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Home > Titus Andronicus > ACT III - SCENE I. Rome. A street.

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ACT III - SCENE I. Rome. A street.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
1    Hear me, grave fathers! noble tribunes, stay!
2    For pity of mine age, whose youth was spent
3    In dangerous wars, whilst you securely slept;
4    For all my blood in Rome's great quarrel shed;
5    For all the frosty nights that I have watch'd;
6    And for these bitter tears, which now you see
7    Filling the aged wrinkles in my cheeks;
8    Be pitiful to my condemned sons,
9    Whose souls are not corrupted as 'tis thought.
10   For two and twenty sons I never wept,
11   Because they died in honour's lofty bed.
Lieth down; the Judges, &c., pass by him, and Exeunt
12   For these, these, tribunes, in the dust I write
13   My heart's deep languor and my soul's sad tears:
14   Let my tears stanch the earth's dry appetite;
15   My sons' sweet blood will make it shame and blush.
16   O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
17   That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
18   Than youthful April shall with all his showers:
19   In summer's drought I'll drop upon thee still;
20   In winter with warm tears I'll melt the snow
21   And keep eternal spring-time on thy face,
22   So thou refuse to drink my dear sons' blood.
Enter LUCIUS, with his sword drawn
23   O reverend tribunes! O gentle, aged men!
24   Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death;
25   And let me say, that never wept before,
26   My tears are now prevailing orators.
LUCIUS
27   O noble father, you lament in vain:
28   The tribunes hear you not; no man is by;
29   And you recount your sorrows to a stone.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
30   Ah, Lucius, for thy brothers let me plead.
31   Grave tribunes, once more I entreat of you,--
LUCIUS
32   My gracious lord, no tribune hears you speak.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
33   Why, tis no matter, man; if they did hear,
34   They would not mark me, or if they did mark,
35   They would not pity me, yet plead I must;
36   And bootless unto them.
37   Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones;
38   Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
39   Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,
40   For that they will not intercept my tale:
41   When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
42   Receive my tears and seem to weep with me;
43   And, were they but attired in grave weeds,
44   Rome could afford no tribune like to these.
45   A stone is soft as wax,--tribunes more hard than stones;
46   A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
47   And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.
Rises
48   But wherefore stand'st thou with thy weapon drawn?
LUCIUS
49   To rescue my two brothers from their death:
50   For which attempt the judges have pronounced
51   My everlasting doom of banishment.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
52   O happy man! they have befriended thee.
53   Why, foolish Lucius, dost thou not perceive
54   That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
55   Tigers must prey, and Rome affords no prey
56   But me and mine: how happy art thou, then,
57   From these devourers to be banished!
58   But who comes with our brother Marcus here?
Enter MARCUS and LAVINIA

MARCUS ANDRONICUS
59   Titus, prepare thy aged eyes to weep;
60   Or, if not so, thy noble heart to break:
61   I bring consuming sorrow to thine age.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
62   Will it consume me? let me see it, then.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
63   This was thy daughter.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
64   Why, Marcus, so she is.
LUCIUS
65   Ay me, this object kills me!
TITUS ANDRONICUS
66   Faint-hearted boy, arise, and look upon her.
67   Speak, Lavinia, what accursed hand
68   Hath made thee handless in thy father's sight?
69   What fool hath added water to the sea,
70   Or brought a faggot to bright-burning Troy?
71   My grief was at the height before thou camest,
72   And now like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.
73   Give me a sword, I'll chop off my hands too;
74   For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
75   And they have nursed this woe, in feeding life;
76   In bootless prayer have they been held up,
77   And they have served me to effectless use:
78   Now all the service I require of them
79   Is that the one will help to cut the other.
80   'Tis well, Lavinia, that thou hast no hands;
81   For hands, to do Rome service, are but vain.
LUCIUS
82   Speak, gentle sister, who hath martyr'd thee?
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
83   O, that delightful engine of her thoughts
84   That blabb'd them with such pleasing eloquence,
85   Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage,
86   Where, like a sweet melodious bird, it sung
87   Sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear!
LUCIUS
88   O, say thou for her, who hath done this deed?
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
89   O, thus I found her, straying in the park,
90   Seeking to hide herself, as doth the deer
91   That hath received some unrecuring wound.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
92   It was my deer; and he that wounded her
93   Hath hurt me more than had he killed me dead:
94   For now I stand as one upon a rock
95   Environed with a wilderness of sea,
96   Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
97   Expecting ever when some envious surge
98   Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
99   This way to death my wretched sons are gone;
100  Here stands my other son, a banished man,
101  And here my brother, weeping at my woes.
102  But that which gives my soul the greatest spurn,
103  Is dear Lavinia, dearer than my soul.
104  Had I but seen thy picture in this plight,
105  It would have madded me: what shall I do
106  Now I behold thy lively body so?
107  Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears:
108  Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyr'd thee:
109  Thy husband he is dead: and for his death
110  Thy brothers are condemn'd, and dead by this.
111  Look, Marcus! ah, son Lucius, look on her!
112  When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
113  Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew
114  Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
115  Perchance she weeps because they kill'd her husband;
116  Perchance because she knows them innocent.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
117  If they did kill thy husband, then be joyful
118  Because the law hath ta'en revenge on them.
119  No, no, they would not do so foul a deed;
120  Witness the sorrow that their sister makes.
121  Gentle Lavinia, let me kiss thy lips.
122  Or make some sign how I may do thee ease:
123  Shall thy good uncle, and thy brother Lucius,
124  And thou, and I, sit round about some fountain,
125  Looking all downwards to behold our cheeks
126  How they are stain'd, as meadows, yet not dry,
127  With miry slime left on them by a flood?
128  And in the fountain shall we gaze so long
129  Till the fresh taste be taken from that clearness,
130  And made a brine-pit with our bitter tears?
131  Or shall we cut away our hands, like thine?
132  Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows
133  Pass the remainder of our hateful days?
134  What shall we do? let us, that have our tongues,
135  Plot some deuce of further misery,
136  To make us wonder'd at in time to come.
LUCIUS
137  Sweet father, cease your tears; for, at your grief,
138  See how my wretched sister sobs and weeps.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
139  Patience, dear niece. Good Titus, dry thine eyes.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
140  Ah, Marcus, Marcus! brother, well I wot
141  Thy napkin cannot drink a tear of mine,
142  For thou, poor man, hast drown'd it with thine own.
LUCIUS
143  Ah, my Lavinia, I will wipe thy cheeks.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
144  Mark, Marcus, mark! I understand her signs:
145  Had she a tongue to speak, now would she say
146  That to her brother which I said to thee:
147  His napkin, with his true tears all bewet,
148  Can do no service on her sorrowful cheeks.
149  O, what a sympathy of woe is this,
150  As far from help as Limbo is from bliss!
Enter AARON

AARON
151  Titus Andronicus, my lord the emperor
152  Sends thee this word,--that, if thou love thy sons,
153  Let Marcus, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
154  Or any one of you, chop off your hand,
155  And send it to the king: he for the same
156  Will send thee hither both thy sons alive;
157  And that shall be the ransom for their fault.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
158  O gracious emperor! O gentle Aaron!
159  Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
160  That gives sweet tidings of the sun's uprise?
161  With all my heart, I'll send the emperor My hand:
162  Good Aaron, wilt thou help to chop it off?
LUCIUS
163  Stay, father! for that noble hand of thine,
164  That hath thrown down so many enemies,
165  Shall not be sent: my hand will serve the turn:
166  My youth can better spare my blood than you;
167  And therefore mine shall save my brothers' lives.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
168  Which of your hands hath not defended Rome,
169  And rear'd aloft the bloody battle-axe,
170  Writing destruction on the enemy's castle?
171  O, none of both but are of high desert:
172  My hand hath been but idle; let it serve
173  To ransom my two nephews from their death;
174  Then have I kept it to a worthy end.
AARON
175  Nay, come, agree whose hand shall go along,
176  For fear they die before their pardon come.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
177  My hand shall go.
LUCIUS
178  By heaven, it shall not go!
TITUS ANDRONICUS
179  Sirs, strive no more: such wither'd herbs as these
180  Are meet for plucking up, and therefore mine.
LUCIUS
181  Sweet father, if I shall be thought thy son,
182  Let me redeem my brothers both from death.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
183  And, for our father's sake and mother's care,
184  Now let me show a brother's love to thee.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
185  Agree between you; I will spare my hand.
LUCIUS
186  Then I'll go fetch an axe.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
187  But I will use the axe.
Exeunt LUCIUS and MARCUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS
188  Come hither, Aaron; I'll deceive them both:
189  Lend me thy hand, and I will give thee mine.
AARON
Aside
190   If that be call'd deceit, I will be honest,
191  And never, whilst I live, deceive men so:
192  But I'll deceive you in another sort,
193  And that you'll say, ere half an hour pass.
Cuts off TITUS's hand

Re-enter LUCIUS and MARCUS

TITUS ANDRONICUS
194  Now stay your strife: what shall be is dispatch'd.
195  Good Aaron, give his majesty my hand:
196  Tell him it was a hand that warded him
197  From thousand dangers; bid him bury it
198  More hath it merited; that let it have.
199  As for my sons, say I account of them
200  As jewels purchased at an easy price;
201  And yet dear too, because I bought mine own.
AARON
202  I go, Andronicus: and for thy hand
203  Look by and by to have thy sons with thee.
Aside
204  Their heads, I mean. O, how this villany
205  Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
206  Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace.
207  Aaron will have his soul black like his face.
Exit

TITUS ANDRONICUS
208  O, here I lift this one hand up to heaven,
209  And bow this feeble ruin to the earth:
210  If any power pities wretched tears,
211  To that I call!
To LAVINIA
212  What, wilt thou kneel with me?
213  Do, then, dear heart; for heaven shall hear our prayers;
214  Or with our sighs we'll breathe the welkin dim,
215  And stain the sun with fog, as sometime clouds
216  When they do hug him in their melting bosoms.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
217  O brother, speak with possibilities,
218  And do not break into these deep extremes.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
219  Is not my sorrow deep, having no bottom?
220  Then be my passions bottomless with them.
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
221  But yet let reason govern thy lament.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
222  If there were reason for these miseries,
223  Then into limits could I bind my woes:
224  When heaven doth weep, doth not the earth o'erflow?
225  If the winds rage, doth not the sea wax mad,
226  Threatening the welkin with his big-swoln face?
227  And wilt thou have a reason for this coil?
228  I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow!
229  She is the weeping welkin, I the earth:
230  Then must my sea be moved with her sighs;
231  Then must my earth with her continual tears
232  Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd;
233  For why my bowels cannot hide her woes,
234  But like a drunkard must I vomit them.
235  Then give me leave, for losers will have leave
236  To ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues.
Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand

Messenger
237  Worthy Andronicus, ill art thou repaid
238  For that good hand thou sent'st the emperor.
239  Here are the heads of thy two noble sons;
240  And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back;
241  Thy griefs their sports, thy resolution mock'd;
242  That woe is me to think upon thy woes
243  More than remembrance of my father's death.
Exit

MARCUS ANDRONICUS
244  Now let hot AEtna cool in Sicily,
245  And be my heart an ever-burning hell!
246  These miseries are more than may be borne.
247  To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal;
248  But sorrow flouted at is double death.
LUCIUS
249  Ah, that this sight should make so deep a wound,
250  And yet detested life not shrink thereat!
251  That ever death should let life bear his name,
252  Where life hath no more interest but to breathe!
LAVINIA kisses TITUS

MARCUS ANDRONICUS
253  Alas, poor heart, that kiss is comfortless
254  As frozen water to a starved snake.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
255  When will this fearful slumber have an end?
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
256  Now, farewell, flattery: die, Andronicus;
257  Thou dost not slumber: see, thy two sons' heads,
258  Thy warlike hand, thy mangled daughter here:
259  Thy other banish'd son, with this dear sight
260  Struck pale and bloodless; and thy brother, I,
261  Even like a stony image, cold and numb.
262  Ah, now no more will I control thy griefs:
263  Rend off thy silver hair, thy other hand
264  Gnawing with thy teeth; and be this dismal sight
265  The closing up of our most wretched eyes;
266  Now is a time to storm; why art thou still?
TITUS ANDRONICUS
267  Ha, ha, ha!
MARCUS ANDRONICUS
268  Why dost thou laugh? it fits not with this hour.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
269  Why, I have not another tear to shed:
270  Besides, this sorrow is an enemy,
271  And would usurp upon my watery eyes
272  And make them blind with tributary tears:
273  Then which way shall I find Revenge's cave?
274  For these two heads do seem to speak to me,
275  And threat me I shall never come to bliss
276  Till all these mischiefs be return'd again
277  Even in their throats that have committed them.
278  Come, let me see what task I have to do.
279  You heavy people, circle me about,
280  That I may turn me to each one of you,
281  And swear unto my soul to right your wrongs.
282  The vow is made. Come, brother, take a head;
283  And in this hand the other I will bear.
284  Lavinia, thou shalt be employ'd: these arms!
285  Bear thou my hand, sweet wench, between thy teeth.
286  As for thee, boy, go get thee from my sight;
287  Thou art an exile, and thou must not stay:
288  Hie to the Goths, and raise an army there:
289  And, if you love me, as I think you do,
290  Let's kiss and part, for we have much to do.
Exeunt TITUS, MARCUS, and LAVINIA

LUCIUS
291  Farewell Andronicus, my noble father,
292  The wofull'st man that ever lived in Rome:
293  Farewell, proud Rome; till Lucius come again,
294  He leaves his pledges dearer than his life:
295  Farewell, Lavinia, my noble sister;
296  O, would thou wert as thou tofore hast been!
297  But now nor Lucius nor Lavinia lives
298  But in oblivion and hateful griefs.
299  If Lucius live, he will requite your wrongs;
300  And make proud Saturnine and his empress
301  Beg at the gates, like Tarquin and his queen.
302  Now will I to the Goths, and raise a power,
303  To be revenged on Rome and Saturnine.
Exit

< (Previous) ACT II, SCENE IVACT III, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III

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