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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 ;
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! gentle aged men!
Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
And let me say, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators.
Luc. O noble father, you lament in vain ;
The tribunes hear you not; no man is by ;
And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
Tit. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead. Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of
you. Luc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
Tit. Why, 'tis no matter, man ; if they did hear, They would not mark me; oh, if they did hear, They would not pity me. Therefore I tell my sorrows bootless to the stones; Who, though they cannot answer my distress, Yet in some sort they're 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, 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. But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
Luc. To rescue my two brothers from their death; For which attempt, the judges have pronounced My everlasting doom of banishment.
Tit. O happy man! they have befriended thee.
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 !
But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
Enter Marcus and LAVINIA.
Mar. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep;
Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break !
I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
Tit. Will it consume me? let me see it, then.
Mar. This was thy daughter.
Tit. Why, Marcus, so she is.
Luc. Ah me! this object kilks me!
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.-
Speak, my Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
What fool hath added water to the sea ?
Or brought a fagot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou cam’st,
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,
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.
Luc. Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyred thee?
Mar. O, that delightful engine of her thoughts,
That blabbed them with such pleasing eloquence,
Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage ;
Where, like a sweet, melodious bird, it sung
Sweet, varied notes, enchanting every ear!
Luc. O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed!
Mar. O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer,
That hath received some unrecuring wound.
Tit. 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,
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;
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 ?
Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears ;
Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyred thee.
Thy husband he is dead; and, for his death,
Thy brothers are condemned, and dead by this.-
Look, Marcus ! ah, son Lucius, look on her.
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
Stood on her cheeks; as doth the honey dew
Upon a gathered lily almost withered.
Mar. Perchance, she weeps because they killed her
husband; Perchance, because she knows them innocent.
Tit. 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; 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 stained, like meadows, yet not dry With miry slime left on them by a flood ?