
 That he thereby may have a likely guess
 How these were they that made away his brother.
He exits.

77
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

MARTIUS 
210 Why dost not comfort me and help me out
 From this unhallowed and bloodstainèd hole?
QUINTUS 
 I am surprisèd with an uncouth fear.
 A chilling sweat o’erruns my trembling joints.
 My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.
MARTIUS 
215 To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
 Aaron and thou look down into this den
 And see a fearful sight of blood and death.
QUINTUS 
 Aaron is gone, and my compassionate heart
 Will not permit mine eyes once to behold
220 The thing whereat it trembles by surmise.
 O, tell me who it is, for ne’er till now
 Was I a child to fear I know not what.
MARTIUS 
 Lord Bassianus lies berayed in blood,
 All on a heap, like to a slaughtered lamb,
225 In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
QUINTUS 
 If it be dark, how dost thou know ’tis he?
MARTIUS 
 Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
 A precious ring that lightens all this hole,
 Which like a taper in some monument
230 Doth shine upon the dead man’s earthy cheeks
 And shows the ragged entrails of this pit.
 So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
 When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.
 O, brother, help me with thy fainting hand—
235 If fear hath made thee faint as me it hath—
 Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
 As hateful as Cocytus’ misty mouth.

79
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ACT 2. SC. 3

QUINTUS, reaching into the pit 
 Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out,
 Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
240 I may be plucked into the swallowing womb
 Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus’ grave.
He pulls Martius’ hand.
 I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.
MARTIUS 
 Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.
QUINTUS 
 Thy hand once more. I will not loose again
245 Till thou art here aloft or I below.
 Thou canst not come to me. I come to thee.
He falls in.

Enter the Emperor Saturninus, with Attendants,
and Aaron the Moor.


SATURNINUS 
 Along with me! I’ll see what hole is here
 And what he is that now is leapt into it.—
 Say, who art thou that lately didst descend
250 Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
MARTIUS 
 The unhappy sons of old Andronicus,
 Brought hither in a most unlucky hour
 To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
SATURNINUS 
 My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest.
255 He and his lady both are at the lodge
 Upon the north side of this pleasant chase.
 ’Tis not an hour since I left them there.
MARTIUS 
 We know not where you left them all alive,
 But, out alas, here have we found him dead.

Enter Tamora, Titus Andronicus, and Lucius.


81
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

TAMORA 260Where is my lord the King?
SATURNINUS 
 Here, Tamora, though grieved with killing grief.
TAMORA 
 Where is thy brother Bassianus?
SATURNINUS 
 Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound.
 Poor Bassianus here lies murderèd.
TAMORA 
265 Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,
 The complot of this timeless tragedy,
 And wonder greatly that man’s face can fold
 In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.
She giveth Saturnine a letter.
SATURNINUS (reads the letter): 
 An if we miss to meet him handsomely,
270 Sweet huntsman—Bassianus ’tis we mean—
 Do thou so much as dig the grave for him;
 Thou know’st our meaning. Look for thy reward
 Among the nettles at the elder tree
 Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
275 Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
 Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.

 O Tamora, was ever heard the like?
 This is the pit, and this the elder tree.—
 Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
280 That should have murdered Bassianus here.
AARON 
 My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.
SATURNINUS, to Titus 
 Two of thy whelps, fell curs of bloody kind,
 Have here bereft my brother of his life.—
 Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison.
285 There let them bide until we have devised
 Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.

83
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 3

TAMORA 
 What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
 How easily murder is discoverèd.
Attendants pull Quintus, Martius, and
the body of Bassianus from the pit.

TITUS, kneeling 
 High Emperor, upon my feeble knee
290 I beg this boon with tears not lightly shed,
 That this fell fault of my accursèd sons—
 Accursèd if the faults be proved in them—
SATURNINUS 
 If it be proved! You see it is apparent.
 Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
TAMORA 
295 Andronicus himself did take it up.
TITUS 
 I did, my lord, yet let me be their bail,
 For by my father’s reverend tomb I vow
 They shall be ready at your Highness’ will
 To answer their suspicion with their lives.
SATURNINUS 
300 Thou shalt not bail them. See thou follow me.—
 Some bring the murdered body, some the murderers.
 Let them not speak a word. The guilt is plain.
 For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
 That end upon them should be executed.
TAMORA 
305 Andronicus, I will entreat the King.
 Fear not thy sons; they shall do well enough.
TITUS, rising 
 Come, Lucius, come. Stay not to talk with them.
They exit, with Attendants leading Martius and
Quintus and bearing the body of Bassianus.





85
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter the Empress’ sons, Demetrius and Chiron,
with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out,
and ravished.


DEMETRIUS 
 So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
 Who ’twas that cut thy tongue and ravished thee.
CHIRON 
 Write down thy mind; bewray thy meaning so,
 An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.
DEMETRIUS 
5 See how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.
CHIRON, to Lavinia 
 Go home. Call for sweet water; wash thy hands.
DEMETRIUS 
 She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;
 And so let’s leave her to her silent walks.
CHIRON 
 An ’twere my cause, I should go hang myself.
DEMETRIUS 
10 If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.
Chiron and Demetrius exit.

Enter Marcus from hunting.

MARCUS 
 Who is this? My niece, that flies away so fast?—
 Cousin, a word. Where is your husband?
 If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me.
 If I do wake, some planet strike me down
15 That I may slumber an eternal sleep.
 Speak, gentle niece. What stern ungentle hands
 Hath lopped and hewed and made thy body bare
 Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments
 Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
20 And might not gain so great a happiness
 As half thy love? Why dost not speak to me?

87
Titus Andronicus
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
 Like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind,
 Doth rise and fall between thy rosèd lips,
25 Coming and going with thy honey breath.
 But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,
 And lest thou shouldst detect him cut thy tongue.
 Ah, now thou turn’st away thy face for shame,
 And notwithstanding all this loss of blood,
30 As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
 Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan’s face,
 Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.
 Shall I speak for thee, shall I say ’tis so?
 O, that I knew thy heart, and knew the beast,
35 That I might rail at him to ease my mind.
 Sorrow concealèd, like an oven stopped,
 Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
 Fair Philomela, why she but lost her tongue,
 And in a tedious sampler sewed her mind;
40 But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee.
 A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
 And he hath cut those pretty fingers off
 That could have better sewed than Philomel.
 O, had the monster seen those lily hands
45 Tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute
 And make the silken strings delight to kiss them,
 He would not then have touched them for his life.
 Or had he heard the heavenly harmony
 Which that sweet tongue hath made,
50 He would have dropped his knife and fell asleep,
 As Cerberus at the Thracian poet’s feet.
 Come, let us go and make thy father blind,
 For such a sight will blind a father’s eye.
 One hour’s storm will drown the fragrant meads;
55 What will whole months of tears thy father’s eyes?
 Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee.
 O, could our mourning ease thy misery!
They exit.


ACT 3
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
Titus Andronicus
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
Titus Andronicus
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
Titus Andronicus
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
Titus Andronicus
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
Titus Andronicus
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
Titus Andronicus
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
Titus Andronicus
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.




113
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 2

Scene 2
A banquet. Enter Titus Andronicus, Marcus, Lavinia,
and the boy Young Lucius, with Servants.


TITUS 
 So, so. Now sit, and look you eat no more
 Than will preserve just so much strength in us
 As will revenge these bitter woes of ours.
 Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot.
5 Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands
 And cannot passionate our tenfold grief
 With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine
 Is left to tyrannize upon my breast,
 Who, when my heart, all mad with misery,
10 Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh,
 Then thus I thump it down.—
 Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs,
 When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating,
 Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.
15 Wound it with sighing, girl, kill it with groans;
 Or get some little knife between thy teeth
 And just against thy heart make thou a hole,
 That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall
 May run into that sink and, soaking in,
20 Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears.
MARCUS 
 Fie, brother, fie! Teach her not thus to lay
 Such violent hands upon her tender life.
TITUS 
 How now! Has sorrow made thee dote already?
 Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.
25 What violent hands can she lay on her life?
 Ah, wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands,
 To bid Aeneas tell the tale twice o’er
 How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?
 O, handle not the theme, to talk of hands,

115
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 2

30 Lest we remember still that we have none.—
 Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk,
 As if we should forget we had no hands
 If Marcus did not name the word of hands!
 Come, let’s fall to, and, gentle girl, eat this.
35 Here is no drink!—Hark, Marcus, what she says.
 I can interpret all her martyred signs.
 She says she drinks no other drink but tears
 Brewed with her sorrow, mashed upon her cheeks.—
 Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought.
40 In thy dumb action will I be as perfect
 As begging hermits in their holy prayers.
 Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,
 Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,
 But I of these will wrest an alphabet
45 And by still practice learn to know thy meaning.
YOUNG LUCIUS, weeping 
 Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep laments.
 Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.
MARCUS 
 Alas, the tender boy, in passion moved,
 Doth weep to see his grandsire’s heaviness.
TITUS 
50 Peace, tender sapling. Thou art made of tears,
 And tears will quickly melt thy life away.
Marcus strikes the dish with a knife.
 What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?
MARCUS 
 At that that I have killed, my lord, a fly.
TITUS 
 Out on thee, murderer! Thou kill’st my heart.
55 Mine eyes are cloyed with view of tyranny;
 A deed of death done on the innocent
 Becomes not Titus’ brother. Get thee gone.
 I see thou art not for my company.

117
Titus Andronicus
ACT 3. SC. 2

MARCUS 
 Alas, my lord, I have but killed a fly.
TITUS 
60 “But”? How if that fly had a father and mother?
 How would he hang his slender gilded wings
 And buzz lamenting doings in the air!
 Poor harmless fly,
 That, with his pretty buzzing melody,
65 Came here to make us merry! And thou hast killed
 him.
MARCUS 
 Pardon me, sir. It was a black, ill-favored fly,
 Like to the Empress’ Moor. Therefore I killed him.
TITUS O, O, O!
70 Then pardon me for reprehending thee,
 For thou hast done a charitable deed.
 Give me thy knife. I will insult on him,
 Flattering myself as if it were the Moor
 Come hither purposely to poison me.
75 There’s for thyself, and that’s for Tamora.
 Ah, sirrah!
 Yet I think we are not brought so low
 But that between us we can kill a fly
 That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor.
MARCUS 
80 Alas, poor man, grief has so wrought on him
 He takes false shadows for true substances.
TITUS 
 Come, take away.—Lavinia, go with me.
 I’ll to thy closet and go read with thee
 Sad stories chancèd in the times of old.—
85 Come, boy, and go with me. Thy sight is young,
 And thou shalt read when mine begin to dazzle.
They exit.


ACT 4
Scene 1
Enter Lucius’ son and Lavinia running after him, and
the boy flies from her with his books under his arm.
Enter Titus and Marcus.


YOUNG LUCIUS 
 Help, grandsire, help! My aunt Lavinia
 Follows me everywhere, I know not why.—
 Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes!—
 Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean.
MARCUS 
5 Stand by me, Lucius. Do not fear thine aunt.
TITUS 
 She loves thee, boy, too well to do thee harm.
YOUNG LUCIUS 
 Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.
MARCUS 
 What means my niece Lavinia by these signs?
TITUS 
 Fear her not, Lucius. Somewhat doth she mean.
10 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.
121

123
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ACT 4. SC. 1

MARCUS 
15 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,
20 And I have read that Hecuba of Troy
 Ran mad for 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,
25 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 Lucius, I will.
TITUS 
30 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.—
 To Lavinia. But thou art deeper read and better
 skilled.
35 Come and take choice of all my library,
 And so beguile thy sorrow till the heavens
 Reveal the damned contriver of this deed.—
 Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus?
MARCUS 
 I think she means that there were more than one
40 Confederate in the fact. Ay, more there was,
 Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.
TITUS 
 Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so?
YOUNG LUCIUS 
 Grandsire, ’tis Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
 My mother gave it me.

125
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ACT 4. SC. 1

MARCUS 45For love of her that’s gone,
 Perhaps, she culled it from among the rest.
TITUS 
 Soft! So busily she turns the leaves.
 Help her! What would she find?—Lavinia, shall I read?
 This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
50 And treats of Tereus’ treason and his rape.
 And rape, I fear, was root of thy annoy.
MARCUS 
 See, brother, see! Note how she quotes the leaves.
TITUS 
 Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl,
 Ravished and wronged as Philomela was,
55 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!—
 Patterned by that the poet here describes,
 By nature made for murders and for rapes.
MARCUS 
60 O, why should nature build so foul a den,
 Unless the gods delight in tragedies?
TITUS 
 Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none but friends,
 What Roman lord it was durst do the deed.
 Or slunk not Saturnine, as Tarquin erst,
65 That left the camp to sin in Lucrece’ bed?
MARCUS 
 Sit down, sweet niece.—Brother, sit down by me.
They sit.
 Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury
 Inspire me, that I may this treason find.—
 My lord, look here.—Look here, Lavinia.
He writes his name with his staff and guides it
with feet and mouth.

70 This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst,
 This after me. I have writ my name

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ACT 4. SC. 1

 Without the help of any hand at all.
 Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!
 Write thou, good niece, and here display at last
75 What God will have discovered 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.

 O, do you read, my lord, what she hath writ?
TITUS 
 “Stuprum. Chiron, Demetrius.”
MARCUS 
80 What, what! The lustful sons of Tamora
 Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?
TITUS Magni Dominator poli,
 Tam lentus audis scelera, tam lentus vides?

MARCUS 
 O, calm thee, gentle lord, although I know
85 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,
They all kneel.
90 And swear with me—as, with the woeful fere
 And father of that chaste dishonored dame,
 Lord Junius Brutus swore for Lucrece’ rape—
 That we will prosecute by good advice
 Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
95 And see their blood or die with this reproach.
They rise.
TITUS 
 ’Tis sure enough, an you knew how.
 But if you hunt these bearwhelps, then beware;
 The dam will wake an if she wind you once.
 She’s with the lion deeply still in league,

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ACT 4. SC. 1

100 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 alone.
 And come, I will go get a leaf of brass,
 And with a gad of steel will write these words,
105 And lay it by. The angry northern wind
 Will blow these sands like Sibyl’s leaves abroad,
 And where’s our lesson then?—Boy, what say you?
YOUNG LUCIUS 
 I say, my lord, that if I were a man,
 Their mother’s bedchamber should not be safe
110 For these base bondmen to the yoke of Rome.
MARCUS 
 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 
 Come, go with me into mine armory.
115 Lucius, I’ll fit thee, and withal my boy
 Shall carry from me to the Empress’ sons
 Presents that I intend to send them both.
 Come, come. Thou ’lt do my message, wilt thou not?
YOUNG LUCIUS 
 Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.
TITUS 
120 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.
All but Marcus exit.
MARCUS 
 O heavens, can you hear a good man groan
125 And not relent, or not compassion him?
 Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
 That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart

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ACT 4. SC. 2

 Than foemen’s marks upon his battered shield,
 But yet so just that he will not revenge.
130 Revenge the heavens for old Andronicus!
He exits.


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.

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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!

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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
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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
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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.


Scene 3
Enter Titus, old Marcus, his son Publius, young
Lucius, and other gentlemen (Caius and Sempronius)
with bows, and Titus bears the arrows with letters on
the ends of them.


TITUS 
 Come, Marcus, come. Kinsmen, this is the way.—
 Sir boy, let me see your archery.
 Look you draw home enough and ’tis there straight.—
 Terras Astraea reliquit.
5 Be you remembered, Marcus, she’s gone, she’s fled.—
 Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
 Go sound the ocean and cast your nets;
 Happily you may catch her in the sea;
 Yet there’s as little justice as at land.
10 No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it.
 ’Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
 And pierce the inmost center of the Earth.
 Then, when you come to Pluto’s region,
 I pray you, deliver him this petition.
15 Tell him it is for justice and for aid,
 And that it comes from old Andronicus,
 Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.
 Ah, Rome! Well, well, I made thee miserable
 What time I threw the people’s suffrages
20 On him that thus doth tyrannize o’er me.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 Go, get you gone, and pray be careful all,
 And leave you not a man-of-war unsearched.
 This wicked emperor may have shipped her hence,
 And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.
MARCUS 
25 O Publius, is not this a heavy case
 To see thy noble uncle thus distract?
PUBLIUS 
 Therefore, my lords, it highly us concerns
 By day and night t’ attend him carefully,
 And feed his humor kindly as we may,
30 Till time beget some careful remedy.
MARCUS 
 Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy
 But …
 Join with the Goths, and with revengeful war
 Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
35 And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine.
TITUS 
 Publius, how now? How now, my masters?
 What, have you met with her?
PUBLIUS 
 No, my good lord, but Pluto sends you word,
 If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall.
40 Marry, for Justice, she is so employed,
 He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or somewhere else,
 So that perforce you must needs stay a time.
TITUS 
 He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.
 I’ll dive into the burning lake below
45 And pull her out of Acheron by the heels.
 Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we,
 No big-boned men framed of the Cyclops’ size,
 But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,
 Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can
50 bear;

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 And sith there’s no justice in Earth nor hell,
 We will solicit heaven and move the gods
 To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.
 Come, to this gear. You are a good archer, Marcus.
He gives them the arrows.
55 “Ad Jovem,” that’s for you;—here, “Ad Apollinem”;—
 “Ad Martem,” that’s for myself;—
 Here, boy, “to Pallas”;—here, “to Mercury”;—
 “To Saturn, Caius—not to Saturnine!
 You were as good to shoot against the wind.
60 To it, boy!—Marcus, loose when I bid.
 Of my word, I have written to effect;
 There’s not a god left unsolicited.
MARCUS 
 Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court.
 We will afflict the Emperor in his pride.
TITUS 
65 Now, masters, draw. (They shoot.) O, well said,
 Lucius!
 Good boy, in Virgo’s lap! Give it Pallas.
MARCUS 
 My lord, I aim a mile beyond the moon.
 Your letter is with Jupiter by this.
TITUS 
70 Ha, ha! Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?
 See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus’ horns!
MARCUS 
 This was the sport, my lord; when Publius shot,
 The Bull, being galled, gave Aries such a knock
 That down fell both the Ram’s horns in the court,
75 And who should find them but the Empress’ villain?
 She laughed and told the Moor he should not choose
 But give them to his master for a present.
TITUS 
 Why, there it goes. God give his Lordship joy!

151
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ACT 4. SC. 3

Enter a country fellow with a basket and two
pigeons in it.


 News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is
80 come.—
 Sirrah, what tidings? Have you any letters?
 Shall I have Justice? What says Jupiter?
COUNTRY FELLOW Ho, the gibbet-maker? He says that
 he hath taken them down again, for the man must
85 not be hanged till the next week.
TITUS But what says Jupiter, I ask thee?
COUNTRY FELLOW Alas, sir, I know not Jubiter; I never
 drank with him in all my life.
TITUS Why, villain, art not thou the carrier?
COUNTRY FELLOW 90Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else.
TITUS Why, didst thou not come from heaven?
COUNTRY FELLOW From heaven? Alas, sir, I never
 came there. God forbid I should be so bold to press
 to heaven in my young days. Why, I am going with
95 my pigeons to the tribunal plebs, to take up a matter
 of brawl betwixt my uncle and one of the Emperal’s
 men.
MARCUS, to Titus Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to
 serve for your oration; and let him deliver the pigeons
100 to the Emperor from you.
TITUS Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the Emperor
 with a grace?
COUNTRY FELLOW Nay, truly, sir, I could never say
 grace in all my life.
TITUS 
105 Sirrah, come hither. Make no more ado,
 But give your pigeons to the Emperor.
 By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.
 Hold, hold; meanwhile here’s money for thy

153
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

 charges.—Give me pen and ink.—Sirrah, can you
110 with a grace deliver up a supplication?
He writes.
COUNTRY FELLOW Ay, sir.
TITUS Then here is a supplication for you, and when
 you come to him, at the first approach you must
 kneel, then kiss his foot, then deliver up your pigeons,
115 and then look for your reward. I’ll be at
 hand, sir. See you do it bravely.
He hands him a paper.
COUNTRY FELLOW I warrant you, sir. Let me alone.
TITUS 
 Sirrah, hast thou a knife? Come, let me see it.—
He takes the knife and gives it to Marcus.
 Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration,
120 For thou hast made it like an humble suppliant.—
 And when thou hast given it to the Emperor,
 Knock at my door and tell me what he says.
COUNTRY FELLOW God be with you, sir. I will.
He exits.
TITUS Come, Marcus, let us go.—Publius, follow me.
They exit.


Scene 4
Enter Emperor Saturninus and Empress Tamora
and her two sons Chiron and Demetrius, with
Attendants. The Emperor brings the arrows in his
hand that Titus shot at him.


SATURNINUS 
 Why, lords, what wrongs are these! Was ever seen
 An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
 Troubled, confronted thus, and for the extent
 Of equal justice, used in such contempt?

155
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

5 My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
 However these disturbers of our peace
 Buzz in the people’s ears, there naught hath passed
 But even with law against the willful sons
 Of old Andronicus. And what an if
10 His sorrows have so overwhelmed his wits?
 Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,
 His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
 And now he writes to heaven for his redress!
 See, here’s “to Jove,” and this “to Mercury,”
15 This “to Apollo,” this to the god of war.
 Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!
 What’s this but libeling against the Senate
 And blazoning our unjustice everywhere?
 A goodly humor is it not, my lords?
20 As who would say, in Rome no justice were.
 But if I live, his feignèd ecstasies
 Shall be no shelter to these outrages,
 But he and his shall know that justice lives
 In Saturninus’ health, whom, if he sleep,
25 He’ll so awake as he in fury shall
 Cut off the proud’st conspirator that lives.
TAMORA 
 My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,
 Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,
 Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus’ age,
30 Th’ effects of sorrow for his valiant sons,
 Whose loss hath pierced him deep and scarred his
 heart,
 And rather comfort his distressèd plight
 Than prosecute the meanest or the best
35 For these contempts. (Aside.) Why, thus it shall
 become
 High-witted Tamora to gloze with all.
 But, Titus, I have touched thee to the quick.
 Thy lifeblood out, if Aaron now be wise,
40 Then is all safe, the anchor in the port.

157
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

Enter Country Fellow.

 How now, good fellow, wouldst thou speak with us?
COUNTRY FELLOW Yea, forsooth, an your Mistresship be
 emperial.
TAMORA 
 Empress I am, but yonder sits the Emperor.
COUNTRY FELLOW 45’Tis he!—God and Saint Stephen
 give you good e’en. I have brought you a letter and
 a couple of pigeons here.
Saturninus reads the letter.
SATURNINUS 
 Go, take him away, and hang him presently.
COUNTRY FELLOW How much money must I have?
TAMORA 50Come, sirrah, you must be hanged.
COUNTRY FELLOW Hanged! By ’r Lady, then I have
 brought up a neck to a fair end.
He exits with Attendants.
SATURNINUS 
 Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!
 Shall I endure this monstrous villainy?
55 I know from whence this same device proceeds.
 May this be borne?—as if his traitorous sons,
 That died by law for murder of our brother,
 Have by my means been butchered wrongfully!
 Go, drag the villain hither by the hair.
60 Nor age nor honor shall shape privilege.
 For this proud mock, I’ll be thy slaughterman,
 Sly, frantic wretch, that holp’st to make me great
 In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.

Enter nuntius, Aemilius.

SATURNINUS What news with thee, Aemilius?
AEMILIUS 
65 Arm, my lords! Rome never had more cause.
 The Goths have gathered head, and with a power

159
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Of high-resolvèd men bent to the spoil,
 They hither march amain under conduct
 Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus,
70 Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do
 As much as ever Coriolanus did.
SATURNINUS 
 Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths?
 These tidings nip me, and I hang the head
 As flowers with frost or grass beat down with storms.
75 Ay, now begins our sorrows to approach.
 ’Tis he the common people love so much.
 Myself hath often heard them say,
 When I have walkèd like a private man,
 That Lucius’ banishment was wrongfully,
80 And they have wished that Lucius were their emperor.
TAMORA 
 Why should you fear? Is not your city strong?
SATURNINUS 
 Ay, but the citizens favor Lucius
 And will revolt from me to succor him.
TAMORA 
 King, be thy thoughts imperious like thy name.
85 Is the sun dimmed that gnats do fly in it?
 The eagle suffers little birds to sing
 And is not careful what they mean thereby,
 Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
 He can at pleasure stint their melody.
90 Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.
 Then cheer thy spirit, for know, thou emperor,
 I will enchant the old Andronicus
 With words more sweet and yet more dangerous
 Than baits to fish or honey-stalks to sheep,
95 Whenas the one is wounded with the bait,
 The other rotted with delicious feed.
SATURNINUS 
 But he will not entreat his son for us.

161
Titus Andronicus
ACT 4. SC. 4

TAMORA 
 If Tamora entreat him, then he will,
 For I can smooth and fill his agèd ears
100 With golden promises, that were his heart
 Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
 Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.
 To Aemilius. Go thou before to be our ambassador.
 Say that the Emperor requests a parley
105 Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting
 Even at his father’s house, the old Andronicus.
SATURNINUS 
 Aemilius, do this message honorably,
 And if he stand in hostage for his safety,
 Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.
AEMILIUS 
110 Your bidding shall I do effectually.
He exits.
TAMORA 
 Now will I to that old Andronicus
 And temper him with all the art I have
 To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.
 And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,
115 And bury all thy fear in my devices.
SATURNINUS 
 Then go successantly, and plead to him.
They exit.


ACT 5
Scene 1
Flourish. Enter Lucius with an army of Goths, with
Drums and Soldiers.


LUCIUS 
 Approvèd warriors and my faithful friends,
 I have receivèd letters from great Rome
 Which signifies what hate they bear their emperor
 And how desirous of our sight they are.
5 Therefore, great lords, be as your titles witness,
 Imperious, and impatient of your wrongs,
 And wherein Rome hath done you any scathe,
 Let him make treble satisfaction.
FIRST GOTH 
 Brave slip sprung from the great Andronicus,
10 Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort,
 Whose high exploits and honorable deeds
 Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
 Be bold in us. We’ll follow where thou lead’st,
 Like stinging bees in hottest summer’s day
15 Led by their master to the flowered fields,
 And be avenged on cursèd Tamora.
GOTHS 
 And as he saith, so say we all with him.
LUCIUS 
 I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
 But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?
165

167
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

Enter a Goth, leading of Aaron with his child in his arms.

SECOND GOTH 
20 Renownèd Lucius, from our troops I strayed
 To gaze upon a ruinous monastery,
 And as I earnestly did fix mine eye
 Upon the wasted building, suddenly
 I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
25 I made unto the noise, when soon I heard
 The crying babe controlled with this discourse:
 “Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dame!
 Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
 Had nature lent thee but thy mother’s look,
30 Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor.
 But where the bull and cow are both milk white,
 They never do beget a coal-black calf.
 Peace, villain, peace!”—even thus he rates the babe—
 “For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth
35 Who, when he knows thou art the Empress’ babe,
 Will hold thee dearly for thy mother’s sake.”
 With this, my weapon drawn, I rushed upon him,
 Surprised him suddenly, and brought him hither
 To use as you think needful of the man.
LUCIUS 
40 O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
 That robbed Andronicus of his good hand;
 This is the pearl that pleased your empress’ eye;
 And here’s the base fruit of her burning lust.—
 Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
45 This growing image of thy fiendlike face?
 Why dost not speak? What, deaf? Not a word?—
 A halter, soldiers! Hang him on this tree,
 And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
AARON 
 Touch not the boy. He is of royal blood.

169
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

LUCIUS 
50 Too like the sire for ever being good.
 First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl,
 A sight to vex the father’s soul withal.
 Get me a ladder.
A ladder is brought, which Aaron is made to climb.
AARON  Lucius, save the child
55 And bear it from me to the Empress.
 If thou do this, I’ll show thee wondrous things
 That highly may advantage thee to hear.
 If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
 I’ll speak no more but “Vengeance rot you all!”
LUCIUS 
60 Say on, and if it please me which thou speak’st,
 Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourished.
AARON 
 And if it please thee? Why, assure thee, Lucius,
 ’Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
 For I must talk of murders, rapes, and massacres,
65 Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
 Complots of mischief, treason, villainies,
 Ruthful to hear, yet piteously performed.
 And this shall all be buried in my death,
 Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.
LUCIUS 
70 Tell on thy mind. I say thy child shall live.
AARON 
 Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.
LUCIUS 
 Who should I swear by? Thou believest no god.
 That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
AARON 
 What if I do not? As indeed I do not.
75 Yet, for I know thou art religious
 And hast a thing within thee callèd conscience,
 With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies

171
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
 Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
80 An idiot holds his bauble for a god
 And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,
 To that I’ll urge him. Therefore thou shalt vow
 By that same god, what god soe’er it be
 That thou adorest and hast in reverence,
85 To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up,
 Or else I will discover naught to thee.
LUCIUS 
 Even by my god I swear to thee I will.
AARON 
 First know thou, I begot him on the Empress.
LUCIUS 
 O, most insatiate and luxurious woman!
AARON 
90 Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
 To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
 ’Twas her two sons that murdered Bassianus.
 They cut thy sister’s tongue, and ravished her,
 And cut her hands, and trimmed her as thou sawest.
LUCIUS 
95 O detestable villain, call’st thou that trimming?
AARON 
 Why, she was washed, and cut, and trimmed; and
 ’twas
 Trim sport for them which had the doing of it.
LUCIUS 
 O, barbarous beastly villains, like thyself!
AARON 
100 Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them.
 That codding spirit had they from their mother,
 As sure a card as ever won the set;
 That bloody mind I think they learned of me,
 As true a dog as ever fought at head.
105 Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.

173
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

 I trained thy brethren to that guileful hole
 Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay.
 I wrote the letter that thy father found,
 And hid the gold within that letter mentioned,
110 Confederate with the Queen and her two sons.
 And what not done that thou hast cause to rue,
 Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?
 I played the cheater for thy father’s hand,
 And, when I had it, drew myself apart
115 And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter.
 I pried me through the crevice of a wall
 When, for his hand, he had his two sons’ heads,
 Beheld his tears, and laughed so heartily
 That both mine eyes were rainy like to his.
120 And when I told the Empress of this sport,
 She sounded almost at my pleasing tale,
 And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.
GOTH 
 What, canst thou say all this and never blush?
AARON 
 Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
LUCIUS 
125 Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
AARON 
 Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
 Even now I curse the day—and yet, I think,
 Few come within the compass of my curse—
 Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
130 As kill a man, or else devise his death;
 Ravish a maid or plot the way to do it;
 Accuse some innocent and forswear myself;
 Set deadly enmity between two friends;
 Make poor men’s cattle break their necks;
135 Set fire on barns and haystalks in the night,
 And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
 Oft have I digged up dead men from their graves
 And set them upright at their dear friends’ door,

175
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Even when their sorrows almost was forgot,
140 And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
 Have with my knife carvèd in Roman letters
 “Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.”
 But I have done a thousand dreadful things
 As willingly as one would kill a fly,
145 And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
 But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
LUCIUS 
 Bring down the devil, for he must not die
 So sweet a death as hanging presently.
Aaron is brought down from the ladder.
AARON 
 If there be devils, would I were a devil,
150 To live and burn in everlasting fire,
 So I might have your company in hell
 But to torment you with my bitter tongue.
LUCIUS 
 Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.

Enter Aemilius.

GOTH 
 My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
155 Desires to be admitted to your presence.
LUCIUS Let him come near.Aemilius comes forward.
 Welcome, Aemilius. What’s the news from Rome?
AEMILIUS 
 Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
 The Roman Emperor greets you all by me;
160 And, for he understands you are in arms,
 He craves a parley at your father’s house,
 Willing you to demand your hostages,
 And they shall be immediately delivered.
GOTH What says our general?
LUCIUS 
165 Aemilius, let the Emperor give his pledges

177
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
 And we will come. March away.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Tamora and her two sons, disguised.

TAMORA 
 Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment
 I will encounter with Andronicus
 And say I am Revenge, sent from below
 To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.
5 Knock at his study, where they say he keeps
 To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge.
 Tell him Revenge is come to join with him
 And work confusion on his enemies.

They knock, and Titus (above) opens his study door.

TITUS 
 Who doth molest my contemplation?
10 Is it your trick to make me ope the door,
 That so my sad decrees may fly away
 And all my study be to no effect?
 You are deceived, for what I mean to do,
 See here, in bloody lines I have set down,
15 And what is written shall be executed.
TAMORA 
 Titus, I am come to talk with thee.
TITUS 
 No, not a word. How can I grace my talk,
 Wanting a hand to give it action?
 Thou hast the odds of me; therefore, no more.
TAMORA 
20 If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me.

179
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

TITUS 
 I am not mad. I know thee well enough.
 Witness this wretched stump; witness these crimson
 lines;
 Witness these trenches made by grief and care;
25 Witness the tiring day and heavy night;
 Witness all sorrow that I know thee well
 For our proud empress, mighty Tamora.
 Is not thy coming for my other hand?
TAMORA 
 Know, thou sad man, I am not Tamora.
30 She is thy enemy, and I thy friend.
 I am Revenge, sent from th’ infernal kingdom
 To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind
 By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.
 Come down and welcome me to this world’s light.
35 Confer with me of murder and of death.
 There’s not a hollow cave or lurking-place,
 No vast obscurity or misty vale
 Where bloody murder or detested rape
 Can couch for fear but I will find them out,
40 And in their ears tell them my dreadful name,
 Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.
TITUS 
 Art thou Revenge? And art thou sent to me
 To be a torment to mine enemies?
TAMORA 
 I am. Therefore come down and welcome me.
TITUS 
45 Do me some service ere I come to thee.
 Lo, by thy side, where Rape and Murder stands,
 Now give some surance that thou art Revenge:
 Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot wheels,
 And then I’ll come and be thy wagoner,
50 And whirl along with thee about the globe,
 Provide thee two proper palfreys, black as jet,
 To hale thy vengeful wagon swift away,

181
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

 And find out murderers in their guilty caves.
 And when thy car is loaden with their heads,
55 I will dismount and by thy wagon wheel
 Trot like a servile footman all day long,
 Even from Hyperion’s rising in the east
 Until his very downfall in the sea.
 And day by day I’ll do this heavy task,
60 So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.
TAMORA 
 These are my ministers and come with me.
TITUS 
 Are they thy ministers? What are they called?
TAMORA 
 Rape and Murder; therefore callèd so
 ’Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.
TITUS 
65 Good Lord, how like the Empress’ sons they are,
 And you the Empress! But we worldly men
 Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.
 O sweet Revenge, now do I come to thee,
 And if one arm’s embracement will content thee,
70 I will embrace thee in it by and by.
He exits above.
TAMORA 
 This closing with him fits his lunacy.
 Whate’er I forge to feed his brainsick humors,
 Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,
 For now he firmly takes me for Revenge;
75 And, being credulous in this mad thought,
 I’ll make him send for Lucius his son;
 And whilst I at a banquet hold him sure,
 I’ll find some cunning practice out of hand
 To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths,
80 Or, at the least, make them his enemies.
 See, here he comes, and I must ply my theme.

183
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

Enter Titus.

TITUS 
 Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee.
 Welcome, dread Fury, to my woeful house.—
 Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too.
85 How like the Empress and her sons you are!
 Well are you fitted, had you but a Moor.
 Could not all hell afford you such a devil?
 For well I wot the Empress never wags
 But in her company there is a Moor;
90 And, would you represent our queen aright,
 It were convenient you had such a devil.
 But welcome as you are. What shall we do?
TAMORA 
 What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus?
DEMETRIUS 
 Show me a murderer; I’ll deal with him.
CHIRON 
95 Show me a villain that hath done a rape,
 And I am sent to be revenged on him.
TAMORA 
 Show me a thousand that hath done thee wrong,
 And I will be revengèd on them all.
TITUS, to Demetrius 
 Look round about the wicked streets of Rome,
100 And when thou findst a man that’s like thyself,
 Good Murder, stab him; he’s a murderer.
 To Chiron. Go thou with him, and when it is thy
 hap
 To find another that is like to thee,
105 Good Rapine, stab him; he is a ravisher.
 To Tamora. Go thou with them; and in the
 Emperor’s court
 There is a queen attended by a Moor.
 Well shalt thou know her by thine own proportion,

185
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

110 For up and down she doth resemble thee.
 I pray thee, do on them some violent death.
 They have been violent to me and mine.
TAMORA 
 Well hast thou lessoned us; this shall we do.
 But would it please thee, good Andronicus,
115 To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,
 Who leads towards Rome a band of warlike Goths,
 And bid him come and banquet at thy house?
 When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,
 I will bring in the Empress and her sons,
120 The Emperor himself, and all thy foes,
 And at thy mercy shall they stoop and kneel,
 And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.
 What says Andronicus to this device?
TITUS, (calling) 
 Marcus, my brother, ’tis sad Titus calls.

Enter Marcus.

125 Go, gentle Marcus, to thy nephew Lucius.
 Thou shalt inquire him out among the Goths.
 Bid him repair to me and bring with him
 Some of the chiefest princes of the Goths.
 Bid him encamp his soldiers where they are.
130 Tell him the Emperor and the Empress too
 Feast at my house, and he shall feast with them.
 This do thou for my love, and so let him,
 As he regards his agèd father’s life.
MARCUS 
 This will I do, and soon return again.Marcus exits.
TAMORA 
135 Now will I hence about thy business
 And take my ministers along with me.
TITUS 
 Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me,
 Or else I’ll call my brother back again
 And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.

187
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

TAMORA, aside to Chiron and Demetrius 
140 What say you, boys? Will you abide with him
 Whiles I go tell my lord the Emperor
 How I have governed our determined jest?
 Yield to his humor, smooth and speak him fair,
 And tarry with him till I turn again.
TITUS, aside 
145 I knew them all, though they supposed me mad,
 And will o’erreach them in their own devices—
 A pair of cursèd hellhounds and their dam!
DEMETRIUS, aside to Tamora 
 Madam, depart at pleasure. Leave us here.
TAMORA 
 Farewell, Andronicus. Revenge now goes
150 To lay a complot to betray thy foes.
TITUS 
 I know thou dost; and, sweet Revenge, farewell.
Tamora exits.
CHIRON 
 Tell us, old man, how shall we be employed?
TITUS 
 Tut, I have work enough for you to do.—
 Publius, come hither; Caius, and Valentine.

Publius, Caius, and Valentine enter.

PUBLIUS 155What is your will?
TITUS Know you these two?
PUBLIUS 
 The Empress’ sons, I take them—Chiron, Demetrius.
TITUS 
 Fie, Publius, fie, thou art too much deceived.
 The one is Murder, and Rape is the other’s name;
160 And therefore bind them, gentle Publius.
 Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them.

189
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Oft have you heard me wish for such an hour,
 And now I find it. Therefore bind them sure,
 And stop their mouths if they begin to cry.
Titus exits.
CHIRON 
165 Villains, forbear! We are the Empress’ sons.
PUBLIUS 
 And therefore do we what we are commanded.—
 Stop close their mouths; let them not speak a word.
 Is he sure bound? Look that you bind them fast.

Enter Titus Andronicus with a knife, and Lavinia
with a basin.


TITUS 
 Come, come, Lavinia. Look, thy foes are bound.—
170 Sirs, stop their mouths. Let them not speak to me,
 But let them hear what fearful words I utter.—
 O villains, Chiron and Demetrius!
 Here stands the spring whom you have stained with
 mud,
175 This goodly summer with your winter mixed.
 You killed her husband, and for that vile fault
 Two of her brothers were condemned to death,
 My hand cut off and made a merry jest,
 Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear
180 Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,
 Inhuman traitors, you constrained and forced.
 What would you say if I should let you speak?
 Villains, for shame you could not beg for grace.
 Hark, wretches, how I mean to martyr you.
185 This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,
 Whiles that Lavinia ’tween her stumps doth hold
 The basin that receives your guilty blood.
 You know your mother means to feast with me,
 And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad.
190 Hark, villains, I will grind your bones to dust,

191
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 3

 And with your blood and it I’ll make a paste,
 And of the paste a coffin I will rear,
 And make two pasties of your shameful heads,
 And bid that strumpet, your unhallowed dam,
195 Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
 This is the feast that I have bid her to,
 And this the banquet she shall surfeit on;
 For worse than Philomel you used my daughter,
 And worse than Procne I will be revenged.
200 And now prepare your throats.—Lavinia, come,
 Receive the blood.He cuts their throats.
 And when that they are dead,
 Let me go grind their bones to powder small,
 And with this hateful liquor temper it,
205 And in that paste let their vile heads be baked.
 Come, come, be everyone officious
 To make this banquet, which I wish may prove
 More stern and bloody than the Centaurs’ feast.
 So. Now bring them in, for I’ll play the cook
210 And see them ready against their mother comes.
They exit, carrying the dead bodies.


Scene 3
Enter Lucius, Marcus, and the Goths, with Aaron,
Guards, and an Attendant carrying the baby.


LUCIUS 
 Uncle Marcus, since ’tis my father’s mind
 That I repair to Rome, I am content.
FIRST GOTH 
 And ours with thine, befall what fortune will.
LUCIUS 
 Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
5 This ravenous tiger, this accursèd devil.
 Let him receive no sust’nance. Fetter him

193
Titus Andronicus
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Till he be brought unto the Empress’ face
 For testimony of her foul proceedings.
 And see the ambush of our friends be strong.
10 I fear the Emperor means no good to us.
AARON 
 Some devil whisper curses in my ear
 And prompt me that my tongue may utter forth
 The venomous malice of my swelling heart.
LUCIUS 
 Away, inhuman dog, unhallowed slave!—
15 Sirs, help our uncle to convey him in.
Sound trumpets.
 The trumpets show the Emperor is at hand.
Guards and Aaron exit.

Enter Emperor Saturninus and Empress Tamora
with Aemilius, Tribunes, Attendants, and others.


SATURNINUS 
 What, hath the firmament more suns than one?
LUCIUS 
 What boots it thee to call thyself a sun?
MARCUS 
 Rome’s emperor, and nephew, break the parle.
20 These quarrels must be quietly debated.
 The feast is ready which the careful Titus
 Hath ordained to an honorable end,
 For peace, for love, for league and good to Rome.
 Please you therefore draw nigh and take your places.
SATURNINUS 25Marcus, we will.

Trumpets sounding, enter Titus like a cook, placing the
dishes, with young Lucius and others, and Lavinia
with a veil over her face.


TITUS 
 Welcome, my lord;—welcome, dread queen;—
 Welcome, you warlike Goths;—welcome, Lucius;—

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ACT 5. SC. 3

 And welcome, all. Although the cheer be poor,
 ’Twill fill your stomachs. Please you eat of it.
They begin to eat.
SATURNINUS 
30 Why art thou thus attired, Andronicus?
TITUS 
 Because I would be sure to have all well
 To entertain your Highness and your empress.
TAMORA 
 We are beholding to you, good Andronicus.
TITUS 
 An if your Highness knew my heart, you were.—
35 My lord the Emperor, resolve me this:
 Was it well done of rash Virginius
 To slay his daughter with his own right hand
 Because she was enforced, stained, and deflowered?
SATURNINUS It was, Andronicus.
TITUS 40Your reason, mighty lord?
SATURNINUS 
 Because the girl should not survive her shame,
 And by her presence still renew his sorrows.
TITUS 
 A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;
 A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant
45 For me, most wretched, to perform the like.
 Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee,
 And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die.
He kills Lavinia.
SATURNINUS 
 What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?
TITUS 
 Killed her for whom my tears have made me blind.
50 I am as woeful as Virginius was,
 And have a thousand times more cause than he
 To do this outrage, and it now is done.

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SATURNINUS 
 What, was she ravished? Tell who did the deed.
TITUS 
 Will ’t please you eat?—Will ’t please your Highness
55 feed?
TAMORA 
 Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?
TITUS 
 Not I; ’twas Chiron and Demetrius.
 They ravished her and cut away her tongue,
 And they, ’twas they, that did her all this wrong.
SATURNINUS 
60 Go fetch them hither to us presently.
TITUS 
 Why, there they are, both bakèd in this pie,
 Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,
 Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.
 ’Tis true, ’tis true! Witness my knife’s sharp point.
He stabs the Empress.
SATURNINUS 
65 Die, frantic wretch, for this accursèd deed.
He kills Titus.
LUCIUS 
 Can the son’s eye behold his father bleed?
He kills Saturninus.
 There’s meed for meed, death for a deadly deed.
A great tumult. Lucius, Marcus, and
others go aloft to the upper stage.

MARCUS 
 You sad-faced men, people and sons of Rome,
 By uproars severed as a flight of fowl
70 Scattered by winds and high tempestuous gusts,
 O, let me teach you how to knit again
 This scattered corn into one mutual sheaf,
 These broken limbs again into one body,
 Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself,
75 And she whom mighty kingdoms curtsy to,

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 Like a forlorn and desperate castaway,
 Do shameful execution on herself.
 But if my frosty signs and chaps of age,
 Grave witnesses of true experience,
80 Cannot induce you to attend my words,
He turns to Lucius.
 Speak, Rome’s dear friend, as erst our ancestor,
 When with his solemn tongue he did discourse
 To lovesick Dido’s sad-attending ear
 The story of that baleful burning night
85 When subtle Greeks surprised King Priam’s Troy.
 Tell us what Sinon hath bewitched our ears,
 Or who hath brought the fatal engine in
 That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.—
 My heart is not compact of flint nor steel,
90 Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,
 But floods of tears will drown my oratory
 And break my utterance even in the time
 When it should move you to attend me most
 And force you to commiseration.
95 Here’s Rome’s young captain. Let him tell the tale,
 While I stand by and weep to hear him speak.
LUCIUS 
 Then, gracious auditory, be it known to you
 That Chiron and the damned Demetrius
 Were they that murderèd our emperor’s brother,
100 And they it were that ravishèd our sister.
 For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded,
 Our father’s tears despised, and basely cozened
 Of that true hand that fought Rome’s quarrel out
 And sent her enemies unto the grave;
105 Lastly, myself unkindly banishèd,
 The gates shut on me, and turned weeping out
 To beg relief among Rome’s enemies,
 Who drowned their enmity in my true tears
 And oped their arms to embrace me as a friend.

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ACT 5. SC. 3

110 I am the turned-forth, be it known to you,
 That have preserved her welfare in my blood
 And from her bosom took the enemy’s point,
 Sheathing the steel in my advent’rous body.
 Alas, you know I am no vaunter, I;
115 My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
 That my report is just and full of truth.
 But soft, methinks I do digress too much,
 Citing my worthless praise. O, pardon me,
 For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.
MARCUS 
120 Now is my turn to speak. Behold the child.
 Of this was Tamora deliverèd,
 The issue of an irreligious Moor,
 Chief architect and plotter of these woes.
 The villain is alive in Titus’ house,
125 And as he is to witness, this is true.
 Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge
 These wrongs unspeakable, past patience,
 Or more than any living man could bear.
 Now have you heard the truth. What say you,
130 Romans?
 Have we done aught amiss? Show us wherein,
 And from the place where you behold us pleading,
 The poor remainder of Andronici
 Will, hand in hand, all headlong hurl ourselves,
135 And on the ragged stones beat forth our souls,
 And make a mutual closure of our house.
 Speak, Romans, speak, and if you say we shall,
 Lo, hand in hand, Lucius and I will fall.
AEMILIUS 
 Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
140 And bring our emperor gently in thy hand,
 Lucius our emperor, for well I know
 The common voice do cry it shall be so.

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ACT 5. SC. 3

ROMANS 
 Lucius, all hail, Rome’s royal emperor!
MARCUS, to Attendants 
 Go, go into old Titus’ sorrowful house,
145 And hither hale that misbelieving Moor
 To be adjudged some direful slaught’ring death
 As punishment for his most wicked life.
Attendants exit. Lucius and Marcus
come down from the upper stage.

ROMANS 
 Lucius, all hail, Rome’s gracious governor!
LUCIUS 
 Thanks, gentle Romans. May I govern so
150 To heal Rome’s harms and wipe away her woe!
 But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,
 For nature puts me to a heavy task.
 Stand all aloof, but, uncle, draw you near
 To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.
He kisses Titus.
155 O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,
 These sorrowful drops upon thy bloodstained face,
 The last true duties of thy noble son.
MARCUS 
 Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
 Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips.
He kisses Titus.
160 O, were the sum of these that I should pay
 Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them.
LUCIUS, to Young Lucius 
 Come hither, boy. Come, come, and learn of us
 To melt in showers. Thy grandsire loved thee well.
 Many a time he danced thee on his knee,
165 Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
 Many a story hath he told to thee,
 And bid thee bear his pretty tales in mind
 And talk of them when he was dead and gone.

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ACT 5. SC. 3

MARCUS 
 How many thousand times hath these poor lips,
170 When they were living, warmed themselves on thine!
 O, now, sweet boy, give them their latest kiss.
 Bid him farewell; commit him to the grave.
 Do them that kindness, and take leave of them.
YOUNG LUCIUS 
 O grandsire, grandsire, ev’n with all my heart
175 Would I were dead so you did live again!
He kisses Titus.
 O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping.
 My tears will choke me if I ope my mouth.

Enter Aaron with Guards.

ROMAN 
 You sad Andronici, have done with woes.
 Give sentence on this execrable wretch
180 That hath been breeder of these dire events.
LUCIUS 
 Set him breast-deep in earth and famish him.
 There let him stand and rave and cry for food.
 If anyone relieves or pities him,
 For the offense he dies. This is our doom.
185 Some stay to see him fastened in the earth.
AARON 
 Ah, why should wrath be mute and fury dumb?
 I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
 I should repent the evils I have done.
 Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
190 Would I perform, if I might have my will.
 If one good deed in all my life I did,
 I do repent it from my very soul.
Aaron is led off by Guards.
LUCIUS 
 Some loving friends convey the Emperor hence,
 And give him burial in his fathers’ grave.

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ACT 5. SC. 3

195 My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
 Be closèd in our household’s monument.
 As for that ravenous tiger, Tamora,
 No funeral rite, nor man in mourning weed;
 No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
200 But throw her forth to beasts and birds to prey.
 Her life was beastly and devoid of pity,
 And being dead, let birds on her take pity.
They exit, carrying the dead bodies.