Bas. Believe me, queen, your swarth Cimmerian 1 Doth make your honor of his body's hue,

Spotted, detested, and abominable.

Why are you sequestered from all your train
Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,
And wandered 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-colored 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 abused!

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 'ticed 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 mistletoe.
Here never shines the sun, here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl, or fatal raven.
And, when they showed 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,3
Would make such fearful and confused cries,

1 Swarth is dusky. The Moor is called Cimmerian from the affinity of blackness to darkness.

2 He had yet been married but one night. The true reading may be "made her,” i. e. Tamora.

3 Hedgehogs.

As any mortal body, hearing it,

Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.1
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 called 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 called my children.
Dem. This is a witness that I am thy son.

[Stabs BASSIANUS. Chi. And this for me, struck home to show my strength. [Stabbing him likewise. Lav. Ay, come, Semiramis,2-nay, barbarous Tamora! For no name fits thy nature but thy own!

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,

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And with that painted hope 3 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.

1 This is said in fabulous physiology of those that hear the groan of the mandrake when torn up.

2 The propriety of this address will be best understood by consulting Pliny's Nat. Hist. ch. 42.

3 Painted hope is only specious hope, or ground of confidence more plausible than solid. Steevens thought that the word hope was interpolated, the sense being complete and the line more harmonious without it.

Chi. I warrant you, madam; we will make that


Come, mistress, now, perforce, we will enjoy
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 dam ?

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;
Do thou entreat her show a woman pity.


Chi. What! wouldst thou have me prove myself a


Lav. 'Tis true the raven doth not hatch a lark:
Yet I have heard, (O, could I find it now!)
The lion, moved with pity, did endure
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!

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 slain thee, Be not obdurate, open thy deaf ears.

Tam. Had thou in person ne'er offended me,
Even for his sake am I pitiless.-

Remember, boys, I poured 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 loved of me.

Lav. O Tamora, be called a gentle queen,

will ;

And with thine own hands kill me in this place.
For 'tis not life, that I have begged so long;

Poor I was slain, when Bassianus died.

Tam. What begg'st thou, then? Fond woman, let

me go.

Lav. "Tis present death I beg; and one thing


That womanhood denies my tongue to tell.

O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,
And tumble me into some loathsome pit,
Where never man's eye may behold my body.
Do this, and be a charitable murderer.

Tam. So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee;

No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.

Dem. Away, for thou hast staid us here too long. Lav. No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly


The blot and enemy to our general name!

Confusion fall

Chi. Nay, then I'll stop your mouth.-Bring thou her husband; [Dragging off LAVINIA.

This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him.


Tam. Farewell, my sons; see that you make her


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 deflour.

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Aar. Come on, my lords; the better foot before. Straight will I bring you to the loathsome pit, Where I espied the panther fast asleep.

Quin. My sight is very dull, whate'er it bodes.

Mart. And mine, I promise you; were't not for


Well could I leave our sport to sleep awhile.

[MARTIUS falls into the pit. Quin. What, art thou fallen? What subtle hole is


Whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers;
Upon whose leaves are drops of new-shed blood,
As fresh as morning's dew distilled on flowers?


very fatal place it seems to me.

Speak, brother, hast thou hurt thee with the fall?

Mart. O brother, with the dismall'st object

That ever eye, with sight, made heart lament.

Aar. [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. [Exit AARON.

Mart. Why dost not comfort me, and help me out From this unhallowed and blood-stained hole?

Quin. I am surprised with an uncouth fear;
A chilling sweat o'erruns my trembling joints;
My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.
Mart. 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.

Quin. Aaron is gone; and my compassionate heart Will not permit mine eyes once to behold

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.

Mart. Lord Bassianus lies embrewed here,

All on a heap like to a slaughtered lamb,

In this detested, dark, blood-drinking pit.

Quin. If it be dark, how dost thou know 'tis he? Mart. Upon his bloody finger he doth wear

A precious ring, that lightens all the hole,'

1 Old naturalists assert that there is a gem called a carbuncle, which emits not reflected but native light. Boyle believed in the reality of its existence. It is often alluded to in ancient fable.

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