Autodidact: self-taught



by V. L. Craven


BANQUO. That, trusted home, Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange: And oftentimes to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths; Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s In deepest consequence.

MACBETH. … let us speak Our free hearts each to other.

MACBETH. [Aside.] The Prince of Cumberland!–That is a step, On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires: The eye wink at the hand! yet let that be, Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.

MACBETH. that we but teach Bloody instructions, which being taught, return To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice To our own lips.

MACBETH. Now o’er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain’d sleep; now witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate’s offerings; and wither’d murder, Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost.–Thou sure and firm-set earth, Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear Thy very stones prate of my whereabout, And take the present horror from the time, Which now suits with it.–Whiles I threat, he lives; Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

[Enter a Porter. Knocking within.] PORTER. Here’s a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key. [Knocking.] Knock, knock, knock. Who’s there, i’ the name of Belzebub? Here’s a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty: come in time; have napkins enow about you; here you’ll sweat for’t.– [Knocking.] Knock, knock! Who’s there, in the other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator.

[Knocking.] Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there? Faith, here’s an English tailor come hither, for stealing out of a French hose: come in, tailor; here you may roast your goose.– [Knocking.] Knock, knock: never at quiet! What are you?–But this place is too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter it no further: I had thought to have let in some of all professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire. [Knocking.] Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter.

MALCOLM. To show an unfelt sorrow is an office Which the false man does easy.

OLD MAN. Threescore and ten I can remember well: Within the volume of which time I have seen Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night Hath trifled former knowings.

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus

AARON. Away, I say!— Now, by the gods that warlike Goths adore, This pretty brabble will undo us all. [In other words: Jesus Christ, shut up.]

QUINTUS. My heart suspects more than mine eye can see.

MARTIUS. 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.

TITUS. [To TAMORA.] Now, madam, are you prisoner to an emperor; To him that for your honour and your state Will use you nobly and your followers.

SATURNINUS. And therefore, lovely Tamora, Queen of Goths,— That, like the stately Phoebe ‘mongst her nymphs, Dost overshine the gallant’st dames of Rome,— If thou be pleas’d with this my sudden choice, Behold, I choose thee, Tamora, for my bride And will create thee empress of Rome. Speak, Queen of Goths, dost thou applaud my choice? And here I swear by all the Roman gods,— Sith priest and holy water are so near, And tapers burn so bright, and everything In readiness for Hymenaeus stand,— I will not re-salute the streets of Rome, Or climb my palace, till from forth this place I lead espous’d my bride along with me.

TAMORA. And here in sight of heaven to Rome I swear, If Saturnine advance the Queen of Goths, She will a handmaid be to his desires, A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.

SATURNINUS. Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon.—Lords, accompany Your noble emperor and his lovely bride, Sent by the heavens for Prince Saturnine, Whose wisdom hath her fortune conquered: There shall we consummate our spousal rites. [Exeunt SATURNINUS and his Followers; TAMORA and her Sons; AARON and Goths.]

MARCUS. My lord,—to step out of these dreary dumps,— How comes it that the subtle Queen of Goths Is of a sudden thus advanc’d in Rome?

TITUS. I know not, Marcus, but I know it is,— Whether by device or no, the heavens can tell: Is she not, then, beholding to the man That brought her for this high good turn so far?

MARCUS. Yes, and will nobly him remunerate. [Flourish. Re-enter, at one side, SATURNINUS, attended; TAMORA DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, and AARON; at the other, BASSIANUS, LAVINIA, and others.]

SATURNINUS. So, Bassianus, you have play’d your prize: God give you joy, sir, of your gallant bride!

BASSIANUS. And you of yours, my lord! I say no more, Nor wish no less; and so I take my leave.

SATURNINUS. Traitor, if Rome have law or we have power, Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.

BASSIANUS. Rape, call you it, my lord, to seize my own, My true betrothed love, and now my wife? But let the laws of Rome determine all; Meanwhile am I possess’d of that is mine.

TAMORA. My worthy lord, if ever Tamora Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine, Then hear me speak indifferently for all; And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.

SATURNINUS. What, madam! be dishonoured openly, And basely put it up without revenge?

TAMORA. Not so, my lord; the gods of Rome forfend I should be author to dishonour you! But on mine honour dare I undertake For good Lord Titus’ innocence in all, Whose fury not dissembled speaks his griefs: Then at my suit look graciously on him; Lose not so noble a friend on vain suppose, Nor with sour looks afflict his gentle heart.— [Aside.] My lord, be rul’d by me, be won at last; Dissemble all your griefs and discontents: You are but newly planted in your throne; Lest, then, the people, and patricians too, Upon a just survey take Titus’ part, And so supplant you for ingratitude,— Which Rome reputes to be a heinous sin,— Yield at entreats; and then let me alone: I’ll find a day to massacre them all, And raze their faction and their family, The cruel father and his traitorous sons, To whom I sued for my dear son’s life; And make them know what ’tis to let a queen Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.— Come, come, sweet emperor,—come, Andronicus,— Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.

SATURNINUS. Rise, Titus, rise; my empress hath prevail’d.

TITUS. I thank your majesty and her, my lord: These words, these looks, infuse new life in me.

TAMORA. Titus, I am incorporate in Rome, A Roman now adopted happily, And must advise the emperor for his good. This day all quarrels die, Andronicus;— And let it be mine honour, good my lord, That I have reconcil’d your friends and you. — For you, Prince Bassianus, I have pass’d My word and promise to the emperor That you will be more mild and tractable.— And fear not, lords,—and you, Lavinia,— By my advice, all humbled on your knees, You shall ask pardon of his majesty.

LUCIUS. We do; and vow to heaven and to his highness That what we did was mildly as we might, Tendering our sister’s honour and our own.

MARCUS. That on mine honour here do I protest.

SATURNINUS. Away, and talk not; trouble us no more.

TAMORA. Nay, nay, sweet emperor, we must all be friends: The tribune and his nephews kneel for grace; I will not be denied: sweet heart, look back.

Rome. Before the palace. [Enter AARON.]

AARON. Now climbeth Tamora Olympus’ top, Safe out of fortune’s shot; and sits aloft, Secure of thunder’s crack or lightning’s flash; Advanc’d above pale envy’s threatening reach. As when the golden sun salutes the morn, And, having gilt the ocean with his beams, Gallops the zodiac in his glistening coach, And overlooks the highest-peering hill; So Tamora: Upon her wit doth earthly honour wait, And virtue stoops and trembles at her frown. Then, Aaron, arm thy heart and fit thy thoughts To mount aloft with thy imperial mistress, And mount her pitch, whom thou in triumph long Hast prisoner held, fett’red in amorous chains, And faster bound to Aaron’s charming eyes Than is Prometheus tied to Caucasus. Away with slavish weeds and servile thoughts! I will be bright, and shine in pearl and gold, To wait upon this new-made empress. To wait, said I? to wanton with this queen, This goddess, this Semiramis, this nymph, This siren, that will charm Rome’s Saturnine, And see his shipwreck and his commonweal’s.— Holla! what storm is this?

AARON. 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 plots there are Fitted by kind for rape and villainy: Single you thither, then, this dainty doe, And strike her home by force if not by words: This way, or not at all, stand you in hope. Come, come, our empress, with her sacred wit To villainy and vengeance consecrate, Will we acquaint with all what 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, and ears: The woods are ruthless, dreadful, deaf, and dull; There speak and strike, brave boys, and take your turns; There serve your lust, shadowed from heaven’s eye, And revel in Lavinia’s treasury.

AARON. 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 villainy: And so repose, sweet gold, for their unrest [Hides the gold.] That have their alms out of the empress’ chest. [Enter TAMORA.]

TAMORA. My lovely Aaron, wherefore look’st thou sad When everything does make a gleeful boast? The birds chant melody on every bush; The snakes lie rolled in the cheerful sun; The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind, And make a chequer’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 yelping noise; And,—after conflict such as was suppos’d The wandering prince and Dido once enjoy’d, When with a happy storm they were surpris’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.

AARON. 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.

TAMORA. Ah, my sweet Moor, sweeter to me than life!

AARON. 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. [Exit.] [Enter BASSIANUS and LAVINIA.]

BASSIANUS. Who have we here? Rome’s royal empress, 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?

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

LAVINIA. Under your patience, gentle empress, ‘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.

BASSIANUS. 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 but with a barbarous Moor, If foul desire had not conducted you?

LAVINIA. 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-coloured love; This valley fits the purpose passing well.

BASSIANUS. The king my brother shall have notice of this.

LAVINIA. Ay, for these slips have made him noted long: Good king, to be so mightily abus’d!

TAMORA. Why have I patience to endure all this? [Enter DEMETRIUS and CHIRON.]

DEMETRIUS. How now, dear sovereign, and our gracious mother! Why doth your highness look so pale and wan?

TAMORA. Have I not reason, think you, to look pale? These two have ‘ticed me hither to this place:— A barren detested…

LAVINIA. Ay, come, Semiramis,—nay, barbarous Tamora, For no name fits thy nature but thy own!

TAMORA. Give me thy poniard;—you shall know, my boys, Your mother’s hand shall right your mother’s wrong.

DEMETRIUS. 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?

CHIRON. 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.

TAMORA. But when ye have the honey we desire, Let not this wasp outlive, us both to sting.

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

LAVINIA. O Tamora! thou bear’st a woman’s face,—

TAMORA. I will not hear her speak; away with her!

LAVINIA. Sweet lords, entreat her hear me but a word.

DEMETRIUS. 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.

LAVINIA. 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: [To CHIRON.] Do thou entreat her show a woman’s pity.

CHIRON. What, wouldst thou have me prove myself a bastard?

LAVINIA. ‘Tis true, the raven doth not hatch a lark: Yet have I 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!

TAMORA. I know not what it means:—away with her!

LAVINIA. 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.

TAMORA. Hadst 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 will; The worse to her the better lov’d of me.

LAVINIA. 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; Poor I was slain when Bassianus died.

TAMORA. What begg’st thou, then? fond woman, let me go.

LAVINIA. ‘Tis present death I beg; and one thing more, 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.

TAMORA. So should I rob my sweet sons of their fee: No, let them satisfy their lust on thee.

DEMETRIUS. Away! for thou hast stay’d us here too long.

LAVINIA. No grace? no womanhood? Ah, beastly creature! The blot and enemy to our general name! Confusion fall,—

CHIRON. Nay, then I’ll stop your mouth:—bring thou her husband. This is the hole where Aaron bid us hide him. [DEMETRIUS throws BASSIANUS’S body into the pit; then exit with CHIRON, dragging off LAVINIA.]

TAMORA. Farewell, my sons: see that you make her sure:— 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 deflower. [Exit.]

[Re-enter TAMORA, with Attendants; TITUS ANDRONICUS and LUCIUS.]
TAMORA. Where is my lord the king?

SATURNINUS. Here, Tamora; though griev’d with killing grief.

TAMORA. Where is thy brother Bassianus?

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

TAMORA. Then all too late I bring this fatal writ, [Giving a letter.] The complot of this timeless tragedy; And wonder greatly that man’s face can fold In pleasing smiles such murderous tyranny.

ACT III. SCENE I. Rome. A street.

MARCUS. Now let hot Aetna cool in Sicily, And be my heart an ever-burning hell!

MARCUS. Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless As frozen water to a starved snake.

ACT IV. SCENE I. Rome. Before TITUS’S House.

TITUS. Magni Dominator poli, Tam lentus audis scelera? tam lentus vides? [ruler of the great heavens, are you so slow to hear crimes? and so slow to see?]

TITUS. ‘Tis sure enough, an you knew how. But if you hunt these bear-whelps, then beware: The dam will wake; and if she wind you once, She’s with the lion deeply still in league, And lulls him whilst she playeth on her back, And when he sleeps will she do what she list.

SCENE IV. Rome. Before the Palace. [Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON; Lords, and others; SATURNINUS with the arrows in his hand that TITUS shot.]

TAMORA. My gracious lord, my lovely Saturnine, Lord of my life, commander of my thoughts, Calm thee, and bear the faults of Titus’ age, The effects of sorrow for his valiant sons, Whose loss hath pierc’d him deep, and scarr’d his heart; And rather comfort his distressed plight Than prosecute the meanest or the best For these contempts.— [Aside] Why, thus it shall become High-witted Tamora to gloze with all: But, Titus, I have touch’d thee to the quick, Thy life-blood on’t; if Aaron now be wise, Then is all safe, the anchor in the port.— [Enter CLOWN.] How now, good fellow! wouldst thou speak with us?

CLOWN. Yes, forsooth, an your mistership be imperial.

TAMORA. Empress I am, but yonder sits the emperor.

CLOWN. ‘Tis he.—God and Saint Stephen give you good-den; I have brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here. [SATURNINUS reads the letter.]

SATURNINUS. Go take him away, and hang him presently.

CLOWN. How much money must I have?

TAMORA. Come, sirrah, you must be hang’d.

CLOWN. Hang’d! by’r lady, then I have brought up a neck to a fair end. [Exit guarded.]

SATURNINUS. Despiteful and intolerable wrongs! Shall I endure this monstrous villainy? I know from whence this same device proceeds: May this be borne,—as if his traitorous sons, That died by law for murder of our brother, Have by my means been butchered wrongfully?— Go, drag the villain hither by the hair; Nor age nor honour shall shape privilege.— For this proud mock I’ll be thy slaughter-man; Sly frantic wretch, that holp’st to make me great, In hope thyself should govern Rome and me. [Enter AEMILIUS.] What news with thee, Aemilius?

AEMILIUS. Arm, my lord! Rome never had more cause! The Goths have gather’d head; and with a power Of high resolved men, bent to the spoil, They hither march amain, under conduct Of Lucius, son to old Andronicus; Who threats, in course of this revenge, to do As much as ever Coriolanus did.

SATURNINUS. Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths? These tidings nip me; and I hang the head As flowers with frost, or grass beat down with storms: Ay, now begins our sorrows to approach: ‘Tis he the common people love so much; Myself hath often overheard them say,— When I have walked like a private man,— That Lucius’ banishment was wrongfully, And they have wish’d that Lucius were their emperor.

TAMORA. Why should you fear? is not your city strong?

SATURNINUS. Ay, but the citizens favour Lucius, And will revolt from me to succour him.

TAMORA. King, be thy thoughts imperious like thy name. Is the sun dimm’d, that gnats do fly in it? The eagle suffers little birds to sing, And is not careful what they mean thereby, Knowing that with the shadow of his wing He can at pleasure stint their melody; Even so mayest thou the giddy men of Rome. Then cheer thy spirit: for know, thou emperor, I will enchant the old Andronicus With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous, Than baits to fish or honey-stalks to sheep, Whenas the one is wounded with the bait, The other rotted with delicious feed.

SATURNINUS. But he will not entreat his son for us.

TAMORA. If Tamora entreat him, then he will: For I can smooth and fill his aged ear With golden promises that, were his heart Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf, Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.— Go thou before [to AEMILIUS] ; be our ambassador: Say that the emperor requests a parley Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting Even at his father’s house, the old Andronicus.

SATURNINUS. Aemilius, do this message honourably: And if he stand on hostage for his safety, Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.

AEMILIUS. Your bidding shall I do effectually. [Exit.]

TAMORA. Now will I to that old Andronicus, And temper him with all the art I have, To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths. And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again, And bury all thy fear in my devices.

SATURNINUS. Then go successantly, and plead to him. [Exeunt.]

ACT V. SCENE I. Plains near Rome.

FIRST GOTH. Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus, Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort; Whose high exploits and honourable deeds Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt, Be bold in us: we’ll follow where thou lead’st,— Like stinging bees in hottest summer’s day, Led by their master to the flowered fields,— And be aveng’d on cursed Tamora.

GOTHS. And as he saith, so say we all with him.

LUCIUS. I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.

AARON. Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.

LUCIUS. Who should I swear by? thou believ’st no god;: That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?

AARON. What if I do not? as indeed I do not; Yet, for I know thou art religious, And hast a thing within thee called conscience, With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies Which I have seen thee careful to observe, Therefore I urge thy oath;—for that I know An idiot holds his bauble for a god, And keeps the oath which by that god he swears; To that I’ll urge him:—therefore thou shalt vow By that same god,—what god soe’er it be That thou ador’st and hast in reverence,— To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up; Or else I will discover naught to thee.

LUCIUS. Even by my god I swear to thee I will.

LUCIUS. Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?

AARON. Ay, that I had not done a thousand more. Even now I curse the day,—and yet, I think, Few come within the compass of my curse,— Wherein I did not some notorious ill: As, kill a man, or else devise his death; Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it; Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself; Set deadly enmity between two friends; Make poor men’s cattle stray and break their necks; Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night, And bid the owners quench them with their tears. Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves, And set them upright at their dear friends’ doors, Even when their sorrows almost were forgot; And on their skins, as on the bark of trees, Have with my knife carved in Roman letters, ‘Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.’ Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things As willingly as one would kill a fly; And nothing grieves me heartily indeed But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

LUCIUS. Bring down the devil; for he must not die So sweet a death as hanging presently.

AARON. If there be devils, would I were a devil, To live and burn in everlasting fire, So I might have your company in hell But to torment you with my bitter tongue! LUCIUS. Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.

SCENE II. Rome. Before TITUS’S House.]
[Enter TAMORA, DEMETRIUS and CHIRON, disguised.]

TAMORA. Thus, in this strange and sad habiliment, I will encounter with Andronicus, And say I am Revenge, sent from below To join with him and right his heinous wrongs. Knock at his study, where they say he keeps To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge; Tell him Revenge is come to join with him, And work confusion on his enemies. [They knock.] [Enter TITUS, above.]

TITUS. Who doth molest my contemplation? Is it your trick to make me ope the door, That so my sad decrees may fly away And all my study be to no effect? You are deceiv’d: for what I mean to do See here in bloody lines I have set down; And what is written shall be executed.

TAMORA. Titus, I am come to talk with thee.

TITUS. No, not a word: how can I grace my talk, Wanting a hand to give it action? Thou hast the odds of me; therefore no more.

TAMORA. If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me.

TITUS. I am not mad; I know thee well enough: Witness this wretched stump, witness these crimson lines; Witness these trenches made by grief and care; Witness the tiring day and heavy night; Witness all sorrow, that I know thee well For our proud empress, mighty Tamora: Is not thy coming for my other hand?

TAMORA. Know thou, sad man, I am not Tamora; She is thy enemy and I thy friend: I am Revenge; sent from the infernal kingdom To ease the gnawing vulture of thy mind By working wreakful vengeance on thy foes. Come down and welcome me to this world’s light; Confer with me of murder and of death: There’s not a hollow cave or lurking-place, No vast obscurity or misty vale, Where bloody murder or detested rape Can couch for fear but I will find them out; And in their ears tell them my dreadful name,— Revenge, which makes the foul offender quake.

TITUS. Art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me To be a torment to mine enemies?

TAMORA. I am; therefore come down and welcome me.

TITUS. Do me some service ere I come to thee. Lo, by thy side where Rape and Murder stands; Now give some surance that thou art Revenge,— Stab them, or tear them on thy chariot wheels; And then I’ll come and be thy waggoner, And whirl along with thee about the globe. Provide thee two proper palfreys, black as jet, To hale thy vengeful waggon swift away, And find out murderers in their guilty caves: And when thy car is loaden with their heads I will dismount, and by the waggon-wheel Trot, like a servile footman, all day long, Even from Hyperion’s rising in the east Until his very downfall in the sea: And day by day I’ll do this heavy task, So thou destroy Rapine and Murder there.

TAMORA. These are my ministers, and come with me.

TITUS. Are they thy ministers? what are they call’d?

TAMORA. Rapine and Murder; therefore called so ‘Cause they take vengeance of such kind of men.

TITUS. Good Lord, how like the empress’ sons they are! And you the empress! But we worldly men Have miserable, mad, mistaking eyes. O sweet Revenge, now do I come to thee; And, if one arm’s embracement will content thee, I will embrace thee in it by and by. [Exit from above.]

TAMORA. This closing with him fits his lunacy: Whate’er I forge to feed his brain-sick fiits, Do you uphold and maintain in your speeches, For now he firmly takes me for Revenge; And, being credulous in this mad thought, I’ll make him send for Lucius his son; And whilst I at a banquet hold him sure, I’ll find some cunning practice out of hand To scatter and disperse the giddy Goths, Or, at the least, make them his enemies. See, here he comes, and I must ply my theme. [Enter TITUS.]

TITUS. Long have I been forlorn, and all for thee: Welcome, dread fury, to my woeful house;— Rapine and Murder, you are welcome too:— How like the empress and her sons you are! Well are you fitted, had you but a Moor: Could not all hell afford you such a devil?— For well I wot the empress never wags But in her company there is a Moor; And, would you represent our queen aright, It were convenient you had such a devil: But welcome as you are. What shall we do?

TAMORA. What wouldst… [Exit.]

TAMORA. Now will I hence about thy business, And take my ministers along with me.

TITUS. Nay, nay, let Rape and Murder stay with me, Or else I’ll call my brother back again, And cleave to no revenge but Lucius.

TAMORA. [Aside to them.] What say you, boys? will you abide with him, Whiles I go tell my lord the emperor How I have govern’d our determin’d jest? Yield to his humour, smooth and speak him fair, And tarry with him till I come again.

TITUS. [Aside.] I knew them all, though they suppose me mad, And will o’er reach them in their own devices,— A pair of cursed hell-hounds and their dam.

DEMETRIUS. Madam, depart at pleasure; leave us here.

TAMORA. Farewell, Andronicus: Revenge now goes To lay a complot to betray thy foes.

TITUS. I know thou dost; and, sweet Revenge, farewell! [Exit TAMORA.]

[Re-enter TITUS ANDRONICUS, with LAVINIA; he bearing a knife and she a basin.]

TITUS. Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound.— Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me; But let them hear what fearful words I utter.— O villains, Chiron and Demetrius! Here stands the spring whom you have stain’d with mud; This goodly summer with your winter mix’d. You kill’d her husband; and for that vile fault Two of her brothers were condemn’d to death, My hand cut off and made a merry jest; Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that, more dear Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity, Inhuman traitors, you constrain’d and forc’d. What would you say, if I should let you speak? Villains, for shame you could not beg for grace. Hark, wretches! how I mean to martyr you. This one hand yet is left to cut your throats, Whiles that Lavinia ‘tween her stumps doth hold The basin that receives your guilty blood. You know your mother means to feast with me, And calls herself Revenge, and thinks me mad:— Hark, villains! I will grind your bones to dust, And with your blood and it I’ll make a paste; And of the paste a coffin I will rear, And make two pasties of your shameful heads; And bid that strumpet, your unhallow’d dam, Like to the earth, swallow her own increase. This is the feast that I have bid her to, And this the banquet she shall surfeit on; For worse than Philomel you us’d my daughter, And worse than Progne I will be reveng’d: And now prepare your throats. Lavinia, come [He cuts their throats.] Receive the blood: and when that they are dead, Let me go grind their bones to powder small, And with this hateful liquor temper it; And in that paste let their vile heads be bak’d. Come, come, be every one officious To make this banquet; which I wish may prove More stern and bloody than the Centaurs’ feast. So, now bring them in, for I will play the cook, And see them ready against their mother comes. [Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.]

SCENE III. Rome. A Pavilion in TITUS’S Gardens, with tables, &c.

LUCIUS. Good uncle, take you in this barbarous Moor, This ravenous tiger, this accursed devil; Let him receive no sustenance, fetter him, Till he be brought unto the empress’ face For testimony of her foul proceedings: And see the ambush of our friends be strong; I fear the emperor means no good to us.

AARON. Some devil whisper curses in my ear, And prompt me that my tongue may utter forth The venomous malice of my swelling

[Enter SATURNINUS and TAMORA, with AEMILIUS, Tribunes, Senators, and others.]

[Enter TITUS, dressed like a cook,LAVINIA, valed,YOUNG LUCIUS, and others. TITUS places the dishes on the table.]

TITUS. Welcome, my lord; welcome, dread queen; Welcome, ye warlike Goths; welcome, Lucius; And welcome all: although the cheer be poor, ‘Twill fill your stomachs; please you eat of it.

SATURNINUS. Why art thou thus attir’d, Andronicus?

TITUS. Because I would be sure to have all well To entertain your highness and your empress.

TAMORA. We are beholden to you, good Andronicus.

TITUS. An if your highness knew my heart, you were. My lord the emperor, resolve me this: Was it well done of rash Virginius To slay his daughter with his own right hand, Because she was enforc’d, stain’d, and deflower’d?

SATURNINUS. It was, Andronicus.

TITUS. Your reason, mighty lord.

SATURNINUS. Because the girl should not survive her shame, And by her presence still renew his sorrows.

TITUS. A reason mighty, strong, and effectual; A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant For me, most wretched, to perform the like:— Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee; [Kills LAVINIA.] And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die!

SATURNINUS. What hast thou done, unnatural and unkind?

TITUS. Kill’d her for whom my tears have made me blind. I am as woeful as Virginius was, And have a thousand times more cause than he To do this outrage;—and it now is done.

SATURNINUS. What, was she ravish’d? tell who did the deed.

TITUS. Will’t please you eat? will’t please your highness feed?

TAMORA. Why hast thou slain thine only daughter thus?

TITUS. Not I; ’twas Chiron and Demetrius: They ravish’d her, and cut away her tongue; And they, ’twas they, that did her all this wrong.

SATURNINUS. Go, fetch them hither to us presently.

TITUS. Why, there they are, both baked in that pie, Whereof their mother daintily hath fed, Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred. ‘Tis true, ’tis true; witness my knife’s sharp point. [Kills Tamora.]

SATURNINUS. Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed! [Kills TITUS.]

LUCIUS. Can the son’s eye behold his father bleed? There’s meed for meed, death for a deadly deed. [Kills SATURNINUS. A great tumult. LUCIUS, MARCUS, and their partisans, ascend the steps before TITUS’S house.]

AEMILIUS. You sad Andronici, have done with woes: Give sentence on the execrable wretch, That hath been breeder of these dire events.

LUCIUS. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him; There let him stand and rave and cry for food: If any one relieves or pities him, For the offence he dies. This is our doom: Some stay to see him fasten’d in the earth.

AARON. Ah, why should wrath be mute and fury dumb? I am no baby, I, that with base prayers I should repent the evils I have done: Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did Would I perform, if I might have my will: If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul.

LUCIUS. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence, And give him burial in his father’s grave: My father and Lavinia shall forthwith Be closed in our household’s monument. As for that ravenous tiger, Tamora, No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds, No mournful bell shall ring her burial; But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey: Her life was beast-like and devoid of pity; And, being so, shall have like want of pity. See justice done on Aaron, that damn’d Moor, By whom our heavy haps had their beginning: Then, afterwards, to order well the state, That like events may ne’er it ruinate. [Exeunt.]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress