Imatges de pÓgina

I tell you, lords, you do but plot your deaths By this device.

Aaron, a thousand deaths

Chi. Would I propose, to achieve her whom I love. Aar. To achieve her!-How? Dem. Why mak'st thou it so strange? She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd ; She is a woman, therefore may be won; She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd. What, man! more water glideth by the mill Than wots the miller of; and easy it is Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know: Though Bassianus be the emperor's brother, Better than he have yet worn Vulcan's badge. Aar. Ay, and as good as Saturninus may. [Aside. Dem. Then why should he despair, that knows to With words, fair looks, and liberality? What, hast thou not full often struck a doe, And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose? Aar. Why, then, it seems, some certain snatch or so Would serve your turns. Chi.

[court it

Ay, so the turn were serv'd. Dem. Aaron, thou hast hit it. Aar.

'Would you had hit it too: Then should not we be tir'd with this ado. Why, hark ye, hark ye,--And are you such fools, To square for this? Would it offend you then That both should speed?

Chi. Dem.

So I were one.

I'faith, not me.

Nor me,


Aar. For shame, be friends; and join for that you
'Tis policy and stratagem must do
That you affect; and so must you resolve;
That what you cannot, as you would, achieve,
You must perforce accomplish as you may.
Take this of me, Lucrece was not more chaste
Than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.

A speedier course than lingering languishment
Must we pursue, and I have found the path.
My lords, a solemn hunting is in hand;
There will the lovely Roman ladies troop:
The forest walks are wide and spacious;
And many unfrequented spots there are,
Fitted by kind for rape and villany:
Single you thither then this dainty doe,
And strike her home by force, if not by words:
This way, or not all, stand you in hope.
Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit,
To villany and vengeance consecrate,
Will we acquaint with all that we intend ;
And she shall file our engines with advice,
That will not suffer you to square yourselves,
But to your wishes' height advance you both.
The emperor's court is like the house of fame,
The palace full of tongues, of eyes, of ears;
The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull;
There speak, and strive, brave boys, and take your turns:
There serve your lust, shadow'd from heaven's eye,
And revel in Lavinia's treasury.

Chi. Thy counsel, lad, smells of no cowardice.
Dem. Sit fas aut nefas, till I find the stream
To cool this heat, a charm to calm these fits,
Per Styga, per manes vehor.


SCENE II.-A Forest near Rome. A Lodge seen at a distance. Horns, and cry of Hounds heard. Enter TITUS ANDRONICUS, with Hunters, &c. MARCUS, LUCIUS, QUINTUS, and MARTIUS.

Tit. 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,
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 tend the emperor's person carefully:
I have been troubled in my sleep this night,
But dawning day new comfort hath inspir'd.

Horns wind a peal. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA,

Tit. Many good morrows to your majesty ;-
Madam, to you as many and as good!-
I promised your grace a hunter's peal.
Sat. And you have rung it lustily, my lords,
Somewhat too early for new-married ladies.
Bas. Lavinia, how say you?
I say, no;

I have been broad awake two hours and more.
Sat. Come on then, horse and chariots let us have,
And to our sport :-Madam, now shall ye see
Our Roman hunting.

I have dogs, my lord,
Will rouse the proudest panther in the chase,
And climb the highest promontory top.

Tit. And I have horse will follow where the game Makes way, and run like swallows o'er the plain. Dem. Chiron, we hunt not, we, with horse nor hound, But hope to pluck a dainty doe to ground. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.—A desert Part of the Forest.
Enter AARON, with a bag of gold.

Aar. He that had wit, would think that I had none,
To bury so much gold under a tree,
And never after to inherit it.

Let him, that thinks of me so abjectly,
Know, that this gold must coin a stratagem;
Which, cunningly effected, will beget

A very excellent piece of villany:

And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest,

[Hides the gold.

That have their alms out of the empress' chest.


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

Aar. Madam, though Venus govern your desires, Saturn is dominator over mine:

What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence, and my cloudy melancholy?
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls,
Even as an adder, when she doth unroll

To do some fatal execution?

No, madam, these are no venereal signs;
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,
Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.
Hark, Tamora, the empress of my soul,
Which never hopes more heaven than rests in thee,
This is the day of doom for Bassianus ;
His Philomel must lose her tongue to-day:
Thy sons make pillage of her chastity,
And wash their hands in Bassianus' blood.
Seest thou this letter? take it up, I pray thee,
And give the king this fatal-plotted scroll:-
Now question me no more, we are espied;
Here comes a parcel of our hopeful booty,
Which dreads not yet their lives' destruction.

Tam. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!
Aar. No more, great empress, Bassianus comes:
Be cross with him; and I'll go fetch thy sons
To back thy quarrels, whatsoe'er they be.



Bas. Who have we here? Rome's royal emperess,
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?

Tam. Saucy controller of our private steps!
Had I the power, that, some say, Dian had,
Thy temples should be planted presently
With horns, as was Acteon's; and the hounds
Should drive upon thy new-transformed limbs,
Unmannerly intruder as thou art!

Lav. Under your patience, gentle emperess, '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! 'Tis pity, they should take him for a stag.

Bas. 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?
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
And wander'd hither to an obscure plot,
Accompanied with a barbarous Moor,
If foul desire had not conducted you?

Lav. And, being intercepted in your sport,
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.

Bas. The king, my brother, shall have note of this. Lav. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long: Good king! to be so mightily abus'd!

Tam. Why have I patience to endure all this?


Dem. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother,

Why doth your highness look so pale and wan ?
Tam. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
These two have 'tic'd me hither to this place,
A barren detested vale, you see, it is:
The trees, though summer, yet forlorn, and lean,
O'ercome with moss, and baleful misletoe.
Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl, or fatal raven.
And, when they shew'd me this abhorred pit,
They told me, here, at dead time of the night,
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.
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,
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,
Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children.
Dem. This is a witness that I am thy son.

[Stabs BASSIANUS. Chi. And this for me, struck home to shew my strength. [Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay come, Semiramis,-nay, barbarous TaFor no name fits thy nature but thy own! [mora! Tam. Give me thy poniard; you shall know, my


Your mother's hand shall right your mother's wrong. Dem. Stay, madam, here is more belongs to her; 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?

Chi. 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.

Tam. But when you have the honey you desire, Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.

Chi. I warrant you, madam; we will make that Come, mistress, now perforce we will enjoy [sure.That nice-preserved honesty of yours.

Lav. O Tamora! thou bear'st a woman's face.Tam. I will not hear her speak; away with her. Lav. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word. Dem. 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.

Lav. When did the tiger's young ones teach the O, do not learn her wrath; she taught it thee: [dam? 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;
Do thou entreat her shew a woman pity. [To CHIRON.
Chi. What! would'st thou have me prove myself

a bastard?

Lav. 'Tis true; the raven doth not hatch a lark: Yet I have heard, (O could I find it now!) The lion, mov'd with pity, did endure To have his princely paws par'd 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!

Tam. I know not what it means; away with her. Lav. O, let me teach thee: for my father's sake, That gave thee life, when well he might have slair. Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears. [thee, Tam. Had 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. Therefore away with her, and use her as you The worse to her, the better lov'd of me.



Lav. 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;

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