Page images
PDF
EPUB

Seeking to hide herself; as doth the deer,
That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound.

Tit. It was my deer; and he, that wounded her,
Hath burt me more, than had he kill'd me dead :
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Environ'd 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.
This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
Here stands my other son, a banish'd man;
And here my brother, weeping at my woes;
But that, which gives my soul the greatest spurt,
Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.-
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!
Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears;
Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyr'd thee:
Thy husband he is dead; and, for his death,
Thy brothers are condemn'd, 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 honey dew
Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.
Mar. Perchance, she weeps because they kill'd her

husband: Perchance, because she knows them innocent.

Tit. If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful, Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.-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 signs how I may do thee ease : Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius, And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain ; Looking all downwards, to behold our cheeks

How they are stain'd; like meadows, yet not dry
With miry slime left on them by a flood?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long,
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?
What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
Plot some device of further misery,
To make us wonder'd at in time to come.
Luc. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your

grief, See, bow my wretched sister sobs and weeps. Mar. Patience, dear niece:-Good Titus, dry thine

eyes. Tit. Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot, Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine, For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.

Lue. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.

Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her sigus ; 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. 0, what a sympathy of woe is this? As far from help as limbo is from bliss!

Enter AARON.
Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
Sends thee this word,-- That if thou love thy sons,
Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
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.

Tit. O, gracious emperor! O, gentle Aaron!
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?

Luc. Stay, father; for that noble hand of thine,
That hath thrown down so many enemies,
Shall not be sent: my hand will serve the turn:
My youth can better spare my blood than you ;
And therefore mine shall save my brothers' lives.
Mar. Which of your hands hath not defendedi

Rome,
And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
Writing destruction on the enemies' castles ?
0, 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 :
Then have I kept it to a worthy end.

Aar. Nay, come agree, whose hand shall go along, For fear they die before their pardon come.

Mar. My hand shall go.
Luc. By hieaven, it shall not go.
Tit. Sirs, strive no more; such, witber'd herbs as

these
Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.

Luc. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son, Let me redeem my brothers both from death. Mar. And, for our father's sake, and mother's

care,
Now let me show. a brother's love to thee.

Tit. Agree between you; I will spare my hand.
Luc. Then I'll go fetch an axe.
Mar. But I will.

I use the axe.

[Exeunt Lucius and Marcus. Tit. Come hither, Aaron ; I'll deceive them both; Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine..

Aar. If that be calld deceit, I will be honest, And bever, whilst I live, deceive men so :But I'll deceive you in another sort, And that you'll say, ere half an hour can pass. [Aside.

[He cuts off Titus's hand. Enter LUCIUS and MARCUS. Tit. Now, stay your strife; what shall be, is des

patch’d.
Good Aaron, give bis majesty my hand :
Tell him, it was a hand that warded hiin
From thousand dangers: bid him bury it;
More hath it merited, that let it have.
As for my sons, say, I aceount of them
As jewels purchas'd at an easy price;
And yet dear too, because I bought mine own:

Aar. I go, Andronicus: and, for thy hand,
Look by and by to have thy sons with thee :-
Their heads, I mean.--0, how this villainy (Aside.
Doth fat me with the very thought of it!
Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,
Aaron will have his soul black like his face. [Exit.

Tit. O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
And bow this feeble ruin to the earth :
If

any power pities wretched tears,
To that I call :--What, wilt thou kneel with me?

[To Lavinia. Do then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our

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.

Mar. O, brother, speak with possibilities,
And do not break into these deep extremes.

Tit. Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom ? Then be my passions bottomless with them.

Mar. But yet let reason govern thy lament,

Tit. If there were reason for these miseries, 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-swolu face? And wilt thou have a reason for this coil? I am the sea ; hark, how her sighis do blow! She is the weeping welkin, I the earth : Then must my sea be moved with her sighs ; Then must my earth with her continual tears Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd: For why? 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.

Mess. Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid For that good hånd 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 griefs their sports, thy resolution mock'd : That woe is me to think upon thy woes, More than remembrance of my father's death. [Exit.

Mar. Now let hot Ætna cool in Sicily, And be my heart an ever-burning hell! These miseries are more than may be borne! To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal, But sorrow flouted at is double death. Luc. 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 him. Mar. Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless, As frozen water to a starved snake.

« PreviousContinue »