Imatges de pàgina


A C T I.

SC.EN E, before the Capitol in ROME.

Enter the Tribunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate.

Enter Saturninus and his followers, at one door ; and Bassianus and his followers, at the other, with Drum and Colours.

Oble patricians, patrons of my right,
Defend the justice of my cause with arms :

And countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title with your swords.

I am


(1) Titus Andronicus.] This is one of those plays, which I have always thought, with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledg’d in the list of Shakespeare's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a proof to strengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of question. Ben Johnson in the induction to his Bartholomery. Fair, (which made its first appearance in the year 1614) couples Jeronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and speaks of them as plays then of twenty-five or thirty years ftanding. Consequently, Andronicus must have been on the stage, before Shakespeare left Warwickshire to come and reside in London : and I never heard it fo much as intimated, that he had turned his genius to stage-writing, before he affociated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it a-new on the scene, with


I am the first-born son of him, that last
Wore the imperial diadem of Rome :
Then let my father's honours live in me,
Nor wrong mine age with this indignity.

Baf. Romans, friends, foll'wers, favourers of my right,
If ever Basianus, Cæfar's son,
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep then this passage to the capitol ;
And suffer not dishonour to approach
Th' imperial feat, to virtue consecrate,
To justice, continence, and nobility:
But let defert in pure election shine;
And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice.

Enter Marcus Andronicus aloft, with the Crown.

Mar. Princes, that strive by. factions, and by friendsg
Ambitiously for rule and empery!
Know, that the people of Rome, for whom we stand
A special party, have by common voice,
In election for the Roman empery,
Chosen Andronicus, sur-named Pius,
For many good


deferts to Rome.
A nobler man, a braver warrior,
Lives not this day within our city-walls.
He by the Senate is accited home,
From weary wars againft the barbarous Goths ;
That with his sons (a terror to our foes)
Hath yoak’d a nation strong, train’d up in arms.
Ten years are spent, since first he undertook

This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms
the addition of his own masterly touches, is incontestable: and
thence, I presume, grew his title to it. The diction in general,
where he has not taken the pains to raise it, is even beneath that
of the Three Parts of Henry VI. The story, we are to suppose,
merely fictitious. Andronicus is a sur-name of pure Greek derivation :
Tamora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor any body
else that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the time of her Emperors,
any wars with the Goths, that I know of: not till after the tranda-
tion of the empire, I mean, to Byzantium. And yet the scene of
our play is laid at Rome, and Saturninus is elected to the empire at
the Capitolo


Oar enemies pride. Five times he hath return'd
Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field.
And now at last, laden with honour's spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Roine,
Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.
Let us intreat, by honour of his name,
Whom (worthily) you would have now succeed,
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.
Sat. How fair the tribune speaks, to calm my thoughts

Baf. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affie
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honour thee and thine;
Thy noble brother Titus, and his fons,
And her, to whom our 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 favour,
Commit my cause in ballance to be weigh’d.

[Exeunt Soldiers.
Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in my right,
I thank you all, and here dismiss you all;
And to the love and favour of my country
Commit myself, my person and the cause :
Rome, be as just and gracious unto me,
As I am confident and kind to thee.
Open thy gates, and let me in.
Baf. Tribunes, and me, a poor competitor.

[They go up into the Senate-house.

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Enter a Captain.
Cap. Romans, make way: the good Andronicus,
Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion,
Successful in the battles that he fights,
With honour and with fortune is return'd,


From whence he circumscribed with his fword,
And brought to yoke the enemies of Rome.
Sound drums and trumpets, and then enter Mutius and Mar-

cus: after them, two men bearing a coffin cover'd with black; then Quintus and Lucius. After them, Titus Andronicus; and then Tamora, the Queen of Goths, Alarbus, Chiron, and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, prisoners; Soldiers, and other Attendants. They set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.

Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds! (2) Lo, as the bark, that hath discharg'd her freight, Returns with precious lading to the bay, From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage ; Cometh Andronicus with laurel boughs, To re-falute 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, 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 among their ancestors. Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my

sword: Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own, Why suffer'ft thou thy fons, unburied yet, To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx? Make way to lay them by their brethren.

[They open the tomb. (2) Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds ! ] Mr. Ware burton and I concurred to suspect that the Poet wrote ;

in my mourning weeds. j. e. Titus would say; “ Thou, Rome, art victorious, though I am

a mourner for those fons which I have lost in obtaining that « victory.” But I have not ventured to disturb the text; because, on a second reflection, mourning weeds may relate to Rome for this reason; the fcene opens with Saturninus and Baffianus canvalling to be elected to the Empire: and consequently the state might be in grief for their last Emperor juft deceased,


There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
And sleep in peace, llain in your country's wars:-
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many

sons of mine haft thou in store, That thou wilt never render to me more ?

Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Gothri
That we may hew his limbs, and on a pile,
Ad manes Fratrum sacrifice his flesh,
Before this earthly prison of their bones:
That so the shadows be not unappeas’d,
Nor we disturbid with prodigies on earth.

Tit. I give him you, the noblest that survives.
The eldeit son of this distressed Queen.

Tam. Stay, Roman brethren, gracious conquerors Victorious Titus, rue the tears I Thed, A mother's tears in passion for her fon : And if thy fons were ever dear to thee, O, think my sons to be as dear to me. Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome, (3) To beautify thy triumphs and return, Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke? But must my fons be slaughter'd in the streets , For valiant doings in their country's cause? 0! if to fight for King and common-weal

1 Were piety in thine, it is in these : Andronicus, ftain not thy tomb with blood. Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods? Draw near them then in being merciful; Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

(3) Suficeth not, that we are brought to Rome, To beautify thy Triumphs, and return

Captive to thee and to thy Roman poke?] It is evident, as this Paliage has his herto been pointed, none of the editors understood the true Meaning. If Tamora and her Family return captive to Rome, they must have been before prisoners of war to the Romans : and that is more than what is hinted, or suppos’d, any where in the play, But the truth is, return is not a Verb but a Substantive; and relates: to Titus and not to Tamora: The regulation I have given the texty I dare warrant, restores the Author's intention. To beautify thy triumphs and return.

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