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Nur. Good morrow; lords: O, tell me, did you see Aaron the Moor? Aar. Well, more or less, or ne'er a whit at all, Here Aaron is; and what with Aaron now?
Nur. O gentle Aaron, we are all undone ! Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!
Aar. Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep! What dost thou wrap and fumble in thine arms? Nur. O, that which I would hide from heaven's eye, 59
Our empress' shame, and stately Rome's disgrace!
She is deliver'd, lords; she is deliver❜d.
Aar. To whom?
I mean, she is brought a-bed. Aar. Well, God give her good rest! What hath he sent her?
Nur. A devil.
Aar. Why, then she is the devil's dam; a joyful issue.
Nur. A joyless, dismal, black, and sorrowful issue:
Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad
Amongst the fairest breeders of our clime:
The empress sends it thee, thy stamp, thy seal,
And bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point.
Aar. 'Zounds, ye whore! is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowse, you are a beauteous blossom, sure.
Dem. Villain, what hast thou done?
Aar. That which thou canst not undo.
Chi. Thou hast undone our mother.
Aar. Villain, I have done thy mother.
Dem. And therein, hellish dog, thou hast un-
Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,
That shone so brightly when this boy was got, 90
He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point
That touches this my first-born son and heir!
I tell you, younglings, not Enceladus,
With all his threatening band of Typhon's brood,
Nor great Alcides, nor the god of war,
Shall seize this prey out of his father's hands.
What, what, ye sanguine, shallow-hearted boys!
Ye white-limed walls! ye alehouse painted signs!
Coal-black is better than another hue,
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
Tell the empress from me, I am of age
To keep mine own, excuse it how she can.
Dem. Wilt thou betray thy noble mistress thus?
Aar. My mistress is my mistress; this myself,
The vigour and the picture of my youth:
This before all the world do I prefer ;
This maugre all the world will I keep safe,
Or some of you shall smoke for it in Rome.
Dem. By this our mother is for ever shamed.
Chi. Rome will despise her for this foul escape.
Nur. The emperor, in his rage, will doom her
Chi. I blush to think upon this ignomy.
Aar. Why, there's the privilege your beauty
Fie, treacherous hue, that will betray with blushing
The close enacts and counsels of the heart!
Here's a young lad framed of another leer:
Look, how the black slave smiles upon the father,
As who should say 'Old lad, I am thine own.' 121
He is your brother, lords, sensibly fed
Of that self-blood that first gave life to you,
And from that womb where you imprison'd were
He is enfranchised and come to light:
Nay, he is your brother by the surer side,
Although my seal be stamped in his face.
Nur. Aaron, what shall I say unto the empress? Dem. Advise thee, Aaron, what is to be done, And we will all subscribe to thy advice: 130 Save thou the child, so we may all be safe.
Aar. Then sit we down, and let us all consult. My son and I will have the wind of you: Keep there now talk at pleasure of your safety. [They sit. Dem. How many women saw this child of his? Aar. Why, so, brave lords! when we join in league,
I am a lamb: but if you brave the Moor,
The chafed boar, the mountain lioness,
The ocean swells not so as Aaron storms.
But say, again, how many saw the child?
Nur. Cornelia the midwife and myself;
And no one else but the deliver'd empress.
Aar. The empress, the midwife, and yourself: Two may keep counsel when the third's away: Go to the empress, tell her this I said. [He kills the nurse. Weke, weke! so cries a pig prepared to the spit. Dem. What mean'st thou, Aaron? wherefore didst thou this?
Aar. O Lord, sir, 'tis a deed of policy: Shall she live to betray this guilt of ours, A long-tongued babbling gossip? no, lords, no: And now be it known to you my full intent.
Not far, one Muli lives, my countryman;
His wife but yesternight was brought to bed;
His child is like to her, fair as you are:
Go pack with him, and give the mother gold,
And tell them both the circumstance of all;
And how by this their child shall be advanced,
And be received for the emperor's heir,
And substituted in the place of mine,
To calm this tempest whirling in the court;
And let the emperor dandle him for his own.
Hark ye, lords; ye see I have given her physic,
[Pointing to the nurse.
And you must needs bestow her funeral;
The fields are near, and you are gallant grooms:
This done, see that you take no longer days,
But send the midwife presently to me.
The midwife and the nurse well made away,
Then let the ladies tattle what they please.
Chi. Aaron, I see thou wilt not trust the air
Dem. For this care of Tamora,
Herself and hers are highly bound to thee.
[Exeunt Dem. and Chi. bearing off the
Aar. Now to the Goths, as swift as swallow
There to dispose this treasure in mine arms,
And secretly to greet the empress' friends.
Come on, you thick-lipp'd slave, I'll bear you
For it is you that puts us to our shifts:
I'll make you feed on berries and on roots,
And tfeed on curds and whey, and suck the goat,
And cabin in a cave, and bring you up
To be a warrior, and command a camp.
SCENE III. The same. A public place.. Enter TITUS, bearing arrows with letters at the ends of them; with him, MARCUS, young LUCIUS, PUBLIUS, SEMPRONIUS, CAIUS, and other Gentlemen, with bows.
Tit. Come, Marcus; come, kinsmen; this is the way.
Sir boy, now let me see your archery; Look ye draw home enough, and 'tis there straight.
Terras Astræa reliquit:
Be you remember'd, Marcus, she's gone, she's fled.
Sirs, take you to your tools. You, cousins, shall
Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets;
Happily you may catch her in the sea;
Yet there's as little justice as at land:
No; Publius and Sempronius, you must do it; ro
'Tis you must dig with mattock and with spade,
And pierce the inmost centre of the earth:
Then, when you come to Pluto's region,
I pray you, deliver him this petition;
Tell him, it is for justice and for aid,
And that it comes from old Andronicus,
Shaken with sorrows in ungrateful Rome.
Ah, Rome! Well, well; I made thee miserable
What time I threw the people's suffrages
On him that thus doth tyrannize o'er me.
Go, get you gone; and pray be careful all,
And leave you not a man-of-war unsearch'd:
This wicked emperor may have shipp'd her hence;
And, kinsmen, then we may go pipe for justice.
Marc. O Publius, is not this a heavy case,
Shall I have justice? what says Jupiter? 79 Clo. O, the gibbet-maker! he says that he hath taken them down again, for the man must not be hanged till the next week.
Tit. But what says Jupiter, I ask thee? Clo. Alas, sir, I know not Jupiter; I never drank with him in all my life.
Tit. Why, villain, art not thou the carrier? Clo. Ay, of my pigeons, sir; nothing else. Tit. Why, didst thou not come from heaven? Clo. From heaven! alas, sir, I never came there: God forbid I should be so bold to press to heaven in my young days. Why, I am going with my pigeons to the tribunal plebs, to take up a matter of brawl betwixt my uncle and one of the emperial's men.
Marc. Why, sir, that is as fit as can be to serve for your oration; and let him deliver the pigeons to the emperor from you.
Tit. Tell me, can you deliver an oration to the emperor with a grace?
Clo. Nay, truly, sir, I could never say grace in all my life.
Tit. Sirrah, come hither: make no more ado, But give your pigeons to the emperor: By me thou shalt have justice at his hands. Hold, hold; meanwhile here's money for thy charges.
Give me pen and ink. Sirrah, can you with a grace deliver a supplication?
Clo. Ay, sir.
Tit. Then here is a supplication for you. And when you come to him, at the first approach you must kneel, then kiss his foot, then deliver up your pigeons, and then look for your reward. I'll be at hand, sir; see you do it bravely.
Clo. I warrant you, sir, let me alone.
Tit. Sirrah, hast thou a knife? come, let me see it.
Here, Marcus, fold it in the oration;
For thou hast made it like an humble suppliant.
And when thou hast given it the emperor,
Knock at my door, and tell me what he says.
God be with you, sir; I will.
Tit. Come, Marcus, let us go. Publius, fol-
SCENE IV. The same. Before the palace. Enter SATURNINUS, TAMORA, DEMETRIUS, CHIRON, Lords, and others; SATURNINUS with the arrows in his hand that TITUS shot. Sat. Why, lords, what wrongs are these! was
An emperor in Rome thus overborne,
Troubled, confronted thus; and, for the extent
Of egal justice, used in such contempt?
My lords, you know, as know the mightful gods,
However these disturbers of our peace
Buz in the people's ears, there nought hath pass'd,
But even with law, against the wilful sons
Of old Andronicus. And what an if
His sorrows have so overwhelm'd his wits,
Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,
His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
And now he writes to heaven for his redress:
See, here's to Jove, and this to Mercury;
This to Apollo; this to the god of war;
Sweet scrolls to fly about the streets of Rome!
What's this but libelling against the senate,
And blazoning our injustice every where?
A goodly humour, is it not, my lords?
As who would say, in Rome no justice were.
But if I live, his feigned ecstasies
Shall be no shelter to these outrages:
But he and his shall know that justice lives
In Saturninus' health, whom, if she sleep,
He'll so awake as she in fury shall
Cut off the proud'st conspirator that lives.
Tam. 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, 30
Whose loss hath pierced him deep and scarr'd his
And rather comfort his distressed plight
Than prosecute the meanest or the best
For these contempts. [Aside] Why, thus it shall
High-witted Tamora to gloze with all:
But, Titus, I have touch'd thee to the quick,
Thy life-blood out: if Aaron now be wise,
Then is all safe, the anchor's in the port.
How now, good fellow! wouldst thou speak with us?
Clo. Yea, forsooth, an your mistership be emperial. Tam. Empress I am, but yonder sits the
Clo. 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. Sat. Go, take him away, and hang him presently.
Clo. How much money must I have? Tam. Come, sirrah, you must be hanged. Clo. Hanged! by'r lady, then I have brought up a neck to a fair end. [Exit, guarded. Sat. Despiteful and intolerable wrongs! Shall I endure this monstrous villany? 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 butcher'd 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. 60 Enter EMILIUS. What news with thee, Æmilius?
Emil. Arm, arm, my lord;-Rome never had
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.
Sat. Is warlike Lucius general of the Goths? These tidings nip me, and I hang the head 70 As flowers with frost or grass beat down with
Ay, now begin our sorrows to approach:
Whose high exploits and honourable deeds Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
SCENE I. Plains near Rome.
Enter LUCIUS with an army of Goths, with drum and colours.
Luc. Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,
I have received letters from great Rome,
Which signify what hate they bear their emperor
And how desirous of our sight they are.
Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,
Imperious and impatient of your wrongs,
And wherein Rome hath done you any scath,
Let him make treble satisfaction.
First Goth. Brave slip, sprung from the great
Whose name was once our terror, now our com-
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 avenged on cursed Tamora.
All the Goths. And as he saith, so say we all with him.
Luc. I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth? Enter a Goth, leading AARON with his Child in his arms.
Sec. Goth. Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray'd
To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;
And, as I earnestly did fix mine eye
Upon the wasted building, suddenly
I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
I made unto the noise; when soon I heard
The crying babe controll'd with this discourse:
Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dam!
Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
Had nature lent thee but thy mother's look,
Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor:
But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,
They never do beget a coal-black calf.
Peace, villain, peace!'-even thus he rates the
'For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;
Who, when he knows thou art the empress' babe,
Will hold thee dearly for thy mother's sake.'
With this, my weapon drawn, I rush'd upon him,
Surprised him suddenly, and brought him hither,
To use as you think needful of the man.
Luc. O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate
That robb'd Andronicus of his good hand;
This is the pearl that pleased your empress' eye,
And here's the base fruit of his burning lust.
Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
Why dost not speak? what, deaf? not a word?
A halter, soldiers! hang him on this tree,
And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
Aar. Touch not the boy; he is of royal blood.
Luc. Too like the sire for ever being good. 50 First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl; A sight to vex the father's soul withal. Get me a ladder.
[A ladder brought, which Aaron is made to ascend. Aar. Lucius, save the child, And bear it from me to the empress. If thou do this, I'll show thee wondrous things, That highly may advantage thee to hear: If thou wilt not, befall what may befall, I'll speak no more but 'Vengeance rot you all!' Luc. Say on: an if it please me which thou speak'st,
Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd.60
Aar. An if it please thee! why, assure thee,
'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
For I must talk of murders, rapes and massacres,
Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
Complots of mischief, treason, villanies
Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:
And this shall all be buried by my death,
Unless thou swear to me my child shall live. Luc. Tell on thy mind; I say thy child shall live.
Aar. Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.
Luc. Who should I swear by? thou believest no god:
That granted, how canst thou believe an oath ?
Aar. 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 adorest and hast in reverence,
To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up;
Or else I will discover nought to thee.
Luc. Even by my god I swear to thee I will. Aar. First know thou, I begot him on the
Aar. Why, she was wash'd and cut and trimm'd, and 'twas
Trim sport for them that had the doing of it. Luc. O barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!
Aar. Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them: That codding spirit had they from their mother, As sure a card as ever won the set; That bloody mind, I think, they learn'd of: As true a dog as ever fought at head. Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth. I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay: I wrote the letter that thy father found And hid the gold within the letter mention'd, Confederate with the queen and her two sons: And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue, Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it? I play'd the cheater for thy father's hand, And, when I had it, drew myself apart And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter: I pry'd me through the crevice of a wall When, for his hand, he had his two sons' heads; Beheld his tears, and laugh'd so heartily, That both mine eyes were rainy like to his : And when I told the empress of this sport, She swooned almost at my pleasing tale, And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses. First Goth. What, canst thou say all this, and never blush?
Aar. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
Luc. Art thou not sorry for these heinous
Aar. Ay, that I had not done a thousand
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, 130
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
† Make poor men's cattle 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.'140
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.
Welcome, Æmilius: what's the news from Rome?
Emil. Lord Lucius, and you princes of the
The Roman emperor greets you all by me;
And, for he understands you are in arins,
He craves a parley at your father's house,
Willing you to demand your hostages,
And they shall be immediately deliver❜d.
First Goth. What says our general?
Luc. Æmilius, let the emperor give his
Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
And we will come.
SCENE II. Rome. Before Titus's house. Enter TAMORA, Demetrius, and CHIRON, dis