Page images


Boy. Ay, when my father was in Rome she did.
Marc. What means my niece Lavinia by these signs ?
Tit. Fear her not, Lucius : somewhat doth she mean :

See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee :
Somewhither would she have thee


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.
Marc. Canst thou not guess wherefore she plies thee thus ?
Boy. My lord, I know not, I, nor can I guess,

Unless some fit or frenzy do possess her:
For I have heard my grandsire say full oft,
Extremity of griefs would make men mad;
And I have read that Hecuba of Troy

Ran mad 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:
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.
Marc. Lucius, I will.

[Lavinia turns over with her stumps the books which Lucius has let fall. Tit. How now, Lavinia ! Marcus, what means this?

Some book there is that she desires to see.
Which is it, girl, of these? Open them, boy.
But thou art deeper read, and better skill'd:
Come, and take choice of all my library,
And so beguile thy sorrow, till the heavens
Reveal the damn'd contriver of this deed.
Why lifts she up her arms in sequence thus ?

Marc. I think she means that there were more than one

Confederate in the fact ; ay, more there was ;

Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge. 40 Tit. Lucius, what book is that she tosseth so? Boy. Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphoses :

My mother gave it me. Marc.

For love of her that 's gone,
Perhaps she culld it from among the rest.
Tit. Soft! so busily she turns the leaves !

Help her:
What would she find ? Lavinia, shall I read ?
This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
And treats of Tereus' treason and his rape ;
I fear, was root of thine annoy.

50 Marc. See, brother, see; note how she quotes the leaves. Tit. Lavinia, wert thou thus surprised, sweet girl,

Ravish'd and wrong'd, as Philomela was,
Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods ?
See, see!
Ay, such a place there is, where we did hunt,-
O, had we never, never hunted there !
Pattern'd by that the poet here describes,

By nature made for murders and for rapes.
Marc. O, why should nature build so foul a den, 60

Unless the gods delight in tragedies ?
Tit. 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,

That left the camp to sin in Lucrece' bed?
Marc. Sit down, sweet niece · brother, sit down by me.

Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,
Inspire me, that I may this treason find !

[ocr errors]

My lord, look here : look here, Lavinia :
This sandy plot is plain ; guide, if thou canst, 70
This after me. [He writes his name with his staff,

and guides it with feet and mouth.] I have writ

my name
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
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. Tit. O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?

Stuprum. Chiron. Demetrius.' Marc. What, what! the lustful sons of Tamora 80

Performers of this heinous, bloody deed ? Tit. Magni Dominator poli,

Tam lentus audis scelera ? tam lentus vides?
Marc. O, calm thee, gentle lord; although I know

There is enough written upon this earth
To stir a mutiny in the mildest thoughts,
And arm the minds of infants to exclaims.
My lord, kneel down with me; Lavinia, kneel;
And kneel, sweet boy, the Roman Hector's hope ;
And swear with me, as, with the woful fere

And father of that chaste dishonour'd dame,
Lord Junius Brutus sware for Lucrece' rape,
That we will prosecute by good advice
Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,

And see their blood, or die with this reproach.
Tit. 'Tis sure enough, an you knew how.

But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware
The dam will wake; and if she wind you once,
She's with the lion deeply still in league,
And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back, 100
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,
And lay it by : the angry northern wind
Will blow these sands, like Sibyl's leaves, abroad,

And where's your lesson then ? Boy, what say you ? Boy. I say, my lord, that if I were a man,

Their mother's bed-chamber should not be safe

For these bad bondmen to the yoke of Rome. 11ο Marc. Ay, that's my boy! thy father hath full oft

For his ungrateful country done the like.
Boy. And, uncle, so will I, an if I live
Tit. Come, go with me into mine armoury;

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 thy message, wilt thou not?
Boy. Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.
Tit. No, boy, not so; I'll teach thee another course.

Lavinia, come. Marcus, look to my house :
Lucius and I'll go brave it at the court;
Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we'll be waited on.

[Exeunt Titus, Lavinia, and young Lucius. Marc. O heavens, can you hear a good man groan,

And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart

I 20

Than foemen's marks upon his batter'd shield,
But yet so just that he will not revenge.
Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus !

129 [Exit.

[blocks in formation]

Enter Aaron, Chiron, and Demetrius at one door; and at another

door, young Lucius, and an Attendant, with a bundle of weapons, and verses writ


Chi. Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius;

He hath some message to deliver us.
Aar. Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather
Boy. My lords, with all the humbleness I may,

I greet your honours from Andronicus.
[Aside] And pray the Roman gods confound you

both ! Dem. Gramercy, lovely Lucius : what's the news ? Boy. [Aside] That you are both decipher'd, that's the news,

For villains mark'd with rape.-May it please you,
My grandsire, well advised, hath sent by me Ιο
The goodliest weapons of his armoury
To gratify your honourable youth,
The hope of Rome; for so he bid me say;
And so I do, and with his gifts present
Your lordships, that, whenever you have need,
You may be armed and appointed well :
And so I leave you both, [Aside] like bloody villains.

[Exeunt Boy and Attendant. Dem. What's here ? A scroll, and written round about !

Let's see:

« PreviousContinue »