Which, like a taper in some monument,
Doth shine upon the dead man's earthy cheeks,
And shows the ragged entrails of this 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,-
If fear hath made thee faint, as me it hath,-
Out of this fell devouring receptacle,

As hateful as Cocytus' misty mouth.

Quin. Reach me thy hand, that I may help thee out;

Or, wanting strength to do thee so much good,
I may be plucked into the swallowing womb
Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus' grave.

I have no strength to pluck thee to the brink.

Mart. Nor I no strength to climb without thy help. Quin. Thy hand once more; I will not loose again, Till thou art here aloft, or I below.

Thou canst not come to me; I come to thee. [Falls in.


Sat. Along with me.-I'll see what hole is here, And what he is, that now is leaped into it.

Say, who art thou, that lately didst descend

Into this gaping hollow of the earth?

Mart. The unhappy son of old Andronicus; Brought hither in a most unlucky hour,

To find thy brother Bassianus dead.

Sat. 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.

Mart. We know not where you left him all alive,

But, out, alas! here have we found him dead.

Enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS ANDRONICUS and LUCIUS.

Tam. Where is my lord, the king?

Sat. Here, Tamora; though grieved with killing


Tam. Where is thy brother Bassianus?

Sat. Now to the bottom dost thou search my wound; Poor Bassianus here lies murdered.

Tam. Then all too late I bring this fatal writ,

The complot of this timeless' tragedy;

[Giving a letter.

And wonder greatly, that man's face can fold

In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.

Sat. [Reads.] An if we miss to meet him handsomely,

Sweet huntsman, Bassianus 'tis, we mean,

Do thou so much as dig the grave for him;

Thou know'st our meaning. Look for thy reward

Among the nettles at the elder-tree,

Which overshades the mouth of that same pit,
Where we decreed to bury Bassianus.
Do this, and purchase us thy lasting friends.
O Tamora! was ever heard the like?
This is the pit, and this the elder-tree;
Look, sirs, if you can find the huntsman out
That should have murdered Bassianus here.

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

[Showing it. Sat. Two of thy whelps, [To TIT.] fell curs of bloody kind,

Have here bereft my brother of his life.

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.

Tam. What, are they in this pit? O wondrous thing!

How easily murder is discovered!

Tit. 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,—
Sat. If it be proved! you see, it is
it is apparent.-
Who found this letter? Tamora, was it you?

1 i. e. untimely.

Tam. Andronicus himself did take it up.
Tit. 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,
To answer their suspicion with their lives.

Sat. Thou shalt not bail them; see, thou follow me.
Some bring the murdered body, some the murderers.
Let them not speak a word; the guilt is plain;
For, by my soul, were there worse end than death,
That end upon them should be executed.

Tam. Andronicus, I will entreat the king;

Fear not thy sons; they shall do well enough. Tit. Come, Lucius, come; stay not to talk with [Exeunt severally.


SCENE V. The same.

Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, with LAVINIA, ravished; her hands cut off, and tongue cut out.

Dem. So now go tell, an if thy tongue can speak, Who 'twas that cut thy tongue and ravished thee. Chi. Write down thy mind, bewray thy meaning so, And, if thy stumps will let thee, play the scribe. Dem. See how with signs and tokens she can


Chi. Go home, call for sweet water, wash thy hands.

Dem. She hath no tongue to call, nor hands to


And so let's leave her to her silent walks.

Chi. An 'twere my case, I should go hang myself. Dem. If thou hadst hands to help thee knit the cord. [Exeunt DEMETRIUS and CHIRON.


Mar. Who's this,-my niece, that flies away so fast? Cousin, a word; where is your husband?

If I do dream, would all my wealth would wake me!1
If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
That I may slumber in eternal sleep!-

Speak, gentle niece, what stern, ungentle hands
Have lopped, and hewed, 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 half thy love! Why dost not speak to me?—
Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,

Like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath defloured thee;
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,
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 stopped,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,
And in a tedious sampler sewed her mind;
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
A craftier Tereus, hast thou met withal,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better sewed 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,
He would not then have touched them for his life;
Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony,

Which that sweet tongue hath made,

1 "If this be a dream, I would give all my possessions to be delivered from it by waking."

He would have dropped his knife, and fell asleep,
As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's feet.
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;
O, could our mourning ease thy misery!



SCENE I. Rome. A Street.

Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of Justice, with
MARTIUS and QUINTUS, bound, passing on to the
place of execution; TITUS going before, pleading.
Tit. 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 watched;
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,
Because they died in honor's lofty bed.
For these, good tribunes, in the dust I write

[Throwing himself on the ground My heart's deep languor, and my soul's sad tears. Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite; My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush. [Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c., with the Prisoners.

O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,

« ForrigeFortsett »