Speeches (Lines) for Aaron
in "Titus Andronicus"

Total: 57

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

II,1,548

(stage directions). [Enter AARON]

Aaron. 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?


2

II,1,585

Chiron. 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 my mistress' grace;
And that my sword upon thee shall approve,
And plead my passions for Lavinia's love.

Aaron. [Aside] Clubs, clubs! these lovers will not keep
the peace.


3

II,1,596

(stage directions). [They draw]

Aaron. [Coming forward] 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.


4

II,1,612

Chiron. For that I am prepared and full resolved.
Foul-spoken coward, that thunder'st with thy tongue,
And with thy weapon nothing darest perform!

Aaron. 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,
Or Bassianus so degenerate,
That for her love such quarrels may be broach'd
Without controlment, justice, or revenge?
Young lords, beware! and should the empress know
This discord's ground, the music would not please.


5

II,1,627

Demetrius. Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice:
Lavinia is thine elder brother's hope.

Aaron. Why, are ye mad? or know ye not, in Rome
How furious and impatient they be,
And cannot brook competitors in love?
I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths
By this device.


6

II,1,634

Chiron. Aaron, a thousand deaths
Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.

Aaron. To achieve her! how?


7

II,1,644

Demetrius. Why makest thou it so strange?
She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore may be won;
She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.
What, man! more water glideth by the mill
Than wots the miller of; and easy it is
Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know:
Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother.
Better than he have worn Vulcan's badge.

Aaron. [Aside] Ay, and as good as Saturninus may.


8

II,1,649

Demetrius. Then why should he despair that knows to court it
With words, fair looks and liberality?
What, hast not thou full often struck a doe,
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?

Aaron. Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns.


9

II,1,653

Demetrius. Aaron, thou hast hit it.

Aaron. Would you had hit it too!
Then should not we be tired with this ado.
Why, hark ye, hark ye! and are you such fools
To square for this? would it offend you, then
That both should speed?


10

II,1,660

Demetrius. Nor me, so I were one.

Aaron. For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar:
'Tis policy and stratagem must do
That you affect; and so must you resolve,
That what you cannot as you would achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.
A speedier course than lingering languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious;
And many unfrequented plots there are
Fitted by kind for rape and villany:
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not at all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit
To villany and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend;
And she shall file our engines with advice,
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The emperor's court is like the house of Fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, and ears:
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
There speak, and strike, brave boys, and take
your turns;
There serve your lusts, shadow'd from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.


11

II,3,732

(stage directions). [Enter AARON, with a bag of gold]

Aaron. He that had wit would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree,
And never after to inherit it.
Let him that thinks of me so abjectly
Know that this gold must coin a stratagem,
Which, cunningly effected, will beget
A very excellent piece of villany:
And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest
[Hides the gold]
That have their alms out of the empress' chest.


12

II,3,763

Tamora. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,
When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
The birds chant melody on every bush,
The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun,
The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind
And make a chequer'd shadow on the ground:
Under their sweet shade, Aaron, let us sit,
And, whilst the babbling echo mocks the hounds,
Replying shrilly to the well-tuned horns,
As if a double hunt were heard at once,
Let us sit down and mark their yelping noise;
And, after conflict such as was supposed
The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy'd,
When with a happy storm they were surprised
And curtain'd with a counsel-keeping cave,
We may, each wreathed in the other's arms,
Our pastimes done, possess a golden slumber;
Whiles hounds and horns and sweet melodious birds
Be unto us as is a nurse's song
Of lullaby to bring her babe asleep.

Aaron. Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine:
What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence and my cloudy melancholy,
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
Even as an adder when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution?
No, madam, these are no venereal signs:
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark Tamora, the empress of my soul,
Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
This is the day of doom for Bassianus:
His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day,
Thy sons make pillage of her chastity
And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
And give the king this fatal plotted scroll.
Now question me no more; we are espied;
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.


13

II,3,785

Tamora. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!

Aaron. No more, great empress; Bassianus comes:
Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.


14

II,3,937

(stage directions). [Re-enter AARON, with QUINTUS and MARTIUS]

Aaron. Come on, my lords, the better foot before:
Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit
Where I espied the panther fast asleep.


15

II,3,952

Martius. O brother, with the dismall'st object hurt
That ever eye with sight made heart lament!

Aaron. [Aside] Now will I fetch the king to find them here,
That he thereby may give a likely guess
How these were they that made away his brother.


16

II,3,1032

Saturninus. [Reads] 'An if we miss to meet him handsomely—
Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis we mean—
Do thou so much as dig the grave for him:
Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward
Among the nettles at the elder-tree
Which overshades the mouth of that same pit
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.'
O Tamora! was ever heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the elder-tree.
Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
That should have murdered Bassianus here.

Aaron. My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.


17

III,1,1281

(stage directions). [Enter AARON]

Aaron. 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.


18

III,1,1305

Marcus Andronicus. 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 ransom my two nephews from their death;
Then have I kept it to a worthy end.

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


19

III,1,1321

Titus Andronicus. Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive them both:
Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.

Aaron. [Aside] 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,
And that you'll say, ere half an hour pass.


20

III,1,1335

Titus Andronicus. Now stay your strife: what shall be is dispatch'd.
Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand:
Tell him it was a hand that warded him
From thousand dangers; bid him bury it
More hath it merited; that let it have.
As for my sons, say I account of them
As jewels purchased at an easy price;
And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.

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


21

IV,2,1682

Chiron. Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius;
He hath some message to deliver us.

Aaron. Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.


22

IV,2,1708

Chiron. O, 'tis a verse in Horace; I know it well:
I read it in the grammar long ago.

Aaron. Ay, just; a verse in Horace; right, you have it.
[Aside]
Now, what a thing it is to be an ass!
Here's no sound jest! the old man hath found their guilt;
And sends them weapons wrapped about with lines,
That wound, beyond their feeling, to the quick.
But were our witty empress well afoot,
She would applaud Andronicus' conceit:
But let her rest in her unrest awhile.
And now, young lords, was't not a happy star
Led us to Rome, strangers, and more than so,
Captives, to be advanced to this height?
It did me good, before the palace gate
To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.


23

IV,2,1724

Demetrius. But me more good, to see so great a lord
Basely insinuate and send us gifts.

Aaron. Had he not reason, Lord Demetrius?
Did you not use his daughter very friendly?


24

IV,2,1729

Chiron. A charitable wish and full of love.

Aaron. Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.


25

IV,2,1733

Demetrius. Come, let us go; and pray to all the gods
For our beloved mother in her pains.

Aaron. [Aside] Pray to the devils; the gods have given us over.


26

IV,2,1741

Nurse. Good morrow, lords:
O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor?

Aaron. Well, more or less, or ne'er a whit at all,
Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?


27

IV,2,1745

Nurse. O gentle Aaron, we are all undone!
Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!

Aaron. Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!
What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms?


28

IV,2,1750

Nurse. O, that which I would hide from heaven's eye,
Our empress' shame, and stately Rome's disgrace!
She is deliver'd, lords; she is deliver'd.

Aaron. To whom?


29

IV,2,1752

Nurse. I mean, she is brought a-bed.

Aaron. Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?


30

IV,2,1754

Nurse. A devil.

Aaron. Why, then she is the devil's dam; a joyful issue.


31

IV,2,1760

Nurse. A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue:
Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime:
The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point.

Aaron. 'Zounds, ye whore! is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.


32

IV,2,1763

Demetrius. Villain, what hast thou done?

Aaron. That which thou canst not undo.


33

IV,2,1765

Chiron. Thou hast undone our mother.

Aaron. Villain, I have done thy mother.


34

IV,2,1770

Chiron. It shall not live.

Aaron. It shall not die.


35

IV,2,1772

Nurse. Aaron, it must; the mother wills it so.

Aaron. What, must it, nurse? then let no man but I
Do execution on my flesh and blood.


36

IV,2,1776

Demetrius. I'll broach the tadpole on my rapier's point:
Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon dispatch it.

Aaron. Sooner this sword shall plough thy bowels up.
[Takes the Child from the Nurse, and draws]
Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?
Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got,
He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point
That touches this my first-born son and heir!
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threatening band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-limed walls! ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue,
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
Tell the empress from me, I am of age
To keep mine own, excuse it how she can.


37

IV,2,1797

Demetrius. Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?

Aaron. My mistress is my mistress; this myself,
The vigour and the picture of my youth:
This before all the world do I prefer;
This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.


38

IV,2,1806

Chiron. I blush to think upon this ignomy.

Aaron. Why, there's the privilege your beauty bears:
Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of the heart!
Here's a young lad framed of another leer:
Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father,
As who should say 'Old lad, I am thine own.'
He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
Of that self-blood that first gave life to you,
And from that womb where you imprison'd were
He is enfranchised and come to light:
Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.


39

IV,2,1822

Demetrius. Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
And we will all subscribe to thy advice:
Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.

Aaron. Then sit we down, and let us all consult.
My son and I will have the wind of you:
Keep there: now talk at pleasure of your safety.


40

IV,2,1827

Demetrius. How many women saw this child of his?

Aaron. Why, so, brave lords! when we join in league,
I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
But say, again; how many saw the child?


41

IV,2,1834

Nurse. Cornelia the midwife and myself;
And no one else but the deliver'd empress.

Aaron. The empress, the midwife, and yourself:
Two may keep counsel when the third's away:
Go to the empress, tell her this I said.
[He kills the nurse]
Weke, weke! so cries a pig prepared to the spit.


42

IV,2,1840

Demetrius. What mean'st thou, Aaron? wherefore didst thou this?

Aaron. O Lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy:
Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours,
A long-tongued babbling gossip? no, lords, no:
And now be it known to you my full intent.
Not far, one Muli lives, my countryman;
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
His child is like to her, fair as you are:
Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
And tell them both the circumstance of all;
And how by this their child shall be advanced,
And be received for the emperor's heir,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
And let the emperor dandle him for his own.
Hark ye, lords; ye see I have given her physic,
[Pointing to the nurse]
And you must needs bestow her funeral;
The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms:
This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.
The midwife and the nurse well made away,
Then let the ladies tattle what they please.


43

IV,2,1868

Demetrius. For this care of Tamora,
Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
[Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON bearing off the]
Nurse's body]

Aaron. Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow flies;
There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
And secretly to greet the empress' friends.
Come on, you thick lipp'd slave, I'll bear you hence;
For it is you that puts us to our shifts:
I'll make you feed on berries and on roots,
And feed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
To be a warrior, and command a camp.


44

V,1,2182

Lucius. O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
That robb'd Andronicus of his good hand;
This is the pearl that pleased your empress' eye,
And here's the base fruit of his burning lust.
Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
Why dost not speak? what, deaf? not a word?
A halter, soldiers! hang him on this tree.
And by his side his fruit of bastardy.

Aaron. Touch not the boy; he is of royal blood.


45

V,1,2188

(stage directions). [A ladder brought, which AARON is made to ascend]

Aaron. Lucius, save the child,
And bear it from me to the empress.
If thou do this, I'll show thee wondrous things,
That highly may advantage thee to hear:
If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
I'll speak no more but 'Vengeance rot you all!'


46

V,1,2196

Lucius. Say on: an if it please me which thou speak'st
Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd.

Aaron. An if it please thee! why, assure thee, Lucius,
'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
For I must talk of murders, rapes and massacres,
Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
Complots of mischief, treason, villanies
Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:
And this shall all be buried by my death,
Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.


47

V,1,2205

Lucius. Tell on thy mind; I say thy child shall live.

Aaron. Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.


48

V,1,2208

Lucius. Who should I swear by? thou believest no god:
That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?

Aaron. What if I do not? as, indeed, I do not;
Yet, for I know thou art religious
And hast a thing within thee called conscience,
With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies,
Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
An idiot holds his bauble for a god
And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,
To that I'll urge him: therefore thou shalt vow
By that same god, what god soe'er it be,
That thou adorest and hast in reverence,
To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up;
Or else I will discover nought to thee.


49

V,1,2222

Lucius. Even by my god I swear to thee I will.

Aaron. First know thou, I begot him on the empress.


50

V,1,2224

Lucius. O most insatiate and luxurious woman!

Aaron. Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
'Twas her two sons that murder'd Bassianus;
They cut thy sister's tongue and ravish'd her
And cut her hands and trimm'd her as thou saw'st.


51

V,1,2230

Lucius. O detestable villain! call'st thou that trimming?

Aaron. Why, she was wash'd and cut and trimm'd, and 'twas
Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.


52

V,1,2233

Lucius. O barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!

Aaron. Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them:
That codding spirit had they from their mother,
As sure a card as ever won the set;
That bloody mind, I think, they learn'd of me,
As true a dog as ever fought at head.
Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.
I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole
Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay:
I wrote the letter that thy father found
And hid the gold within the letter mention'd,
Confederate with the queen and her two sons:
And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?
I play'd the cheater for thy father's hand,
And, when I had it, drew myself apart
And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter:
I pry'd me through the crevice of a wall
When, for his hand, he had his two sons' heads;
Beheld his tears, and laugh'd so heartily,
That both mine eyes were rainy like to his :
And when I told the empress of this sport,
She swooned almost at my pleasing tale,
And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.


53

V,1,2257

First Goth. What, canst thou say all this, and never blush?

Aaron. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.


54

V,1,2259

Lucius. Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?

Aaron. Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
Even now I curse the day—and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse,—
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men's cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends' doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.'
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.


55

V,1,2282

Lucius. Bring down the devil; for he must not die
So sweet a death as hanging presently.

Aaron. If there be devils, would I were a devil,
To live and burn in everlasting fire,
So I might have your company in hell,
But to torment you with my bitter tongue!


56

V,3,2536

Lucius. Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil;
Let him receive no sustenance, fetter him
Till he be brought unto the empress' face,
For testimony of her foul proceedings:
And see the ambush of our friends be strong;
I fear the emperor means no good to us.

Aaron. Some devil whisper curses in mine ear,
And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth
The venomous malice of my swelling heart!


57

V,3,2729

Lucius. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;
There let him stand, and rave, and cry for food;
If any one relieves or pities him,
For the offence he dies. This is our doom:
Some stay to see him fasten'd in the earth.

Aaron. O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb?
I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
I should repent the evils I have done:
Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
Would I perform, if I might have my will;
If one good deed in all my life I did,
I do repent it from my very soul.


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