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Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths, That we may hew his limbs, and, on a pile, Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh, Before this earthly prison of their bones; That so the shadows be not unappeas'd, Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth."
TIT. I give him you; the noblest that survives, The eldest son of this distressed queen.
TAM. Stay, Roman brethren ;-Gracious conqueror, Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed, A mother's tears in passion for her son: And, if thy sons were ever dear to thee, O, think my son to be as dear to me. Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome, To beautify thy triumphs, and return, Captive to thee, and to thy Roman yoke; But must my sons be slaughter'd in the streets, For valiant doings in their country's cause? O! if to fight for king and common weal Were piety in thine, it is in these. Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood: Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods? Draw near them then in being merciful:
-earthly prison-] Edit. 1600:-earthy prison."
7 Nor we disturb'd with prodigies on earth.] It was supposed by the ancients, that the ghosts of unburied people appeared to their friends and relations, to solicit the rites of funeral.
• Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful:] "Homines enim
Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge;
TIT. Patient yourself," madam, and pardon me. These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld Alive, and dead; and for their brethren slain, Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
To this your son is mark'd; and die he must,
Luc. Away with him! and make a fire straight; And with our swords, upon a pile of wood, Let's hew his limbs, till they be clean consum'd. [Exeunt LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and MUTIUS, with ALARBUS.
TAM. O cruel, irreligious piety!
CHI. Was ever Scythia half so barbarous ?
DEM. Oppose not Scythia to ambitious Rome. Alarbus goes to rest; and we survive To tremble under Titus' threatening look. Then, madam, stand resolv'd; but hope withal, The self-same gods, that arm'd the queen of Troy
ad deos nulla re propius accedunt, quam salutem hominibus dando." Cicero pro Ligario.
Mr. Whalley infers the learning of Shakspeare from this passage: but our present author, whoever he was, might have found a translation of it in several places, provided he was not acquainted with the original. STEEVENS.
The same sentiment is in Edward III. 1596:
"kings approach the nearest unto God,
Patient yourself, &c.] This verb is used by other dramatick writers. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
"Patient yourself, we cannot help it now." Again, in King Edward I. 1599:
"Patient your highness, 'tis but mother's love." Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, B. XII. ch. lxxv: "Her, weeping ripe, he laughing, bids to patient her awhile." STEEVENS.
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Re-enter LUCIUS, QUINTUS, MARTIUS, and MuTIUS, with their Swords bloody.
Luc. See, lord and father, how we have perform'd
Our Roman rites: Alarbus' limbs are lopp'd,
1 The self-same gods, that arm'd the queen of Troy
With opportunity of sharp revenge
Upon the Thracian tyrant in his tent, &c.] I read, against the authority of all the copies:
in her tent,
i. e. in the tent where she and the other Trojan captive women were kept for thither Hecuba by a wile had decoyed Polymnestor, in order to perpetrate her revenge. This we may learn from Euripides's Hecuba; the only author, that I can at present remember, from whom our writer must have gleaned this circumstance. THEOBALD.
Mr. Theobald should first have proved to us that our author understood Greek, or else that this play of Euripides had been translated. In the mean time, because neither of these particulars are verified, we may as well suppose he took it from the old story-book of the Trojan War, or the old translation of Ovid. See Metam. XIII. The writer of the play, whoever he was, might have been misled by the passage in Ovid: "vadit ad artificem," and therefore took it for granted that she found him in his tent. STEEVENS.
I have no doubt that the writer of this play had read Euripides in the original. Mr. Steevens justly observes in a subsequent note near the end of this scene, that there is " a plain allusion to the Ajax of Sophocles, of which no translation was extant in the time of Shakspeare." MALONE.
Remaineth nought, but to inter our brethren, And with loud 'larums welcome them to Rome.
TIT. Let it be so, and let Andronicus
In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;
peace and honour rest you here, my sons! LAV. In peace and honour live lord Titus long; My noble lord and father, live in fame! Lo! at this tomb my tributary tears I render, for my brethren's obsequies; And at thy feet I kneel with tears of joy Shed on the earth, for thy return to Rome: O, bless me here with thy victorious hand, Whose fortunes Rome's best citizens applaud.
TIT. Kind Rome, that hast thus lovingly reserv'd
The cordial of mine age to glad my heart!-
—repose you here,] Old copies, redundantly in respect both to sense and metre:
·repose you here in rest. STEEvens.
The same redundancy in the edition 1600, as noted in other copies by Mr. Steevens. TODD.
And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise!3
Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, SATURNINUS, BASSIANUS, and Others.
MAR. Long live lord Titus, my beloved brother, Gracious triumpher in the eyes of Rome!
TIT. Thanks, gentle tribune, noble brother Marcus.
MAR. And welcome, nephews, from successful
You that survive, and you that sleep in fame.
And fame's eternal date, for virtue's praise!] This absurd wish is made sense of, by changing and into in.
To live in fame's date is, if an allowable, yet a harsh expression.
To outlive an eternal date is, though not philosophical, yet poetical sense. He wishes that her life may be longer than his, and her praise longer than fame. JOHNSON.
That hath aspir'd to Solon's happiness,] The maxim of Solon here alluded to is, that no man can be pronounced to be happy before his death:
"Expectanda dies homini; dicique beatus.
"Ante obitum nemo, supremaque funera, debet." Ovid.