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Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would,"
Like the poor cat i' the adage.

      — Macbeth, Act I Scene 7


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Titus Andronicus

(complete text)

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Act I

1. Rome. Before the Capitol.

Act II

1. Rome. Before the Palace.

2. A forest near Rome. Horns and cry of hounds heard.

3. A lonely part of the forest.

4. Another part of the forest.


1. Rome. A street.

2. A room in Titus’s house. A banquet set out.

Act IV

1. Rome. Titus’s garden.

2. The same. A room in the palace.

3. The same. A public place.

4. The same. Before the palace.

Act V

1. Plains near Rome.

2. Rome. Before TITUS’s house.

3. Court of TITUS’s house. A banquet set out.


Act I, Scene 1

Rome. Before the Capitol.

      next scene .

[The Tomb of the ANDRONICI appearing; the Tribunes] [p]and Senators aloft. Enter, below, from one side, [p]SATURNINUS and his Followers; and, from the other [p]side, BASSIANUS and his Followers; with drum and colours]

  • Saturninus. Noble patricians, patrons of my right, 5
    Defend the justice of my cause with arms,
    And, countrymen, my loving followers,
    Plead my successive title with your swords:
    I am his first-born son, that was the last
    That wore the imperial diadem of Rome; 10
    Then let my father's honours live in me,
    Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.
  • Bassianus. Romans, friends, followers, favorers of my right,
    If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son,
    Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome, 15
    Keep then this passage to the Capitol
    And suffer not dishonour to approach
    The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
    To justice, continence and nobility;
    But let desert in pure election shine, 20
    And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

[Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the crown]

  • Marcus Andronicus. Princes, that strive by factions and by friends
    Ambitiously for rule and empery,
    Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand 25
    A special party, have, by common voice,
    In election for the Roman empery,
    Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius
    For many good and great deserts to Rome:
    A nobler man, a braver warrior, 30
    Lives not this day within the city walls:
    He by the senate is accit'd home
    From weary wars against the barbarous Goths;
    That, with his sons, a terror to our foes,
    Hath yoked a nation strong, train'd up in arms. 35
    Ten years are spent since first he undertook
    This cause of Rome and chastised with arms
    Our enemies' pride: five times he hath return'd
    Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
    In coffins from the field; 40
    And now at last, laden with horror's spoils,
    Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
    Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
    Let us entreat, by honour of his name,
    Whom worthily you would have now succeed. 45
    And in the Capitol and senate's right,
    Whom you pretend to honour and adore,
    That you withdraw you and abate your strength;
    Dismiss your followers and, as suitors should,
    Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness. 50
  • Saturninus. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my thoughts!
  • Bassianus. Marcus Andronicus, so I do ally
    In thy uprightness and integrity,
    And so I love and honour thee and thine,
    Thy noble brother Titus and his sons, 55
    And her to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
    Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,
    That I will here dismiss my loving friends,
    And to my fortunes and the people's favor
    Commit my cause in balance to be weigh'd. 60

[Exeunt the followers of BASSIANUS]

  • Saturninus. Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,
    I thank you all and here dismiss you all,
    And to the love and favor of my country
    Commit myself, my person and the cause. 65
    [Exeunt the followers of SATURNINUS]
    Rome, be as just and gracious unto me
    As I am confident and kind to thee.
    Open the gates, and let me in.
  • Bassianus. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor. 70

[Flourish. SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS go up into the Capitol]

[Enter a Captain]

  • Captain. Romans, make way: the good Andronicus.
    Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
    Successful in the battles that he fights, 75
    With honour and with fortune is return'd
    From where he circumscribed with his sword,
    And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.
    [Drums and trumpets sounded. Enter MARTIUS and]
    MUTIUS; After them, two Men bearing a coffin 80
    covered with black; then LUCIUS and QUINTUS. After
    them, TITUS ANDRONICUS; and then TAMORA, with
    prisoners; Soldiers and people following. The
    Bearers set down the coffin, and TITUS speaks] 85
  • Titus Andronicus. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds!
    Lo, as the bark, that hath discharged her fraught,
    Returns with precious jading to the bay
    From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
    Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs, 90
    To re-salute his country with his tears,
    Tears of true joy for his return to Rome.
    Thou great defender of this Capitol,
    Stand gracious to the rites that we intend!
    Romans, of five and twenty valiant sons, 95
    Half of the number that King Priam had,
    Behold the poor remains, alive and dead!
    These that survive let Rome reward with love;
    These that I bring unto their latest home,
    With burial amongst their ancestors: 100
    Here Goths have given me leave to sheathe my sword.
    Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,
    Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
    To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?
    Make way to lay them by their brethren. 105
    [The tomb is opened]
    There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
    And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars!
    O sacred receptacle of my joys,
    Sweet cell of virtue and nobility, 110
    How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
    That thou wilt never render to me more!
  • Lucius. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
    That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile
    Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh, 115
    Before this earthy prison of their bones;
    That so the shadows be not unappeased,
    Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.
  • Titus Andronicus. I give him you, the noblest that survives,
    The eldest son of this distressed queen. 120
  • Tamora. Stay, Roman brethren! Gracious conqueror,
    Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
    A mother's tears in passion for her son:
    And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
    O, think my son to be as dear to me! 125
    Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome,
    To beautify thy triumphs and return,
    Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,
    But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets,
    For valiant doings in their country's cause? 130
    O, if to fight for king and commonweal
    Were piety in thine, it is in these.
    Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
    Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
    Draw near them then in being merciful: 135
    Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge:
    Thrice noble Titus, spare my first-born son.
  • Titus Andronicus. Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
    These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld
    Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain 140
    Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
    To this your son is mark'd, and die he must,
    To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.
  • Lucius. Away with him! and make a fire straight;
    And with our swords, upon a pile of wood, 145
    Let's hew his limbs till they be clean consumed.


  • Tamora. O cruel, irreligious piety!
  • Chiron. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous?
  • Demetrius. Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome. 150
    Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive
    To tremble under Titus' threatening looks.
    Then, madam, stand resolved, but hope withal
    The self-same gods that arm'd the Queen of Troy
    With opportunity of sharp revenge 155
    Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent,
    May favor Tamora, the Queen of Goths—
    When Goths were Goths and Tamora was queen—
    To quit the bloody wrongs upon her foes.
    [Re-enter LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS and MUTIUS, with] 160
    their swords bloody]
  • Lucius. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
    Our Roman rites: Alarbus' limbs are lopp'd,
    And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,
    Whose smoke, like incense, doth perfume the sky. 165
    Remaineth nought, but to inter our brethren,
    And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome.
  • Titus Andronicus. Let it be so; and let Andronicus
    Make this his latest farewell to their souls.
    [Trumpets sounded, and the coffin laid in the tomb] 170
    In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;
    Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,
    Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!
    Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
    Here grow no damned grudges; here are no storms, 175
    No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:
    In peace and honour rest you here, my sons!


  • Lavinia. In peace and honour live Lord Titus long;
    My noble lord and father, live in fame! 180
    Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears
    I render, for my brethren's obsequies;
    And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy,
    Shed on the earth, for thy return to Rome:
    O, bless me here with thy victorious hand, 185
    Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud!
  • Titus Andronicus. Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserved
    The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!
    Lavinia, live; outlive thy father's days,
    And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise! 190
    [Enter, below, MARCUS ANDRONICUS and Tribunes;]
    re-enter SATURNINUS and BASSIANUS, attended]
  • Marcus Andronicus. Long live Lord Titus, my beloved brother,
    Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!
  • Marcus Andronicus. And welcome, nephews, from successful wars,
    You that survive, and you that sleep in fame!
    Fair lords, your fortunes are alike in all,
    That in your country's service drew your swords:
    But safer triumph is this funeral pomp, 200
    That hath aspired to Solon's happiness
    And triumphs over chance in honour's bed.
    Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
    Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
    Send thee by me, their tribune and their trust, 205
    This palliament of white and spotless hue;
    And name thee in election for the empire,
    With these our late-deceased emperor's sons:
    Be candidatus then, and put it on,
    And help to set a head on headless Rome. 210
  • Titus Andronicus. A better head her glorious body fits
    Than his that shakes for age and feebleness:
    What should I don this robe, and trouble you?
    Be chosen with proclamations to-day,
    To-morrow yield up rule, resign my life, 215
    And set abroad new business for you all?
    Rome, I have been thy soldier forty years,
    And led my country's strength successfully,
    And buried one and twenty valiant sons,
    Knighted in field, slain manfully in arms, 220
    In right and service of their noble country
    Give me a staff of honour for mine age,
    But not a sceptre to control the world:
    Upright he held it, lords, that held it last.
  • Saturninus. Proud and ambitious tribune, canst thou tell?
  • Saturninus. Romans, do me right:
    Patricians, draw your swords: and sheathe them not
    Till Saturninus be Rome's emperor. 230
    Andronicus, would thou wert shipp'd to hell,
    Rather than rob me of the people's hearts!
  • Lucius. Proud Saturnine, interrupter of the good
    That noble-minded Titus means to thee!
  • Titus Andronicus. Content thee, prince; I will restore to thee 235
    The people's hearts, and wean them from themselves.
  • Bassianus. Andronicus, I do not flatter thee,
    But honour thee, and will do till I die:
    My faction if thou strengthen with thy friends,
    I will most thankful be; and thanks to men 240
    Of noble minds is honourable meed.
  • Titus Andronicus. People of Rome, and people's tribunes here,
    I ask your voices and your suffrages:
    Will you bestow them friendly on Andronicus?
  • Tribunes. To gratify the good Andronicus, 245
    And gratulate his safe return to Rome,
    The people will accept whom he admits.
  • Titus Andronicus. Tribunes, I thank you: and this suit I make,
    That you create your emperor's eldest son,
    Lord Saturnine; whose virtues will, I hope, 250
    Reflect on Rome as Titan's rays on earth,
    And ripen justice in this commonweal:
    Then, if you will elect by my advice,
    Crown him and say 'Long live our emperor!'
  • Marcus Andronicus. With voices and applause of every sort, 255
    Patricians and plebeians, we create
    Lord Saturninus Rome's great emperor,
    And say 'Long live our Emperor Saturnine!'

[A long flourish till they come down]

  • Saturninus. Titus Andronicus, for thy favors done 260
    To us in our election this day,
    I give thee thanks in part of thy deserts,
    And will with deeds requite thy gentleness:
    And, for an onset, Titus, to advance
    Thy name and honourable family, 265
    Lavinia will I make my empress,
    Rome's royal mistress, mistress of my heart,
    And in the sacred Pantheon her espouse:
    Tell me, Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?
  • Titus Andronicus. It doth, my worthy lord; and in this match 270
    I hold me highly honour'd of your grace:
    And here in sight of Rome to Saturnine,
    King and commander of our commonweal,
    The wide world's emperor, do I consecrate
    My sword, my chariot and my prisoners; 275
    Presents well worthy Rome's imperial lord:
    Receive them then, the tribute that I owe,
    Mine honour's ensigns humbled at thy feet.
  • Saturninus. Thanks, noble Titus, father of my life!
    How proud I am of thee and of thy gifts 280
    Rome shall record, and when I do forget
    The least of these unspeakable deserts,
    Romans, forget your fealty to me.
  • Titus Andronicus. [To TAMORA] Now, madam, are you prisoner to
    an emperor; 285
    To him that, for your honour and your state,
    Will use you nobly and your followers.
  • Saturninus. A goodly lady, trust me; of the hue
    That I would choose, were I to choose anew.
    Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance: 290
    Though chance of war hath wrought this change of cheer,
    Thou comest not to be made a scorn in Rome:
    Princely shall be thy usage every way.
    Rest on my word, and let not discontent
    Daunt all your hopes: madam, he comforts you 295
    Can make you greater than the Queen of Goths.
    Lavinia, you are not displeased with this?
  • Lavinia. Not I, my lord; sith true nobility
    Warrants these words in princely courtesy.
  • Saturninus. Thanks, sweet Lavinia. Romans, let us go; 300
    Ransomless here we set our prisoners free:
    Proclaim our honours, lords, with trump and drum.

[Flourish. SATURNINUS courts TAMORA in dumb show]

  • Bassianus. Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.

[Seizing LAVINIA]

  • Bassianus. Ay, noble Titus; and resolved withal
    To do myself this reason and this right.
  • Marcus Andronicus. 'Suum cuique' is our Roman justice:
    This prince in justice seizeth but his own. 310
  • Lucius. And that he will, and shall, if Lucius live.
  • Titus Andronicus. Traitors, avaunt! Where is the emperor's guard?
    Treason, my lord! Lavinia is surprised!
  • Bassianus. By him that justly may 315
    Bear his betroth'd from all the world away.


  • Mutius. Brothers, help to convey her hence away,
    And with my sword I'll keep this door safe.


  • Mutius. My lord, you pass not here.

[Stabbing MUTIUS]

  • Mutius. Help, Lucius, help!
    [During the fray, SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS,]
    CHIRON and AARON go out and re-enter, above]

[Re-enter LUCIUS]

  • Lucius. My lord, you are unjust, and, more than so,
    In wrongful quarrel you have slain your son.
  • Titus Andronicus. Nor thou, nor he, are any sons of mine;
    My sons would never so dishonour me:
    Traitor, restore Lavinia to the emperor. 335
  • Lucius. Dead, if you will; but not to be his wife,
    That is another's lawful promised love.


  • Saturninus. No, Titus, no; the emperor needs her not,
    Nor her, nor thee, nor any of thy stock: 340
    I'll trust, by leisure, him that mocks me once;
    Thee never, nor thy traitorous haughty sons,
    Confederates all thus to dishonour me.
    Was there none else in Rome to make a stale,
    But Saturnine? Full well, Andronicus, 345
    Agree these deeds with that proud brag of thine,
    That said'st I begg'd the empire at thy hands.
  • Saturninus. But go thy ways; go, give that changing piece
    To him that flourish'd for her with his sword 350
    A valiant son-in-law thou shalt enjoy;
    One fit to bandy with thy lawless sons,
    To ruffle in the commonwealth of Rome.
  • Saturninus. And therefore, lovely Tamora, queen of Goths, 355
    That like the stately Phoebe 'mongst her nymphs
    Dost overshine the gallant'st dames of Rome,
    If thou be pleased with this my sudden choice,
    Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride,
    And will create thee empress of Rome, 360
    Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my choice?
    And here I swear by all the Roman gods,
    Sith priest and holy water are so near
    And tapers burn so bright and every thing
    In readiness for Hymenaeus stand, 365
    I will not re-salute the streets of Rome,
    Or climb my palace, till from forth this place
    I lead espoused my bride along with me.
  • Tamora. And here, in sight of heaven, to Rome I swear,
    If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths, 370
    She will a handmaid be to his desires,
    A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.
  • Saturninus. Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon. Lords, accompany
    Your noble emperor and his lovely bride,
    Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine, 375
    Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquered:
    There shall we consummate our spousal rites.

[Exeunt all but TITUS]

  • Titus Andronicus. I am not bid to wait upon this bride.
    Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alone, 380
    Dishonour'd thus, and challenged of wrongs?


  • Marcus Andronicus. O Titus, see, O, see what thou hast done!
    In a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son.
  • Titus Andronicus. No, foolish tribune, no; no son of mine, 385
    Nor thou, nor these, confederates in the deed
    That hath dishonour'd all our family;
    Unworthy brother, and unworthy sons!
  • Lucius. But let us give him burial, as becomes;
    Give Mutius burial with our brethren. 390
  • Titus Andronicus. Traitors, away! he rests not in this tomb:
    This monument five hundred years hath stood,
    Which I have sumptuously re-edified:
    Here none but soldiers and Rome's servitors
    Repose in fame; none basely slain in brawls: 395
    Bury him where you can; he comes not here.
  • Marcus Andronicus. My lord, this is impiety in you:
    My nephew Mutius' deeds do plead for him
    He must be buried with his brethren.
  • Quintus. And shall, or him we will accompany. 400
  • Quintus. He that would vouch it in any place but here.
  • Marcus Andronicus. No, noble Titus, but entreat of thee 405
    To pardon Mutius and to bury him.
  • Titus Andronicus. Marcus, even thou hast struck upon my crest,
    And, with these boys, mine honour thou hast wounded:
    My foes I do repute you every one;
    So, trouble me no more, but get you gone. 410
  • Martius. He is not with himself; let us withdraw.
  • Quintus. Not I, till Mutius' bones be buried.

[MARCUS and the Sons of TITUS kneel]

  • Quintus. Father, and in that name doth nature speak,— 415
  • Lucius. Dear father, soul and substance of us all,—
  • Marcus Andronicus. Suffer thy brother Marcus to inter
    His noble nephew here in virtue's nest, 420
    That died in honour and Lavinia's cause.
    Thou art a Roman; be not barbarous:
    The Greeks upon advice did bury Ajax
    That slew himself; and wise Laertes' son
    Did graciously plead for his funerals: 425
    Let not young Mutius, then, that was thy joy
    Be barr'd his entrance here.
  • Titus Andronicus. Rise, Marcus, rise.
    The dismall'st day is this that e'er I saw,
    To be dishonour'd by my sons in Rome! 430
    Well, bury him, and bury me the next.

[MUTIUS is put into the tomb]

  • Lucius. There lie thy bones, sweet Mutius, with thy friends,
    Till we with trophies do adorn thy tomb.
  • All. [Kneeling] No man shed tears for noble Mutius; 435
    He lives in fame that died in virtue's cause.
  • Marcus Andronicus. My lord, to step out of these dreary dumps,
    How comes it that the subtle Queen of Goths
    Is of a sudden thus advanced in Rome?
  • Titus Andronicus. I know not, Marcus; but I know it is, 440
    Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell:
    Is she not then beholding to the man
    That brought her for this high good turn so far?
    Yes, and will nobly him remunerate.
    [Flourish. Re-enter, from one side, SATURNINUS] 445
    attended, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON and AARON; from
    the other, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, and others]
  • Saturninus. So, Bassianus, you have play'd your prize:
    God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride!
  • Bassianus. And you of yours, my lord! I say no more, 450
    Nor wish no less; and so, I take my leave.
  • Saturninus. Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power,
    Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.
  • Bassianus. Rape, call you it, my lord, to seize my own,
    My truth-betrothed love and now my wife? 455
    But let the laws of Rome determine all;
    Meanwhile I am possess'd of that is mine.
  • Saturninus. 'Tis good, sir: you are very short with us;
    But, if we live, we'll be as sharp with you.
  • Bassianus. My lord, what I have done, as best I may, 460
    Answer I must and shall do with my life.
    Only thus much I give your grace to know:
    By all the duties that I owe to Rome,
    This noble gentleman, Lord Titus here,
    Is in opinion and in honour wrong'd; 465
    That in the rescue of Lavinia
    With his own hand did slay his youngest son,
    In zeal to you and highly moved to wrath
    To be controll'd in that he frankly gave:
    Receive him, then, to favor, Saturnine, 470
    That hath express'd himself in all his deeds
    A father and a friend to thee and Rome.
  • Titus Andronicus. Prince Bassianus, leave to plead my deeds:
    'Tis thou and those that have dishonour'd me.
    Rome and the righteous heavens be my judge, 475
    How I have loved and honour'd Saturnine!
  • Tamora. My worthy lord, if ever Tamora
    Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,
    Then hear me speak in indifferently for all;
    And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past. 480
  • Saturninus. What, madam! be dishonour'd openly,
    And basely put it up without revenge?
  • Tamora. Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend
    I should be author to dishonour you!
    But on mine honour dare I undertake 485
    For good Lord Titus' innocence in all;
    Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs:
    Then, at my suit, look graciously on him;
    Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose,
    Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart. 490
    [Aside to SATURNINUS] My lord, be ruled by me,]
    be won at last;
    Dissemble all your griefs and discontents:
    You are but newly planted in your throne;
    Lest, then, the people, and patricians too, 495
    Upon a just survey, take Titus' part,
    And so supplant you for ingratitude,
    Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin,
    Yield at entreats; and then let me alone:
    I'll find a day to massacre them all 500
    And raze their faction and their family,
    The cruel father and his traitorous sons,
    To whom I sued for my dear son's life,
    And make them know what 'tis to let a queen
    Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain. 505
    Come, come, sweet emperor; come, Andronicus;
    Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart
    That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.
  • Saturninus. Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail'd. 510
  • Titus Andronicus. I thank your majesty, and her, my lord:
    These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.
  • Tamora. Titus, I am incorporate in Rome,
    A Roman now adopted happily,
    And must advise the emperor for his good. 515
    This day all quarrels die, Andronicus;
    And let it be mine honour, good my lord,
    That I have reconciled your friends and you.
    For you, Prince Bassianus, I have pass'd
    My word and promise to the emperor, 520
    That you will be more mild and tractable.
    And fear not lords, and you, Lavinia;
    By my advice, all humbled on your knees,
    You shall ask pardon of his majesty.
  • Lucius. We do, and vow to heaven and to his highness, 525
    That what we did was mildly as we might,
    Tendering our sister's honour and our own.
  • Saturninus. Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.
  • Tamora. Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends: 530
    The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace;
    I will not be denied: sweet heart, look back.
  • Saturninus. Marcus, for thy sake and thy brother's here,
    And at my lovely Tamora's entreats,
    I do remit these young men's heinous faults: Stand up. 535
    Lavinia, though you left me like a churl,
    I found a friend, and sure as death I swore
    I would not part a bachelor from the priest.
    Come, if the emperor's court can feast two brides,
    You are my guest, Lavinia, and your friends. 540
    This day shall be a love-day, Tamora.
  • Titus Andronicus. To-morrow, an it please your majesty
    To hunt the panther and the hart with me,
    With horn and hound we'll give your grace bonjour.
  • Saturninus. Be it so, Titus, and gramercy too. 545

[Flourish. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

Rome. Before the Palace.

      next scene .

[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; 550
    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; 555
    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, 560
    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! 565
    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, 570
    And see his shipwreck and his commonweal's.
    Holloa! what storm is this?

[Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, braving]

  • Demetrius. Chiron, thy years want wit, thy wit wants edge,
    And manners, to intrude where I am graced; 575
    And may, for aught thou know'st, affected be.
  • 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: 580
    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 585
    the peace.
  • Demetrius. Why, boy, although our mother, unadvised,
    Gave you a dancing-rapier by your side,
    Are you so desperate grown, to threat your friends?
    Go to; have your lath glued within your sheath 590
    Till you know better how to handle it.
  • Chiron. Meanwhile, sir, with the little skill I have,
    Full well shalt thou perceive how much I dare.

[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 600
    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.
  • Demetrius. Not I, till I have sheathed 605
    My rapier in his bosom and withal
    Thrust these reproachful speeches down his throat
    That he hath breathed in my dishonour here.
  • Chiron. For that I am prepared and full resolved.
    Foul-spoken coward, that thunder'st with thy tongue, 610
    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 615
    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? 620
    Young lords, beware! and should the empress know
    This discord's ground, the music would not please.
  • Chiron. I care not, I, knew she and all the world:
    I love Lavinia more than all the world.
  • Demetrius. Youngling, learn thou to make some meaner choice: 625
    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 630
    By this device.
  • Chiron. Aaron, a thousand deaths
    Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.
  • Aaron. To achieve her! how?
  • Demetrius. Why makest thou it so strange? 635
    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 640
    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.
  • Demetrius. Then why should he despair that knows to court it 645
    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. 650
  • Chiron. Ay, so the turn were served.
  • 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 655
    To square for this? would it offend you, then
    That both should speed?
  • Aaron. For shame, be friends, and join for that you jar: 660
    '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 665
    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: 670
    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: 675
    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, 680
    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; 685
    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.
  • Chiron. Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice, 690
  • Demetrius. Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
    To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits.
    Per Styga, per manes vehor.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

A forest near Rome. Horns and cry of hounds heard.

      next scene .


  • Titus Andronicus. The hunt is up, the morn is bright and grey,
    The fields are fragrant and the woods are green:
    Uncouple here and let us make a bay
    And wake the emperor and his lovely bride 700
    And rouse the prince and ring a hunter's peal,
    That all the court may echo with the noise.
    Sons, let it be your charge, as it is ours,
    To attend the emperor's person carefully:
    I have been troubled in my sleep this night, 705
    But dawning day new comfort hath inspired.
    [A cry of hounds and horns, winded in a peal. Enter]
    CHIRON, and Attendants]
    Many good morrows to your majesty; 710
    Madam, to you as many and as good:
    I promised your grace a hunter's peal.
  • Saturninus. And you have rung it lustily, my lord;
    Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
  • Lavinia. I say, no;
    I have been broad awake two hours and more.
  • Saturninus. Come on, then; horse and chariots let us have,
    And to our sport.
    [To TAMORA] 720
    Madam, now shall ye see
    Our Roman hunting.
  • Marcus Andronicus. I have dogs, my lord,
    Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
    And climb the highest promontory top. 725
  • Titus Andronicus. And I have horse will follow where the game
    Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain.
  • Demetrius. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound,
    But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

A lonely part of the forest.

      next scene .

[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 735
    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] 740
    That have their alms out of the empress' chest.

[Enter TAMORA]

  • Tamora. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look'st thou sad,
    When every thing doth make a gleeful boast?
    The birds chant melody on every bush, 745
    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, 750
    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, 755
    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 760
    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, 765
    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: 770
    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: 775
    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. 780
    Now question me no more; we are espied;
    Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
    Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.
  • Tamora. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
  • Aaron. No more, great empress; Bassianus comes: 785
    Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons
    To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.



  • Bassianus. Who have we here? Rome's royal empress, 790
    Unfurnish'd of her well-beseeming troop?
    Or is it Dian, habited like her,
    Who hath abandoned her holy groves
    To see the general hunting in this forest?
  • Tamora. Saucy controller of our private steps! 795
    Had I the power that some say Dian had,
    Thy temples should be planted presently
    With horns, as was Actaeon's; and the hounds
    Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
    Unmannerly intruder as thou art! 800
  • Lavinia. Under your patience, gentle empress,
    'Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning;
    And to be doubted that your Moor and you
    Are singled forth to try experiments:
    Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day! 805
    'Tis pity they should take him for a stag.
  • Bassianus. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian
    Doth make your honour of his body's hue,
    Spotted, detested, and abominable.
    Why are you sequester'd from all your train, 810
    Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed.
    And wander'd hither to an obscure plot,
    Accompanied but with a barbarous Moor,
    If foul desire had not conducted you?
  • Lavinia. And, being intercepted in your sport, 815
    Great reason that my noble lord be rated
    For sauciness. I pray you, let us hence,
    And let her joy her raven-colour'd love;
    This valley fits the purpose passing well.
  • Bassianus. The king my brother shall have note of this. 820
  • Lavinia. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long:
    Good king, to be so mightily abused!
  • Tamora. Why have I patience to endure all this?


  • Demetrius. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother! 825
    Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?
  • Tamora. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
    These two have 'ticed me hither to this place:
    A barren detested vale, you see it is;
    The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean, 830
    O'ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:
    Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
    Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:
    And when they show'd me this abhorred pit,
    They told me, here, at dead time of the night, 835
    A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
    Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
    Would make such fearful and confused cries
    As any mortal body hearing it
    Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly. 840
    No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
    But straight they told me they would bind me here
    Unto the body of a dismal yew,
    And leave me to this miserable death:
    And then they call'd me foul adulteress, 845
    Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
    That ever ear did hear to such effect:
    And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,
    This vengeance on me had they executed.
    Revenge it, as you love your mother's life, 850
    Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children.
  • Demetrius. This is a witness that I am thy son.


  • Chiron. And this for me, struck home to show my strength.

[Also stabs BASSIANUS, who dies]

  • Lavinia. Ay, come, Semiramis, nay, barbarous Tamora,
    For no name fits thy nature but thy own!
  • Tamora. Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my boys
    Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong.
  • Demetrius. Stay, madam; here is more belongs to her; 860
    First thrash the corn, then after burn the straw:
    This minion stood upon her chastity,
    Upon her nuptial vow, her loyalty,
    And with that painted hope braves your mightiness:
    And shall she carry this unto her grave? 865
  • Chiron. An if she do, I would I were an eunuch.
    Drag hence her husband to some secret hole,
    And make his dead trunk pillow to our lust.
  • Tamora. But when ye have the honey ye desire,
    Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting. 870
  • Chiron. I warrant you, madam, we will make that sure.
    Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy
    That nice-preserved honesty of yours.
  • Lavinia. O Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's face,—
  • Tamora. I will not hear her speak; away with her! 875
  • Lavinia. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.
  • Demetrius. Listen, fair madam: let it be your glory
    To see her tears; but be your heart to them
    As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.
  • Lavinia. When did the tiger's young ones teach the dam? 880
    O, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee;
    The milk thou suck'dst from her did turn to marble;
    Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
    Yet every mother breeds not sons alike:
    [To CHIRON] 885
    Do thou entreat her show a woman pity.
  • Chiron. What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?
  • Lavinia. 'Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark:
    Yet have I heard,—O, could I find it now!—
    The lion moved with pity did endure 890
    To have his princely paws pared all away:
    Some say that ravens foster forlorn children,
    The whilst their own birds famish in their nests:
    O, be to me, though thy hard heart say no,
    Nothing so kind, but something pitiful! 895
  • Tamora. I know not what it means; away with her!
  • Lavinia. O, let me teach thee! for my father's sake,
    That gave thee life, when well he might have
    slain thee,
    Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears. 900
  • Tamora. Hadst thou in person ne'er offended me,
    Even for his sake am I pitiless.
    Remember, boys, I pour'd forth tears in vain,
    To save your brother from the sacrifice;
    But fierce Andronicus would not relent; 905
    Therefore, away with her, and use her as you will,
    The worse to her, the better loved of me.
  • Lavinia. O Tamora, be call'd a gentle queen,
    And with thine own hands kill me in this place!
    For 'tis not life that I have begg'd so long; 910
    Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.
  • Tamora. What begg'st thou, then? fond woman, let me go.
  • Lavinia. 'Tis present death I beg; and one thing more
    That womanhood denies my tongue to tell:
    O, keep me from their worse than killing lust, 915
    And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
    Where never man's eye may behold my body:
    Do this, and be a charitable murderer.
  • Tamora. So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee:
    No, let them satisfy their lust on thee. 920
  • Demetrius. Away! for thou hast stay'd us here too long.
  • Lavinia. No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly creature!
    The blot and enemy to our general name!
    Confusion fall—
  • Chiron. Nay, then I'll stop your mouth. Bring thou her husband: 925
    This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.
    [DEMETRIUS throws the body of BASSIANUS into the]
    pit; then exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, dragging
    off LAVINIA]
  • Tamora. Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure. 930
    Ne'er let my heart know merry cheer indeed,
    Till all the Andronici be made away.
    Now will I hence to seek my lovely Moor,
    And let my spleenful sons this trull deflow'r.


[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.
  • Quintus. My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes. 940
  • Martius. And mine, I promise you; were't not for shame,
    Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.

[Falls into the pit]

  • Quintus. What art thou fall'n? What subtle hole is this,
    Whose mouth is cover'd with rude-growing briers, 945
    Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood
    As fresh as morning dew distill'd on flowers?
    A very fatal place it seems to me.
    Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?
  • Martius. O brother, with the dismall'st object hurt 950
    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.


  • Martius. Why dost not comfort me, and help me out
    From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?
  • Quintus. I am surprised with an uncouth fear;
    A chilling sweat o'er-runs my trembling joints:
    My heart suspects more than mine eye can see. 960
  • Martius. To prove thou hast a true-divining heart,
    Aaron and thou look down into this den,
    And see a fearful sight of blood and death.
  • Quintus. Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart
    Will not permit mine eyes once to behold 965
    The thing whereat it trembles by surmise;
    O, tell me how it is; for ne'er till now
    Was I a child to fear I know not what.
  • Martius. Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,
    All on a heap, like to a slaughter'd lamb, 970
    In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.
  • Quintus. If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he?
  • Martius. Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
    A precious ring, that lightens all the hole,
    Which, like a taper in some monument, 975
    Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
    And shows the ragged entrails of the pit:
    So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus
    When he by night lay bathed in maiden blood.
    O brother, help me with thy fainting hand— 980
    If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath—
    Out of this fell devouring receptacle,
    As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth.
  • Quintus. Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;
    Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good, 985
    I may be pluck'd into the swallowing womb
    Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.
    I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.
  • Martius. Nor I no strength to climb without thy help.
  • Quintus. Thy hand once more; I will not loose again, 990
    Till thou art here aloft, or I below:
    Thou canst not come to me: I come to thee.

[Falls in]


  • Saturninus. Along with me: I'll see what hole is here, 995
    And what he is that now is leap'd into it.
    Say who art thou that lately didst descend
    Into this gaping hollow of the earth?
  • Martius. The unhappy son of old Andronicus:
    Brought hither in a most unlucky hour, 1000
    To find thy brother Bassianus dead.
  • Saturninus. My brother dead! I know thou dost but jest:
    He and his lady both are at the lodge
    Upon the north side of this pleasant chase;
    'Tis not an hour since I left him there. 1005
  • Martius. We know not where you left him all alive;
    But, out, alas! here have we found him dead.
    [Re-enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS]
    ANDRONICUS, and Lucius]
  • Tamora. Where is my lord the king? 1010
  • Saturninus. Here, Tamora, though grieved with killing grief.
  • Tamora. Where is thy brother Bassianus?
  • Saturninus. Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound:
    Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.
  • Tamora. Then all too late I bring this fatal writ, 1015
    The complot of this timeless tragedy;
    And wonder greatly that man's face can fold
    In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.

[She giveth SATURNINUS a letter]

  • Saturninus. [Reads] 'An if we miss to meet him handsomely— 1020
    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 1025
    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 1030
    That should have murdered Bassianus here.
  • Aaron. My gracious lord, here is the bag of gold.
  • Saturninus. [To TITUS] Two of thy whelps, fell curs of
    bloody kind,
    Have here bereft my brother of his life. 1035
    Sirs, drag them from the pit unto the prison:
    There let them bide until we have devised
    Some never-heard-of torturing pain for them.
  • Tamora. What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!
    How easily murder is discovered! 1040
  • Titus Andronicus. High emperor, upon my feeble knee
    I beg this boon, with tears not lightly shed,
    That this fell fault of my accursed sons,
    Accursed if the fault be proved in them,—
  • Saturninus. If it be proved! you see it is apparent. 1045
    Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?
  • Tamora. Andronicus himself did take it up.
  • Titus Andronicus. I did, my lord: yet let me be their bail;
    For, by my father's reverend tomb, I vow
    They shall be ready at your highness' will 1050
    To answer their suspicion with their lives.
  • Saturninus. Thou shalt not bail them: see thou follow me.
    Some bring the murder'd body, some the murderers:
    Let them not speak a word; the guilt is plain;
    For, by my soul, were there worse end than death, 1055
    That end upon them should be executed.
  • Tamora. Andronicus, I will entreat the king;
    Fear not thy sons; they shall do well enough.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

Another part of the forest.

      next scene .

[Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON with LAVINIA, ravished;] [p]her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out]

  • Demetrius. So, now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak,
    Who 'twas that cut thy tongue and ravish'd thee.
  • Chiron. Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so, 1065
    An if thy stumps will let thee play the scribe.
  • Demetrius. See, how with signs and tokens she can scrowl.
  • Chiron. Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.
  • Demetrius. She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to wash;
    And so let's leave her to her silent walks. 1070
  • Chiron. An 'twere my case, I should go hang myself.
  • Demetrius. If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord.


[Enter MARCUS]

  • Marcus Andronicus. Who is this? my niece, that flies away so fast! 1075
    Cousin, a word; where is your husband?
    If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me!
    If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
    That I may slumber in eternal sleep!
    Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands 1080
    Have lopp'd and hew'd and made thy body bare
    Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments,
    Whose circling shadows kings have sought to sleep in,
    And might not gain so great a happiness
    As have thy love? Why dost not speak to me? 1085
    Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
    Like to a bubbling fountain stirr'd with wind,
    Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
    Coming and going with thy honey breath.
    But, sure, some Tereus hath deflowered thee, 1090
    And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue.
    Ah, now thou turn'st away thy face for shame!
    And, notwithstanding all this loss of blood,
    As from a conduit with three issuing spouts,
    Yet do thy cheeks look red as Titan's face 1095
    Blushing to be encountered with a cloud.
    Shall I speak for thee? shall I say 'tis so?
    O, that I knew thy heart; and knew the beast,
    That I might rail at him, to ease my mind!
    Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp'd, 1100
    Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
    Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,
    And in a tedious sampler sew'd her mind:
    But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
    A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met, 1105
    And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
    That could have better sew'd than Philomel.
    O, had the monster seen those lily hands
    Tremble, like aspen-leaves, upon a lute,
    And make the silken strings delight to kiss them, 1110
    He would not then have touch'd them for his life!
    Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony
    Which that sweet tongue hath made,
    He would have dropp'd his knife, and fell asleep
    As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's feet. 1115
    Come, let us go, and make thy father blind;
    For such a sight will blind a father's eye:
    One hour's storm will drown the fragrant meads;
    What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?
    Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee 1120
    O, could our mourning ease thy misery!


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 1

Rome. A street.

      next scene .

[Enter Judges, Senators and Tribunes, with MARTIUS] [p]and QUINTUS, bound, passing on to the place of [p]execution; TITUS going before, pleading]

  • Titus Andronicus. Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
    For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
    In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;
    For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
    For all the frosty nights that I have watch'd; 1130
    And for these bitter tears, which now you see
    Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
    Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
    Whose souls are not corrupted as 'tis thought.
    For two and twenty sons I never wept, 1135
    Because they died in honour's lofty bed.
    [Lieth down; the Judges, &c., pass by him, and Exeunt]
    For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write
    My heart's deep languor and my soul's sad tears:
    Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite; 1140
    My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
    O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
    That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
    Than youthful April shall with all his showers:
    In summer's drought I'll drop upon thee still; 1145
    In winter with warm tears I'll melt the snow
    And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
    So thou refuse to drink my dear sons' blood.
    [Enter LUCIUS, with his sword drawn]
    O reverend tribunes! O gentle, aged men! 1150
    Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
    And let me say, that never wept before,
    My tears are now prevailing orators.
  • Lucius. O noble father, you lament in vain:
    The tribunes hear you not; no man is by; 1155
    And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
  • Titus Andronicus. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.
    Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you,—
  • Lucius. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
  • Titus Andronicus. Why, tis no matter, man; if they did hear, 1160
    They would not mark me, or if they did mark,
    They would not pity me, yet plead I must;
    And bootless unto them [—]
    Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones;
    Who, though they cannot answer my distress, 1165
    Yet in some sort they are 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, 1170
    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.
    [Rises] 1175
    But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
  • Lucius. To rescue my two brothers from their death:
    For which attempt the judges have pronounced
    My everlasting doom of banishment.
  • Titus Andronicus. O happy man! they have befriended thee. 1180
    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! 1185
    But who comes with our brother Marcus here?


  • Marcus Andronicus. Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep;
    Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break:
    I bring consuming sorrow to thine age. 1190
  • Lucius. Ay me, this object kills me!
  • Titus Andronicus. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her. 1195
    Speak, 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 camest, 1200
    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 nursed this woe, in feeding life;
    In bootless prayer have they been held up, 1205
    And they have served 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. 1210
  • Lucius. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
  • Marcus Andronicus. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts
    That blabb'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
    Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
    Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung 1215
    Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!
  • Lucius. O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
  • Marcus Andronicus. O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
    Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
    That hath received some unrecuring wound. 1220
  • Titus Andronicus. It was my deer; and he that wounded her
    Hath hurt me more than had he killed me dead:
    For now I stand as one upon a rock
    Environed with a wilderness of sea,
    Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave, 1225
    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 banished man,
    And here my brother, weeping at my woes. 1230
    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? 1235
    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! 1240
    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.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Perchance she weeps because they kill'd her husband;
    Perchance because she knows them innocent. 1245
  • Titus Andronicus. 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. 1250
    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, as meadows, yet not dry, 1255
    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? 1260
    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 deuce of further misery,
    To make us wonder'd at in time to come. 1265
  • Lucius. Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief,
    See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
  • Titus Andronicus. Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot
    Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine, 1270
    For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
  • Lucius. Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
  • Titus Andronicus. 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: 1275
    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!

[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 1285
    Will send thee hither both thy sons alive;
    And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
  • Titus Andronicus. O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!
    Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
    That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise? 1290
    With all my heart, I'll send the emperor My hand:
    Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
  • Lucius. 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: 1295
    My youth can better spare my blood than you;
    And therefore mine shall save my brothers' lives.
  • 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? 1300
    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, 1305
    For fear they die before their pardon come.
  • Lucius. By heaven, it shall not go!
  • Titus Andronicus. Sirs, strive no more: such wither'd herbs as these
    Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine. 1310
  • Lucius. Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,
    Let me redeem my brothers both from death.
  • Marcus Andronicus. And, for our father's sake and mother's care,
    Now let me show a brother's love to thee.
  • Lucius. Then I'll go fetch an axe.

[Exeunt LUCIUS and MARCUS]

  • Titus Andronicus. Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive them both:
    Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine. 1320
  • 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.

[Cuts off TITUS's hand]

[Re-enter LUCIUS and MARCUS]

  • 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 1330
    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 1335
    Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.
    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. 1340
    Aaron will have his soul black like his face.


  • Titus Andronicus. O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
    And bow this feeble ruin to the earth:
    If any power pities wretched tears, 1345
    To that I call!
    [To LAVINIA]
    What, wilt thou kneel with me?
    Do, then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers;
    Or with our sighs we'll breathe the welkin dim, 1350
    And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds
    When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.
  • Marcus Andronicus. O brother, speak with possibilities,
    And do not break into these deep extremes.
  • Titus Andronicus. Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom? 1355
    Then be my passions bottomless with them.
  • Marcus Andronicus. But yet let reason govern thy lament.TITUS ANDRONICUS. 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, 1360
    Threatening the welkin with his big-swoln face?
    And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
    I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow!
    She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
    Then must my sea be moved with her sighs; 1365
    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 1370
    To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.

[Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand]

  • Messenger. Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
    For that good hand thou sent'st the emperor.
    Here are the heads of thy two noble sons; 1375
    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.


  • Marcus Andronicus. Now let hot AEtna 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. 1385
  • Lucius. 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!


  • Marcus Andronicus. Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless
    As frozen water to a starved snake.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Now, farewell, flattery: die, Andronicus;
    Thou dost not slumber: see, thy two sons' heads, 1395
    Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here:
    Thy other banish'd son, with this dear sight
    Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
    Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
    Ah, now no more will I control thy griefs: 1400
    Rend off thy silver hair, thy other hand
    Gnawing with thy teeth; and be this dismal sight
    The closing up of our most wretched eyes;
    Now is a time to storm; why art thou still?
  • Titus Andronicus. Why, I have not another tear to shed:
    Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
    And would usurp upon my watery eyes
    And make them blind with tributary tears: 1410
    Then which way shall I find Revenge's cave?
    For these two heads do seem to speak to me,
    And threat me I shall never come to bliss
    Till all these mischiefs be return'd again
    Even in their throats that have committed them. 1415
    Come, let me see what task I have to do.
    You heavy people, circle me about,
    That I may turn me to each one of you,
    And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
    The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head; 1420
    And in this hand the other I will bear.
    Lavinia, thou shalt be employ'd: these arms!
    Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
    As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight;
    Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay: 1425
    Hie to the Goths, and raise an army there:
    And, if you love me, as I think you do,
    Let's kiss and part, for we have much to do.


  • Lucius. Farewell Andronicus, my noble father, 1430
    The wofull'st man that ever lived in Rome:
    Farewell, proud Rome; till Lucius come again,
    He leaves his pledges dearer than his life:
    Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister;
    O, would thou wert as thou tofore hast been! 1435
    But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
    But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
    If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs;
    And make proud Saturnine and his empress
    Beg at the gates, like Tarquin and his queen. 1440
    Now will I to the Goths, and raise a power,
    To be revenged on Rome and Saturnine.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

A room in Titus’s house. A banquet set out.

      next scene .

[Enter TITUS, MARCUS, LAVINIA and Young LUCIUS, a boy]

  • Titus Andronicus. So, so; now sit: and look you eat no more 1445
    Than will preserve just so much strength in us
    As will revenge these bitter woes of ours.
    Marcus, unknit that sorrow-wreathen knot:
    Thy niece and I, poor creatures, want our hands,
    And cannot passionate our tenfold grief 1450
    With folded arms. This poor right hand of mine
    Is left to tyrannize upon my breast;
    Who, when my heart, all mad with misery,
    Beats in this hollow prison of my flesh,
    Then thus I thump it down. 1455
    [To LAVINIA]
    Thou map of woe, that thus dost talk in signs!
    When thy poor heart beats with outrageous beating,
    Thou canst not strike it thus to make it still.
    Wound it with sighing, girl, kill it with groans; 1460
    Or get some little knife between thy teeth,
    And just against thy heart make thou a hole;
    That all the tears that thy poor eyes let fall
    May run into that sink, and soaking in
    Drown the lamenting fool in sea-salt tears. 1465
  • Marcus Andronicus. Fie, brother, fie! teach her not thus to lay
    Such violent hands upon her tender life.
  • Titus Andronicus. How now! has sorrow made thee dote already?
    Why, Marcus, no man should be mad but I.
    What violent hands can she lay on her life? 1470
    Ah, wherefore dost thou urge the name of hands;
    To bid AEneas tell the tale twice o'er,
    How Troy was burnt and he made miserable?
    O, handle not the theme, to talk of hands,
    Lest we remember still that we have none. 1475
    Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk,
    As if we should forget we had no hands,
    If Marcus did not name the word of hands!
    Come, let's fall to; and, gentle girl, eat this:
    Here is no drink! Hark, Marcus, what she says; 1480
    I can interpret all her martyr'd signs;
    She says she drinks no other drink but tears,
    Brew'd with her sorrow, mesh'd upon her cheeks:
    Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought;
    In thy dumb action will I be as perfect 1485
    As begging hermits in their holy prayers:
    Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,
    Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,
    But I of these will wrest an alphabet
    And by still practise learn to know thy meaning. 1490
  • Young Lucius. Good grandsire, leave these bitter deep laments:
    Make my aunt merry with some pleasing tale.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Alas, the tender boy, in passion moved,
    Doth weep to see his grandsire's heaviness.
  • Titus Andronicus. Peace, tender sapling; thou art made of tears, 1495
    And tears will quickly melt thy life away.
    [MARCUS strikes the dish with a knife]
    What dost thou strike at, Marcus, with thy knife?
  • Titus Andronicus. Out on thee, murderer! thou kill'st my heart; 1500
    Mine eyes are cloy'd with view of tyranny:
    A deed of death done on the innocent
    Becomes not Titus' brother: get thee gone:
    I see thou art not for my company.
  • Titus Andronicus. But how, if that fly had a father and mother?
    How would he hang his slender gilded wings,
    And buzz lamenting doings in the air!
    Poor harmless fly,
    That, with his pretty buzzing melody, 1510
    Came here to make us merry! and thou hast
    kill'd him.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Pardon me, sir; it was a black ill-favor'd fly,
    Like to the empress' Moor; therefore I kill'd him.
  • Titus Andronicus. O, O, O, 1515
    Then pardon me for reprehending thee,
    For thou hast done a charitable deed.
    Give me thy knife, I will insult on him;
    Flattering myself, as if it were the Moor
    Come hither purposely to poison me.— 1520
    There's for thyself, and that's for Tamora.
    Ah, sirrah!
    Yet, I think, we are not brought so low,
    But that between us we can kill a fly
    That comes in likeness of a coal-black Moor. 1525
  • Marcus Andronicus. Alas, poor man! grief has so wrought on him,
    He takes false shadows for true substances.
  • Titus Andronicus. Come, take away. Lavinia, go with me:
    I'll to thy closet; and go read with thee
    Sad stories chanced in the times of old. 1530
    Come, boy, and go with me: thy sight is young,
    And thou shalt read when mine begin to dazzle.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 1

Rome. Titus’s garden.

      next scene .

[Enter young LUCIUS, and LAVINIA running after him,] [p]and the boy flies from her, with books under his [p]arm. Then enter TITUS and MARCUS]

  • Young Lucius. Help, grandsire, help! my aunt Lavinia
    Follows me every where, I know not why:
    Good uncle Marcus, see how swift she comes.
    Alas, sweet aunt, I know not what you mean. 1540
  • Titus Andronicus. Fear her not, Lucius: somewhat doth she mean: 1545
    See, Lucius, see how much she makes of thee:
    Somewhither would she have thee go 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. 1550
  • Young Lucius. 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; 1555
    And I have read that Hecuba of Troy
    Ran mad through 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: 1560
    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.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Lucius, I will. 1565
    [LAVINIA turns over with her stumps the books which]
    LUCIUS has let fall]
  • Titus Andronicus. 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. 1570
    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? 1575
  • Marcus Andronicus. I think she means that there was more than one
    Confederate in the fact: ay, more there was;
    Or else to heaven she heaves them for revenge.
  • Young Lucius. Grandsire, 'tis Ovid's Metamorphoses; 1580
    My mother gave it me.
  • Marcus Andronicus. For love of her that's gone,
    Perhaps she cull'd it from among the rest.
  • Titus Andronicus. Soft! see how busily she turns the leaves!
    [Helping her] 1585
    What would she find? Lavinia, shall I read?
    This is the tragic tale of Philomel,
    And treats of Tereus' treason and his rape:
    And rape, I fear, was root of thine annoy.
  • Titus Andronicus. 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!— 1595
    Pattern'd by that the poet here describes,
    By nature made for murders and for rapes.
  • Marcus Andronicus. O, why should nature build so foul a den,
    Unless the gods delight in tragedies?
  • Titus Andronicus. Give signs, sweet girl, for here are none 1600
    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?
  • Marcus Andronicus. Sit down, sweet niece: brother, sit down by me. 1605
    Apollo, Pallas, Jove, or Mercury,
    Inspire me, that I may this treason find!
    My lord, look here: look here, Lavinia:
    This sandy plot is plain; guide, if thou canst
    This after me, when I have writ my name 1610
    Without the help of any hand at all.
    [He writes his name with his staff, and guides it]
    with feet and mouth]
    Cursed be that heart that forced us to this shift!
    Write thou good niece; and here display, at last, 1615
    What God will have discover'd 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] 1620
  • Titus Andronicus. O, do ye read, my lord, what she hath writ?
    'Stuprum. Chiron. Demetrius.'
  • Marcus Andronicus. What, what! the lustful sons of Tamora
    Performers of this heinous, bloody deed?
  • Titus Andronicus. Magni Dominator poli, 1625
    Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides?
  • Marcus Andronicus. 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. 1630
    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, 1635
    That we will prosecute by good advice
    Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
    And see their blood, or die with this reproach.
  • Titus Andronicus. 'Tis sure enough, an you knew how.
    But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware: 1640
    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,
    And when he sleeps will she do what she list.
    You are a young huntsman, Marcus; let it alone; 1645
    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? 1650
  • Young Lucius. 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.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Ay, that's my boy! thy father hath full oft
    For his ungrateful country done the like. 1655
  • Titus Andronicus. Come, go with me into mine armoury;
    Lucius, I'll fit thee; and withal, my boy,
    Shalt carry from me to the empress' sons
    Presents that I intend to send them both: 1660
    Come, come; thou'lt do thy message, wilt thou not?
  • Young Lucius. Ay, with my dagger in their bosoms, grandsire.
  • Titus Andronicus. 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: 1665
    Ay, marry, will we, sir; and we'll be waited on.

[Exeunt TITUS, LAVINIA, and Young LUCIUS]

  • Marcus Andronicus. O heavens, can you hear a good man groan,
    And not relent, or not compassion him?
    Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy, 1670
    That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart
    Than foemen's marks upon his batter'd shield;
    But yet so just that he will not revenge.
    Revenge, ye heavens, for old Andronicus!


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

The same. A room in the palace.

      next scene .

[Enter, from one side, AARON, DEMETRIUS, and] [p]CHIRON; from the other side, Young LUCIUS, and an [p]Attendant, with a bundle of weapons, and verses [p]writ upon them]

  • Chiron. Demetrius, here's the son of Lucius; 1680
    He hath some message to deliver us.
  • Aaron. Ay, some mad message from his mad grandfather.
  • Young Lucius. My lords, with all the humbleness I may,
    I greet your honours from Andronicus.
    [Aside] 1685
    And pray the Roman gods confound you both!
  • Demetrius. Gramercy, lovely Lucius: what's the news?
  • Young Lucius. [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 1690
    The goodliest weapons of his armoury
    To gratify your honourable youth,
    The hope of Rome; for so he bade me say;
    And so I do, and with his gifts present
    Your lordships, that, whenever you have need, 1695
    You may be armed and appointed well:
    And so I leave you both:
    like bloody villains.

[Exeunt Young LUCIUS, and Attendant]

  • Demetrius. What's here? A scroll; and written round about?
    Let's see;
    'Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,
    Non eget Mauri jaculis, nec arcu.' 1705
  • 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.
    Now, what a thing it is to be an ass! 1710
    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: 1715
    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 1720
    To brave the tribune in his brother's hearing.
  • 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? 1725
  • Demetrius. I would we had a thousand Roman dames
    At such a bay, by turn to serve our lust.
  • Chiron. A charitable wish and full of love.
  • Aaron. Here lacks but your mother for to say amen.
  • Chiron. And that would she for twenty thousand more. 1730
  • 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.

[Trumpets sound within]

  • Demetrius. Why do the emperor's trumpets flourish thus? 1735
  • Chiron. Belike, for joy the emperor hath a son.

[Enter a Nurse, with a blackamoor Child in her arms]

  • Nurse. Good morrow, lords:
    O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor? 1740
  • Aaron. Well, more or less, or ne'er a whit at all,
    Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?
  • Nurse. O gentle Aaron, we are all undone!
    Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!
  • Aaron. Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep! 1745
    What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms?
  • 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.
  • Nurse. I mean, she is brought a-bed.
  • Aaron. Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?
  • Aaron. Why, then she is the devil's dam; a joyful issue.
  • Nurse. A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue: 1755
    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? 1760
    Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.
  • Aaron. That which thou canst not undo.
  • Chiron. Thou hast undone our mother.
  • Aaron. Villain, I have done thy mother. 1765
  • Demetrius. And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone.
    Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choice!
    Accursed the offspring of so foul a fiend!
  • Aaron. It shall not die. 1770
  • 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.
  • Demetrius. I'll broach the tadpole on my rapier's point:
    Nurse, give it me; my sword shall soon dispatch it. 1775
  • 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, 1780
    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, 1785
    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; 1790
    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. 1795
  • 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, 1800
    Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
  • Demetrius. By this our mother is forever shamed.
  • Chiron. Rome will despise her for this foul escape.
  • Nurse. The emperor, in his rage, will doom her death.
  • Chiron. I blush to think upon this ignomy. 1805
  • 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, 1810
    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: 1815
    Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
    Although my seal be stamped in his face.
  • Nurse. Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress?
  • Demetrius. Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done,
    And we will all subscribe to thy advice: 1820
    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.

[They sit]

  • 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. 1830
    But say, again; how many saw the child?
  • 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: 1835
    Go to the empress, tell her this I said.
    [He kills the nurse]
    Weke, weke! so cries a pig prepared to the spit.
  • Demetrius. What mean'st thou, Aaron? wherefore didst thou this?
  • Aaron. O Lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy: 1840
    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; 1845
    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, 1850
    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] 1855
    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, 1860
    Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
  • Chiron. Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
    With secrets.
  • Demetrius. For this care of Tamora,
    Herself and hers are highly bound to thee. 1865
    [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. 1870
    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 1875
    To be a warrior, and command a camp.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

The same. A public place.

      next scene .

[Enter TITUS, bearing arrows with letters at the] [p]ends of them; with him, MARCUS, Young LUCIUS, [p]PUBLIUS, SEMPRONIUS, CAIUS, and other Gentlemen, [p]with bows]

  • Titus Andronicus. Come, Marcus; come, kinsmen; this is the way.
    Sir boy, now let me see your archery;
    Look ye draw home enough, and 'tis there straight.
    Terras Astraea reliquit: 1885
    Be you remember'd, Marcus, she's gone, she's fled.
    Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
    Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets;
    Happily you may catch her in the sea;
    Yet there's as little justice as at land: 1890
    No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it;
    'Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
    And pierce the inmost centre of the earth:
    Then, when you come to Pluto's region,
    I pray you, deliver him this petition; 1895
    Tell him, it is for justice and for aid,
    And that it comes from old Andronicus,
    Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.
    Ah, Rome! Well, well; I made thee miserable
    What time I threw the people's suffrages 1900
    On him that thus doth tyrannize o'er me.
    Go, get you gone; and pray be careful all,
    And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch'd:
    This wicked emperor may have shipp'd her hence;
    And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice. 1905
  • Marcus Andronicus. O Publius, is not this a heavy case,
    To see thy noble uncle thus distract?
  • Publius. Therefore, my lord, it highly us concerns
    By day and night to attend him carefully,
    And feed his humour kindly as we may, 1910
    Till time beget some careful remedy.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Kinsmen, his sorrows are past remedy.
    Join with the Goths; and with revengeful war
    Take wreak on Rome for this ingratitude,
    And vengeance on the traitor Saturnine. 1915
  • Titus Andronicus. Publius, how now! how now, my masters!
    What, have you met with her?
  • Publius. No, my good lord; but Pluto sends you word,
    If you will have Revenge from hell, you shall:
    Marry, for Justice, she is so employ'd, 1920
    He thinks, with Jove in heaven, or somewhere else,
    So that perforce you must needs stay a time.
  • Titus Andronicus. He doth me wrong to feed me with delays.
    I'll dive into the burning lake below,
    And pull her out of Acheron by the heels. 1925
    Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we
    No big-boned men framed of the Cyclops' size;
    But metal, Marcus, steel to the very back,
    Yet wrung with wrongs more than our backs can bear:
    And, sith there's no justice in earth nor hell, 1930
    We will solicit heaven and move the gods
    To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs.
    Come, to this gear. You are a good archer, Marcus;
    [He gives them the arrows]
    'Ad Jovem,' that's for you: here, 'Ad Apollinem:' 1935
    'Ad Martem,' that's for myself:
    Here, boy, to Pallas: here, to Mercury:
    To Saturn, Caius, not to Saturnine;
    You were as good to shoot against the wind.
    To it, boy! Marcus, loose when I bid. 1940
    Of my word, I have written to effect;
    There's not a god left unsolicited.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Kinsmen, shoot all your shafts into the court:
    We will afflict the emperor in his pride.
  • Titus Andronicus. Now, masters, draw. 1945
    [They shoot]
    O, well said, Lucius!
    Good boy, in Virgo's lap; give it Pallas.
  • Marcus Andronicus. My lord, I aim a mile beyond the moon;
    Your letter is with Jupiter by this. 1950
  • Titus Andronicus. Ha, ha!
    Publius, Publius, what hast thou done?
    See, see, thou hast shot off one of Taurus' horns.
  • Marcus Andronicus. This was the sport, my lord: when Publius shot,
    The Bull, being gall'd, gave Aries such a knock 1955
    That down fell both the Ram's horns in the court;
    And who should find them but the empress' villain?
    She laugh'd, and told the Moor he should not choose
    But give them to his master for a present.
  • Titus Andronicus. Why, there it goes: God give his lordship joy! 1960
    [Enter a Clown, with a basket, and two pigeons in]
    News, news from heaven! Marcus, the post is come.
    Sirrah, what tidings? have you any letters?
    Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter? 1965
  • Clown. O, the gibbet-maker! he says that he hath taken
    them down again, for the man must not be hanged till
    the next week.
  • Clown. Alas, sir, I know not Jupiter; I never drank with him 1970
    in all my life.
  • Clown. Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else.
  • Clown. From heaven! alas, sir, I never came there God 1975
    forbid I should be so bold to press to heaven in my
    young days. Why, I am going with my pigeons to the
    tribunal plebs, to take up a matter of brawl
    betwixt my uncle and one of the emperial's men.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for 1980
    your oration; and let him deliver the pigeons to
    the emperor from you.
  • Titus Andronicus. Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the emperor
    with a grace?
  • Clown. Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life. 1985
  • Titus Andronicus. Sirrah, come hither: make no more ado,
    But give your pigeons to the emperor:
    By me thou shalt have justice at his hands.
    Hold, hold; meanwhile here's money for thy charges.
    Give me pen and ink. Sirrah, can you with a grace 1990
    deliver a supplication?
  • Titus Andronicus. Then here is a supplication for you. And when you
    come to him, at the first approach you must kneel,
    then kiss his foot, then deliver up your pigeons, and 1995
    then look for your reward. I'll be at hand, sir; see
    you do it bravely.
  • Clown. I warrant you, sir, let me alone.
  • Titus Andronicus. Sirrah, hast thou a knife? come, let me see it.
    Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration; 2000
    For thou hast made it like an humble suppliant.
    And when thou hast given it the emperor,
    Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.
  • Clown. God be with you, sir; I will.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

The same. Before the palace.

      next scene .

[Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON,] [p]Lords, and others; SATURNINUS with the arrows in [p]his hand that TITUS shot]

  • Saturninus. Why, lords, what wrongs are these! was ever seen 2010
    An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
    Troubled, confronted thus; and, for the extent
    Of egal justice, used in such contempt?
    My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
    However these disturbers of our peace 2015
    Buz in the people's ears, there nought hath pass'd,
    But even with law, against the willful sons
    Of old Andronicus. And what an if
    His sorrows have so overwhelm'd his wits,
    Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks, 2020
    His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
    And now he writes to heaven for his redress:
    See, here's to Jove, and this to Mercury;
    This to Apollo; this to the god of war;
    Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome! 2025
    What's this but libelling against the senate,
    And blazoning our injustice every where?
    A goodly humour, is it not, my lords?
    As who would say, in Rome no justice were.
    But if I live, his feigned ecstasies 2030
    Shall be no shelter to these outrages:
    But he and his shall know that justice lives
    In Saturninus' health, whom, if she sleep,
    He'll so awake as she in fury shall
    Cut off the proud'st conspirator that lives. 2035
  • Tamora. My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine,
    Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts,
    Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus' age,
    The effects of sorrow for his valiant sons,
    Whose loss hath pierced him deep and scarr'd his heart; 2040
    And rather comfort his distressed plight
    Than prosecute the meanest or the best
    For these contempts.
    Why, thus it shall become 2045
    High-witted Tamora to gloze with all:
    But, Titus, I have touched thee to the quick,
    Thy life-blood out: if Aaron now be wise,
    Then is all safe, the anchor's in the port.
    [Enter Clown] 2050
    How now, good fellow! wouldst thou speak with us?
  • Clown. Yea, forsooth, an your mistership be emperial.
  • Tamora. Empress I am, but yonder sits the emperor.
  • Clown. 'Tis he. God and Saint Stephen give you good den:
    I have brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here. 2055

[SATURNINUS reads the letter]

  • Saturninus. Go, take him away, and hang him presently.
  • Clown. How much money must I have?
  • Tamora. Come, sirrah, you must be hanged.
  • Clown. Hanged! by'r lady, then I have brought up a neck to 2060
    a fair end.

[Exit, guarded]

  • Saturninus. Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!
    Shall I endure this monstrous villany?
    I know from whence this same device proceeds: 2065
    May this be borne?—as if his traitorous sons,
    That died by law for murder of our brother,
    Have by my means been butcher'd wrongfully!
    Go, drag the villain hither by the hair;
    Nor age nor honour shall shape privilege: 2070
    For this proud mock I'll be thy slaughterman;
    Sly frantic wretch, that holp'st to make me great,
    In hope thyself should govern Rome and me.
    [Enter AEMILIUS]
    What news with thee, AEmilius? 2075
  • Aemilius. Arm, arm, my lord;—Rome never had more cause.
    The Goths have gather'd head; and with a power
    high-resolved men, bent to the spoil,
    They hither march amain, under conduct
    Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus; 2080
    Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do
    As much as ever Coriolanus did.
  • Saturninus. Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths?
    These tidings nip me, and I hang the head
    As flowers with frost or grass beat down with storms: 2085
    Ay, now begin our sorrows to approach:
    'Tis he the common people love so much;
    Myself hath often over-heard them say,
    When I have walked like a private man,
    That Lucius' banishment was wrongfully, 2090
    And they have wish'd that Lucius were their emperor.
  • Tamora. Why should you fear? is not your city strong?
  • Saturninus. Ay, but the citizens favor Lucius,
    And will revolt from me to succor him.
  • Tamora. King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy name. 2095
    Is the sun dimm'd, that gnats do fly in it?
    The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
    And is not careful what they mean thereby,
    Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
    He can at pleasure stint their melody: 2100
    Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.
    Then cheer thy spirit : for know, thou emperor,
    I will enchant the old Andronicus
    With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous,
    Than baits to fish, or honey-stalks to sheep, 2105
    When as the one is wounded with the bait,
    The other rotted with delicious feed.
  • Saturninus. But he will not entreat his son for us.
  • Tamora. If Tamora entreat him, then he will:
    For I can smooth and fill his aged ear 2110
    With golden promises; that, were his heart
    Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
    Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.
    [To AEmilius]
    Go thou before, be our ambassador: 2115
    Say that the emperor requests a parley
    Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting
    Even at his father's house, the old Andronicus.
  • Saturninus. AEmilius, do this message honourably:
    And if he stand on hostage for his safety, 2120
    Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.
  • Aemilius. Your bidding shall I do effectually.


  • Tamora. Now will I to that old Andronicus;
    And temper him with all the art I have, 2125
    To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.
    And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,
    And bury all thy fear in my devices.
  • Saturninus. Then go successantly, and plead to him.


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Act V, Scene 1

Plains near Rome.

      next scene .

[Enter LUCIUS with an army of Goths, with drum and colours]

  • Lucius. Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,
    I have received letters from great Rome,
    Which signify what hate they bear their emperor
    And how desirous of our sight they are. 2135
    Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,
    Imperious and impatient of your wrongs,
    And wherein Rome hath done you any scath,
    Let him make treble satisfaction.
  • First Goth. Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus, 2140
    Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort;
    Whose high exploits and honourable deeds
    Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
    Be bold in us: we'll follow where thou lead'st,
    Like stinging bees in hottest summer's day 2145
    Led by their master to the flowered fields,
    And be avenged on cursed Tamora.
  • Lucius. I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
    But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth? 2150

[Enter a Goth, leading AARON with his Child in his arms]

  • Second Goth. Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray'd
    To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;
    And, as I earnestly did fix mine eye
    Upon the wasted building, suddenly 2155
    I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
    I made unto the noise; when soon I heard
    The crying babe controll'd with this discourse:
    'Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dam!
    Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art, 2160
    Had nature lent thee but thy mother's look,
    Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor:
    But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,
    They never do beget a coal-black calf.
    Peace, villain, peace!'—even thus he rates 2165
    the babe,—
    'For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;
    Who, when he knows thou art the empress' babe,
    Will hold thee dearly for thy mother's sake.'
    With this, my weapon drawn, I rush'd upon him, 2170
    Surprised him suddenly, and brought him hither,
    To use as you think needful of the man.
  • 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, 2175
    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. 2180
    And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
  • Aaron. Touch not the boy; he is of royal blood.
  • Lucius. Too like the sire for ever being good.
    First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl;
    A sight to vex the father's soul withal. 2185
    Get me a ladder.

[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, 2190
    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!'
  • Lucius. Say on: an if it please me which thou speak'st
    Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd. 2195
  • 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 2200
    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.
  • Lucius. Tell on thy mind; I say thy child shall live.
  • Aaron. Swear that he shall, and then I will begin. 2205
  • 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, 2210
    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, 2215
    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. 2220
  • Lucius. Even by my god I swear to thee I will.
  • Aaron. First know thou, I begot him on the empress.
  • 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. 2225
    '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.
  • Lucius. O detestable villain! call'st thou that trimming?
  • Aaron. Why, she was wash'd and cut and trimm'd, and 'twas 2230
    Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.
  • 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; 2235
    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: 2240
    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? 2245
    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; 2250
    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. 2255
  • First Goth. What, canst thou say all this, and never blush?
  • Aaron. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
  • 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, 2260
    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, 2265
    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, 2270
    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.' 2275
    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.
  • Lucius. Bring down the devil; for he must not die 2280
    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! 2285
  • Lucius. Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.

[Enter a Goth]

  • Third Goth. My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
    Desires to be admitted to your presence.
  • Lucius. Let him come near. 2290
    [Enter AEMILIUS]
    Welcome, AEmilius. what's the news from Rome?
  • Aemilius. Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
    The Roman emperor greets you all by me;
    And, for he understands you are in arms, 2295
    He craves a parley at your father's house,
    Willing you to demand your hostages,
    And they shall be immediately deliver'd.
  • Lucius. AEmilius, let the emperor give his pledges 2300
    Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
    And we will come. March away.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

Rome. Before TITUS’s house.

      next scene .

[Enter TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, and CHIRON, disguised]

  • Tamora. Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment, 2305
    I will encounter with Andronicus,
    And say I am Revenge, sent from below
    To join with him and right his heinous wrongs.
    Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps,
    To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge; 2310
    Tell him Revenge is come to join with him,
    And work confusion on his enemies.

[They knock]

[Enter TITUS, above]

  • Titus Andronicus. Who doth molest my contemplation? 2315
    Is it your trick to make me ope the door,
    That so my sad decrees may fly away,
    And all my study be to no effect?
    You are deceived: for what I mean to do
    See here in bloody lines I have set down; 2320
    And what is written shall be executed.
  • Tamora. Titus, I am come to talk with thee.
  • Titus Andronicus. No, not a word; how can I grace my talk,
    Wanting a hand to give it action?
    Thou hast the odds of me; therefore no more. 2325
  • Tamora. If thou didst know me, thou wouldest talk with me.
  • Titus Andronicus. I am not mad; I know thee well enough:
    Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines;
    Witness these trenches made by grief and care,
    Witness the tiring day and heavy night; 2330
    Witness all sorrow, that I know thee well
    For our proud empress, mighty Tamora:
    Is not thy coming for my other hand?
  • Tamora. Know, thou sad man, I am not Tamora;
    She is thy enemy, and I thy friend: 2335
    I am Revenge: sent from the infernal kingdom,
    To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind,
    By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes.
    Come down, and welcome me to this world's light;
    Confer with me of murder and of death: 2340
    There's not a hollow cave or lurking-place,
    No vast obscurity or misty vale,
    Where bloody murder or detested rape
    Can couch for fear, but I will find them out;
    And in their ears tell them my dreadful name, 2345
    Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.
  • Titus Andronicus. Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me,
    To be a torment to mine enemies?
  • Tamora. I am; therefore come down, and welcome me.
  • Titus Andronicus. Do me some service, ere I come to thee. 2350
    Lo, by thy side where Rape and Murder stands;
    Now give me some surance that thou art Revenge,
    Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot-wheels;
    And then I'll come and be thy waggoner,
    And whirl along with thee about the globe. 2355
    Provide thee two proper palfreys, black as jet,
    To hale thy vengeful waggon swift away,
    And find out murderers in their guilty caves:
    And when thy car is loaden with their heads,
    I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel 2360
    Trot, like a servile footman, all day long,
    Even from Hyperion's rising in the east
    Until his very downfall in the sea:
    And day by day I'll do this heavy task,
    So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there. 2365
  • Tamora. These are my ministers, and come with me.
  • Tamora. Rapine and Murder; therefore called so,
    Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.
  • Titus Andronicus. Good Lord, how like the empress' sons they are! 2370
    And you, the empress! but we worldly men
    Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes.
    O sweet Revenge, now do I come to thee;
    And, if one arm's embracement will content thee,
    I will embrace thee in it by and by. 2375

[Exit above]

  • Tamora. This closing with him fits his lunacy
    Whate'er I forge to feed his brain-sick fits,
    Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches,
    For now he firmly takes me for Revenge; 2380
    And, being credulous in this mad thought,
    I'll make him send for Lucius his son;
    And, whilst I at a banquet hold him sure,
    I'll find some cunning practise out of hand,
    To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths, 2385
    Or, at the least, make them his enemies.
    See, here he comes, and I must ply my theme.

[Enter TITUS below]

  • Titus Andronicus. Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee:
    Welcome, dread Fury, to my woful house: 2390
    Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too.
    How like the empress and her sons you are!
    Well are you fitted, had you but a Moor:
    Could not all hell afford you such a devil?
    For well I wot the empress never wags 2395
    But in her company there is a Moor;
    And, would you represent our queen aright,
    It were convenient you had such a devil:
    But welcome, as you are. What shall we do?
  • Tamora. What wouldst thou have us do, Andronicus? 2400
  • Demetrius. Show me a murderer, I'll deal with him.
  • Chiron. Show me a villain that hath done a rape,
    And I am sent to be revenged on him.
  • Tamora. Show me a thousand that have done thee wrong,
    And I will be revenged on them all. 2405
  • Titus Andronicus. Look round about the wicked streets of Rome;
    And when thou find'st a man that's like thyself.
    Good Murder, stab him; he's a murderer.
    Go thou with him; and when it is thy hap
    To find another that is like to thee, 2410
    Good Rapine, stab him; he's a ravisher.
    Go thou with them; and in the emperor's court
    There is a queen, attended by a Moor;
    Well mayst thou know her by thy own proportion,
    for up and down she doth resemble thee: 2415
    I pray thee, do on them some violent death;
    They have been violent to me and mine.
  • Tamora. Well hast thou lesson'd us; this shall we do.
    But would it please thee, good Andronicus,
    To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son, 2420
    Who leads towards Rome a band of warlike Goths,
    And bid him come and banquet at thy house;
    When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,
    I will bring in the empress and her sons,
    The emperor himself and all thy foes; 2425
    And at thy mercy shalt they stoop and kneel,
    And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.
    What says Andronicus to this device?
  • Titus Andronicus. Marcus, my brother! 'tis sad Titus calls.
    [Enter MARCUS] 2430
    Go, gentle Marcus, to thy nephew Lucius;
    Thou shalt inquire him out among the Goths:
    Bid him repair to me, and bring with him
    Some of the chiefest princes of the Goths;
    Bid him encamp his soldiers where they are: 2435
    Tell him the emperor and the empress too
    Feast at my house, and he shall feast with them.
    This do thou for my love; and so let him,
    As he regards his aged father's life.


  • Tamora. Now will I hence about thy business,
    And take my ministers along with me.
  • Titus Andronicus. Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me;
    Or else I'll call my brother back again, 2445
    And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.
  • Tamora. [Aside to her sons] What say you, boys? will you
    bide with him,
    Whiles I go tell my lord the emperor
    How I have govern'd our determined jest? 2450
    Yield to his humour, smooth and speak him fair,
    And tarry with him till I turn again.
  • Titus Andronicus. [Aside] I know them all, though they suppose me mad,
    And will o'erreach them in their own devices:
    A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dam! 2455
  • Demetrius. Madam, depart at pleasure; leave us here.
  • Tamora. Farewell, Andronicus: Revenge now goes
    To lay a complot to betray thy foes.


  • Chiron. Tell us, old man, how shall we be employ'd?
  • Titus Andronicus. Tut, I have work enough for you to do.
    Publius, come hither, Caius, and Valentine!

[Enter PUBLIUS and others]

  • Publius. The empress' sons, I take them, Chiron and Demetrius.
  • Titus Andronicus. Fie, Publius, fie! thou art too much deceived;
    The one is Murder, Rape is the other's name;
    And therefore bind them, gentle Publius. 2470
    Caius and Valentine, lay hands on them.
    Oft have you heard me wish for such an hour,
    And now I find it; therefore bind them sure,
    And stop their mouths, if they begin to cry.


[PUBLIUS, &c. lay hold on CHIRON and DEMETRIUS]

  • Chiron. Villains, forbear! we are the empress' sons.
  • Publius. And therefore do we what we are commanded.
    Stop close their mouths, let them not speak a word.
    Is he sure bound? look that you bind them fast. 2480
    [Re-enter TITUS, with LAVINIA; he bearing a knife,]
    and she a basin]
  • Titus Andronicus. Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.
    Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me;
    But let them hear what fearful words I utter. 2485
    O villains, Chiron and Demetrius!
    Here stands the spring whom you have stain'd with mud,
    This goodly summer with your winter mix'd.
    You kill'd her husband, and for that vile fault
    Two of her brothers were condemn'd to death, 2490
    My hand cut off and made a merry jest;
    Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear
    Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,
    Inhuman traitors, you constrain'd and forced.
    What would you say, if I should let you speak? 2495
    Villains, for shame you could not beg for grace.
    Hark, wretches! how I mean to martyr you.
    This one hand yet is left to cut your throats,
    Whilst that Lavinia 'tween her stumps doth hold
    The basin that receives your guilty blood. 2500
    You know your mother means to feast with me,
    And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad:
    Hark, villains! I will grind your bones to dust
    And with your blood and it I'll make a paste,
    And of the paste a coffin I will rear 2505
    And make two pasties of your shameful heads,
    And bid that strumpet, your unhallow'd dam,
    Like to the earth swallow her own increase.
    This is the feast that I have bid her to,
    And this the banquet she shall surfeit on; 2510
    For worse than Philomel you used my daughter,
    And worse than Progne I will be revenged:
    And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come,
    [He cuts their throats]
    Receive the blood: and when that they are dead, 2515
    Let me go grind their bones to powder small
    And with this hateful liquor temper it;
    And in that paste let their vile heads be baked.
    Come, come, be every one officious
    To make this banquet; which I wish may prove 2520
    More stern and bloody than the Centaurs' feast.
    So, now bring them in, for I'll play the cook,
    And see them ready 'gainst their mother comes.

[Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

Court of TITUS’s house. A banquet set out.


[Enter LUCIUS, MARCUS, and Goths, with AARON prisoner]

  • Lucius. Uncle Marcus, since it is my father's mind
    That I repair to Rome, I am content.
  • First Goth. And ours with thine, befall what fortune will.
  • Lucius. Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor,
    This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil; 2530
    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. 2535
  • Aaron. Some devil whisper curses in mine ear,
    And prompt me, that my tongue may utter forth
    The venomous malice of my swelling heart!
  • Lucius. Away, inhuman dog! unhallow'd slave!
    Sirs, help our uncle to convey him in. 2540
    [Exeunt Goths, with AARON. Flourish within]
    The trumpets show the emperor is at hand.
    Tribunes, Senators, and others]
  • Saturninus. What, hath the firmament more suns than one? 2545
  • Lucius. What boots it thee to call thyself a sun?
  • Marcus Andronicus. Rome's emperor, and nephew, break the parle;
    These quarrels must be quietly debated.
    The feast is ready, which the careful Titus
    Hath ordain'd to an honourable end, 2550
    For peace, for love, for league, and good to Rome:
    Please you, therefore, draw nigh, and take your places.
  • Saturninus. Marcus, we will.
    [Hautboys sound. The Company sit down at table]
    [Enter TITUS dressed like a Cook, LAVINIA veiled,] 2555
    Young LUCIUS, and others. TITUS places the dishes
    on the table]
  • Titus Andronicus. Welcome, my gracious lord; welcome, dread queen;
    Welcome, ye warlike Goths; welcome, Lucius;
    And welcome, all: although the cheer be poor, 2560
    'Twill fill your stomachs; please you eat of it.
  • Saturninus. Why art thou thus attired, Andronicus?
  • Titus Andronicus. Because I would be sure to have all well,
    To entertain your highness and your empress.
  • Tamora. We are beholding to you, good Andronicus. 2565
  • Titus Andronicus. An if your highness knew my heart, you were.
    My lord the emperor, resolve me this:
    Was it well done of rash Virginius
    To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
    Because she was enforced, stain'd, and deflower'd? 2570
  • Saturninus. Because the girl should not survive her shame,
    And by her presence still renew his sorrows.
  • Titus Andronicus. A reason mighty, strong, and effectual; 2575
    A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant,
    For me, most wretched, to perform the like.
    Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee;
    [Kills LAVINIA]
    And, with thy shame, thy father's sorrow die! 2580
  • Saturninus. What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?
  • Titus Andronicus. Kill'd her, for whom my tears have made me blind.
    I am as woful as Virginius was,
    And have a thousand times more cause than he
    To do this outrage: and it now is done. 2585
  • Saturninus. What, was she ravish'd? tell who did the deed.
  • Tamora. Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?
  • Titus Andronicus. Not I; 'twas Chiron and Demetrius: 2590
    They ravish'd her, and cut away her tongue;
    And they, 'twas they, that did her all this wrong.
  • Saturninus. Go fetch them hither to us presently.
  • Titus Andronicus. Why, there they are both, baked in that pie;
    Whereof their mother daintily hath fed, 2595
    Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.
    'Tis true, 'tis true; witness my knife's sharp point.

[Kills TAMORA]

  • Saturninus. Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!

[Kills TITUS]

  • Lucius. Can the son's eye behold his father bleed?
    There's meed for meed, death for a deadly deed!
    [Kills SATURNINUS. A great tumult. LUCIUS, MARCUS,]
    and others go up into the balcony]
  • Marcus Andronicus. You sad-faced men, people and sons of Rome, 2605
    By uproar sever'd, like a flight of fowl
    Scatter'd by winds and high tempestuous gusts,
    O, let me teach you how to knit again
    This scatter'd corn into one mutual sheaf,
    These broken limbs again into one body; 2610
    Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself,
    And she whom mighty kingdoms court'sy to,
    Like a forlorn and desperate castaway,
    Do shameful execution on herself.
    But if my frosty signs and chaps of age, 2615
    Grave witnesses of true experience,
    Cannot induce you to attend my words,
    [To LUCIUS]
    Speak, Rome's dear friend, as erst our ancestor,
    When with his solemn tongue he did discourse 2620
    To love-sick Dido's sad attending ear
    The story of that baleful burning night
    When subtle Greeks surprised King Priam's Troy,
    Tell us what Sinon hath bewitch'd our ears,
    Or who hath brought the fatal engine in 2625
    That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.
    My heart is not compact of flint nor steel;
    Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,
    But floods of tears will drown my oratory,
    And break my utterance, even in the time 2630
    When it should move you to attend me most,
    Lending your kind commiseration.
    Here is a captain, let him tell the tale;
    Your hearts will throb and weep to hear him speak.
  • Lucius. Then, noble auditory, be it known to you, 2635
    That cursed Chiron and Demetrius
    Were they that murdered our emperor's brother;
    And they it were that ravished our sister:
    For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded;
    Our father's tears despised, and basely cozen'd 2640
    Of that true hand that fought Rome's quarrel out,
    And sent her enemies unto the grave.
    Lastly, myself unkindly banished,
    The gates shut on me, and turn'd weeping out,
    To beg relief among Rome's enemies: 2645
    Who drown'd their enmity in my true tears.
    And oped their arms to embrace me as a friend.
    I am the turned forth, be it known to you,
    That have preserved her welfare in my blood;
    And from her bosom took the enemy's point, 2650
    Sheathing the steel in my adventurous body.
    Alas, you know I am no vaunter, I;
    My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
    That my report is just and full of truth.
    But, soft! methinks I do digress too much, 2655
    Citing my worthless praise: O, pardon me;
    For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.
  • Marcus Andronicus. Now is my turn to speak. Behold this child:
    [Pointing to the Child in the arms of an Attendant]
    Of this was Tamora delivered; 2660
    The issue of an irreligious Moor,
    Chief architect and plotter of these woes:
    The villain is alive in Titus' house,
    And as he is, to witness this is true.
    Now judge what cause had Titus to revenge 2665
    These wrongs, unspeakable, past patience,
    Or more than any living man could bear.
    Now you have heard the truth, what say you, Romans?
    Have we done aught amiss,—show us wherein,
    And, from the place where you behold us now, 2670
    The poor remainder of Andronici
    Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down.
    And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,
    And make a mutual closure of our house.
    Speak, Romans, speak; and if you say we shall, 2675
    Lo, hand in hand, Lucius and I will fall.
  • Aemilius. Come, come, thou reverend man of Rome,
    And bring our emperor gently in thy hand,
    Lucius our emperor; for well I know
    The common voice do cry it shall be so. 2680
  • All. Lucius, all hail, Rome's royal emperor!
  • Marcus Andronicus. Go, go into old Titus' sorrowful house,
    [To Attendants]
    And hither hale that misbelieving Moor,
    To be adjudged some direful slaughtering death, 2685
    As punishment for his most wicked life.

[Exeunt Attendants]

[LUCIUS, MARCUS, and the others descend]

  • All. Lucius, all hail, Rome's gracious governor!
  • Lucius. Thanks, gentle Romans: may I govern so, 2690
    To heal Rome's harms, and wipe away her woe!
    But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,
    For nature puts me to a heavy task:
    Stand all aloof: but, uncle, draw you near,
    To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk. 2695
    O, take this warm kiss on thy pale cold lips,
    [Kissing TITUS]
    These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stain'd face,
    The last true duties of thy noble son!
  • Marcus Andronicus. Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss, 2700
    Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips:
    O were the sum of these that I should pay
    Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them!
  • Lucius. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
    To melt in showers: thy grandsire loved thee well: 2705
    Many a time he danced thee on his knee,
    Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow:
    Many a matter hath he told to thee,
    Meet and agreeing with thine infancy;
    In that respect, then, like a loving child, 2710
    Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
    Because kind nature doth require it so:
    Friends should associate friends in grief and woe:
    Bid him farewell; commit him to the grave;
    Do him that kindness, and take leave of him. 2715
  • Young Lucius. O grandsire, grandsire! even with all my heart
    Would I were dead, so you did live again!
    O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping;
    My tears will choke me, if I ope my mouth.

[Re-enter Attendants with AARON]

  • Aemilius. You sad Andronici, have done with woes:
    Give sentence on this execrable wretch,
    That hath been breeder of these dire events.
  • Lucius. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him;
    There let him stand, and rave, and cry for food; 2725
    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 2730
    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. 2735
  • Lucius. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence,
    And give him burial in his father's grave:
    My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
    Be closed in our household's monument.
    As for that heinous tiger, Tamora, 2740
    No funeral rite, nor man m mourning weeds,
    No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
    But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey:
    Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity;
    And, being so, shall have like want of pity. 2745
    See justice done on Aaron, that damn'd Moor,
    By whom our heavy haps had their beginning:
    Then, afterwards, to order well the state,
    That like events may ne'er it ruinate.