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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,
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,
Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
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,
[Exeunt the Followers of BASSIANUS. Sat. Friends, that have been thus forward in my
[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.
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,
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 :
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,
[The Tomb is opened.
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
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.