Sat. Ay, but the citizens favor Lucius; And will revolt from me, to succor him.

Tam. King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy


Is the sun dimned, that gnats do fly in it ?
The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
And is not careful what they mean thereby ;
Knowing that with the shadow of his wings,
He can at pleasure stinto their melody;
Even so mayst thou the giddy men of Rome.

Then cheer thy spirit; for know, thou emperor,
I will enchant the old Andronicus,
With words more sweet, and yet more dangerous,
Than baits to fish, or honey-stalks : to sheep;
When as the one is wounded with the bait,
The other rotted with delicious food.

Sat. But he will not entreat his son for us.

Tam. If Tamora entreat him, then he will ;
For I can smooth and fill his aged ear
With golden promises; that were his heart
Almost impregnable, his old ears deaf,
Yet should both ear and heart obey my tongue.
Go thou before, be our ambassador; [To Æmil.
Say, that the emperor requests a parley
Of warlike Lucius, and appoint the meeting,
Even at his father's house, the old Andronicus.

Sat. Æmilius, do this message honorably;
And if he stand on hostage for his safety,
Bid him demand what pledge will please him best.
Æmil. Your bidding shall I do effectually.

[Exit Æmilius.
Tam. Now will I to that old Andronicus,
And temper him with all the art I have,
To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths.

1 i. e. imperial.
2 i. e. stop their melody. So in Romeo and Juliet:-

it stinted, and cried—ay.” 3 If by honey-stalks clover flowers are meant, it is an error to suppose that they produce the rot in sheep. Cows and oxen will indeed overcharge themselves with clover, and die.

And now, sweet emperor, be blithe again,
And bury all thy fear in my devices.
Sat. Then go successfully, and plead to him.



SCENE I. Plains near Rome.

Enter Lucius and Goths, with drum and colors. 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. 1 Goth. Brave slip, sprung from the great Andron

icus, Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort ; Whose high exploits, and honorable deeds, Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt, 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.

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


2 Goth. Renowned Lucius, from our troops I strayed, To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;


1 Scath is harm. 2 " Shakspeare has so perpetually offended against chronology, that no to ascend.

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 controlled 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 might'st 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 babe-
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 rushed 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 devil,
That robbed 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? No; 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. 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 is brought, which Aaron is obliged

very conclusive argument can be deduced from the particular absurdity of these anachronisms relative to the authenticity of Titus Andronicus.”— Steevens.

1 Alluding to the proverb, “A black man is a pearl in a fair woman's eye.”


Lucius, save the child ; And bear it from me to the emperess. 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; and, if it please me which thou

speak'st, Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourished.

Aar. An if it please thee? why, assure thee, Lucius, '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 performed." 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 believ'st 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 ador'st 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 empress.
Luc. O, most insatiate, luxurious ? woman!

1 i. e. performed in a manner exciting commiseration. 2 i. e. lascivious.

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Aar. Tut, Lucius ! this was but a deed of charity,
To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
'Twas her two sons that murdered Bassianus;
They cut thy sister's tongue, and ravished her,
And cut her hands, and trimmed her as thou saw'st.
Luc. O detestable villain! call'st thou that trim-

Aar. Why, she was washed, and cut, and trimmed;

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 learned of me,
As true a dog as ever fought at head.' —
Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.
I trained 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 mentioned,
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 played the cheater for thy father's hand;
And, when I had it, drew myself apart,
And almost broke my heart with extreme laug ter.
I pried me through the crevice of a wall,
When for his hand he had his two sons' heads;
Beheld his tears, and laughed so heartily,
That both mine eyes were rainy like to his;
And when I told the empress of this sport,
She swounded 2 almost at my pleasing tale,
And, for my tidings, gave me twenty kisses.

Goth. What! canst thou say all this, and never blush?
Aar. Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.

1 An allusion to bull-dogs ; whose generosity and courage are always shown by meeting the bull in front.

2 The verb to swound, which we now write swoon, was anciently in common use.

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