Page images
PDF
EPUB

Wind horns. Enter MARCUS, from hunting.
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!
If I do wake, some planet strike me down,
That I may slumber in eternal sleep!--
Speak, gentle niece, what stern ungentle hands
Have lopp'd, and hew'd, 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 stirr'd with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips',
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
But, sure, some Tereus hath deflowered 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 encounter'd with a cloud.
Shall I speak for thee? shall I say, 'tis so?
Oh! that I knew thy heart; and knew the beast,
That I might rail at him to ease my mind.
Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp'd,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue",
And in a tedious sampler sew'd her mind;

? As half thy love ?] We may strongly suspect an error from mishearing in these words: why was "half” the love of Lavinia to be specified? The corr. fo. 1632 tells us to read “ As have thy love," but as “half," instead of have, may bave been the poet's word, we do not displace it.

3 Doth rise and fall between thy Rosed lips,] “Rosed” is altered to roseat in the corr. fo. 1632, but without necessity. Shakespeare uses "rosed" as a verb in "Henry V.,” A. v. sc. 2, Vol. iii. p. 639, and here it is the participle.

- lest thou shouldst detect uim, &c.] All the old copies " detect them." Rowe made the correction.

- THREE issuing spouts,] Old copies, their issuing," &c. Corrected by Sir Thomas Hanmer.

6 Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,] The 4to, 1600, has why before "she," to the injury of the measure.

5

TITUS ANDRONICUS.
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee:
A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better sew'd than Philomel.
Oh! 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 touch'd them for his life;
Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made in minstrelsy',
He would have dropp'd 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:
Oh, could our mourning ease thy misery!

[Exeunt.

ACT III. 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 watch'd ;
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,

7 Which that sweet tongue hath made in MINSTRELSY,] The two last words are derived from the corr. fo. 1632, and supply an evident hiatus in all the old impressions : "in minstrelsy” must have accidentally dropped out.

8

Because they died in honour's lofty bed :
For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write

[Throwing himself on the ground'.
My heart's deep anguish 'in 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 with more rain, 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 draron.
Oh, reverend tribunes! Oh, 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. Oh, 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; or if they did mark,
They would not pity me, yet plead I must,
And bootless unto them?.

8 For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write] We follow the reading of the second folio here, where these is repeated, apparently to complete the defective line, and to add to the emphasis of the appeal. Malone preferred his own emendation, and printed "good tribunes."

9 Throwing himself on the ground.] The old stage-direction is, " Andronicus lieth down, and the Judges pass by him."

| My heart's deep ANGUISH] The 4tos, and folios have languor for “ anguish" of the corr. fo. 1632. We may be sure that " anguish " was the poet's word, misheard or misprinted languor': the same authority has " in my soul's sad tears." Lower down, “more with rain" is amended in the corr. fo. 1632 to "with more rain;" and in the next line "urns," is inserted in our text for ruins. The last agrees with Hanmer's proposal.

? And bootless unto them.] Our text of this hemistich and of the three preceding lines is that of the 4to, 1600 : the 4to, 1611, gives it thus :

Therefore, I tell my sorrows to the stones ;
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,
For that they will not intercept my tale.

[Rising.
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 pronounc'd
My everlasting doom of banishment.

Tit. Oh 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 aged 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 kills me.
Tit. Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.-

“Why, 'tis no matter, man; if they did hear,

They would not mark me; or if they did mark,

All bootless unto them." The folio, 1623, prints it as follows :

“ Why, 'tis no matter, man; if they did hear,

They would not mark me: Oh! if they did hear,

They would not pity me." In the next line,

“ Therefore, I tell my sorrows to the stones," the 4to, 1611, makes the measure redundant by inserting bootless after “sorrows," in which it is followed by the folio, 1623, and the later folios.

3 - thy AGED eyes] So the 4to. 1600 : “ noble eyes,” 4to, 1611, and folios.

Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
What fool hath added water to the sea,
Or brought a faggot 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 nurs’d this woe in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have serv'd 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 martyr'd thee?

Mar. Oh! that delightful engine of her thoughts, That blabb’d 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. Oh! say thou for her, who hath done this deed ?

Mar. Oh! thus I found her straying in the park,
Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
That hath receiv'd some unrecuring wound.

Tit. It was my deer; and he that wounded her
Hath hurt me more, than had he kill'd me dead :
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Environ'd 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 banish'd man,
And here my brother, weeping at my woes;
But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn,

4 Oh! that delightful engine of her thoughts,] In Shakespeare's “ Venus and Adonis " we have the following line :

“Once more the engine of her thoughts began." • Sweet varied notes, enchanting EVERY EAR.] In the corr. fo. 1632 this line is made to rhyme with the preceding line, thus :

“Sweet varied notes, enchanting old and young." Possibly such was the case originally, or in some copy seen or heard by the old annotator. We mention the emendation, but do not adopt it.

« PreviousContinue »