Sorrow concealed, like an oven stopp'd,
Doth burn the heart to cinders where it is.
Fair Philomela, fhe but loft her tongue,
And in a tedious fampler few'd her mind:
But, lovely niece, that mean is cut from thee;
A craftier Tereus haft thou met withal,4
And he hath cut those pretty fingers off,
That could have better few'd than Philomel.
O, had the monster seen those lily hands
Tremble, like afpen leaves, upon a lute,
And make the filken ftrings delight to kiss them;
He would not then have touch'd them for his life:
Or, had he heard the heavenly harmony,
Which that sweet tongue hath made,

He would have dropp'd his knife, and fell asleep,
As Cerberus at the Thracian poet's 5 feet.
Come, let us go, and make thy father blind :
For fuch a fight will blind a father's eye :
One hour's ftorm will drown the fragrant meads;
What will whole months of tears thy father's eyes?
Do not draw back, for we will mourn with thee;
O, could our mourning ease thy mifery! [Exeunt.

haft thou met withal,] The word withal, is wanting in edition 1600. Todd.

[ocr errors][merged small]


Rome. A Street.

Enter Senators, Tribunes, and Officers of Juftice, with MARTIUS and QUINTUS, bound, passing on to the Place of Execution; TITUS going before, pleading.

TIT. Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes,

For pity of mine age, whofe youth was spent
In dangerous wars, whilft you fecurely flept;
For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel fhed;
For all the frofty nights that I have watch'd;
And for thefe bitter tears, which now you fee
Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
Be pitiful to my condemned fons,

Whose fouls are not corrupted as 'tis thought !
For two and twenty fons I never wept,
Because they died in honour's lofty bed.
For these, these tribunes," in the duft I write

[Throwing himself on the Ground. My heart's deep languor, and my foul's fad tears. Let my tears ftanch the earth's dry appetite; My fons' sweet blood will make it fhame and blush. [Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c. with the Prifoners.

O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,

For thefe, thefe, tribunes,] The latter thefe was added for the fake of the metre, by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.

That fhall diftil from thefe two ancient urns,"
Than youthful April fhall with all his fhowers:
In fummer's drought, I'll drop upon thee ftill;
In winter, with warm tears I'll melt the snow,
And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
So thou refuse to drink my dear fons' blood.

Enter Lucius, with his Sword drawn.

O, reverend tribunes! gentle aged men !8
Unbind my fons, reverse the doom of death;
And let me fay, that never wept before,
My tears are now prevailing orators.

Luc. O, noble father, you lament in vain ;
The tribunes hear you not, no man is by,

you recount your forrows to a ftone.

TIT. Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead: Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you.

Luc. My gracious lord, no tribune hears you fpeak.

TIT. Why, 'tis no matter, man: if they did hear, They would not mark me; or, if they did mark,

7 two ancient urns,] Oxford editor.-Vulg. two ancient ruins. JOHNSON,

Edition 1600,-ruines, as in other old copies. TODD.

8 O, reverend tribunes! gentle aged men !] Edition 1600: Oh reverent tribunes, oh gentle aged men. TODD.

or, if they did mark,

All bootless to them, they'd not pity me.
Therefore &c] The edition 1600, thus:
or if they did marke,

They would not pitty me, yet pleade I muft,
All bootless unto them.

Therefore &c.

This I conceive to be the right reading. TODD.

[blocks in formation]

All bootlefs to them, they'd not pity me."
Therefore I tell my forrows to the stones;
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in fome fort they're better than the tribunes,
For that they will not intercept my tale:
When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
Receive my tears, and feem to weep with me;
And, were they but attired in grave weeds,
Rome could afford no tribune like to these.

A ftone is foft as wax, tribunes more hard than ftones :

A stone is filent, and offendeth not;

And tribunes with their tongues doom men to


But wherefore ftand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?

Luc. To refcue my two brothers from their

For which attempt, the judges have pronounc'd
My everlasting doom of banifhment."

TIT. O happy man! they have befriended thee.
Why, foolish Lucius, doft thou not perceive,
That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
Tigers muft prey; and Rome affords no prey,
But me and mine: How happy art thou then,
From these devourers to be banished?

But who comes with our brother Marcus here?


MAR. Titus, prepare thy noble eyes to weep; Or, if not fo, thy noble heart to break;

I bring confuming forrow to thine age.


A ftone is foft as wax, tribunes more hard than Stones :] The author, we may suppose, originally wrote:

Stone's foft as wax, &c. STEEVENS.

TIT. Will it confume me? let me fee it then.
MAR. This was thy daughter.

TIT. Why, Marcus, fo fhe is.

Luc. Ah me! this object kills me!

TIT. Faint-hearted boy, arife, and look upon


Speak, my Lavinia, what accursed hand
Hath made thee handlefs in thy father's fight ?3
What fool hath added water to the fea? -
Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou cam'ft,
And now, like Nilus, it difdaineth bounds.-
Give me a fword, I'll chop off my hands too ;4
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nurs'd this woe, in feeding life;
In bootlefs prayer have they been held up,
And they have ferv'd me to effectlefs ufe:
Now, all the fervice I require of them
Is, that the one will help to cut the other.-
'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou haft no hands;
For hands, to do Rome fervice, are but vain.
Luc. Speak, gentle fifter, who hath martyr'd

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Speak, my Lavinia,] My, which is wanting in the first folio, was fupplied by the fecond. STEEVENS.


in thy father's fight?] We should read-spight? WARBURTON.

I'll chop off my hands too ;] Perhaps we should read:

or chop off &c.

It is not easy to discover how Titus, when he had chopped off one of his hands, would have been able to have chopped off the other. STEEVENS.

I have no doubt but the text is as the author wrote it. Let him answer for the blunder. In a fubfequent line Titus fuppofes himself his own executioner :

"Now all the fervice I require of them" &c. MALONE.

« VorigeDoorgaan »