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TITUS ANDRONICUS.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

Rome. Before the Capitol.

The Tomb of the Andronici appearing ; the Tri

bunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate. Enter, below, SATURNINUS and his Followers, on one side ; and BÀSSIANUS and his Followers, on the other ; with Drum and Colours.

Sat. Noble patricians, patrons of my right, Defend the justice of my cause with arms; And, countrymen, my loving followers, Plead my successive title' with your swords: I am his first-born son, that was the last That ware the imperial diadem of Rome; Then let my father's honours live in me, Nor wrong mine age? with this indignity. Bas. Romans,-friends, followers, favourers of

my right, If ever Bassianus, Cæsar's son,

1

my successive title -] i. e. my title to the succession.

MALONE. Thus also Raleigh : “ The empire being elective, and not successive, the emperors, in being, made profit of their own times."

Steevens. 2 - mine age-] My seniority in point of age. Tamora, in a subsequent passage, speaks of him as a very young man:

“ If Saturnine advance the queen of Goths,
“ She will a handmaid be to his desires ;
“A loving nurse, a mother to his youth.BOSWELL.

Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
Keep then this passage to the Capitol ;
“ And suffer not dishonour to approach
“ The imperial seat, to virtue consecrate,
“ To justice, continence, and nobility:
“ But let desert in pure election shine;
“ And, Romans, fight for freedom in your

choice.

Enter MARCUS ANDRONICUS, aloft, with the Crown. Mar. Princes—that strive by factions, and by

friends, Ambitiously for rule and empery, — Know, that the people of Rome, for whom we

stand A special party, have, by common voice, In election for the Roman empery, Chosen Andronicus, surnamed Pius For many good and great deserts to Rome: A nobler man, a braver warrior, Lives not this day within the city walls : He by the senate is accited home, From weary wars against the barbarous Goths ; That, with his sons, a terror to our foes, Hath yok'd a nation strong, train'd up in arms. Ten years are spent, since first he undertook This cause of Rome, and chastis'd with his arms Our enemies' pride: Five times he hath return'd Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons In coffins from the field; And now at last, laden with honour's spoils, Returns the good Andronicus to Rome, Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms. Let us entreat, -By honour of his name, Whom, worthily, you would have now succeed, And in the Capitol and senate's right, Whom you pretend to honour and adore,That you withdraw you, and abate your strength;

Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should,
Plead your deserts in peace and humbleness.
SAT. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my

thoughts !
Bas. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy
In thy uprightness and integrity,
And so I love and honour' thee and thine,
Thy nobler brother Titus, and his sons,
And her, to whom my thoughts are humbled all,
Gracious Lavinia, Rome's rich ornament,
That I will here dismiss my loving friends;
And to my fortunes, and the people's favour,
Commit my cause in balance to be weigh’d.

[Exeunt the Followers of BASSIANUS. Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in my

right
I thank you all, and here dismiss you all;
And to the love and favour of my country
Commit myself, my person, and the cause.

[Exeunt the Followers of SATURNINUS. Rome, be as just and gracious unto me, As I am confident and kind to thee. Open the gates, and let me in. Bas. Tribunes! and me, a poor competitor. [Sat, and Bas. go into the Capitol, and exeunt

with Senators, MARCUS, &c.

SCENE II.

The Same,

Enter a Captain, and Others. CAP. Romans, make way; The good Andronicus, Patron of virtue, Rome's best champion, Successful in the battles that he fights, With honour and with fortune is return'd,

From where he circumscribed with his sword,
And brought to yoke, the enemies of Rome.

Flourish of Trumpets, &c. Enter Murius and Mar

TIUS: after them, two Men bearing a Coffin covered with black; then QUINTUS and Lucius. After them, Tirus ANDRONICus; and then TAMORA, with ALARBUS, CHIRON, DEMETRIUS, Aaron, and other Goths, prisoners; Soldiers and People, following. The Bearers set down the Coffin, and Tirus speaks.

Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning

weeds! Lo, as the bark, that hath discharg'd her fraught*, Returns with precious lading to the bay, From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage, Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs, To re-salute his country with his tears; Tears of true joy for his return to Rome, Thou great defender of this Capitolo, Stand gracious to the rights that we intend !

3 Hail, Rome, victorious in the mourning weeds !] I suspect that the poet wrote :

in

my mourning weeds !" i. e. Titus would say: 'Thou, Rome, art victorious, though I am a mourner for those sons which I have lost in obtaining that victory.'

WARBURTON. Thy is as well as my. We may suppose the Romans in a grateful ceremony, meeting the dead sons of Andronicus with mournful habits. Johnson.

Or that they were in mourning for their emperor who was just dead. STEEVENS.

4- HER fraught.] Old copies-his fraught. Corrected in the fourth folio. MALONE.

his fraught,” As in the other old copies noted by Mr. Malone. It will be proper here to observe, that the edition of 1600 is not paged. TODD.

s Thou great defender of this Capitol,] Jupiter, to whom the Capitol was sacred. JOHNSON.

Romans, of five and twenty valiant sons,
Half of the number that king Priam had,
Behold the poor remains, alive, and dead !
These, that survive, let Rome reward with love;
These, that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial amongst their ancestors :
Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my

sword.
Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx®?-
Make way to lay them by their brethren.

[The Tomb is opened.
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars !
O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons of mine hast thou in store,
That thou wilt never render to me more ?

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 8.

Tit. I give him you; the noblest that survives, The eldest son of this distressed queen. Tam. Stay, Roman brethren ;-Gracious con

queror,

7

6 To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx ?] Here we have one of the numerous classical notions that are scattered with a pedantick profusion through this piece. MALONE. - EARTHLY prison -] Edit. 1600—“ earthy prison.”

TODD. 8 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.

Steevens.

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