Page images

Enter Lucius, with his Sword drawn.
O, reverend tribunes! gentle aged men !
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators...

Luc, O, noble father, you lament in vain; The tribunes hear you not, no man is by, **** And you recount your sorrows to a stone. * Tit. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead: Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you." - Luc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you . .. speak. : o

Tit. Why, 'tis no matter, man: if they did hear, They would not mark me; or, if they did mark, All bootless to them, they'd not pity me. . Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones; Who, though they cannot answer my distress, 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; i 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

1 stones: .. . A stone iş 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 inan! 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 Marcus and LAVINIA.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break; . 'I
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.

Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it then.
Mar. 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

her :-
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,
And now, 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 thee?

Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts, That blab’d them with such pleasing eloquence, Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage; Wherę, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung . Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!

Luc. O, say thou for her, who hath done this . . deed ?

Mar. 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. 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 sign how I may do thee ease: $hall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius, And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain; .

[ocr errors]

the fresh untain shall bein by a 8 yet not dri

Looking all downwards, to behold our:cheeks.
How they are staind; like meadows, yet not dry.
With miry slime left on thein by a flood?
And in the fountain shall we gaze so long, tilli
Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness, A
And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine?, tudi
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, s erio
To make us wonder'd at in time to coine,
Luc. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your

.. grief,
See, how my wretched sister sobs an:1 weeps.

Mar. Patience, dear niece:-good Titus, dry thine i iis eyes. . . . . .

Tit. Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot, Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine, ,! 1 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 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. · O, what a sympathy of woe is this? , - As far froin help as limbo is from bliss!?

D..... . Enter Adron..... Aar. Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor Sends thee this word, -That; if thou love thy sons,

in as limbo is from bliss !] The Limbus patrum, as it was called, is a place that the schoolmen supposed to be in the neighbourhood of hell, where the souls of the patriarchs were detained, and those good men who died before our Saviour's resurrectiori. Milton gives the name of Limbo to his Paradise of Fools. ABED.

[ocr errors]

Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself old Titus, si
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, 0, 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, i
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 defended suici v Rome, ... ...

And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe, ra.
Writing destruction on the enemy's castle?"
0, none of both but are of high desert: .
My hand hath been but idle; let it serves
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

jawalong, ... in
For fear they die before their pardon come.

Mar. My hand shall go. : ;? Do

By heaven, it shall not go.
Tit. Sirs, strive no more; such wither'd herbs as

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

care, our father's Sa from death."Y son,

Now let

« PreviousContinue »