Page images

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 honour wrong'd;
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 controll'd in that he frankly gave:
Receive him then to favour, Saturnine,
That hath express'd himself in all his deeds
A father and a friend to thee and Rome.
Tit. Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds:

'Tis thou and those that have dishonour'd me.
Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge,
How I have loved and honoured Saturnine!
Tam. 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.
Sat. What, madam! be dishonour'd openly,

And basely put it up without revenge?

Tam. Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend
I should be author to dishonour you!
But on mine honour dare I undertake
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.

[Aside to Sat.] 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,
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,
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.—
Come, come, sweet emperor; come, Andronicus;
Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart
That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.

Sat. Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail'd.
Tit. I thank your majesty, and her, my lord:

These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.

Tam. Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,

A Roman now adopted happily,

And must advise the emperor for his good.

This day all quarrels die, Andronicus.
And let it be mine honour, good my lord,
That I have reconciled your friends and you.
For you, Prince Bassianus, I have pass'd
My word and promise to the emperor,
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.

Luc. We do; and vow to heaven, and to his highness,
That what we did was mildly as we might,




Tendering our sister's honour and our own. Marc. That, on mine honour, here I do protest. Sat. Away, and talk not; trouble us no more. Tam. Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends: The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace;

I will not be denied: sweet heart, look back.
Sat. 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:
Stand up.

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,
You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends.
This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.

Tit. To-morrow, an it please your majesty

To hunt the panther and the hart with me,



With horn and hound we'll give your grace bonjour.

Sat. Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too.


Scene I.

Rome. Before the palace.

Enter Aaron.

[Flourish. Exeunt.

Aar. 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 threatening reach.
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:

Upon her wit doth earthly honour 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
Hast prisoner held, fetter'd 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,
To wait upon this new-made empress.

To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen,
This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph,
This siren, that will charm Rome's Saturnine,
And see his shipwreck and his commonweal's.
Holloa! what storm is this?

Enter Demetrius and Chiron, braving.

Dem. Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge,
And manners, to intrude where I am graced,
And may, for aught thou know'st, affected be.

Chi. Demetrius, thou dost over-ween in all,

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
And that my sword upon

my mistress' grace;
thee shall approve,




And plead my passions for Lavinia's love.

Aar. [Aside] Clubs, clubs! these lovers will not keep the peace. Dem. Why, boy, although our mother, unadvised,

Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,

sheath 41

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. Chi. Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,

Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare. Dem. Ay, boy, grow ye so brave?

Aar. [Coming forward]


[They draw.

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:

I would not for a million of gold

The cause were known to them it most concerns;
Nor would your noble mother for much more
Be so dishonour'd in the court of Rome.

For shame, put up.

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 dishonour here.

Chi. For that I am prepared and full resolved.


Foul-spoken coward! that thunder'st with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing darest perform.

Aar. Away, I say!

Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore,
This petty brabble will undo us all.

Why, lords, and think you not how dangerous

It is to jet upon a prince's right?

What, is Lavinia then become so loose,


« PreviousContinue »