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Home > Titus Andronicus > ACT V - SCENE I. Plains near Rome.

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ACT V - SCENE I. Plains near Rome.
Enter LUCIUS with an army of Goths, with drum and colours

1    Approved warriors, and my faithful friends,
2    I have received letters from great Rome,
3    Which signify what hate they bear their emperor
4    And how desirous of our sight they are.
5    Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,
6    Imperious and impatient of your wrongs,
7    And wherein Rome hath done you any scath,
8    Let him make treble satisfaction.
First Goth
9    Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus,
10   Whose name was once our terror, now our comfort;
11   Whose high exploits and honourable deeds
12   Ingrateful Rome requites with foul contempt,
13   Be bold in us: we'll follow where thou lead'st,
14   Like stinging bees in hottest summer's day
15   Led by their master to the flowered fields,
16   And be avenged on cursed Tamora.
All the Goths
17   And as he saith, so say we all with him.
18   I humbly thank him, and I thank you all.
19   But who comes here, led by a lusty Goth?
Enter a Goth, leading AARON with his Child in his arms

Second Goth
20   Renowned Lucius, from our troops I stray'd
21   To gaze upon a ruinous monastery;
22   And, as I earnestly did fix mine eye
23   Upon the wasted building, suddenly
24   I heard a child cry underneath a wall.
25   I made unto the noise; when soon I heard
26   The crying babe controll'd with this discourse:
27   'Peace, tawny slave, half me and half thy dam!
28   Did not thy hue bewray whose brat thou art,
29   Had nature lent thee but thy mother's look,
30   Villain, thou mightst have been an emperor:
31   But where the bull and cow are both milk-white,
32   They never do beget a coal-black calf.
33   Peace, villain, peace!'--even thus he rates
34   the babe,--
35   'For I must bear thee to a trusty Goth;
36   Who, when he knows thou art the empress' babe,
37   Will hold thee dearly for thy mother's sake.'
38   With this, my weapon drawn, I rush'd upon him,
39   Surprised him suddenly, and brought him hither,
40   To use as you think needful of the man.
41   O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devil
42   That robb'd Andronicus of his good hand;
43   This is the pearl that pleased your empress' eye,
44   And here's the base fruit of his burning lust.
45   Say, wall-eyed slave, whither wouldst thou convey
46   This growing image of thy fiend-like face?
47   Why dost not speak? what, deaf? not a word?
48   A halter, soldiers! hang him on this tree.
49   And by his side his fruit of bastardy.
50   Touch not the boy; he is of royal blood.
51   Too like the sire for ever being good.
52   First hang the child, that he may see it sprawl;
53   A sight to vex the father's soul withal.
54   Get me a ladder.
A ladder brought, which AARON is made to ascend

55   Lucius, save the child,
56   And bear it from me to the empress.
57   If thou do this, I'll show thee wondrous things,
58   That highly may advantage thee to hear:
59   If thou wilt not, befall what may befall,
60   I'll speak no more but 'Vengeance rot you all!'
61   Say on: an if it please me which thou speak'st
62   Thy child shall live, and I will see it nourish'd.
63   An if it please thee! why, assure thee, Lucius,
64   'Twill vex thy soul to hear what I shall speak;
65   For I must talk of murders, rapes and massacres,
66   Acts of black night, abominable deeds,
67   Complots of mischief, treason, villanies
68   Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform'd:
69   And this shall all be buried by my death,
70   Unless thou swear to me my child shall live.
71   Tell on thy mind; I say thy child shall live.
72   Swear that he shall, and then I will begin.
73   Who should I swear by? thou believest no god:
74   That granted, how canst thou believe an oath?
75   What if I do not? as, indeed, I do not;
76   Yet, for I know thou art religious
77   And hast a thing within thee called conscience,
78   With twenty popish tricks and ceremonies,
79   Which I have seen thee careful to observe,
80   Therefore I urge thy oath; for that I know
81   An idiot holds his bauble for a god
82   And keeps the oath which by that god he swears,
83   To that I'll urge him: therefore thou shalt vow
84   By that same god, what god soe'er it be,
85   That thou adorest and hast in reverence,
86   To save my boy, to nourish and bring him up;
87   Or else I will discover nought to thee.
88   Even by my god I swear to thee I will.
89   First know thou, I begot him on the empress.
90   O most insatiate and luxurious woman!
91   Tut, Lucius, this was but a deed of charity
92   To that which thou shalt hear of me anon.
93   'Twas her two sons that murder'd Bassianus;
94   They cut thy sister's tongue and ravish'd her
95   And cut her hands and trimm'd her as thou saw'st.
96   O detestable villain! call'st thou that trimming?
97   Why, she was wash'd and cut and trimm'd, and 'twas
98   Trim sport for them that had the doing of it.
99   O barbarous, beastly villains, like thyself!
100  Indeed, I was their tutor to instruct them:
101  That codding spirit had they from their mother,
102  As sure a card as ever won the set;
103  That bloody mind, I think, they learn'd of me,
104  As true a dog as ever fought at head.
105  Well, let my deeds be witness of my worth.
106  I train'd thy brethren to that guileful hole
107  Where the dead corpse of Bassianus lay:
108  I wrote the letter that thy father found
109  And hid the gold within the letter mention'd,
110  Confederate with the queen and her two sons:
111  And what not done, that thou hast cause to rue,
112  Wherein I had no stroke of mischief in it?
113  I play'd the cheater for thy father's hand,
114  And, when I had it, drew myself apart
115  And almost broke my heart with extreme laughter:
116  I pry'd me through the crevice of a wall
117  When, for his hand, he had his two sons' heads;
118  Beheld his tears, and laugh'd so heartily,
119  That both mine eyes were rainy like to his :
120  And when I told the empress of this sport,
121  She swooned almost at my pleasing tale,
122  And for my tidings gave me twenty kisses.
First Goth
123  What, canst thou say all this, and never blush?
124  Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.
125  Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds?
126  Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
127  Even now I curse the day--and yet, I think,
128  Few come within the compass of my curse,--
129  Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
130  As kill a man, or else devise his death,
131  Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
132  Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
133  Set deadly enmity between two friends,
134  Make poor men's cattle break their necks;
135  Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
136  And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
137  Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves,
138  And set them upright at their dear friends' doors,
139  Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
140  And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
141  Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
142  'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.'
143  Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
144  As willingly as one would kill a fly,
145  And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
146  But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
147  Bring down the devil; for he must not die
148  So sweet a death as hanging presently.
149  If there be devils, would I were a devil,
150  To live and burn in everlasting fire,
151  So I might have your company in hell,
152  But to torment you with my bitter tongue!
153  Sirs, stop his mouth, and let him speak no more.
Enter a Goth

Third Goth
154  My lord, there is a messenger from Rome
155  Desires to be admitted to your presence.
156  Let him come near.
157  Welcome, AEmilius what's the news from Rome?
158  Lord Lucius, and you princes of the Goths,
159  The Roman emperor greets you all by me;
160  And, for he understands you are in arms,
161  He craves a parley at your father's house,
162  Willing you to demand your hostages,
163  And they shall be immediately deliver'd.
First Goth
164  What says our general?
165  AEmilius, let the emperor give his pledges
166  Unto my father and my uncle Marcus,
167  And we will come. March away.

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Scene Index

  • ACT II


  • ACT IV

  • ACT V

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