Mar. You sad-faced men, people and sons of Rome, By uproar severed, like a flight of fowl Scattered by winds and high, tempestuous gusts, 0, let me teach you how to knit again This scattered corn into one mutual sheaf, These broken limbs again into one body.

Sen. Lest Rome herself be bane unto herself, And she, whom mighty kingdoms court’sy to, Like a forlorn and desperate castaway, Do shameful execution on herself. But if my frosty signs and chaps of age, Grave witnesses of true experience, Cannot induce you to attend my words,Speak, Rome's dear friend ; [TO Lucius;] as erst our

When with his solemn tongue he did discourse
To lovesick Dido's sad, attending ear,
The story of that baleful, burning night,
When subtle Greeks surprised king Priam's Troy.
Tell us, what Sinon hath bewitched our ears,
Or who hath brought the fatal engine in,
That gives our Troy, our Rome, the civil wound.
My heart is not compact of flint, nor steel ;
Nor can I utter all our bitter grief,
But floods of tears will drown my oratory,
And break my very utterance; even i’ the time
When it should move you to attend me most,
Lending your kind commiseration.
Here is a captain ; let him tell the tale ;
Your hearts will throb and weep to hear him speak.

Luc. Then, noble auditory, be it known to you,
That cursed Chiron and Demetrius
Were they that murdered our emperor's brother ;
And they it were that ravished our sister :
For their fell faults our brothers were beheaded ;
Our father's tears despised; and basely cozened
Of that true hand, that fought Rome's quarrel out,
And sent her enemies unto the grave.
Lastly, myself unkindly banished,

1 i. e. “and he basely cozened.”



The gates shut on me, and turned weeping out,
To beg relief among Rome's enemies;
Who drowned their enmity in my true tears,
And oped their arms to embrace me as a friend.
And I am the turned-forth, be it known to you,
That have preserved her welfare in my blood;
And from her bosom took the enemy's point,
Sheathing the steel in my adventurous body.
Alas! you know I am no vaunter, I ;
My scars can witness, dumb although they are,
That my report is just, and full of truth.
But, soft; methinks I do digress too much,
Citing my worthless praise. 0, pardon me;
For when no friends are by, men praise themselves.
Mar. Now is my turn to speak. Behold this child,
[Pointing to the Child in the arms of an

Of this was Tamora delivered ;
The issue of an irreligious Moor,
Chief architect and plotter of these woes;
The villain is alive in Titus' house,
Damned as he is, to witness this is true.
Now judge, what cause had Titus to revenge
These wrongs, unspeakable, past patience,
Or more than any living man could bear.
Now you have heard the truth, what say you, Romans ?
Have we done aught amiss ? Show us wherein,
And, from the place where you behold us now,
The poor remainder of Andronici
Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down,'
And on the ragged stones beat forth our brains,
And make a mutual closure of our house.
Speak, Romans, speak; and, if you say, we shall,
Lo, hand in hand, Lucius and I will fall.

Æmil. Come, come, thou reverend. man of Rome, And bring our emperor gently in thy hand, Lucius our emperor ; for, well I know, The common voice do cry, it shall be so. Rom. [Several speak.] Lucius, all hail; Rome's royal

emperor! 1 i. e. we, the poor remainder, &c. will cast us down.

Lucius, fc. descend.
Mar. Go, go into old Titus' sorrowful house;

[To an Attendant.
And hither hale that misbelieving Moor,
To be adjudged some direful, slaughtering death,
As punishment for his most wicked life.
Rom. [Several speak.] Lucius, all hail ; Rome's

gracious governor ! Luc. Thanks, gentle Romans. May I govern so, To heal Rome's harms, and wipe away her woe! But, gentle people, give me aim awhile,For nature puts me to a heavy task Stand all aloof,—but, uncle, draw you near, To shed obsequious tears upon this trunk.O, take this warm kiss on thy pale, cold lips,

[Kisses Titus. These sorrowful drops upon thy blood-stained face, The last true duties of thy noble son !

Mar. Tear for tear, and loving kiss for kiss,
Thy brother Marcus tenders on thy lips.
O, were the sum of these that I should pay
Countless and infinite, yet would I pay them!

Luc. Come hither, boy; come, come, and learn of us
To melt in showers. Thy grandsire loved thee well;
Many a time he danced thee on his knee,
Sung thee asleep, his loving breast thy pillow;
Many a matter hath he told to thee,
Meet and agreeing with thine infancy;
In that respect, then, like a loving child,
Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring,
Because kind nature doth require it so.
Friends should associate friends in grief and wo.
Bid him farewell; commit him to the grave;
Do him that kindness, and take leave of him.

Boy. O grandsire, grandsire ! even with all my heart Would I were dead, so you did live again! O Lord, I cannot speak to him for weeping; My tears will choke me if I ope my mouth.

Enter Attendants, with AARON. 1 Rom. You sad Andronici, have done with woes; Give sentence on this execrable wretch, That hath been breeder of these dire events.

Luc. Set him breast-deep in earth, and famish him; There let him stand, and rave and cry for food. If any one relieves or pities him, For the offence he dies. This is our doom : Some stay, to see him fastened in the earth.

Aar. O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb? I am no baby, I, that, with base prayers, I should repent the evils I have done; Ten thousand, worse than ever yet I did, Would I perform if I might have my will

; If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul.

Luc. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence, And give him burial in his father's grave. My father, and Lavinia, shall forthwith Be closed in our household's monument. As for that heinous tiger, Tamora, No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds, No mournful bell shall ring her burial ; But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey. Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity ; And, being so, shall have like want of pity. See justice done to Aaron, that damned Moor, By whom our heavy haps had their beginning; Then, afterwards, to order well the state, That like events may ne'er it ruinate. [Exeunt.

All the editors and critics agree in supposing this play spurious. I see no reason for differing from them; for the color of the style is wholly different from that of the other plays, and there is an attempt at regular versification, and artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom pleasing, The barbarity of the spectacles, and the general massacre which are here exhibited, can scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience; yet we are told by Jonson that they were not only borne, but praised. That Shakspeare wrote any part, though Theobald declares it incontestable, I see no reason for believing.




MR. Douce observes that “the very great popularity of this play in former times may be supposed to have originated from the interest which the story must have excited. To trace the fable beyond the period in which the favorite romance of Apollonius Tyrius was composed, would be a vain attempt: that was the probable original ; but of its author nothing decisive has been discovered. Some have maintained that it was originally written in Greek, and translated into Latin by a Christian about the time of the decline of the Roman empire; others have given it to Symposius, a writer whom they place in the eighth century, because the riddles which occur in the story are to be found in a work entitled Symposii #nigmata. It occurs in that storehouse of popular fiction, the Gesta Romanorum, and its antiquity is sufficiently evinced by the existence of an Anglo-Saxon version, mentioned in Wanley's list, and now in Bene't College, Cambridge. One Constantine is said to have translated it into modern Greek verse, about the year 1500, (this is probably the MS. mentioned by Dufresne in the index of authors appended to his Greek Glossary,) and afterwards printed at Venice in 1563. It had been printed in Latin prose, at Augsburg, in 1471, which is probably as early as the first dateless impression of the Gesta Romanorum.*

A very curious fragment of an old metrical romance on the subject, was in the collection of the late Dr. Farmer, and is now in my possession. This we have the authority of Mr. Tyrwhitt for placing at an earlier period than the time of Gower. The fragment consists of two leaves of parchment, which had been converted into the cover of a book, for which purpose its edges were cut off, some words entirely lost, and the whole has suffered so much by time as to be scarcely legible. Yet I have considered it so curious a relic of our early poetry and language, that I have bestowed some pains in deciphering what remains, and have given a specimen or two in the notes toward the close of the play. I will here exhibit a further portion, comprising the name of the writer, who appears to have been Thomas Vicary, of Winborn Minster, in Dorsetshire. The portion I have given will continue the story of Apollonius (the Pericles of the play):

Wit hys wyf in gret solas
He lyvede after this do was,

* « Towards the latter end of the twelfth century, Godfrey of Viterbo, in his Pantheon, or Universal Chronicle, inserted this romance as part of the history of the third Antiochus, about two hundred years before Christ. It begins thus (MS. Reg. 14. c. xi.] ;

Filia Seleuci stat clara decore
Matreque defuncta pater arsit in ejus amore

Res habet effectum, pressa puella dolet.
The rest is in the same metre, with one pentameter only to two hexameters.”—Tyrwhitt.

« VorigeDoorgaan »