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All bootless to them, they 'd not pity me.
Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones;
Who, though they cannot answer my
Yet in some sort they 're better than the tribunes,
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 attired in grave weeds, Rome could afford no tribune like to these. 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? 'Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their
death : For which attempt, the judges have pronounc'd My everlasting doom of banishment.
Tit. O happy man! they have befriended thee. Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive, 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 banished ? But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
Enter MA'RCUS and LAVINIA.
Marc. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep ;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break;
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it then.
Marc. This was thy daughter.
Tit. Why, Marcus, so she is.
Luc. Ah me! this object kills me!
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon
Speak, my Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
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,
like Nilus', it disdaineth bounds.
Give me a sword, I'll chop off my hands too;
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nurs'd this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have serv'd me to effectless use :
Now, all the service I require of them
Is, that the one will help to cut the other.
'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands ;
For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.
Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd
Marc. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
That blam'd 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!
Luc. O, say thou for her, who hath done this
Marc. O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
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 hurt 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 spurn,
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.
Marc. 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 sign 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
See, how my wretched sister sobs and
Marc. Patience, dear niece:- good Titus, dry
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.
Luc. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
Tit. Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her
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,
O, what a sympathy of woe is this ?
As far from help as limbo is from bliss !
Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
Sends thee this word, - That, if thou love thy
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 ransome 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 brother's lives.
Marc. Which of your hands hath not defended
Rome, And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe, 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 ransome my two nephews from their death; Then have I kept it to a worthy end. Aar. Nay, come agree, whose hand shall go
For fear they die before their pardon come.
Marc. My hand shall go.
By heaven, it shall not go.
Tit. Sirs, strive no more; such wither'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
brothers both from death. Marc. And, for our father's sake, and mother's
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.
But I will 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 call'd deceit, I will be honest,
And never, whilst I live, deceive men so:
But I'll deceive you in another sort,
'11 say, ere half an hour can pass.
[ Aside. [He cuts of Titus's Hand.
Enter Lucius and MARCUS.
Tit. Now, stay your strife; what shall be, is de-
Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand: